October 6 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 10 The Now Inventory Alcoholics Anonymous Today's Daily Reflections: "the attraction of taking other people's inventory is always with us…" In the original reflection, fear may stop us looking at our own actions and behaviour, and if we are feeling angry and resentful, the spot check inventory may be used unwisely on others to blame when things go badly. I am reminded always to look at my own part in matters, what is it that I am doing rather than what they are doing today…
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When I look back at situations with people, places and things I see a pattern emerge. I wanted to be included in social events, not always keen on family events, wanted to be included in good working opportunities. I would become immersed totally in networking, seeking out the best people, places and things. I never felt too comfortable, and spent a great deal of time trying to "fit in with other people," a people pleaser driven and on the rampage. I drew my sense of self from the people I was with, the places and things we shared. I never understood the idea that I have the freedom to choose, that I needed a sense of self from within, and now today happily I just find out a bit more about who I am by the end of each day, living the journey rather than planning a much narrower journey one day at a time…
When I go to meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, I can share "I am Don and I am an alcoholic," and this simple admission leads to acceptance hopefully for a whole day. There was this thing in rehab, "admit and accept," and a community meeting where other people were asked to give their judgement on whether I admitted and accepted my alcoholism. It really got of my nose that other people were asked to judge me. They call it peer review. Peer review in some parts of life may be beneficial, in the fellowship though if we sit round judging whether people have admitted and accepted their alcoholism, we have lost focus sitting in judgement of others… All I need to do, as a daily reminder is to admit and accept that I am an alcoholic all day long…
Self-appraisal is wonderful, learning who we are in the moment of now and especially asking for feedback when we need to improve our outlook. We don't work alone if we are working, we may live alone and have a fantastic network, or live in family and community and a wide network. Rarely do we live in total isolation without any outside connections. So I know wherever I am, feedback is going to come my way whether I like it or not. Some feedback will be helpful and supportive, some feedback will be simply the judgements, the opinions and beliefs others have about how to live life. Fellowship gives me the freedom to take on board feedback which is helpful and sometimes hurtful, sometimes just right in the moment of now…
If I am truthful with myself about my situation, when I feel fear, the need to put on a brave face and cover up and ego thinly covering shame and guilt about my ignorance of life, I can share this and express it and let it go. In the process of doing this, people know I probably need some feedback and help which will help me to find more courage to change and be connected, faith in getting help when I ask or even when I don't ask I still get it and I can smile and feel the confidence growing, that there is help and support on any given day… The freedom to make better choices, the outcomes and consequences are sometimes good, sometimes bad and sometimes plain ugly. At the very least though, it is progress and never perfection…
Spot check inventory: How am I feeling? Why? And what can I do? At any time of day these three questions are about self-appraisal. Why I feel happy, or sad, or joyous or concerned and often simply uneasy. Then I smile at myself and check it out, ask a friend face to face, phone a friend. And always remind myself to see the situations as others may see it too. Self-aware and "self less" we see the bigger picture today...
Life story, step four, and day story step ten... "When I have done the steps, will I have a life beyond my wildest dreams?" Today and every day I need a reality check! The steps are living principles, timeless agents and a part of me. This emotional and spiritual life where feelings fit reality and I can cope with life as it is. Open to providence and no longer a prisoner of expectations, freedom to choose in this imperfectly perfect moment of now...
October 6 2010 ~ "If you really knew me, would you be able to love me?" Secrets keep us stuck, covering up, putting energy into useless deceptions. When we deny the truth of who we were and are to ourselves, spiritual progress is impossible. In good conscience forgive yourself, free yourself, and tell yourself the truth, after all, it is just for a day...
October 6 2010 ~ Fear says, "you dare not look." Every day we all make decisions, some work out, some do not go the way we imagined. Usually we fear what we perceive as weakness and failure. The strength in sharing misfortune is our gift and wisdom, the strength of sharing everything is there is nothing to fear today...
Wanted dead or alive? Me alive today!
Who am I? Always a good question for me and for you? And if you really knew me, would you love me? Questions like these rattle around inside us as we fear life, fear people and fear showing ourselves completely. Self-prejudice is always a good starting point to foster fear, self-hate, self-deprecation and worse turning away from real life as we apply the same prejudice to everything we touch. We live a lie and find solace in the lies of others. Like the office party; or a social function, where we need be jolly because we are supposed to be jolly. Jolly exhausting without a drink, and jolly liberating if we have had a bucket of our favourite alcoholic tipple.
