October 18 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 10 The Now Inventory Alcoholics Anonymous Today's Daily Reflections: "an open mind listens, and asks for help…" One of the most powerful elements we have to help us is our ability to keep learning life. If I do not know something, no matter what the expectation that I should there is humility and strength in saying simply, "I do not know." If I do not have the humility to share openly about not knowing, I have already set false expectations for myself and those around me…
Video For Today:
Every day I learn something new about the world and my relationships with people, places and things. Most of the time I do not recognise I am learning something. Unless I make a point of asking myself, "what's new today?" Something important may have been missed or forgotten and have to be relearned another day. And that is okay because I will learn another day. Sometimes it takes many attempts to realise just how much we learn and change over time. Even on the darkest days, we learn a lot about the journey into the dark, and if we have hope and an open mind we find ourselves in brighter times. We keep on learning what we can do and what we cannot do just for a day…
With the guiding principles of being open minded, honest in my endeavours and willing to change, I feel better equipped to live in the world today. Open to each experience, and not trying to control anything and at the same time having every personal choice open within the boundaries of society and my integrity, I can make progress today. And still there will be days when the guiding principles can elude me and I might become closed down, dishonest in my approach to anything and unwilling to bend or flex or change one iota. And then most days, with hope, positive and negative will impact on me as life is and the experience I am having. Once I understand the impact of positive and negative, I can understand my thinking and actions more clearly and make changes if changes are possible today… And there will be days when no changes are possible and they will be challenging…
In the AA daily reflection, the suggestion is that God works through people. Even though I have reached an advanced age and have knowledge, skills and abilities they are not set in stone. And now, being in an emotional and spiritual fellowship, I never realised just how much there was to learn about emotional and spiritual living: knowing my feelings, what I can and cannot do and coping with reality. And who thinks this way on a daily basis, about emotional and spiritual? Many people who believe in God have an understanding and pattern to living the emotional and spiritual life. And for many who have never heard of God or come to an understanding about the nature of spiritual, becoming part of something bigger than ourselves in unity, service and recovery is the most enriching, challenging and deepening experience possible for any human today… And what we come to believe always remains a personal choice never imposing our opinions and beliefs on others…
“True humility and an open mind can lead us to faith…” “Closed, dishonest and unwilling will lead us to fear…” I am an emotional and spiritual learner in sober times. Open to discovering my feelings and coping with the reality of life now. Honest endeavour in spot checking, and willing to learn from what happens today…
The “grief process:” 1. Denial 2. Anger 3. Frustration 4. Depression & 5. Acceptance… Grief is the epitome of every raw emotion felt when there is loss in our lives. We may need spin through the process a thousand times for each loss we have. And sometimes we spin through a thousand losses a thousand times and all at the same time today… Knowing is good, the process itself, as long as it takes for each event…
October 18 2010 ~ humility always learning... Acceptance of life on life's terms. Our daily starting point where we accept everything is just as it can be now. We know our situation, sometimes joyful, sometimes miserable. Then we have a realistic outlook, can make the best choices open to us, and with realism choose and make changes every day
October 18 2010 ~ an open mind and always learning. Life is not an exam, with a pass or fail. Life is the adventure of the possible, because of what we chose to do. Our emotional and spiritual wellbeing is contingent on how we see real life now. With what we know, we can visualise new possibilities, open, honest and willing we can strive today...
Back to life, back to reality! First line of a song, which means so much more today compared to the halcyon days of drink. The old life, sex, drugs and rock n roll. I suppose it was like that back then, because that was what we learned life ought to be. I don’t think I had a startlingly different experience to the majority, I do feel I probably “bigged up” my experiences and exploits. Living in a twilight world for a long time, not all bad I must say, much fun along the way, if I measure fun in a hedonistic way. I can say drugs, as alcohol was my drug of choice, followed by people, places and things. Anything can be addictive, and we can be addicted to anything which is an obsession. Including self-obsession, money was another
one for me, never enough, never enough indeed as this was a way to value myself.
Living through the sixties as someone reminded me yesterday was a huge change in the way society saw life and the values of the time were to live now pay later in whatever the currency might be. The values around freedom of expression were soon put by the wayside as money, materialism and all the things of my youth were lost in a haze of fun times. And when we have lost our value and we can see no end to the same old same old we are in a spin of self-destruction. The politics of the time, grab it, grab it and run. Reads as cynical and in my inner world I was in conflict with the outer world of greed and success. No wonder I felt depressed. It was more than that, life was full of colourful pleasures and they were never fulfilling. The Beatles song, “love is all you need,” inspiring when it first came round and watched on the TV in black and white, followed by decades of yearning for love and not really understanding why my heart broke just a little bit more as the years passed by.
