December 12 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 12 Living Principles Alcoholics Anonymous Today's Daily Reflections: "even though we don't realise it, we have been doing twelve step work all our lives…" Anyone reading this knows how much it takes to be sober one day at a time. Every single drink, every single experience of living gets us to this point. And when we come through the door of the fellowship and embrace a new way of life, we begin to share experience, strength and hope. Sharing informally about how life was in the past, how life is now and our hope to be sober until bedtime…
Video For Today:
Sharing in fellowship does not mean we stand at the front, or sit at the front of the meeting, we turn up and that is all it takes to be part of fellowship. Even in the early days, where we are full of anger and resentment, and sometimes white hot rage at our situation, we are included. Tolerance and love from other people means we can stay and learn something if we can. Anonymity: a safe place to express what is going on, and for the newcomer a safe place to listen. It takes time when we are new to feel any sort of comfort in sobriety. Anonymity, our sanctuary to speak or listen, to sit quietly and have a cup of tea and some biscuits. Shake the hand of another person, and share our name. To be accepted and included, and that we are not alone…
Recently in a meeting, hearing newcomers share, an outpouring of grief, often topped off with a drink to oblivion. Listening to people thinking their way through their problems and finding no solutions. And behind the thinking, are the emotions which drive whatever happens next. An emotional and spiritual experience is happening every day, as the newcomers stop trying to think through how to control their drinking, and start working on their feelings, the solution starts to happen. Our emotional and physical allergy and addiction, as we understand our feelings, and then stop needing to fix them, and the physical craving subsides with time and acceptance… Letting go, the emptiness and loneliness can drive us mad, and then we fill the emptiness with solutions and we start to make friends one day at a time… Sometimes it is one step forward, and then ten steps back or hundred steps back, and then we start again one day at a time…
So often seen, the newcomer is under the scrutiny of external forces, family and friends, work and whatever else is going on. And I know I was trying to be whatever they thought I ought to be, get a job and look right. I was incapable of getting a job, and looking right… It seemed every particle of me wanted to be accepted again. And yet I could not stop drinking on my own. And had it not been for some good advice early on, that his early on in fellowship, "all you need to do is try to be sober today." And some days as the rage boiled in my head, I was still trying to think and control my situation and prove myself to other people. When I stopped trying to prove anything, started to understand it was okay to start over completely, feelings which had been unmanageable for years, started to emerge and I started to understand them. And I also realised feelings are driven by experiences and life in the moment. And every feeling is meant to be felt, knowing how it impacts on my thinking and then the actions I take… I may not control feelings, what follows in my thinking and actions does become a choice in sobriety, and it takes time… Sober first, and each day just a little bit, I learn more about life and who I am becoming just for today…
We all become our own example of recovery, and if we can share the truth of what is happening for us, we start on the path of being open and being honest. And the willingness to tell the truth helps. Even in our new society, we may feel very uncomfortable about the truth because we fear judgement. To an extent, people will judge, and then share back, or share their story with us, not to put us down, simply to share and include us. We don't want to frighten the newcomer away, we want to welcome them, they are the lifeblood and bring news from the front line of addiction. It is an overwhelming experience, full of fear and yet eagerness to do well. Learning how to relax enough, to listen enough, to be comfortable enough to start over at any time. No matter what happens, if we are lucky and fortunate we keep coming back. We forget, we are allowed to falter and feel it, and to return any time to a place of safety and anonymity, AA is a sanctuary and available anywhere today…
"If I tell you the truth, what would you think of me? If I tell you the truth, will you cut me off? I hope not. I know that most adults have a feeling of fear from time to time, and for whatever reason, cover it up and don't express it. And we can have feelings which feel inappropriate, yet we have the feelings. With the twelve steps, no matter how they are learned, and we can only learn as we go along in life, take on new meaning. Fellowship is not about black and white, being a sinner or being a saint. It is about learning what is right and the actions we can take to keep life going on in recovery. Practising these principles, we find, or rather I hope we find that truth, love and wisdom prevail more often than the alternative, and we need not judge ourselves too harshly as we go along, we are going to make progress and never be perfect today…
Chaos is never the enemy. Growing up everything was new without the answers. Learning to hear, then speak then make some sense of the world. We thrived on the new experiences. And then a lot of us got stuck relying on old thinking and actions. We needed certainty and security from fear. Today I can welcome chaos and learn to meet challenges with faith, needs met and wants forgotten. New feelings, new thinking and new action, simply for today…
Daily reflections are about our common solution for today. The focus is about sharing the message of unity, service and recovery. A common solution, lived in action and unique to each person. We can do what we can do, change at any time, help and support as we learn. Each case so similar, day by day, the actions unique based on wisdom learned. The hand of fellowship always there…
December 12 2010 ~ I lived the nightmare of addiction for years, and now able to cope with life for a day. My reality this morning; a beautiful winter morning, nearby close family are happy and I have breakfast shortly with a friend. Camera at the ready, my mood is light. It takes time to find emotional and spiritual wellbeing, freedom and choices and it is simply just for today
December 12 2010 ~ A common solution for unique authentic human beings. One similarity as many solutions as there are people in recovery. Twelve steps of action, twelve principles underpinned by an open honest and willing outlook. When I become closed, dishonest and unwilling, I am the deadweight today...
