September 24 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 9 Amends In Action Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "daily vigilance and acceptance…" The good, the bad and the ugly of life all happen in any given day and I do feel it necessary for myself to be vigilant and accept that my emotional and spiritual condition is dependent on maintaining my sobriety one day at a time…
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The twenty-four hour program, the principles of the twelve steps and twelve traditions becomes a way of life. I do acknowledge step one, powerless over alcohol, and I also include in my meditations powerless over people, places and things. And if I forget about powerlessness over other people places and things and alcohol, that life will get unmanageable very quickly as my thinking brain wants to impose my views, my attitudes and my behaviour on the world. Same as everyone else I still have a voice, and freedom to choose what is right for me and what is wrong for me on a daily basis…
Next in my meditations after step one, is step two: if I go backwards in my thinking, going back to old ways of feeling I need control and try make things as they were before, I will undermine my own recovery. If I step back, and try do it in the same old same old way, my expectations that old ways of life will work will take away my sanity quite quickly. New ways, new freedom, experiencing emotional and spiritual well-being is on offer contingent on vigilance and acceptance as a starting point for each new day…
And then step three is a meditation in itself. And at any time of day trying to impose my will on the world will probably give me a headache, as much as other people can give me a headache when they express their views and outlooks as truth. I need let go trying to change anything in other people, that is their job. When I let go thinking I know best, and open up the debate about what is important, I get feedback from others, the feedback can be equally good, bad and ugly. Knowing where people are in their thinking and in the feeling and what they express helps me determine whether I am with the right people in the right place doing the right things…
Being with the wrong people, doing the wrong things which are inappropriate for me, and being in the wrong places can be a very tough way to live. People with awful attitudes and behaviour, at work or in the community will rob me of serenity and put me on a treadmill I don't want. Even though I might wish the world different as if I could change these people, it does not work like that. I can change me, I can change you I choose to associate with in work and career, and in the community. Sometimes an abrupt change is required to let go, sometimes we can find a way to transition smoothly, either way I prefer to keep my sanity and move on, or my spiritual and emotional wellbeing will evaporate on any given day…
Having experienced my own self prejudice and the stigma I attached to my alcoholism, I know the insipid horrors of judgement and violent outbursts full of prejudice. Condemnation of a person, a community and a society is bad enough when it cannot possibly be true. And in recovery when I encounter these situations, of utter prejudice based on hearsay, half-truths which suggest things are true when they are not, I can feel the power of anger and resentment expressed which really violates my sense of well-being. Sometimes we can confront and challenge, but for the hearts truly struck in any prejudice we are powerless. And I have to move on and let go, hope that time and society can heal if healing is desired… Belief and opinion is not truth, truth usually can be found in the moment of now…
Two politicians in the past week have made significant history and have tried to make amends. One is the Deputy Prime Minister, who has said sorry, and another is the compliance officer for the Conservative party. One said sorry because a promise made cannot be kept. And the other said he was sorry for abusing some policeman for not opening the gates of the road so he could take his bicycle through and then being inconvenienced having to use a small gate… And as we know, when it comes to amends it is not the intent that we are judged on, it is the consequent actions that follow on which we are all judged. The apologies and the amends will follow in their actions, "hope springs eternal…"
Between 2007 and 2008, a world banking crisis had to be underwritten because the bankers got it wrong. The world banking crisis continues to be paid for by everyone. The banks are commercial enterprises and not controlled by governments. There are banking regulations which have been breached many times by the banking enterprises. Governments failed to regulate and ensure the rule of law in the financial services system. The soft hand of regulation and light touch to ensure efficiency and profit failed. Every politician in power at the time, and in opposition should have been aware and should have done something to rectify flagrant breaches of regulations and others involved in fraud and gross misconduct. We seem to have a politically disabled class across the board. Intentions may be applauded, yet the actions and remedies fall far short of the mark imposing hurt and misery on global populations for many years to come… Unless they choose to really do something about it?
