January 28 2013 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 1 "Powerless" | Alcoholics Anonymous | "common ground in fellowship" "our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety." Staying sober and helping each other, supporting, suggesting and never imposing beliefs or opinions on our fellows. Common ground, our desire to be sober one day at a time. And in fellowship respectful of all opinions and beliefs, everything to help each of us make free choices, based on reality as it is. And the possibilities we have today…
Video For Today:
By the time I got to the fellowship of AA, I had lost my ability to live in reality and cope with it. I was very unwell. Physically and mentally exhausted and definitely at a rock bottom. Trying to cope with the physical withdrawal from alcohol was very disturbing. Trying to cope with the mental exhaustion was not only disturbing, I realised it was going to take quite a while to feel like any recovery was possible. Once I realised it was okay to be unwell, and then to start recovery, with a time frame of one day, and at one day is all that counts to anyone in recovery, I started to feel a lot better about trying to do the impossible, to stop drinking and simply cope with the consequences of drink and stopping the drinking. My sister, suggested I should start from scratch, as if I knew nothing. And then maybe I could listen to the experience, strength and hope of other people. Wise words from someone not afflicted, simply suggesting I give myself a break and understand that I needed time to recover enough to understand something about recovery. And the one day time frame has stuck for quite a number of years, right up to the present day, and hopefully all of today…
I was so confused in early days, but I was able to access the literature of the fellowship, the big book of AA, with all the stories of recovery, written by people over the years. And there was another book, the twelve steps and twelve traditions. And I started to read about the twelve steps which help a person become free once again. Or, for the first time in their lives, experiencing freedom of choice and not feeling controlled either by alcohol, people, places and things. And then the twelve traditions, understanding how the fellowship works. In unity, service and recovery. The twelve traditions, which hold the fellowship together, and ensure each and every one of us can keep hold of our own opinions and beliefs, and still function together on common ground. Ultimately being completely honest with ourselves and with the world in our endeavours. Anonymity, providing sanctuary to find this new path of recovery, and develop our emotional and spiritual experience of living in the moment of now…
Everything is about suggestions in recovery, not telling people what to do, not trying to exert power over anything or anyone. At the same time we will encounter, enthusiastic individuals who will go beyond suggestions, imposing their views on others. And there are other individuals, sometimes they utilise fellowship to recruit individuals into other enterprises, and this enthusiasm is something I rejected, having got my fingers burned trying to help another person with their business. We are very vulnerable when we are new to AA, and like all walks of life and all society, there are good people, bad people and ugly people. So we need to be clear on our own motives are being in fellowship, to be sober and help other people find sobriety. And we need to make sure that we understand everything is suggested, and not an instruction to follow the path of someone who thinks they know better than you about your recovery. In other words we listen to the experience, strength and hope of others, and we learn from their wisdom, and we share our wisdom of recovery. Just because we have found the answer for ourselves, and how the twelve steps of AA are working for us, we need to remind ourselves that the twelve steps work if people work at them, and not necessarily the way you are doing them… And this applies to me too, I share experience, strength and hope, about what is working for me, and sometimes what works for me, will definitely not work for you. One day at a time…
Common ground! Sharing our experience strength and hope, encouraging newcomers and old-timers to listen to the similarities and not the differences. Every single person in the fellowship is different, and that is absolutely right, nobody wants to be a clone, or driven towards somebody behaving like a leader, and a guru. There are definitely no leaders in AA, and we try not to put other people on a pedestal, and certainly if anyone tries to put you on a pedestal, I hope you have the sense to make it clear like I do, but I'm only one voice, and reliance on one voice is never a good idea. It will always be the wisdom of the many, the love and support of the many, which helps one individual form their own path in recovery. We are united in service and recovery, and then the rest of our beliefs and opinions are what we have already and what we come to believe one day at a time. Trying to adopt the opinions of another person rarely works, trying to adopt the beliefs of another person rarely works, understanding and adopting the principles of the twelve steps, will lead a person to freedom and recovery one day at a time…
I will often go to meetings and find that some really hit the spot, I can relate to how people are sharing about something to do with recovery and trying to deal with real life in the moment, rather than saving up problems until they are unmanageable. And sometimes I hear the beliefs and opinions of other people, which make no sense to me at all, and it is not for me to criticise them, it is for me to find out what is working in my recovery. At the same time if people are asking for help, and I have suggestions, I might share them. If it feels right to do so... And as long as I understand I am merely suggesting something and not instructing someone, it may be helpful, or it may be unhelpful and I need respect the view of the person I am sharing with. Sometimes what seems logical, or what just feels right, may be absolutely wrong for the person listening, and them trying to make sense of the suggestion. It’s always a good thing to hear someone's opinion, and it is very good to get feedback, if it was helpful or completely unhelpful, I'm going to learn something new today…
Sometimes we can be very overenthusiastic, although recently, sometimes the newcomer might be underwhelmed when they find themselves in an established meeting where everybody knows everyone else. The AA pledge, "I am responsible when anyone anywhere reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA to be there and for that I'm responsible," can be forgotten if we do not remind ourselves of the help we got as newcomers, back on that first day in recovery. And a newcomer really does need to know that it will be the many people in fellowship, in groups and meetings, who are sharing together are the backbone and starting point of recovery...
