September 7 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 9 Amends In Action Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "amends, historical amends and amends today…" Making amends is not a negotiation with the person we have harmed to elicit forgiveness in any way. Making the amends is about accepting the truth of what we did, the hurt we caused and making restitution for what we did and what we are doing today. Keeping our side of the Street clean, not imposing our cleaning regime on others…
Video For Today:
Amends are truly difficult which is why the twelve steps and the twelve traditions and understanding how to practice these principles day by day becomes so important. We intend through action and deed to be open, honest and willing in how we live and conduct ourselves today. Within fellowship we learn about the principles of unity, service and recovery and we work together. Bringing these principles into our daily living is truly the living amend one day at a time…
A few years ago a partner of mine had a moment of clarity about their conduct toward me. I had an email which just read, "Will you forgive me for what I did?" Immediately I replied, "yes I have forgiven you and have forgiven you for many years, and do you forgive me?" The answer was yes, and it made me happy and sad at the same time, I don't know why it took so long, nearly 20 years to a place of acceptance. I think we tried to mend the bridges, and accept where we were, separate and different even though the love was still there, we could not turn the clock back…
Step nine and the amends without doing further harm. Harm and hurt come in many forms, loss, dreaming of the past and the possibility of emotional repairs and better outcomes. Consequences though, changes in outlook and how to live life mean sometimes that we make the amend, and there is no peacefulness until we truly accept where life is today. Painful memories can become cherishing memories rather than punishing hurts. Emotional mending and running repairs are always in the spiritual reality, the spiritual reality is coping with life as it is and not burdening either ourselves or others with the past. Loving and letting go, passion and cherishing those around us is key day by day…
When anyone steps away from us, it is their choice to make those steps. And at the same time part of the amends to ourselves is saying its okay when we as individuals need to let go and move on even though we may cherish and love unconditionally. Life is much more understandable if we live in the present moment, can see the truth, can communicate openly with people around us, and listen to everything we hear and check out the truth. A reality check is always about now, better to be worked out with help around us and asking for help when we need it. That is part of the amend, to ourselves when we realise it is not about me, it is about us! A difficult situation when the passion of either romance or finance puts the pressure on feelings in the moment of now…
September 2005 ~ 2011
DonInLondon: As we move along in recovery, the temptation to keep volunteering may be deep rooted. Spiritual progress might be not volunteering so others can take up scarce service positions? Same old, same old can block, stifle and hinder the health of individuals and the fellowship. When I feel the fellowship is changing and is not what it used to be, I am thankful that recovery is healthy, changing and keeping me on my sober toes today...
Stick with the winners... A winner in one meeting may seem like a loser in another, a lot like looking in the mirror for me. Progress today, not filling the emptiness with fear, simply having courage and faith that I need space to grow...
Our side of the street clean, our conduct and our behaviour change... Twelve step fellowships provide us with the tool kit to see how we were in the past and how we are today. Twelve steps to appraise ourselves and make changes to us, not to judge others or change others or we will go mad again and again...
Alcohol the rapacious creditor: my best friend, a love affair? If it was not alcohol it would be anything, people, places things, collecting always to fill the gap inside. And still the gnawing emptiness with every success, whatever I thought it to be. Not so now, learning to love; be loved and useful, just for today...
AA Daily Reflections ~ ""our side of the street" we are there to sweep off our side of the street, realizing that nothing worthwhile can be accomplished until we do so, never trying to tell him what he should do. His faults are not discussed. We stick to our own. [big book]
I made amends to my dad after I quit drinking. My words fell on deaf ears since I had blamed him for my troubles. Several months later I made amends to my dad again. This time I wrote a letter in which I did not blame him nor mention his faults. It worked, and at last I understood! My side of the street is all that I'm responsible for and thanks to God [and or good conscience, truth, love and wisdom learned from those around me] and A.A., my side of the street is clean for today."
September 7 2007
DonInLondon - ‘Day In The Life’ Traditions can help me
Yesterday another good day, sorting things out and this morning an appointment at 11:00 AM with my GP. Things have been reasonable on the emotional front this last few weeks. With the upheaval of moving, and loss of a friend, its been a completely understandable run of feelings and up’s and downs.
