November 26 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 11 Daily Meditation Alcoholics Anonymous Today's Daily Reflections: "the Hazards of publicity, rarely have we seen a person fail…" Sometimes I can be angry at the notions that rarely have we seen a person fail if they thoroughly follow the path of the twelve steps and twelve traditions. First and foremost, we need to get on the path, and then on the path and the path can be very hazardous even when we are on it. What if I fail? What if I relapse? What if I am just another human being on the road of recovery for a day? What if I were to relapse and I didn't tell you and then you found out? I haven't had a drink for many years and remain sober, and because I want to be and need to be truthful, if I were to falter, I would need to tell you so… Or as a consequence I lose my spiritual well-being…
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Sometimes we can be turning ourselves inside out trying to be the person we think we ought to be. And in some respects when it comes to anonymity, there are no hazards associated with truth. There are consequences of course, that some people at some time in their life, their sober life, might slip. And if they were in the public eye and known to be in the fellowship of AA, what would people think? Would they think that this public figure is a human being? Would they think that this person is simply being honest if they did have a slip? And what if this public figure said nothing to their fellows in the fellowship, which is perfectly okay, and then their fellows found out? A rigorous program of honesty means we own up to our own humanness. What people detest more than anything, is being lied to in all shapes and forms. A person who cannot honestly admit their mistakes, will drag the fellowship down into the mud as quickly as a fellowship which cannot be rigorous and honest with itself…
I haven't found any spin doctors working to undermine the fellowship lately, and that's probably because I don't go to thousands of meetings a day! One meeting a day will do nicely to keep me ticking over and sober, and sometimes I go to more than one meeting a day because I love the people I meet in meetings and somehow we seem to keep ourselves on the straight and narrow path of recovery. The worry about publicity, and seeking prestige for being an alcoholic in recovery seems to be erroneous and misunderstanding the core of spiritual life, to tell the truth, and be open, honest and willing to keep on learning life as life is. There is no prestige in being truthful, unless of course something else is going on in the minds of other people or in your own mind about your own situation...
The hazard of publicity… Starts with self-prejudice and fear of being found out. And then perversely, making a virtue out of a mental illness, and trading on it. The world is becoming more enlightened I feel, and then again, it isn't more enlightened. Because they don't know, whoever they are, what the AA fellowship is there to do. Trusted servants, being able to tell the truth where they feel safe is fine. And this is always going to be an individual decision. I don't experience prejudice on a day-to-day basis from real people. I see prejudice from the medical profession, insurance companies and institutions which thrive on risk analysis. Could it be their ignorance which makes them so prejudiced? Thankfully, publicity has not been an issue these last few years, and the only people worried about publicity are those who fear the truth of being found out. Anonymity in fellowship, a sanctuary to find our personal truth and how to be open, honest and willing to live life on life's terms. And when sober, it is a personal choice for an individual to decide who knows what, about what, regarding any aspect of life they feel able to share... One size does not fit all, at the same time the principles release each individual to make their way in life as they choose and not subject to any notion of a rule, law or regulation or edict some feel ought to be in place in fellowship… That would be the death knell of AA…
And listening to reasoned discussions and recent discussions about attraction and promotion. I'm completely satisfied that attraction, what we see is what we get in fellowship, WYSIWYG, real people dealing with reality and learning to cope with reality. And many are torn in two by feeling and thinking we need to do more to promote the fellowship. So people understand what it's about and how fellowship works. Word-of-mouth, number in the telephone book, AA websites in my opinion, do quite well. How reluctant were you to find out about your malady as an alcoholic? And how reluctant were you to admit and accept you had a problem? And how deep is your denial? The truth is, promoting a fix and path to recovery does not seem to work. Sharing the truth of what AA can and cannot do will provide information. "You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink water," and "flogging a half dead horse will not make it rise up and take the cure," and "flogging a dead horse?" A good alcoholic, stubborn and defiant, manipulative and controlling, suffering from insanity, sly and sneaky will spot a half truth, a mile away, anything but the truth about recovery and how difficult it is, or how easy it seems to be for some, well this alcoholic, namely me, could spot a 'dud recovering alcoholic' a mile away. Truth is my spiritual foundation, and hearing the real truth of my fellows in recovery and those on the way to truth in recovery makes me able to be forgiving and accepting of humans learning to be well, as Ret Butler might have said, in gone with the gin, "quite frankly my 'fear' I don't give a damn today..."
