August 3 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 8 Amends And Willing Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "to be of service…" Three words come to mind with regard to service, "truth" "love" and "wisdom" in the fellowship and outside the fellowship. And the AA pledge, "I'm responsible when anyone anywhere reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA to be there and for that I'm responsible." It does not mean the responsibility rests just on me, if I cannot help and I am inappropriate for whatever reason, there will be someone who can today…
Video For Today:
What is at the root of all human behaviour? Survival, and love? Human beings need other human beings and emotions run deep. And I do wonder what the "grand design" might be. Before we invented clocks, life was driven by climate and seasons… The grand plan or design is always going to be there influenced by nature and providence and whatever we do today. The plan: to love, be loved back and useful. Based on truth, love and wisdom, life will work out as well as it can today…
When needs are met on a daily basis, based on truth of our situation, we keep on learning life, what we can do and what we cannot do today. And in recovery even though sometimes all my needs are met, I can still be wanting more. The wants of life usually are about taking more of our fair share of something which seems vitally important to us, and when we have covered and got the want, we don't need it and we don't use it, just look in your mental closet and your material closet today…
Mr Cameron, used to be a cyclist who went to work on his bike before he became prime minister in the UK. Mr Putin, is often a barechested, black belt in judo motor biker. I'm sure they disagree about most things, to do with foreign policy especially with regard to Syria. At the same time both crash and trash any dissenters in different ways yet they claim to represent the common man. An uncomfortable afternoon for spectators as these two made the Olympics a political event yesterday… An unfortunate set of events which undermined the spirit and oath Olympians make when competing at the games…
And why do I share my outlook of what I see? Mr Putin plays the long game, Mr Cameron is looking for the photo opportunity and generally pokes his nose into matters without looking at the big picture and without consultation to understand the depth and length of world events. In recovery, not only do we look at what we can and cannot do today, we can also take note of the short, medium and long-term impact of our actions now and in the future on this rocky road of recovery…
AA Daily Reflections ~ "AA Daily Reflections... to be of service: Aug 3: Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God [good conscience] and the people about us. [AA big book]
It is clear that God's plan for me is expressed through love. God loved me enough to take me from alleys and jails so that I could be made a useful participant in His world. My response is to love all of His children through service and by example. I ask God to help me imitate His love for me through my love for others."
DonInLondon 2005 2011
“Anything for a quiet life?” “Children should be seen and not heard.” Fear and a brave face kept me silent on many an occasion to avoid dark consequences. The noise in my head was deafening back then. When I speak out now I find serenity and the inner “silence is golden” today…
Can do, can’t do today… Can share experience strength and hope. Cannot judge what is right for you or impose my beliefs on you. The wisdom of what works is in the action and with freedom to choose in the moment of now.
To be of service... human beings are all equal in their rights and responsibilities to each other. We behave in ways consistent with our beliefs we improve our courage faith and confidence, we need not complain about others, simply be even handed, “Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit."
One day life plan... underpinned by recovery, each day is all we have to experience truth, cope, be happy, be sad, be angry, be resentful, have fun, love be loved and useful. The less we deny our feelings, the more we understand them, the more we are able to form the right actions, be ourselves and others be themselves today...
Publish August 3 2007
DonInLondon - August 3 2007 ‘Day In The Life’ More Faith Less Fear
Why about more faith and less fear tonight? I guess what happens for me is I go to meetings of my fellowship, and I live my life by the day. A day at a time. My fellowship is of course Alcoholics Anonymous, a place to learn how to get sober and move along in life with freedom from the bondage of addiction, and truly it is a prison sentence to be constantly needing to drink alcohol. One drink is never enough we say, and a thousand will never repeat the sensation of liberation we may have had with drinking in early days.
I have changed my meetings recently, nothing wrong with the old ones at all I need mention, and everything right in priorities in the new ones I have been attending. Mostly at Worlds End on weekdays simply because they are near to my family.
My closest family, my Mother and Sister both live close to each other and I am somewhat remote from them. Not far, so meetings of AA close to them means I can just pop in, be about and be available to chat as we have experienced loss, for my Sister her partner, for me and my mother a good friend and companion over the last twenty years. We grieve and miss and feel sad and need find expression. I have the rooms of AA to help me, which helps me as a son and a brother. So I am glad I am still about although often it has felt like borrowed time.
