Alcoholics Anonymous Blog/Video Oct 14 DonInLondon Step 10 "Reality Check"
October 14, 2013 Step Ten Month: "continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it." Your personal code: your personal standards to maintain under all circumstances? Every day our own personal codes and personal standards will be challenged, when times are good for others they may be bad for you. When times are bad for other people, times may be good for you. And when life is ugly for you and good for other people, how are you going to cope?
The fearless moral inventory in step four is not an imposition, it is an understanding to encourage each person to find their moral compass, what is morally right and natural. The sentence which includes right instincts, or "natural instincts," is a personal understanding. If we try to adopt unnatural instincts, and an natural or conflicting moral code, we will find ourselves turned inside out every single day. Are people naturally good? Are we naturally good, and have been bent out of shape? What you believe is right, what you believe is good conduct will serve you well if you believe and understand what is natural in the moment and one day at a time. Freedom of choice to be yourself, natural and functioning in a natural way. Without alcohol! That's where we started.
I thought from teenage years that it was best to join in the drinking which was happening around me. It took away fear, it blotted out the reality of a horrible set of circumstances. It took away insecurity, it helped me deal with my dreams being lost in poverty. When we are growing up, we are not in control of our family circumstances, and yet for many years family circumstances certainly changed me and my path. I'm not bitter about it, at the time I just couldn't understand how bad it got and I believe that is true for everybody in my family. We did not know what had happened to our father and he didn't either. Looking back it was obvious that he had a nervous breakdown and turned to drink. He was very angry at the world and very lonely, all we saw was the anger and not the loneliness.
Even so, we did get a sense of morality, what was right and what was wrong. We all had feelings and we all had varying degrees of emotional development. I know my emotional development became driven by controlling my emotions with alcohol or just simply obliterating the horrible side of life and trying to celebrate the good side of life. And in my teenage years, the morality of society changed, social change was all about freedom of expression, especially the revolution and emancipation of women and men sexually and the start of a belief in equality between the sexes. And what really happened? We all enjoyed a new freedom and joy, well, many of us did. Physically yes I tend to believe, emotionally and in the world of feelings even now, I feel we are playing catch up because in the main society does not express itself truthfully and emotionally. Still riddled with guilt and shame; often repressed just in case somebody might label anybody else a libertarian of the worst kind. Too bloody late in my case: I was never silent, nor secretive, no need to be because anything I did was natural and legal! As is true for most people on the planet, and yet a lot of people still worry about the curtain twitchers.
Anyways a bit late in the day for me, and I'm glad of all the experiences over my lifetime, which helped me understand what was natural. The only unnatural things that went on were with copious amounts of alcohol, which likely stunted my emotional development. Underneath all that I was and am a sensitive and moral person with a fun loving outlook. Fun loving, loyal, loving one person at a time, well mostly! Personal conduct is a truly difficult area. Looking at everything we have done, still needs an emotional moral inventory. The rational mind, the thinking mind which looks at what is acceptable in our own memory is often tweaked with shame and guilt. If there is a descriptive word for what we have done, and it is a legal activity, and without religious bias, or unacceptable prejudice, then it is probably being done millions of times over in the moment of now. And if there are words for any morally unacceptable behaviour within your society, there are ways to cope and deal with the past and make decisions about the present.
From step four onwards: getting back to the basics of what makes us tick as humans emotionally on a day-to-day basis. And as we start to learn what makes us tick on a day-to-day basis, our emotional outlook is conditional on knowing it first of all and ditching all the thinking about what we think we ought to be in recovery. A twelve step recovery life goes forwards and backwards, will go sideways, will twist and turn in all sorts of directions as life happens. We think we can be betrayed by our natural instincts? Not really, we can only betray if we are behaving contrary to our moral code and behaving contrary to the agreements we have with the people around us at this time. So if you are betraying yourself, most likely you are betraying other people around you and if you are, the consequences are severe on a personal level and disastrous for everybody else you love. Of course, you can all out of love with yourself, and also fall out of love with the people around you. Silence will keep you stuck. Thank God step ten and the possibility of being truthful one day at a time.
The adventure of step ten: understanding what the truth is in the moment of now, learning how to love, learning how to be loved back and be happy in useful endeavours, well, it does depend on the current conditions today. Sometimes we get ourselves into gigantic emotional knots simply because we are humans making progress, making new freedoms of choice. And the point is if you are making new choices, experiencing new freedoms with your moral code and your moral conduct intact, in other words not lying to anybody, life will continue to grow, sometimes very painfully, sometimes completely wonderfully and joyfully. But if you leave people behind for whatever reason, you better be sure to be loving and kind. You can cherish people, or you can be superficial and indifferent to them. And in the end, how you behave is your choice. Be careful with yourself, and if you cherish yourself, you are likely to be cherished by those around you. And the opposite holds true.
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