October 30 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 10 The Now Inventory Alcoholics Anonymous Today's Daily Reflections: "live and let live, you have a right to your opinions and outlooks and beliefs and so does everyone else in fellowship." Thank goodness, the fellowship of AA is focused on sobriety to stay sober one day at a time and share a message of experience, strength and hope to those who have a desire to get sober... Outside issues remain outside issues!
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When a person shares their experience, strength and hope, inevitably, life experience will include opinions, beliefs and outlooks. And that's okay, because we look beyond into the world of what made a person sober, rather than their politics and their affiliations. Although it is often forgotten here in meetings, in the group notes each group has hopefully, it suggests we look for the similarities and not the differences. If we look for the similarities in experience, strength and hope we find words which match our own experience of life and how to be sober one day at a time. Similarities not the differences…
It can be perplexing to hear the same old story from the same old people! And still when in a meeting, I sit at the front and put my hand up to speak and share the similarities I hear in the chair. Every day is different, although there may be some stalwarts and regulars in meetings, there is always the newcomer, still shivering in a corner and not quite able to make sense of anything. One of the suggestions which is pernicious and unhelpful is when people find themselves under scrutiny for sharing their absolute truth which might be rocky and very horrible to hear about. Hearing the truth and hearing the similarities, is the very essence of helping a person understand that no matter what happens, sober is best and sober we can cope with life on life's terms…
People who are sober, become more robust and can cope with reality, the emotional and spiritual elements more readily as life experience happens. And with the benefit of the twelve steps and twelve traditions, the timeless principles of life which work in all conditions, experiencing the truth, experiencing love and learning wisdom is a daily practice. We lose the bondage of self, we learn tolerance and love for others and ourselves. We learn compassion and we learn not to judge, to the point of fanaticism. We will still judge what is good for us and let go judging others hopefully...
Tolerance and love is so important. I've said in the past that we can love people and hate their behaviour. And if we can love people and hate their behaviour, we do not undermine the other person. Which means we can help by example and by sharing our own experience, strength and hope in meetings. We do not do it to teach other people a lesson or undermine them! There will be characters that we meet, that are quite detestable human specimens. And I have learned it is okay to dislike people with detestable traits and detestable attitudes which do not seem to change through time. I do not love them and I do not tolerate them in my personal life. But I would not stop them or undermine them from getting sober and finding a new way to live if they can…
There is often a desire and an expectation that people will treat us as we treat them. Expectations that other people will have the same values, the same outlooks, the same attitudes and the same ideas and conscience and develop these positive traits through recovery is really an expectation beyond reality and can cause deep resentments. I know from life experience, especially with business, expecting others to have altruistic natures is a grave mistake. There are plenty of sociopaths about who will trample heavily on the toes of those around them. Some judgement is required, when engaging with people who seem very engaging and turn out to be the worst type possible. No point in trying to change them. And if they have influence over your life, move quickly into a safer environment and leave them to their detestable ways… Just a suggestion!
