September 8 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 9 Amends In Action Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "understanding isolation, solitude, inclusion and exclusion…" Isolated and excluded! In my final days before recovery I was isolated and excluded, and I was excluding the solution to all the problems I had. If I had not been able to get out of the problem myself, who won Earth could help me? And then the crack in my armour, it could get no worse and I did not know what to do… I picked up the phone and said I needed help, and the world came flooding in with answers from all directions…
Video For Today:
Asking for help is an act of humility and accepting that help is not only appropriate at any time, it can be vital and life-saving. Then comes the difficult part, staying alive long enough to be able to listen and hear the solutions which will work for us one day at a time. And in recovery, the more solutions we listen to the more likely it is we will find a path of solutions which will work for us. One persons solution will not fit all, likely the solution that works for me may only work in part for you. As there are as many people, that is the number of solutions open to be heard, tried out, adopted as a way forward and a new life growing one day at a time…
The emotional and spiritual journey of life: where we understand our feelings and we are able to cope with the moment of now and live reality. Each person on their own emotional and spiritual journey, an accumulation of everything and experience of reality as it is for each of us will be unique. We are so similar, and at the same time how we perceive and see the world is different because of how life has evolved for each of us. Close enough for us to relate, learn how to love, how to be loved back and useful in whatever manner evolves through time…
I heard this news recently… "In order to be sober, I must get down on my knees and pray. I must attend particular meetings of fellowship, I must only share when instructed, I must not share negative thoughts and feelings. I must ring my sponsor at 8:05 each morning and if I don't my sponsor will sack me. I must call two newcomers every morning. If I don't hand over my will and my life to my sponsors God I will die." The person asking me for a view on this regime felt undermined, had four years of recovery and was back after a relapse. My response was simply to ask if it were working for them and had they experienced anything which they preferred. They said they preferred normal Alcoholics Anonymous fellowship meetings, and the solution was found…
September 2005 ~ 2011
Today, life is beautiful! It is quite dark out, early morning, cloudy and early commuters buzzing about. Days like these sent shivers through me in times past, 6:00AM at the health club, work for 8:00 AM and home late evening. Drink to oblivion, pass out. Day after day... Now sober, each day is different. I can say yes, and I can say no. Today fear is less; no brave face and no ego. Enough courage, faith and confidence to be me for today...
This day last year: a lot of anxiety fuelling fear, anger and resentment. I felt isolated and alone with no help. It made me feel very unwell. And when I look back it was me trying to do it all alone and not asking the right people for help. Just because was right did not help one bit. Letting go and asking the right people in the right places for help was torture. Organisations may say no to us, but yes to the right person in the right place with the right thing, that thing being power!
Why should I accept the unacceptable? A bit of a do today. I live as a tenant in a very comfortable flat, yet the management organisation for the Landlord are making my life difficult. Ineffective, inefficient: and totally unacceptable to anyone with half a brain. Yet I keep my cool and persist with generosity of heart. Actually I felt really ill this morning, as resentments were looming. And I know my expectations are resentments under construction. Resentments lead to step tens and my part in matters. Let go and let those with the power do something. So I have exercised my power and voiced my feelings and observations as I see the situation, I then let go and let those with power and authority deal with it. If they can they will, if they cannot, they are in the same place as me, powerless over people places and the things which are not possible.
I have spoken to two people about this, who are not involved and we have smiled and seen the up side as well as the down side. Will it kill me today? No, so let go and let go some more, or I get ego rising and everything goes mad in my head. And the god problem happens, I act as if I know best and I don't on my own.
So I need a fellowship meeting to still the mind, talk if I feel the need and today more likely to remember and simply listen to what others are saying and doing. By the time I go to bed tonight I need simply realise that people are doing the best they can with what they have, sometimes the best is their worst, just like me... Step nine and ten help me. Do no harm, forgive everything and be at peace with my world today...
