Thursday, 20 December 2012

December 20 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 12 Living Principles Alcoholics Anonymous

December 20 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 12 Living Principles Alcoholics Anonymous Today's Daily Reflections: "freely given, without expectations and without conditions…" Can do and cannot do and the wisdom to know the difference. It's very easy to sound good and share a message of experience, strength and hope. And when we are sharing, are we prepared to listen? Giving freely is not a one-way street. We need to be prepared to listen, and engage. How often have you sat in a meeting, sharing back to somebody and they seem to be looking at their watch, rolling their eyes, not listening? And does it matter?

Video For Today:

Expectations Set To Zero

I need to remember what it's like to be a newcomer, coming to a meeting of the fellowship for the first time. I can recall my first meeting, friends from the health club, neighbours and people I knew from the arts club, and my mother's best friend in the front row. I had not got to the meeting under my own steam, pushed through the doors by my sister a long time ago now. It was a shock, I cannot recall what the speaker said, but I do recall them asking if there were any newcomers, and following on from somebody else, I simply said, "yes me too, my name is Don and I'm an alcoholic…" It only took me five years to get back to the next meeting. People were giving their support with freedom to choose, to stay or to go. They never judged me? I judged them and headed for the pub…

Fear in early recovery was so corrosive, fear of not being good enough to live, being one of the problems I needed to overcome. And these several years later, fear of fucking up is often the primary cause of relapse. Not good enough in AA? Where then? Which is why emphasis on humility, and this is applying it to me, I needed humility to understand and keep on making basic mistakes over and over again. How many times does it take is often the question we ask ourselves, "to get the message." As long as it takes. Of course we don't know this at the beginning. Every mistake I make today is worthy of comment, either by me as a learning point, or by others who see I make mistakes and learn from them over and over again, not just today, every day…

As we are approaching the end of the world as we know it, according to the Mayans, there are lots of things going on all over the place. Every country seems to be printing money as fast as it can, something to do with the fiscal clit and the need for a stimulus package… My view is we can deal with any cliff in recovery, providing we start from scratch and keep on learning as we go. Life is all about trial and error. After all, we wouldn't be human if we didn't bark up the wrong tree from time to time...

One day at a time, with a weather eye for the future. Sober for some time, each day does get better in the sense that I can cope with reality. And when I cannot cope, I ask for help. Sometimes there are no answers to be had to the questions we raise, and no amount of asking is ever going to elicit the answer which suits us. Acceptance of life as it is today, even when there is fear, and sharing the fear makes it okay to be human living in the imperfectly perfect, ever present, present moment of now…

DonInLondon 2005-2011

Dear higher power, I had a drinking dream in the night. I woke out of the dream thirsty, numb and pins and needles in my arm and the shopping channel offering ear rings on the telly. A glass of water, thankful and disoriented put on the news channel for company, fell asleep sober and woke up sober today…

Sometimes a drinking dream reminds me of the horror and fear of a slip or relapse. It may have been a reaction to listening to newcomers and the whole fear that Christmas can have for many a person. It did for me a long time ago, bereft, grieving and lonely. I feel sad for the past and happy in the present and accept the reminders of Christmas past. Rare hauntings these days, and thank you higher power for the reminder…

December 20 2010 ~ probably the only fellowship I could join in my life today. Where everyone keeps their unique and authentic identity, develops their own outlook and affiliations as they choose. Can have faith; in their higher power and living to good conscience. A fellowship with one primary purpose and members exercise their freedom of choice and live in reality today...

December 20 2010 ~ a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions.

December 20 2010 ~ A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

DECEMBER 20 THE REWARDS OF GIVING This is indeed the kind of giving that actually demands nothing. He does not expect his brother sufferer to pay him, or even to love him. And then he discovers that by the divine paradox of this kind of giving he has found his own reward, whether his brother has yet received anything or not. TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 109

Through experience with Twelfth Step work, I came to understand the rewards of giving that demands nothing in return. At first I expected recovery in others, but I soon learned that this did not happen. Once I acquired the humility to accept the fact that every Twelfth Step call was not going to result in a success, then I was open to receive the rewards of selfless giving.