And now decades further on I know what it is to be loved, love back and be useful. Usefulness is characterised by our understanding of what is useful, and particular to a person. What is useful to one person is not so for another. And useful is about being happy in what we do. What is this thing called love? So many ways to experience love, as part of a family, as a friend, with a partner and on and on. Loving life because it is interesting, we have one, and we can be happy in every endeavour. Nothing is mundane in a life with love as its foundation.
Even when we have gone through decades of pain and misunderstanding, even when life is painful, if we love life and people, hardships are endured. To have love in our lives means the difference most days.
Today has started well, with an eye for simple gentle endeavours, I may be a bit stuck in gloom and pain caused by various conditions, I can take action. Phone family, be involved, be supportive, start the day anytime afresh. Be content in solitude, make a plan to get out and go out if practical. Share my feelings, expression is an action, writing and talking.
Life is always changing, and with humility we can see how we are a part of life. We all have our part and actions which help us to love what is happening and be loved for what we contribute. Usually and most often, when we have empathy and can express our genuine concern for others, others do the same to us. The most useful we can be is to be helpful, share our experiences as real as we can, and learn the same from those we encounter.
Today, where would I be without it? Back then of course, or in a fantasy without foundation…
AA Daily Reflections ~ "AN OPEN MIND October 18 True humility and an open mind can lead us to faith . . . TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 33
My alcoholic thinking led me to believe that I could control my drinking, but I couldn’t. When I came to A.A., I realized that God was speaking to me through my group. My mind was open just enough to know that I needed His help. A real, honest acceptance of A.A. took more time, but with it came humility. I know how insane I was, and I am extremely grateful to have my sanity restored to me and to be a sober alcoholic. The new, sober me is a much better person than I ever could have been without A.A."
October 18 2007
DonInLondon - ‘Day in the Life’ I like to ride my bicycle
Fears of Life - Fear of Life
There are times I make breakthroughs understanding my human condition. Fear is a necessary part of our feeling repertoire.
Fear of intimacy, fear of more grief. I realise as I have been helping a number of friends and also family, grief has us in its thrall as it need be when we experience loss.
As others express to me their aloneness from losing a loved one, I realise my fear is more to do with falling in love again and then the possibility of loss all over again. I don’t know that we humans bounce back so well after too many heart-breaking times. As I have been alone and have not been in a relationship for a long time now, my desires are somewhat influenced by the outcomes of intimacy. Loss and my reaction to another one is an issue..
And as another might get close to me, I have my fears for them too, that I am vulnerable and have health issues, and my suitability as a long term prospect is something which concerns me. I would not want another to suffer as my ending is closer these days. This not arrogance it is genuine concern for how another might experience loss. I don’t presume to be loved more or less than anyone, I just know my cards are marked more plainly these days.
As the song title goes, riding a bicycle is good for me. I hear the government are suggesting a lot of get on our bikes and get healthy.
Last year this time I was indeed just doing that. Riding a bike in all weathers not just for practical reasons, for health reasons too.
Me and my health. Well after getting into recovery from the horrible addiction to alcohol, a recovering alcoholic I am. And in sobriety, after much effort and understanding the final acceptance of clinical depression and similar related conditions helped me understand my life long misunderstandings about why I felt different to ordinary people. I have strived for ordinary all my life and felt there was something quite alien about me. At odds with where others felt happy I careered full tilt like an obsessed individual always wanting to find this elusive peace of mind others naturally had.
A couple of years down the recovery path and physical health seemed less an issue until I had onset of type 1 diabetes. Injections and all the paraphernalia required for diabetic conditions available in no time flat. Why did I get the onset of type 1, the worst kind? This is a grey area and I have been advised it was most likely a shock to the system caused by a minor operation. A wisdom tooth extraction of all things, then infection, then a virus. I am also sure the shock of giving up drink after 35 years had a major impact. We alcoholics are ready to blame ourselves for everything as we get into recovery. That actually is a defect of character, we need only own our own part in all matters!
And of course with diabetes I have nerve damage occurring. A painful neuropathy in my extremities. My feet [ my “dogs“ do bark a lot] hurt from the nerve endings up. So walking has been made difficult, cycling however
Is a necessity to get anywhere presently. And this has been my mode of transport as much as possible.
I like to ride my bike..
