August 8 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 8 Amends And Willing Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "made a list of amends…" Step eight making a list of amends to be made is the first part of step eight and then being willing to make them is the cut-off point before step nine. List and willing, willingness to be open and honest continues to be the living amend we make as we go along in life. Self forgiveness and learning and humility hopefully follow most days…
Video For Today:
Progress not perfect! This is so important because the twelve step process and the twelve traditions are about humility and learning. Sometimes even though we knew the right answers and the right things to do we were unable in the past to follow conscience and pull ourselves out of the pit of despair. Part of the living amend is even when we do fall back into the pit of despair, we ask the help from the right people at the right time…
Emotional and spiritual progress is the ability to deal with our feelings in the moment of now. Old history and reminders can condemn us to condemning everyone else for their parts in our downfall. At some stage we have to let go the anger and resentment and the pain and hurt inflicted by others. Or how will we ever forgive ourselves or get out of the blame game, which keeps us hurt and then as a consequence hurting other people…?
Olympics! Having watched some of the sailing and the gold medals won in the last few days… I recall sailing in the Caribbean on my own and a storm came out of nowhere and my sail boat sank within the space of minutes. I was alone with no visibility beyond a few yards as the rain pounded and the sea churned and then some sharks turned up. A rescue boat found me eventually and the captain poured rum down my throat. I wouldn't let him do that today!
AA Daily Reflections ~ "Step Eight made a list..." August 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed. [12&12]
When I approached the Eighth Step, I wondered how I could list all the things that I have done to other people since there were so many people, and some of them weren’t alive anymore. Some of the hurts I inflicted weren’t bad, but they really bothered me. The main thing to see in this step was to become willing to do whatever I had to do to make these amends to the best of my ability at that particular time. Where there is a will, there’s a way, so if I want to feel better, I need to unload the guilt feeling I have. A peaceful mind has no room for feeling of guilt. With the help of my Higher Power, if I am honest with myself, I can cleanse my mind of these feelings."
DonInLondon 2005 2011
A lovely meeting last night, had a great impact on me. I love people and trying to help by sharing. We never know our impact on others or where they are just now in their lives. If drink and drugs are part of another’s story, I never criticise anyone sharing about other addictions because it could have been me! Life is precious and precarious one day at a time...
Step eight, listing amends and being willing. I did not realise my part in all matters until I really understood simply being in the wrong place, wrong time and not willing to let go. Justifiable outrage from the past is now over. Today I can be firm, state my case if needs be, at the same time I need not take inventory of others. I have steps to take to keep to my side of the street and not dig potholes in yours...
August 8 ~ Step Eight... making a list of people we have harmed and being willing to make amends. Alcoholism: self-harm and no way to stop on our own. We could not stop and no one could stop us. Our amends to self is recovery, our willingness to make amends starts with a list, step nine the amends comes later... a list each day is step ten...
August 8 ~ Experience and wisdom... just for today, every day we start afresh, how we are feeling and why, a morning meditation, step one acceptance, step two sanity, step three letting go and letting in the worlds wisdom. At days end, step ten and gratitude, I know more of who I am just for today
DonInLondon - August 8 2007 ‘Day In the Life’
No doubt anyone faced with the truth of difficult situations feels like exclaiming “I can’t believe it!” Loss brings on the feeling of denial, from losing something like a bunch of keys, to those chilling moments where we experience loss of a loved one.
The degree of denial for loss of small things we overcome and get on with an ease most people feel as normal and everyday. It is the big losses we have trouble with. Loss of love, a break up with a partner, the death of a relative.
Denial keeps us safe a while as we try make sense of life itself. We need denial to help us cope with everyday, and the less than everyday big events of living and dying.
Denial of Truth
Sometimes we need to have moments almost of morbid thoughts and feelings as we cannot see life going on at all, the heartbreak moments especially with death, and easily as hard is when we divorce ourselves from others company and worse when its us left high and dry.
Denial Kept me Safe a While
When Grandparents died I felt their loss and was sad. When my father died, I could hardly believe him gone, and it took time to recover my senses. And painful endings to relationships over the years when it was me left hurt like nothing else. And when I left relationships the relief was as strong in letting go as ever it could be to be free and not in denial of something not working. It works this denial of truth, as long as we recognise what is going on.
Denial kept me Addicted to?
Career, Women, Alcohol, Health and Fitness and so on and on and on. And then alcohol…
Which comes as first choice in denial for me? Love of course.
