August 25 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 8 Amends And Willing Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "letting go the bondage of self, self driven, self-will, self obsession, oblivion and self destruction." Anyone can become inward looking for all the answers to life's problems today. So easy to fall into the trap of guilt and shame when we cannot resolve problems. Asking for help and being comfortable not knowing how to live any more saved my life and still does one day at a time…
Video For Today:
There are many people on this planet who have an intellect and thinking power far greater than mine about issues and facts which I simply do not understand and probably do not have the life left in me to find out. I am happy with my lot, I now have the knowledge that it is okay not to know the answers today. If I do not know the answers, I can simply ask for help from anywhere which means I cope with today and if I can't I can always find a person who can. And if there isn't a person right now, let go!
Emotional and spiritual living. Feeling right in the moment of now. Letting go the need to be in control, the need to be driven to prove my worth when I am already worthy as a human being continually learning how to live life. We will encounter those full of pride and those who will be prejudiced against us. And if anyone is prejudiced against me, I will be shunned probably by them and I am happy to be shunned so I can continue getting on with my life as best I can today…
Prince Harry on holiday and letting go… Personally this funny incident in one person's life highlights how judgemental media can be and then influence the people in their attitudes and behaviour towards? Those with shameful conduct in the past, exposing people for profit. The malfeasance of old hacks pointing their fingers to justify the freedom of the press to intrude, using two-faced corruption of morality. More importantly they have forgotten the freedom of the individual to be the way they are… I do not judge or criticise one bit what a prince may do, making mistakes, if it is a mistake is all part of life and on this occasion no harm done unless society is influenced to say that harm has been done somehow and somewhere… It is of no consequence?
The bond of alcoholic loneliness… Fellowship offered me a place to let go all my fears, shame and guilt about my drinking days and the torture self inflicted for a good long time. Clearing out all these emotions and feelings which have never been expressed, made a huge gap inside me. In early days, a return to the alcoholic loneliness would have been easy, and years later I still see the dangers if I become estranged from a set of principles and people living life sober, one day at a time…
AA Daily Reflections ~ "August 25 Step 8 Daily Reflections Video Reading: The gift of bonding... Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. [big book]
Many times in my alcoholic state, I drank to establish a bond between myself and others, but I succeeded only in establishing the bondage of alcoholic loneliness. Through the A.A. way of life, I have received the gift of bonding - with those who were there before me, with those who are there now, and with those yet to come. For this gracious gift from God, I am forever grateful."
DonInLondon 2005 2011
A desire to stop drinking is the only requirement, no rules laws and regulations. Anarchic democracy without leaders and everyone is a trusted servant. Always sharing experience strength and hope and everyone can let off steam. We are learning to live life, open honest and willing in unity service and recovery. We learn our part in the big picture and life on life's terms. Freedom to choose always...
Life balance can be at odds with modern virtues, to become top at a single element of life. Driven by: ambition and self-will, adulation for being famous as: an athlete, a pop star, a celebrity, a business person, a politician, a guru, a drunk. One skill: in pursuit of perfection. Burnt out and worn out too soon, the road of recovery, extraordinary ordinary, learning to love, be loved and truly useful one day at a time...
August 2008 ~ 2010
An emphatic NO is better than a half-hearted yes. Learning how to say NO: is one of the most difficult lessons for some of us in recovery. Learning not to get pulled into some situations with people and places means we can make better choices about what we like doing and must do to be "ourselves" each and every day...
Inclusion, choices and love today: these are possible today, not guaranteed and not certain. No longer isolated in a malady, now more open to being a part of life around me. When I reach out to help or ask for help, I may need do this as often as I can, as I include then others include me in what is happening today...
August 25th 2007
DonInLondon - ‘Day in the Life’ Starting Over
Here We Go Again
Or am I going again. Insanity has a definition in Alcoholics Anonymous:
“Insanity - Doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result.”
Not me today or yesterday. Its been a week of happy change for me. Hearing from my brother earlier in the week that he just plain wanted to help me, reduced me to tears. Its been a long time for me to recognise my brother loves me and makes it ok to be me. I could not talk to him for a long while, not his fault in the slightest, my illness kept me away and ashamed.
And my sister, without doubt a tower of strength too, and she also knows we humans don’t get along without help and support. We do better in company and for me isolation and depression kept me absent a long time.