It is a strange feeling, for years my intellect informed me how much I understood the diagnosis of anxiety and depression, kept on wearing my brave face and was lost in self-analysis for a long time. I am me with multi diagnosis conditions. Accepting me as me helped a great deal, without measures and without needing to be self-combative or self-critical and then no self-justification...
And now I know I cannot control my feelings, I can ask myself "how am I feeling" "why" and "what to do." Whatever my feelings are, I can then deal with today as it is, not as I imagine it is supposed to be, or how I am supposed to be today. And there are good, bad and indifferent days. This morning I felt great physical pain, and emotional feelings? Pacing myself physically, so I don't push myself into frustration and a downward spiral. Powerless over "black dog," try for inclusion as the cycle moves along and can then find inclusion with people as and when...
Vigilance and hope in recovery becomes second nature as we practice the steps and traditions in our living today. We do not fear alcohol; we do not seek it out. Experience in our fellowship where every day a newcomer reminds us of our old past times, sober we feel everything, faith and courage develop and we have esteem living in this one day, today
“Lest we forget:” a favourite group for me in recovery fellowship. Denial is always close to hand, at the same time the good old days of drinking are less of a memory, and the bad old days of alcoholism are etched deep into my psyche. The odd nightmare serves and keeps me vigilant as I live reality, spiritually and with feeling today...
AA Daily Reflections ~ "Vigilance... we have seen the truth demonstrated again and again: “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.” Commencing to drink after a period of sobriety, we are in a short time as bad as ever. If we are planning to stop drinking, there must be no reservation of any kind, or any lurking notion that someday we will be immune to alcohol. [Big book]
Today I am an alcoholic. Tomorrow will be no different. My alcoholism lives within me now and forever. I must never forget what I am. Alcohol will surely kill me if I fail to recognize and acknowledge my disease on a daily basis. I am not playing a game in which a loss is a temporary setback. I am dealing with my disease, for which there is no cure, only daily acceptance and vigilance."
September 24 2007
DonInLondon - ‘Day in the Life’ A Matter of Life and more Life
Grief is Profound
How we feel about grief, or feeling grief is as profound as love, to love and lose it hurts us emotionally physically and spiritually. We are not good with extremes. Somewhere in the middle of the two we spend most our time and so we don’t understand and cannot deal with love found and love lost. When we find our love and lose it, we find denial will help as we get along with our differing states.
This is just my experience over the years. To have been in love and to have lost love. The emotions full flow, the feelings as overpowering as any we may experience. And so we learn as life is lived.
The ache as love is felt and lost, the hard news of reality, still flows as others come in and out of our lives. Love is as it can be and we feel even though sometimes we would want to deny it, to let it go as harmful and as wonderful it can be.
I guess for me, I am no different to any. I have no monopoly on understand these dark and light times. We all have them and sometimes we cannot cope either way in the moment of the events, we need time to adjust ourselves to love. To be that vulnerable we can have our hearts mended and hearts broken by love. Profound and powerless we are over feelings as they occur in us.
Feelings come first, thinking makes sense of our feelings. Time and again we will use our thinking to master our feelings, and find we cannot. We let go our loves sometimes as we know the deep of the pain, and will not engage in case we find that heartbreak again.
Feelings are our raw material for happiness, and our raw material for sorrow beyond words.
We help ourselves as we express what we feel. Yet we suppress our feelings and would deny them as often. it’s the same for everyone as how we are, vulnerable and overwhelmed by love at the extremes of life and no life. We need not feel so happy or sad in the turn of a moment. Loss grips like a vice on a broken heart.
This is not me Today
It could be, for there are those I love without doubt and their loss would hit as hard as any physical blow and still recover.
We help our family and friends and even strangers through these times. And it’s something we do. We are human after all, unless our experience turns our nature another way.
I need help as time enables and my heart can hold to understanding and sharing and expression. This part of my day today.