I do keep an eye open for signs of the dark times which can hit for no good reason. Clinical depression has no respect for me or times I face. It comes and goes as it will, not to my will. I realise the last few months have held me to day to day, not projecting and not worrying about life and the detail. Overall I feel able to tell my GP that life has meandered and been as ok it can be with big things happening.
Last Night - A chair to do on Tradition 9
For those tuning into my blog, ‘doing a chair’ is about me speaking and others listening to my experience, strength and hope as a recovering alcoholic. I mention I am recovering and will never recover. What seems like a sentence to life, is actually just that, a sentence to living soberly, one day at a time for the rest of my natural life…
Tradition 9 or is it sedition 9?
“Nine-A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.”
Some find our AA traditions boring, its about what holds the fellowship together as a fellowship and not some organisation or cult.
Tradition nine for me is all about freedom from others telling me what to do, its about living and breathing as an individual, allowing myself to grow as a person with freedom of choice and not stuck with my head in confusion, ego driven and arrogant. it’s the freedom to be myself in sober company.
Rebel without a Cause
That great film, the detail of which escapes me. Its all about being free, and as the film went along self destruction is often the outcome when we challenge and make ourselves the rulers of our destiny, without of course letting anyone tell us what to do.
“ The most important person that walks into a group of Alcoholics Anonymous, is the newcomer, without him we may surely die as an individual and as a whole. If we try to organize him, he will flee, after all his life is already unmanageable.
How then can we structure him into becoming a recovering AA who will be responsible for reaching out to the still suffering alcoholic”
I read this tradition when I was living in a mental institution, better known as a rehab. In the rehab, my will and remnants of reason were being challenged on a daily basis. The rehab designed to break me down, the outcome was an enraged me, who left as mad as hell after a few months, self discharging and ending up answering the streets a while.
We are rebels with causes and without causes. We hate the idea of our choice being taken away. Yet with all this rebellious stuff going on, we find a path to peace and serenity.
As I explained last night, my nature and nurture made me want my freedom. My outlook was to fight and keep fighting for what was right and just. And in that pain I fought valiantly and let alcohol obliterate failure and frustration. Not so unusual I find today.
Tradition 9 kept me in the AA programme rather than be told, I got suggestion on how to live sober. How to be just me, without drink to make me end my days in hate and rage.
Hate and Rage
Where are these emotions today? Lost it seems as useless to me now. Feelings and reason seem more helpful as my head has quietened long enough for me to listen to wisdom.
Wisdom and Claptrap
Fellowship means we are human. There is much wisdom in AA about how to find our personal path in recovery. What we also know that as there is wisdom in AA, being full of humans learning to how to live again, there is much claptrap too. I was full of claptrap from years of misery and years of sadness. Not nice to admit, but true all the same.
As the Rebel mellowed. Me that is..
I have mellowed and whilst much I rebelled about needed sedition and rebellion, I made a difference here and there. But as with all things which require bravery, not many go the distance and we rebels get old and weary and accept better times are had in the muddle of progress and not perfection.
Tradition 9, it made me see the way to live in this grey morass of life. That we can do so much. And the best bit of tradition nine is taking what works in fellowship and letting others have as much claptrap as me!
Last night was topped off with me going to see my sister, who is remarkable, she has courage and faith and confidence, more than she may recognise. And dealing with the loss of her partner, she is truly a woman of great courage. I go see and be there as feels ok. And when I am not needed am away as quickly as appropriate. We need to grieve our own way and having someone to share the stories of recent times is absolutely helpful to both of us.
This morning, I am relaxed about my daily chores and much to do about sorting how to live these next few weeks without some basics. But its ok today.
Last night I shared all about tradition 9, it’s a part of my philosophy today, making my choices with wisdom learned and acceptance around powerlessness over people places and things.