AA Daily Reflections ~ "A COMMON SOLUTION December 12, 2010 the tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action. This is the great news this book carries to those who suffer from alcoholism. ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS
The most far-reaching Twelfth Step work was the publication of our Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous. Few can equal that book for carrying the message. My idea is to get out of myself and simply do what I can. Even if I haven’t been asked to sponsor and my phone rarely rings, I am still able to do Twelfth Step work. I get involved in “brotherly and harmonious action.” At meetings I show up early to greet people and to help set up, and to share my experience, strength and hope. I also do what I can with service work. My Higher Power gives me exactly what He wants me to do at any given point in my recovery and, if I let Him, my willingness will bring Twelfth Step work automatically."
December 12 2007
DonInLondon - ‘Day In the Life’ So little Time I need Slow Down
Yesterday was a good day for me. I got to two meetings of AA, one in Hinde Street [AA Central London] and then on to Kensington ‘Shy Sharers’ in the evening. And both all about experience strength and hope.
The good of meetings and going regularly is about solid recovery and making life possible in the day and as we are, in recovery.
The is no cure in my opinion for an addict. We know as we get older and somewhat wiser, that we can be laid low all over again so easily if we forget and feel we have taken control over some elements of living, mainly when we feel we have cracked that particular ailment of addiction.
Temptation reigns supreme and there is not much else to say or is there? If we feel we can control something which took our choices to live away from us, there is always a sneaking suspicion that we can have the odd drink. Bitter experience for has been that whenever I felt I was in control, drinking went straight back to times of old and made me very sad indeed.
Oblivion these Days
I don’t want oblivion, I need a calmer life and enjoyable as life can be without filters and denials and sneaky behaviour!
Obsession of Self
Less so for me, and even now I know having had a good assessment from my psychiatrist that recovery is a daily practice.
Below for today I have included the readings from the internet which help keep so many people sober as they share their experience strength and hope with each other. More anon….
December 12 Daily Reflections A COMMON SOLUTION The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action. This is the great news this book carries to those who suffer from alcoholism. AA, Big Book p. 17
The most far-reaching Twelfth Step work was the publication of our Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous. Few can equal that book for carrying the message. My idea is to get out of myself and simply do what I can. Even if I haven't been asked to sponsor and my phone rarely rings, I am still able to do Twelfth Step work. I get involved in "brotherly and harmonious action." At meetings I show up early to greet people and to help set up, and to share my experience, strength and hope. I also do what I can with service work. My Higher Power gives me exactly what He wants me to do at any given point in my recovery and, if I let Him, my willingness will bring Twelfth Step work automatically.
Twenty-Four Hours A Day
A.A. Thought For The Day
Clergymen speak of the spiritual fellowship of the church. This is much closer to the A.A. way than mere group therapy. Such a fellowship is based on a common belief in God and a common effort to live a spiritual life. We try to do this in A.A. We also try to get down to the real problems in each other’s lives. We try to open up to each other. We have a real desire to be of service to each other. We try to go deep down into the personal lives of our members. Do I appreciate the deep personal fellowship of A.A.? As Bill Sees It
People Of Faith, p. 300
We who have travelled a path through agnosticism or atheism beg you to lay aside prejudice, even against organized religion. We have learned that, whatever the human frailties of various faiths may be, those faiths have given purpose and direction to millions. People of faith have a rational idea of what life is all about. Actually, we used to have no reasonable conception whatever. We used to amuse ourselves by cynically dissecting spiritual beliefs and practices, when we might have seen that many spiritually-minded persons of all races, colours, and creeds were demonstrating a degree of stability, happiness, and usefulness that we should have sought for ourselves. Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 49
12th December 2006
Step One to Modern Living
Odd tonight being brought all the way back to the beginning over the fellowship programme of Alcoholics Anonymous and very appropriate for me. Actually there is a lot of hard work involved to be able to qualify to be a Fellow of our Fellowship, we might include in our qualifications the letters, FAA, Fellow of Alcoholics Anonymous. As it’s the last real qualification I have, I am somewhat proud in an honest sense these days to have been around long in recovery to feel good about quitting and being a recovering person rather than a practicing person.
