September 23 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 9 Amends In Action Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "I was an exception… Special and different able to judge everything except me…" A lot of things go on in recovery, sharing with another alcoholic in recovery yesterday morning I noticed a huge change, and then listening intently no change in attitude and behaviour other than not drinking. I am no different to anyone else and I needed to stop judging the world, including others in recovery, making the best of another sober day…
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Most emphatically the newcomer is the focus when they come to meetings of AA. They will share their lives sometimes in so much detail we would wish they were more careful with the language and their behaviour? It is a question, is any behaviour unacceptable in a meeting, or the words that are spoken with passion by those who broken? Every day is different and I'm aware that the prejudice we had lost towards ourselves then manifests again when we are more able to understand what is normal and acceptable for ourselves. The utter defeat for the newcomer, self-harm and self-prejudice is bad enough, and I don't want ever to see them excluded for their disruption and their difficulties…
"Political correctness?" So many different meetings of fellowship aimed at: newcomers, learning steps, learning traditions, learning the big book, study meetings on step four, meetings that skip over step six and step seven because sometimes people just don't understand how it works and so many more. I guess the whole point of the fellowship for me is, with the individual's safety in mind, the group conscience decides and not single individuals with a bee in their bonnet about something or other. In the heat of the moment people can get cast out and lost back to the disease…
Can do and cannot do and learning the wisdom to know the difference. If we can get ourselves through the door into a meeting of AA we are going to learn something about ourselves. I have often heard it said by other people, "I don't go to the meetings there because they're full of posh people," or "I don't belong in that meeting because they are a bunch of idiots and have lost their identity." And so many more reasons why not and to exclude themselves from particular meetings they don't like. When I find myself not liking something in the meeting, it is about me and my attitudes and some form of prejudice either from the past or a new prejudice because of other people… Tolerance and love for everyone starts with me and forgiveness for some feelings which are evoked because of the disturbance in me and not them. Live and let live…
One of the hardest times I had before I got recovery and to the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous was always thinking it was my job to cure myself of the malady of alcoholism. Many people close to me simply wanted me to pull myself together, give myself a kick up the backside and get back to the normal person they had known sometime before. And I joined in with this notion of curing myself, and it took a long time to realise that I could not. Always the many voices and people in fellowship keep me sober, not one single human being and certainly not me...
Step nine amends without doing further harm… After a period of time and even years, when we encounter and try and relate with people from the past, they will resent us and hate us for our newfound sobriety and friendships. The damage done in the past, not only by us, but simply by life circumstances can make family and friends enraged one minute and loving the next. The turmoil other people are still experiencing because we were alcoholics can be overwhelming and they too have a battle and a struggle back to sanity. It is not only our pain that we deal with day by day, it is also the pain and suffering of family and friends who were part of that dark past. Sometimes we may be able to help and make restitution and other times we are exactly the wrong people for them to encounter on a regular basis and sometimes not at all…
Sometimes the suggestions which work for alcoholics in the fellowship of AA can be mirrored in other organisations for those who have had to live through perilous times. And yesterday I posted a link to the fellowship of Al anon, where people affected by alcoholics can find understanding and a place of expression for everything that has happened to them. I know I am the wrong person to help some family and some friends, that there is a world out there that can help if help is sought. I can accept my part in matters, and face the consequences of exclusion if needed and necessary. I certainly am not special and different, not gifted with special powers and not gifted with superior knowledge and wisdom which will make everything right today and every day…
Part of my history on the way to alcoholism, I was the burnt out case in the careers I had and overwhelmed and exhausted, heartbroken and completely at sea in personal relationships, a nervous breakdown, an anxiety state, psychotic trying to be the person I was and unable to deal with the new reality, years of struggle when nothing worked, one day suffering paranoia then in the next, and unexplainable high mood which vanished as soon as it manifested, extremes some say were bi-polar. If I were feeling this, no wonder family and friends were always affected in some way and to extremes as well. Forgiveness is often an inside job, and forgiveness for everyone when they retaliate as a consequence of old times is something I have learned. Somewhere in the big book it suggests that everyone is affected and to some extent made unwell by our behaviour and life circumstances. I feel this is true and this is why amends to others without doing further harm can be so difficult. I know I needed guidance and help from other sources to help in all these situations as time has gone by…
Denial of the obvious can be very difficult to accept. At my worst, stuck in the malady of addiction my behaviour was the best it could be. And the same applies for all human behaviour in the moment. When I feel the hurt and see the hurt inflicted by others, it is horrible to experience. Even on the worst of their days, it is the best they can be at that time and place. I can change my outlook, attitudes and behaviour, powerless over theirs. Forgive, let go, and move on whenever possible today...
The phrase "where ignorance is bliss, 'Tis folly to be wise." To feel betrayed and let down by those we love is difficult and extremely painful. If I do not know, I am safe from pain and love prevails in blissful ignorance. Knowing the truth and dealing with the consequences, wisdom and experience teaches. My higher power embodies "truth, love and wisdom." A return to reality is both a "rude and spiritual awakening." Less denial, less ignorance, more bliss in the moment of now...