Like Moses and parting the seas of time, like Canute and his waves, we are not Gods, we are mere mortals living to truth we find as we keep our eyes open and our minds clear. Just for a day…
September 7th 2006 [ all about last year]
You Are My Best Friend
Hi KT, well it seems we both have to face the same trials day by day. Smiles well, nearly the same. I don’t have an eighteen year old to contend with, and how that might make me feel, but I do know what you mean!
That thing in us about our best friend in life, the Queen lyrics popped straight into my head as I read your post. Some things in life are free (that‘s the Beatles again!), and advice ain’t one of them so when I write I sort of sharpen things towards me and my experiences. So please be assured I never forget the impact for others sharing with me about their stuff.
I guess with our fellowship traditions, anonymity and everything I ever learned in my counselling career days make me wary of how we might help others. And oddly the first step of the fellowship programme is so important. That we are powerless over people, places and things. Once we take out our control and power, approach supporting others in an equal way, we stop the caretaking and help people with their choices and their own next steps.
This helps us, it does not stop us feeling the memories and the reminders of our own behaviour with our best friend at the end of our drinking days. After all its our best friend in our darkest days we let go, our friend in the bottle. And it makes us live, and, "You're my best friend. You're the first one, When things turn out bad, You know I'll never be lonely, You're my only one." And the memories never leave us as we get sober, not just physically, but emotionally sober too.
So when these days occur when we get one day forward, then another backward, the emotional power of how others are dealing with their demon best friend hit home so hard we are exhausted, shamed yet again in some ways and the guilt and remorse can be relentless, till we get our own feet back on the ground and feel the relief and freedom from our old memories.
How can it be
Odd KT don’t you think? That as we keep our sober days going, we do experience so many similar situations. I guess the things we are learning over and over in our fellowship are so common its never really a surprise we find similarities, even though I have never met or seen you. That we are in a fellowship which helps us sift through life experience and make a choices daily how we live, well its no wonder we walk the same path, and this path of sobriety keeps us sensitive to our own life and the lives of everyone we hold close.
Your day and my day were very similar
I have no kids myself, which is not a regret, just for today! Or someone walking into a meeting spangled, especially a meeting all about our feelings, its inevitable we get similar experiences and spend time helping our nearest and dearest and people we know. Its part of our nature to help and support and "very fellowship."
A call from my friend
As I mentioned yesterday, I had been half, no more than half expecting a call from my friend. And just after posting my missive to the BBC here, she rang me. I was on the phone with my Mum, we still maintain our morning call so she knows I am OK with all the usual tests I do and have taken my medication/insulin. We have a chat about this and that. And I am getting the benefit of hearing how she is doing with her ailments and her torn ligament. We benefit greatly from this. We are lucky to be good friends as well as related! And my Mum has decades of spiritual endeavour which helps me with my perspective on life. Now it does, but there were years when I could not hear her or any friend but one, the one in the bottle.
My very human friend, well we have known each other a while. And we get on fine most of the time. And for lots of reasons we were very cautious of each other, she is many years sober and I am still relatively new to sobriety. Several years trying to stop and only a few in recovery. So we know there is a difference in our overall sober living, and I feel younger in some ways although she is younger than me. Anyway, the boy, girl thing, closeness and uncertainty and all the usual we get with intimacy made us go a bit weird on each other. The result was we were never quite on the same page of life for a while. And finally yesterday we got to find the same page and stop the weirdness, have a truthful conversation and establish our friendship boundaries all over again. Very necessary and very difficult when our feelings have gone all over and our inclinations have never been to move the relationship into clear and defined "just friends" because we sort of blurred boundaries. Our motives? Not the same, our outcomes, a dogs breakfast for a while.
And at last we can be friends "proper" with right boundaries and right sized and equal, a testament to her patience and my sobriety. So a win for us both, as long as we respect and keep the friendship in place properly. And this will no doubt be a day at a time or whenever we are in company. Time will tell and we are both clear a day at a time. Only took a year or so, so no biggy? Pah, of course it was!
Message in a Bottle
Rather than a year, a day has passed since I wrote my note, or blog… Odd again as we strive to make our days work, so many things impact on us and makes us feel everything in life.
