September 12 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 9 Amends In Action Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "I am responsible, making amends and I am responsible!" First and foremost I am responsible for all the consequences of my actions today, and step nine making amends without doing further harm is part of the on-going change all humans have inside and outside fellowship. And I also feel responsible when anyone anywhere reaches out the help, I want the hand of AA to be there, and for that I'm responsible. The AA pledge is about unity, service and recovery, and aims to help the newcomer to a sober path. The AA pledge is a fellowship pledge, and not for the individual to take control and impose their will on new people…
Video For Today:
Very often, the attractive qualities we see in the newcomer can be very difficult for anyone in recovery. Charming, manipulative without even knowing it: used to getting our own way, every excuse under the sun and desperate for love and belonging. Early days are very confusing for the newcomer and it is so easy to think as an individual we have the answer to all their problems today. I have never found that to be the case, not me and not you, as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a fellowship to keep a newcomer sober. If we are lucky as newcomers, "flattery will get us nowhere!"
I am responsible for sharing my own experience, strength and hope without censorship and without intention to mislead and without prejudice. This means sometimes my sharing will help a person find a sober path and I hope more often that the person who hears what I share, finds their own personal sober path unencumbered by anything said by me, except maybe one element: the freedom to make personal choices which feel right and help a person live as well as can be and cope with reality today…
I am responsible and try to share how recovery works one day at a time with the principles of the twelve steps and twelve traditions. I am also responsible for reminding myself that fellowship is about emotional and spiritual living, where we understand our feelings in the moment of now, and that every feeling has its place caused by our life experiences. No feeling should be ignored and suppressing feelings will take us right back to the bad old days. Once we know our mood and our feelings, we know how it impacts on our thinking and actions one day at a time. We need to know feelings no matter how extreme, and then the thinking and the actions and especially the consequences of what we do right here, right now and just for today…
I am responsible in the romance and finance departments? Romance… A very confusing part of life over the years. I love romance, it used to be all about "wine, women and song" and excess in all respects. More respectful these days, "women and song I guess" and then "woman and song" and then "memories and songs…" Finance… The principle of enough and not excess, needs met and wants forgotten. Never give up on romance and love, it is as perennial as the grass and regarding fear of economic insecurity, I don't fear economic insecurity, it is simply a part of life or not as case may be. We never know what today will bring, unless we rule it out before it happens, "never say never again…" Learning to love, learning to be loved back and useful helps every day…
If I don’t always know what is right for me, how on earth would I presume I know what is right for you? We all have judgments in us, and most often best let our judgments go, or we advise and suggest with our prejudices. Not easy when we think we have the right answers today…
Monday mornings in recovery are quite a different experience. Letting go old fears, old ideas and old behaviour over the last few years has offered more freedom. Courage and faith to move on and not be trapped by “what if’s” is liberating. Real life, on life’s terms, not stuck in fantasy today…
A little knowledge can be a dangerous, and so too can too much knowledge. Knowing is little use unless we can apply it and live life for real. For a lot of years I helped people with their personal and career issues. My life was serendipity, so many experiences and so many twists and turns. If there was something to do, I would learn and rely on wisdom of the years. And when I did not know, I usually knew someone who could and did know what to do. I loved my work for a many a year. And then, when I fell apart, the pain and fear, knowing what was wrong with me did not help one iota. And then I self-medicated to oblivion, and had nowhere to run. When I realised life could get no worse other than to die, I had that moment of clarity, and asked for help. Medical came first, I was a mess, and then found enough well-being to really understand and become part of the fellowship of AA. I became teachable, and a newcomer, a learner again.
AA taught me how to experience the path of sobriety, from pain and fear, to well-being and a connection to life I had never known before. To be in the moment and find serenity is a possibility, to find out how to deal with pain and fear. How deal with failure and success, how to feel life and live life. And freedom to choose: and to find help making choices. And learning the more I learn, the less I know. A life beyond my wildest dreams? Yes, today I experience reality, live more in the moment and can love, be loved and useful.
In recovery we do share our experience strength and hope. In meetings there is often decades of sobriety. We learn the boundaries in fellowship, we bring all our wisdom of life, and we must know when outside help is needed. Spiritual, emotional and physical well-being is always just for today...