I do actually and it’s not easy, but it makes me make an effort and to keep fit too. So I am with the government health programme! I hope for a while to come.
No big deals and all pretty normal. As the health of me is precarious and also with a severe back pain it laid me a bit low.
Last night’s AA meeting
My meeting last night helped me see this feeling of singularity in me. I am a single and recovering alcoholic. I have experienced as much love can be given without reservation to another human by a human. I have met some truly wonderful women in my life. And still do. The difference these days? It’s not if I am good enough per se, it’s my changing health situation which makes me feel a relationship is not really top of my agenda.
Intimacy, that place where two hearts beat close, where silence is just as it may be, where warmth of another soars our hearts and love is at one with love. Those moments are far away just now and maybe forever.
18th October 2006 [all about last year]
[from XXXX] Hi Don,
I don't read your posts and hear you banging on about anything. I really respect what you write and understand the significance of what you are putting across.
Forgiveness and acceptance are a daily thing? I can forgive others, but forgiving myself? I don't know sometimes if I can ever forgive me the pain I caused my boys. Maybe I need to listen to more experiences. I don't know, and I guess this is where time, and a day at a time come in.
A lot of what you have written is relevant to how I'm feeling at the moment. Removing our fears and getting on with living. And then when I think I feel strong, facing life full on and realising I've actually got a long way to go.
I don't know if spending a whole day in is going to be repeated. I feel really tired and quite emotionally drained. I think the CBT stuff is making me think more than usual. And maybe I am trying to find hidden meanings and over analysing. The strange thing is I think I know in my heart where I am heading with all this.
It's sad to hear that some of your mates are feeling the way they are. One of my recovery friends is on a downward spiral again. And I guess that’s where I was 15 months ago, so I just pray that maybe with time and understanding things will come out right for her.
It sounds like your hard work and determination are paying off. The pain seems more bearable? No mention of the 'dogs' for a while. So a good message really. For me certainly!
Thanks Don, XXXX xx
[from me Don ]Thanks XXXX,
Thanks for your kindness, and as a grateful person, you do make a difference to how I feel about things I do. Life is not easy and tonight made me very aware, as if I needed reminders, just how frustrating things can be. And it’s always good to hear positive feedback, and worse when we are not really geared up to hear it too well. I have been annoyed by someone I know who I felt knew me better. And in many ways it’s as hard to forgive that as it is for me to forgive myself for being involved in the first place. We do learn and we do need forgive ourselves for being gullible and open and willing to help, when we need to be helping ourselves and recovery of a life worth living. I put these times down to experience, and it’s got to be one of those days today. The world is full of good and bad, and that’s just how it is. Blinking bloody marvellous is it not? Grrr! And let go…
Thanks XXXX a sane reflection from you, and I’m working on mine!
Wrong Place Wrong Time - Right Place Right Time
Yes this happens, I was off to a meeting tonight and in all honesty I don’t think I got quite to the destination I would have preferred. Although the journey has been really illuminating.
For all the right reasons and smiles here I headed off to the usual destination, and it seemed to be closed and shut down. I may have been early, and at the same moment I thought, it might be the only night this year when it is closed. So from Kensington to Chelsea on the bike.
And it’s been a day on the bike, well getting about on it as it does not aggravate the neuropathy in the feet, thanks XXXX, after having left this one off my agenda for sharing here, it is simply I am managing better by not walking and using the bike. Although the other part of this is eyesight and my eyes are affected by my condition. it’s a risk I know, but seems manageable today, and has been. So the "dogs" (feet) are not barking as much (hurting) except when I walk to Sainsbury’s for shopping!
A weird day, full of good for me and full of reflections on where I am today. I watched Prime Suspect I had borrowed to watch today and the Chief Super is now an alcoholic, the portrayal so far has been excellent and close to home in the story, all of us in the AA programme will be familiar. It is upsetting but good to see a more accurate understanding of the programme, and what we do. The humour and fun of AA is always missing to the early days of recovery, so it was quite right making the hard truth about how it feels to get with the recovery we need. Good and bad, better it’s shown even if it’s in a TV drama play on telly.
So to Chelsea and another venue
Got there early and bumped into a nice bloke newcomer, who had coffee with me. We had a good chat and then to the meeting. A few things felt wrong, I don’t know why it’s so, but sometimes when the share is done, from the speaker, and then other sharing starts, it’s hard to connect and I found it so tonight.
A friend or two
Yes a friend or two indeed have been bothering me. With their outlook and stuff, and most of all using my experience and expertise to further their living one way or another. And it comes home to roost sometimes that people can be so preoccupied they don’t really know what they are doing. Or do they and don’t care?