We humans have lots going on day to day, and we forget everything we do makes us feel. We are lost in our daily routines and stuff, we do things we forget we have done. We just get on, and don’t put all the effort we might into sussing out our true feelings especially when we are bedevilled by living and what it offers.
Into every day we have, we have reminders of old times and we can be busy getting on with routine at work or home, and our minds are completely stretched out in a lifetime of memories. Especially ones which either have joy, or sadness.
I was on the phone till the early hours this morning
Sometimes we get a whole day where we are reminded over and over, by friends and people we meet, of the calamities and joys of life. Like the person who drinks to forget, drinks to celebrate, we were once that person. And then as we start on the road to a rock bottom, our best friend bites us on the bum, and we won’t or cannot give it up.
After resolving my own friendship and clearly, we have great fondness and love for one another, not of the romantic type we really know now. I felt really good and at peace. For about an hour! And then, the world happens..
I had popped out to try find a plug adapter, and was assailed by a row in the street, vehement and distracting, and not without the influence of that friend in a bottle. Made me realise how unreasonable that friend makes us.
I did not get far, and turned back home, my head was filling up with negativity, the world was definitely off kilter yesterday as it was muggy and people were not happy. I stayed close to home and let the "old dogs barking" rest a while.
Last nights meeting
I went to the new venue for Wednesdays and as luck would have it, bumped into a friend of the person I had a few words with the other day. Although it had been resolved in my own head, I was pleased to hear the issue had been resolved in theirs too, we had both been right in our own way, and the need to be so forthright in our positions had now been forgotten and mended. So a little thing had remained just that.
As we know though, its often the small and seemingly unrelated incident that tips us over into bad recollections and in search of our old friend in the bottle. And then we are lost. So even the small stuff I tend to sweat about, and am learning to make myself right in sizing my dilemmas as I go. In a long time I felt, just for today I have all things at peace and there is harmony, apart from my "dogs".
Same faces, different places
How many hundreds of recovering people do I know? I have no idea. But same faces, and a few new ones were around last night. And our chair speaker last night I know well enough to listen to with great care. And they were remarkable in their honesty, sobriety and the fact that they were facing the toughest time in their many years of being sober.
Being sober, it helps us get on with living life well. Sobriety offers no immunity from pain and suffering, and it offers the one gift we can value most of all. It offers us the opportunity to really experience life, every nuance and every brickbat, to their full or discreet degree.
And my goodness as our speaker shared, it was straight into deepest hurt territory about relationships and partners. It took me back to where I had been many years back with the love of my life then, and how we had to part. My love back then, and just all these years later, we have resolved our understanding of events. She now lives in another country with her children, and her life is so far different from mine, the time between and journey’s travelled has set our differences and outlooks so solid, we have little if anything in common now. Providence it may have been, the hurt and magnitude felt by me, well the only solace was to my friend in a bottle for a long, long time. I could not and had not the tools to help or fix myself or her and why we parted. Actually I give the game away there. I had realised even before we parted that her journey was away from me and I was powerless over this, even love would not conquer and certainly not me.
We don’t choose who we fall in love with ever
Or do we? I really don’t know, but what I do know is we never have control of our feelings for others or how we feel for ourselves when love is thick inside us. Love is what it is. And the outcomes are not always easy, if ever.
Until we see the truth. And we can deny truth forever.
So what our speaker evoked in me, was a sad memory of my powerlessness and the outcome which followed, the years of grief and my inability to get to the real truth and move on. Love blinds us? Well it did me for many a year. What I heard and here is the difference, that in all this heady mixture of living with love and those we love, we need only make our part the right size in it.
As I listened, I heard so much wisdom, about honouring love, honouring intent and in this case a life long commitment, and at the same time creating enough space to help a partner make good choices in their life, do their own healing and then hopefully be happy in togetherness. And it was good to hear. I also saw with clarity, why my relationship had foundered and how my part played and my partners part played and ended up in us living apart. It was inevitable and now acceptance so recently made by me, was endorsed.
Sometimes we can love people who are no longer in our lives, and still get on with our own. Honouring our feelings and separate paths is possible, once we get to the reality of how life is, and not what we would will it to be. Powerless I was, and still am, love is not about power, its connection and endearment and freedom of choices and outcomes together or as happenstance has it, apart.