I am responsible when anyone anywhere reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA to be there and for that I am responsible. I had to learn how, know the limits of my experience strength and hope, and know it is the totality of fellowship experience which counts. When I don't know, someone else does!
AA Daily Reflections ~ "I am responsible... For the readiness to take the full consequences of our past acts, and to take responsibility for the well - being of others at the same time, is the very spirit of Step Nine. [12&12]
In recovery, and through the help of Alcoholics Anonymous, I learn that the very thing I fear is my freedom. It comes from my tendency to recoil from taking responsibility for anything: I deny, I ignore, I blame, I avoid. Then one day, I look, I admit, I accept. The freedom, the healing and the recovery I experience is in the looking, admitting and accepting. I learn to say, “Yes, I am responsible.” When I can speak those words with honesty and sincerity, then I am free."
Spiritual principles to live life "real" ~ "Forgiveness" "Acceptance" "Surrender" "Faith" "Open-mindedness" "Honesty" "Willingness" "Inventory" "Amends" "Humility" "Persistence" "Spiritual-Living" "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.
September 12 2007
DonInLondon - ‘Day in the Life’ Keep Life Simple
Devil In the Detail
Sometimes we need look deeper into matters which on the surface look easy and straightforward.
As sometimes said the devil is in the detail. And sometimes those we employ to be responsible for the detail make mistakes. For example losing sight of all my possessions when getting them back to me. I realise I could be a really difficult person and want all the detail of what happened, and actually I need know nothing more than when it may turn up.
I was on the phone to someone earlier and they wanted to speculate about what if’s and what not. And truthfully it’s a waste of precious time as we can speculate to the cows come home.
Devil in details can be for two reasons, first we don’t know and cannot control something, second is we waste our time and others going over old ground.
Powerless old me!
I like knowing I am powerless over people places and things, it makes me see I am not responsible for what happens and some things are just beyond us. We can offer support and advice but actually that is the limit of what we can do. Often so with parents and children, in my case as my Mum is always concerned with detail, I can be a trifle short in saying we need not speculate when she is deep in the imagined scenarios.
Worst Case Scenario’s
Like 9/11 as most news harked back to that tragic day. A typical day, there were warnings and actions to take. Yet we need remind ourselves we are human and if we plan for worst case and don’t take account of risks we can see the big disaster and how it came about.
Disaster and Recovery
We need be aware of the processes on a personal level, to recoup and move along. Moving along is not forgetting it’s in acceptance and learning how to cope with small and monumental changes in life circumstances.
Truly the most devastating part of living is losing loved ones and especially partners. We are blessed with their presence and then we find their loss as unbearable as any heart broken. People do better in pairs and not in isolation, I must admit although single I guess close partnership with a spouse has always been a desire in me. I don’t get so caught up in the need or want these days. I do feel like ‘less than’ when it comes to potential, being my age and with less capacities than before. The less than feeling is not a personal put down in some sense, it’s more acceptance of how I am today. Less than I used to be in many elements and more than I would wish for in experience maybe and outlooks.
Knowing Too Much
It can be a hindrance I feel. Yet today I feel just fine being me. A roof which is mine, and some way nearer to resettlement than I have been in many years. I am peaceful just now, and happy it is so..
September 12th 2006
Recovery is Allowed!
Hi KT, yes its true and thanks for reminding me about there are no holidays in recovery. Smiles here, I had a real binge and had half a packet of choccy bics last night! Consequently I have a blood sugar of 8.5, just a bit higher than usual, but acceptable in my overall averages which are 6.4 (excellent). Now and then its ok, I know though it makes me hungry for sugar, and that I have to watch out for. Big smiles though’ seems once in a while is manageable, and just watch my tendency to want more, when needs equals porridge for breakfast…
Confidence and my Esteem took a hit long ago
Well what a night, I went to bed to much news and coverage of 9/11. No one could avoid the TV news and documentaries of what happened on that awful day. I started my blog on line diary a few weeks after 9/11, and I quote my words November 1991:
"And as the war on terror is progressed, so too large nations are destabilising as religious fundamentalist groups gain support as we in the west trample full tilt over the civil rights of innocents in the name of justice and righteous thinking. I am appalled at the events sparked off by ill-conceived and immature postures struck out of grief, or out of national pride? There is little doubt about the pain inflicted on America, it is not right. Nor is it right to hold ground zero as a separate and unique event to justify the prosecution of the current war(Afghanistan and then Iraq). It did not happen in isolation and was a result of history which cannot be revised. I forget who said "revenge is a meal best eaten cold". To beat a country to a pulp and then reward who is left with support, and what kind of support is yet to be determined... "
It sort of explains my disillusionment with the world which led me and my depression into new depths. I was very unhappy in 2001 about my own situation and the world seemed to head full tilt with me into new lows.
