October 29 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 10 The Now Inventory Alcoholics Anonymous Today's Daily Reflections: "daily maintenance of: emotional, spiritual and physical sobriety comes first, so the rest of life can happen." When I was a reluctant alcoholic in recovery, my daily pattern started with denial followed by a slug of vodka, then admitting and accepting I was alcoholic and eventually I could stop on willpower alone. And I would go to AA to see how other people did it, I thought they were sheep and I knew better…
Video For Today:
When I keep it simple, stopped struggling with complicated ideas about how to keep people sober, the measures of success, are very easy. The idea is so simple hardly anyone ever mentions it. If sober has three components, emotional, spiritual and physical, why not use them as a general guide to well-being? Emotional: how am I feeling? Spiritual: am I living in the moment and coping? Physical: do I need a drink to function today? Three simple questions! I can make it complicated by thinking and thinking and thinking, there must be a better answer to this! Sober, emotionally and spiritually, and physically in no need of a drink today is a good place to start living life on life's terms, all day long…
The chain-smoking gin sodden philanderer, M Scott Peck wrote the book, "the road less travelled," and the first sentence sums up what we all face on a daily basis, "life is difficult and if we accept it is difficult, then it ceases to be a problem." The only reason I suggest that M Scott Peck was a chain-smoking gin sodden philanderer, is the description in his obituary. Now here's a good news, if we keep it simple, if we can measure our sobriety, using the three basics of: emotional, spiritual and physical, so that we know our situation, we also know life is difficult. So all we need to do is keep it simple, just for one day and then another maybe? Can it be that easy? It can!
So this morning how am I feeling, having written these words? Emotionally I feel good, spiritually in this moment. I'm writing and not concerned about the next thing to do. Until now, a lot of paperwork. And physically, I have a cold, a temperature and a cough, and that's okay because I have taken two paracetamol. And that reminds me I need to take my medications for type I diabetes and clinical depression! Following the advice of professionals based on experience of many years, keeps me safe. And of course it all works, because I put sober first, and know it is right to keep the steps and traditions working inside me. The steps and traditions keep me honest, which is the basis of the daily reflection for today…
Pretty much all the steps and traditions work as principles in my life today and I have come to an understanding of how they work as life happens and experience happens. I was a good study and read all the AA literature, the big book and the twelve steps and twelve traditions, in particular. But they only seem to make sense when life experience makes them relevant. And in early days, it was difficult to understand how any step or how any tradition translated into real life. It did not take long for the pennies to start to drop. Steps keep me: open, honest and willing. Traditions keep me: practising unity, service and recovery. Humility rather than anonymity seems to be the spiritual foundation of the fellowship in practice in my experience…
Why humility rather than anonymity as the spiritual foundation? This is only my opinion and not that of the fellowship, working through the group conscience. On a personal level, truth is my spiritual foundation, the truth of now. And how do I get to the truth? In recovery anonymity gave me the means and safety to learn how to be open, honest and willing to explore with humility, how to live life all over again. Anonymity is absolutely necessary when a human being feels vulnerable and cannot be open, honest and willing, without fear and shame. So for me anonymity afforded sanctuary. And as Gandhi said, "God is truth, God is love." Truth and love, my spiritual core, and I continue to learn one day at a time. This is my personal view…
And when it comes to living life one day at a time with the principles of the steps firmly understood, being open, honest and willing is quite natural and very beneficial. When it comes to the traditions and each person's understanding, each person can express their view in a group conscience to the benefit and safety of all fellows in the fellowship. We will agree to disagree on some fundamentals and personal opinions and beliefs, and that is absolutely right. Each person need keep to their own moral codes, their religion or their spiritual outlook, or both. It is never for me to try change other fundamentals in other people, or undermine how they live their life. I have the right to be wrong, and with humility and learning, life will show me and you "the way" one day at a time…
My life story: the facts and events through time. My feelings: about the facts of my life and expressing them. My part in the problem of life “back in the day,” overwhelming and unseen emotions pushed away. We did our best with what we knew, and then acceptance of life on life’s terms. A daily review keeps me in the emotional and spiritual solution today…
Belonging somewhere when all I had was a park bench and a bottle... I did not know what to do with myself when I came to the last days of drinking. Life was so desolate and I felt alone. I had let everyone down, and could not cope. I feared fellowship and being judged. Some did but most accepted me as a human who could be sober one day at a time…
“Newcomers and Old Timers” ~ Too Much Information
We are all battered by information all day long. With a mind pickled in alcohol, driven to be perfect and always being set up by ourselves and our promises to fall short of perfect, the world can become a very grim place, every day. Even when we stop the pickling process and get sober, the amount of information still to process is the same. And we can keep life simple if we choose to do so.
