October 3 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 10 The Now Inventory Alcoholics Anonymous Today's Daily Reflections: "Stormy serenity and spiritual acceptance…" Just because we are in recovery, it is not all plain sailing, the emotional and spiritual life, understanding our feelings in the moment of now means that we work through the good, the bad, and everything in between coping in the moment of now…
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In early recovery I felt the stormy serenity of life in the raw. A mind which seemed to race all day long, driven by fear and putting on a brave face so that no one would see the inner turmoil as I was striving to be sober one day at a time. I was good at speaking my mind and sharing in meetings trying to prove myself. It was quite a while before I started to share my feelings and how I was coping in the moment. Breaking down the wall and letting my feelings out was one of the hardest endeavours. It seemed to take about a year for me in recovery before I let out my true life story, all the pain, all the joyful times and everything in-between… Now with step ten I ask myself how I am feeling, why and what I can do, and often ask for help in the moment rather than tomorrow…
As time has gone by, the value of being able to take inventory at any time of day, the inventory of: my fears, my brave face and ego, which are all about step six. The inventory of: courage to change, being confident to find the answers and ask for help, and faith in asking the right people and using my conscience, open, honest and willing, which are all about step seven. I can step back into step six where fear and cover-up, shame and guilt about not knowing what to do, or adopt a problem-solving attitude and have the courage to change and ask for help. It does not mean I get the perfect answer, because the answer involves everyone around me, and consulting them will help all of us make better decisions through inclusion in the moment where we cope and learn today…
Stormy serenity and spiritual acceptance one day at a time. Life is complicated because we need to be able to cope in the moment of now. Events happen which can shock us so deeply, we do not know which way to turn and there is no obvious solution to our pain. When I share stormy serenity, about people who have died, about the end of careers, about burnout and complete breakdown, and about the end of relationships, sometimes we have these things happening all at once, or over several years and it can take a long time to find acceptance when we don't know how to share our feelings as they are… We can ride some storms on our own, or we can share about it and get help if we are able to ask for help. And acceptance of life on life's terms, rather than the way we would want it to be is a daily practice for a whole lifetime. Spiritual acceptance leads us to cherish and honour the past and everything we have done so we may cherish and love in the moment of now…
Sometimes when I write, often I wonder if I make any sense at all to anyone. I feel the words I write and express may mean something to someone somewhere out there going through the storms of life and learning how acceptance can only be in the moment of now, as life experiences develop our emotional range so all feelings work right now. I was a very shut down individual and so broken by life events I could not find my way alone. I feel the emotional and spiritual spot-check inventory, really asking myself how I am feeling in the moment helps me understand my thinking and actions are always based on history and my mood in the moment. I can be very angry and resentful, I can be very happy and joyous and anything in between, and it’s okay to have all these feelings which work in the moment and just for today…
My old way of life was so ingrained, to stand on my own two feet and always face the world with a smile was me pretending to fit in and be included. Today I do stand on my own two feet, knowing I can ask the help and its okay, and when I smile these days which is very often it is because I am in a place of acceptance about everything being the only way it can be right now. And I can change, and the world is always changing, and most of the time I do cope in the moment of now. Knowing I can ask the help, that it is okay to feel off-balance and a need to rebalance takes as much time as we need working through every element of living in the moment of now…
Life is... a roller coaster in the moment of now! Emotional and spiritual, these are the twelve steps. Knowing how I am feeling [emotional] and coping in the moment of now [spiritual]. From aged five to forty five, I did have feelings, kept them to myself, and now? You know everything…
Sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly we make progress in the imperfectly perfect moment of now. Our mood and feelings impact on our thinking and actions today. All feelings are good, and if I know how I am feeling, I do know the difference. Everything, from shit to shinola plays its part today!
October 3 2010 ~ joyful and sad, pain and pleasure, right and wrong "yin and yang" see-saws and counterbalances, balance appears to need a fine edge or we swing to extremes. Life happens, sometimes stormy and sometimes calm we have choices. As we accept life is difficult, we find what is possible in recovery with help, support and challenge today...
October 3 2010 ~ pain and pleasure our touchstones... we may prefer life to be black and white; experience teaches us life happens in colour. If we do the right thing we expect the right outcome? There is the expectation and the resentment under construction. No one deserves... nothing is predictable; we “feel” life sober as it is today...
To a friend: - grief and closure…
Very kind words to me, and appreciated. Life is always difficult, until we accept it the way it is. A mutual friend reminded me that expectations are resentments under construction. And also reminded me that we need be careful when we feel we deserve something, same applies.
One other matter which I realise you may be dealing with is loss. My Dad gone many years now, I loved him dearly and cherished him, and was never able to share this truth with him, mainly because I was just like him, a product of my upbringing and cut off from my feelings a lot of the time.
The good news, is I talk to him now, talk about him to family, we share a lot about how awful he was and how awful his life turned out, and in many ways how wonderful he was too. He died about three months sober, after being diagnosed as terminal.
