September 20 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 9 Amends In Action Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "higher power as a guide, how it works for you…" How many times could I hit rock bottom and survive? I don't feel I actually reached rock bottom until I accepted that I could not get well and recover my senses on my own. And realising I could not invent the answer myself, I did ask for help from anyone and anywhere, and then the answers started to come one day at a time…
First I had to understand what the problem was with me and my situation. Having got to a place of complete exhaustion and lost the will to do anything and slowly sink into oblivion. Addiction to anything, alcohol, drugs, particular people, in particular places and particular things becomes a miserable existence. Addiction is completely illogical, and will drive any person into the ground and then six feet under. Addiction is an emotional, physical and spiritual disease which defies logic and defies our ability to think our way out of the problem… And actually, trying to think our way out of the addiction and the fascination with self will to fix and find a solution will kill most people sooner rather than later…
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Higher powers, emotional and spiritual all seemed like fine ideas to my insane and addled brain. Where was the higher power when I needed to be sorted out? And where were the people who could advise me on how to fix myself. I still thought it was all up to me and that I had to demonstrate my worthiness and ability to recover my own wits and senses. When people said how it works for them and how God worked in their lives, I really couldn't see "how it works" or how I could make it work for me. Asking for help and then coming to understand the nature of emotional and spiritual well-being took quite a while and I had to experience it. As I started to understand my feelings, all my feelings, and how they work in the moment of now, everything became clearer. There is no right or wrong way to living life, we just keep on learning life and understanding what we can do to keep well and to function, and what we cannot do which will undermine everything and the wisdom is that we keep on learning one day at a time…
The care of God as we come to understand… In the poem, desiderata helped me immensely, "Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be," simply meant that whatever I understand as a human being and not as a religious person or part of a group, God is the higher power. And for many thousands of years there have been many gods and many interpretations. Over seven billion people live today, each with their own understanding. I find that Gandhi when he suggested, "God is truth God is love" is a really good beginning. And so if God works through people, and I keep asking for help on a daily basis when I can't work it out for myself, or I need to consult, God is a very good starting point in any moment and in any given day…
And why is a higher power as a guide so important when it comes to emotional and spiritual well-being? Powers greater than me, take account of the big picture and not just my self-interest, or self obsession. Humility, the ability to keep on learning life, the ability to keep seeing the big picture and how I may fit in it today. If I truly realise that I have a right to be here today, then the same is true for everyone else and my outlook is no better or worse than another's. If we put ourselves first always and take rather than give, our journey will become very difficult in recovery. United in our principles of living, the twelve steps and twelve traditions will help us be safe today, and remain different people with different outlooks and philosophies. Alone, the world is distorted and hostile and a return to old feelings, old ways of acting and behaving are always a moment in the making… Can do and cannot do, and the wisdom to know the difference is always an option today…
A right relationship with the Universe and knowing we all have a right to be here. Included, intertwined and always connected in the moment of now. For me it is not about control or having power over people, places and things or judging anything as right or wrong, good or bad. Living in the moment helps me see how I fit into the big picture and make the best choices open to me today. Freedom to choose life on life's terms...
Our path and journey in life is influenced by where we are, location, the opportunities open to us in this moment in time. No longer stuck by old thinking, old ways of behaving and letting go secrets which can keep me stuck. Open, honest and willing, I look outwards to opportunity, just for today asking for help rather than working it on my own and limited to one perception... Always the journey, the destination less obvious today...
A higher power of our own understanding; beyond thinking and feeling as we come to understand he she or it. Good conscience, courage and faith are elements of living we develop in recovery as the days of self-harm and harm to others slows and ends. A regular pattern of living in the day, being immersed in the moment of now becomes more than a feeling. In the day we feel reality, a spiritual “now”.
More than a feeling “So many people have come and gone, their faces fade as the years go by, yet I still recall as I wander on, as clear as the sun in the summer sky” Boston.
Recovery in fellowship is a connection to many who follow a simple path we humans can make so complicated, as we review the past and spend much time pondering our future prospects. Without doubt, we cannot forecast tomorrow beyond realistic expectations. We talk of expectations being resentment under construction, at the same time, today’s choices embrace reality and make possible future plans, we do take steps towards serenity and acceptance. Serenity and acceptance are not placid states; they are states of richness and space for growth.
Our own perception of a higher power can be very difficult. I have seen that I can be completely immune to the concept of powers greater than me; life gives us opportunity to ask ourselves what a higher power may be. The power of love, living with truth, and accepting we can learn from and through others experiences.
