Alcoholics Anonymous Video August 24 DonInLondon Step 8 "Amends And Willing"
August 24, 2013: "insanity is only a moment away." No matter how hard we may be trying to be open honest and willing to live life on life's terms, why is it that we might revisit insanity on any given day? Being open, honest and willing is our own personal expectation of what we do to live life truthfully in the moment of now. Once there is an expectation within us, we are already on the way to a resentment when others do not live to open honest and willing, and they certainly may not like the truth as we see it in the moment of now.
On any given day with one primary purpose, to be sober and help others find recovery, reconnect with recovery or just simply living in recovery. And we will hear all these stories, those who have strong feelings which are very positive because life is going well, those with strong feelings that life is against them and yet they do not drink to drown their sorrows. Others coming back to reconnect in some way having found themselves back on their knees. We can hear all this in the space of a few moments in the meeting or in a group of Fellowship. Life experience and real-life examples.
Some people have fantastic memories, they can read something and almost share it back word for word from memory. We don't have to be like this in recovery, indeed if all we can do is share words from a book, albeit a very good book, we are not listening to the sharing of experience strength and hope which is likely to be appropriate today. The literature of Fellowship is always a starting point, not an endpoint, not an exam to be assessed and rated at the end. Each day we have step ten and the gratitude list to consider when we are feeling either good, bad or ugly about life today. No exam, no pass or fail, simply living and learning from life today.
Some sponsors! I was reminded of a particularly insane share some years ago. The share went something like this, "even though he was in a wheelchair, his commitment to getting on his knees to pray was such that he endured a great deal of pain in order to demonstrate his desire to pray in the appropriate way." The sponsor felt humbled by this commitment and admired it. In my opinion, the ego of the sponsor was a horrible example of taking advantage of another person's fear of exclusion to the extremes.
Some people who sponsor, can be quite the predators. We are nonprofessional in Fellowship, and that means anything we might get good at which relates to recovery can be a godsend to somebody else when it is shared in an open honest and willing way. When you find yourself with the sponsor who has an agenda which is to do with instructions rather than suggestions, I suggest you let go that sponsor and find a sponsor to suit you better, who understands the difference between step six and seven, lives all the steps and understands the traditions enough for you to get started.
Everybody has their own pace in recovery one day at a time. What seems impossible to understand at the beginning, starts to take on new meaning as we progress in sobriety. A simple thing can take one person a few moments to understand and put into practice, another person a few years to understand and then a few years to put into practice. There is no race in recovery, those who tell a good story, and leave out the bad and ugly bits, may spare the blushes of the audience for some reason. Or feel unable to share some of the horror along the way because they did not understand it was okay to feel awful over and over again one day at a time.
A friend mentioned another meeting, the share or chair full of scientific enquiry, deep analysis of every word written in the big book, a complete set of judgements about the personalities they had sponsored over the years. And somebody got up and walked out of the meeting in rage and anger. Enraging people is a fact of life in recovery, and sometimes when people are looking for the science to explain, are intelligent enough to pick the good and the bad and the ugly and rewrites history, well, they do tend to get up most people's noses. Over the years I have left many meetings full of rage and despondency. I did not drink, and nowadays even when people can be very unhelpful, better to forgive and let go their outlook, and carry on with my outlook which is simply wrong for them, but right for me.
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