August 5 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 8 Amends And Willing Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "listening deeply…" As a child I was able to utilise all my senses. I could listen deeply, learn a language, learn to speak and learn to imitate and mimic my higher powers, my parents. A loving mother, and a xenophobic loving father, who drank too much for his own good and our own good…
Video For Today:
Listening is a critical skill one day at a time. Just because we got the answer yesterday and life was okay does not mean the same recipe of life will work every day. The goals change, the game changes and we can be left behind and fall into old traps and take up anger and resentment against ourselves and the people around us. I need to listen deeply and know my feelings, if I know my feelings and cannot cope with them, I need to ask the help right away and get help in the moment of now…
Listening to oblivion… The inner voice which can ring with joy, feel the celebration and commit to old ways to improve feelings. The inner voice which can ring true with anger and resentment, justified in truth but useless in practice. That inner voice can be lit up to old solutions which causes problems with a drink in hand. If I listen deeply on a day-to-day basis, know my feelings and how they impact on my thinking and actions, I can break out and move forward rather than backward just for a day…
Olympics! Jubilation and success brings out the best and the worst in us? Caught up in the melee of wonderful times, I just heard the early morning traffic of waste trucks, and the cacophony of glass breaking from the bins outside the many bars, cafes and restaurants around me. Would I drink to the Olympians success again? Just for today, and as yesterday I love to feel the moment which bring tears of joy, happiness and then the peacefulness where my feelings fit the moment of now…
I often mention my father, and although I cannot say he was an alcoholic, I'm absolutely certain he was in my own opinion. I need also say he was an angry man and had reason to be angry about life which drove him mad in his actions and behaviour. At the same time for all the awfulness he created, he loved his wife and his children and showed his love and affection when he could in his own way. I loved him, even though he behaved dreadfully most of the time…
AA Daily Reflections ~ August 5 Listening deeply: How persistently we claim the right to decide all by ourselves just what we shall think and just how we shall act. [12&12]
If I accept and act upon the advice of those who have made the program work for themselves, I have a chance to outgrow the limits of the past. Some problems will shrink to nothingness, while others may require patient, well-thought-out action. Listening deeply when others share can develop intuition in handling problems which arise unexpectedly. It is usually best for me to avoid impetuous action. Attending a meeting or calling a fellow A.A. member will usually reduce tension enough to bring relief to a desperate sufferer like me. Sharing problems at meetings with other alcoholics to whom I can relate, or privately with my sponsor, can change aspects of the positions in which I find myself. Character defects are identified and I begin to see how they work against me. When I put my faith in the spiritual power of the program, when I trust others to teach me what I need to do to have a better life, I find that I can trust myself to do what is necessary."
DonInLondon 2005 2011
August 5 ~ Always Already Listening... That inner voice in my head, "here we go again," "I know what you are going to say," "nagging doubts," "you always say that," "same old same old," It will always be the "same old, same old" if that is what we look for. We can change and influence what we listen to inside and outside as we make choices today...
August 5 ~ Can I hear what you say to me? Feedback is often thought to be a gentle art. We are our hardest critics or our most ardent admirers, somewhere in between is balance and truth. Listening to feedback from others we find out more of who we are. Listening is a skill we develop when we know we need to, certainly today and everyday...
AA Daily Reflections ~ August 5 Listening deeply: 5 How persistently we claim the right to decide all by ourselves just what we shall think and just how we shall act. [12&12]
Publish August 5 2005
DonInLondon - August 4 2007 ‘Day In The Life’ Gentle Persuasion
And not my Humbuggery!
A lovely summer day today. Probably the best one of the year. And plenty of people about baking in the hot weather. And I am still struggling with my computer updates and Microsoft. Its not anyone’s fault I guess but some things elude me computer wise. And making things work can be so difficult when we are ignorant.
Ignorance these days is not bliss for me.
