September 1 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 9 Amends In Action Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "willingness to grow means we need room to grow…" My interpretation, all the way through from step one to step eight is acknowledgement and greater understanding of what gets us to a point where we can change our outlook and lifestyle. Giving up the drink, the horrors that follow, understanding and acceptance and a great big gap inside some say feels like a hole in the soul…
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Early days in recovery and all these steps and traditions, it was very confusing because I kept making it complicated by thinking about the twelve steps and twelve traditions, reading all about them and then wondering how on earth they might impact on my life. Every time I went to a meeting, a general meeting, a step meeting, lest we forget meeting which I kept forgetting about, I was definitely discombobulated, confused and full of bullcrap because my ego was still covering up my fear and my lack of understanding, and I realise now one day at a time I make some progress. All the steps up to step nine started to make sense as I put them into practice and started to live them… And they only work one day at a time, just like me…
Amends to be made, by the time I got to make amends, and I'm sure there are still more to come as memory and connections happen, most of those still close to me, they realised my situation and much to my surprise most had forgiven me long before I ever did understand that I could forgive myself by changing and letting go the old me. And yet there are consequences, and sometimes we just can't make amends without harm or without ego rising inside us, and the consequences are real until we find circumstances might have changed…
As we let go our old selves, and as we let go our addictions, that feeling of emptiness inside becomes a wonderful feeling of room to grow. It did not feel like that in the early days, no substance to rely on, not relying in a co-dependent way on one person, I needed to be in fellowship with a great many others in the same boat. Finding out through experience, strength and hope did start to fill me with hope too. The agitation and desire to be sober kept on growing. New feelings emerged, usually and mainly the ones I tried to suppress because I thought they were inappropriate, the hateful side of feelings in particular. Now I know all feelings are real, it is what I do next knowing how my thinking is impacted, and then work out the appropriate actions, often with a great deal of help from my friends…
Spiritual living and the fourth dimension, "time" is about utilising previous life experience to find out why the past contributes to positive or negative events today. No longer living in the past we are rocketed into the present moment. It can be "rude awakening," and always a "spiritual awakening" if we are grounded in truth, love and wisdom...
September: daily reflections, all about step & tradition nine. "Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others." And of course: “the promises.” In my experience the promises can be resentments under construction if we hand over personal responsibilities to our higher power.
September 2008 ~ 2010
Step nine is about clearing the wreckage of the past, what our old attitudes and behaviour did to ourselves and others and making the amends we can. Back then, when I as an active alcoholic I hurt myself and others. Step nine recognising old ways, making amends and committing to new ways of living... the promises
Recovery is not about waiting for some magic, it is about putting in action to change our attitudes and behaviour. We need learn our feelings anew in recovery long enough to know what they are. Having found out what our feelings are, we then need take action or stinking thinking can make as mad as hell all over again today...
AA Daily Reflections ~ "Willingness to grow... If more gifts are to be received, our awakening has to go on. [As Bill Sees It]
Sobriety fills the painful “hole in the soul” that my alcoholism created. Often I feel so physically well that I believe my work is done. However, joy is not just the absence of pain; it is the gift of continued spiritual awakening. Joy comes from on-going and active study, as well as application of the principles of recovery in my everyday life, and from sharing that experience with others. My Higher Power presents many opportunities for deeper spiritual awakening. I need only to bring into my recovery the willingness to grow. Today I am ready to grow"
Spiritual principles to live life "real" ~ "Forgiveness" "Acceptance" "Surrender" "Faith" "Open-mindedness" "Honesty" "Willingness" "Moral-inventory" "Amends" "Humility" "Persistence" "Spiritual-growth" "Service"
"Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."
This step does carry a condition -- except when to do so would injure them or others. If the act of making amends will open old wounds or create new harm, then making direct amends may not be an option. The benefit of making amends by the recovering person does not do more harm than good.
"The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. The A.A. Steps & Traditions are neither: rules, regulations, or laws. Perhaps the secret of their power lies in the fact that these life-giving communications spring out of living experience and are rooted in love." ~ “We find it amazing that the newcomer can start the A.A. program without any specific beliefs or, for that matter, without any beliefs whatsoever. All a person needs is the open-mindedness and the willingness to believe that WE BELIEVE this program works..."