Exceptions to the rule: If we alcoholics feel a certain way right now, taking a drink may change the feeling we have, and it may take the edge off the feeling or make it more pronounced. There are no exceptions to this rule; drink changes our perception of reality. To live real life, we stop self-harm and stop harming others just for a day at a time...
Every single day even when we are at our worst, in that moment I am doing the best I can with what has happened and what I can do. So at their worst other people are doing their best right now. How we react? Or better how we respond says more about us than it does about them. As others harm themselves we need not today...
AA Daily Reflections ~ "I was an exception... He [Bill W.] said to me, gently and simply, “Do you think that you are one of us?”[Big book]
During my drinking life I was convinced I was an exception. I thought I was beyond petty requirements and had the right to be excused. I never realized that the dark counterbalance of my attitude was the constant feeling that I did not “belong.” At first, in A.A., I identified with others only as an alcoholic. What a wonderful awakening for me it has been to realize that, if human beings were doing the best they could, then so was I! All of the pains, confusions and joys they feel are not exceptional, but part of my life, just as much as anybody’s"
September 23 2007
DonInLondon - ‘Day In The Life’ Truth Is In The Eye Of The Beholder
Truth, that elixir of righteousness, a hard commodity to pin down in our own heads let alone anyone else. How do we define the truth, and is there something in this which is about being right or wrong? So often we have truth in our heads which we know, yet others are unaware of our truth. We choose not to share, never to divulge and never admit to our deep thoughts and feelings. It’s our loss when we don’t do this, we put the world on notice, we are in control and we choose to share our truth just enough so you can fit with what we want and what we need.
A story written over and over as we refine our gift, our gift of truth to each other. Our darker and deep thoughts, driven by our feelings we cannot reveal, or maybe the loss of power, control and maybe loss of fealty. We don’t wish to let others know what we do, what we aspire to, what we want.
Collectors of Hearts and Minds
If we share enough we beguile and hold others in our sway, our influence on a false premise that we are right to keep safe our truth and not share completely we are undone, as we manipulate. We play the old games we have learned to keep up a brave face, a belief we can be as we are, often duplicitous with no one but ourselves. And the truth is lost as we vouchsafe our affection and love with no one, not even ourselves. We cannot admit to our truth as we are lost in the game and have no recollection why things are the way they are today.
A regular at fellowship meetings, I had no clue what to expect at the old curiosity shop, better known to fellowship people like me as the ‘Response Book Shop.’ It always draws me in and I cannot understand why it seems always to turn up odd feelings in me.
In my fellowship meetings, we have one who comes to share their experience, strength and hope. We listen, we hear a story of life turned upside down and inside out by addiction. We hear the words over and over from each other. We heed what we hear and we know in a day we can forget everything, find ourselves in the mire and in the gutter all over again. That is the power of addiction.
We don’t get converted to Saints in our fellowship, we realise the doors to old times and old behaviour are never firmly shut and locked down. We are like lemmings, ready to head back for more shame and humiliating defeats as we taste the taste of old ways.
And over recent times, I have realised the old ways of life, not unconnected with our worst days of addiction, they don’t go away, they are ready to emerge as if never left behind.
Darker Minds than Me?
There is nothing I don’t know in the dark shadows. The shadows which haunt and keep us locked in denial. The judgment we so readily make on others, we see in them our worst behaviour over the years, either thought or acted out.
We need know what we judge, and if we judge what we do not understand our foolish minds deny our discord and our ignorance. And sometimes our ignorance is simply because those we love and may hold close offer half the truth and then hide their shame in angry reposts. How dare I know their deep and their shame, how dare I explain without hindrance the exact nature of their doings. I have undone many a yarn and been left with stark truth, its horror and its beauty.
The Horrible Truth
No wonder we humans, so culpable to lies. So easy to chase the brave face we need to combat others knowing our real truth deep, deep down, only we can admit to in our dreams. And yet we dig into the deep and let it out where we may, and then the world judges what we share.
A far, far easier route for the deep we cannot reveal. We keep safe duplicity, we portray one way, live another inside where secrets reside and keep our hope alive, that one day we may be free to reveal this awful truth of humanity.
I want to tell you a secret.. I have lost my secrets somewhere? I am too kind to reveal yours for you may not like hearing what is revealed behind the mask of fealty. I don’t dig into your deep, as my truth keeps me far away, I see the lies and secrets, and half-truths and nothing much beneath beyond that lonely road to hell. Alone in the dark, the heart beats and the mind wonders what if, and maybe I.. ’can I dare tell the truth?’
Right and Wrong
There is no right, there is no wrong in this world? In many ways this is true, as we complicated beings see truth inside and not outside, where the world is wrong most of the time, and it is unfair to our fair minds. And we know we are more than all of this, yet we are enslaved and imprisoned in our perceptions and our desires.
Just to be
So often as we run at life in case we miss some element, the darker and more troubling obsessions kick inside and want their head. And some like me are better in oblivion as life offers little to make good the injustice in this world. Or so I thought.