I have been picking over the programme and fellowship of AA, and realise in a perfect world, everyone who comes to AA will find sobriety, feel better physically, find emotional well being and this elusive spiritual element to living. Ah but we are humans and we are far from perfect!
So some are disappointed with AA. As I was for a long while. I never got the chance to detox myself for years as the fellowship suggested, and I was quite mad in addiction and obsession. Today I realise some ways to sobriety suit some and others never really want to give up drink ever. And I guess I could not feel right with the notion of a lifetime without another drink or two…
Eventually as life became more and more difficult, the illness, the times to hospital, the broken limbs, the forever worry of being found out took their toll. And beaten down to nothing, I had a rock bottom as bad can be and then asked for help.
Help came from the NHS, Charity organisations and AA. And so the story involves not just AA for me, as I needed medical supervision in the darkest of days. And as time went along and I went along to AA, I realised even after having been thoroughly tested to near destruction, that I needed AA and all it had to offer.
What does AA Offer?
It has suggestions, people who are long sober, people with less than minutes sober and a some suggestions we might sample as if we were choosy and had any choices left.
Inside me, a mind still mad with obsession realised the only way to get three things required as much time to sort as my drinking time every day.
Three elements work together to make a strong foundation of sober living just for a day. That is physical, emotional and this thing called spiritual well being. To get these things sorted in my own noodle, well it would not happen all at once.
Someone suggested doing ninety meetings in ninety days. That got me to a physical place of less torture. So physically I broke the dependence on alcohol. Emotions were as mad as ever and my head felt like exploding every day and drink always beckoned.
Feelings come back and madness of our situation can make us feel absolutely horrified and not knowing where to turn or go, we have to face life again. We forget so easily that we have a disease of the mind as well as the body. And where AA takes us after ninety days really does depend on how we go along and get some help and listen, absorb some wisdom and try to keep sober a day at a time.
We get cleaned and detoxed reasonably in ninety days, which in itself can feel like a hundred years. And we feel raw inside and out.
As we get our feelings back we don’t get to choose the nice ones to have, we them all back. From love to hate, from guilt to innocence, to argumentative to compliant. We get everything running round in our heads.
We need to keep faith and courage going, or even fear and ego, as long as we keep sober each day.
The third strand which gets us strong, its simply getting to the truth of us and why we are the way we are.
Spiritual is a questionable state of being, with some luck and application and have a go at being truthful and honest, some magic starts to happen, well feel better!
AA’s twelve steps, merely suggestions and not instructions, and much overworked sometimes. After all we have a lifetime to learn the steps and see how they can work in our living. So suggesting small steps and learning seems to be my key. And then learning more as time goes along.
We need only ever work to one day at a time with sobriety. It is a crucial key to sober living. Lots of things may take planning and organising, but sober is just for today.
A great meeting, and I was a bit too over the top. About how we are able to suggest and not be dictated to by others with their own agendas and notions of sobriety.
Everyone is different, unique and authentic, and yet we are all similar in this disease. We need make choices which suit us and keep us safe by the day. And we can build routines which help us find the courage and faith in fellowship and friendship.
Mentors and Sponsors
We have them and we utilise and share and make our path more easy in good company. Beware though of being bamboozled and feeling less than others if we are still learning life whatever our age may be. We need find our own path and way to live. We are all equal and need remember this as we feel more safe in fellowship. We are as good as the day, and people are as good as they may be with life going on. And the steps do work as far as I am able to judge for believers in god and agnostics and also for the less than clued in like me, who still have no understanding of God today. Except of course I am not God! We can still be in a state of grace regardless, as we need be taught God? Or we would have no notion that a God existed! After all if we were marooned on an island from an early age however would we know? Questions I have no answers to, but its good to ask and debate to while away the time if we are stuck for something to do.
And we do get busy as we get sober as we have an enormous gap to fill where booze once was..
Life Happens ..