“Fear knocks on the door and faith answers.” Indeed in recovery life, we develop our faith, courage and confidence to tell the truth as we know it right now. Fear of telling the truth, not to rock the boat and to protect ourselves means we keep doing half hearted, half dead to us activities which are closing us down. In work life we feel obliged often to tow the party line. Sometimes through economic necessity we need work and toil to make money to keep a roof over our heads. Until we see a choice to move on and keep faith with ourselves. In family life, here is the nub of where we feel a white lie will suffice. Open, honest and willing we develop our spiritual living, and when we lie we hinder our spiritual living.
Our programme of recovery through practice of the twelve steps is hard work in early days and hard work every day. Emotional and spiritual wellbeing for ourselves and others is made possible by telling the truth as we know it right here and now today.
When a partner says “do I look fat in this?” how do we answer? The real answer lies in our spiritual being today… “I love you as you are, and yes you do…”
Fear! Of hurting someone unnecessarily? Or just simply unable to tell a simple truth? Or what is the payoff for the deception to us and the other person? Lies start small, and get big! A fat lie.
Every time we tell a lie, big or small we may reason our way forwards, but the feeling is always there, fear of truth.
Truth liberates everyone, and stops self-prejudice, and prejudice generally. We find we cannot be intolerant, and in step ten, tolerance and love are seen as key. Tolerance for the way we are and still making progress, and tolerance and love for others still making progress.
Of course tact and diplomacy, asking others to judge themselves if they must, but not asking us to validate them with lies. It is an art not a harsh statement, it is tact with care, and it is always about spiritual and emotional wellbeing.
Life is an art and not a science, although many of us tried and failed the thinking scientific route and drank out of frustration and resentments at the world. Love is a feeling, as the song goes by Boston.
Spiritual is always now based on truth, and love is a feeling we have just now, and life is always in the present. So much time spent covering up the past, covering up in the present with an imagined brighter future means we have lost touch with now, and we miss the colourful life around us. And as we dream of the future, we make no choices to let it happen.
In the now, our choices let us make steps towards our preferred living situation. Always now, based on truth. Never a fantasy. Life is hard and difficult, and forever rewarded in the now spiritually and emotionally, it is never the destination which is inevitable.
AA Daily Reflections ~ "FACING OURSELVES October 6 And Fear says, “You dare not look!” TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 49
How often I avoided a task in my drinking days, just because it appeared so large! Is it any wonder even if I have been sober for some time, that I will act that same way when faced with what appears to be a monumental job, such as a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself? What I discover after I have arrived at the other side–when my inventory is completed–is that the illusion was greater than the reality. The fear of facing myself kept me at a standstill and, until I became willing to put pencil to paper, I was arresting my growth based on an intangible."
October 6 2007
DonInLondon - ‘Day In the Life’ Ups and Downs
All About? AA Alcoholics Anonymous Not!
There is more to life than being in the fellowship of AA. Although it feels like it’s got to be the biggest priority for me. My fellowship or our fellowship if you are in it. Makes me realise how life can be, kept simple and happy or sad as life is on life’s terms, best in reality.
Living In The Moment
Yes living being alive and aware of what is happening. The good or bad. As I am learning with any form of open honest sharing some want it, some are against it!
Fear of Life
Still holds true often as we venture out and try our best to make each day worthwhile. There were times I could not venture anywhere and for years, and now I can. A little less able? Actually quite a lot less able, but that is ok today.
A lot of fear for many around guilt shame and worse that others may know us as we really are. Has life become more open? For me yes. I am best served when people know me and what I deal with, or they treat me badly or inappropriately, or worse offer me help which is completely unhelpful.
Is an actual asset as we find our way from dark to better times without the drink in us alcoholics. Anonymity..
Anonymity does help provide sanctuary, where we can find our truth as we let go drink and get busy being sober. Life changes, we change and somehow we seem to adapt well, enjoy adapting and moving along in this new found freedom.
Any drinker gone too far, any smoker on a path to quit, anyone letting go something and moving on find they have time on their hands.
Fill the Gap
When I got to AA I was a twenty four hour a day drinker, no control and lost. When we stop drinking we need find ways to live and not fill the gap in our living with a lot of junk.
We can junk out all over as fads and cravings make us feel on edge for weeks and often months. We are agitated by life and not really enjoying it, until we find new elements to fill our being.
I am glad today, I can get out, enjoy the day and do something which pleases me and helps others. And just do something for me too.
Today is ok, just as it may be, till later
October 6 2006 [all about last year]
[excerpt] The changes in how we live. They seem small in some respects. Maybe in terms of what we used to do, spreading ourselves so thin, we may be lost our impact. These days though, because we are more concentrated and present in a real life, our connection is the better and more rich because it is just that, clear and real.
