Monday, 15 July 2013

Alcoholics Anonymous | July 15 | DonInLondon | Step 7 "Courage To Change"

July 15, 2013 step seven in mind: the burden of fear transforms everyday life into a nightmare. Just because we may be different in some way or other we can be picked on and we find life intolerable. The worst aspect of being singled out in some way and picked on is that we lose our way and find ourselves medicating away the feeling of not being good enough and then worse we can behave as badly as those who felt like punishing us because we were not like them. And then we became just like them.

Bringing joy and happiness into the lives of other people is something we can do on a daily basis, encouraging diversity and being the person that you are learning about, how to be yourself today. Freedom from fear, being able to have the courage to change and do something different, faith in the next step and the confidence to try a new way of living really does open up the door for yourself and provides an opportunity for other people to see not only the difference in you, the difference you can make to other people.

We all learn at different rates, sometimes we cotton on very quickly and can pick up a new skill, a new way of living and find satisfaction changing and becoming more adept. I used to teach how to juggle three balls in the air at once to people who had no idea. Within an hour most were able, and just about everyone knew how to juggle and simply needed practice. We can practice new ways of life if we are open, honest and willing. Not only being open honest and willing, it is being able to laugh at ourselves and be able to laugh along with others about the journey of life. The only people laughing at us in a condescending way, are those who live their lives judging other people for whatever reason, unable to respect diversity and fearful of how they might look to other people.

Having got to rock bottom and relating this to another person living on the streets, I realised just how difficult it is to be able to admit complete defeat. When I got to rock bottom, I accepted all the help offered without prejudice, even when it was pretty awful and the outcomes were really shocking. At rock bottom, authorities really do look down on a down and out person. And that prejudice leads to self prejudice where pride fear and ego keep a person down longer than is necessary. One day society will recognise the true nature of rock bottom? I feel it's doubtful they will, because most people are not too far from rock bottom these days and self harm through self-medication is their coping strategy one way or another.

Taking time with the man on the street who was begging, he had an attitude of entitlement built on resentments caused by the way society operates, and these resentment are real not only to him, but to the majority of people who are competing for scarce resources. And the scarce resources, for simple things, a roof over your head being the primary one, still there is no sign that even the simplest need can be met in some way so a person can get back on their feet. Indeed it's getting worse and scarcity of the most basic needs is driving differences between the poor, and those who are even poorer. There are answers to these problems and conundrums, at the same time there is no appetite to resolve them. The horror of rock bottom and the years at rock bottom are not forgotten by me.

In recovery, these days I don't judge how a person got to where they got to in their addictions to substance and behaviour, I try to share as best I can how a Fellowship can work to improve our chances of recovery one day at a time. It takes everyone in Fellowship to keep one alcoholic sober, and no single alcoholic can bear the burden of keeping another alcoholic sober. It takes a village to raise a child. And the same is true of recovery, it takes a Fellowship to keep each alcoholic sober just for today. And even then, the child in the village, the alcoholic in recovery can stumble and fall and have to start all over again…

Very often when I go out, on my way to meetings and on my way home from meetings and just generally when I am mooching about, I talk to strangers. Often sharing the moment of now with other people inside and outside Fellowship, we learn a lot about what other people do and how they look at life. And indeed how they live their lives. One aspect of living: God works through people? Depending on your understanding of God, I feel this may be true in being enlightened by other people, learning from them, the can-do can't do and the wisdom learned in the moment.

I do believe that no single human has the power to restore another to sanity, it is always the many who help in our daily restoration to a reasonable state of mind. And contingent on the current conditions of the day, we can be improving our situation with a clear head, courage, faith and confidence to be assertive and listening to the world as it is, rather than history or an uncertain future yet to be realised. Asking for help in the moment of now for direction and understanding keeps me on my toes every single day…

It's roasting in London, as my photographs for the day show. As a consequence of being roasted, enjoying the sun and generally getting about on the bicycle, which is electric fortunately, I will suffer the consequences which are quite considerable and yet worth it to me. I love people, places and things and over the years tolerance and love simply grows by accepting people are the best they can be right here and right now, some worthwhile to know and others we are better not knowing one day at a time

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