Paperwork! I'm not good at sorting out my own paperwork, I procrastinate and save it up until the pile is so big, I know I need do something about it. It is an old habit, and especially when it comes to bill paying. I don't resent paying the bills, but these days on a fixed income, it does truly irritate sometimes when inflation is running high and income stays the same. And for some reason I was awake very early, so I went through everything and was pleasantly surprised to find that there was just enough to cover my expenses. I am going to start a notebook to ensure safe limits! As I write this, I'm still wondering if I can commit this to a routine and then know my limits. I guess we all have to eventually, but it seems to have taken me a very long time…
On the other hand in business in the olden days, I would rattle through all the spreadsheets, know where the income, costs and expenses were, the projections, and the potential that the business had. It seems an odd paradox that all those skills in business were not utilised by me in my private and personal life. Forever optimistic, forever pushing myself beyond the pale to have a life that had no meaning beyond the material. Today, life is full of meaning and full of fellowship and friendships… All because I am sober today making choices which are about people and their well being each and every day… Altruistic, yes, most definitely. Realistic? More so and still forgiving of humans being human…
Do I remember that I have a right to my opinion but that others don’t have to share it? That’s the spirit of “Live and Let Live.” Daily Reflections…
Telling me the truth about your feelings, what is happening in your life is all part of getting to know you. I always hope to love you just the way you are. No need to impress me, simply be the you, you are becoming today. Ordinary is where extraordinary begins…
Fear of rejection? We cover up in case something we say, something we do might upset what we may hope for and has yet to happen. The more we evade the truth, the less easy it is to keep to fictions we create, just in case people won’t like us. No wonder we end up with the wrong people, in the wrong places with the wrong things…
October 30 2010 ~ I don't know what I don't know, and as each day comes with new information I keep on learning. Courage to change my opinions as reality gives me new evidence and helps keep me sober today. I can have opinions and views, at the same time they are subject to change at any moment, because of you today...
October 30 2010 ~ As a fellowship, Alcoholics Anonymous remains focussed on its primary purpose, which is sobriety. We as individuals remain unique and authentic, with views and beliefs as we come to understand from our living and from life experience. One focus, we still share our unique experience, strength and hope daily as we may...
Nearly time for prayer and meditation tonight and it has been a good day with plenty of contact and sharing with my fellows in a meeting. Phone calls to family close by, and we are lunching tomorrow. My day, up at dawn, and shocked out of sleep by noise and a delivery. Pondering on why insomnia haunts me, and then I realise I can catch up later with clocks turning back an hour tonight.
I don’t know about you, when invited to speak about something at a meeting, to do the “chair” which kicks off our sharing of experience strength and hope in recovery and sobriety. My chair and share on tradition ten. All about our fellowship keeping our focus on sobriety and how to keep the share about step ten without including something of everything connected to this tradition. I know I cannot. Twenty four suggestions we practice as principles in our living, twelve steps and twelve traditions, which are underpinned with an open honest outlook and the bedrock of unity service and recovery. And share something about me in my recovery, where I am today, and inclusive in five minutes. Five minutes, used to feel like a lifetime when I was ever asked to speak to a group of people, now five minutes will never be enough time. Gone are the glory stories of my drinking, more of the serenity and peace and freedom to be me, whoever I am by bedtime.
After the meeting, with some energy and a desire just to capture the life around me, I set off to the Duke of York Square on the Kings Road and take photographs of my favourite subjects, real live humans being humans.
And then home, another call and a change to a plan. Asked yesterday to a party, I felt yes and then said no. We do this, the automatic yes, and the good news on this occasion invited by someone who knows me inside out and sort of knew it could be a no for tonight. I need be careful, I get tired easily and overdo everything because I feel the desire and need to keep inventing and changing. I find it hard to shut down and get embroiled in interesting things to do. Some of the time.
Balance again, as I put up new curtain poles, drilled filled and screwed, and then black out thermal blinds. I took my time, was really patient, rested in between each part of the process. Keeping everything in the moment of course, to make sure nothing will fall down.
Then I remembered, I need eat, and then I recalled I need upload my photographs, the raw material, copy the batch of over four hundred to edit during the week.
By now, somewhat drained mentally, I forget how much I need listen when in a meeting as I did the “chair” and listening and paying attention, I heard and felt each fellows experience strength and hope.
And listening to a music documentary about Elton John, I felt reminded of candle in the wind, grief and tears, joy and tears and love across the decades. Love is love, when we feel it and when we don’t, you know it too.
Am I missing a party tonight? Yes I am missing connection for tonight, not forever thankfully. Easy does it, and find our balance, tomorrow is another day and life is always today.