So sometimes the tears are for the loss of what we may have done before, and there are also tears for the life today, more rich with more feel and more connection. In contrast to a superficial and thin indifferent existence. we get to a place where we can cherish all we have. To cherish the moment, our connection real to our surroundings and those we love is far better and more rewarding than a thin life we had where nothing touched our insides and the comfort came from drink. Our exchange is not fair, its far greater and more evocative of the person we become now, a more complete and present version of ourselves.
Yes it’s a medical check today, and it’s with my psychiatrist. Its better news I feel as my anxieties and general emotional wellbeing has been stable since an addition of the medication for neuropathy. And of course a consultation which made clear why I have been in so much pain and difficulty this last year..
Other matters first
I went out to a meeting last night, it was a good move on my part even though it was rainy and blustery. Combining the Cat sitting as part of the Journey into Chelsea meant there were not extra trips. And this was just right as trying the cycle would not have been possible. Between trying to improve walking and cycling, there are pros and cons. I walk my "dogs bark," I cycle and aggravate my hips and back. Now somewhere in between there must be some safe place to exercise and get a regime working. Or I am to do the exercises the physio gave me to improve my mid body strength. The physio wins once the other pains and strains subside. Waiting for buses is really difficult as my feet feel like they are on hot coals and nothing will alleviate, even shuffling from foot to foot just makes it worse. And buses and queues, smiles I need to avoid standing as much as possible and not moving. I am learning!
I finally got in touch with emergency housing too, to let them know there have been some changes in health. I have been putting it off hoping that exercise would make the situation get better and unfortunately seems the opposite is true. They will send me a form to fill in. Maybe this will mean I can be eligible for somewhere with less stairs to climb, that is when I am eligible and have enough waiting time. Anyways I don’t hold my breath, but they were keen to know what the situation is now and that will have some bearing on what might be available. The worry is for me it puts me into even more restricted categories and there are many more like me waiting, than in the just plain ordinary homeless category. Time will tell I guess. More acceptance.
I had a few moments to spare and had a coffee. I met another fellow in the Café Nero. We chatted and he was interested in my websites, so I told him the address. It’s not hard to work out what it is! I left my brolly in the Café Nero by mistake and it was shut by the time I got back. Oh Well..
Traditions and Fellowship
I am part of a fellowship and as I mentioned in my meeting I have a new qualification to put on my CV. It looks interesting and is sort of impressive to me. The letters would read FAA. Now for most of us, our letters after the name might read for a qualification like a degree, BA or BSc, or MBA even. FAA though if asked can stand for Fellow of Alcoholics Anonymous. To be a fellow of something, now for me this is impressive, a Fellow, smiles here. And the good news with the FAA qualification, is we never graduate, we just remain Fellows in a Fellowship. We can view this with some esteem I feel as to be an FAA, means one day at a time we live soberly and to our best purpose, living life a day at a time.
Our meeting was all about the traditions of AA and in particular our ninth tradition, "A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve."
This thing of AA not being an organisation is fundamental to my recovery. It’s about us all being equal and we all have a say. And more, we cannot tell others what to do, and individuals in AA are and will remain free to do as they please, our fellowship relies on our single purpose of recovery and not in being an organisation full of rules and regulations. We are just a fellowship where people come and join in to keep sober a day at a time. Our anarchic fellowship with a bunch of suggestions to living soberly, and traditions which mean we have freedom to live our lives as we can, simply without a drink inside us.
So we all had quite a lot to say, and we all relish our uniqueness and our individuality. And we all live one day at a time, equally as life allows us and we joining in life because we are present and in command of our faculties.
So I feel most of us got a lot out of the meeting and I did. It was validation of me as an individual, doing my best as life allows and enables to get on with it, a day at a time. Good news for me and all who know me. And our fellowship, well I am glad I am a part of, and a fully qualified entrant who will never graduate, as we are always recovering and never recovered from a disease. We are apt to forget our condition is a disease as we get well, but we know more than anyone, to pick up a drink and we are back to being a newcomer again. Not something we want, but something we know can happen and why, a day only at a time is our path. Once we have joined AA, whatever happens we can keep coming back. We make progress and are not perfect, we know coming back always makes sense and once a fellow of AA, always a fellow of AA, admission is free and forever as we choose just one day at a time.
So overall, and with other conversations as the day went along. And last night I had a hypo, where my blood sugar went too low. It really makes my head woolly and this morning with Cat sitting coming to its conclusion, not so much pressure. And also with the return of family I can rest easier knowing they are home and safe. Family being there makes a huge difference to me. The last week or so, it’s almost like being orphaned, even with email and a blackberry to write to, I am the better for family being close. Making life work? You bet I am, as best I can with what I have got. And that’s quite OK today.
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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