Amends to self? As we live to good conscience and sober life improves on a personal level. We still encounter dishonest, unwilling and closed down ego driven people, just like we can be. Then we have to learn what to do when we feel we are asked to accept the unacceptable behaviour of others, walk away, confront, conflict today?
We ask for help; sharing what we had done, with the sanctuary of anonymity so we may find the truth of who we can be today. Amends to be made to those we had hurt and harmed by how we live and not doing further harm to others. Amends take many forms, not usually of our choosing as we live sober today...
AA Daily Reflections ~ "We asked his protection and care with complete abandon. [big book] I could not manage my life alone. I had tried that road and failed. My “ultimate sin” dragged me down to the lowest level I have ever reached and, unable even to function, I accepted the fact that I desperately needed help. I stopped fighting and surrendered entirely to God [and or good conscience, and living to truth, love and wisdom learned from those around me].Only then did I start growing! God [and or good conscience, truth, love and wisdom learned from those around me] forgave me. A Higher Power had to have saved me, because the doctors doubted that I would survive. I have forgiven myself now and I enjoy a freedom I have never before experienced. I’ve opened my heart and mind to Him. The more I learn, the less I know - a humbling fact - but I sincerely want to keep growing. I enjoy serenity, but only when I entrust my life totally to God [and or good conscience]. As long as I am honest with myself and ask for His help, I can maintain this rewarding existence. Just for today, I strive to live His will for me - soberly. I thank God that today I can choose not to drink. Today, life is beautiful!"
September 8 2007
DonInLondon - ’Day In the Life’ The good things in Life are Free
Is this true?
I do wonder tonight about the best things in life. I am wondering many things in truth. And actually I am becoming better equipped in life not knowing the answers, but really understanding the questions.
Somewhere in the middle of my living on this planet, I lost my sense of reality and my sense of identity. Its not unusual truthfully, so many of us do lose our way and end up looking for answers where there are none and the answers would yield nothing anyway.
This feels like a big issue and maybe it is. Who am I? And what is life all about?
The bigness of the Universe and the smallness of me. I guess we do want to know more, we do need to know more. And what about the blanks we never seem able to prove or disprove.
Meaning and Purpose
Life is to experience and develop and make new life. To make life work, to enjoy. And without the reverse, the sadness, the grief, we are left half equipped to deal with our living and our purpose.
What About Me?
I have no children, I do have family and children in it. I have no wife, and actually that’s just how things turned out. Plenty of loving women along the way, yet because I really had no clue, they left! And good that they did. Self preservation really, and that really is ok. These days I am able to find out what the gaps in experience are. And the current progress is slow, so that’s ok too.
Meaning and Purpose
We do often wonder is this all there is? And the answer is with the faculties we have it really is just what we have today. And as my frame of mind is into enquiry, love, peace and happiness, as well as the opposite frames of mind which help me know the difference, life is ok just for today.
Joy and Sadness
We get both, we are not immune to either. And the truth is we prefer happy, and would suppress sad. Suppression does nothing to complete our repertoire of living and life. So when we are able we learn the dark of living simply because it will always be a part of us.
Coping and Trauma
We live joy well when we understand joy. We never seem to do grief that well and it can linger for a lifetime.
PTSD - post traumatic stress disorder
Is this a real phenomena? I feel it is and someone wrote me their experience and it was exactly this. Our problem tho’ is that disorder makes it a bigger issue and something we need help to understand. We do not overcome experience we learn how we may cope with the aftermath. Again it can be a lifetime journey. Better we know it will be there forever, and live and cope as best we can, rather than try obliterate the impossible, that is our life experiences.
We don’t get better with trauma’s, we just need accept them and share them and find a process to help us understand the shocks of life and what we may do. That is find ways to share and express our whole life experience to help us make sense of what feels like the impossible.
Resilience comes with experience, and life comes without guarantees one way or the other how they may turn out.