Step Nine, AA 12 Steps, Alcoholics Anonymous, 12 Steps AA, Addiction And Recovery, Addict, Alcoholic, Alcoholism, DonInLondon, Life Works
September 1st 2006
My Blue World
Self-esteem can come back
Thanks KT, I went to a rehab too for the thirteen week programme, I completed the programme and still have the tag of self-discharge next to my name as I could stand their regime no longer. I was too dumb and failed to understand them, or too sensitive, and not street smart. I am sure you understand the rehab programme. I was so bewildered by treatment in rehab, I asked and got a "psyche" assessment at a well known hospital which put me right, I did not benefit from the rehab experience, indeed it slowed my progress to recovery, but that is a long story. Sufficed to impart rehab is not for everyone who wishes recovery. Thankfully AA was just right, rough and ready and human for a human like me.
There was a bit on Pete Doherty being in rehab on Richard n Judy just before I went out to a meeting last night. You know I wish someone would brief Mr Madeley more fully on the nature of Alcoholism and Addiction. He still has quaint notions and ideas about what addiction is. Mind you he is no different than many who hold to old prejudice about disease and choice, so he is forgiven for being ignorant of facts. He is the same age as me about, so if I could be so full of it for so long, I cannot judge him too harshly. It just makes me angry that someone in the public eye is so unyielding to facts about addictions and choices people just don’t have. So anyway…
Chelsea on a late summer Evening
The world out there its alive! I am in the Kings Road, Sloane central. I was a token Sloane I feel, but you have to be of a certain age and genre to be the real McCoy, and I’m old and ancient, smiles. It’s as busy as any thoroughfare and I am cautious. Not being totally in control of foot pain and my vision its usual unreliable out of focus self, I am a walking hazard to the fast paced and quick moving. My wits are on their best behaviour as I make my way to Café Nero a ways down the Kings Road. And the meeting is just a few minutes from there.
Sitting and reflecting
We do a lot of reflecting over events when we are in recovery, and we are keen observers of ourselves and life I have found. We don’t sit dribbling in corners, unless our medications are new to us. Over coffee near the front windows I can see the world walking by, it’s the anniversary of Lady Diana’s death I recalled earlier and thought there was little celebration or comment on her today. A good thing probably.
Nearby tables are awash with youth, vibrant and full of hormones and boys n girls making their noise at each other. it’s a whirlwind of turbulence and activity as each vies for attention from their hearts and other parts interest.
My dogs are definitely barking from the short walk, like sandpaper in my shoes.
Noise of music plays, the air swirls with cigarette smoke and laughter jangles nerves as youth and older clientele measure their time to their next destination, just like me. Or they are there nursing cold cups and want whoever to hurry and turn up.
The Chelsea Potter pub across the way is heaving, its six thirty and the early doors traffic and gaiety has spread out to sidewalk tables, where lounging couples are imbibing what to me is poison these days. Ah old times there were plenty of good ones and just a hint of nostalgia is there, and a wry smile as I’ve not been in the Chelsea Potter or any pub to drink, and the years are now starting to clock up, a day at a time, another smile to myself, I good inside, I need no will to say no these days, I just don‘t.
Posh schools are back and kids are roaming with absent parents unaware the mayhem their offspring cause as playground taunts are on the streets. And Chelsea girls with their cool look perambulate with offhand sureness and know the young men and old appreciate their glide, bags and phones in hand as if oblivious of all around them, they make their way to the next best shop. And young men in suits catching themselves in window fronts to check their reflections are just as good as they feel, not so cool this warm night. Posh Boy, Posh girl meet n greet and stand with gawky awkward talk and shuffle as they intimate and share a word or two, their fellows watch from seats next to me to see the outcome and the cool these two would make us feel they are. But tell-tale redness in their cheeks gives away the game of life. And laughter rings in smoky air.
