Alcoholics Anonymous Blog/Video September 5 DonInLondon Step 9 " Amends Into Action"
September 5, 2013: "step nine: good judgement, a careful sense of timing, courage, and prudence - these are the qualities we shall need when we take step nine." What an order! Good judgement and a careful sense of timing is not about me, it is about working out the best time to begin making amends in a formal and informal way.
Formal and informal conversations within fellowship can be rather difficult. How often have we been to a meeting and heard something somebody said and wanted to relate to them just how useful it was, or just how horrible it was all or what they said was about to change our lives? When we are in groups and in meetings, sometimes our interpersonal skills seem to fly out the window and we cannot wait to share something with somebody, almost stepping over people to get to the source of our enlightenment.
Our fellowship is all about tolerance and love and many other things. One of the amends I realised I needed to make after a few months was to all the people I had simply pushed aside to get a few moments with the enlightened ones. It is most comical when I look back, and also today when I go to a meeting, I will see the brightness and urgency in some people needing to talk to just one other. And like an impatient bunch of people trying to get onto a tube train in rush hour, our toes get trampled in the stampede to enlightenment.
Another form of the amends, to all those people we judge and criticise in early recovery, judge and criticise for their different outlooks and different beliefs even if we don't voice the criticism it can be as harsh when it is shared elsewhere and not the person we have judged. Maybe it's about growing up, seeing that it is okay to be ourselves with our own quirkiness, and also being able to accept the quirkiness of others. We live in harsh times, no more so than now when the world is always watching and judging is going on. Indeed the world is looking on in horror at many things going on one day at a time. No single person knows all the answers especially in recovery, because the answers or solutions can only happen in the moment of now.
Very often we might exclaim that we have done the twelve steps. Or we have a particular take on how the steps work today. Happily as far as I know nobody has done the steps today, because the steps work in the moment as we work at living. Different strokes for different folks, different steps and different applications of the steps in different situations all day, always today. The steps are principles, timeless and applicable in different ways in different situations, which is why when we go to a meeting of AA, we hear the experience strength and hope which has worked and even more importantly is working right now, today.
And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. Yes first and foremost, I don't know the answer of now, other than living through each moment of now, the questions become obvious, and the solutions are as good as they get when we live life on life's terms. And because we are human, we need to accept our humanness and fallibility. And the suggestion that we might consider as an urgent priority: forgive everyone everything every day, and if by some chance we haven't by the end of each day, we can enjoy a sleepless night of resentful and fearful machinations, and then try forgiveness when we get up to greet a new day.
Amends to self: if we are not in denial, we most likely treat people fairly in the moment of now. That is of course if we are open honest and willing, have integrity and forgiveness and trust. Treating others well is a really good starting point. Treating ourselves well and applying the same standards to ourselves and others can be very tricky. Sleepless nights and fearful and resentful machinations are usually about something inside us which we do not find forgivable. Progress not perfect! I am simply another human being making progress, and I'm going to make mistakes, if I cannot forgive myself, how on earth can I forgive you? The living amend is progress not perfection.
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