October 23 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 10 The Now Inventory Alcoholics Anonymous Today's Daily Reflections: "forever nonprofessional, we stick with what we know best and how to be sober…" Unity! As it takes a village to raise a child, the most obvious part of fellowship is unity, it takes a fellowship to keep a fellow sober. No single person can keep another person sober, one-to-one most likely we sink into the ocean of alcohol rather than swim to the lifeboat of fellowship…
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I know I can become separated for a lot of reasons from day-to-day fellowship and then the wonder of social networking became possible, when I could not get out and about. And then the return to meetings on a more regular basis, and then a time when I was happy to be solitary and solitude is big, and there is a difference between isolation where I seek separation and solitude where I am happy in my own skin in my own company. And even when I am enjoying solitude, I feel the need to be a regular attender at fellowship meetings because I genuinely feel better for them and the company they offer…
A remark from a person to me recently, "that bloody newcomer keeps on interrupting and sharing more than once, they keep getting up and walking around and cannot sit still." And this is a true statement by an old timer to me. I can understand the frustration when the new person cannot sit still, leg shaking, itchy and scratchy in all respects. It is not attention seeking, it is the action of an afflicted person driven by a craving beyond control. We need unity, service and recovery. And we need tolerance and love even when we don't want to be tolerant and we don't feel like loving. I was that bloody newcomer, not so bloody long ago, in a bloody state and bloody fed up…
In recovery we are given a voice, and last night the privilege of being asked to do a step one chair and share about what it was like with the first step and early recovery. I did become anchored in fellowship because I had no clue what to do and people suggested it was worth sticking around until the shakes stopped, the internal noise in my head slowed down a bit and I could start to hear what people were saying. No leaders, trusted servants each with their own degree of progress. No rules laws or regulations to cut me off from a supply of experience, strength and hope given freely, and often received by the mutinous and belligerent and intolerant ego driven insane beings just like me back in early days… What a relief you didn't kick me out…
The beauty of going to meetings is actually seeing the progress we are all making in our own ways, progress not perfection. And we do a self appraisal every day with step ten, and balance it out with a gratitude list. Usually on my gratitude list it starts with, "could do better, and at the same time having made my amends on the go, usually the balance is to the positive rather than the negative, and willing to keep on going tomorrow." And last night listening to people with open ears, my ears open and able to hear what people are saying, and the progress over the years of my fellows. I suppose I was judging them, not negatively I hope, I don't do it negatively generally, just hearing how the lights have gone on and everyone is simply living and experiencing life not only sober, excelling at making more mistakes and making more progress every single day. I was grateful to be there last night and part of something so much bigger than me and it is humbling to hear the experience, strength and hope of others helping me to be sober another day… Unity!
I needed help to learn how to be sober. And now I know how to be sober for a day. We have our daily reprieve because of the help of everyone in fellowship. I am not a guru. I share what I learn. I could not stop drinking on my own, and on my
own I cannot keep another sober. It takes a village to raise a child and a fellowship to keep me and you sober…
A good close friend reminded me what to say to newcomers who felt AA was not going to work. She said “keep coming to meetings, because sooner rather than later, you will hear your own life story told by another.” It was a good reminder for
me, and now I have heard my life story countless times over the years. A daily reminder, a daily reprieve always good for me today…
October 23 2010 ~ Fellowship, all walks of life, all ages and always an open door to share experience strength and hope about sobriety. What you see is what you get, attraction based on truth, love and wisdom. Sometimes, slowly, sometimes
quickly we learn. Sometimes ridiculous, sublime, tragic or wonderful, we share sobriety as life is today
October 23 2010 ~ Tradition five, all about sobriety, as a group we have but one purpose: to reach out to others who are still suffering. To share the experience, strength, and hope we have found inside the rooms with others. Not politics, not
religion, not plumbing, not banking or insurance, not doctoring or psychology. Simply sobriety today...
Rough and Ready - What you see is what you get - “w.y.s.i.w.y.g.”
"WYSIWYG", what you see is what you get. An old term used to describe reality. And in fellowship sometimes we are well turned out, or just turned out from a hostel. Every alcoholic in recovery has their unique story. Around me, people from
every walk of life. From professionals to hard manual workers, those who do something to those incapable of holding a cup of coffee as they shake from withdrawal from the last drinking bout. In London, one of the most diverse populations
imaginable we have hundreds of meetings of the fellowship and still we cannot help everyone, because not everyone wants to stop drinking.
