Alcoholics Anonymous Blog/Video September 6 DonInLondon Step 9 " Amends Into Action"
September 6, 2013: "sometimes when we hear experience strength and hope from others, we can be shocked and realise that rock bottom can be quite different and the consequences so varied, how on earth do we survive?" Part of the living amend, is sharing experience strength and hope. The shocking stories, where rock bottom has been experienced with the most awful consequences… Told with humility, and without further judgement, any life can be redeemed?
I can remember hearing about… I realise I cannot say, even though it may be years ago and involve people I have not seen, some sharing of experience strength and hope, I cannot share it. All I know is that consequences which other people have faced are as appalling as can be. Some will never see freedom again. At the same time, with that understanding, they prefer being sober and never ever wanting to repeat the past. The living amend: acceptance of life on life's terms in such circumstances is a very humbling experience.
Hearing about what we have done in blackout, some of us just did humorous things which people laughed about at the time. What others have done in blackout, and then found themselves criminals as a result, I realise it could have been me, it just so happened that for whatever reason my activities did not result in a crime being committed. I do know that life went downhill in my case very quickly towards the end, and if I had not had a moment of clarity, I don't know where my blackouts would have taken me. That moment of clarity, the result of a long time drunk, only happened because I asked for help at the right time. Another day without help, either I would be dead, or on the road to more insanity as the last remnants of reason were almost snuffed out.
With step four, the fearless moral inventory of ourselves and not other people, it does not leave room for anyone else to be taking the blame. Indeed blame will get us nowhere on the path of redemption. We were the best we could be at that time and it was the worst of times for many others as well as ourselves. And I come from a family who went through very difficult times, had no security and were always told to be silent. We did hide in shame and it took a long time to realise that certain situations in life are caused by our environment, over which we are powerless. And the worst coping mechanism in the world is to blot out the truth. So when we get sober, living to the truth and understanding how to cope with reality is crucial.
And step five, sharing our fearless moral inventory with another person of our choosing. Whoever we choose we need to trust and understand that sharing and confessing is an ancient discipline. You don't have to be religious to talk to a priest, you might be religious and whatever your religion, you might choose a religious person or not to share your step five. In my case, my step five is really open to the world in just about every respect because somehow over the years everything has been let go in a general way and specifically in meetings and in groups. Even when I scour my history for things not shared, I can't think of anything that I have missed along the way. But then, some history cannot be remembered, and I know will come up some time as I or others recollect from back in the day. And the amend to self is to be aware that I will be challenged and it's okay to be challenged about past conduct whatever it might be. The amend is always about now, the living amend to live life in an open, honest and willing way living to the truth of now.
Step six, defects of character which stem from: pride, ego and fear causing extremes. I guess highlighted by the seven deadly sins. This is the one which is about the psychological or psychic change. Whatever it is, I recognise it as part of the emotional and spiritual seesaw of life. Any day we might find ourselves stepping back into: our pride, ego and underneath fear of not feeling good enough. And the psychological change or psychic change is how we understand step seven.
Courage to change, faith in doing the next right thing and building our confidence through action, is how step seven works for me. Step seven: my shortcomings, not enough courage to change, not enough faith to ask for help, and lack of self-confidence to get up and get out of bed when I can, face the world and ask, and keep on asking where help can be found. And I can be at sixes and sevens, some days the world will kick-off my defects around pride and ego with fear underneath, that's what people do sometimes to us and everyone around them. Or we take a breath and try to behave differently and feel differently by summoning up and girding our loins with faith, courage and confidence. Even when people are obnoxious bastards, we don't have to fix them, all we need do is work on our own way forward, and if possible let the bastards go so they don't grind us down.
Step eight, much easier if we are going through our psychic gymnastics between step six and seven, and making the list of amends before we share it with our mentors is not such a difficult activity. And then the sharing part with my mentor and then doing some amends, it has been a lengthy process, not because I am procrastinating, sometimes amends can only be made in a timely way which is not to our own personal agenda. Sometimes only time will demonstrate the amend which is under construction, you and me in recovery. Have I done all my amends yet? No, one in particular is on-going one day at a time.
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