December 20 2007

DonInLondon - ‘Day In the Life’ Fly Me to the Moon

Dream a little dream of me..

A long day. I was up late into the early morning hours writing and thinking and feeling.

I have just returned home from my mid-evening meeting of AA, Alcoholics Anonymous down in Fulham Broadway. My third meeting of the day. Not so unusual to attend three meetings in a day, this morning a brunch event where I was guest chair. Sharing experience strength and hope becomes a normal daily occurrence as we get along in AA.

I wonder where I might have been had life been slightly different and there had been no AA. Truth tonight reminds me how precious life is. In the last few days others experiences have been pretty tough. Death has loomed large with some, as near family have passed. And friends of children, a young adult lost to a virus and gone in less than two days. Funerals at any time are hard. For us in fellowship as we remain sober, we find many lean hard on us and the tough is light as know the emptiness and grief all too well.

Often said that we need make sure we have a dark set of clothes to wear as often we attend funerals. And this last year has seen some friends depart. Not from drink, as life is lived we all have our chances and our near misses. I am relieved to have scraped through some hard times in recent years.

Someone said before we kill ourselves with drink and melancholy, make sure you are killing the right person. So true as we evolve quite profoundly in sober living when we take the time and listen and learn a new way to make life work in the day.


In meetings we share in a general way much of the present and what is going on. Not in a salacious way or to make us seem anything but human. And again what features most is compassion and love. This eccentric bunch in fellowship, some so rough around the edges their look cuts us deep as we see the wounds of time, and present moments. We know it and feel it. Surviving is a part of the story, sharing it as necessary to make sense of life as well as death.

As Men talk of their children their wives and for the first time after years realising how much they love their family. As women share of their husbands and their children, some children have never seen their parent drunk, some far too often. We huddle and share truth. And some of us bereft in our singularity can recollect the times past, the losses and broken hearts. It may seem a miserable and sorry affair. It is not.


As we simple souls with complicated heads come to realise the gift of sobriety is right mindedness. In our right minds the potential for love, joy, sorrow all comes out of our esteem rather than pity. We love those who are loving and those of us who have no partnership presently, because we are simply learning who we are, we feel the pull of fellowship and understanding.

We all relate to the human condition where feelings are what life is all about, hence a fellowship of avid and interested people making life work.

Risky Business

Day by day the risky business of living, seeing our safe boundaries and forever open to new changes, we learn a new way to be in fellowship, where we share and test out our understandings. Choices better made with clearer heads, and feelings which offer love and all this entails.


Is it any wonder we simply make progress, learn a little more and move along. We hug each other a lot in fellowship. Some of us are awkward and don’t do this so well. Yet we learn again, as brother to brother, as sister to sister, and of course we are not immune to the sensation of more romantic hugs which leave us feeling extremely happy for not only that moment but many more after.

Not Perfection

As with all progress it’s a bit haphazard and we can feel a tug towards compatible partners and still find a sense of loneliness which haunts us and makes for very awkward misunderstandings. I have had these moments and merely make progress to understanding life is just as it may be.

Fake it to Make it

Nothing is ever to be gained by faking anything to make anything. If we fake a response to elicit a trust and fealty not meant, it is the worst betrayal of self and self-worth is most likely to be replaced with ego, and all that dismal carry on of pretending and then losing dignity all round.

I can and have found I can love without condition, or have I? The reason I mention this is with anyone we encounter where we are told we are loved and yet we know the connection is simply misunderstood. And those times and those who say they love us, are in need of so much love they have no clue where to start. The empty vessel bereft is a sad state. I know this having been so and no doubt it may occur again and again.