I seem to have stopped running long enough to find some firm ground rather than continually on the move and unstoppable. Decades of moving changing and reinventing.
My Insanity, not slowing down long enough to pause, reflect and realise life had been running a way which took me from a purpose so simple I could not see it.
Just to be..
As times have made me slow down, get help integrate and consolidate I realise that change in itself is no good. Some used to say change something and see what happens. We can do this for along time and find our direction and compass have been lost, our stormy selves have triumphed in nothing but travailing the winds of time. Laborious adventurers not seeing or understanding the purpose of the journey and having no clue to the destination.
A good day overall. Tidying my web pages. And apologies for the feint hearted for nude pictures, they were taken in public and meant for a good cause. Climate change and promoting anything but carbon emissions!
Today I feature less nudity and more moments from my picture vault.
Friday was a brilliant day, with my Sister who knows and has good taste, we got some paint, rather it’s a present from my Sister to me. And a few basics for the new home. I say this not to underplay the help, more to acknowledge my family in every way are helping me and supporting me. It has mostly been me and illness that separated us, as frustration with any active alcoholic is just as it can be, and recovery can mend bonds of life. Some of my friends have found it so and some not. We can never make the connection in some ways, and in others we make them new and different, not back to how we were..
Last nights meeting, step nine all about making amends. The amend programme, to turn up sober every day, do our best, see the world realistically and make the best of what we do and with people we know.
The amends to make, is a personal journey, something like redemption, something like acceptance of our part in all things. And some cannot forgive us, we need accept this too.
Temper our Outlooks
We do need to remind ourselves of a couple of things about alcoholism. It makes us insane, unhappy, irresponsible and it’s a disease anyone can get. Good sense and better judgment are gone in the last days of drink. We either die or get sober, no in between for the truly afflicted.
Ninety Five Percent
This is the thing 95% of people who are alcoholics die of the disease? This is probably true.
And some say 95% of people who go to AA don’t stay and don’t get recovery.
The fact is people who go to AA are most often 100% alcoholic, programmed to drink and will die sooner rather than later.
Could the last gaspers, those who get to AA, Alcoholics Anonymous improve its recovery rate? Its up to us as individuals, either we get the programme and live or we die slow and painful rather than often and quick, unless we get hit by a bus.
AA - The Last Chance Saloon
AA is the last chance saloon for drinkers who are addicted. And the last chance saloon’s doors are always open.
AA is not an institution, not an organisation, not a government body, not a sowing club or a rowing club, not there to fix you. AA cannot fix anything.
Fellowship offers experience strength and hope to people who would otherwise drink themselves to death.
Fellowship cannot stop a person fixing their pain with alcohol. AA can help a person deal with their pain through example and inclusion.
Fellowship will help you find a way to live happy or sad as life offers, it will not stop you doing anything, choices come as we let go our drink and live life sober.
The Good News
Fellowship helps us find our own personal path. It will not stop anyone drinking, indeed it’s a personal choice to drink or not every day. We find sobriety in fellowship and wisdom of others who find out how to live now and let go drink.
Oddly these days I find humans work better sober, love better sober, feel better sober and make better connections to life sober. One day at a time we learn, one day only and then it works.
So this morning and yesterday I am very grateful to be a fellow of AA. And its no surprise to me that 95% of alcoholics die young or live with drink as their gaoler.
AA saves no one, we save ourselves with some wisdom and experience shared a day at a time. We get choices back as well as to drink or not when tormented by life and everything.
AA? Fellowship? It works for me just for a day, and not forever.
Life is endeavour. We cannot fix anything, we just live and become who we are today. The choice always is personal, best made with sanity and not at the wrong end of a drunk or bottle of booze which takes our life and living away with absolute certainty, a day at a time…
Just for today, live life.
August 25th 2006 [all about this day last year]
Looking for Answers where there are None
I started looking through the message boards on the BBC yesterday. And made some replies. Never sure these days if this is a good idea. I get concerned to offer advice where it may be unrealistic or unhelpful.
Thanks to KT you do make it worthwhile posting here. Sharing how I am is quite a difficult enterprise. To tell the truth as much as I can leaves me vulnerable to being judged. And I dislike being judged as much as the next. When I put my first post here about me, I felt nervous about it, anxious and as soon as I had done it, felt like I wanted to tear it up. Its not an easy thing to do. To be open and honest.