To join AA, we have to be able to drink alcohol till we cannot stop usually and that takes a lot of practice over quite a time. It requires a lot of dedication to completely lose control of our drinking and then find we have no off button. Some like me take years to reach that place of tolerance where we cannot live with it, and cannot live without it. We have to experience all the rock bottoms of life we may before something inside us stops denial and makes us truly aware our lives have turned to crap. We may like me have been hospitalised, been visited by a Priest in the early hours in emergency rooms and been ready to meet our maker, for we have reached the very end of living at all and have no care left to live or die. We are lost and feel death is a practical relief to our torment.
Our first step to learning if we live at all is an understanding we have become powerless over alcohol, that life has become unmanageable and we have come to an end of our living if we continue to drink. If we make it through to some moment of clarity, in my case one simple moment where I realised life could get no worse and either death or some intervention might do something, that was my near ending. Even realising and asking for help, its not enough for us to stop, we need help and we ask if we are lucky and someone or somebody tries to help. It took a long time for me to hear anything and was resigned to an end, and wished for it. I was truly lost to living at all.
On my journey to the inevitable end of my drinking days, events certainly helped speed me on my way to hell and the offer of the last rights, "extreme unction" as Roman Catholics call it. It was a mistake on my hospital admission sheets somehow I had been recorded as a Roman Catholic, and actually no so luck, as I am C of E. And in some gleeful madness I did point this out and the Priest suggested I need not be so fussy at a time like this. It got that bad. And I was that mad, insanely depressed and welcoming any end to where drink made me stupid and had little effect, as much as I needed it, my body rejected it. Poisoned completely, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Toxic and done in. It was a while in hospital and then back out, and then another horrid period where drink was rejected and accepted and I was lost all over again. I had no way to stop on my own.
I went into a detox unit and then on to rehab, and along the way I found the fellowship of AA. All those times in utter madness, driven to drink and no way to stop myself. Until I got with a bunch of people who had found a way through to be sober just one day at a time.
By the time I had got there, it was over thirty years of drinking, and in hindsight there was little or no time when drink was ever out of the picture. Speeding me to destruction, death, loss of partner as she went when I was hurting, and then plunging myself completely into work.
Working to exhaustion, year after year, and drinking to fill the gaps and the lonely years where I had no love for myself or for any other. And work and career and a string of affairs, made no dent in my emptiness or my self torment, for indeed I just lived to work and worked to drink. Oblivion always made me forget. Forget, well only with unconscious conscience did I ever live and get on. And found substitutes to drink and other things to fix my life. Health, exercise, dating, more and more consuming of anything and everything, until I blew out. I broke myself on my hard rocks and my hard knocks, and was lost. Drink the ultimate indulgence when there is no love of self and others, will capture and kill all sentiment when we are hooked.
There was a breakdown some years before the end of my game with drink. And had I ever had time to heal, maybe I would never have made my way into an ism so destructive and so acceptable till it takes us over and enslaves us completely.
For me though, it was the breakdown and what followed and the dislocation involved, where my living was gone and I was flattened and unable to cope. A nervous breakdown just sped me along, and I could find no love for me, although there was plenty around. I was lost and abandoned myself to drink.
From glorious times, to the worst of times, to great success and to utter failure. The speed of my decline some years later is not astonishing or different from a thousand stories I have heard in these years of recovery and where madness abounds.
This first step, the absolute knowledge that addiction is a disease of the mind and body, and cheats us of any spiritual development, to be in the here and now. Well I was truly emptied of my humanity for me, yet would help anyone and anybody who needed some support. The worst being as I found my way to rock bottom, I knew more ways to fix others’ lives, when I had no process to fix my own. For I never realised the nature of my ailments along the way. From breakdown to clinical depression, to years and years of torments and denials, brave faces, and brave acts all done to no avail. It was a complete and bitter ending of a way of life lost to life at all.
In a way I must thank anyone and everyone who speeded up my torments to this horrid conclusion. It helped me become a living wreckage, and still to be alive. And with only two thirds of the average life lived, I found AA, and recovery made all the difference to me.
Years of positive self-talk, self-denial, self-rewarding, self-obsession, self, self, self. Till there was no one left inside of course, except memories and twisted thinking and feeling. All cracked and shattered into that million pieces we may have heard. You might expect a counsellor to know better but we are as dim as any other when it comes to our own stuff, we don’t have a clue. We have the intellect and the fear, and because we are taught to be brave, we go on forever down the wrong track, and end up in hell.
Fear requires bravery, bravery requires fear, and we are taught from our earliest days to put on a brave face when times are grim. And even the best of us all break one day, as brave faces are never able to shake off their fears. Faith in humanity, faith and courage can be found, when we get rid of our ego’s and brave faces we wear. We need to be restored to enough sanity to make a difference and get a little wisdom and insight to be able to live again. But that’s jumping ahead of our meeting tonight.
Tonight we are taken to our worst nightmare days..
