Alcoholics Anonymous Blog/Video September 1 DonInLondon Step 9 " Amends Into Action"
September 1, 2013: "a meeting yesterday, last day of August, all about tradition eight: Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centres may employ special workers." It is quite clear when reading the traditions that they are very meaningful not only within the Fellowship; they have great value in how we conduct ourselves on a day-to-day basis. Unity, service and recovery does extend beyond Fellowship into all our living.
Listening to another person sharing about tradition eight, and how much we value the nonprofessional outlook, the impact is different for everyone concerned. Whilst yes we do employ particular people within Fellowship to keep the show on the road, they do not govern and are employed to support everything in Fellowship as trusted servants. We can't buy recovery! And when money becomes an issue, the value that we place upon professionals in the field of recovery can be very diverse, from those with qualifications who are useless, to those with qualifications who are able and get people on the road of recovery, well the experience is very up and down no matter where we go and who we meet and how they do things generally. I do not underestimate the help that can be given even when it costs money, however in general, long-term sobriety is really a personal journey which cannot be prescribed by another, no matter how cheap or expensive they may be.
I am nonprofessional and I know a lot about recovery. And everyone in the room yesterday recognised that they are nonprofessional when it comes to recovery for the simple reason, no single person can keep another person sober, and it is a group effort which keeps all of us sober one day at a time. The attraction rather than promotion, which belongs to another tradition, tradition eleven, also applies in my humble opinion. Attraction: what you see is what you get, WYSIWYG. Promotion: if you do this, you can fix yourself, suggests there is a guarantee of sobriety by doing something and then we are sober. Attraction works, because we hear a message of experience strength and hope, and we find something which will help us for one day or maybe every day, but we know we only have one day to live which makes the difference. We do not know what we will face tomorrow, and if we promote the idea or the notion that we are fixed for good, it would be very foolhardy.
And on the nonprofessional note, if I don't know what's right for me all of the time, how on earth could I possibly know what is right for you? Acceptance of life on life's terms means that life is going to keep on changing every single day and each day we are going to find ourselves with new challenges, new people, new places and new things going on. As nonprofessional’s we keep on learning the wisdom of what we can do and what we cannot do each day, and that makes all the difference to me and you one day at a time. There are really good councillors, really good doctors, really good psychiatrists who know intellectually what the twelve steps, the twelve traditions and the Fellowship are about. What they don't recognise very often is the nature of Fellowship, an emotional and spiritual experience of life one day at a time. Learning our feelings in the moment of now, learning how our feelings impact on everything we do, rather than the other way round, where we might wish we can think our way into our feelings. Knowing that feelings come first in all matters, it is one of the most difficult struggles that face everyone on a daily basis. Thinking does not come first, feelings do and then we try contrive to make the world the way we want it. Unless of course, you are on your emotional and spiritual journey living reality, rather than contriving it to be a way which might suit you, but is hardly likely to suit everybody else.
It seems like there has been a week of concern about boundaries. I do recognise that we all need boundaries and the boundaries change depending upon who we are with, and that some boundaries work in some situations but not in others. When a person says in an angry and resentful way that they must establish some boundaries to stop being hurt, I really understand what they are talking about. We can all be conned by con men and con women! And yet it is a trust issue when it comes to emotional and spiritual living. An exclamation about why don't people tell the truth to other people? It is very simple, some people are manipulative and controlling and want something from you, and it could be because of natural instincts, a desire to get into your wallet, a desire to plunder your time in all respects: emotional, spiritual, physical, and all the seven deadly sins! Once you have found out the truth about where a person is coming from, if it is good, you learn to trust them, if it is bad and ugly you learn to tell them to fuck off sooner rather than later. It is always horrible when trust is broken, at the same time if we build a brick wall, we don't learn anything and our emotional and spiritual development can be blocked for good long time.
At some time or another, we will be a hero, we may be a villain, and we all have opportunity to live to the good, the bad and the ugly. All round forgiveness is a very difficult way to live until we do realise that there is some good in the worst of people, and some bad in the best of people. Every single day things change, emotional and spiritual living is all about understanding the moment and our feelings and the activities which are happening and we are part of today. Life is not black and white, life keeps on changing, and people keep on changing hopefully, although sometimes when we see a glimmer of good it can be snuffed out for a million reasons. Let's hope we do not snuff out the glimmers of good we see today.
Long conversations; this week I have had a few. And it seems that the power of the steps to heal a person work really well. And the power of the steps to judge others can work really well. Better always to look in the mirror when we start to judge others. And in one element, just because we know how to dig into other people, it is really unhelpful most of the time, unless of course the person is asking you to do so. The realms of "professionalism" when it comes to emotional and spiritual, I don't know if they can be put together very well. At least in our Fellowship, nonprofessional alerts people to the understanding that we all have experience strength and hope to share, at the same time; judge not, because if you are judging, it is very hard to love and be loved back unconditionally.
A wise person said yesterday, and I agree with them wholeheartedly, that underneath everything, the Fellowship is underpinned by one thing, it is all one about thing: "love, love, love." All together now… Yes in deed it is.
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