How do I feel about fellowship this morning? The fellowship of AA, is as good as the day we encounter people in meetings. Many times I have been overwhelmed by the help given, on an emotional level. Many times I have turned up to a meeting point, and found we are locked out, or someone has forgotten the key to the venue. Sometimes, meetings are closed and are no longer there, or they have moved, and sometimes with luck somebody has left a message, where the meeting has gone or where the nearest meeting might be. Sometimes meetings have become overheated. When people have strong opinions and want to enforce particular ways to run meetings, and I have watched and even participated in group consciences, which are excruciatingly long winded, that watching paint dry would be preferable and extremely interesting. Sometimes meetings are good, bad and ugly, all at the same time, and we wonder what is going on, and often that opinion is shared by many, and the good news is we can laugh at ourselves and eventually we will get back to common ground, just for today. Mind you, sometimes it takes more than a day!
In all these years, no two meetings of the fellowship have ever been the same. Every day, something changes and we share about the changes. Experience, strength and hope is sometimes shared over and over on the same topic by one person, until the person finds the solution, or there may be no solution and time to move on to something new. We all live in the same day, we share history, what got us to fellowship, what keeps each of us in fellowship. And very often at the end of each meeting, after hearing and sharing the serenity prayer, people often say, "keep coming back, it works if you work it, so work it, because you're worth it…" Just for today…
January 28 2012 | Daily Reflection | Today's AA daily reflection: "treasure of the past" is about honouring all experiences we have had in our lifetime. We are shaped and developed by every experience we have, be it good or bad. Often said, "nothing is wasted in God's economy" and whether you believe in God or not is not the issue. The issue always what have we learned and can determine as important in our life story. We learn from pain, joy and every emotion we feel. And the years when we couldn't feel anything can provide insight into how we develop as emotional and spiritual beings today...
Video For Today:
Often in my past, I had a strong desire to be in love and love back. And I would go to any extreme to try secure the love of the girl I was with, and not really understanding how love can grow when we really listen to what is going on. I was so determined to be perfect, and be the right man for the right girl, I never listened hard enough to what she wanted or desired. So many assumptions about love, life and relationships based on hearsay, fantasy and desire, no wonder they ran for the hills… In recovery, life and love our real today…
And often in fellowship, there is another saying "look back don't stare" which is quite good and I would develop it further to "look back and learn and let go the old, and make space for new ways of living." Letting go our old behaviour and releasing ourselves from old ideas and hang-ups we make room and develop courage, faith and confidence to live in new ways which fit with our feelings and coping with the real life situation as it is today…
A morning meeting, where there is no chair and people simply share about what is on their mind today. The richness of experience shared may be about today, at the same time the "treasure of the past," our history and experiences reflect how we cope and deal with our feelings as they are happening. Emotional and spiritual, the very essence of our fellowship, where we learn how to deal with our feelings and the feelings of others in the moment so we can cope with reality and work together today…
Listening is an action, to listen before we judge, to listen and clarify "How are you feeling?" Is our chance to ask if we can help, not to swamp another with our world, listen.. ask, then share.. [Mark Twain "Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often."
[John F. Kennedy "There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction."
[Open, honest and willing: Are we consistent inside and out, or does our denial filter, the inner voice chatters and judges...]
[William Shakespeare "Suit the action to the word, the word to the action."
[Mohandas Gandhi "Action is no less necessary than thought to the instinctive tendencies of the human frame."
[Perception is our feeling and thinking, intuitive and logical as we are gifted..[Albert Einstein "There is no logical way to the discovery of these elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling for the order lying behind the appearance."
[Plato "Wonder is the feeling of the philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder."
[Spiritual, simply is being in the moment, experiencing 'now'..[Voltaire "What then do you call your soul? What idea have you of it? You cannot of yourselves, without revelation, admit the existence within you of anything but a power unknown to you of feeling and thinking."
[Ernest Holmes "Prayer is a thought, a belief, a feeling, arising within the mind of the one praying."
["We conceal it from ourselves in vain - we must always love something. In those matters seemingly removed from love, the feeling is secretly to be found, and man cannot possibly live for a moment without it." Blaise Pascal
["It is not the language of painters but the language of nature which one should listen to, the feeling for the things themselves, for reality is more important than the feeling for pictures." Vincent Van Gogh
Acceptance of how I am today. The consequences of living longer? Gaining wisdom of life one day at a time, what is possible and not possible? Life is neither fair nor unfair. That hard work and endeavour is our journey with joy and sadness thrown together side by side, serenity always in the moment of now...
AA Daily: THE TREASURE OF THE PAST ~ JANUARY 28, showing others who suffer how we were given help is the very thing which makes life seem so worthwhile to us now. Cling to the thought that, in God’s hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 124
What a gift it is for me to realize that all those seemingly useless years were not wasted. The most degrading and humiliating experiences turn out to be the most powerful tools in helping others to recover. In knowing the depths of shame and despair, I can reach out with a loving and compassionate hand, and know that the grace of God is available to me.
Just For Today, and every day cherish always...
AA Official Online Site: Daily Reflections
AA Official Online Site: Big Book And Twelve And Twelve
January 2013 | Step One Reading Video Link:
January 2013 | Video Reading How It Works:
January 2013 | Video Reading A Vision For You:
January 2013 | Playlist About Step One:
"music for airports" By Brian Eno | http://www.enoshop.co.uk/ |