September 8th 2006 [all about last year]
The good things in life are Free
Hi KT, thanks, your words and feedback do help me greatly. I realise you are aware of my dilemma. Its got to be the dilemma anyone in a fellowship like ours has. Its to do with anonymity and recovery. When we value something so highly, and in my case its my recovery, I need to be comfortable with all I do. I need to feel I am on the right path, that my behaviour and conduct will help me be simply human sized.
Human sized for me then is understanding not only my true self, its realising that everyone else is in the same boat, that we all are aiming to be as human and fulfilled as we possibly can. In essence we are all the same size, that we have the same rights and responsibilities and that we are all deserving of opportunity. What happens in life as a consequence? Some do fulfil their right size, some don’t get a chance and others are so driven, they assume a size a bit too big.
How much longer will I post about recovery?
I do have concerns. The nature of this post, its personal to me and my recovery. I don’t mind people knowing me or my stuff, or frankly I would have never started writing. But the simple fact is I felt the need to share enough about life in recovery with people trying to get a life back.
I saw the BBC self esteem message board just on my 50th birthday. And as I write a daily journal felt it might help others to know there is life even when we have real problems to contend with on a daily basis. Having three things and all the extra’s necessary to keep life going with Type 1 diabetes, clinical depression and recovery from addiction. I wanted to share we can become more confident, build our esteem when it seems we get it undermined on a daily basis, not only by ourselves and our outlook, but by trying to connect with reality and real life.
I had thought a month, and now it feels like this is too long. But a month of this it will be if the Beeb allows. More than this? Well I don’t know the answer KT, I fear and don’t want prolonged exposure which would make me wrong sized and uncomfortable. And my concern is my recovery and my well being overall is not best served by continuing this post as it is. The words have been extensive and to continue would impact not just on me, but friends and fellows who know me. And that will not do at all.
If we find ways to live which work, then share the knowledge and ways to keep our confidence and esteem. This is my motive and my aim. And actually I feel like I have achieved something, if we help one person in life beyond ourselves I feel this counts beyond any measure we can apply. And in your replies to me, I feel my motive has been justified, and really do appreciate your feedback.
Making life work a day at a time
This is all any of us can do. If we can make this one day work for us, no matter how difficult it can be to get from one end of it to the other, that can be enough. And anything on top we get to bring some joy, well it is a bonus. And at the same time when we get fear and anxiety to keep us low and depressed, we can maybe do something to help us through our feelings and our pain.
There is no aspirin to living, no fix we can apply which mediates or medicates life itself. It is what it is. And sometimes we travel through the hardest times and wonder how we managed at all. In truth we probably didn’t manage a thing, except still hang on till we get to the other side. And hanging on is miserable when we have to, especially in clinical depression. There have been months when my best friend was misery. And I just found ways to keep it all in a day, or an hour. And no amount of money can fix life.
So when I suggest the best things in life are free, like the old Beatles song highlights, I feel we might delude ourselves to living if we forget what life is.
Life and living
Our free gift is life itself, living life, now that is something else. Living means we have to engage and do things to experience it. And when I realised that there is "no such thing as a free lunch", this applies to living every moment we have and there is a cost to being passive and a cost to being active.
We are so used to being consumers of materialistic things, and we are so used to having things done, and so used to being involved, sometimes we forget how much effort is needed to shift from passive, to reactions and to actions and responses.
Especially when we have been made fearful and cannot make sense of anything, we feel so useless we don’t know what to do. Depression can take away our very desire for living at all. And we find in some ways we just cannot do anything when the darkest days happen. Even eating is difficult and we draw ourselves into a world inside where hurt and pain sometimes are the only sustenance we have. That is abysmal and desolate territory, and for me travelled too often. I know it happens to me from my experience and sometimes it cannot be avoided at all. And like Arnie, "it’ll be back" and that’s just how it is.
All I have learned is even when its that difficult, we can maybe find some contact with other human beings who shove a cup of tea in our hand and allow me to sit silently, till the dark days fade again. And it has been my good fortune to become involved in a fellowship which helps me through those times when getting out of bed is as painful inside my head as any physical problem I have as well.
