December 15 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 12 Living Principles Alcoholics Anonymous Today's Daily Reflections: "willing to go to any lengths to help the newcomer…" I often hear people asked the question of the newcomer, "are you willing to go to any lengths to be sober?" Of course a desperate person may say yes, a more considered response from a sane person might be no! Why expect a madman to say yes to anything, when their head is screaming no. The question need be put to ourselves, "am I willing to go to any lengths to help the newcomer?" The answer is always in the serenity prayer, serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference…
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I am a cautious person and not a reckless person any more, and I need to be careful what I ask of people, what I ask myself and what I might ask others to do for themselves. Do we need to challenge the gift of desperation, by making a condition on our helping that the other person is willing to go to any lengths. And when we say to a person "are you willing to go to any lengths," and they say "yes," how on earth can that be a good contract, a good idea, a meaningful statement made in times of insanity? Putting the emphasis on a sick person to get well, and setting themselves up without the tool kit is something we can do very easily when we have a handle on the tool kit of recovery. Expectations are resentments under construction no matter which side of the divide we may be. So don't make it the sick person's fault for failure or relapse, this is what I'm trying to suggest…
I feel we need to take the urgency out of success and recovery. And when somebody said, "I wish you a slow recovery," I was very grateful and the only thing I needed to do was not drink. That was the greatest length I could go to at the beginning of my recovery, when the real recovery started and I was willing to accept the painful days ahead. Withdrawal from addiction. Physically very uncomfortable and emotionally and spiritually is where we are. The emotional and spiritual experience continues without drink and physical pain is the first manifestation we feel. Then every form of emotional upset, happy or sad, loving or hateful, all at extremes and completely unmanageable... These are the things I needed to know. As a newcomer, I needed truth, love and support…
Asking the newcomer to take the cotton wool out of their ears and put it in their mouths, when I look at it as a bold statement, it is quite condescending and a bit of a put down. And I can recollect being shouted at by councillors in a rehab, in fact it was a screaming exhortation by one or two, "you are all sick!" I already knew I was sick. All these people telling me what to do, their passion and their judgement, killing my ability to listen at all. Newcomers, they need time to adjust and be able to talk if they want to, and listen if they can. We can make very broad assumptions, demand too much too quickly, rather than listen to where a person is, rather than make assumptions based on folklore. I'm not suggesting in any way that we need to be counsellors, I'm suggesting we need to be listeners and know enough to make the right suggestion at the right time…
The whole programme of fellowship is about emotional and spiritual well-being. And each individual has their own starting point in recovery. If we do not take the time to find out where their starting point might be, we are careless in our own judgements and very careless in what we might suggest. I hear often the argument that people make about themselves and about other people, "I was not ready, they weren't ready, I needed or they needed more research, it was me or them that fucked up…" Easy to blame the sick person and side-line our part in these matters. Generosity of heart requires me to look at my part in helping other people recover. And I do always try to remind myself of that serenity prayer for the very simple reason, can do and cannot do and wisdom to know the difference, because it only works when I work with it, the serenity prayer… Better we take the blame out of everything, be forgiving and the understanding and know our limits, just for today…
Step eleven in step twelve, are so important? Every step is important and we learn the importance as we have life experiences which highlight each and every step. In writing my reflections today, step eleven is so important, self-aware and able to use prayer, meditation and ask the help when helping others. If I truly am unaware, or lack self-awareness of my motives, I can be the proverbial sledgehammer trying to crack a nut. We can all be a big book basher from time to time, because we agree with its contents. At the same time, how long did it take me to make sense of anything in the big book? I quickly understood the theory, the thinking part, and then had to experience the emotional and spiritual journey, which happens every day. Overreliance on what worked for me over many months and then many years, we cannot cram this experience into a newcomer from day one. Time and experience provide the solution and we make progress and each person need work at their own pace, living recovery one day at a time…
Serenity: contingent on my spiritual condition. My spiritual condition can be reliving old times, wishing for future times. Spiritual, coping with real life right now is where serenity can be experienced. Feelings: under pressure and at extremes, and still coping or feeling relaxed and able to chill. Serenity, coping and knowing my feelings affect my thinking and my actions right here and right now…
Dear higher power, please help me forgive my indiscretions at office parties and any part of Christmas past and all the girls who were naughty with me too. Then I can stop judging and be forgiving of all naughty goings on this Christmas, because being unwillingly celibate is no reason to piss on other people’s chips… ho ho ho
December 15 2010 ~ friendship and fellowship, we are equals in Alcoholics Anonymous; no person has greater status or rights. Our experience, strength and hope is as good as it may be on the day we share. From the newcomer with news of what it is like in the problem, to the old timer serene in living the solution, just for today
December 15 2010 ~ we are all trusted servants in fellowship. We take on responsibilities, I love greeting at meetings and do it, treasury not so much and do it, love tea making and hope to do this again, floor sweeper as my back condition allows... We do what we can in our own way in friendship and fellowship today...