We need find ourselves and then start the learning process of love. Where we recognise we have a place and right to exist. Yet so often we can be beaten and demoralised. Then we have fear as our daily companion and prefer to pretend through to ego’s drift and then we find a world which hurts to touch and we cannot feel love or love at all. That cold dark realm of desolation where we prefer to delude ourselves and others.

There is no mantle of safe ground when it comes to lonely moments as we realise there is nothing of substance inside us and we need start over again.

Fun joy happiness

All possible as we get a sense of who we are. And we need cherish ourselves know where we are and what we are about. We all need human touch, we all need to feel some safety. We all know the dark of lonely nights and tormented times where love is lost. Faking it to make it possible makes for unhappy times.

I heard a man share recently after more than a decade of marriage where he had been senseless through addiction, that in recovery he had found love at last, that he truly was falling in love with his wife. Tears rolled down his face. And his wife felt the same too. Were it always so.

Lonely old me - past times?

I was lonely and attracted lonely partners often, not always single sadly and that is not a judgment to be made either. When we find ourselves alone in a partnership we are human and seek solace until we find some peace. Or we live the lie because fear makes us wary of a worse state of singularity.

I don’t feel lonely presently, I know what is possible and I realise where boundaries may be. I have my fears and those are more to do with mortality. The order in which we may expect people to depart is always confounded. Friends I know, with loved ones gone, younger and sometimes looking more robust are no more. At my age what do I expect?


I don’t know is my honest answer. I feel and have love around me. Know people care and I care about them. As to partnership, we never know what might happen. Being open and realising anything is possible in the world of now makes me happy to have had wonderful experiences in the past as well as learning experiences less joyful. The joy is the experience of love along the way. That way was lost a long time in grief, so necessary or we would not be human.

The gift of profound and unconditional love is ever present in the present moment. We can deny it, we cannot pretend it.

Feelings never lie, we indeed do sometimes to get by. It makes us strangers to ourselves and those we might wish we loved. That loneliness is beyond most all pain we can endure, unloved by those who proclaim their love for us.


I have found bliss in this life, ever hopeful I may again. Acceptance is a key..

Daily Reflections

The Rewards Of Living

This is indeed the kind of giving that actually demands nothing. He does not expect his brother sufferer to pay him, or even to love him. And then he discovers that by the divine paradox of this kind of giving he has found his own reward, whether his brother has yet received anything or not. Twelve Steps And Twelve Traditions p. 109

Through experience with Twelfth Step work, I came to understand the rewards of giving that demands nothing in return. At first I expected recovery in others, but I soon learned that this did not happen. Once I acquired the humility to accept the fact that every Twelfth Step call was not going to result in a success, then I was open to receive the rewards of selfless giving.

Twenty-Four Hours A Day

A.A. Thought For The Day

Our faith should control the whole of our life. We alcoholics were living a divided life. We had to find a way to make it whole. When we were drinking, our lives were made up of a lot of scattered and unrelated pieces. We must pick up our lives and put them back together again. We do it by recovering a faith in a Divine Principle in the universe which hold us together and holds the whole universe together and gives it meaning and purpose. We surrender our disorganized lives to that Power, we get into harmony with the Divine Spirit, and our lives are made whole again. Is my life whole again?

Meditation For The Day

Avoid fear as you would a plague. Fear, even the smallest fear, is a hacking at the cords of faith that bind you to God. However small the fraying, in time those cords will wear thin, and then one disappointment or shock will make them snap. But for the little fears, the cords of faith would have held firm. Avoid depression, which is allied to fear. Remember that all fear is disloyalty to God. It is a denial of His care and protection.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may have such trust in God today that I will not fear anything too greatly. I pray that I may have assurance that God will take care of me in the long run.