Feelings are often an inconvenient truth, and then we think we ought not have these feelings. If we have natural feelings, and natural instincts our thinking is usually okay. Extreme feelings, we need talk them through with our spiritual guides, god and good conscience, and in my case anyone with a clear head who can listen...
Honesty, truth and humility are essential to learning life and being willing to change. When I am open honest and willing anyone anywhere can help me. When I hide the truth from you about my sobriety and my need to be sober, you are less able to help me. In my community, which includes fellowship, family and many other connections, the truth helps anyone anywhere to keep me safe today. Fear of people knowing all about me will make me silent, faith will keep open. I need never fear who I am or what people think of me today...
As a fellowship there are hazards in publicity. And the debate on publicity has been lively since AA began. There is no public face to fellowship which keeps everyone equal within our society. Anonymity keeps people safe and is sacrosanct to me, so we all find the truth of who we are. Truth improves our spiritual living. Truth is my foundation for spiritual living in the moment of now. Truth keeps me open honest and willing, enough fear and developing faith in living sober one day at a time
November 26 2010 ~ hazards of judging motives. Do I judge you by my standards, and do you judge me by your standards will always lead to a failure to communicate. Prejudice and judgments lead to anger and resentments. In the solution of sober living, with courage faith and confidence, acceptance is the key for me today...
November 26 2010 ~ Hazards of publicity are often a binding conundrum in motive. Narcissism or the opposite, selflessness... Attraction, what you see is what you get, face to face. Promotion: a guarantee of fixing a problem. Spiritual and human, the acceptance of life on life's terms, the humility to keep learning life one day at a time...
AA Daily Reflections ~ "THE HAZARDS OF PUBLICITY" People who symbolize causes and ideas fill a deep human need. We of A.A. do not question that. But we do have to soberly face the fact that being in the public eye is hazardous, especially for us. TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 181
As a recovered alcoholic I must make an effort to put into practice the principles of the A.A. program, which are founded on honesty, truth and humility. While I was drinking I was constantly trying to be in the limelight. Now that I am conscious of my mistakes and of my former lack of integrity, it would not be honest to seek prestige, even for the justifiable purpose of promoting the A.A. message of recovery. Is the publicity that centres around the A.A. Fellowship and the miracles it produces not worth much more? Why not let the people around us appreciate by themselves the changes that A.A. has brought in us, for that will be a far better recommendation for the Fellowship than any I could make."
November 26 2007
DonInLondon - ‘Day In the Life’ Good for a Day
Sort of maybe, I am always on the lookout for how I am feeling these days. Especially when a little frustrated by impairments to my general health as they manifest. Bike repairs did cause me concern as light headed moments and emotional frustration got me a little unnerved.
All to the good some minor repairs to finish tomorrow and the bike will be fine. I realise it can be a tricky time doing more things than I am doing usually especially when it involves patience particularly and learning new things.
Is it this time of year when we hark back to previous years and people we have known, as Christmas is as big a birthday for many as their own birthday too. And also birthdays of those we have loved and are not part of our living today, because they are dead or just gone because of situation and circumstances.
I was asked several times about matters of the heart after sharing some of my experiences over the years tonight. And that was ok. Long gone is blame or hurt, long gone is wanting it to be someone else’s fault. Or actually my fault! If I could blame myself more I could engineer my own downfall more with a drink or two if the depression around those issues had not been resolved.
I have been asked more than once and more than one person if I forgive them for the past and relationships ending in great sad dollops of depression for me. And you know, I was reticent to say yes I forgive you, because I thought it made me too important and actually made me feel awkward. It meant I needed to forgive me all my horrible mistakes and misunderstandings and hurting people too. I fear it took me a long time to realise I am not more or less than any other in learning to live. I did make many, many mistakes in affairs of the heart. So in humility and truly I have forgiven and this has been hardest as I never felt able to forgive myself.
And even now I find forgiveness as easy can be for anyone else, and still feel it is wrong somehow to be human enough to apply what I give freely to others for myself.
We live our consequences and share them in our understanding and living in a recovery programme like Alcoholics Anonymous. Consequences are some people freely forgive us our failings at the time, and realise who we were back in the day when these matters happened. And it would be really unhelpful to consider I had been more knowledgeable and more able to know the truth over others truth these days. It was what it was.