September 24th 2006
Looking Outwards as well Inwards
Confidence and Esteem
Sometimes when I write every day I realise it may seem there is a high degree of self-analysis going on. And it’s true, anyone following a new way of life does need to keep an eye on what they do and where they are going. The feeling of making progress day by day is intrinsic and important.
And it is important to keep a lookout for what is going on in the world too, looking outwards towards family, friends and society, and anything which is outwards looking.
Which is why my writing is not just about me! Or I would be a boring and self-obsessed foolish person. Just a part of what interests me in general comes through in this blog/daily philosophising and doings entry.
Much of my life is focussed on helping others and seeing the world as it is and making some sense of what often is so big (the world), it can be overwhelming and completely nonsensical.
Writing here is about me and without that self-awareness, I would be unable to make any headway at all looking out there to the bigger context of living just this one day at a time.
Feelings - being self-aware and aware of others
Assertiveness and Empathy
Feelings are what our lives are all about and we are the worst at describing them and living them. Somehow we seem to become worried about what and when we feel, and we have become masterful in hiding and masking our true feelings a lot of the time. This is a lot of wasted energy, hiding and being obsessed with how we show up to other humans we are better served being ourselves and allowing others to express their feelings too.
My daily Maintenance
From old friends and other times (Rosemary and Philip) I ask some basics of me. When I wake up, How am I feeling, why do I feel this way and what can I do about it? Three simple questions give me a surprise every day.
If I know how I feel when I get up, why I feel this way, and what can I do to keep it that way or change how I feel. Well this is good to do, it takes practice daily to understand what my feelings are. Simply because we are told we must never show some of our feelings, which some consider bad or unhelpful.
We all have them, the good ones and bad ones. We must utilise our feelings to help us sort out our daily life, or we just get frustrated and so depressed we cannot be ourselves! Try asking, How do I feel, why and what I need do!
That is assertive behaviour to discover my feelings and what to do.
We look outwards - Empathy
We don’t all live in isolation, although we do sometimes in our heads! When we know our feelings about the day, we can share them with others and get support when we need it. We can get empathy with others.
When we are with others, family friends and people in general, we can share how we are with care and with due consideration. And we can ask others how are they feeling today, why and is there anything we can do together to move life along amicably. This is empathy.
So if we ask each other, when we are with others, how are we feeling, why, and what can we do, to cooperate and get on together, we work on creating empathy and joint actions to make living work.
Feelings Assertive (me) Feelings (we) Empathy
How I, you, we feel is something we need practice, because in our society we are pretty rubbish at telling each other the truth. Why? Because we worry about our shortcomings, we worry how we might look if we show our feelings. We are pretty messed up by brave faces and pretend friendships and team stuff we have rammed down our throats at work. And we are sceptical and not trusting.
Showing my true feelings used to be so hard, I drank myself stupid to avoid my own feelings and the feelings of others. And as a professional in the field of feelings, you must wonder why I found it so hard. Simple, I did not like me or what I did much, I never knew who or where I was going. And through all this I got to be expert at being whatever you wanted me to be, because then you might like me.
A chronic and long lasting condition. Half the world like me goes around pleasing others and forgetting ourselves, the other half go around using others and pleasing themselves. There is shame and guilt in all this, which is why one half don’t know the other half, and as is often said, "you don’t know the half of it!"
Getting on - Assertive & Empathy
If I ask myself, How I feel, why and what can I do, I know half the story, when we ask ourselves how are we feeling and what can we do, we stand a better chance of getting on together and understanding each other. Assertive, singular and empathy together! We make progress. And it takes these simple exercises time to work as we find ourselves nearer to truths we fear. Open and honest and willing, try it and see. It takes time and practice. At least these days I am better at it and get on knowing I am more on track than guessing and assuming life is ok when in fact it’s pretty much screwed up because I don’t know or we don’t know what the other half feel.
We all have them, the good feelings and the ones we are scared of, the bad ones we are taught to hide. We are better knowing we have them and finding ways to share them daily, so they are used as nature intended, to make our lives work as we assert, and have empathy for those around us and ourselves.
Now that is a tall order!
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
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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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