And you know I try to be as honest as I can. And I always know there is a part I don’t want to reveal, yet still try. I know I have problems with my perception of me. To paint the details, its like the Picture of Dorian Gray. The one in the hidden room where all the ills and disease are kept, and the outer me is the one I present every day to the world, the one who is ok, does not have clinical depression, does not have type 1 diabetes and is not in recovery. Actually as far as recovery goes, I like being in recovery, and the prejudice is less where I live, but still there with some health professionals who do know better!
Honesty is a key to my recovery, and it’s the dishonest ego in me which flinches away from the absolutes of me. I work to reveal as much of me as I know. Not because I am purposefully dishonest, but do know that denial in me is still a key to keeping myself together and coping with how
I am today and how I used to be.
I used to be full of "it". Life and larger than life. Working in industry where how we look is more important than how we are in reality. In my last big job I had a boss, an HR Director, he used to ask questions like, "How will it show up", to others of course. And actually, this particular boss pulled me apart as effectively as any other human ever did. I mentioned traits given me by my parents, will power and empathy for people. My HR Director boss had some intuitive thing about me, he disliked me as intensely as I him, and he found my Achilles heel. Never praise me, never be satisfied and never supportive in any feedback. He was a master bully, and I a master at playing right into his game. Even down to being understanding of his weaknesses and his bullying. And with an iron will and need in me to help and enable others including him to see the light, well it led to overwork, over the top compensating and complete melt down and nervous breakdown for me.
I must thank him one day, for a complete breakdown in me, my life, my living and my outlook, loss of all material things and most all my sanity. Well do I give him too much credit? I don’t know. In my fellowship we are inclined and encouraged to forgive everyone for everything, especially for ourselves, forgiving is hardest with the benefit of hindsight. In hindsight I do forgive myself for gullibility and will which took me beyond all reasonable endeavour in my work and my ability to do a job which I loved and was well rewarded for doing. I forgive myself for not being able to do the impossible, and for being human as well.
I do forgive that man all things I felt he did to undermine and threaten me, the longer I was under his control and his direction, the more he was turning me into what I despise most in people, what he was in fact, a bully and a cheat, a liar and a braggart. No human needs to be like that. And least of all me. So broken on my own virtues and moral code, well done that man. And he is forgiven, for whatever made him that way, must have been pain unimaginable and living that way, well it not my business, or my job to even go there anymore. Forgiven? No you ain’t, yes you are, well you are again right now. And so am I…
So I do need to forgive him those qualities he unearthed in me and made me respond back, like for like. For if I don’t forgive him, how ever will I forgive myself? Tough eh?
And the is the rub in all we find in life, we find no answers in blaming others. And we find no answers feeling anger and twisted thoughts about how others are or what they have done to us. If we strike back to hurt them back with what can really undo them, then we are like them and so we end up being like them and hurt ourselves even more. So forgiveness is the key.
What’s worse is to stick around too long with people, places and things which will undermine our true sense of well being. And definitely I stayed too long in bad company and made things worse by being strong willed and tenacious, doing the right thing and soldiering on regardless. The right thing to do would have been to move on and change my living, I was driven to stay by fear of failure and ultimately was made ill in his work regime, when I would have been better off, quite frankly sweeping the streets.
At least that is an honest and worthy occupation.
So it matters not how right we are, we can be in the wrong place and at the wrong time, driven by the wrong motives and sticking around with loyalties not earned or ever wanted. And that is just how it was. So I need find forgiveness and accept my outcomes as they are today.
And this means I clean my side of the situation and understand my part in events which led to my complete breakdown and loss of sanity. That it led to alcoholism some years later, and loss of everything including my sanity, well those are consequences I recognise and truly, recovery is about realising my part in it.
As to now, another time and place. With recovery comes a philosophy of well being and supporting others as well as myself. Giving myself equal rights to a life and equal opportunities. Something I know I did not do before. I was a people pleaser, which is why helping others and supporting others seemed to be my best approach. Gaining esteem through service and support is no bad thing in the right measure. Having esteem and confidence for me in my own right, well these things I learn as I go.