Right And Wrong
Of course there is right and wrong, yet, what is right for you is wrong for me. I need not trouble your mind with my judgment and worse make you my unhappy friend in deeds kept secret from the outer world.
We need find a path of uncertain steps, revealing more with optimistic gaze and sober heads. Secrets keep us sick and unattractive to our fellows, and we forgive them all or we learn nothing but to hate this life, this very short life.
As I sat and listened and listened more, I accept my learners craft of ignorance and simplicity. Keep no secrets from those we love, and maybe we love humanity.. And still denials follow as hard words of truth may rasp and cut so deep we need never hear them ever again.
And love is prime, in our gift to all we encounter, best shared in truth and not in the deep of secret trysts within. Or we may find our love decay and never see the light as our fear hides our truth.
There is no right to wrong, and no wrong can be made good as secrets hold us to account and our silence screams inside, and no voice to speak...
September 23rd 2006
Oh Well - Fleetwood Mac
Yes Autumn is here and people have been coughing and snuffling around me, and yes thanks I have a cold too. And it really does impact without anything to combat it like a nice big toddy! It might have no impact on the germs, but it knocks out a person’s head so we don’t mind so much. Oh Well
"I can’t help about the shape I’m in
I can’t sing, I ain’t pretty and my legs are thin
But don’t ask me what I think of you
I might not give the answer that you want me to
Seems to me some things are beyond our power to control or influence. Just like old King Canute, trying to prove to the world that a title and status has as much influence over nature as a speck of dust. Nature rolls on where it will. And we roll along with it and have our lot.
Not bad or good, we just roll with hard knocks and softer moments as nature affords us. I was idle last night after coming back from my daily fellowship meeting, as the sore throat and cold are percolating nicely inside me. A really good evening in some ways hearing a new share, seeing an old mate who’s been working in Italy for a couple of years…
I hope I get my act together this morning and make it to the early meeting, I need to keep moving, as everything has seized up. It is dreadful and all my blood sugars are potty as well. Still had a load of vitamin C in two pills to help and an ibuprofen for the pain, plus some insulin to keep the sugar level down. Its 10.4! Not so good.
Old times and New Times
In olden days this was a recipe for plenty of drink and a day in bed. Today it’s different. I know I need to keep fluids up with water, keep ventilated and do good things rather bad things. It’s just what ordinary people do, and I am becoming ordinary!
When "they" said that I was on the road, following a programme back to life, the fellowship being a "bridge to modern living". I had no idea I had to be build the blasted bridge as well. Smiles here I have come back from a turgid existence to get this far, and that certainly has a miraculous feel to it.
Paxman and God
Paxman was on News night late, with a bloke called Professor Dawkins last night talking about God and whether he is real or not. It was interesting to me as my fellowship is quite integrated with spiritual enlightenment. And it was good to hear a spiritual person sharing in their disbelief in God, a professor no less, the Dawkins chap.
For me, the professor sort of summed up my feelings, that being the Einstein theory of purpose behind the Universe. There is a purpose and a sort of spiritual connection we have with nature which is not about there being a God at all. But we need not disprove or prove it. We will find out soon enough.
And the good news about this? Is we need not debate whether there is one or not, as mankind has conscience. That is a conscience to determine the good in life and nature and what we may do as a consequence of "good conscience".
Seems pretty ok to me
So we can believe if we find it helps us find context and meaning to our lives, and we can be disbelieving and still have our spiritual experience as determined by the ancient texts and teachings of all major religions. And we cannot act in bad faith with our good conscience and feel we can get away with it. And wrong doing is not then judged by something we believe in, it is judged by our peers, right here and right now. And that’s all to the good, because all those who would cause mayhem and war, they cannot be made whole or forgiven by something we cannot see, they answer to us and history. A jolly good thing. And this applies to me too.
This helps me and my confidence in the rightness of my spiritual path, the connection to this life and today. It helps me gain confidence in all my activities, keeps me working on my esteem and redemption to an extent. It’s all about now. This day and this moment, and making good choices.
So I choose to work with known abilities and capacity, and be confident in doing the right thing!
"Now, when I talked to God I knew he’d understand
He said, stick by my side and I’ll be your guiding hand
But don’t ask me what I think of you
I might not give the answer that you want me to
As Paxman, Fleetwood Mac and the honourable Professor might surmise or not. It’s what we do, and how we do it, it is a faith thing in good conscience, our spirit of right which moves us along. And as for the "God of our understanding", should there be that personal connection? It needs no debate to make this world work, it needs good conscience and being held to account for the consequences of what we do. And the judgment determined in good conscience of mankind, in the here and now which holds us to account. Any life beyond this one is ethereal and metaphysic, a constant wondering in a fearful soul, and most likely one with something to hide.
So esteem and confidence come from our account to the good, and working with what we have, as in my case somewhat diminished and full of cold this chilly Saturday morning…
As for me, I’ll get up, and travel a well-worn path to a meeting and see I keep connected to the here and now, as is our only need. Sometimes as hard to do as breathing, and that can be as difficult as anything we encounter in life.
Acceptance is the key…
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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