And death, and other illness, and life circumstance get worse or better. We get to live on life’s terms, real and raw. And sometimes we need every ounce of fellowship and friendship as we face harder times and also in good times where temptation offers us opportunity to do more drinking and research which we know can kills us one way or another.
So there we are a few things to reflect upon in my head tonight. I guess I felt hot headed and realise I may have been a little more forthright about how to live and make life work. Not my way, hopefully your way.
I am a free spirit and more so today, without drink. My incapacities in other ways are pretty difficult, but what makes life work is wisdom gained and utilised. Experiencing life as is, with truth and with gratitude and humility.
Although tonight I felt I was less humble and more humbug!
We can all find a high horse to sit on, and humbugger away at whatever life is in any day.
I am glad I have a humbuggers head tonight, and with some reflection I may find a more even and level outlook in the morning..
A good day in many ways, and gently into this goodnight I go…
August 5th 2006
Let Me Lose My revisionists Eye and Accept
Back then I had little gift of hindsight. It was the best of times and the bleakest of times. Growing up with every advantage given me by nature and family. And every disadvantage of nurture and family. For we come with both, that plus of gifts and that deficit of voids.
One of my best gifts, the gift of intellect and enough wits to make me see the truth of most of living. That wonderful insight into my life, well to an extent my own life. And as sure as I can be, an insight to undo the puzzles of most others lives and what they were about.
As to me, there was a deficit in my maturity and gifts. I was for a long time a small player in the emotions of living. I had experience of love and loving and it made me adept, and completely useless in some respects. Deep loving capacity and by this I mean all three levels, emotional, physical and spiritual. That deep loving facility, that got me most of everything I may have needed to sustain a happy individual. I know, as back then I had no real clue, I was imbued with great fears of love and loving, for the examples and the experience of deep love seemed to carry to danger of inevitable pain and burdens placed on the lover. And worse, the infliction of hurt so deep it made insides churn and wither as if poisoned and constricted to death. Those pains in early years always there. The knowledge of burning and loss and let down was inevitable, it had happened so often the harshness wore me out before I got going as an adult in love.
Back then, the idealist and the lover rolled into one. So scared to be in love and more scared not, and to be missing love. Needing inclusion and not sure what to make of it once included, love was deep and deeper and more meaningful in my minds eye than reality, where love grows with time and understanding. Where love is learned and authentic in its experience and never an ideal which clicks into place as if its another thing we add to our living and being. Love desired, wanted and needed and never understood beyond yearning and passion, so gifted the idealist withers inevitably as patience wanes and lovers come and go.
So it seems we get our patterns and learning and as we are nearest to our experience we don’t see our true selves. The mirror we look into in those times is always tempered by everything we have learned to that moment and over ridden by our true self and ego’s drift. And that drift of Ego’s touch, makes it hard to reflect on truth. The truth of who and what we are.
So gifted, with all the tools of insightful muse and emotions running deep as any current in that ocean of loving. Rip tides tearing chunks of me and lost to heartfelt miseries as lovers tumbled in and out of my life. "Mea culpa" strikes a chord as if it matters and it does. For my judgment is harsh on matters of my heart and its incomplete state. I recognise too well these days with hindsight’s clues, the wreckage wrought as damage done was never seen, and denied if ever close enough to feel the pain I inflicted, back then.
And I am truly sorry for those times of deepest will and wondrous loves lost to time. In truth lovers came and went and my heart broke again and again, as my boundaries of loving made me let go when I might have held on or heard the clues to more balanced loves along my path. And yet the greed of living and ego’s drift put paid to much of that.
As we face our truth, we get good with denial and all its hard facts pushed under a realm of dark. That dark of night, that empty feeling we have kept as friend through long years where "culpa" put to you was made my chore and ragged heart left blame elsewhere. The ragged heart repairs and sees more clearly in that mirror now. And reflections let me see how hard times made me so, and you too. As if it were one way, not so, a two way street we walk to that touch of "culpa" in us all.