I do feel spaced out this morning, I slept for four hours all at once. A record for me at the moment. And I just checked my blood sugar and its 7.6 right now. I aim to be as near to 6.5 as possible and as I mentioned last week they do a more in depth test and my average and overall maintenance is somewhere near to the 6.5 target, I can’t remember exactly what it is, I could not function too well last week as you see from my posts.
What made me think about those awful and desperate times when I broke down so completely and the career ended and my life turn to crap? I was not dreaming or having the old nightmare of the boss and his behaviour towards me, or what he did, and the lies and all that stuff. From being the best at what I did and the feedback from clients to prove it? What has made me feel these things again?
I felt pretty ok having rested up and was determined to get out to a meeting. Feet were ok, so a trip to the tube and then a walk to a Venue in another part of Chelsea. To a meeting I am new to, only been there once before and discussion of a step in our programme about "defects of character!"
Ah yes here we are, here is the reason for memories. My right royal mess up of my career and living. And all because I do have some defects of character. Actually we all do to be fair, and we need be aware one defect of character is not knowing what they are and then doing nothing to find out or make changes appropriate to our own living, whatever the reason. And another one of mine is always blaming outcomes on my failure and no one else. I forget I don’t rule the world and make the rules and fail against them. I am not perfect, but perfectly able to blame myself for everything. Now that’s true, and something I work on a lot. Own my part and see others part in it too these days. I can change me, and leave others to sort themselves out, and that is often just the way it need be.
So anyway getting to this meeting was fine and only delays were on the tube. I was even ok walking to and from, but the price now is my feet are burning again, well it was good to walk and the consequences are what they are. I can hardly walk right now.
When I got to the meeting, I met with another friend and fellow. And they are ok, and could feel better I guess. And they remind me of me, how I used to measure myself against other people and their lives.
My friend is most able to compare and contrast their relative success with others and what they have achieved. And with the benefit of every advantage, but without the luck of time and place, they have not achieved everything they would wish for. And so feel less than they really are.
And that reminds me of me, when I was deep into the rat race and everything our dear old Maggie Thatcher, and then Tony Blair endorsed in our attitudes to work and life, in my most formative career days. Success was never enough and achievement was always another hill to climb. And it was never enough. Sort of helped me become what I was back then, totally committed to career and company, fiercely loyal and always a team player? Well as best I could I guess.
Not bad motives if in balance, but we find with some people like me, we take it in, the dream and proceed to live it and don’t find a balance. We work till we drop. Which I did, and had a nervous breakdown. A then my predisposition to depression was really set alight.
Now no amount of knowledge or brain power will make us quit our goals once set. Don’t ask me why I could not see my own undoing. I might as well have shot myself in the head, I was completely bamboozled by work and career and doing as well as life depended on it.
In other words, I got everything from working, my esteem, my ego, my self worth and did this to compensate for other things lacking. Like a steady partner and woman in my life, making kids and making family of my own. And also distance from my family, brother and his family, sister and her family and my mother, which all occurred because of work, so the trap is set and I walked right in, and lost my sense of identity. And on top with a bully for a boss, and a very dishonest broker in life, well the rest is history I guess.
A total deconstruction, or destruction of me, by me followed. Take away what gave me self worth and life was not worth living. Result, self harm through drink, self loathing and not wanting a life at all. So that’s how well I get to see some of my defects of character this morning.
Actually it is as bad as it reads, at the same time you need to know that some years have gone by in the reconstruction phase of me. Its not all bad now! I am sort of chortling to myself here. It was grim and remains so when the depression is like it is. But in there is some humour too, which bubbles out even though depression demands it stay hidden. So a bit of sleep and a bit of compassion do help me, and certainly going to the meetings helps enormously.
I listened with great care to our speaker last night, a person of advanced years. About their life and stuff. And they did not get into recovery till much older than me, which is some solace, and now they have had fifteen years sober! And they see the programme of AA like me as a way to make good what years we have left.
And I shared back it was good to see recovery is never too late, whatever age we get to. Simply because being sober we can sort out our headspace for what remains. And as I said, I have lopped off a few years from my own life through the self torture I put myself through over recent times. What’s important seems how best we apply ourselves to what we have and what we can do.
And really what can I do? A hell of a lot I am sure. After all, all those years of successful people helping, as advisor, a manager, a counsellor, an appraiser, a mentor, a facilitator, a business person, a people person, a lover, a brother, a son, an uncle, a godfather, a friend and a fellow of my fellowship. Those things and skills don’t go away although some are a little rusty from lack of use!
