Alcoholics Anonymous Blog/Video Oct 23 DonInLondon Step 10 "Reality Check"
October 23, 2013 Step Ten Month: "continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it." Step ten all the way to bedtime! Step ten is not automatic serenity in any sense. The world is still full of good, bad and ugly moments. If we cannot feel the good bad and ugly of life, how can we possibly keep on learning how to be a spiritual and emotional being from moment to moment?
Our emotions, our instincts about life have been developing ever since human beings began walking upright and had consciousness. If we had no emotions and no instincts, we would not be human. And yet our thinking tries to establish a different pattern when life is difficult. Self-medication with alcohol, self-medication with drugs, self-medication with people places and things to extremes is a very human thing to do when we are at extremes of good bad and ugly. And what was once a coping mechanism, a coping tactic turned into complete dependence and we were ruled by our addiction and not our intentions. Step ten takes the heat out of extreme situations and step ten helps us cope, change our attitudes and behaviour towards difficulty beyond our power to control on our own.
Desist from pen and tongue! Live and let live! Does it need to be said by me? Does it need to be said at all? When it comes to everlasting ignorance, contempt prior to investigation is a serious problem when we encounter other people who lie regularly, deny the truth and cannot see beyond their own outlook. It is not surprising to find old outlooks in long-standing bureaucratic organisations. And the same applies to new organisations formed with old attitudes and behaviour. People within want and intend to be different to fit in, but the truth is no one is showing them the way. Just like my landlord and their repair agents. I could not resist any longer, they have been adversely impacting my life and it does need to be said by me! I checked with my sister, a legal person at senior levels in organisations for years. Now the question is do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy? I am right and have said so, let it go so other people can deal with it because that is their job, and I can be happy to do my part and own my part in all matters.
Having stated my case, written it down, shared how it impacts on my life, and reckoned it needed to be said by me, the consequences of what happens next is beyond my control. In relation to my landlord and their agents, I do not need to say any more until there is a response. In my abode, me, the mice, the faulty plumbing, and the leaks are all things I can cope with. I don't know about my neighbour, who has to put up with the leaks and the mice and hellish conditions. And I don't advocate on their behalf, at the same time I make blinking well certain that the landlord, their agents and their primary senior management are aware of their defects of character and action. There is no pleasure in doing this, I have tried it the nice way and got nowhere, organisational and individual incompetence will not respond to kindness, tolerance and love, they remain silent. Bad and ugly! I don't have to like everyone in recovery, and I don't have to like incompetence, just work out with help what the right response may be. And then I let go and I slept well last night.
Doormat! I had a wonderful girlfriend, who was the love of my life at that time. She was very good at her career and got to the top of her profession. At the same time, the journey was always hard work, more hard work and even more hard work. She would take on any organisational job and do it well. An ideal girlfriend for me, because she was like me, any challenge and she would say yes, work hard like I would work hard. The inability to say no suddenly snapped, and she said no to more promotion and more hard work and went off to travel. A very sensible thing to do. What did I do? I waved goodbye, continue to work hard, worked harder, got to the top of where I wanted to get to, drank to cope and drank on heartbreak and went wild before I broke down into a complete wreckage. Some people know when to get off and get well clear of the impending doom. She was right to opt out of work and me. And I careered on in my career, the more successful I became, the more broken on the journey to rock bottom.
Step ten helps me every day cope with history which comes up, present-day stuff which kicks up old history, old attitudes and old behaviour. My old attitudes and behaviour are now tempered, my old attitudes weren't wrong per se, they just turned me inside out in the end. And the old behaviour of blocking out the pain is not required. Being more open honest and willing to face the challenges of life: life being good, bad and ugly and all mixed up all the time, it does take a while to get our sensibilities back and be able to deal with our emotions in the moment of now. Anger and resentment are the number one offender's when it comes to relapse. Anger and resentment turned inward into rage and personal breakdown and depression are part of our killer disease.
Hearing magical stories in recovery: marriage and romance flourishing, economic success generating wealth and prosperity are all good. Until the high leads to prideful neglect in recovery. And I don't say this with prejudice, I have often wondered what would happen if I were able enough to resume old activities which would make me rich. Or win the lottery. Extremes of anything especially good fortune can make us susceptible to relapse. Being in love, being successful, it is not the money, it is the personal journey back to a life beyond wildest dreams. And the life beyond wildest dreams is learning to live in the moment and truthfully. The number one truth being: sober we get our freedom back, sober we need to be careful rather than careless with our own personal maintenance or we lose everything very quickly. The charm of living normally and everyone wanting us to be normal, and we want to fit in. We have a right to fit in wherever we are, and we are better fitting in when we are sober.
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