Love and Denial
Love is top of the tree when it comes to denial. When we lose love, or suspect we might have lost love, its denial we utilise most often. And behid denial is fear. Fear that time has moved us on and changes have happened we neither want nor care for.
The essence of living and being well in our minds, emotionally and spiritually and in our physical being too. Love does make the world go round as much as make it stop as we want to turn back the clock to where the good times rolled on.
Change and Adapting As Time Goes By
As we come to terms with our disbelief, our anger at changes, our frustration as our self will makes no difference, and we overcome depressed feelings, we come through to accept even the worst of truths about change.
Addictions are Torments
Addiction a disease of mind body and spirit, where we get stuck and cannot break free…
Those times are the hardest. And people do break down from a broken heart, no love just fear. No room for change as the world has gone black in depression and nothing shifts us out of the slump. Dark times follow as we are held in the sway of denials and our outlook gets so small we cannot cope with life at all. Addiction was a key to survive until the addiction would kills us stone dead sometime, sooner or later.
As Addiction grips there is no outside world, just a self obsession of loathing of fear and entrapment in a dark world we make big as our senses shrink and its so small we cannot break free, a black hole of living.
Redemption and No cure
There is no cure for addiction, we can be in recovery from all we have lost.
Recovering from loss of love as new love comes along. We never really forget our old love and may not as they were or it was what get us motivated and loved. As simple as. We let go those we have lost and cherish memories as we need do.
Redemption from addictions: Its hard to see clearly through our own prejudice, the prejudice the world throws at addicts and then we throw ourselves away before the world has time to do it for us. The loss and sadness and melancholy of desolation, that is addiction as our best friend squeezes us dry of any human element we might hold dear. And denial of our part in it, until we redeem some basic human qualities and good conscience.
The River of Denial
We need flow where it may take us. If we are drowning in our woe we can never come up and out for air, or love, or just enough grit to find something to hold on to.
AA gave me a thread, then some strands and then some idea of recovering my feelings and wits as a path followed from death and darkness to some lighter moments and a few steps to take to make a life start again.
In those bleak years where I utilised every coping mechanism to survive, the damage and toll on me and those who cared about me, makes for grim reflections. At least for now and today those bleak years, those sad outlooks and blackness where denial of my addictions bound me and imprisoned me are never forgotten.
And Today Just for the day, I am free..
August 8 2006
Going boldly wherever we may Go
So… I guess most of us do go quite boldly wherever we may go, and it’s the journey often, not the destination which we need to apply ourselves. I sometimes wonder for this insomniac if my bold journey may be to sleep these days. Awake again from early hours, just an hour or two of sleep. Its been this way for months now. And I have accepted it as part of this current phenomena in recovery.
And what of the other things I am dealing with? Recovery for me at the moment is really very absorbing as learning to be myself is an industry in itself. Industrious to the last, I wonder how it will turn out over the next few months.
Up early and writing yesterday and then showered and out to hospital for blood tests. The waiting and the queuing, no matter how early it seems the queues are there for tests. I now realise the resources are forever stretched in our health system wherever I may go. And I need to work out what that means for me. As queuing is another thing I need be used to. I have to change my diet and include wheat for a few days now and then have more blood tests. To see if I am wheat intolerant. Another element to find out what’s up with digestion.
And I need go back for x rays on my back, as its chaotic functioning has laid me low for years now. At last my GP seemed to reckon it worthy of more investigation. A locums opinion as she moves on, and then I have my usual GP who has opinions about me, and I don’t reckon much to her opinion in truth, as she is often dismissive of everything as age related or somehow related to something and I might not worry about it. And I don’t worry about it fortunately. But it seems to me GP’s under pressure are generally dismissive these days and give me handouts on conditions I live and know as if I were a child. I don’t relish these moments!
And during the day I meet fellows from my fellowship, full of issues and thoughts and we talk. And we talk more about the issues, and resolve to action where it can be, and not to action, where responsibility lies elsewhere. it’s a long game in our fellowship and we tend to want to fix things we realise need fixing, rather than let others who will learn from experience fix things as time allows them.
Sometimes we need to step back and let others learn from their experiences or they never learn. Our judgment useless to us as other learn the bitter sweet life we have.
Last night, well just a few hours ago, I was asked to chair a meeting. And my reaction has been to say no of late for multitudes of reasons. The multitude of reasons are really a lot to do with the recovery from hard times and hard knocks and what I used to be and do. A speaker to groups and in public, a shy speaker yet confident when I realise I know what I can say. And in our fellowship we can say what we feel and please to say.
