Alcoholics Anonymous | April 9 2013 | DonInLondon | Step 4 "Fear Less Inventory" AA and acceptance have taught me that there is a bit of good in the worst of us and a bit of bad in the best of us; that we are all children of God, and we each have a right to be here. When I complain about me or about you, I am complaining about God's handiwork. I am saying that I know better than God… Margaret Thatcher died yesterday, at the Ritz hotel and she was not god, but was able to live like one…
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In nineteen seventy-nine, Margaret Thatcher won the parliamentary elections in the UK with a majority of forty-four seats. I was studying politics at University/Polytechnic amongst other social science subjects. It felt like a devastating blow and the rise of a mentality of self-interest and selfishness. It was a good day to get drunk and stay drunk for the next few decades… I embraced the work hard and play hard ethic. I could not understand the hubris of what was to come, nationalism and the Falklands, saving several hundred people, anti-Europe and undermining detente, fostering deeper alliances with America and opening dialogue with the Soviet Union. Undermining British manufacturing, undermining traditional resource industries, introducing a one off opportunity for those who aspired to own their own home, denying the rights of others to social housing, beginning the dismantling of the welfare state, deregulating financial services, the introduction of a poll tax, the exclusion of unions representing working people. Turning the UK into a corner shop mentality, undermining British farming. Encouraging the sell-off of national assets, national assets now in the hands of private companies and energy supplies increasing in price. Once I joined the rat race, and enjoyed some of the benefits, it was easy to forget the horrible times being inflicted in many parts the country. I was mobile, I would travel and work anywhere, and there was no time to consider the consequences. Caught up in the moment, we all channelled ourselves into self-interest and not the greater good. And this broke me as much as anything, to express any sentiment for the greater good of the nation was always prejudiced and diminished by those who had something to lose, and in the end we all lost because of it… Often national pride swelled, and the nation was going down the drain spectacularly… And of course, the horror of the troubles in Northern Ireland… Fear, pride and ego underpinned much of what went on, and anyone can see it if they choose to. At the same time, who am I to judge? Powerless over government and policies, and riots in the streets did nothing to stop what happened… As Ram Dass would say, "of course I could be wrong…"
Courage to change, faith in doing the next right thing and developing confidence to keep alive one day at a time and be sober. Now that's a good starting point. This morning, I have been listening to the rhetoric of many people sharing their opinions about matters that have happened since nineteen seventy-nine. And as we are clearly dismantling the welfare state in the United Kingdom, because it's too expensive in our current economic climate, we might ask why we needed a welfare state in the first place. We needed a welfare state, because there was no national health service, there was little in terms of state pension, and little regard for the plight of those who could not enjoy the luxury afforded the few in our society. Every time we take something away from what was all about welfare and helping people, we are likely to undermine the very fabric of what big society is all about. Big society is about everyone and fairness, according to politicians on the right, this is how it's going to work, by using a sledgehammer and divisive politics to segregate striving poor people from skiving poor people. And yet it is the striving poor people paying the majority of tax who are suffering more than any other "social class" in our current economic climate. And if anybody cares to look back, it is always those who strive, the majority doing the best they can who pay the most, and now get the least help, not only now, as things are being dismantled further, they are the ones who will have no say or benefit in the future... As Ram Dass would say, "of course I could be wrong…"
I'm really grateful that my parents were gifted with a desire to work hard and do the best they could. And they did. Both intelligent and yet both were unable to complete their education, "there was a war on," and even when the war was over, my mum was expected to go out to work and not continue education, my father came back after the war, "to a land fit for heroes." Both at a disadvantage, and yet even though they were unable to complete their education, they did do their best to make sure that I and my brother and sister had a roof over our heads, got to school and looked after us best they could. Even though my father succumbed to drink, and breakdowns which meant we all had to go out and work, all of us started higher education, even though it took a few years longer, we all did pretty well. We were poor. And we strived. And still in my case, I could never vote for the Conservative who promised the earth and delivered nothing but hardship and continue to break down and dismantle what is left of the welfare state. Education, education, and education, I remember those words from the middle-of-the-road Prime Minister Tony Blair, and he went to war, and he continued to make education more expensive and forcing the cost onto the student. This feels a bit like blame when writing this, because no one could have known what these people were going to do once they got to power? In nineteen seventy-nine, everyone knew what was going to happen and it is no wonder that the impact of Thatcher and Blair will haunt us for good deal longer than is good for us. One day at a time, we can incrementally improve our own situation, we can be careful how we vote for people who have great influence and impact on our future, and the future generations to come. Horrible, horrible recollections. This morning, I am amazed at the fawning by David Cameron and I worry about what he's going to say tomorrow having recalled parliament. Now that was a dumb move on his part? As Ram Dass would say, "of course I could be wrong…"
