July 29, 2013 step seven in mind: life starts to take on new meaning, when we are not stuck in our old ways of living. And on the emotional and spiritual level, we tend to understand our feelings in the moment of now and cope with reality. It does not matter if life is good bad or ugly, it depends on our approach to life and our ability to sustain a positive outlook. Of course that's not possible all the time, or we would be at extremes and wearing rose tinted spectacles, almost like Pollyanna. Yes there is a silver lining to every cloud, we learn the wisdom when we are under difficult conditions and when life is tormenting, how to keep going when we feel like we are in hell.
After sharing at a meeting about tradition seven, one of the big things for me is the amount of energy I put into listening to what other people say. And listening to what people say, their experience strength and hope is really important. I feel more tired by listening as best I can to everything that is shared, than being tired of speaking. Listening skills, the ability to listen to other people and make sense of what they say is a really core skill in recovery. We don't just listen to what is acceptable when we first get to the Fellowship, we still listen to the unacceptable, "this I shall never do," especially when it comes to step six.
Depending on defects of character which apply to each person individually, it is often said that addiction can come out sideways. My relationship with alcohol certainly codependent, power of alcohol over me became absolute to the point where the relationship was killing me. And there are other defects of character, extremes of desire in the romance and finance department. So we can find ourselves trying to fix our emotional and spiritual well-being by excessive behaviour, in other words over doing the romance and over doing the finance. How these measures are applied to possible extremes, is a personal journey. One person sideways addiction, depending on your puritanical standards, can be a return to normality for the other person? And saying this tongue in cheek because if we look at some of the behaviour of our fellows, they may be inspiring defects of envy and resentment as much as asking the simple question of ourselves and our behaviour.
In other words what other people are up to is ultimately none of my business. And having done the tradition seven share, how much other people put in the pot in meetings is none of my business. We all have tendencies to swing from being overly generous, to not being generous in our attitudes and behaviour. And depending on the current conditions today, so many different things will influence our general behaviour, no wonder it's a good idea to have the steps and traditions in mind as we navigate this world. If I don't know what is right for me, how on Earth can I know what is right for you? The beauty of principles is that they are timeless, that is the 12 steps and 12 traditions are timeless principles which work pretty well in any or all conditions. As long as we don't make them tablets of stone and immovable tenets of life without reference to real life situations, the steps and traditions help us understand reality, what we are living in the moment of now.
How do I feel? I still feel quite tired and discombobulated by the weather. One of our politicians in the UK has been sharing that they have recently been diagnosed with type I diabetes. Something they seem to have acquired in their more mature years, just like me. And as we are of nature, we are lucky to be alive living in a century where more is understood about all these medical and clinical conditions many of us have to live with. Manageability is often seen as something we are all able to do. And the intellectual and thinking part of any human wants to believe that they can manage themselves, and their environment. Step one: powerless over whatever it might be, alcohol, diabetes, people places and things reminds me that life will get unmanageable if I start controlling and trying to manipulate myself away from the truth. And the truth is I need to pay attention to what goes on inside me, and what goes on around me so I try to make the right choices by the minute, by the hour and just for today….
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