I am still pretty new to AA and not drinking, it feels so even after so few years sober. And every day to me feels like a bonus as other ailments have been added in recent times. But I can still be around, be supportive and live with my stuff, as AA provides me with fellowship and friendship I have never really experienced before.
Its been a day of frustration and patience as I realise I had no back up for my you tube Video’s last week and then tried finding ways to download and save them. I have as “real player” enables us to download videos from the net and save them. I never knew this was possible. And I suspect I could do this with Microsoft software if I knew where to find it. But real player has been free and very useful. I need be patient though as it takes a while to download and save. So a little frustrating but good to know and then I can upload to other sites I have scattered here and there.
So much admin and saving going on here in London.
As time went on today, I felt the need to be out and got caught in the rain, and I don’t mind these things these days. Cycling is my mode of getting about and the bike serves to keep me fitter and aware of my circulation problems with type 1 diabetes. As walking has been a very painful exercise, I am also glad the bike enables me to get to meetings and more importantly close to where my Sister and Mother live in Chelsea.
A friend of mine is back on their bike today and getting about after being run down recently. So I shared my run over on my bike story, not as glamorous as theirs, as I was only run over by another cyclist!
Tonight Worlds End
Worlds End is a part of Chelsea, and close to family. Meetings of AA there most days except Sunday I think, so always handy for family after. And this is part of a routine I feel. And its right to get to a meeting, share my stuff and then after see family. It keeps me right sized and normal, rather than sad and unhelpful and thirsty.
Faith and Fear
Its important to me to have faith in living, rather than as of old, to be more fearful than happy, more worried than accepting of myself and living as I was. So tonight as the flavour of the meeting was about overcoming fear and having confidence to be ourselves, I realised a lot of work has paid dividends lately in being there for family and being there for others. I have purpose and recognise all the things I have learned over the years, as a counsellor and a business person, well its all there inside me and utilised daily!
Faith to be me Again
I feel this is true, to have faith and confidence and some courage.
Many years of fear for me and why? A nervous breakdown, overworked myself, got into an anxiety state and the rest of my career then nose dived spectacularly until I could neither work or make sense of life at all.
This may read as dramatic, but its true for many people who try their best and then find a place of work can be as destructive as what we do to try cope and make some place safe where we seek oblivion from life and pain. And drink always worked until that breakdown. And then my life was changed forever. Fear took me over and I could not find a way back to living ordinary.
I guess I never did work to ordinary, as my standards were high and unforgiving as many others. And worse I had ego and fear of failure as big as anything else which could undermine me. Actually I was lucky to get things and understand how to make life work for so long, I spent decades doing what others valued and gave me value and never realised I had a completely different path to make, I realise it now.
Fear leads us to bravery, fear and bravery leads us most often to pretending and ego steps in as we drift melancholy onwards to doom and despair.
Courage and Faith
I guess I have seen how courage and faith have worked these last few years. And the fellowship teaches us all as we can absorb change rather than just change as we are told. We just listen and find suggestions to living make all the difference.
People with courage and Faith in Life
I am astounded and grateful to see my Sister display the greatest courage and faith anyone may wish for these last few weeks as her loss has been profound. An ordinary person with just the right amount of courage and faith any normal person can have. And I am also grateful to have found my own faith and courage these last few weeks, and actually years with added incapacities thrown into the mix of living have helped me realise the precious moments we have on this earth.
So maybe I am getting near to normal where normal people display their courage and faith in living through difficult and tragic times.
Maybe I am part of the human race too. So confidence although knocked out of me for an age I guess has returned just a day at a time.
We live as we may. I shared tonight that for a long time I felt unworthy of life itself, and its hardest to get back on ones feet with one malady, and it seems I was due a few more to make a challenge worthwhile? Or as I realise normal people just do much of this as life presents. So I learn more about me and living, just a day at a time.
Gratitude for family, and fellowship seem pretty much my path, and support and being there as I may with whatever is in me, well I am doing my best I guess.
We need not fear most of living, and reserve fear for times and places appropriate to danger and risk.
I am not fearing life today, I am relishing and accepting a different outlook which changes almost as fast as weather can these days. And still I follow common sense, faith and courage come to the fore as needed.