So what is all this got to do with sobriety today? In fellowship, in the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous yesterday probably had a lot of extra grit in it as experience, strength and hope with shared in meetings in the UK. Thank God that Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside matters which will get in the way of sobriety one day at a time. And yet, the media will fuel the debate about the virtues and vices of our politicians and today as people look back at Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady, the architect of the city deregulation and from welfare to greed… Short-term, the Corner shop, arguing with Europe, self-regulating casino banking, restricting and impairing the ability of the people to be mobile and flexible. To cut, cut, and keep on cutting, shrinking the economy, shrinking the opportunity for work, shrinking innovation, shrinking entrepreneurial skills, shrinking capital investment, shrinking pensions, shrink, shrink and shrink again… The good news, sober to see what is happening, sober to challenge what is happening and most important in my case let it all go because I really am powerless over people places and things. And I prefer to be powerless over all these things as if I had a choice! Knowing I am powerless, I can let go, at the same time, because I can see the hubris, I can be angry and oddly I'm not angry at Margaret Thatcher, or Tony Blair, I am angry that we have a state of mind in this country which allows people who are probably good, to end up doing bad things, because they just don't know any better, and I must see that I could do no better myself if I were in charge, and that is never going to happen…As Ram Dass would say, "of course I could be wrong…"
Alcoholics Anonymous | April 9 2012 | DonInLondon | Step 4 "Fear Less Inventory" Today's AA daily reflection: "freedom from King alcohol…" Freedom to make progress, freedom to make better and informed choices. Freedom to discover what it is to be an emotional and spiritual being…
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From being stuck in the problem of addiction to finding the solution in addiction? Or is it that as we start to comprehend the true nature of our problem, we can start to understand what the solutions are on a daily basis. Broadly the problems we face in addiction on an emotional and spiritual plane are very similar, the solutions however can be tailor-made as each of us finds our path in starting a new way of life…
Steps 1 to 3, understanding powerlessness and unmanageability, being restored to sanity on a daily basis, letting go of holding on to a problem and prejudice to looking for solutions. Steps 4 to 9, clearing the wreckage of the past. Steps 10 to 12, daily maintenance of our emotional and spiritual condition… Easy does it, progress not perfection…
And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today… Life on life's terms… We are all players on the world stage… Nothing happens in this world by mistake, it is what it is… "Nothing will keep a man in everlasting ignorance more completely than contempt prior to investigation" Herbert Spencer…
Stone walls do not a prison make, most often we are constrained by our own feelings of fear and putting on an act of being okay. When suggested, feel the fear and do it anyway.. we need find our truth, what is right for us and seek help from those we trust and love. And of course any power greater than us with wisdom, family, community fellowship as we come to understand..
Nor iron bars a cage; Minds innocent and quiet take That for an hermitage; If I have freedom in my love, And in my soul am free, Angels alone that soar above Enjoy such liberty.
Freedom in our choices made possible in sober reality, open the door to equalities and acceptance of ourselves and everyone ~ Gloria Steinem "A pedestal is as much a prison as any small, confined space." Right sized, feet on the ground, human, happy or sad as we may be, just for today...
Of course, most human beings don't suffer these defects at these rock-bottom levels, and we who have escaped such extremes are apt to congratulate ourselves. Yet can we? After all, hasn't it been self-interest that has enabled most of us to escape? Not much spiritual effort is involved in avoiding excesses which will bring us punishment anyway. But when we face up to the less violent aspects of these very same defects, where do we stand then? TWELVE AND TWELVE, P. 66
AA Daily Reflection: "FREEDOM FROM "KING ALCOHOL" . . let us not suppose even for an instant that we are not under constraint. . . . Our former tyrant, King Alcohol, always stands ready again to clutch us to him. Therefore, freedom from alcohol is the great “must” that has to be achieved, else we go mad or die. As Bill Sees It, p. 134
When drinking, I lived in spiritual, emotional, and sometimes, physical confinement. I had constructed my prison with bars of self-will and self-indulgence, from which I could not escape. Occasional dry spells that seemed to promise freedom would turn out to be little more than hopes of reprieve. True escape required a willingness to follow whatever right actions were needed to turn the lock. With that willingness and action, both the lock and the bars themselves opened for me. Continued willingness and action keep me free-in a kind of extended daily probation-that need never end.
As Bill Sees It ~ When Defects Are Less than Deadly Practically everybody wishes to be rid of his most glaring and destructive handicaps. No one wants to be so proud that he is scorned as a braggart, nor so greedy that he is labelled a thief. No one wants to be angry enough to murder, lustful enough to rape, gluttonous enough to ruin his health. No one wants to be agonized by chronic envy or paralyzed by sloth.
Alcoholics Anonymous, 12 Steps AA, AA Step 4 Inventory, DonInLondon, Don Oddy,
-/-Just For Today, and every day cherish always...
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