We hear the word closure often.
I don't feel we need closure; we need understanding for how we became who we are today. And our ancestors have everything to do with how we turned out. I don't blame my Dad for anything these days or feel angry that he is gone. Actually he is not gone or dead. He lives on in his children. I talk to my Dad from time to time usually when I am alone, laugh and cry, see how life is in these conversations. It is part of living, our cherishing and loving and having memories, some awful as I said and some wonderful too.
People with a firm belief in god have conversations with god. I have no firm understanding on anything about god. What I do understand is we have a conscience and an inner voice which is always with us. The inner voice if you like is a dialogue we have about our daily life. If there is a god, and a hereafter we can access this wisdom. My Dad for all his faults wanted the best for us, as does the inner voice and whatever it may be connected to.
In my own way, I feel conscience the inner voice speaks with our feelings, love being the main voice we hear. Our conscience and inner voice want the best for us. If we ask the questions about what next, share our fears and faith in making the best choices we can, based on our real situation, we find peace in our next actions. No guarantees because life on earth is subject to nature and providence.
Meditation and prayer are not exclusive to those who are religious. Meditation and prayer is the dialogue we have with the universe, a way of seeing the world we live in, everything we are and everything we love. Love is eternal, no past tense, everything lives on…
AA Daily Reflections ~ "serenity after the storm... Someone who knew what he was talking about once remarked that pain was the touchstone of all spiritual progress. How heartily we A.A.’s can agree with him. [12&12]
When on the roller coaster of emotional turmoil, I remember that growth is often painful. My evolution in the A.A. program has taught me that I must experience the inner change, however painful, that eventually guides me from selfishness to selflessness. If I am to have serenity, I must STEP my way past emotional turmoil and its subsequent hangover, and be grateful for continuing spiritual progress."
Spiritual principles to live life "real" ~ "Forgiveness" "Acceptance" "Surrender" "Faith" "Open-mindedness" "Honesty" "Willingness" "Inventory" "Amends" "Humility" "Persistence" "Spiritual-Living" "Service"
"Step 10: continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it"
This thought brings us to Step Ten, which suggests we continue to take personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along. We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past. We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime...
October 3 2007
DonInLondon - ‘Day In The Life’ Good Grief DonInLondon
Almost an expletive in the right context, yet grief is generally good for us, if we know what is happening.
Grief liberates our sadness, our anger, our denials about what is or has happened to us. Often we suppress grief as it’s a sign of weakness, although many cultures weave grief into the fabric of society, many societies and to an extent me too, have always avoided grief and one it always catches us up, or we miss a part of life essential to our growth as humans.
Yesterday was a day to celebrate the life of Christopher, my sister’s partner for two decades. And it was fitting to be there and right to be there. As a friend of and the nearly brother in law had time been long enough.
I was lucky in the early nineties to experience not only grief as my world imploded with the death of my Dad and also the love of my life back then, she left as she had to, to find her path and her dreams. No matter how understanding we can be, the grief and loss of a loved one impacts hard. One died, one moved along to another phase in their living.
Oddly the hardest for me to deal with was the feeling of being abandoned. Dad was dead and not coming back, and we had talked through the last few weeks of his life about all elements of our living. And for my partner, she would never had been complete in her journey if she had stayed with me. And she loved me and has said so many times since. Her loss was harder for me. And that was me and my inability to make sense of my grief and feelings back then.
In my career, both in and out of big organisations I was help with the process of grief and how it impacts. And the process and the learning helped for many years and helped me accept life and its harder moments which for me became decades!
An odd thing denial, we can deny truth and our behaviour. We can deny the pain we can cause. We can deny and learn yet again, even now for me how awful our denial can be.
As my journey towards open honest and willing continues, I see forgiveness is absolute in all relationships I have. I am not saintly and can mess up a perfectly good situation as any other can, simply by denials and discomfort kept hidden for too long. I learn over and over.
We can forgive and move on, we can let go, we can mend ourselves. And we cannot mend others. We can make plans with truth and open hearts and still flounder as we are learning life forever, until we expire.
A service of remembrance, and also a chair for me to do. Between the two, many issues arose.
While remembering Christopher, a whole lot more is remembered too, for lost loves along the way in my life. Some are dead and some living somewhere in this world. I felt those times again, where there was love and kindness and being together.
We may forget daily and yet the memories are always with us. We learn from our living and mend the way we are, we can gain wisdom from the years and every experience helps.
Progress & Not Perfection
It is ever so as we progress we are aware more if we have open minds, how we are part of this world and what works better as we journey. No ever easy for anyone, we need work life with every element we have to make sense of it. And still we will learn forever, the experience never stops and the learning helps us find our way.
Perfectly imperfect we are..