I am less a “burnt out case.” And as good conscience serves as my higher power tonight, checked, discussed and good for a day, I am ok.
I also recognise there is other service for me to do elsewhere and will seek guidance how best this might be achieved quietly and silently, another day..
Last years words have a different context and are shared here to see the difference as times moves us along where we go we never know till we are there!
August 3rd 2006
A better Understanding of Why
I have been troubled for years on the question of why some things come to pass. And this why is a lot connected to my upbringing and understanding of the world in which we live. The why questions of life are more often connected to my confusion with what I know and what I might wish for. What I know and wish are very related, for desire and drives, the ambitions we may have in our deep…
All the why questions most likely relate to why things are the way they are. Its life, we deal with reality and we deal with the actuality of things. And why is most often about why not? Why not my way, why not me, why not tell me, why not now, why, why, why.
In there is a lot of stuff about the self will I and others have. Our ego tells us we want things our way and no other way. I don’t know how well my ego was developed, it always seemed more to me that my preponderance to self doubt and low esteem meant my ego was not that great. But actually I reckon even when we have low confidence, there is an ego of equal size to all our other components lurking inside.
We humans have all the necessary mental components to be good or bad, have a good conscience or behave against our good conscience. Its just there in us, we have all the latent capacities of living and what gets to come out is really partly our inner nature and what happens to us, our environment and how we get nurtured.
I went to a more advanced type of fellowship gathering earlier, it was about our steps of living. Our steps of living are about active steps to make life work. We talk about and discuss our 12 steps of living quite endlessly for we know our active participation in life means our take on our 12 steps will always be refined and change through time as we make progress in living soberly.
And our fellowship is a spiritual fellowship. Spiritual in the sense that we all have spirit, and not necessarily in the sense of belief in GOD. The God thing remains a personal matter and issue for us all, something we choose as life enables or disables as experience teaches us. Or we just believe and have faith in the God we are taught or come to believe in. For me, the debate matters not for God as we may come to believe or not is something for our conscience and personal development as time allows and our minds understand. Just because the world believes in something… And so the debate goes on. One debate I don’t need to make my life work. This is not to side step the God element we are aware that most people have, its how it impacts on our life today we need take into account.
In the fellowship though, the God thing is quite important as part of recovery. The concept of God is about recognising we are not God actually. And much of the problem for new people coming into our fellowship would be eased if they would understand we are not God like or have any form of omnipotence at all. And that self will actually was part of our disorderly behaviour regarding our madness and addiction. Addiction really is where self will run riot has led to our obsessive behaviour to the point where we have become locked into a disease which will kill us, that is the nature of addiction, a disease, and something once we recognise we have, we can do something about. That is to maintain our path of recovery and away from self will run riot and obsessive behaviour which will surely put us out of the game of life.
In our steps we have step number 3:
"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives our to the care of God as we understood Him."
And in our fellowship meetings for the student of the steps, this one is pretty important. The language of our steps by the way is some 70+ years old, so we have some beliefs and systems of understanding which go back a fair way and the language used back then is from a world where God featured much more prominently than it does in the secular world of today, in some countries that is. Other countries have gone the other way and got totally immersed in their religious beliefs to almost and in some cases completely. Fortunately in our fellowship our belief systems are our own and is reflected in the words of this step.
I admit my first encounter with my fellowship and the God element made me walk away, as it turned me off completely. And it was only when I returned to my own belief system of Good conscience that I was able to return and listen the my new found fellows in the fellowship. Good conscience sits well with me, because I have a good conscience in me, and it talks to me constantly. Its that inner voice we have going all the time. That voice which tells us things about the everyday and the big things in life. Good conscience is my chief guide to all I do in life. It is good conscience which makes me feel good or bad about how I live and what I do.
Good conscience was my reason for trying to quit my addiction in the first place and got me going in the fellowship of recovery. Good conscience was my guide when everything had failed me, especially my willpower to quit drinking and find a new life. I will never forget those times trying not to drink and the compulsion to keep on going. It is simply the most unreasonable thing to do, to keep harming ourselves when we need to stop harm. And we have no power left to stop.