As memory pricks up from time to time to remind me of golden moments, so too is sadness as things did work out. Still in living we all change gradually, and with a wistful understanding I know everyone changes as life progresses. Golden moments they were and never likely to be repeated. And good maybe that they cannot be so.
I feel the touch of others and their feelings somehow as a sensitive soul, and can read a person fairly well. It was my job after all, in the end resolving many people issues and how to help them.
So when asked tonight I fairly easily knew intuitively what helps most when certain questions are asked about work and relationships. And it is the experience of life and recovery which helps me more than ever read and understand human attributes and ways of behaving given circumstances. Just plain knowing is not much help without suggestions so some were offered, and palliatives either which are worse than useless encouragement to more insanity most often.
A couple of people asked me what I did for a living, and having merely got to recovering some of my wits and some of my physical complaints make me a very unattractive prospect for I suppose conventional work. And where next is a good question to ask.
Writing and Photography may be a key to future endeavour, it seems so. At the same time I need be careful as things can get out of hand quickly and expectations need managing for me let alone anyone else.
There is Strength in Vulnerability
As we learn life sometimes from scratch all over again it is ok, and to be a learner with all the mistakes to make over again in learning is good. The strength is in knowing we are learning from living and breathing new outlooks.
Strength in fellowship helps, knowing we do the endeavour helps as we learn our boundaries all over again.
Teachable - Learnable
If we can be teachable and learnable, we make good on what is possible. And let go that awful feeling of newness and fear of being shown up. Learning is good, remaining ignorant is a chore and unhelpful to any heart set on new life. It takes time and effort, the endeavours are worth it, as we may and as life affords. Only we might make it less than in letting our fear overwhelm us. Better to let new times happens and revere what is good in the past. And cherish happy memories of times best recalled with good humour and tinged with sorrow. We are worthy of sorrow, and of happy recollections.
26th November 2006
This has been a week of revelations about the underworld of spies and all they get up to I guess. When spies are doing their job all is well, when spies are out in the cold, they get gone, or as it seems done in.
Tragedy as lives are lost to lost causes and then we find as the walls come down and life becomes more transparent, what use is spying anyway? And as our world is now more dangerous, the role of spying is more than ever necessary. We don’t seem equipped for any of the terror we face, we don’t seem able to make any difference or persuade through our democratic process. What has gone wrong?
Is not really politically correct in democratic countries. We might wonder at the level of spying that goes on and how sophisticated it may be. We will never know if we are lucky, as the whole spying business by its very nature is useless when exposed. It actually undermines credibility in democratic process, the very thing we want to preserve!
The whole business with our radioactive dead spy, and all the sorrow attached and all the fear created and all the questions, does nothing to enhance anything approaching good relations, east, west, north and south in fact it does the reverse.
I am truly sorry for the person assassinated and can only feel this highlights the worst of state sponsored activities outside democracy. Yet counter insurgence and counter intelligence have always played their part.
Need to know
We don’t need to know all these things governments do, or do we? For they represent a way of living and spying as it happens. And the incident in Northern Ireland shows how long memories and lives are. Where someone, and they cannot be the only ones, have still much to say and do to undermine democracy as it is in its infancy. Its truly shocking to see the veneer of civilised life is so thin these days.
What Tony Blair intimates often is the reality of where we are today. And we don’t like where we are, and we don’t like the fact that terror is on our doorstep. And we don’t like that Mr Blair has probably done much to stir up the problem than make it better with our foreign policy.
A return to democratic rule and simple process. The ever growing law and order statutes and enactments make our society more complex and more difficult to police. Indeed given our population its clear we need more men in uniform and present and active in our communities. And this is part of the problem.
We are a big population, diverse and divided, by more complex and layering laws, badly formed and unenforceable. We need to simplify our legal system, probably have a constitution, probably need simple rules and order, and a presence to enforce democracy. Odd is it not that we need more policing to enforce democratic rule which might free citizens to live in harmony? What paradoxes this decade is providing.
Slim down the rule book, make it clear what a citizen can do, and what is democratic. Deploy proper and well trained authorities to make sure the law is upheld, make sure we have good laws and not half baked laws. Don’t alienate our diverse citizens, who are citizens or have we forgotten our democracy and thrown it down the drain in pursuit of terrorism?
