July 31 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 7 Courage To Change Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "a prayer for all seasons, the serenity prayer…" Before recovery I had no prayers or meditation in any formal sense. And being introduced to the serenity prayer from day one started to make a difference in my feelings and how to live in the moment. An even shorter version for me became, "can do and cannot do and wisdom to know the difference…"
Video For Today:
How could it be that a simple prayer or meditation could transform my life? Even though I pray and meditate, I cannot describe God or define God. With the passage of time I can understand that truth, love and wisdom must be part of the grand design for very human, human beings. If I know the truth in the moment of now I know what I can do which is often ask for help, cannot do on my own and the wisdom to keep learning the difference day by day…
Whatever you believe in, it is not my business to judge or criticise one bit. What is important is being realistic in my outlook, ambitions, the way I conduct myself today. Truth, love and wisdom flow through people, as do falsehoods, hatred and prejudice. We learn the difference as we live life and we have choices to make. With the principles of open, honest and willing, we keep learning and we keep finding out the truth of living in the moment and one day at a time…
Over the years before recovery and in recovery, my principles are very simple and are encompassed in being "open, honest, fair and having integrity" and when drink overwhelmed me, I lost much of what I believed in during those times. Today, contingent on my spiritual condition, "the ability to cope with reality" I am able to live to my principles, and if I am blown off course, I can ask the help from any source at any time today and any day…
These principles of living, the twelve steps and twelve traditions are for me to improve my emotional and spiritual condition. They help me understand reality and what I can and cannot do on a daily basis. We can conduct a spot check inventory at any time on our emotional condition which impacts on our thinking and actions. But if we use these principles to judge others and the world it will leave a bitter taste hard to remove. We can challenge and support, and as said from times past, "judge not" today…
AA Daily Reflections ~ "A prayer for all seasons: July 31 God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change. Courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
The power of this prayer is overwhelming in that its simple beauty parallels the A.A. Fellowship. There are times when I get stuck while reciting it, but if I examine the section which is troubling me, I find the answer to my problem. The first time this happened I was scared, but now I use it as a valuable tool. By accepting life as it is, I gain serenity. By taking action, I gain courage and I thank God for the ability to distinguish between those situations I can work on, and those I must turn over. All that I have now is a gift from God: my life, my usefulness, my contentment, and this program. The serenity enables me to continue walking forward. Alcoholics Anonymous is the easier, softer way."
Emotional and Spiritual progress is one day at a time. No pass or fail, we learn with humility. Emotionally, how am I feeling? Good. Why? Spiritually I am able to cope with reality in the moment of now…
A prayer for all seasons and time: a meditation in moments where life is joyful or sad, difficult or easy. The serenity prayer offers a reminder in any moment that life is just the way it may be now. That we can change some elements, other elements we cannot and wisdom is to know the difference.
Acceptance of truth, love and wisdom of others...In good conscience or to the God of your understanding ~ God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change. Courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference. The prayer and meditation, for me, a reflection of and feeling the truth of now and not to wishful thinking...
A better perspective on serenity... The truth as it really is can be: wonderful, difficult, denied or accepted. As truth is revealed and experienced by us, our feelings change our thinking changes. With a more sober outlook and maturity we face the consequences of our actions. We feel, we think. We respond as we may to truth...
Publish July 31 2007
DonInLondon -’Day in the Life’ July 30 2007
Stepping Stones - Some People Call It Step Change
The steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, just twelve small ones as part of a toolkit of recovery. We all get concerned about change, and when we are older and more set one way, we can find change as horrid as any suggestion to better living. Especially when we need make changes or die sooner rather than later.
Nature of addiction
Indeed the nature of addiction and any behaviour we need to keep doing, even when we know it may kill us eventually, we can be stubborn as mules, deny our problems and hide as long as we can. Until something gives and we are exposed to ourselves as much as anyone else.
Addiction to anything can be harmful or actually beneficial, as long as we don’t find ourselves in extreme conditions. Alcohol worked for many and made life more pleasant in early days of drinking, then as time passes, for some not all of course, the addiction kicks in and we cannot stop. And these days, routine and set patterns are as addictive to my normal living. Routine so often misunderstood is simply self maintenance as long as we don’t become too rigid and inflexible we need change as life offers and routinise our changes.
