Alcoholics Anonymous Video August 23 DonInLondon Step 8 "Amends And Willing"
August 22, 2013: "expectations and boundaries are the very clear issues we face in sobriety every single day." This starts on day one, setting our own personal expectations of ourselves tends to be either too high or too low. Pride and ego will set the expectations in recovery too high very often. Lack of confidence, lack of courage and faith will often set expectations so low, going back to the malady and starting again is always a possibility. And what about other people?
Recovery and discovery all in one, the twelve steps to help us become more human and more capable of living in the day and being able to cope with it. When I look back at my first steps in recovery, it was easy to go backwards because I had no expectation of living at all. Indeed living in the harsh light of day was excruciating. I needed to be with the many, and it is always the many who provide us with support most often just by being there. And it always applies no matter how long we are sober.
Courage faith and confidence do not grow on a daily basis, life experience, where fear pride and ego can rise up again is available every single day. And it is often through adversity that we learn what it is to change our outlook, our attitudes and our actions. And we can't learn the twelve steps without life experience. If there were an exam, it would be almost impossible to have a pass fail situation. In life, sometimes it all works out and sometimes it feels like a failure. So no exams, and yet we have a mentality of expecting success and still wonder why things don't go our way. Indeed life is not about our way at all, life is a set of understandings we develop with people inside and outside fellowship.
One of my favourite meetings… I can't mention much about the location or who was there; I can share how it impacted on me. Meetings and groups change regularly and sometimes when the trusted servants move on and new trusted servants take over, subtle changes happen which can rankle in me. I noticed more than one control freak, a stubborn and defiant individual has taken a post. I hope they learn from it, they taught me a lot about them, and then they taught me a lot about me and my attitudes because of their behaviour. This is all about boundaries of course…
Men and women in recovery need to learn not only how to be sober, they need to learn how to live the principles of the fellowship and how they work inside and outside. A lot of talk about boundaries: "I need to keep on setting the boundaries, if I don't set the boundaries, people are going to get into areas of my life and overstep. Boundaries cannot be imposed unilaterally, that's how we start wars. If I tell you that I have particular boundaries you cannot cross, and do it in a way which leaves no room for discussion, I am pushing people away most often. We can have clear boundaries by interaction and sharing where they may be.
Boundaries with men and women in recovery can be solid brick wall type boundaries in some respects. It all depends on the inclination of men and women and how they wish to live their lives and the actions they take. And behind these actions, there is an internal and difficult personal turmoil which is about step six and seven. Boundaries which are set with fear pride and ego can work against us. Boundaries set with courage faith and confidence in sharing what our personal boundaries offers a way to respectful interactions. Of course there will still be people who have no idea what boundaries are, and they do not hear or understand the boundary. Sometimes we have to tell people to fuck off and mind their own business. We don't have to put ourselves at risk, at the same time if we are trying to build relationships and live in an open, honest and willing way, we do need to develop our personal freedom and choices and see how they can be respected by others.
Some of the things I have learned over the years about learning how to be a man in recovery needed no extra help from people around me. I did need to be around men who were strong and sober in character and learning life. I am a natural flirt, flirtatious and I love to flirt with women, at the same time this would have got in the way of my recovery had I spent all my time flirting with women who used to drink like me. I feel the same applies to women who are natural flirts and flirtatious. There is nothing wrong with being flirtatious and how to be flirtatious in recovery, but not if it's going to get in the way of sobriety, women need strong and sober women to help them in recovery. So whatever your flirtatious nature may be, this must not get in the way of recovery and sobriety.
Depending on our own personal conduct, boundaries become natural. Some natural boundaries are brick walls erected for self-protection. Some natural boundaries are about tolerance and love, and develop over time where friendships happen naturally. Boundaries are different, different strokes for different folks. And we can only learn this through time. Just because you fancy somebody in recovery, a completely natural happening, we then need to work out the appropriateness of where we are and where they are in their lives. There are many predators around, both male and female. And in the vernacular, there are many "ball breakers" both male and female in fellowship. Misogyny is a two-way street in recovery, men who use women horribly, and women who use men horribly, and sometimes in order to understand the range of what men and women do to each other, some go to other fellowships like Coda, which is about for co-dependence.
Co-dependence: all about power, where someone the some reason has power over another person and the person allows another to be powerful over them. It leads to horrible scenarios of abuse. Behind it is a desire to be loved, no matter what. And when power is being used in a relationship in an abusive way, it is not love, it is something else. Why do people go back for another go when all they get is abuse either physical or emotional? There are many reasons; behind it is always a need to be loved. And we are all for whatever reason susceptible to abusive relationships. And boundaries are a very important part of our learning on the road to recovery, some need be rock solid, some need to be understood and negotiated, and some boundaries need never exist when there is love, as we truly learn what it is to love and be loved back.
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