Overall Yesterday was informative
Yes actually for all the coverage which did evoke great sadness, at least I have been able to separate out my feelings and responsibilities. Through accepting my day to day living as most people do, I have been able to get rid of my thinking which makes me feel as responsible as government for all the ills of the world. Sounds grandiose does it not, that I a mere hapless individual could feel those world passions back then and be so ravelled up in cause and effect? I guess I was deluded and stupid. But not totally so, for indeed the world has become a much more dangerous place since 9/11. And all my predictions on world events came true, so looking back it was not judgment per se, it was the impact on me as a depressed person which distorted me, and actually formed a perfect excuse to seek oblivion in the bottle. I just accept these days what that means for me. To be careful in future day by day. But I realise why people will become extreme in their reaction to oppression and why we get people willing to give up their life, when life itself stinks.
Health exam and Physical
So after writing in the early hours, I got ready and went down to the Health Centre, it was a busy day on the roads and only got there by the skin of my teeth for the 9:00AM.
This is my first visit back to my GP’s surgery, and I handed in my repeat prescriptions for insulin etc., and the new one for amitriptyline and was then immediately in to see the physic expert. I have not heard from my Doctor about the wrong information to the DWP yet, and will leave that alone for now. My health and wellbeing are about recovery not blame or worry or making or scoring points these days. Just being well.
We start with a thorough questionnaire of all the things physical etc. And then I did a pain assessment for myself. It came out at 74%. This surprised me somewhat. I underplayed some of the pain. So a high score like that means I have been putting up with a lot over the last year or two. And why, because my GP reckoned it was part recovery and in my head imagination. Which is why my diabetes went untreated for a while too. I did not trust myself, and took on trust I was deluded. A big mistake and one I will not repeat again.
But the outcome is good overall, for the assessment proved to be very helpful and I got to understand the things I can do to improve my situation.
Outcome of Exam and assessment
Have some exercise to strengthen my back muscles and concentrate on some things I can do at home. Simple small exercises to make things more in balance. And some help at hospital with hydrotherapy, but there is a waiting list. I am patient though’. Smiles overall I got the right help and right support. It was only disconcerting when I had to strip off down to my boxers. I have not been that exposed for ages in anyone’s presence and felt very self-conscious and out of shape. Thank goodness I had clean underwear on, I was completely unprepared and had not even thought of that! Dumb or what? Well anyways I know now what exercises to do and will get more advice over the next few weeks. But I had no idea I was that self-conscious or shy. Another revelation in my old age.
Now I know the pain management is a priority and it’s not imagination, I can get on and limit myself where before I just pushed myself too far, which makes it more damaging rather than stopping and doing some brief exercises to alleviate the pain and right my balance and body tone. Self-inflicted torture? Sort of, but with some denial and help I guess.
Conference and Stuff
I rang the treatment service and asked to see the specialist consultant about my participation in the conference today instead of yesterday, so I am going along to Soho later on today. Will report in my last post tomorrow. That is my last post of the month of recovery.
The day and evening
All went to plan during the day. I popped in to see my Mum, she is recovering nicely from the torn ligament. And we had a good chat together as we always do. She is so relieved I am in recovery, I guess it’s something she may have wished for my Dad, but that is old news and we did not go there on this occasion.
And out to a meeting. It was good to chat to a friend on the way about their new life. Seven years in recovery and mid-thirties, going to university and doing all the things they always dreamed of doing. And now with a long time in work and making gentle inroads to their vocation, they have worked hard and earned their place in University to study in the caring professions. I am pleased I helped them along with the forms and stuff, they did the work though and I am pleased its working out.
I get to our venue early and regardless of my feet and the pain, cannot resist helping set up. It’s better to do these things I feel. And there will be a time, hopefully a long way off when I will not be as able. So I’m making the most of what is possible. Same applies with my attitude to finding gainful and sustained employment, even though I am signed off currently.