AA Daily Reflections ~ "DOING ANYTHING TO HELP offer him [the alcoholic] friendship and fellowship. Tell him that if he wants to get well you will do anything to help. ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, P. 95
I remember how attracted I was to the two men from A.A. who Twelfth-Stepped me. They said I could have what they had, with no conditions attached, that all I had to do was make my own decision to join them on the pathway to recovery. When I start convincing a newcomer to do things my way, I forget how helpful those two men were to me in their open-minded generosity."
December 15 2007
DonInLondon - ‘Day In the Life’ At Sixes and Sevens Bitter Sweet Moments
Feelings Never Lie - We Do “Brief Encounters”
We are not immune to life and our natural instincts. Feelings never lie, we do. Our feelings which are from our nature, at best we find them and keep safe listening to our inner voice. We feel and react according to our nature.
Feelings - Love
Love always and will forever be our guide to natural inclinations to include or exclude. We don’t pick through any thinking process those we include or exclude. Nature’s gift is never easy these days as we live longer, love more and civilisations drift to complicate all natural laws and still uphold what we are from nature with a superficial grip provided by morality and society in how we conduct ourselves.
Blink of an Eye
Most likely we decide in the blink of an eye, who we may include and love. The distinction between inclusion and exclusion is of nature. And we are after all of nature and we are best to remind ourselves, who we may love may also hurt more than develop or heal us.
In the blink of an eye, ‘love at first sight’ is not unusual. Decide in haste and repent at leisure!
For all the right reasons we may step away from friendships where the end result is pain, and we know so as life has taught. And in the past months I have kept a steady path and walked a separate path from one who stirs all feelings nature intended. An agreeable ending back then and a brief encounter last night. An opportunity to affirm the connection felt by me and less understood by them. When we have been around long enough to know how we are ourselves and the sad understanding that what we may wish for is truly not possible.
Truth is a hard task master. I sometimes wish for ignorance so I may fall into compliance with nature, to deny the obvious and less subtle deceptions of others who see value in falseness. I heard another mention fake it to make it mid-day yesterday. I was surprised and saw that faking anything these days only leads to delays in places of pain rather than dealing with the reality of now.
I am not sure if I am making sense. When another person makes a connection and still deludes themselves about the reasons behind it? I have for a long time been given to assuming that everyone is doing their best and trying to do the next right thing.
When we know we have the best interests of others we know at heart, we can let go and forgive much of what they do because we have love for them. At the same time their behaviour towards us.. It can be driven by all manner of reasons to demonstrate fealty, yet there is none there.
Indifference and superficial demonstrations of love
I guess what hurts most this morning is the deceptions and gift of selective truth offered as endearments and love as thin can be. I have no use for thin living these days and really can forgive and let go. At the same time being human does not preclude to exclude sharp pangs of sadness formed in lies and mistrust.
Ego wants me to flatten and destroy the illusions offered. I can see old behaviour here and there, like tattered fragments of old shackles blowing free in a storm of conflicting emotions as we all are of nature.
As time has helped me see that everyone does indeed do their best and for whatever reason, how things are is how they are. I received a gift with sentiments expressed verbally to me and its connection and delivery. Upon reading and seeing it inscribed, the gift was meant for another and penned inside to them, not me.
In the Moment
In the moment of giving, the inscription and sentiment to another forgotten, I accepted with grace and humility. And then to read so, a flash of ego then tempered with esteem made me see truth.
We are all on a path of living and need temper our journey with care.
This morning I know who I am today. And need not worry about another’s sentiments for me or another and a mishap in gift assignments. I am ok in myself and recognise the desire to be in a place of acceptance, and not limbo where others manipulate truth to placate and ameliorate fears imagined and love lost. Love was never there as I have understood it. Forgiving is absolutely the key. And shattering my peace with anger and worthless endeavour have no place I my heart. To nurse a pain not worthy of having is lost to old times and that gift comes courtesy of life lived and experience.
Love, Love Me Do
All about how we are today. In the programme of AA steps Six and Steps seven, often called the forgotten steps because they are the absolute key to living in the ever present, present perfect moment of now.
Sixes and Sevens
Step six is all about dealing with our less preferred nature, fear, brave facing and ego driven behaviour. Everything that helped me strive and hide my feelings of being less than others. This inadequate feeling led to an extraordinary life of driven determination to build a façade and live behind my castle keep. Decades of reformation broken down by acceptance of my life and then rebuilding to another state of being.