So sharing these feelings and actual physical limitations too, its been done for a good motive I feel. And not for pity or for sorrow. And yes there is always humour in me somewhere, even in the dark depressions.
Working at life itself
Now this comes easy for most people who never get into clinical states either physical or emotional. And for those of us who have been hammered out of shape and lost our esteem and confidence, it is just hard beyond measure. And there is no quick solution to our changing circumstances. Yet we can accept our situation somehow and make do with what we have. And actually we get a lot more than we bargained for when we live through to the other side of some of our maladies.
We do get to appreciate a different life, a different outlook and life is bitter sweet. In my case it has taken many attempts to find just a little peace in such a disturbing time where nothing seemed ever to go quite to any expectation, except to my worst nightmare, and then even more spectacularly down from there. That is really depressing when its long term.
Good news and Bad news
The good news I have been able to keep going, the bad news, it is as hard as any task ever I had to do in all my living. And the effort and work is just gradual and sustained. Not superhuman, just human sized effort. A day at a time, or even just an hour at a time to make time work for me and not against me. So time is really the greatest healer we have on top of everything anyone and ourselves can do.
Just hanging in there long enough is hard, and frankly there have been times when its been too much to bear. I still don’t know really why I made it through, other than accepting it cannot get any worse than this moment. And then it has passed. I suppose Its endurance on a road travelled by so many, and yet so many don’t make it because they for they are just human too.
Just being human
Actually this is the greatest gift. We do stand a better chance to recovering from anything when we can be human and accept help from wherever it may be. I feel it is the called the gift of desperation. This gift is blinking sharp, we still have the pain to go through to get out of the mire, when time allows. Pride will kills us stone dead, humility will help us back to life.
Cures and Fixes
Do you know what we feel? We feel like there must be a cure to help us. And we often feel a cure takes away the pain of living through these hard times. And the hard luck part of this is actually we have to experience every moment of pain. There is no pass, no get out of jail card we can play, to actually recover from some very hard times.
We can find things which help us. And so my story of help is from professionals. From our NHS which most of the time works for us all, and by exception like any other monster organization fails some of us some of the time. A busy GP who has whatever going on for them, a government system far from perfect, yet still doing their best to help everyone.
There is no cure for any of my maladies, yet modern science is doing its best. And I feel in some ways I have joined in doing my best as well, and that needed some more support too.
I never thought I would find fellowship with a bunch of people recovering from addiction. Or that the fellowship has the greatest expertise in all aspects of human doings connected to recovery. How on earth did I miss the obvious for so long?
Either I found them or they found me, it matters not the why or how now. What I do know is that human beings with experience of recovery have helped me beyond measure find a path to deal with reality. That is even when I am depressed beyond the pale, and feeling as awful as life can be, they are still there ready with a cuppa in hand.
I have to do the work
There is no way out of this. Whatever is making us sad or incapacitated, we still have to work to keep our gift of life. Even when it stinks and is darkest.
And despair can make us fatalistic and give up. Sitting still silent and still breathing is working at it, by the hour and by the day. that’s sometimes what it means for me. And its as necessary as it has been to be that inactive until something in me changes and I can move again. That’s life!
It does work if we work at it
And time does change things. And the right professional help, with science and modern medicine have some of the answer to my needs today. Not just insulin, but the right anti depressant to make my brain chemistry function to as normal as possible.
And my fellowship which helps me keep emotional and spiritual balance just a day at a time. Its not magic, its application by me to living and life with encouragement and wisdom from others. The magic is the gift we have being restored to us, life itself, a day at a time.
Having been a counsellor, not a specialist one like we have these days, but a counsellor on living and business in general, I know the benefits and the limitations of counselling and our expectations.
I know some counselling will help us, and I know some rehabs will help too, and sometimes they will work and sometimes they don’t. Our expectations of modern alchemy, well these trip us up if we are looking for that fix to all our problems today. No amount of counselling or rehab will have any impact until we are ready to engage and work at living.
