August 6 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 8 Amends And Willing Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "driven…" Taken to its logical conclusion, striving for perfection in all things, is it any wonder I became an alcoholic? But take it one step back, ignorance about what I was doing, then denial. We were not only dealing with drink, we were dealing with every form of life event, and drink helped me cope with the reality of my situation. That my life was not good and although it looked okay on the outside, inside me never felt secure…
Video For Today:
Self help books! I wanted to a write self help book showing all the things I had learned about successful living over thirty years. And if I had not become an alcoholic, I guess there was a chance that book could have been written. It might have been a good book, but it would have been a thinking man's self-help book. In recovery we learn emotional and spiritual well-being one day at a time. Each person adding to their own book of life, today and every day…
Driven! Being driven mad by life, my reactions to everything became blurred as I sought oblivion from my emotional and spiritual hell. And alcohol helped me suppress and push away the feelings I felt could not be expressed or shared in case I looked weak and fearful and broken. I never realised that every feeling had merit and every feeling had power, and today recognising the power of my feelings and what is going on in my head means I can deal with them one day at a time…
Olympians! They are still human beings with every feeling and the work put in to do their best on one day. I don't know how the coaches coach the Olympians. Some Olympians who got nowhere in the medals, they seem to be very happy to be part of something bigger than them. There are others who say, "I have let myself down today" and they forget all the others competing and their prowess on this day in question. And some say they have let the country down, which is not the case and it never is as they assume responsibility for something they have no control over, the world as it may be just for today…
My dad was a very driven character, and much of what he did, like the song, "everything I do, I do it for you." The obligation my father had instilled in him at an early age, made him driven and it made him ill. The obligations beyond reason for one human to make to other humans. And also being driven so, when we are mentally ill, means we cannot see the harm we are doing to others with false promises based on illusions and impossible obligations. We endeavour, sometimes successfully and sometimes we need find another path to keep life going one day at a time…
AA Daily Reflections ~ "Driven... Aug 6 : Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. [AA big book]
My selfishness was the driving force behind my drinking. I drank to celebrate success and I drank to drown my sorrows. Humility is the answer. I learn to turn my will and my life over to the care of God. My sponsor tells me that service keeps me sober. Today I ask myself: Have I sought knowledge of God's will for me? Have I done service for my A. A. group?"
DonInLondon 2005 2011
I don't know when I became aware of my drinking being a problem, for many years it was never a problem to me. Drink served me or so I thought. My best friend always in hand. Then came denial, workaholic, relationships and driven to perfection. A breakdown, boken, blaming the world, denial and acceptance years apart. Now I realise acceptance is a daily practice living life on life's terms...
We hear tragedy every day in the media. And almost every day in recovery we hear heart rending stories. We are allowed to share how similar our experience may be. Sometimes we don't know if we have helped or hindered, and then out of the blue, we find out we have made a difference. And we can feel peace, just for today unity, service and recovery and every day as life permits...
August 6 In the driving seat? No longer driven by a hundred forms of fear, anger and resentment, ego and brave facing, what next? Now we live on a two way street, we can drive with courage, faith and confidence. We learn our boundaries, know our choices and take account of everyone, lest we forget the wisdom and remember today...
August 6 Sanity returns just for today... always there will be vexatious people, places and things, as we apply and live the 12 step programme, we change our attitude and behaviour and how we feel when conflicts occur. In a moment insanity can flare up, with courage faith and confidence, our sanity can be restored any time of day...
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.
Publish August 6 2007
DonInLondon - ‘Day In the Life’ August 5 2007
Perfectly Imperfect Condition - Good Enough
Seems this day has so many similarities to my feelings same time last year. Well some similarities..
Actually the most important part of the day was spent in good company. Good family company over lunch and eating Al fresco, a good time and happy moments and recollections for one missing from the festivities of being together.
And later in the company of fellowship, my fellowship, AA.
So the day. Much downloading and saving of the videos on you tube, it’s a major task, there are so many I never kept copies and realise the nature of the you tube experience may change. So copies are good to keep. And it seems face book has uploading too, so another opportunity to spread the message of recovery!
After an excellent lunch the meeting tonight and then reading last years journal entry seem to have synchronicity and without doubt maybe it means I am on track as last year.
Odd that words said a year ago and circumstances today led to the same place, just being good enough is simply good enough.
As my video explains, it was a great chair today at the Flood Street evening meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. An old timer with years of experience and much to say, all to the good.
Step Four came up a lot tonight, making a moral inventory of ourselves and making changes to how we live, how we understand ourselves and how we need move with good enough speed towards making life work in the day.
Step four is seen as a tipping point as we get to see ourselves as real, all the faults and all the good as well. So its often hard to start and then hard to finish with any certainty that it might be finished. As denial fades new denials are as rampant as truth is elusive often, we learn by the day.
Indeed the steps are never finished in my opinion, we just live as we do as we change and the steps make sense when they make sense.
Not fixing just progress as one can. And the truth comes as truth can, as denial we had or have is lifted as we get truthful and honest about who we are and what we can do with our living.
In essence today has just reinforced my acceptance of life on life’s terms, we learn better choices, get real, live to truth as we may and let the world in, and ourselves out of the pit of misery drink afforded as it took its toll on our physical and emotional health and wellbeing.
