October 22 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 10 The Now Inventory Alcoholics Anonymous Today's Daily Reflections: "true tolerance… We all have our moments of extreme feelings" we are human beings who feel life in the moment hopefully and sometimes those feelings are so extreme we might find ourselves in joyful bliss or abject misery, anger and resentment at how others treat us and often when we least expect it…
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Every human has a limit to their endurance emotionally and spiritually. Endurance: meaning in this case dealing with extreme situations where our feelings can be very upset, out of the ordinary indeed extraordinary. We are not equipped to deal with enduring extremes without consequences. The consequences are that our feelings are not only tested to the limit, feelings become numbed and we become numb, then our behaviour and actions driven by extraordinary events simply don't work anymore. And to some extent some of the time everyone has these moments, and when they last beyond that, we then we have problems adjusting back to a state of peacefulness. Extremes which last too long cause breakdowns in our emotional state and anyone would need time to recover…
We are of nature we have natural instincts for survival and every form of human endeavour. We have emotional and spiritual experiences all day long, every day. And every moment changes little by little and then sometimes with a great big thud. We can be driven by all sorts of natural instincts to the point where we cannot cope, we don't feel what is going on, we switch to automatic or we can just simply switch off and stop. When we don't know what's going to happen and when we cannot keep our feet on the ground and deal with our emotional and spiritual state, we are pushed beyond our limits. And often simply asking for help when it is possible can help us make sense of difficult situations which stop us not only dealing with the difficult, it stops us dealing with the day-to-day. Taking time out and asking for help is often the right thing to do, when we feel right about doing it…
In the AA daily reflection it highlights how we might go to our defects of character where we become fearful, need to put on a brave face and have a stiff upper lip which is a very British attitude often shared either as an asset or defect. The stiff upper lip and a brave face is about not showing weakness. In truth though if there is a weakness and we cannot cope, surely it is better to ask for help? Living in fear, covering up putting on a brave face and a stiff upper lip will keep a person in a state of anxiety rather than serenity. What is wrong with telling the truth, that we are not coping and we might need some support or time to secure our situation? In day-to-day life if we do not cover up and ask for help, we deal with problems in the moment and don't save them up until they become a mountain rather than a molehill…
Its been good these past few days to be able to get to meetings, listen to people sharing experience strength and hope about recovery. So many Alcoholics Anonymous meetings around me, it can be hard to choose and without doubt it is often a few minutes before I know a meeting may start that I get a move on and get there mostly in good time. What's going on for people? I cannot tell you who was there except me, and I cannot share exactly what other people said, at the same time I am allowed in my own opinion to share my feelings and thoughts and how they progressed over the last few days.
How have I been feeling lately? Actually I feel rather good, quite a few normal situations around family, friends and people in general I meet on a daily basis. Strangely after quite a few years of upset in the family, just for a day we seem to be okay. My mother is not well, having being diagnosed with cancer and this has had an impact and become a concern for us all. Operations are due and we will have to see how things unfold in the next few weeks. My friends like me have their ups and downs and we share with each other what is going on. And most of my friends generally are in recovery, the people who know me best are always there when I need to ask for help, especially one who I have come to love very much. And the one I love very much has her plate full right now with all the usual stuff to do with family, work and recovery. Mind you in all these life moments, recovery comes first. Without recovery there would be no life to lead and family and friends to be a part of and included. We keep on learning how to be loved as we love and cherish as best we can today …
The meetings recently, there were newcomers, middle timers and old timers were very good, very much in the spirit of emotional and spiritual well-being. Focusing on fear and anxiety is an issue in one, then later all about later recovery and dealing with the day-to-day, and then another all about peace and serenity. What struck me most is we humans can hang on and hold on too long to our problems which become bigger and bigger because we don't want to talk about them and we don't want to share about them. Why don't we want to share about our problems? Especially when it comes to the things which really bother us, why do we become mute? Or worse pretend everything is okay and the problem will go away of its own accord. I feel that is how alcohol got most of us to a place where we could not stop drinking and everyone around us ignored the situation because it was too big to deal with. And then life became horrible and unmanageable and we lost any chance of peace and serenity…
I mentioned yesterday talk of those who are real alcoholics always makes me uncomfortable, because the only reason to be in the fellowship is a desire to stop drinking one day at a time. And I also suggested a topic for a meeting which was rejected as usual, that's me managing my expectations. I suppose it was a negative topic the way I suggested it, "how we can use the steps to judge other people." And the reason for choosing the topic and spoken as a judgement about other people, is that I see many in recovery judging others, rather than getting on with the business of personal growth by using the steps as life principles so we can deal with life experiences as they happen. I'll explain a little bit more. Before I do, I know why people would not wish to vote for a topic which opens the door to looking at bad behaviour which is prevalent and corrupting and so enticing when we have an attitude of negativity, a desire to blame people for our woes and we have expectations becoming resentments with each day that passes…