So with all this stuff inside and outside my fellowship it was a day really with a lot of completion for me. And also realising all over again that grief is not just for dead people, its especially going on for those we have lost along the way and still are living somewhere out there.
We forget so easily as we suppress a lot of our sadness, our anger and often our rage daily, just how upset we have been and really are over people, places and things in our life.
And the phone call last night had much to do with grief
I shared my losses and acceptance of reality last night and had great empathy for our chair person. So did everyone else, we really got down to human stuff and feelings and worked through really upsetting times. And especially how we were working on today, just this day which really matters, and working our grief through as we may. In doing this we let go, don’t forget, especially honour our love of love’s gone by and make room for ourselves and new beginnings and new love. We only do this by working through it and sharing, its blinking hard and hurtful and very necessary sometimes. Or its bottled up in us, or on a shelf waiting for us!
So last night was a long chat on the phone with a friend, another one! Just recently broken up with their most significant partner to date and still raw from it.
Its odd really for me, I have much experience of grief, like everyone I guess who has been around the block. It was close to one this morning before I got to bed. And was up again just before five.
What I know
Yes, lucky for me in my life, has been a world class education on what grief is, how to deal with grief and experience what grieving means. So in many ways I feel I have been helpful to my friends either in meeting and over the phone. A long, long day indeed.
And what about me? In all this I am glad my best female friend and I are on good terms and smiles, best of friends. She is happy and journeying away, and me too. We get on and get busy with living and moving along, rubbing shoulders from time to time as we shall keep our friendship to the good.
And my grief. A bit like you KT, some things keep flooding back in to remind me often. And I know the grief process never ends for memories merely fade and we don‘t actually forget. We never really complete until we are ready and have moved on. Grieving properly, so necessary to esteem and well being is in improving our understanding and connection to the day, honouring the past and having room for a future.
Avoidance and suppression
There is a phrase I heard yesterday, "to rise above it all." Actually if we do rise above it, whatever the "it" is, we are most likely putting into storage a whole lot of feelings we are taught to ignore because we are strong and stoic types. This really is denial, and what we know KT is denial makes us weak and incomplete and most definitely vulnerable to our old passion.
And you know as songs go, ‘Walked out this morning, don’t believe what I saw
Hundred billion bottles washed up on the shore, Seems I’m not alone at being alone, Hundred billion castaways, looking for a home.’ We are lucky we have a fellowship of men and women, learning and putting their endeavour into connection, truth, honesty and willingness to make life work a day at a time.
Indeed we are not alone in our feelings. We are of nature and our feelings all work the same, we just need get in touch and sort them out as we go. Easy? Its never easy.
How am I feeling?
Blimey, I just checked my blood sugar, its 4.0, so porridge as soon as. And no insulin. No wonder I’m feeling weird and knackered, 4.0 is really not good and on the verge of danger…. I just had some orange juice to help, I realise now why I was starting to get the shakes, early signs of a hypo.
I will be ok, and the hypo feelings will subside.
As important, I feel ok in my own powerlessness over people, places and things. I know if I ever succumb to that first drink, my acceptance will start over on so many things and I need not do that. That I am kept in reasonable nick with health support. And my esteem gets right sized by fellowship and contact with friends.
I also know yesterday was too much in one day and my head is thick with too much information. And too much giving out. It means today will be vague and difficult, and the near ‘hypo’ situation is stress related. Good job I don’t do counselling as a profession anymore, it would surely do for me. Being me and ordinary, and just the size of any other person is my place of peace and harmony, not big, not small, just the same size we all are, human size!
p.s. One thing I know more than any other, is life will always throw us what we can deal with, when we are working on it. When we let things slide or if think we rise above it, we put off inevitable shocks we have sustained and ignored. No one is immune to life, even when someone is serene in their demeanour, they worked life so it is serene, for that moment. Everything moves and serenity is a daily challenge as is peace and harmony, without experiencing the opposites we would be incomplete. One size is all, human size…
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