Most people die early deaths from addiction, most common is drink and of course street drugs. And we can also become addicted to prescription drugs. And worse we can be addicted to behaviour which is just plain harmful.
As we get to understand the addict or alcoholic is probably well and truly powerless over their behaviour, it makes us mad that they are quite insane doing things which just harm and end life sooner rather than later.
I am one of those addicts or alcoholics who could not stop and ended up in trouble for a good long while, before finding a way forward without the behaviour, but still an addict all the same. Merely in recovery and not recovered as there is no way back to safe drinking or any form of drugging.
Yes tonight I was Tea Boy and my usual partner was unwell, and she needed the night off to get over a cold and actually has tried hard to keep going when in fact they are better letting nature work and rest up. And of course someone is always there to help so I was very chuffed and had great company.
Our Meeting and Steps: Step Two Tonight
Step Two can confront a person with harder measure for recovery. In Step one we are able to admit and to an extent start to realise we are powerless over drink and it makes life unmanageable. It usually takes a few goes to throw in the towel on this one and get to this next step. It took me years actually and the trouble is some people seem to get it straight away, which can make us a little sore! Why not me and why so hard to give up? For me it was self-will and willpower, I could do it alone if I persevered but in the end I realised I was not able. And kept drinking harmfully for an age it seemed, silent and isolated and really not worth knowing in the end.
Step Two: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
This is not so difficult when you accept powerless over drink, but for me it was as hard to think anyone knew better than me about anything, and thankfully these days I recognise expertise and good sense and easily can see that a power bigger than me is just there all around us. Nature of course and Providence, that is where we are now, today.
The higher power as it’s called. For some its God, their version. For some its good conscience and I fit in nicely there. And for some its whatever they choose to believe.
A higher Power
Collective wisdom of fellows in AA? Definitely, we become expert on our own personal recovery and heed suggestions, not instructions. We choose and are free to make our choices and how we deal with recovery. We are never to be told, it would not work.
So tonight a great share from our speaker, asked at the last moment, and a great reaction from people new and old in the business of recovery. How good is that?
I had nothing to say tonight and felt happy to listen as everyone who felt an urge to speak, spoke..
I feel ok today even though it’s been a bit long and stressful as I still have worries about you tube and what they do as accounts get a bit long in the tooth.
And tonight I saw my sister and had good chats about things and life and stuff too. So much achieved and being in good company always makes me calmer and happier. In all matters today has been gentle and careful.
Nothing in my day suggested a higher power was at work, and most certainly I was able to endeavour and make things work as best I could as I am able. No self-will forcing issues, not blaming, not anger at incomplete activities. And still there is sadness and time to share over our recent family bereavement. We will be talking a long time as we need to let go and cherish good times and let the hard moments find their place in history.
We do not forget people we have close contact for twenty years or more. We can keep our good memories and remind ourselves in family talks as we will. And the good of this? Is simply letting ourselves accept a little bit each day what is lost and was cherished. We need not try suppress and forget as we need no stiff upper lip, and no brave faces and no need to hide our feelings. Or we store trouble when we do, and we need not make life harder in pretending as each day offers moments and reminders to make us smile with a wan sad reflection as loss is just what we feel.
Good memories are there forever, and we can cherish as we may. Forgetting and putting anything behind us will make for silence when celebration is best made each day for what we loved and enjoyed, just one day at a time? I feel so today.
As for me there many memories to cherish from my past, I have forgotten so much of the good in addiction, memory allows me to cherish the good acknowledge the sad endings and what might have been. Carefully we need find where can make amends and not harm others or anyone when we realise just what we know now was what others knew all along.
I met a friend from years ago tonight, good to see them, and they spoke eloquently about new living. Living an ordinary and extraordinary life in sobriety. Knowing and accepting that as we are not the centre of the universe and no gods in our own heads these days. Being right sized and prone to all life has to offer, as good things happen and the sad of life is as usual, the essential parts of life we need have to know the difference. We have both joy and sadness with us as we learn life, no short cuts, as long as it takes, and each day is just for today as we encounter.
Choices restored as we prevail and endeavour with courage faith and confidence, and less fear, bravery and more often than we might wish, ego can make us drift where life is unsafe. Best keep safe as we may and accept our humanity is what it is, for today.