Meeting and depression
I know I have had the tell-tale signs of depression lurking in me. And it’s a real pain in the bum to realise whatever I do it will recur when it chooses and cannot be avoided by me. After so much progress and care to do the right thing, it is a lesson that some things I cannot change however much I do the right physical and emotional exercises. Depression of this kind is not a reaction to or predicated on any particular behaviour, it just happens, yes indeed, S*** Happens.
And the chair person was great and funny. And one other shared about their current situation and depression having been back for a few weeks. Looking at them you would never know it was going on. They appear in command and serene in their demeanour, and only if you look close enough and know what to see in a person’s eyes. Well it is easy for me to see. I know it too well from my experience.
We are not immune from ordinary illness and disease
And of course there are those who really don’t understand this malady of depression and believe you can talk yourself round and pull your socks up. It’s always hard for me to button up my desire to tell them it’s not true and this sanctimony that we can control everything with faith in ourselves and a God who looks after us… This is where I sometimes can be very judgmental.
I felt sad that even with recovery, it is not a person’s fault that they are prone to any ordinary physical or emotional or mental health problem. I expect those who still hold to faith and a belief in the Almighty coming to rescue them..
I reckon only when we truly accept our human ordinariness do we really get with what recovery in fellowship means. There is so much twaddle spoken and so much rhetoric, it’s better to get real and accept being human. And we are. And that means we have common ailments and ordinary diseases like the rest of humanity. Is our lot as humans. An no amount of prayer or meditation will change us from just being human size and prone to all maladies.
I know it’s simple stupid talk. But we do get a load of tosh from the truly deluded on matters of faith. I am sorry if that is harsh. In my experience though once we understand what we have, we can make the best of what is, build our confidence and esteem and accept the limits we have to work with.
Faith and Spirit
And actually as we recognise our human frailty, we do learn humility, get righteous with our spiritual core too, and see the path of life is about all experience to the good and bad. It is making best use of what we have and where we are, in the day, a day at a time. It is not about self-denial or feeling bad for our incapacity, as if we have done something to deserve it. Because no one does deserve it! It just is our deal of the cards and we make what we can with what we have. Now that’s spiritual and no nonsense from my book of spiritual. The ‘clatrapeers’ can whistle!
I am sorry if this sounds a little less spiritual for those of faith. It’s not meant to be, for indeed I do have faith and have a spiritual core. I also believe we try make the best of what we have, help each other and live to good conscience. Now that’s my kinda magic, and anything is possible if we can keep to our path day by day and make the most of our situation.
Sometimes on a daily basis, we can just about breathe, other days we feel we might run the world, and somewhere in between there is a middle path, just human sized where we live best and to our capacities whatever they are!
Now this feels right to me
Self Esteem and confidence from making use of what we have seems appropriate and a necessary outlook. And with depression sometimes just breathing is all we can do. Other times we can rule our bit of this world and recognise our true human size, the equal of everyone else, no bigger or smaller.
I chatted happily with another fellow, we had a good talk on things. I realise they and me, well we seem similar in our outlook. And good to be able to share honestly where we are in our recovery. Both of us could do with some fun I suspect, but my agenda remains vigilant and aware that depression is close by for me. I cannot stop the inevitable, I can be careful how much I push myself into positive behaviours, which would help reactive depressions, but not help clinical ones, only time and patience work on them.
And the news
Well 9/11, it’s a hard lesson and horrible part of our world history. We humans learn slowly that aggression and righteous fights lead us to worse scenarios. In our fellowship we try to make sense and work our conscience to forgive even the impossible and pray for our wrong doers, wishing them the same as we would for ourselves. Peace and Harmony in all living. As Alexander Pope suggested it takes a power greater than us to forgive. I believe we can make forgiveness human sized if we choose, and maybe that is our hardest spiritual lesson in life.
One more day
So one more day, then back to day to day writing. I doubt my blogs will change much. But I do know I wrote on the Beeb to help others see we who have been exiled usually by ourselves can be redeemed. And that we can come into life again and be trusted as we keep to our recovery. And as humans we can be restored daily, to be confident and have just the right amount of esteem to join in with life itself. And do a job and get on, and love again, that most precious of gifts, life...
Just for today...
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
About Psychosis And Depression: