Monday, 22 July 2013

Alcoholics Anonymous | July 22 | DonInLondon | Step 7 "Courage To Change"

July 22, 2013 step seven in mind: "judge not lest ye be judged…" How on earth can I get out of judging the world and being critical, when the world has been judging me for years? Can be a problem because our brains function by perceiving our environment and then judging it. As nature intended, we are always on the lookout for safe places, dangerous places and exciting places. Our emotions play on every judgement and every element of life. Maybe that is why I need be careful with my emotional judgements, and I can be okay with the thinking judgements about people, places and things…

All day long automatically perceiving the world and judging it and it is natural. And all day long we have experience of life playing its role in the decisions we make from moment to moment. When anyone is feeling right in the moment of now it is probably because they are in a safe place doing something familiar and things are okay. And yet we need to be aware that our environment: people, places and things can appear to be good, bad and ugly and any combination of these because that is the way life is. We all have memories of good bad and ugly, where emotions can run high to the good joyful and happy, bad angry and resentful and ugly where our ugly outlooks and attitudes and behaviours can turn something good into bad and ugly very quickly. Usually a reaction to people in particular who have attitudes and behaviour which we are wary of with good reason?

I can be righteous and have justifiable anger, white hot anger when people undermine my self-esteem and treat me badly. These occasions can manifest, not very often these days because I have learned that when people are at their worst, it is the best they can be in that moment and if I can detach myself quickly enough from feeling undermined and let down, or simply made to feel foolish and stupid, I don't need to join in with the bad and horrible behaviour I have learned over the years. Belligerent people make other people belligerent. Hurt people, can hurt other people. Murderous people can make other people murderous. In recovery having experienced all manner of hell along the way, we have experiences which can come into the present moment when we feel attacked emotionally. And physically, the best thing I ever do is to walk away whenever possible.

When we are confronted with the unacceptable truth of others, especially when they are cheats and liars, our emotional temperature is raised! From feeling, to thought to action. We feel the rise of temperature, we are thinking quickly in the moment and the action could be catastrophic for us and whoever may be around us in those moments. I have seen others erupt quite alarmingly, without too much provocation into apoplectic fits of rage. When pride and ego are thin, just below the surface is fear which offers anger and violent outrage to erupt. Some of those turn the rage and anger inwards looking for what we have done to have caused it, others will lash out and look to blame and create an impact on others. Depending on our experience in the past, we can be mortifying bad and ugly in our responses.

Courage to change, faith in doing the next right thing and the confidence to meet challenges means we are able to weigh situations far better than we ever did before. We don't need to resort to pride and ego, and we don't need to fear what of the people think of us, because if we do start to think about what people think of us in a way which matters, when we are treated badly life turns out to be quite bad. I wanted to improve the services of my landlord recently, and persisted and wished to make a point. I got my apology, and understanding of how services were to be improved, and only time will tell. In the interim, all the things which went wrong in the first place are now starting to come back and nothing has been resolved with regard to repairs, mice and maintenance. The problems remain and only when I start the repair process all over again will I find if there have been any changes of any significance. I need to ask myself the question: although there are many things wrong, how much of my life do I want to spend trying to put things right for myself and improve the outlook of other people as a result? The answer is quite simple, report and request as the process offers, and under no circumstances consider trying to change other people, places and things. The repairs will be done and I will remain powerless over the inadequacy and ineptness of others. So I forgive and forget, and my life will not be impacted by the desire to control the uncontrollable, how people are and what goes on in their heads!

I felt the need to say all those things because I met with a friend on Saturday who helped me immensely when another person enraged me in my early recovery. Meeting highly controlling, highly manipulative individuals, conmen and con women, who take away self-esteem and evoke rage is very difficult when we are trying to be open honest and willing to live a new way of life. My friend years ago, was instrumental in helping me out of a murderous fantasy of revenge. And it was me judging the other person by my values and expecting them to behave like me in an open honest and willing way. And there are many people who do live an open honest and willing life. But when we encounter others don't, who are dishonest, close down and unwilling, the sooner we leave them to their own devices the better. They may have something we want or need, or simply we can’t avoid them for some reason, I have learned the hard way that some people need to be left to their own devices and they are poisonous to me and my life. Poisonous people do not change because we want them to. Poisonous people are best left to find other poisonous people who they can live with in harmony or total dysfunction, and in my own opinion what they do is none of my business.

And over the weekend another friend, had been hugely wounded by the behaviour of someone else they trusted. When trust is broken, when we are left hurt not only by the event of now, but every event which evokes the same feeling, upset, rage and revenge rise up within a person. When we feel these justifiable feelings, and the feelings a vote from times past, it is not about swallowing them down or pushing them away, it is about recognising the early-onset of a trigger to self-harm or murderous intent. All these emotions boiling and steaming up reality. The reality is when someone is so poisonous to us as individuals, walk away and accept that their poison need not seep into our lives any more than the passing moment of now. Or all hell can break loose inside us and then we can lash out and find ourselves in trouble. And equally, the pain within as these hurts manifest… It is so important to see the early signs of poisonous people, not to get the better of them, simply to walk round and keep on walking. At all costs we need not correct them; all we need to do is get out of Dodge!

How am I feeling this morning? In the UK apparently a royal baby is about to come out. And the newscasters are very excited. I just hope it comes out okay, and people feel happy about it and that mum and dad enjoy the experience and the baby's not traumatised. I had a great day yesterday, being with and in the presence of loving people. And this morning the sun feels powerful coming through the windows, dust particles float in the air, and thunderous downpours are not too far away. Reminds me of my time in the Caribbean, which can read as grandiose. I spent a long time away from family and the Caribbean; it was a geographical runaway before I understood the notion that wherever I went I would always be there. At the time the Caribbean, it was far less expensive than living in London, and afforded a hiding place on the way to rock bottom. And surviving a category five hurricane, a drinking binge of many months and still without a clue, I still love the romance of stormy weather, and look forward to the visual and the crescendo of thunderclaps today…

Courage to be me today? Yes, I will do something useful. Faith in doing the next right thing today? Yes, I can be open honest and willing, I know the limits of what I can do and what I cannot do. And can I be confident today? Yes I have the confidence to be supportive and challenging at the same time, do my best to be level-headed and if I can't get what I need, I need to be able to let go thinking I can change people places and things to my way. It's always difficult, and as M Scott Peck suggested, "life is difficult" and as long as I accept it is going to be difficult, it ceases to be a problem to try and make it my way today. There will be a way forward, just for today.

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