Alcoholics Anonymous Blog/Video Oct 16 DonInLondon Step 10 "Reality Check"
October 16, 2013 Step Ten Month: "continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it." Personal inventory! How wonderful that we can make a self-appraisal of what's going on inside us and the impact we have in the moment of now. If we continue to be aware of our own actions and the impact that these actions have, we are more likely to improve one day at a time. That is the nature of living, hopefully to keep on growing and developing in a positive and productive way.
Even though we might take personal inventory on a regular basis, are we thorough, do we look at what works and what does not work on a daily basis? The further we are away from Fellowship, the less likely we are regular in our self-appraisal habits. And do we have a checklist; do we ask ourselves about the defects: fear, pride and ego? And do we ask ourselves how we are doing with shortcomings: developing our courage to change, building our faith and growing confidence. Are we learning with humility? Are we learning through adversity and reluctantly changing?
Recently, at a newcomers meeting, the question of sponsorship: and then subsequent days listening to other people inside and outside Fellowship, there can be many misunderstandings about what we can and cannot do as individuals. On a personal level, personal inventory is very helpful if we have a sponsor or indeed a professional counsellor who can reflect and challenge and support us in our daily endeavours. There is a real problem however, if we have a particular outlook which we feel is right and we then try impose it on others by taking other people's inventory, we will probably cause anger and resentment and might get a punch on the nose for our troubles. We are nonprofessional inside Fellowship!
I was debating many aspects of living with a deep thinking individual. Thinking about the world being their dominant state. And interestingly, a few days later, the suggestion I made upon waking each day to write a few words about feelings seemed to have struck a chord. I'm always wary about suggesting a new approach, because unless we are willing to engage in the process with the person, the person can open up a can of worms emotionally and has no support. So we all have to be careful how we suggest things to other people and we can be on dangerous ground leaving a person with a lot of feelings and no interpretation available or understanding available about what to do with the feelings as they emerge. We need all of Fellowship and groups where people can express the truth of their emotional and spiritual state of mind. No single person keeps me sober and I would not lean on one person for everything, it is impossible to be sustained in such a way.
I was being asked by a person with an astute and intuitive mind who is considering a counselling career. It is very appealing if we have an astute and intuitive mind to delve and comprehend the nature of others. In fact we all do it all the time. We can just be ourselves and offer our outlook and listen to the outlooks of others as we live life. On the other hand, if we are considering a counselling career, it can be a challenge to let go one's personal outlooks, suspend one's emotional attachments to people, and then find an appropriate way to help a person with specific problems. It takes a long time to learn how to be a counsellor, it also takes a long time in different counselling environments to become proficient and successful in helping other people. I guess the question is in my case, do I prefer the nonprofessional emotional and spiritual encounters or do I need professional counselling around particular aspects of living?
Once I was really in Fellowship for quite a period of time, I stopped wanting to change the whole programme and rewrite it my way, I really understood the essence of Fellowship. The understanding that we are nonprofessional within the Fellowship, even though we might have qualifications of a professional nature, they could be really unhelpful, because counselling in a professional way is not helpful within the Fellowship. We can seek outside help, and this is really appropriate for many people with particular issues. However if we lose our understanding of equality within Fellowship, there is a danger that some people might be gurus, either they are considered a Guru or worse, they feel that they are a Guru. And I am not a Guru, if I do not know what is right for me, how can I possibly know what is right for you in the moment of now? I simply do not know.
In the olden days, I was called "the eclectic counsellor," and that was the olden days. These days I am just eclectic! A human, human living one day at a time and adapting and changing as life changes. If one thing does not work, all I need do is go to a meeting share my stuff and enough people will hear me and one person may suggest one thing that makes the difference, not only for one day, maybe for quite a few days.
How am I feeling today? The more I go to meetings, the more involved I am. And the more involved I am on a daily basis, the more interesting life gets inside and outside Fellowship. I get perspective, I have a sense of belonging and in everyday activities I feel included. There are times when I might be out for too long, be overly included and overly involved. Then I need to stop, take stock and retreat enough to recharge my batteries. We all need time out, and one of the things which are really important to anyone in Fellowship is being able to say, "I need time out." Time outs are not always respected, at the same time if we do not develop the ability to say "NO" we will become exhausted and useless. We do need to take care of ourselves.
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