Big cars with drivers haunch to meet the traffic jams, bus drivers with their offhand stare, and taxi drivers with their look of complete disdain, all stuck to the slow moving homeward bound, or their next night out. And cyclists weave their merry way with an F U smile upon their faces. And it’s time to go to my meeting
Coffee shop to meeting
I was only in the Café for a few minutes but as you can see in recovery we do get to think and feel a lot of things. I also sent text a fellow I know in the fellowship as I sat drinking my espresso, mentioning the good times we have spent in the recent past in places like these, We were good at making good use of warm coffee shops and spending next to nothing, as we had much to share and little dosh. We don’t see each other so much as our lives are different paths, and there is a sadness there, she is a lovely lady.
Anyway I get to the meeting and see some friends, and get a cup and find a seat and find I am deep in conversation about the world and recovery with someone I know. And as it happens my friend is there too, one seat in front and next to the person I am chatting to. An awkward moment as its impossible to say hello as we might, and share a smile and hold a hand. Now I was glad I sent the text, which said how good it was to be reminded of good times, and there she is. So we don’t get to chat as meeting starts, but it’s obvious we both are pleased to see each other. Now don’t read too much into this, it’s not romance, and we both know it.
Looking round as we all do in meetings we see people we know who are close and know us, and others we sort of know and like, and people we just don’t know, but know will be fellow seekers to recovery. After all, we come to AA for recovery and fellowship. Well most of us do and then stick around to sort out life and get our confidence back, and spread the message, all good stuff.
The Meeting is of a step variety
Oh yes it’s time to get some learning. Our meetings, we have newcomers meetings and, ordinary meetings and step meetings, these are the basic three categories. There are others for even more deep studies, but these are the ones most of us attend most of the time
Tonight it’s a difficult subject it’s about "Humility and shortcomings". And this is really part of the teaching of life itself. In essence we need find balance in how we live. We don’t know everything, and we are not bigger or more important than anyone else. And we all have some shortcomings, because we use or personal qualities which work for us mostly and obviously don’t use some qualities which are entirely desirable, especially humility and things connected with a rounded personality.
Society and living teach us to be a certain way, that we are go getters, that we live in a dog eat dog world, and we need be top dog. And often we go for the prizes in life, and forget not all can do this. And also that we have a tendency to be ego driven, rather than esteem creating in our outlook, if we are self-obsessed and self-centred. In truth our self-centred outlook and self-obsessions affect our quality of life so badly, we don’t see much of reality if we are always focussed on what’s in it for me.
And so we come to learn what it really means to find our track back to humility and identify what we do to remove blocks to our wider, broader outlook and good conduct. It’s about knowing our good conscience and developing our outlook and behaviour. In our daily living we can be so "me" focussed its painful for ourselves and others.
Confidence and Esteem
So to help get a bit of what humility is all about we discuss and share our bad and good behaviour to find ways to get our balance back. How to be our rightful selves and right sized with confidence and esteem.
This is about our progress and not perfection. And if we imagine the impact of addiction through to recovery, the need to right size ourselves and find some middle path is essential to our wellbeing. Or if we stay out of balance with ourselves and others, life will be forever disappointing and out of balance.
How we get to right sized, it’s as I say a progress thing. And we need to be able to relate our outlook with reality and the real world. And in the real world, everyone has their views and outlooks too, so what we do, is work on our own attitudes and behaviour, and keep faith with our personal journey and conduct.
Our speaker was so eloquent it made me feel good to hear a practical set of outlooks to being made good in our behaviour and what to do when we get off track. It’s like being aware of the seven deadly sins, and still being able to get on and find a good path through all the things we can be find to divert us from behaving with good conscience! Especially in our case drink, and bad behaviour and bad attitudes and selfish stuff we are all prone to do from time to time.
Above all for me what I heard shared was what it’s like to be human and challenged as we all are day to day. How easy it is to find ourselves in pain because we get caught up in wants, which can never be sustained, over needs which are the basics of living well. Living well implies balance in our feelings, our outlook and our, well spiritual outlook too. For some spiritual is about God, for others somewhere in between God and atheist, for me about living to good conscience, and if ever a chat with God happens it would be good would it not? So for some God is integral, for others not included, and for the majority it is living to good conscience, well maybe, it does not matter to my recovery where everyone is. What matters is living to my good conscience and balanced outlook, which needs clarity and testing out frequently with the fellowship.