Virtues we seem to hold as good for us. A work orientation, a work skill, problem solving, planning, decision making, getting the job done and moving on to the next job and then another. Always on the move, always being ready, and an attitude of can do and can learn. Always an outlook of positivity and we get measured constantly. From cradle to grave it seems we can hardly take a breath without being in some form of assessment.
In fellowship we suggest, stop and take it easy, take some time to get your bearings. And still the world turns and the world seems ever so difficult. Most of us realise a lot of our time has been about thinking the next move, the next drink. And of course dealing with our addiction has taken so much time. We had relived glory days, and tried to repeat them, we had been engrossed in planning ahead too, so it comes as a bit of a shock that we have time to feel, and time to think in sobriety.
Keep Life Simple!
How can we? Keeping life simple in a complicated world can be daunting, as life does tend to speed up in recovery. Starting with a plan for today has been my focus in recent years. I have projects and I have recovery. My life is completely different to what it was before I gave up the drink. And it is not unusual as we become sober that our priorities in life take a completely different turn.
First Step for me was to stop self-harm through drink, join in life again and see where sobriety might take me. And the suggested set of principles underpinning sober life: the twelve steps and twelve traditions, to stop me committing suicide by practicing the steps and homicide by practicing the traditions. Twenty four key principles, not to be learned and put into practice in a day, a way of living an authentic and purposeful life of my choosing. Simple progress and never perfect, twenty four elements under the words, open honest and willing, with unity service and recovery in fellowship.
And what do we get in all this? A way to live with freedom of choice, finding out what we may do, what is possible and what is not possible. Life always under review by us, and knowing we can cover our daily needs and be less bothered by the old wants we had based on our old addictive behaviour.
Keeping life simple, getting involved in life again, going to fellowship meetings and learning to deal with old fears and let go old attitudes and behaviour. Not easy when my head, my heart cried out for relief from reality in those early days.
On a daily basis, learning what was and is right for me to do is simple, and always complicated by too much information.
Too Much Information Today?
There will be too much information today, too many choices to consider if I become overwhelmed and just shut down. I do not need to shut down, and can filter what I need concentrate on today, my basic needs. To be sober, to be open and honest, and to be willing to change as life is changing. Letting go the notion I can control anything has been a real way to make progress. As I feel life as it is today, rather than think what life should be, I am free of self will and can roll with the experience I am having. As often said, “Go with the flow” and see where we may go and be a part of the experience. And letting go and choosing new directions is simple if we do not fear change.
Practicing the principles of fellowship opens me up to life, stops me holding on to the impossible, and considering the possible. To be able to change as life and the world changes is now done with a sober head. Simply in the moment, emotional and spiritual reality, happy when happy is happening and sad when sad is happening…
Just for today
AA Daily Reflections ~ "OUR SURVIVAL since recovery from alcoholism is life itself to us, it is imperative that we preserve in full strength our means of survival. TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 177
The honesty expressed by the members of A.A. in meetings has the power to open my mind. Nothing can block the flow of energy that honesty carries with it. The only obstacle to this flow of energy is inebriation, but even then, no one will find a closed door if he or she has left and chooses to return. Once he or she has received the gift of sobriety, each A.A. member is challenged on a daily basis to accept a program of honesty. My Higher Power created me for a purpose in life. I ask him to accept my honest efforts to continue on my journey in the spiritual way of life. I call on Him for strength to know and seek His will."
October 29 2007
DonInLondon - ‘Day In the Life’ Always in Recovery
Just for a Day
Seems right to me, always in recovery and always one day sober. I was reading through my emails into the early hours. And after a particularly good weekend of seeing family and being to fellowship meetings, I had plenty of time with others. Part of recovery is to be in good company as much as we need and still find our alone time, not lonely time.
And yesterday just kept on going. With emails on the You tube and answering it kept me up till three this morning. I need remind myself to go to bed!
Overall a good day and some chances to reload software which seems corrupted these last few weeks by downloading BT stuff. Some collisions and problems. But some things keep going regardless yet slowly.
Below an email response:
Names of others are always changed or left as [xxxxx] as a rule of thumb.
it feels like it’s my own story when reading your words. It is a real pain in the neck to find a way to quit.