As Bill Sees It Toward Partnership, p. 292

When the distortion of family life through alcohol has been great, a long period of patient striving may be necessary. After the husband joins A.A., the wife may become discontented, even highly resentful that A.A. has done the very thing that all her years of devotion had failed to do. Her husband may become so wrapped up in A.A. and his new friends that he is inconsiderately away from home more than when he drank. Each then blames the other. But eventually the alcoholic, now fully understanding how much he did to hurt his wife and children, nearly always takes up his marriage responsibilities with a willingness to repair what he can and accept what he can't. He persistently tries all of A.A.'s Twelve Steps in his home, often with fine results. He firmly but lovingly commences to behave like a partner instead of like a bad boy. 12 & 12, pp. 118-119

20th December 2006

Bendy Bus Sobriety

Ironic for me, I went to South London and East St market today, a bit of ‘window’ shopping as it happens. And It seems after last night where faith blah, blah got on my emotional wick, I felt better after several messages to the good of what I had to say about fellowship and recovery.

Actually I felt better for the support and concerned that people still follow their path as they see fit, neither persuaded to my point of view or anyone else. Merely finding our own path to sobriety as is suggested. It’s a very personal journey back into ordinary life and many people including me are bamboozled in early days, following the words of others, sometimes to our detriment. We need to keep our sense of proportion and common sense as we get into sober living. Most of us have common sense somewhere inside us, even when we have been driven mad by addiction.


I had a couple of calls and chance meetings with fellows of AA out and about, just travelling these days its really good to see others getting on, doing normal like working and going about some family stuff like Christmas shopping. And tonight I was uncertain whether to go to a new fellowship for depression or go to my usual meeting just off the Kings Road. I do have clinical depression, at the same time I know with professional help and supervision it is managed and managed enough for me to function as I may, not badly or perfectly, adequately. And as one of my other conditions is alcoholism, and I get much support through AA, I felt better making the effort to get to the Kings road. There is another selfish reason, it’s a good length bike ride, and I need exercise to keep me going, walking is out generally as things are, and biking can be achieved. Exercise and AA got my vote in the end. And so it was Chelsea.

I got to do the preamble tonight, ”Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.“

I like reading the preamble out to everyone, it means if I say nothing else I am part of the meeting and this opportunity comes along now and then. I had decided after a lengthy share last night I would say nothing, but actually its like saying don’t do something, and then I end up doing just that. I was prepared for silence and as it happened the “share” tonight reminded me much about today.

I will as usual make it personal to me, as we are anonymous, I would not want to “out” anyone, and as to me, well I have made clear my recovery and my life being put back on track by AA, so my anonymity is not an issue. My issue is to remain equal and just that to every fellow of AA. Equals means I am no bigger or smaller than any other, just the same as anyone walking through the doors to the rooms of AA. Now that is critical to me as equality is one of my principles of living to good conscience and harmony.

Honesty and Living

The share tonight made me consider how life had become very dishonest for me. For long years I felt I had tried to be ok, to wear my brave mask, to make life work by drinking to oblivion on a regular basis, and hiding my utter despondency from most who knew me. The more I hid my feelings and desolation, the less I tried to sort anything out. The less I sorted my own head out, the more I seemed able to resolve the lives and issues of people I knew. I knew the pitfalls so well, I could give them process and ways to make life good again.

Odd that someone often employed to help develop peoples outlook could get so far off the mark with their own life. Grief is a strange driver, desolation the destination, I have travelled there so many times, it makes sense I could see where others were and maybe ways out of it. My downfall? Utter exhaustion and never really getting over anything, just pouring booze on top to hide my maladies and utter sadness, the black of depression pushed and roamed through me like torture. I could feel the waves of black, no respite back then.

When I broke down the first time, it was devastation. Ripped for months on end by anxiety. We can get on anxieties as moods in depression oscillate without will to get off the unhappy runaway train to the dark of life.

Odd, for over a year I was pretty out of it, watching my world fall to bits as job and home and all that went with it was gone. No grasp on anything real, my unreal dishonest world filled me up with nothing but emptiness. Empty.

So what about the Bendy Bus?