A perfect opportunity to do what, with a chair and meeting ? I will have a topic to share, and know it well. Its about a step we all work in fellowship and then let go of its nature and content as we move on to other steps of living.
I am still puzzled by my reticence and chairing meetings. There are elements with stress and public utterances which do bother me. At the same time, I do believe my voice is equal to others voices and would prefer to hear theirs and not mine. And there is a part of me, and happy to acknowledge, my learning is a progression and not a perfect answer. Yet I wish I knew more of living my life now before attempting what is asked.
And having said no, now I say yes, for indeed having spoken with a long time player in our game, I realise it matters not where we are in our stepping stones to better living, our experience strength and hope count, and we learn back from what is shared. Our whole process a living process of experience and changing attitudes to now. And I will go ahead even though perfection is a lifetimes journey away, in fact an eternity away. Even with the gift of immortality I recognise there is no perfect study. And wrote extensively, summing up that perfection in my view is quite an unfinished work! Just like nature and providence, the march of time merely stamps us with where we have got to and not beyond.
It seems many of my interactions around fellowship occur as much if not more outside our meeting focus. And in those mini meets and debated, much experience and wisdom is shared beyond the main event. It was ever so in my days as adviser and leader of events in past times and work.
And still I feel discomfort, at the same time accept discomfort, as this is changing me again, sometimes slowly and sometimes quickly. I am willing to try. And see where it leads.
Actually, there is a sea change in where and what will happen next as time moves on and I accept natures hand in what I can do and cannot do as before. The adjustments have been as long as time permits to get back to other living too. I see my world opening again as even with some obvious constraints, anything is possible if we have a willing heart, and keep open to the possibilities of living. And the step I will talk about is close to my philosophy of honesty.
And maybe I am wondering how honest I am these days with myself. As denial and other elements of living processes have gouged great lumps out of me over years and years of being less than I really am. This less than syndrome, the bully’s hook into the sensitive types who live this life. We who toil relentlessly as if driven mad, work till we can give no more and give our last drop of energy to any project where we might become a doer or a leader. Those times are always close as the inner me is used to working till the last moment to deliver the impossible on time as near perfect, perfect.
And as I accept the rough years, and changing attitudes and behaviours in me, what do I find? That nature made me so, to be this way and that, and actually I return to more comfortable patterns of living and doing. And willing to do more.
This willingness, it needs to be tempered in what is right for me, and I need be mindful how willingness in past times had led me to dangerous excess in all respects. And with mentoring I will find balance to make good these honourable aims and doings. I need not flog myself to near death again and still make good my contribution however it turns out.
I am willing, and flexible. I am also absolutely tired out. And wonder how to take on more right now. Its almost close to danger, as time is telling me to shift my focus to other matters. And yet nothing gives right now. No respite from my daily routines which keep me going, as if we squeeze them round other matters. And I cannot afford a careless slip in my regime as was made so obvious the other night, as it will surely do me in. And I don’t refer here to addictive slips, I refer to daily maintenance and making sure I keep on top of routine living and regular testing of how I am. I need work at it and be willing and be mindful what it all means.
I also know its important to work on what I can do daily, and not project too far ahead of where I might end up, or all is lost and no serenity in my daily maintenance and helping others along the way.
I had to smile today. It is a question often asked these days of bachelors my age, I was asked if I were gay. Then the questioner was sorry for asking in case I was offended by the nature of that enquiry. I was not offended and answered truthfully. And then they asked me why I am not married, and to me these days its obvious, its only now as I grow up and see the real me, how on earth could anyone see me as a partner for living their whole life long? And only one has confessed this truth and rightly ruled it out I now know in these last few days…
And as this was asked of me indirectly by another the day before, I wonder why these questions have been coming up more often in recent times. And questions about whether I have children from prior relationships.
To be asked these questions with more frequency makes me wonder what people are seeing in me. And also what I now know about myself and matters of the heart…
Well maybe all I know these days, if I had my head on younger shoulders and in other times, I reckon a husbands role and to be a father would have suited me just fine. And now? Well now, it feels too late to be a father in this respect and time has made me see the possibility and all it entails and maybe its not my time anymore, well not in this life I guess. Who knows? I know with hindsight’s clever gift to parenthood and loving and partnerships…
My options are more likely partnership and love with a woman who is apt to humour and philosophy, and me a mentor to others in generations following mine as time unfolds and we never get the plot until its done? Maybe, maybe not, who knows, she knows, whoever this may be, a true spirit and lover would be fine!
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