My suggestions and experience:
My intellect kept me drinking as I felt able to weather the stormy days when I was trying not to drink. Result is we go back and have another go, but it takes more drink to get anywhere near the oblivion which we want? For me it was like that. And then I became reluctant to be out, without knowing I had a stash somewhere at home or a safe place.
I got very good at not drinking in public, or with anyone at the end and then went home or somewhere where nobody knew me.
Angry, bitter and twisted that I need give up or quit my best friend. And I felt it was the only thing holding me together. Worse I was hooked without a doubt and that just made me angry inside and raging about being a weak person without willpower.
First thing if you feel able
Keep reminding yourself you have a medical condition which needs help and support to overcome. No one makes it first time in my experience. Apart from a few, a very few. And most people die from alcoholism much sooner. As we often know we will not die tomorrow, we put off the day so long we end up with all sorts of problems.
Get medical support to deal with the physical need to drink. And be wary of detoxing on your own, it often leads back to an even bigger binge and worse things can go wrong if we are out there and out of control.
Keep to people you trust. If the group you are attending helps, then keep with their programme.
Learn from anyone you can identify with, and find some place to share your troubles. Girlfriends and family cannot really understand unless they too face this situation. And you are right that other people cannot cope, it’s not their fault.
Alcoholism is no one’s fault and no one, yourself or family can cope when you are drinking. They have to leave you to it or you cause them so much grief, well you know this. Unless of course they are drinking too. So it’s not easy to get going with others with drink in your face.
The first key we need know it’s the first drink which sets us off. So if you can do one day, then you have achieved what works.
For me it’s just one day only. The consequences of not drinking for a day, is a day I can have my choices back. Of maybe face up to some of my ruinous behaviour.
Always its for one day only. Then it’s a manageable amount of time.
There is no blame anymore. Forgive yourself, forgive anyone who led you to drink and forgive every girl who broke your heart. Forgive your family for the genetic cause, forgive anything and everything. Most of all forgive yourself for being just one thing, a human being a day at a time.
Don’t worry. Keep sharing and telling your story to people who help you in your group. And forgive them too for having no answer to make it all better. And forgive them for any prejudice you hear about others or other ways to quit. Your way to quit is your decision and no one else can decide this for you. Especially in AA which I thrive on, I know everyone is or was barking mad. so we can be very angry AA is just a fellowship, and cannot be blamed either, as its fellows are just one day clean, even if it’s for decades and they are still bonkers. Sober and bonkers, that not quite fair, or maybe it is. Your path need be yours.
I don't do God by the way. This puts a lot off AA, the God thing! I find Ghandi helps, he said "God is truth." I can cope with truth as my deity, and my higher power. Surprisingly it makes me non-judgmental and lets others rave about God without disturbing my understanding - simple Truth a day long.
And this is a real hard one, no one will have ever told you that you don’t have to drink again. Especially our own heads say its ok and I deserve another one!
So my best suggestion [xxxxx] is never try to do this on your own. Will power kills alcoholics. Alan Carr is somewhere in this.
I have experience of other ways
The health service in London were brilliant. Rehab was useless for me but helps many. If you have health cover maybe that might be possible [rehab].
Above all forgive over and over, yourself and anyone who hurt you and can give you grief which leads back to drink and oblivion.
Finally for now
Be yourself, be forgiving as you find each day sober can be a real milestone. The first 90 days are the worst and really horrible.
We stop sweating, we get so angry it makes us homicidal some of the time. We stop the shakes, we feel better with ourselves gradually. We find we have anger all the way to push us back to drink.
Remember you have spent a long time getting to this point, it would be a waste of your life if you kept on the path of drink. Because as you get better and sober, you have the experience, the strength and hope to help others! And you get to keep your girlfriend or another one who gets to know you sober. girlfriends get suspicious of sober blokes I have found. We don't bend so easily. We love better and more deeply though!
A lot of words for you,
As for AA, if you hate it enough, it’s a good start! If you choose another route then keep safe with it.
As with any fellowship or programme, those who get it are a blinking irritation. So be aware that “do gooders” will be around and will test your temper.
Stick with people who offer suggestions and not solutions. Your personal path is yours and be yourself to find the person you really are without being a drunk I guess.
Keep safe, share everything with those you trust and give yourself a break for being human. We humans learn or die, same as other animals on this planet. Life is short enough.
Best wishes Don
29th October 2006 [All about Last Year]
[from XXXXX] Hi Don,
Just a short reply I like an ending.