The bendy bus of London, well there are plenty of bendy buses around. We are on our honour to buy tickets and ride them. Often people jump on without a ticket. They risk the wrath of London Transport Ticket Inspectors who will arrest, or if not, fine, they don’t let you off. And our sharer tonight mentioned its like this in AA, for their return, they had to get honest, even down to paying their fare of the bendy bus of life.

What they were saying is there is no free lunch, that we do get found out and that we cannot hide from ourselves when we cheat. When we cheat, we don’t cheat anyone else but us. And as to sobriety. Well the sharer quite rightly felt that there is so many ways to cover our tracks, to misinterpret and to be off the path of honesty. Something so simple as dodging a fare on a bendy bus can make us slide into the abyss of kidding ourselves about so much of living.

The unwritten commandment, “thou shalt not be found out.” I have heard this over the years and it made me cringe in my honest state of dishonesty.

Odd really that today on the bendy bus, I had my ticket, and so many did not. A harsh lesson for some. But really the point is to honest living and not hiding from our feelings and our desire to be well, we cannot fake it to make it, a well-used phrase in our fellowship. Faking anything these days hurts me a lot.

As to tonight there was much made of anonymity and some like me who are open and out there with our alcoholic past, as much to be honest as to be able to be in recovery. Without that basic tenet in place for me recovery is made more difficult. Yet the stigma as some see it, its still got power to undo them. The undoing is in being found out of course.

I know along the way, my white lies, my dishonest bravado, my telling myself I am ok when I am falling to bits. My not being able to stop drinking full stop. Where my will had been sucked out and replaced with nothing but accelerant to death. No that’s as dishonest as any can be. Regardless of behaviour to others the ultimate lie is to self, that somewhere we were justified in all this. Culpable? No, after the first drink the alcoholic is done for. And as the disease goes its merry way, all fabric to the good is stripped away, we are left without sense or sensibilities. Some of us stop before crimes are done, yet the crime is done inside our heads. Its as bad as it gets, and all rock bottoms are as bad, we need not compare, its as awful and tragic as it may be.

So Tonight

It was full of humour of the dark kind, all the things we have done to hide, to cover up. And yet by the time we have got to AA we throw in the towel and admit what we are. And this is where healing may start. And with the healing and the openness to honesty, being willing and have faith in others experiences and courage. it’s a sombre reminder indeed.

Funny not so hilarious

Our sharer was sober many years before he was captured by a drink then another. As they described, pride and vanity led to another and another. And with so many sober friends and the utter desolation involved, it felt better to drink and go mad than admit the lapse.

Bendy Bus Honesty

Its like knowing no one can see the error or the diversion from honesty. And at the same time as we find in sobriety where rigorous honesty keeps us sober and one lie can lead us back into the gutter…

We choose sobriety, then we don’t choice after the first drink as our malady comes back full strength unless we get back and admit our aberration. Many slip from our programme and don’t come back, those who do share what hell feels like again. Those who are out there live shambolic lives and often are ruined in the process of drinking to oblivion again.

For normal drinkers, you cannot understand this madness and I am thankful you cannot. For those of us who do, its our worst nightmare, where we are sucked back and down under, and left in righteous indignation as we drink away. And then we are back in the mix, “Where Ego’s Dare.”

Overall a good night for me. And as to the day, with some difficult conversations along the way it has been ok. Knowing enough to try for honesty, and know my denial of my condition will send me to hell faster than any overt intent which would be an attempt to control what cannot be controlled.

There are other matters still troubling, and these will come my way soon enough, and there is no hurry as they cannot be fixed today or any other I suspect. So just for today will do. Fellowship enables faith and courage in human beings with a common purpose.

For our newcomers tonight they heard from many, the pitfalls we all have keeping sober, no matter how long, drink can easily get us again, and as we say keep honest, and keep coming back till it works, because we are all worth it! One drink can end a life of promise as easily as a ticket not bought for a Bendy Bus ride to hell…

December 20th 2005


Often a definition is a good starting point, so what is therapy? For my purpose here therapy is a form of psychotherapy using imagery, self-instruction, and related techniques to alter distorted attitudes and perceptions. I stole the definition! I could otherwise blend it and distort it to my perceptions of what therapy could, should, might offer a person. We tend to bend things to suit us don't we?