Step seven is all about developing our courage, faith and confidence. To let the world in and not exclude anyone or anything without investigation.
As has been said many a time, contempt prior to investigation [ Herbert Spencer? ] stops us humans developing and fills our heads with dogma and often irrational dementia. The key is how we deal with truth.
As ego falls and confidence rises, we do accept how the world is, how we humans are, merely doing our best. And again the touch we have need be light as we sit side by side with our fellow travellers.
We are never above another, and still we know where we sit in emotions as we experience them living with less denial. Hard enough in the moment to accept love as given need not be as we know love can be. The gift is acceptance and to walk with care as we will on our own path, and be untroubled by another’s path and their destination different to our own.
How am I feeling this morning? I am ok and actually it was good to feel the pull of nature and a natural feeling of connection. Lost of course in translation as we can love, others love as they can. Did it hurt to understand that nothing had changed? Of course and it did give me troublesome feelings.
Glad there is a loving and caring person inside and outside these days. Without shattering illusions and harmony, we need not delude ourselves and it is no longer an ambition in me to force the wisdom of time on others. That is their destiny and their journey, as truth can inform when truth is understood and denials are lost as fear is abandoned and faith opens the heart to truth.
15th December 2006
Hinde St & Walks - Painful Feet and God
Yes a double hit today of my medicine, fellowship meetings and AA. This is not uncommon territory for me. As recent weeks have been a lot about helping others, it sometimes feels like I have gone too far and need to put the brakes on.
A good mentor of mine warned me its all very well helping others especially if its in our nature and good conscience. Its no good if I fall over and worse set off another plunge into the depths of depression. As described to me, the partition between me and other people has been undone, burned out like some type of fuse component. And by helping others trawl their deep, get mine opened up all over again. He is right, I am better not doing deep analysis as the partition does feel like its been removed. And talking of things being removed, tonight’s meeting was about our sixth step to recovery.
"Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."
Yes this is step six. The reckless and feckless alike have problems with this step. It implies we are dysfunctional. And in truth we have been, as self-obsessed drinkers to destruction and no off button it may come as a shock that we get up and swagger with some pride, as if we have no defects at all.
God is a short word for a truly big issue in all our lives. As we have progressed out of the murk of time, we have grown in many respects. We are sociable, we build civilisations, societies and all sorts across our known world, the universe of our planet. And the God issue is about who and what made it all, not just our bit, all of it. As our science has progressed, we know we have a universe of infinity. And how then do we categorise anything so big, it made everything. I like the notion of Providence and Nature being a Universal Truth, proof positive of something far more powerful than me.
Don’t forget as we became bipeds and truly have got a bigger grip of science, we have all manner of debate about God. If we debate the existence of God, he exists anyway, so why bother?
Although this step holds that God will remove our defects, its more likely that we apply ourselves to looking at ourselves and our world in “good conscience.”
Yes to good conscience we may endeavour with our out of balance natures as alcoholics. For some though the pull to God is evident as if some divine being is present. God may be present, and if God is, he, she or whatever God may be, would be heartily pleased to see mankind relieved of self-obsession and get on with each other.
The sixth step
"Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."
In my good conscience, and in the books of words freely promulgated in our fellowship, this step suggests it separates the Men from the boys, Women from the girls presumably too. What is actually encourages is a broader outlook than our own, to see the world as we are part of it, and not us with a world revolving round us. Its about ego, esteem, love, hate, self-obsession, society. Its about the balance we might find in our outlook and behaviour.
We can post ourselves with a fair litany of vices which give us great defects. At the same time as the seven deadly sins were invented, its easy to forget the other side of the coin, the seven virtues. And in between the extremes of vice and virtue is some place where we find our balance as individuals and societies. We learn how we fit in the world and we learn that the world is all mankind aiming at some balance in their existence.
Inside our heads
We have feelings to the good, feelings which can get distorted and as we alcoholics know, once we are slipping down the vice path, our virtues become almost invisible and our behaviour is completely inward looking, self-serving and hostile. We are out to maintain an addiction we would prefer never to have had.
Inside us is a war, where when we isolate we go to our selfishness, and when look out we go to our conscience and our outlook is to common good and not just ours. Step six really can be used to beat us up, yet we need to get the balance in all our behaviour and attitudes to life.
Removing defects actually is an attitude of mind and then practical behaviour to common principles and good conscience. Now why is that so hard?
Simply like any other animal which seeks abundance, finds it and indulges, we lose perspective and with addictive behaviour we can be alcoholics, or any other ‘olic or ism known in the addictive handbook of life. We can fix ourselves on any indulgence and become hooked on the pleasure and lost to conscience and sobriety.
Can anyone do this?