Life teaches us to be believers, agnostics and atheists. And my life has proven I can believe in god, be uncertain and be agnostic and when life really gets tough have no belief in god. When life is most difficult, I need help and I am more likely to ask for help these days rather than put on a brave face, hide my fear and ego creeps into my actions. The harder life is the more likely I try to be godlike in my behaviour, I need and want control. Alcohol provided oblivion from my failures and my triumphs alike at the end of my drinking days.
A power greater than me in troubled times is certainly not me. When fear creeps and life feels awful, reliance on my inner resources can be very unhelpful. In fellowship and being a part of fellowship means I need never rely wholly on me. I have come to rely on truth I learn the wisdom of others and understand that people can be loving towards us in adversity. People in fellowship are more likely to help us.
So in my understanding today, god is truth, love and wisdom shared. I live on a planet subject to natural forces and can take my luck as it comes, some call this providence. A higher power is of nature and providence, and does not favour me over any other. At the same time with truth love and wisdom of others in my life, outcomes can be broader and beyond my simple outlook.
Higher powers? Yes of course there are higher powers, they are all around us in our daily life and it certainly is more than a feeling today…
A right relationship with the world: so providence and nature can be favourable as it can be. Good conscience is always available to us in recovery and still we know the darker side of us can lurk any day when self-will and self-obsession make us isolate our thinking and we become unfeeling to our fellows. Choices always today...
Faith works, and is more than a feeling “So many people have come and gone, their faces fade as the years go by, yet I still recall as I wander on, as clear as the sun in the summer sky” Boston. Higher power for me today; guided by good conscience, courage and faith, truth, love and wisdom learned from others, choices in recovery...
AA Daily Reflections ~ "Higher Power as a guide... See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us. [Big book]
Having a right relationship with God seemed to be an impossible order. My chaotic past had left me filled with guilt and remorse and I wondered how this “God business” could work. A.A. told me that I must turn my will and my life over to the care of God, as I understand Him. With nowhere else to turn, I went down on my knees and cried, “God, I can’t do this. Please help me!” It was when I admitted my powerlessness that a glimmer of light began to touch my soul, and then willingness began to emerge to let God control my life. With Him as my guide, great events began to happen, and I found the beginning of sobriety."
September 20 2007
DonInLondon - ‘Day In the Life’ Just For Today
Seems right it’s just been about today and being a part of life and living. When do we have a typical day? I guess if there is routine and nothing out of the ordinary, well what point would there be? Sometimes we don’t need anything more exciting than an ordinary day!
Ordinary days are full of different ingredients if we are alert and on the ball, and these days it feels a lot better than last year. I was still trying to make sense of all the murky details of keeping my regime in the day and myself monitored for all the things which ail me. Less driven by my concerns today yet still having plenty to do to keep things in balance.
The sadness of these last few months, the death of a friend as well as being my sisters partner, has had a huge impact on me and my outlook. I have changed a lot of what I do so I may see my sister as often as she feels is ok. The gap left by her partner.. Its huge for her, and less for me being one step removed. And of course for my mother too it has been a hard blow.
The consequences are simply making myself available, being there and being part of things like never before. That is not to suggest in any way I am more important or more than I was before, just there to be as I may.
We learn a lot in recovery from our own maladies, but there is nothing so sad as a person dealing with loss of any close relation. The absolute of endings with no chance to bring a situation back to balance is devastating. And it’s only when we experience these tragedies that we realise just how hard life gets as we grieve and we learn how in the doing. Nothing prepares a person for these times.
Actually in my fellowship we do prepare and we are near ready as the sad truth of addiction is so many perish through no fault of their own so often. The disease is as pernicious as any a human has to face if in the problem.
The solutions to most of my problems today is to know what I can do to help and move along, and when I have no power at all. That is a realisation of being powerless over people, places and things. And the world is just the way it is tonight.
So from last year’s worries, I have less concerns, or rather my focus is others and not me. Actually although this journal is mostly about me, that may seem an odd statement, but the truth is I just help people and friends and family as time and situation offers. I often forget me in all this and then suffer later.
Solutions makes me realise that a lot of the old skill still remains and helps others and me get along to solutions.
As time goes along I see more opportunity to be out in the big world and less inclined to circumspect matters. Last year this time my brother turned up out of the blue, a welcome moment back then.
As I was cycling home tonight I realised again there may be limits to what next with you tube and with the daily writing I have been doing. It’s a tough decision but one which may come into more focus in the next few weeks I suspect.
What next is a question, yet I need deal with the current as usual. I am not settled yet and the disruptions recently suggest it’s better to keep routine and less head in the clouds or in too deep where I may end up less useful long term if my health deteriorates as a consequence.
Anyway for now that is me for tonight. Still very tired and I realise the diabetes is not so well controlled as I might have hoped, check ups due next month may reveal a harder regime and more careful maintenance.. Time will tell.