Yes it was a resolute group who listened yet again to another who makes that first connection of the path of recovery and living at all. This powerless knowledge that just one drink will take us back where we started, when we stop as we do and a thousand more will never be enough once we take that first drink. We know as you may find if ever you find your way to our fellowship.
We are quite mad at first, and then we learn some simple truths. About our powerlessness over alcohol, and life is always manageable when we don’t drink, now or ever again. It takes time to clear our minds. And it takes years served drinking to years in sobriety to make sure we know the difference.
Our Chair speaker tonight
Just a few months along, is remarkably aware of where drink took them and where they are now. I realise with some clarity, their story is mine, and as time rolls on I am more clear in my own mind. We learn, we work hard at recovery, it takes every ounce of our willingness and honesty to make our way along.
We hear these stories of recovery over and over again, to remind us of our experience, our strength and our hope, that just this one day, today, we don’t have to drink. Just one day at a time to learn life over and over again, changing to the good. Just be mindful for as we recover and make our normal way, we get every other complaint known to mankind and to medicine. We get the reprieve to manage our one day, and make sense and live to whatever life may hold, to the good or the hard. Just this one day at a time, it is indeed a lifetime long, as we never know what may happen in the future. And all we can do is make good with good conscience on what we became in the past. We face our consequences as we can, soberly, in the moment of now, where we are ever present, in the present moment..
For me Tonight
With some deep reflections on where life has taken me and I have taken my life, I learn all over where it may be and the choices I have. Do no harm, find endeavour to the good, be mindful of everyone, and keep safe with a fellowship where people need join simply if they desire to stop drinking and make life work again. That bridge back to living at all, so hard to find. it’s a good job we work hard for it, and make it our life. Anyone who has faced the abyss and come back, works as hard at living and living, just this one day, and is pleased to endeavour as best can be, merely to be normal, whatever normal may be.
I accept life on life’s terms today, with ailments and complications, with sad days and good days. I wish to make life clearer, open and the best it can be.
We get on and get life as it is, and with whatever we have we let go resentments and follies as we learn how to be as you are as I am, just part of humanity. We live to choices and our conscience, we live as we may, better for this first step on the road to recovery..
December 12th 2005
Powerless Over People Places and Things
Maybe when we are growing up we learn that we are pretty much powerless over most things around us. To an extent we get cooperation one way or another. And we do make choices in life. And life is not just happenstance, or is it. Can I command, can I instruct? Can I exert power over another, or many, or none? I suppose the irony is accepting we can have power and control over others, only if they choose to accept it. Power to command and power to instruct... This requires some code of practice I guess. And even then we have no real power. For we are truly quite powerless without some form of collusion somewhere along the line. So being powerless is a good and healthy understanding about life. We have choices to make, which can include some use of power, and best exercised in some sort of framework and understanding.
Futile use of power can be very upsetting. Power used to manipulate, express defiance and undermine is generally unhelpful and short lived. This sort of power requires much effort and usually falls short of what we want to happen. Powerless over people, we are. Powerless over places, well they are as they are unless some act of will changes them, usually and almost always not our power. Powerless over things in general. Again without some form of co-operative process, all remains powerless. And thank goodness for that. Leave much of the world to turn and get on, as we get on with our daily grind.
When we are moved to exercise some form of control and power, we ought be better able through constructive devices, like open dialogue, or rules of engagement, or some form of agreement. Hapless use of power and control is spotted for what it is, contrived and wilful. Usually by any of us who feels their way is best or their way is blocked. And this form of power and control is met usually with little joy or acceptance and most often rejected and ignored.
Best we find what we can use in terms of personal power, use it with consideration and in agreement. Best to put self-willed and pressured power to one side, its use is of limited value and ultimately useless to us. I don't often find I look to get my way, or want to have my way. And when I do want it my way, I only get it on my own... its all about choice and outcomes. I avoid my skilful wilful self? Its in me and everyone, egocentric and anger in the making...
December 12th 2004
When you refuse to set boundaries to what is achievable, you can inspire others to believe that they, too, can make things happen.
Just For Today And Every Day, Cherish Always...
“Awakening as the result of what? The result, or consequence of taking the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is a Spiritual Awakening. Please reflect that this step does not say the awakening comes as the result of taking steps 1 through 11, those preceding Step 12. On the contrary, the awakening comes as the result of taking these (all of the twelve) steps, including Step 12. (If you disagree, that is wonderful. Keep on digesting these steps.)” Big Book Bunch
December 2012 | Playlist About Step Twelve: Step Twelve Playlist
AA Official Online Site: Big Book And Twelve And Twelve
AA Official Online Site: Daily Reflections
December 2012 | Step Twelve Reading Video Link:
December 2012 | Video Reading How It Works:
December 2012 | Video Reading A Vision For You:
December 2012 | Video About Grief And Depression