Judging others with the steps:
When judging others, step one "they are obviously powerless over their behaviour, and have no good sense at all, and this causes them to be unmanageable." Step two, "they keep on doing the same thing over and over again and expect something will change, now how dumb is that?" Step three, "they are so invested in an impossible outcome they cannot let go and change and they cannot see that they are heading for failure, it's all going to go wrong and it's their fault because they won't listen to me." Step four, "I don't know how many times I have to tell them about what is going wrong, over and over I have made suggestions and been emphatic that their behaviour and their attitudes are all wrong and it makes me so cross. I have to keep pointing it out to them because they just don't learn." Step five, "all they ever do is complain that the situation needs to be put right and they say it over and over again and they reply to me sometimes with long conversations which go nowhere and even when they've talked it out between themselves, it stays the same and they just don't listen to themselves or me and they'll never change." Step six, "they are scared to put a foot wrong and full of fear, most of the time they're pretending to be okay, but they huddle and talk about anything but the problem and when you ask them how they are, they say they're fine." Step seven, "why can't they have the courage to face up to their problems, all it needs is a bit of faith and confidence, surely they can do that, and why don't they?" Step eight, "they have no idea how much they piss me off." Step nine, "they just carry on making me angry and resentful, they never say sorry when they've done something wrong and never admit to anything that they've done in the past, why can't they see what they are doing?." Step ten, "they're always blundering about and stepping on each other's toes and they go on their merry way without even thinking about the consequences of what they do and they are so ungrateful when I point out to them what's going on!" Step eleven, "there are so self centred they think they are the centre of the universe and don't even think or feel about what happens to other people, I really ought to tell them what to do because I know better." Step twelve, "they're always saying things, writing things and telling people that their way is the best way and there is no other way to do it, I really ought to tell them more about why they will fail miserably as human beings, really they are just human doings doing their worst to piss the rest of the world off, especially me every single bloody day!"
Now having got that off my chest, I really enjoyed the meetings in recent days because they dealt with the real problems we face day by day. How to keep sober, how we do it, how we work in unity, service and recovery even though sometimes there are heated arguments because people are human and we are not Saints. And of course we do laugh at ourselves and we do both poke fun and be serious in the same conversation. Comedy and humour can and do take the heat out of many situations that we find ourselves in on any given day. And listening to how people cope with the ups and downs and getting back to a place of "balance" or simply just feeling okay again is vital on the road of recovery…
And trying to describe how to find a place of serenity or peacefulness is almost as difficult as defining God. In the end it turns out that serenity and peacefulness is a state of mind where we feel all right in the moment and coping with life as it is. Some elements of life are great or simply good and some elements of life feel bad and some are downright ugly, if we are coping though, we can find serenity and peacefulness then we are probably functioning very well in terms of our emotional and spiritual state. What makes it difficult is when we try thinking ourselves into peacefulness and serenity, because we are trying to think and produce a state of mind. Letting go, not trying to control or force an outcome are key. The more we try make ourselves and our environment serene and peaceful by continually looking how to improve it, we probably keep on looking and thinking rather than feeling peaceful and serene from moment to moment… Start feeling and try to stop thinking "the way" every day offers more peacefulness and serenity in the moment of now…
Life is Art and Science: Fellowship is emotional and spiritual development, so we may develop our feelings and how to cope with reality day by day. Spiritual living is always of the educational variety, and sometimes we do get a flash of inspiration and enlightenment. Slow, slow, quick quick slow, art and science, the dance of life in feeling and thinking, perceiving and judging as we can in the moment of now...
True tolerance is realising we are all challenged emotionally day to day. “Everyone in the world.” At our worst in a situation, it is the best we can be. And anyone emotionally challenged is the best they can be in that moment. Each person challenged as may be right now, and tolerance and love will determine outcomes. Consequences always and the principle of forgiveness our timeless asset…
October 22 2010 ~ true tolerance for me means I can live and let live, learn and let learn, know we are all finding the truth, love and wisdom of our reality today. I can see my mistakes clearly, most often as I tread on the toes of others, so when others tread on my toes, tolerance and forgiveness keeps me making progress and not complaining!
October 22 2010 ~ Learners always, with humility ["despite all his achievements, he has remained humble."] and achieve what is possible. We do not boast with inflated ego, ["arrogant, bumptious, chesty, conceited, egotistic (or egotistical), fatuous, haughty or highfalutin"]. We live, learn what we can do and cannot do today...
Am I an Alcoholic?
good to know you are ok and wondering about drinking or not drinking. I guess if we think there is an issue then there probably is. And when others see we have an issue and want to talk about it, maybe we need take more notice. In the end though only you can decide what is right for you, and no pleadings or concerns from others help, indeed they make us more defiant. I have this character trait and stubborn as anything sometimes.