Like topsy, law is strangling order, and order needs to be restored. We don’t need spies these days, we need democracy. Palpable and plain, realistic and fair, recognising a citizen and treating them so.
We need to ensure crazy singular acts against other sovereign states go through diplomatic channels, we need make our institutions work and be fearless in these arenas, and also accept they will only get good through time.
The ultimate quick fix of invasion has been proved over and over to be unsuccessful and costly to human life. We don’t need this, and we don’t need gung ho cavalier types being allowed to run rough shod over all our democratic principles. Its time democratic governments made sure their figure heads and leaders stop acting as War Lords with moral turpitude, when they actually don’t act democratically and don’t make good laws. The rule book has been so corrupted to suit power, its time it was made more clear and more enforceable. No amount of bad law will fix our country if we keep electing poor leaders, long on charisma and short on common sense.
One day it will be better, not in my lifetime I feel certain for the changes will come as time dictates and not to a short lived agenda driven by short term governments.. One day there will be peace on this Earth, and with some trepidation I hope mankind are still around to see it.
November 26th 2005
Mea culpa is Latin for "my fault". The more contemporary slang translation might be "my bad". The bottom line is that in saying these words we accept personal responsibility for our part in the problem. In most activities we play our part in proceedings and we are likely to enjoy our success and learning as we go. Or are we?
There is something inside us which finds it hard to appear less able than we are, its a strange and natural feeling. This feeling of being "less than" we might be. And we forget how close we are to nature when these feelings come to the fore. Take a look at any domestic animal, and most wild animals. They have cover up behaviour, they can experience shame and guilt, they can made to feel less than ok with the moment. So why do we think we are any different, we experience not knowing, we attempt bravado, we puff ourselves up, and we experience indignance. Mea Culpa, we can all feel this agonising desire to withdraw and hide our vulnerabilities. And worse when we feel we are less than, we need some way to keep ourselves together, we most likely push ourselves to cover up, and one best defence we try is to be aggressive. We push others back away from our feelings by making them feel their own fears.
We get angry, we feel we need to hide our experience, we need space we remove ourselves from the arena of pain, either physically or mentally. We do this as long as we need to, and we don't even know we do it half the time or we know we do it, and cannot help it. We humans are full of contradictions, and we feel the pain of learning like no other when it is our learning.
Unless we recognise "Mea Culpa" for what is really is Me Culpa is our right to make mistakes and learn from them. Mea Culpa, a mantra for the modern age of learning. Mea Culpa used in context and with agreement makes lets us all be learners and experts in the right measure.
And Mea culpa stops us sticking two fingers up to the world, when all we need really do is accept our mistakes and get over the them...
November 26th 2004
A feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury
Resentments occur, they are there. We get them from time to time, we can hold them close and nurse them, we can let them go and be liberated, its a matter of choice.
We are not so perfect in our feelings. We can often compare our situation with others and fall down inside when we feel we don't measure up to another. In our smallness we harbour resentful feelings.
In seeing the world, if we say to ourselves, the world is just the way it is meant to be right now, and everyone in it is in their place, we open up an understanding.
Its a simple understanding with our place in the world and everyone else. Its capturing the moment of now, right place right time and right for now. We may choose to move and change ourselves and our outlook. We may let go of others notions of how they would want us to be, and most of all stop looking for something outside us to fix a resentment we may feel.
Choosing to let go resentful feelings is liberating, giving us space to grow. Our growth of acceptance as how things are, and our options, enables others to change as they will, and we change and follow our own path enabling us to live now and move to our own rhythm of life..
Just For Today And Every Day, Cherish Always...
“The method of prayer & meditation. We often hear it said in meetings that the speaker "hits his knees every morning." Not being brought up Catholic or Muslim, we envisioned that slapping of the knees might be spiritually significant in A.A. When we discovered that the act of prayer was being referred to, we asked why A.A. tells us to get on our knees to pray. We were informed that A.A. makes no such suggestion. In fact, reference to praying on the knees, in the original draft of Step 7, was explicitly removed to prevent the misconception that such a practice was suggested. Moreover, to be on one’s knees as a prior condition to prayer will prevent prayer at many opportunities during the day. If you or your sponsor think that you should be on your knees for correct prayer, then by all means do so. It might just be the best way to pray. For the content of prayer, see Step 11b that follows.” BB Bunch
November 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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