When we were drinking, we did so for our own reasons. And then as drinking became a way of life, then a habit to do whatever it did and then no way to stop. Alcoholism, raw and unstoppable is a disease. As we pleaded with our inner
resolve that on any given day, that was the last drink we would take, we started again that day or the next or sometime too soon.
And every time we said we would stop, make things right, we drank again, and again. And if I could not stop myself, because I knew it was killing me, then those who loved me could not stop me either. Family and friends might have tried,
encouraged and begged, as I begged to be let go of this horror. Life was a horror, hiding and shamed, guilty of no self-will and no self-esteem.
How then was it possible that a fellowship of recovering alcoholics has an answer? Tradition five, there is one purpose of the group we are attending in fellowship, to share the message of experience strength and hope of recovery, and
nothing else. Each group comprised of many, or just a few with one purpose, sobriety today. So what we see in a meeting is everyone, from a newcomer to old timer just for today. And we can be joyful or quite ugly in our moods on any given
day. We are simply authentic and unique human beings with one similarity which is to maintain our sobriety as best we can today.
We share as we can about recovery today, keeping it real, we hear private and personal accounts of what is happening and how we are doing as we trudge the path of destiny. Simply life as it is with warts and all. So what you see is what you
get, real life. And we connect and see the similarities and then we can share and be a part of something bigger and more powerful. The combined wisdom of the many who struggle and often find joy for a day, and has lead from denial to
acceptance of life on life’s terms without a drink.
We can find a hundred years of sobriety in a room, and we lean on the accounts many share, to help us all keep sober today.
And although each person has their own outlook, their own personal affiliations, their own political or religious views, we need never impose a view on others, each with a right to their own personal outlook, it can be shared and will be shared,
and never imposed on another. Or we proselytise! A strange word I never heard before fellowship, in simple terms we need not impose our personal views or outlooks on others. Tread on our toes and we retaliate. As Mr Jagger said long
ago, “hey you get off my cloud!”
The attraction of AA is what you see is what you get, raw reality. And recovery is reality. Sometimes beyond our wildest dreams, sometimes so dire would not wish another to endure such pain. Life is difficult.
AA Daily Reflections ~ "WHAT WE KNOW BEST “Shoemaker, stick to thy last!” . . . better do one thing supremely well than many badly. That is the central theme of this Tradition [Five]. Around it our Society gathers in unity. The very life of our
Fellowship requires the preservation of this principle. TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 150
The survival of A.A. depends upon unity. What would happen if a group decided to become an employment agency, a treatment centre or a social service agency? Too much specialization leads to no specialization, to frittering of efforts and,
finally, to decline. I have the qualifications to share my sufferings and my way of recovery with the newcomer. Conformity to A.A.’s primary purpose insures the safety of the wonderful gift of sobriety, so my responsibility is enormous. The life of
millions of alcoholics is closely tied to my competence in “carrying the message to the still-suffering alcoholic.”"
23rd October 2006
[from XXXXX] Hi Don,
I can understand the anonymity that is needed in your posts. But I think even if I wasn’t familiar with AA, I would still get a good insight into the workings of it. It's nice to know that you are someone who welcomes and supports newcomers. If it had been my 1st time on Friday I think it would have felt OK
I had a long chat last night with a friend I met in re hab. She still goes to AA and was pleased I had gone back. She's also going to have a look at your web site. I'm pretty sure that she will enjoy reading it, and be able to connect with a lot of it.
Well this is a quick post as I'm off to the seaside!!! That’s where I am going to live eventually As the old song goes 'Hold on tight to your dreams...'
Have a good day Don, look after yourself and be happy. XXXXX xx
PS with the mice, can't Tiger do a return favour!!
[from Don] Hi XXXXX,
Smiles Tiger has retired and just watches mice these days I suspect, being sixteen she has seen it all before, and lives too far away to borrow for a day or two.
The anonymity thing is so important. But I sometimes feel the drums of AA beat their own way as word gets out about this and that. At central meetings you wonder why there are so many new and regular faces around. I don’t speculate as we have had just ordinary folk about recently. Apart from me of course, smiles.
I hope the seaside trip was good. I love the coast and water and waves. Mostly tropical ones. But this is a distant memory. I will use some imagination to recollect them.