October 3 2006
Tea And Empathy
The bike experiment
My day was very experimental as I felt determined to see if the cycle riding might offer better opportunity to keep active and mobile. I think my internal &“jury”; is out on this activity. As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, walking is proving to be a problem without medication. And cycling is another way of getting about without aggravating the neuropathy. At least I had hoped so. I haven’t said this before, but the actual pain is not just my feet and my sensitivity generally is affected. Which might explain why it is this morning that walking or cycling, the pain remains. But there is much to gain with the cycling I feel as a form of exercise. So I don’t want to quit it, without having a fair go, and after seeing(oh and this is all over the place, as my vision alters a lot because of the diabetes) whether the other aches and pains may be due to the newness of this form of exercise. I don’t know much about neuropathy, unfortunately I may become expert as its with me for good. And I need accept it daily.
Yes I am the local tea boy at one meeting, again and I am pleased. And it was good to get out and do it. I really do get a kick out of working with another fellow and seeing people and doing the &“tea”;. It’s part of being sociable and in the fellowship we find that being a part of the activity keeps us involved, included and in the world of now!
Our or rather My Listening Tonight
It was a what we call a step and tradition meeting, where we discuss what the fellowship is about and our subject focused on AA and its first tradition of Unity in the fellowship.
Unity is all about fellowship. And I guess I always labour the point about fellowship simply because many refer to AA as an organisation. It may be organised, but to call it an organisation always makes me smile, as in reality it’s a fellowship. Calling it an organisation suggests it has a hierarchy and some form of control over its membership. Actually, AA has no control over its fellows or its groups who meet all over the world as and when they choose. The Unity comes from its principles that everyone is equal and may be treated so, with fellowship and being a fellow guaranteed by a simple desire to stop drinking.
And of course the other aspects are about it being a fellowship of men and women. Many have commented that AA exerts no power over anything and has a better understanding of human development in recovery than any other body of people on the planet.
At the same time we are all unique, authentic, diverse as can be and we all choose to get on with each other no matter our background our gender, race, colour, belief systems and anything you might conjure up to cause conflict. We simply get on with our business of living simply or complicated, a day at a time. We develop our individuality, retain it, honour it and still belong to a fellowship which accepts everyone as similar and most of all autonomous in their daily living.
I enjoyed our meeting as people get to see the wonder of what fellowship is. Many get confused and take their time to learn what fellowship means, and that we are organised and have no “organisation” merely a fellowship! I know this sounds odd, and yet it is this fellowship thing which provides the glue to help each other get sober and back to the business of our lives, all different and with this one similarity, our humanity and compassion, forgiveness and growing wisdom of being human.
Tea and Empathy
I suppose one thing I learn is we are never perfect, and the notion of fellowship grows as our personal wisdom grows too. So when we come to AA at the start we don’t get this simple truth. And there are plenty of squabbles and human doings as people try put their mark on proceedings and make AA what they think it should be. There are no should’s in AA, merely suggestions and ways to live in harmony and peace. And everyone has their own belief system and spiritual path as they choose. A cool fellowship indeed.
And I have seen the usual stuff we humans do over the last few days, with arguments and problems all ever so human about people, responsibilities and positions of trust. We are far from perfect! And our imperfection makes us human, and eminently capable of getting angry and parochial about anything. Just like real life. And we have our traditions and steps to help us make every cock up known to mankind in a fellowship which expects just that. And at the same time has tolerance and forgiveness in every capacity we humans have, to keep coming back and try again.
And this Unity tradition, which encompasses the “day at a time” philosophy, means our equality is assured. A person is just one day sober, this applies to all of us in the fellowship, we are just and remain only sober for today. And this tradition and foundation assures us of equality. Even for those thirty years sober are good just this one day. For the wisdom of one day sober may be as good as a lifetime, and every life is due their place and space in our fellowship.
And so “newcomers” and “old timers“, we are all equal with equal voice, smiles, even with a voice to make our point, we need to make sense to our groups, and the “group conscience” to agree any change to anything about our fellowship, and so we learn. So wisdom of the many and not just the individual always makes good our fellowship decisions…
Empathy and understanding, forgiveness and tolerance, so we can keep coming back till we get with sobriety. No organisation has ever achieved that, as personality and ego decree, and eject failed participants. Not so in AA, and we are a “fellowship“ we need just one thing to be included, a desire to be sober a day at a time. Darn good in my book of learning, and a good thing as in early days some turn up quite full of their malady, drink, even for years before they get sober!
A good day, a useful day, some exercise, some more acceptance of not being what I used to be. The better for my fellowship, my powerlessness over people, places and things. The easier for being allowed to be myself, a unique individual, no bigger or smaller than anyone else, with a fundamental similarity with my fellows and a common purpose to live life, “for real” as reality is our spiritual connection to nature and being. And free to believe as my conscience determines, in friendship and tolerance. Developing wisdom and acceptance of choices open, and knowing the difference between what can be done and is beyond me, acceptance of this one day at a time.
And so the start of just another day, and on the bus rather than the bike sadly, yet happily, I‘ll try the bike again, when I can, acceptance is the key…
Just For Today, 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 semiannual 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:
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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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