Absolutely yes. Anyone who finds themselves out of balance is indeed behaving one way more than another. And we are all the same, there may genetics or nurture, simply the cause is not the problem, although it is helpful for us to understand, the problem is getting back our balance.
Fear and Bravery
Yes for me fear and bravery go hand in hand, two sides to the same coin. If we fear, we have to be brave. If we are brave we have fear in us of something or someone, people, places and things. And our defects often come to the fore like alcohol to take fear and pain away. Unfortunately for people like me, in oblivion, we have lost our minds as well. The insanity of addiction.
Courage and faith
Actually what we need is attitudes which help us find courage to face fear, and faith in good conscience and fellowship to overcome our worst enemy, namely ourselves. Courage and faith are made in fellowship and sharing the fear and the pain. Through sharing we get wisdom and realise we are not alone.
We learn to live free of fear and pain
Yes indeed we can, for the fear, which requires equal; amounts of bravery, means we are moving to our defects. So we can be brave a while, but we will break down, we cannot maintain sobriety and be brave all the time.
Courage we learn, faith in our fellowship and wisdom of the many, our collective good conscience means we need not fear life, or be in pain all of our lives.
So in essence as we grow up a bit and see we can remove our defective automatic bravery and fear, and replace it with learning courage and faith in ourselves, we build a bridge back to normal balanced living. We don’t need to be brave, to have a badge for valour. We simply need good conscience and wisdom and sharing and support. Now that’s what our fellowship does.
As God may be looking on
I have to thank God for the temerity to make this life just as it is, a learning experience in how to be human. If we came with all the answers there would be no point to sentient evolution at all. As it happens from serendipity or some process only mathematics and science will unravel, as it is doing, will we realise some fundamental things beyond our current comprehension. That there is higher power than us.
As to what it means today, we can look at our defective notions, attitudes and behaviour, and we quickly work out with some help, that we ain’t the centre of the universe, and we do better in fellowship and working to good conscience. And as I say if God happens to be watching maybe he smiles at us. It matters not as judgment day one way or another is not that far away. How we get there is down to us and how we choose to live to the good, and in balance we determine through our experience.
And as we see this is the path, we need huge amounts of forgiveness for everyone driven mad and off balance with their life. For we need accept some of us, not me maybe, but maybe me too, I don’t know yet, will make big huge errors in judgment. We have every vice, and every virtue in us, and we are shaped by life experience. We will not all get it this time round is my sad reflection. I certainly took a long time to get this far at all, and not on my own.
Two heads are better than one
Its true of most everything if we relate. Because when we are alone and isolated, that is our world and we are the higher power. When there are two, we have two heads and similar problems. Two heads have more capacity than one, no matter where the intellect resides, two makes for more power and more outlook and more sharing, and more responsibility than just one.
Higher powers like our fellowship with decades of wisdom how to get sober and so much more in every walk of life, from potentates to pot heads we all fit and are equal every single one. Unless our defects are troubling us!
Battered bruised and humbled if we can stay long enough to accept our new path to freedom and choice, we will encounter this important hurdle of self-discovery, with courage and faith our world opens again.
It matters not one bit today to debate God, it matters entirely today how we behave in good conscience and develop our courage and our faith to keep with living, just one day, this day, the ever present, present moment of now. And that is our spiritual gift to this world, the next is an entirely different matter and need not concern me tonight!
December 15th 2005
Pay Attention To Your Inner Voice
Pay attention to your inner voice, its the one you hear all day long as soon as you wake. Take care what it tells you, it tells you what you want to hear, not what others tell you.
Others might be disagreeable, its usual that people do disagree. And its usual that we have our inner voice which makes it good and we filter out the things we dislike. Be aware you only hear half what others say, the rest of the time, you finish their sentences and thoughts. No wonder we find argument and misunderstanding, thank goodness we can listen harder and put it right! So help yourself, listen and do not filter. Don't let imagination take you too far and enjoy the real day, this day for what it is, one of a kind and impossible to repeat…
December 15th 2004
Self will, the strength of mind to overcome most any obstacle. We are often driven to 'soldier on in the face of adversity'. We are often taught the value of stoicism and greatness in brave acts and deeds.
Indeed we must conserve our inner resources for those moments in history when sheer drive makes us fight on for causes we believe.
There are other times when we get so misdirected and so single minded our inner resolve is just plain stubborn and unhelpful. Willpower is a temporary necessity when we are under threat. If we realise self will is just another tool we have, we release imagination to guide our desires. Imagination the most powerful of our capacities, will endure all, beyond reality.
Imagination will free our soul, imagination fuels our emotions and makes what seems impossible entirely possible. Imagination, climbs mountains in the sky, and for some, in reality.
Tend your dreams and imagination, let them soar to your place in reality.
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