Thursday, 8 August 2013

Alcoholics Anonymous | August 8 | DonInLondon | Step 8 "Amends And Willing"

August 8, 2013: "it is the best that it can be right now, good bad or ugly." And the current conditions of the day, good bad or ugly, if we take time out to reflect on step six and seven, we understand our feelings, our feelings impact on our thinking and actions which will follow. Step six, feelings of fear pride and ego can happen. Step seven, feelings of courage, faith and confidence can happen. Step six might be a backward step into familiar territory, step seven might be a forward step into the unknown. Waking up first thing, was I hungry, angry, lonely, tired? Or any combination?

I woke up at 5 AM, not quite silly o'clock, and certainly not 100%. It was just getting light, and a clear sky. Turning out of bed and standing up, nerve endings in my feet playing up, pins and needles in my hands and fingers, the question of why. A reasonably clear head, lots to be grateful for and yet these persistent physical matters. It was an unusual day yesterday, invasion by repairers and plumbers. Undoing one set of repairs, in order to make other repairs. Kept me away from keeping myself monitored and not going too far and I realise I overdid it. Time is the healer, gentle physio to cope. Am I hungry, angry, lonely, tired? No, simply irritated and accepting that yesterday was not the best day, but it was the best it could be under the circumstances. No fault, no blame.

Just taking enough time to recognise what is going on emotionally and physically in the moment of now, is opening up to the spiritual experience: living and coping with reality in the moment of now. The spiritual experience in my life is of the educational variety. Every day is a learning day, there have been blindingly obvious spiritual moments that may be described as miracles, usually the heightened spiritual experience is the truth, the truth I learn from what is going on and everyone I encounter today. And if God works through people, he was working through the repairers and the plumbers who helped me yesterday. Not just the repairs, how they were, what they said, and how they related to me as another human being.

Step eight: "made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all." Emotional and spiritual harm, and even then it was the best we could be in that moment of now. Making a list, it's difficult depending on how old we are and what we can remember. And horrible truth of realising that was the best we could be in that moment can be quite hard to accept. If we had known better? Most of the time we probably did know better, and the amend to self can be very very hard to get to grips with in recovery. If there is no self-forgiveness, it can keep a person stuck and unwilling to be forgiving of those who might have done harm to us back in the day. Humans learn by doing, and learning to forgive is not about forgetting, it is about learning what it is to be a human one day at a time. And just because we are learning about forgiveness, there are consequences and it does not mean other people are willing to forgive us for what we might have done.

The steps are wonderful in recovery as a personal journey of discovery about who we were and who we are becoming. Courage to change, faith in doing the next right thing and being confident to be a learner every single day. And by tonight when it's time to go to bed, whether or not it is silly o'clock in my case, I will know a little bit more about what it is to be me, and even more encouraging is knowing a little bit more about everyone and what makes them tick from day-to-day. We are judged by our actions and not our intentions, so if we didn't mean to do something which turns out to be harmful today, better to understand step ten sooner rather than later, our part in what happened, our actions can change at any time of day.

The steps are dangerous in recovery as a journey of discovery about other people. As we learn more about what makes us tick as individuals, the steps help us modify, adapt and change our approach to living if we need to. And we can see very often the mistakes other people make in how they live, actually the question is; are they mistakes? Or is it the other people having their own spiritual experience which is different to ours. If somebody's harming themselves, self-harm, and we judge them for it in a very negative way, it is likely not only to prejudice them in our eyes, it is the worst form of self-prejudice, condemning others for what we have done in the past. Self-prejudice and prejudice towards others for whatever reason comes from fear pride and ego, and the worst of step six defects. Judge not has been a suggestion for quite a few thousand years…

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