AA Daily Reflections ~ "LIVE AND LET LIVE never since it began has Alcoholics Anonymous been divided by a major controversial issue. Nor has our Fellowship ever publicly taken sides on any question in an embattled world. This, however, has been no earned virtue. It could almost be said that we were born with it. . . . “So long as we don’t argue these matters privately, it’s a cinch we never shall publicly. ” TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 176
Do I remember that I have a right to my opinion but that others don’t have to share it? That’s the spirit of “Live and Let Live.” The Serenity Prayer reminds me, with God’s help, to “Accept the things I cannot change.” Am I still trying to change others? When it comes to “Courage to change the things I can,” do I remember that my opinions are mine, and yours are yours? Am I still afraid to be me? When it comes to “Wisdom to know the difference,” do I remember that my opinions come from my experience? If I have a know-it-all attitude, aren’t I being deliberately controversial?"
October 30 2007
DonInLondon - ‘Day In the Life’ First Chair
Chairs as we call them -
As some of you may have gathered by now, I write a lot about recovery from addiction. And I go to AA [ Alcoholics Anonymous]. I never write, speak for or on behalf of AA, I speak and write about me and my life in recovery.
An AA term for speaking first at a meeting of AA, to get people motivated to share their experience strength and hope. A sort of life story with current day bits thrown in to keep it fresh with luck.
A bit like being asked to speak in public or go on TV and reveal your true self, or as we find how close we are getting to our truth of living. A nerve racking and not so glorious thing to do? A humbling thing to do when we speak our truth. Sometimes this first chair is our last or maybe the start of something we get used to doing when asked for the rest of our sobriety. And for some sobriety can be a long, long time.
Tonight was a great example of someone being asked and doing a chair, their first. It is always a privilege to listen, to make sense, to be happy a person has got the courage and faith to give it a go..
As far as first chair for me, I felt nervous, I felt a pretender with not much time in AA. I felt it might be disloyal to share intimate details of me and my past, what makes tick each day and what my hopes are. I felt depressed after this first attempt, not because it was bad, just because I was extremely gloomy at the time.
It was good to hear a person sharing as life has turned out, where they came from, what made drinking a great escape and then a complete and utter ruinous state of affairs.
We Alcoholics seem to thrive by sharing our experience strength and hope. Although I speak for me it’s obvious we do, or why keep going?
Only for a day we learn, this one day seems the best way to live. After all before we had time on our hands to drink and from the deepest dark of time, mankind seems to have been drawn to storytelling and passing on wisdom as we can.
As anyone who is a regular of AA, the pull of that troublesome alcohol will send us careering off on more adventures with our best friend turned worst enemy of life, drink.
As mentioned over and over tonight the good news is we can clean up pretty fast, a few weeks is a good start, the suggestion of ninety meetings in ninety days seems preposterous and stupid to an alcoholic fresh to recovery. Yet most know the last ninety days they were probably drunk. So ninety days sober is complete madness in our start to sober living. Some of us did one meeting a week and often went drinking after our weekly touch with the madness and insane people we thought alcoholics to be. But and the but of it, we find in most meetings large or small, newcomers are always the minority, and people with years sober come along, get some encouragement for another day and help and help a newcomer if they ask.
All about step twelve:
‘12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs’
For me the twelfth step is integral to all the steps suggested for normal and wonderful and sad living. As life is meant to be, lived in the moment.
And this thing called a spiritual awakening is key. Spiritual living is simply right now. Spiritual is not yesterday, a degree from a college, or maybe it is from the school of how to live in the here and now.
Drunk like me back in the day, I saw nothing connected to reality, and now these days the idea of being pickled again is not so appealing as I keep to safe ground and enjoy the moment or feel the sadness of a moment as life offers. To live life now with our complete wits is a real way to experience a life a day at a time.
Awakenings And First Chairs
Seems these last couple of days is and as always reminds me what it’s like to be so low in living that life has no meaning, then to grow a little and then share the difference will always be a special moment. To realise another human is getting to see reality, make better choices, have some faith in their own choices, be courageous enough to share, and have hope a day at a time. Well these are good days for me.
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:
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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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