And as we pick and tease our cause and make our history look this way or that, we know we were there too and the mirror knows, we see more faces than our own, and ownership is never one’s exclusive take on life of how we were back then…
Beware we don’t make the history just reflect the history we can make our own with hindsight’s clever eye. And when we write our history, we might include all elements we have, to include if the picture tells our story as a fiction or reality, as ego's drift finds exclusions to our elements back then.
It matters not as clever alchemy will provide our necessary elements to living now. Our formula to progress some more its always tainted with a whole lot more. And experience is teaching, the truth as was is lost to time, we abrogate and make our way, to making good this day.
Back then and now..
And now from backward times we live, with all our elements in place, the alchemist in us makes good our selves as knowledge makes our rhetoric speak as if we have the answers in our mind. Back then may show the way we learned and made the best of all we had. And found ourselves with time to grow and make another way of living with our love and all we are. Not quite as we might see in that mirror of our soul. We chop and change and add and wonder why, as when we go looking for answer deep inside, and find additions from our life were not all we might perceive from those times to now.
Revisions made, and acceptance sought, we know the truth is lost to time. And ego’s drift comes around as much as ever in our styles of now. And ego holds its sway as we make sense of living now and always. Ego has its part to play, back then an now. And we might find with enough truth learned to keep our drift to ego’s heights, and look with calmer moments as our mind reflects on all truths in us. And sees our culpability is best, so we learn and make amends to help us move along.
And in this step of living, we need be clear, that we never will replicate the truth of what we felt back then, and truth is lost to hindsight’s touch and wisdom interferes with visions and our dreams of back then and now
as bleakest moments tell, its gone forever and we start again.
So when we hear the truth, we need accept all versions as we call them in.
Informed so, with all benefits of hindsight given and our emotion and spiritual movements where they go…
Our picture clears to pin point clarity, and still we find our memories dictate, denials grow and passions ire is raised unless we let it go. As knowing offers nothing more than ever learned when it happened, back then.
The answers are clear as if it takes a master to work them out, we need only realise that time has gone and only partial stories will come out. And sift enough to find our part, and own our outlook as we were. Our selective truth provides enough of alchemy to make it work today. And allow our wounded spirits time to make a moment work again and see our part as truly as we can, and so give credibility to our cause to grow from what we were back then.
Now we see from times past and those heady mixtures we were made to be, that we were never perfect then and not so now, as we come to see, the mysteries become as big and bigger as we go along. Perfection is never the key..
Progress not perfection, it’s a fact. And now as time has come to close this part of life. Well I know the one I knew back then, in me was never close to perfect anything. And ego’s drift will always aids the broken heart in me. So repairs are made to life and mirrors polished as if they will ever reflect the real truth of then or now?
That sorry intellect is as if nothing learned, we may as well never see. Its what’s inside us we need feel to get to where we will understand this alchemy of living has no construction.
There is no recipe we can make, we cannot hold our alchemy to work our mixture and make us whole. We need only live our life as open as we can and let our feelings grow to see as nature gave the pattern of living, and nurture made us move away.
And nature will have made its perfect sense when alchemy is left alone. Our alchemy from ego’s drift predicts nothing of our spiritual path, and emotional growth is garnered from our living.
Repeat our patterns as nurture makes our will dictate, unravels fastest when we relate and make good on our living in the day, without the will to make it our way, or yours or both or anything more than as it is today.
Now and then..
Now and then as ego’s drift will take us to our living testament writ large with our revisionists eye, and then to our confidence we might turn and offer up a prayer to good conscience with watchful providence:
Acceptance is the key
"And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation -- some fact of my life -- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.
Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in our world by mistake. Until I could accept my humanity, I could not be complete in living; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes"
So much we place in rhetoric and see with keen revisions made our part as our fault to find is mostly found as "mea culpa" we can cry. And cry no more for times gone by.
A prayer or meditation to good conscience "grant me the serenity, to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference" Just for today and every day...
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