By my understanding living to good conscience, helps me and my esteem. And being a real world it’s about dealing with life where good conscience may be about in others and most likely it’s not near to top of the agenda when life is going on so quickly it can be forgotten. It is for me though.
So the chair person kicked off a great sharing meeting about humility and good conscience actually, taking account of being right sized and being able to hold ones ground and giving way appropriately. Humility and humble outlooks are not to be confused with weakness, true humility is a powerful strength not a weakness.
It was a good meeting. And much was accomplished in helping me find the path to esteem and see how easy as usual ego and self-centred outlooks creep into life without too much trouble.
Well it was good to see my friend after some weeks. And this kept our balance and relationship going I reckon. As they move away, I realise now, the friendship remains and distance makes it mean we can start a conversation where it left off some time before. It’s like when you see someone you know from school days and start talking as if no time has passed. And whatever happens in between really has no bearing on the friendship. Odd and good and no awkward wonderings about if one or other might phone or kept in more regular touch. Drifting apart I guess is a consequence of different futures, yet friendship holds good.
I think I have wondered about a lot of things of late when it comes to who we meet in the fellowship, we make friends and develop longer term connections, and we meet others along the way, where we don’t really have that much affinity or that much in common to hold friendship close. But we keep faith and in touch in fellowship so we help each other along the way as we can.
I know also we need to learn boundaries as well. And this came up as one person asked me for my number. And being female they said they were cautious. And we need to be extremely careful over friendship which can lead to misunderstandings or over reliance, and other more complicated outcomes if we forget we are here for our primary goal, which is recovery! In other words it’s not so good to get involved too deeply where other matters human come into the equation. And I smile and know full well, it’s easy to mistake friendship for more when we are out of balance and we don’t know ourselves and might deny our motives. Recovery helps us restore our balance, and we all are at different stages. So great care is needed.
Me.. Mindful? Yes. Human? Yes. Perfect? Nowhere near! So I am very careful in my connections these days. So I check out my wants and needs and see the devil in there as well. And there are as in all life, realities we all need take into account about ourselves and others. Denial of common sense is easy when we are flattered an not balanced. Which can really undermine recovery.
So as I was leaving it was great to be able to feel one with most of the world last night. And then heard Tony Blair on the news when I got in. I don’t doubt his sincerity and determination to help the less fortunate in society. By my goodness his ways of dealing with what ails our society and targeting poor people as obvious and easy marks. In the old days when we had troubles like this, we sent them all to Australia and now they keep coming back, proving they weren’t that bad at all and actually made a success of it, albeit their future generations returning. It just made me so aware, we can make more victims by our special treatment of some at the exclusion end of society, rather than where he started, which was helping society include them.
Now interesting don’t you think, my esteem is better yesterday. My outlook is more outward and my confidence and expression easier. So recovery does help esteem and confidence. It does not help me be right in my conclusions, smiles, or anyone else I realise, that requires debate and discussion. Something maybe Mr Blair and Mr Madeley might consider? And actually its none of my business is it?
Friday, I have an appointment at the hospital with my psychiatrist. So we can hopefully see where next steps may take me. So much unresolved, and so easily I slip backwards into pain and depression. A good and better day yesterday, it’s a brief respite in what is proving be a difficult period of living with diabetes depression and recovery. What makes it work? It’s simply connection and action as best I can and this affects all elements of living.
In essence getting back to ordinary living, that bridge which seems distant often, and quite long. Progress not perfection, human not super human, fallible, flawed and working on it.
If nothing changes much, I still feel there is some more to say maybe till the 14th? Then it’s a month of posts here on living with diabetes, depression and recovery. If this post survives that long all well and good, if not thanks BBC. Beyond I don’t know what next. Anyway it’s a day at a time for me…
Step 9 "If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves." Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us…sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them." AA Promises
Step 9 Amends In Action Alcoholics Anonymous Anonymous Reading Video 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