All the times we drink to excess may make us fear we are harming ourselves unnecessarily. Yet we may feel the need, and feel better for a few glasses of whatever tipple appeals.
It is never the quantity which is the issue, it’s the impact that alcohol has on us and what we utilise it for. It is after all a reward for dealing with hard times as much as often making us have difficult times.
What to do? Well in the UK we do have NHS facilities which can be very useful. At the same time we may feel some concern about the issue being anywhere near the public domain or in the hands of a Doctor who may judge us harshly as defective in some way.
You need to take a hard look at yourself is my suggestion, and see what the mirror and your behaviour say to you. There may be a big denial on what we see and what in truth we are doing. Again only you can decide what is right for you.
Many people try control their drinking. For most of us who have crossed the line into some form of dependence, if we can control our drinking we don’t enjoy and when we don’t enjoy it we drink more until we do! Either way controlling drink can be a real nuisance because we watch ourselves and maybe others watch us.
Truth is we need never drink again if we feel it makes for depressing and horrid consequences. And if we feel horrified by that prospect, then we need ask ourselves why so?
AA, is only one way to deal with a problem beyond our willpower. There are many methods suggested, including controlled drinking. We make our choices as we may. In truth if you felt ill at ease in the AA meeting, then ask yourself why. AA is only there to help people keep sober for a day. Nothing more in truth. What is learned by attending regularly is we need find our choices to live free and be happy. Happier than we ever were with drink.
So keep making your best choices which suit you. And be persuaded by your own understanding of where you feel you are. Be gentle with yourself and don’t feel you need be on a journey longer than one day.
It’s hard to decide what to do, and only you know yourself best. Thanks for writing and good luck Jane
Best regards Don
Timeless in the moment of now ~ Reality
A plan a dream, all about the future to be revealed as we pass from moment to moment sometimes full of anticipation, sometimes full of dreadful recollections as history repeats itself. On long journeys in the past, on trains and aeroplanes, haunting melodies as day dreams of people places and music, “let’s face the music and dance.”
There may be trouble ahead
But while there's moonlight and music
And love and romance
Let's face the music and dance
Before the fiddlers have fled
Before they ask us to pay the bill
And while we still
Have the chance
Let's face the music and dance
We'll be without the moon
Humming a diff'rent tune
There may be teardrops to shed
So while there's moonlight and music
And love and romance
Let's face the music and dance
Let's face the music and dance
A love of real moments ahead, a love of danger and a love of trouble always a constant for me as time melted into the next moment. Always some chaos to share, and fun and laughter over the years and as time has gone by. Always driven to find the thick of life in some enterprise and endeavour. I realise an archetype in me, definitely of my time and my father’s time, driven to work hard and play hard. Wanting a fair world and standing up for the rights of the common man. And yet pulled into conventions and success as daily bread meant the ideals of youth were channelled into practical living. And tormented by lack of vision around me as the world turned to its tune and not mine, let’s face the music and dance. I don’t feel like I had a god complex, certainly there was ego that I knew better than the average politician and businessman, that life could be far better if… if they had my ideology and my outlook of fairness for all.
Joining in, I eventually felt the need to join in, and into the world of convention. But not quite immersed, always on the outside and never fitting into the game of life. Seeing the broader picture of actions taken which affected the greater good, in politics and commerce. I still do not fit to a particular class, or demographic, not because I don’t like, don’t want or feel like joining in, simply I just don’t fit a particular demographic. Good that I do not fit anywhere particularly, for me in my outlook just for today.
I have found a place where I do fit, in a fellowship, where we are all heretics, in the sense that we prefer to find out about living life, simply by living life. Where share experience strength and hope of being at one with our inner self, our conscience and learn to live reality rather than an insane fantasy. And we can find acceptance in what we can and cannot do on daily basis. We can change ourselves and not the world. That the impact of our behaviour has consequences, and whatever happens today can change if we change. We have learned to let go and move on to new ways and new outlooks. We have made a reckoning of the past, what we need stop doing and what we need keep doing to improve life. We have quantified our past errors and made restitution as best we can.
And today we look at and make the possible happen, always willing to change our attitude and outlook to the common good, and not to an affiliation. We reflect and share as we may…
We do face the music and dance…
AA Daily Reflections ~ "TRUE TOLERANCE October 22 Finally, we begin to see that all people, including ourselves, are to some extent emotionally ill as well as frequently wrong, and then we approach true tolerance and see what real love for our fellows actually means. TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 92
The thought occurred to me that all people are emotionally ill to some extent. How could we not be? Who among us is spiritually perfect? Who among us is physically perfect? How could any of us be emotionally perfect? Therefore, what else are we to do but bear with one another and treat each other as we would be treated in similar circumstances? That is what love really is."
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
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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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