Coldplay...that took me back. My favourite of all the newer groups around. Took me back to re hab. 'clocks' was my song then. I spent many evenings sharing an earpiece listening to that
I do understand your reasons for moving on. And this post has left me with a lot of thoughts. About moving on. And an e mail this morning about reasons not to stay in touch. It almost seems as though things are just meant to be. The thing is, there are no reasons at all. That’s the hard part. No reasons, no denial, just acceptance today.
Take care Don, [XXXXX]
[from me Don] Thanks XXXXX
glad we are keeping in touch as this post is ending for me.
Changing patterns and opening Doors - Groundhog Day
As we go through life, we do have opportunity every day to make changes. Some changes for the good, some for no reason fathomable, some because we need a fresh challenge and outlook.
It’s good to retain important connections and learning as we go, and at the same time we might wonder which way is the right way. Often the right way is simply to do something new, in good conscience and in the spirit of letting go and making room for new experiences.
Sometimes we cling to familiar things and we feel worried and concerned if change is too fast. Some of this is familiarity being lost, and some fear based on the unknown. We know least about ourselves most often, simply because looking in the mirror can be a painful reminder that we have left to look forward to, and there is more behind us than we might really like.
Moving forwards becomes more of a challenge as we let go familiar things which have served good purpose, because we have value and time invested in them. I feel like this with the BBC post, its been very good to keep the exercise going and has helped one or two people along the way. If it’s worth it, maybe another similar venture may start. By me or someone else. Or in another way which has reach and impact. I have no clue today.
Its been a little frustrating having to keep to home turf and rest and recuperate today. And that’s simply my world and some options are limited. And at the same time I choose new ventures and moving along. Action and movement keep us interested and interesting. A scary world most of the time and we need only realise its our fear of unknown which holds us back? Or injury of things beyond us as we change over time. If and buts and maybe’s, the stuff of living and action is about purpose. We need purpose and beyond living the same groundhog day…
Change is Uncomfortable
Indeed for all concerned as we do change, so others change to accommodate, or not as the case may be. And sometimes people prefer the old us, as this is how they relate best. Or the downside as we move on is that the nature of the relationships change radically.
Inclusion Control and Love
In a roundabout way the foundation of Freudian works. Human elements of character around inclusion, love and control run deep through us. As these elements change in our behaviour and outlook the rest of the world is wishing us back the way we were. And often so do we, which is why addicted types like me breaking old patterns and moving into new territory represent good change but also change which takes away all predictability. And certainly can be confounding all round.
As our need for inclusion, whether we want or express it, changes quite radically as life deals us our new cards in recovery. Control can change too, we want to be less controlled or more in control of our world of choice, and our relationship with the concept of powerlessness alters to externals like people places and things. And the internals of power and choice take shape, as we become more individual and authentic.
Love, needed and wanted, and how we express our love changes too as our minds become clearer on where we may go. How we conduct ourselves in sobriety creates new worlds where we have choice, that we make a choice in love and how we share it. These elements run to the very core of living and can be so fundamental in their changes they make us awkward and prickly people for a while as we adjust.
Fortunately around all three elements we become more adept in and through time and our behaviour becomes more consistent with our internal balance as we live soberly. Or we become what some refer to as dry drunk, that is our behaviour and internal beliefs find themselves at war and misunderstand the transitions. Where we feel we have changed our behaviour and our attitudes remain unchanged, there will be war inside and outwardly this manifests in any way it will, usually an “act” to the world of being ok when inside is outrage and turmoil, often leading to psychosis.
So to now
As I drift away from the self-esteem postings and go back to another set of writings for my website. Well it was good to try and explain what recovery and a day in the life of a newly sober person might include.
And I feel good about the contacts which have arisen because of it. Some in my local area know of the posts, and have made comment of their usefulness. Others were very wary if they were to continue too long, and shared my view they had limited life as anonymity and all that means would be compromised. My view too, as time heals and new things and elements come into life. And much of next steps is not about self-esteem for me, as new challenges are possible because self-esteem is better understood and lived.
There is much more to say and more appropriate places to share what happens next, as I mentioned elsewhere on the gigantic world of the web. Thanks BBC for letting me post so long. I will pop up and be about. But not daily and most likely not adding to this post. All changes as time develops our outlook and connection. For now farewell BBC and hello and back to the world commentary elsewhere. Don Oddy aka DonInChelsea.
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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