My dreams these days, I wonder sometimes what is in them, as I wake up with a start sometimes. Anyway I am feeling relaxed tonight and am back early so maybe this post will come up today on the BBC.
So today, hope you were armed with a brolly XXXXX might have been very necessary,
What a day! Lots of rain and lots of wet people about, and lots of people out in AA. Smiles here, we might expect the rain to keep us in, but we hardy AA types go out in all weathers for a meeting and friendship. You know its good to be in a fellowship and find a place to belong and hang out. Simply this with no expectations and no keeping up with the Jones’s and no one bothers you unless you are bothered about something and share it.
Its been good, I got out early and made my way on the bike in between showers down into Chelsea. Had a little problem with sugar levels and got it sorted quickly. I am spotting low sugar problems much more easily, although there is a tendency to get caught out.
A quick text to my Mother to let her know I am in the land of the living, and all is on track. And the meeting.
For months of near silence I am finding it easier and easier to talk. As if a load of rubbish has been lifted off my shoulders.
I did a lot of listening during the meeting kept the talking to before and after. And my web file managers are back on line. So a friend has got his pictures back on his site too and that was bothering me somewhat.
Fear and anxiety
The topics this morning and we all have them from time to time. I wonder how others might cope with three ailments and not just the obvious one we meet for. And then it seemed I am not alone as us older AA’s have all the signs and diseases of age. And some younger with cancer and in remission presently, and treatable. But still there lingers fear and what if’s.
For me though the anxieties and fears have abated for the moment, so the chemistry in my head is balanced better than for the last two years. As my denial is less and the honesty and good conscience keep me ticking over, it’s odd to have the weight of fear removed. That daily wrench inside is gone. Maybe I am doing all the suggestions and all the right things. And maybe its been worth every hour a day it has taken of AA therapy to help it be so. I am ok.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
It’s a bit like that for me. With the Knight on the Bridge to nowhere defending it. He would not give up even though he had lost his limbs and had only a voice left to shout and rail at the world passing by. It’s like this for me, just for today I don’t feel that fear, and treat it as the impostor it can be in my life.
Sometimes though we hear bold truth
Tonight was good, a younger sharer in the meeting and sharing everything it has taken me to fifty to come to terms with. To hear a relative youngster making their way so quickly to sobriety and freedom, well it takes my breath away. And helps me with my courage, hope and whatever it takes to make life work. I could not resist sharing and did. I think it makes others smile sometimes as I cannot help myself. And its ok, it gives them time to smile or sigh, at least I open my mouth and say something, and stop myself from isolating. Its just ok to do this. But I also reckon there are times for silence to let everything sort itself out in by head. I mentioned this warlike state that often happens around honesty and denial.
Owning my Part in Things
I am owning my part in all matters relating to me and others in my life and the past. I see the part played by me, and that of others. I recognise the good and bad, the denial and the honesty along the way. And I have no expectations from others for their part played. I realise denial is everywhere, especially in our society which enables our governing class to tell porkies all day long. It’s what I call their capacity to relate their belief as truth. And it happens almost every time they speak. Actually I caught part of Cameron on his webcam broadcast. At least there he seemed more honest than others. And this I find strange as a pinko of old. So much tosh in the world, and here I am in a fellowship which suggest truth and honesty are the best policy, when all around we are surrounded by tosh.
Owning my part in things is liberating as it helps me ensure future ownership, saying no with gentle resolve and saying yes with humility, well all these things are coming along.
At this rate I might be fit for a relationship someday. I have managed to nurture a plant now for over a year and it still grows. I hear of trials and tribulations and relationships going this way and that, and all the heartache still to be experienced as people try to get along in sobriety. Cor' Blimey. Some people do and its good to see, as passion requires no lubrication with free minds and free hearts.
As to Today
Well I thought of going on to see some friends at the late night down in the heart of Chelsea, but tonight the rain is heavy. My heart is light, and Prime Suspect is on at nine and I want to know the outcome. Two meetings is more than enough today. And chatting to friends has been more than enough for me today.
So it goes
And tomorrow is another day. Let’s hope that Providence and Nature let me hold on to the mood and frame of mind a little longer, it has a way of going back where I have been. Self-doubt is gone for a day. What more might I care for. Smiles, providence is out of my hands and self will missing, what a change for me, just this day, smiles and start afresh tomorrow…
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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