September 20th 2006 [ all about last year]
He Ain’t Heavy, He’s my Brother!
Is there such a thing as an ordinary? Ups and downs, things to do, being busy and connected to life. I had an appointment at the hospital in the afternoon, the only firm plan, to have a check on my progress and diet.
My regime includes: For type 1 diabetes, blood sugar monitoring four or five times a day, insulin injections as many times (usually three or four) as required to keep my system topped up and ensure I digest food and don’t starve my system. Medication for digestion three times a day. For clinical depression, medication two times a day. For diabetic neuropathy, medication once a day. For addiction, a meeting a day to keep my focus on recovery. And that’s before I do anything considered a normal day I suspect, but that’s just the way it is.
What I have to watch out for in my world. The things which give me insight into my wellbeing. Here is a list which is not exhaustive, but gives me clues to my state of mind and physical capacities: Insomnia, a chronic condition, fatigue, on-going, back problems, trouble walking due to neuropathy, feet problems because of diabetes, mood and anxiety, due to clinical depression, libido a touchy subject (because I am a bloke who used to have one and don’t presently)because of diabetes and depression, tinnitus something which worsens with low mood, eyesight blurring due to diabetes and finally, digestion due to medications. And that’s just the way it is. I need to keep an eye on these variables daily and weekly and record how I am doing so professionals can give me advice. Blimey what a commotion if I write it all down. But you know what? To me it’s just ordinary daily stuff I do. And I am happy to be doing these things.
I wrote my diary as usual, and posted it to my web journal, and of course to the BBC. It’s just something I do. I enjoy expression and hope it helps not just me, but others who have things to do to get to normal living. And I am glad to be still alive. So something is working in my world.
I decided I needed to keep moving around following the physio’s advice on Monday. And it seems no one is advising me against this next thing I want to do. Get my bike out of storage. Less weight on the feet, getting about, and making my system exercise. A friend has promised to come out and encourage me, with a cup of tea in Hyde park, once I get the bike out of storage. Good news, I want to do this, and am willing to risk the traffic, and my slightly impaired self on the road. Less weight on the feet and exercise and company. Good, I need to buy a bicycle pump and get some oil.
I also decided to go out to a meeting at Lunch time, bump into a friend from my fellowship and we pass the time of day. A tube journey into central London and an hour at a meeting. The blinking paparazzi are lurking trying to get photos of famous people at my destination. There are none, smiles just ordinary people doing their recovery thing. We are all the same in our fellowship, just plain ordinary people keeping well and to good conscience as we can.
And then it’s time to get back to my hospital, I pop into M&S to buy some new boxers, I don’t want to get caught out with another examination in threadbare trolley’s like last week. A bit embarrassing and I smile at my silly self, as if a professional cares, but I do, after all I may get hit by a bus as well!
And good news from my examination, the clinic say I am doing fine with all I do, and just stay with it and keep losing some weight, just gradually, as I promised I would. Well over 20 kilo’s lost in the last few months, now my medications are sorted and my head is more balanced…
Highlight of the day and Month!
I am walking out of the underground station and coming towards me is someone who looks like me. I can’t believe it, it’s my Brother. And we meet and both of us are surprised and pleased to see each other. Both of us here in this place at this time by happenstance. London with millions of people, and me and my brother, by accident just coincidence.
My place is close by and we go back and have a chat. I haven’t seen my brother for ages and we just start talking. And it’s just as it can be, like two brothers who know each other, we just chat and get on and talk about this and that. And it is great, for me because we don’t see each other that much. My illness made me so ashamed for so long I hid from family a long time. And here we were, just getting on and talking about anything and everything. No hassles and no frictions, no wonderings, just getting on. Just an hour and we have peace and tranquil discussion, and he is away to his home and family. I realise just how far I have come in recovery, and I weep, relief at the ordinary, extraordinary coincidence of the day.
Being me, I go to a meeting and share my good news. And we talk of small things and big things. And I come away happy. I have phone calls from friends and stuff as well, they help me, I help them, we keep connected to the day.
And from times past to now? From a wreck a few years back, to someone who has so much to do before a normal day gets going. Well a difference beyond anyone’s imagination, certainly mine. So I need to keep a check on things, and I need to be careful, and I need to be looking out and not looking inwards.
I even had chance to flirt with a girl on the bus, actually when I say a girl, I mean someone close to my age (50, now the new 40!), and she was hot. Smiles I can still flirt even if the equipment’s out of order! And the world turns to its own rhythm, I follow where the world takes me.
And as the world turns, I try go with the flow, with willingness and not wilful, with openness and as honestly as I may, just for this day. Seeing my brother and time spent together, moments to treasure and long overdue…
Just For Today, cherish always…
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:
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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
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