A few careless words, made me feel careless with my sharing I felt false as the words came out of my mouth. They were true but false and I realised I was speaking to a room of people who for one reason or another were not listening. Already some had left and the general atmosphere was unfocussed and unreal to me. I felt off colour and off the message I need.
Sometimes we are Insensitive - I went Home
And tonight maybe I was too sensitive. But sometimes the whole thing can feel pretty crap, and this night was one. So I left. Not because of others, but because there was something in me not connecting and I could not connect.
I do feel let down to an extent, I have never asked anything of anyone in AA actually, and have found the programme was quite enough to sustain me. Friendships have come and I feel they are ok, and yet some who would be friends, well I am learning again that some who feel they are friends are surely using my capacities and don’t give a flying whatnot for me. And this is life. Mind as I write my temper is calm and my observations what they are.
We all get them, especially our types, who give so freely and don’t ask for anything in return. Odd but true. Pleasing people is no good in the end, and helping to my own detriment needs some attention. Freeloaders will know themselves, friends will know what I mean. So it goes.
One Bad Meeting
Yes one bad meeting I feel the tensions, and now they are gone, still it does make one think how easy it is to turn around and have that moment where the world seems like crap and head for the pub.
I went through my gratitude list
I am sober today, I can bike to a meeting when I cannot walk to it. And not get too disturbed by neuropathy. I have type 1 diabetes and manage it, as best I can, and the clinical depression cycle is not so bad at the moment, a level playing field. I write on my website and encourage insights into living, and also to consider what goes on in this world. And I have helped some people into recovery. I do what I do as best I can.
So doing the next right thing tonight
Yes doing the next right thing tonight is to accept a crap outcome on some things, and wisdom to realise what they are. And at the same time recognise I am still alive, when I would have been long gone if I had not found recovery. That there are days where there is joy and happiness, that they do come round, and it makes up for those desolate times when nothing works at all. That I am powerless over people places and things, except maybe doing the next right thing. Which is to know I am not in charge, will not ever persuade some to a point of view and some will just give me a feeling of emptiness. That’s recovery and life. And some insensitive types will never understand what they do and why. Including me sometimes, and many times in the past.
Yes forgiving and acceptance are truly keys to living today. I need forgive me and my mood. Forgive how it is right now. And be happy I see the differences, wisdom comes at a price. So when people do make us feel a bit off and undervalued, its ok, and we need not feel it’s really about us, that is their outlook and stuff. When I look at what I achieve given my circumstances, it is as good as it can be, and I do the next right thing.
Acceptance is, that the world is as it is. That some days will be full of light and some days the dark of others will crap on my parade. And some days we encounter people we might never wish to have met, and that their manipulative and underhand ways are just theirs and not mine. Let them go where they will.
Smiles with a shrug. And I do accept how things are, some rose beds do have manure and a rather bad smell. I guess I am no rose to some, and that just how it is. The next best thing is for me to leave things as they are and not concern myself further.
My version of a meditation:
"And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation -- some fact of my life -- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.
Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in our world by mistake. Until I could accept my humanity, I could not be complete in living; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes."
Having had a few hours of sleep overnight, I have come back down to earth. I find I have acceptance this morning and my world feels the better for it.
When life deals us things we don’t quite enjoy, or cannot really like, it’s just a little reminder we don’t have the will to will it. That we are all merely players as Shakespeare wrote and we are not the centre of the Universe. So what, I find myself right sized again, if peeved by others, it’s just the way it was last night and now I learn again to be grateful I am able to keep it real, just a day at a time…
Just For Today And Every Day, Cherish Always...
Step 10 "Although all inventories are alike in principle, the time factor does distinguish one from another. There's the spot-check inventory, taken at any time of the day, whenever we find ourselves getting tangled up. There's the one we take at day's end, when we review the happenings of the hours just past. Here we cast up a balance sheet, crediting ourselves with things well done, and chalking up debits where due. Then there are those occasions when alone, or in the company of our sponsor or spiritual adviser, we make a careful review of our progress since the last time. Many A.A.'s go in for annual or semi-annual house-cleanings. Many of us also like the experience of an occasional retreat from the outside world where we can quiet down for an undisturbed day or so of self-overhaul and meditation.”
October 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 10 The Now Inventory
Alcoholics Anonymous | Step Ten Reading Video Link:
October 2012 | Video Reading How It Works:
October 2012 | Video Reading Into Action :
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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