Alcoholics Anonymous Blog/Video Sept 20 DonInLondon Step 9 " Amends Into Action"
September 20, 2013: "part of my amend to myself is to recognise that I can be wrong." And if I can be wrong, I need to listen carefully and with humility to the beliefs and opinions of everyone I encounter. And another aspect of the amends process in my case is understanding why the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous should never be organised in the conventional sense. No single person holds power over another in our Fellowship.
Even though there is an understanding that the Fellowship of AA should never be organised, obviously many of us hold heartfelt beliefs and opinions about how we conduct ourselves in Fellowship. There can be the voice of reason, there can be the voice of control and a desire to be powerful. In my experience, even though it is a haphazard process, we are quite democratic. We may not get our way. However because we are all different in the way we conduct ourselves and that is a very powerful motivation to anyone anywhere reaching out for help, there will be a voice we can hear and they can be helpful. The more human we become, we show our defects of character and shortcomings to ourselves and the world. And the more human we are with humility, the more we learn one day at a time.
Even though I didn't recognise it at the time, one of the amends to myself was to recognise that I could not recover from the disease of alcoholism. I still had denial running rampant even though I recognised I could not find a way out on my own. Acceptance of my plight as an active alcoholic needing help, it was an amend even though I would not have seen it was an amend in those early days of struggle. The good news, I don't struggle with alcoholism, the bad news and the ugly news can happen around me and about me on any given day. The best news, having a clear head which still gets clouded when anger and resentments arise, now though it is far easier to stand back, and when I am unsure or even when I am certain, I have good companions on my road of recovery.
How am I feeling today? So important to recognise my emotional and spiritual condition, my feelings working, feelings fitting the moment and being able to make sense and cope today. On Tuesday night my head was buzzing and I struggled to get to sleep. I was aware that I needed to confront some medical issues and be very careful and very logical. The underlying feelings did have some fear and anxiety in them, when we challenge medical people and their competence, we do run risks and the thinking head can start going round and round in circles. Part of my process when I cannot understand why I am fearful, it is because I fear what has happened in the past in similar circumstances. At the same time I felt more levelheaded in the morning when I wrote a report as best I could and got it out of my system. I feel okay today, I know there are challenges ahead, the anger has gone, and I don't feel lonely or tired. My feelings fit with what is happening right now and I can cope. A living amend.
How often do we ask other people how they are feeling today? And really mean it. A usual greeting: "how are you?" And how often are we prepared to listen rather than speak about ourselves? I do listen in meetings, I listen before the meeting and after the meeting. And very often I can be the last person leaving having shared and listened to friends and newcomers on the journey of recovery. I can find it very tiring and quite difficult listening with care and attention, it is worth it, every single person needs others to listen. And very often I turn down the broadcast or turning off broadcasting completely to listen before sharing anything when I'm out and about.
Chatting with my best friend over the weekend, always good and always cherished moments, feedback is always helpful. And feedback reminded me all about my medical issues and what I needed to do, and not to procrastinate too long. I needed a firm reminder and to know my best friend has my best interests at heart, loves me without conditions and is available and able to set me back on track. So often, as she pointed out, we can please people and not assert our own needs which are of equal importance. And one of the best traits she shared I had, is about truth, the foundation of all good decisions and that I did tell the truth, although sometimes too much information of a very personal nature can make anybody squirm. Truth will out always in the end, the nature of the truth and truth itself is always changing. The world spins, global and local actions impact as they will and the truth is changing as actions change life.
In recovery we accept responsibility for our actions. And we make amends as we go if we are fortunate and able to do so. And as we know, families, communities and society in general face big challenges as the world is changing. Tradition nine reminds me that in democracy we all have a voice. And we are able to share our truth as we see it. Recovery offers this opportunity to find our voice and share what is important to us and the people around us. And there is a big problem with the way people places and things are running these days. More clarity, more transparency is opening the door to bigger opportunities for the truth to come out. And of course with truth we find out what is good bad and ugly. We can participate if we feel able, and through recovery I feel more able to speak my truth one day at a time. And of course I can be wrong and I can change and keep on learning today.
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