Smiles and I have been, a cleaner, a video store assistant, a book seller, a doorman at the Arts Club, an administrator, a handyman at the local cinema, a restorer, a painter and decorator, an ad hoc people helper. Head of this and that, a company owner albeit very brief. And other jobs too many to mention. And an alcoholic most definitely preferring recovery to being out there harming myself again!
And most of all I can find out who I am now. And certainly the fellowship meetings give me the opportunity to restore my balance and my values and my outlook. Which is why I am so woolly in my head right now.
What’s Up Tho’
Getting to live as I am, with everything I need do just to maintain the day. And that is not so easy these days, and I am learning. I am not tough, I bleed easy. I don’t have resilience, and I crush easy. Depression wears me out as much as the Diabetes ever seems to. And the fellowship keeps me finding some sort of balance on a daily basis.
So it is not a bed of roses. At the same time, its not time to quit either. Or give up on a life. After all whoever said change is easy either. it’s a daily thing, a gradual thing and I need patience with myself.
I am painfully aware that my perceptions and outlook are somewhat defective some of the time, and that depression brings perceptions which are not as reality might be. And this is why company is most needed, and for me to attend to my mental well being as best I can. With help from professionals, who can give me a name for the conditions I experience as much as anything. And the fellowship for support and guidance along the way in recovery. One thing is absolutely apparent, we cannot think ourselves well through our knowledge and understanding of life.
We get well living life with all we have, including our good bits and bad bits. And we learn from both. We live life and learn from it, it we are open minded and not in denial about living or changing things.
I have grieved for many things lost, people in my life mainly, the material things, well we come into the world with nothing, and we can take nothing with us. And what is most important to me is finding myself, and a way to help others, with balance I guess. And just now I don’t have that sorted as well as I’d prefer. I actually see this as a good thing, without ready answers of misguided judgments, I am better off.
Writing and expressing what has happened is one help I hope, not just for me. I don’t know what I will end up doing overall. A selfish part of me wants this and that, but I get by at the moment. And there is always hope, although hope deserts a lot of the time. Pandora’s box, sometimes is empty. And when there is no hope to find the fellowship fills the gap till it comes back.
So overall, in the big scheme of life, beyond just today, I don’t need to know quite where life will end up. Its more important to find some gratitude to be here at all. I have had some near brushes and meetings with my maker along the way to now, and only because of modern medicine am I here at all. I will make my contribution back I feel, somehow.
I help my fellows and I help myself carefully. I use wisdom earned and gained along the way to now. I recognise my knowledge is quite vast, and yet so incomplete. I realise there is so much more.
The healing process takes its own sweet time. I cannot push it faster than I can go. And so patience is definitely a virtue is these solemn days. Indeed there are no quick fixes to living.
We learn as we can just one day at a time…
Step 8 "Step Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all." "n other words, who have you harmed? You will recall from our discussion of Steps 4 and 5, that a preliminary list of persons we had harmed is generated there. The list will now be refined into a personal amendment plan, which is the product of Step 8."Although this step requires plenty of work, there is nothing frightening in it. Amends are not actually made in Step 8. Instead, we plan for the making of amends in Step 9, which follows. Harm is: injury, hurt, damage, misfortune, grief, pain, sorrow, evil, wrong or wickedness. Have we brought about any of these in the lives of others? The Big Book and the 12&12 also are quite specific about harm." BB Bunch
August Video Reading Step Eight Into Action Link:
Step Eight Reading
“How It Works” Reading Video Link:
“Into Action" Reading Video Link:
I do not speak for Alcoholics Anonymous I speak for myself. Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of unique and authentic people who speak for themselves where they will to share experience, strength and hope about recovery on a daily basis. Anonymity affords sanctuary to find how to live sober and be open, honest and willing to learn life day by day. For me "truth," "love" and "wisdom" offer the best spiritual experience by living reality today. Into the fabric of recovery from alcoholism are woven the Twelve Steps and the Traditions: steps to be open, honest and willing to learn, traditions to live unity, service and recovery.
Spiritual principles ~ Forgiveness Acceptance Surrender Faith Open-mindedness Honesty Willingness Moral-inventory Amends Humility Persistence Spiritual-growth Service