July 31st 2006
Decision Making in our Fellowship
Making up my mind is not easy
When we are new to our recovery from any particular ailment of the head, that is something which produces nasty shocks to the system, our decision making is at the very least likely to be questionable. In a crisis who makes wise decisions which can be held up to scrutiny? And can we make any decision at all. Sometimes all we can do is be numb and do as we are told.
Driven to insanity, we forget the early stages anyone human goes through as we claw our way back to normal life. And as all humans are driven to be functional we drive ourselves more mad when we screw up and tend to lurch one way then another towards doing the right thing.
Our meeting today highlighted over and over the need not to make decisions in isolation as thinking and feeling so disturbed by pressing needs and cravings and compulsions means any are most obviously made are best done in consultation.
As part of our fellowship in recovery we have a sponsor system. Sponsors are there to help us get by in early days and beyond to test what we think and feel. Our predisposition to be drifting towards ego, towards self obsessions means we act in our own interest, at least we think we do, but most often we are negatively poised to make life harder and darker.
And as the nature of our meetings is to discuss freely anything loosely connected with our chosen topic. We displayed all the characteristics associated with our ability to think beyond, and so we discussed and shared many elements of life experience and beyond.
Some with strong belief in a higher power hand over their decisions to that power. And in doing so remove their obsessive and inward looking survey of what they might or must do. And others just get the picture, it is best to brainstorm and get busy in discussion to make a move to action.
And why do we beat up our own decision making process? Indeed if we look at the big bad world, our decisions each day are really few and far between when it comes to deciding anything at all. Our lives are very much about routines and decisions are the exceptions anyway to the main event of life, just living it as it comes.
Humans generally are bad at making decisions and especially small or big ones which affect others. For most people don’t think beyond their own needs and desires. Which is why most humans stick to what they know and do.
And someone pointed to big people in big business and how they are wrong in their decisions more times than they are right to their success. And that is life in the raw. And we see it in politics and government and we complain heavily when the big people muck us up and make life harder.
And that is simply because we really do rely on routine most of our awake time. So decisions even beyond what to wear on a daily basis are often circular and not readily to action and next steps.
And fear is what keeps us from decisions, because there is impact and the rules of games played over life give us peace and quiet, and breaking and changing rules makes for discomfort.
When we decide to give up our habits which hurt us, our addictions which drive us mad, it’s absolutely the hardest thing even to get out of bed, let alone make a life decision to keep with a programme of recovery, so new and horrid to our old routines and oblivious living. No wonder we focus on these hard things of life.
We learn to share, we learn to make better active moves and we learn much of what we do is so inside driven, we do exclude others and make ourselves unpopular when we act alone. Till we are the pariah, and they the innocent. Well it can be this way.
As we get recovery we realise we are best consultative, inclusive and gain trust and respect where we can. And we learn also many people will never trust or include us as we might wish, for trust and love is gone.
So we get better where we can and learn where we are excluded and can go no more. And that is where decision making takes us. To safe ways and actions for now and future days, and not back to madness, insanity and isolated ego driven activities which break down others and ourselves.
We got near to solving something, did we? Not really because I can’t recollect if we made any headway beyond the talking.
And that is what we humans do most, procrastinate and talk, till routines kick in and life returns to normal. Well is does for most human beings. Not us in the main, for if we decide to stay and keep on the path of recovery, our best decision is made and the rest manageable, a day at a time and in good conscience.
Small or big, decisions shared to the good of living and made inclusively, with just the right sized amount of choice, well these things are possible and ensure a life beyond wildest dreams of broken men and women. And for all humans too.
Fortunately our ideas and decisions are made with inclusivity and not excluding anyone without it being a mistake or intent, to the good, of god conscience in this present day!
Indeed when we understand recovery, it’s an active decision making and inclusive process where it can be, the blue print holds good across all living and doing, if only we remember to use it wisely in our esteem and confidence and not from our ego’s drift…
Step 7 "Step 7 Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings" "The way we have come to look at humility is that it is a virtue, one of the principles that AA teaches us to live. The definition we have adopted pictures us as standing naked before God, without pretence nor reservation. It means hiding nothing, being our real selves, both good and bad. A good synonym for humility is honesty." BB Bunch
July Video Reading Step Seven Into Action Link:
Step 7 "Courage To Change" Reading Video Link:
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