So good conscience is a place where I can interpret everything in my fellowship which relates to God. And quite frankly that is fine inside me, where others much prefer the concept of their God. And that is fine.
And in our meeting earlier it became apparent as our speaker for the evening explained, their developing concept of God as they understand it, well its quite well developed. And the argument really is not about God, but about us not being God or God like in our behaviour.
So when we decide to give up our God behaviour, that is expecting the world to be ours exclusively to plunder and debauch we make a stride forward. That stride forward is about becoming the equal we are of all things, and especially our fellows. That our outlook on life is just ours and not always shared by others, that we have equal rights, and no more than that. That life will not be that fair and we need accept much of life as it is because it is just that, life!
So this notion of handing over our God like qualities really chops us down to our right size in this world. And to an extent whilst we want it to be a fair crack, its not, because ideals are ideals and we deal in reality, one day at a time. This one life is all we have, and sometimes it works for us and all is smooth and dandy, and other days like life is, its shit, because sometimes that’s life too.
Seems easy and almost too good to be true. But when we have been obsessed and put out of the world because we don’t fit, we need to readjust to reality. And when we give up our willpower and self will, which has run riot for a while, we do need to get balance in our outlook again, if we ever had a balance of course.
So it was a pleasing meeting for me, and the outcome is that good conscience remains my guide and God is fine wherever God happens to be. As I explained if there is a God, he she or it, well they provided the equipment of life and we drive it to the extent we have choices to make to the good or bad of living. And our choices are made in relation to our conscience. And better we check out our good conscience with others and see if we are on track or off message. More likely off message when our needs or desires exceed our rights and capacities. De facto, we are off balance. So the good conscience bit for me is simply making sure balance and understanding that life is just the way it is, is firmly in mind always, and daily…
We don’t need give up our dreams, we need reality checks though to ensure we keep our feet on the ground and understand the possible, and probable and take the knocks as they come. As life will offer and show us, we don’t rule the world. And we don’t have a bigger right than any other to anything.
Easy simple stuff until we look inside ourselves and see our needs and needy behaviour and our addictive qualities push us to excess. That is where these steps of living keep us firmly in this present moment and working well in the day and realistically. And that is good enough for me.
As we all had opportunity to discuss this matter, it being a study group, we had variations on these themes which included quite strong belief in God, and some more in agreement toward a secular belief in good conscience, we all agreed at least the programme and the steps provide us with a great framework for making each day work out as well as it can.
We seemed to shy away from handing over our daily life to God completely, in as much we still have to work at living, and what happens to us is still our responsibility or we accept no choices in living at all. And indeed I know others do believe strongly in handing over everything to God. And actually I balk at that, because it means I can be forgiven for good and bad behaviour as it would be God’s will to be as bad or as good as its god‘s choice for me. I don’t believe that was ever the way of God.
We get the necessary equipment to live life, we develop it and use it. And to varying extents we have good conscience in us and work at living to make life work.
How then to explain some who come into the world with less than a full capacity, or with parts of their physical and mental capacities missing? That is Nature and environment don’t you think? And who said anything in this universe is perfect? I never did, or that whatever kicked off evolution, it never patterned humans actually, we evolved. So we all have relative capacity to live. And our good conscience ensures we provide a level playing field as best we can. And where we fail its partly evolution and partly prejudice. This also explains the awful behaviour of some we call sociopaths, those bereft of conscience and they exist. We don’t do well with sociopaths and criminal types who cannot be reclaimed. And we exclude them most likely or they become so powerful the world ends up in war and definitely out of balance.
But for me it’s a simple programme of redemption and step 3 a way to access good conscience, and like many others discuss it endlessly, as we need to get better at using our conscience and not our obsessive will.
I’m going back to the beginning of this post to mention some other stuff, so if this post seems a bit back to front, or disjointed its because some news over the last couple of days has helped me with my insightful self. Or maybe I’ll write about it tomorrow. Or put it in the margins of this page. I don’t know yet.
As for me and God. Well I am not God, and my self will run riot remains lost to time, and will remain so as long as I work at daily maintenance on the path of recovery and with these 12 steps, which truthfully were the core of my living before I became an addict, and now recovery is with me, its all the more important to understand life is just life, and I am right sized to make the most of what time I have, a day long, as best I can...
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:
“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