We need find ways to be good enough, make a little progress or lots as time enables.
We need never be perfect, except? Maybe as I have suggested, perfection is an unfinished work, imperfectly perfect, capable of change and new ways. All to the good.
I have pushed too hard today, simply because I wanted to experience the day, and the payment is unfortunate in the pain department. I would have the pain tonight and recoup tomorrow, as rain is forecast and that’s ok too. I saw a great day. What a difference a day makes! Just for Today.
August 6 2006 [ only a lifetime ago]
Progress not Perfection
In our Fellowship Nobody is Perfect
Its good to meet with fellows and speak and share about the experience, strength and hope in life. So many thousands of us across this City of London, our fellowship is strong today, just for today. Quite an odd sensation to know we are merely good or less good in this one day time frame. We know better than anyone the mishaps of life and we know with mishaps, we need to take action and change.
We live in a world seeking to measure, to see all of us perform and realise our potential, but what do we do when we have no clue what we want or who we are? Some are lucky and gifted and seem to come into life with a programme for living. I had nothing of that luck, or maybe it was something nurture left out. There was much for me to worry about in early years I realise now, no more than anyone else, just maybe I was more sensitive to how things were with early nasty shocks to living.
"Being" seems to be the way for me, putting the being back into my living seems my way now. Learning to be just me, its not a clear goal beyond a concept in some ways as experience of life helps me with my human "being". Being me, a daily adventure in the man I am becoming rather than the man you knew or thought you saw. I am still that man and more. For nothing is lost in our journey where emphasis in living and being change.
Our meetings where one person shares their life story and we all pile in with our own similarities and not so much the differences, for the differences are mostly cosmetic things we have defining our personalities, not what is underneath for underneath nature wins our gifts to life. How we ended up in our fellowship of recovery, from broken wrecks to something quite ordinary and special. For in my world ordinary is the special that we all are when we get down to living and being ourselves.
Our "chair", the speaker of their truth hit home on some things close to me. I have written of acceptance more often recently. And the story reflected much of this acceptance we all seek as surely being the key. And accepting what we are in totality, not just the nice parts we might feel we can be open and share about. Its all that undertone that makes for complete being we mostly try and hide for shame will drive us so. To hide some qualities of us that we have learned are less than attractive to our world and how we might portray ourselves.
Our chair and speaker spoke with honesty, as murky parts came out. And in this revelation to the truth set free for many to talk about their darker nature and their history where in truth our shame may lie and keep us out of recovery.
And we recognise today that every emotions has its place to help us work our programme daily and enable better ways of living just this day. We have our deep of history, a bucket full of good and bad, and also we need accept the day and work at accepting both. For the history and deep of us, needs its acceptance or it comes home to haunt our daily lives.
Acceptance of our reality and what formed and made us so, and also accepting how we feel today, the why and what we can do, to help us move along and not get stuck in darker times and ways of living.
So we listened and told our parts to help us work a few paths out. Our action follow as we learn to cope and change the way we feel. We need to change our outlook and way we behave, less reaction and more responding to our situation…
Sounds easy when we see the benefit in front of us. And yet as our speaker shared, its easy to become indifferent and lazy in our ways and feel we have cracked our life problems. And then be caught out as if the passage of time has never helped us learn the errors easy to make. We have a constant vigil to maintain and keep sobriety, its easy to make a slip which puts us back, and almost start again. But that is our story over and over. We can be bold and take on more and suddenly be caught out as we forget to keep our daily maintenance and make our steps to recovery keep us safe in practice and not in just our thoughts. We are forgetful humans one and all. Which is why we learn we keep coming back and chant this rhetoric, until it sticks tight like a glue of life.
We can be undone in a moments thoughtless act, not just to drink, but anything which makes our ego play the fool in our living. And ego often is our undoing and our constant critic.
Yet we learn. And learn and learn again.
Some were listening and found we touched on spiritual matters as time drew on. This very spiritual programme we have, with God and God mentioned over and over. And most of us are spiritual yet God is not our key, it is our good conscience we revere, and maybe God might have a say when life expires and not before? It matters not to spiritual connections we develop. For spiritual is our stuff of life today, even when we might not emphasise in case we turn away the newcomers mind as they are still insane in their outlook and spiritual means something completely different.
This spiritual connection to living and being, the being of us and our feelings too, where we live and breath through feeling and don’t use intellect to drift to ego’s pit of despair and measurement of life served, not being at all I feel inside.
And being is the key to all my problems today. Good and up, sad and down, being able to feel my way to wherever I may go. I am unsure and know the spiritual me inside is simply growing with some care and practical steps to experiencing life for real in this reality.
A good meeting all in all, as honest Joe keeps coming back for more, and secrets slide away from me. And silence never serves good purpose in case we hide ourselves from the actual truth we might find. Or garner our ego’s drift to silence and to hold contempt when others might be in pain from living in the dark of us. So we learn the truth of being and accept the way things are, and our silence often indicates we defy the truth of all we are, in case it makes us change our views and outlooks of the truth.
And all in all, the progress made is never steady, sometimes fast and sometimes slow, we backslide then go forward again, we accept as acceptance informs us of our path in recovery. And there is nothing in us to recommend an ending on this journey of living to being. Mere progress and not perfection sought, we will never forget our progress made, if we keep coming back…
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