For me therapy is a voluntary exercise. Its something we do most days in some way whenever we talk or share our world with others. Either we get recognition and someone agreeing, or the opposite, and most likely somewhere in between. So when we talk therapy in the broadest and most understood sense, we probably go talk to someone when we have something big on our minds. Actually, these days I go and have therapy because it simply makes everything the right size, and helps me keep a balance in my experiences and a balance in my own mind.

There are so many jokes and put downs about therapy, we might be considered mildly bewildered to do it, or seriously shocked by something to put ourselves through the pain of therapy. And, this is only my experience, we have something painful and therapy helps us make sense of our experience. Therapy when practised with care never forces pain on a person, it helps a person process their experience and feel things properly. There is pain in all our experiences as we go through life and few of us find ways which help us without others to assist. As we grow up, we learn something about our feelings. Our feelings are as sharp as our physical senses when we understand them. The feeling of joy is experienced with the intensity of some physical pleasure. I am sure you can imagine them both so I'll let your imaginations go their way!

There are times when the stormy lives we lead are serious and dangerous, as emotions are as real as physical dangers most often. The emotional pain we can experience can be as life threatening as any natural calamity we may encounter. And if we don't do something to make sense of these ups and downs in our emotions, we can be hindered all our lives, or worse stuck all our lives in old worries and bad times. What helps is process, simple processes to help make sense of what we experience. And simply the process helps us sort and make sense of experiences which clog us up or keep us stuck somewhere we don't want to be. There are old fashioned notions of mad science attached to the world of therapy. And of course when we are dealing with our feelings, they go as deep as our soul. Our feelings are real always, and we might wonder why they are so powerful. Feelings simply keep us alive and more, we live and feel our experience, its so fundamental we do well to keep our feelings sacred. In essence we need to be able to trust our feelings and experience them and so experience life. Our feelings help make sense of our purpose for living at all. So when we are unsure our feelings, and wonder at them, then its a wise person who checks them out with others.

Feelings are personal about our very being, we know they all have their place and keep us balanced. When feelings seems out of place there are many who wonder if they are normal or not. And as there seems no real normal for us to know, we can feel very odd indeed. As we grow up much of our learning is pretty difficult we learn every right feeling and maybe wrong feeling, we only find out what is right from what we learn. And when we get disturbed, we are less likely to seek help because we feel shame. Old notions of therapy, going so deep we wonder where the journey might end keep many of us in the dark until things get into a real bind. And the worse it gets the more intense our reluctance to seek help. Its our heritage and for us humans most often a product of our very good memories. Forgetfulness is sometimes a luxury we would all find useful and often we use it at as a way of letting ourselves off the hook for things we don't want to be reminded we did. Our times are not particularly enlightened.

Through our own endeavour and sharing we can improve our chances of personal enlightenment. We can grow emotionally and see the truth of life. Our mystified friends might often find our drive for balance and truth a weary and possibly frightening path. For those of us who take courage and ask for help, a world of normal perceptions awaits, a place where we recognise our true feelings in their right proportion. And in our balance we find good therapy and bad, wise counsel and less informed counsel. A world evolving as we are, through common understanding where for every experience there is joy and sadness, maybe at least in their right measure...

December 20th 2004


Happiness is the result of total appreciation of all that life gives you at every moment.


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

Big Book And Twelve And Twelve

AA Official Online Site: Daily Reflections

AA Daily Reflections

December 2012 | Step Twelve Reading Video Link:

Step Twelve Reading

December 2012 | Video Reading How It Works:

Reading How It Works

December 2012 | Video Reading A Vision For You:

A Vision For You

December 2012 | Video About Grief And Depression

Video About Grief And Depression

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