Our problem sometimes is just ourselves and how stuck we are, somewhere far away from the real world and frightened, lonely and despairing. We need patience with ourselves to just connect enough to keep going, till something makes sense again. Rather than expecting something to fix us. And we can benefit greatly from human contact with people we learn to trust enough to help us along. Time cannot be shortened and time taken is what is needed. So much time, we can be impatient patients!
In our world we have many people who profess, that is they have a profession and great expert knowledge. And in some ways this is the best news and the worst news. Experts have understanding and comprehend things. They can help diagnose and offer support to us. But they are not magic. We still have to do the work.
Some experts are quite human, others quite guru like and others feel they have super human qualities. If you find a normal sized human with expert knowledge to help you do the work to recover your balance and move along, keep going with them.
Remember you do the work, they provide a bit of guidance. Experts and professionals usually are as good as their experience, and you will find some just plainly don’t have what it takes to make any difference at all. Don’t get cross with them, just find help which works and natural selection will sort out any complaint you might have as their client base disappears to other helpful sources, the ones which work for you. Your good senses will prevail and don’t be afraid of pain as you find some people just have not got what it takes to help you along. There will be someone eventually. Time, give yourself time!
Why am I writing all this? And about last night
Well it was not the best of times I feel. I went to a meeting and we were discussing some stuff of a deep nature connected to our fellowship. Why it works when other things seem to fail, like anything professionals might do.
And the answer seemed to be until we found our first step to making sense again, through friendly faces showing us the way, without any professional qualification, just life experience, we seem to be completely bamboozled by our situation. Some of us though, we need professional support to make it to the starting point, so we accepted help wherever it came from.
Sustained progress though seems to come from being in the company of people who know through life experience. And that the malady we have is something we never find a cure for, we merely stay in recovery.
That we do have to work it!
And you know the really weird thing is we work so hard at living and making it work. And actually the work is hard, and the benefits are untold, beyond our wildest dreams. Far Fetched? Not really as any person in recovery knows too well the alternative is not being here at all. It is that serious. And even thought its that serious, humour is peppered all along the way. Because humour and life are as inextricable as misery and life, we just get a share of both! And that I guess is acceptance of hard knocks and laughs along the way. And that we do have to feel the pain, and we do have to make some actions. Just a day at a time and just a little bit as we go along. So it’s a life long thing we do, and we don’t solve everything or ‘fix it’, we live it and resolve it, this thing called life.
The meeting was good
And I did share a bit more than I wished I had. And someone said it was a great share, at the same time criticised my presentation of what I had to say. I reacted rather than responded, and was a bit peed off, for we don’t share to make ourselves look good, we just dump our crap and try sort it out. And really how dare they make such an observation. You know, I was being judged, which is ok, if we are there to compete, but we aren’t. And really I did say how I felt to my critic, which is unlike me, usually I let that sort of thing pass me by. And I have shared loads of hurt and pain before and that’s what I do. Its what we do. Anyway we did sort of sort it out, but sometimes we do encounter completes asses, or rather we encounter people who go for either the sake of it, or just to judge us. Well that is ok too. Overall I got it out of my system and, ‘end of’ to an extent. I felt the creep of my ego as another judged me and that was not good, and then my confidence felt low and my esteem down. Progress not perfection and just for today.
The meeting was really about keeping our human size, and so, coming back to my writing here. The month is up in a few days, and there is as much to impart as I feel can be, and keep to my right sized human being.
And whatever happens here with this post, it has been a pleasure to keep writing to share the good and the bad of recovery. But to keep it going as it is now, well I don’t feel comfortable about that at all. And maybe it has served its purpose? I don’t know. I know I helped at least one person and that’s good news.
So just a few days more I guess.
Sometimes our world needs to be as small as it is KT, till we find our way back to this big bad assed world! Gently does it…
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