Step Ten All the way to bedtime, and a mental gratitude list!
October 25, 2013 Step Ten Month: "continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it." Spot-check inventory at any time of day, all the way to bedtime! And an extra hour in bed over the weekend, courtesy of a change in daylight savings time. Not that that matters too much to me, I rest when I need to, and allow myself to sleep when I can, insomnia can be the very devil in recovery!
Reactive depression: we find out what the cause may be. Non-reactive depression: there is no cause to identify. Anxiety: everyone gets anxious when there is danger. Panic: everyone gets panic when they are overwhelmed and fear what to do next. If we never get anxious, we don't learn how to cope, if we don't experience panic, we don't learn how to? If we do not have depression, never experienced it, it can be very difficult to have any understanding of what happens to a person in such circumstances. Fortunately if we are emotional and spiritual beings, we develop a repertoire of feelings appropriate to whatever situation we find ourselves in, and we learn from it. If we do not experience life to the full emotionally, then we are at a disadvantage.
Some say, "I have never had a bad day in recovery." What they may be saying is that they have experienced everything in recovery and sober, the outcomes are better. I might not agree with either position, life on life's terms is good, bad and ugly. We don't control the world; it is what we do day by day which makes a difference to the way we live. Sober, our choices are far better than turning off the reality of now. And we still need denial; denial offers a way to cope with overwhelming grief and loss.
Problems with energy in our country are causing real hardship for people who are considered hard-working and responsible individuals. Fuel poverty is growing. The political reaction is about history and ideology and there is a failure to react and respond. Blame, blame and more blame whistles in the wind and down the corridors of power. Powerlessness is something to behold in others as they argued position and intention rather than delivering any useful action. Thank God I'm in recovery, being judged by my actions and not my intentions. As an individual I have freedom of choice even though I am powerless over the current conditions of the day. It is about action and not intention, and recovery works on an individual level every single day.
Yesterday I mentioned that reason medical procedures and issues have made me tired. When the post arrived yesterday I opened the letter with an appointment at the hospital arranged on the hour received. I rang up the hospital and said I could get there late and they said it was right to come. So having got there, the specialist had already left, but there was a professional medical person available to put my mind at ease, that the results were not worst case scenario. It is good to be in recovery, because the anxiety about the results only struck home a few minutes before seeing the medical professional. And the twinge of panic was as long as it took to walk from the waiting room to their office. And at my age, cancer is a common problem and thankfully it is not my problem today. There are other things which need to be discussed when I go back next week. At least I can rest easy and calmly until then. We are not immune to feelings; it is good to feel the right feelings in the right moment and not for prolonged periods as in the past. Mind you, whatever is going on with my physical structure, is yet to be diagnosed. One day at a time always.
Step ten yesterday: forgive the admin Department at the hospital for late posting, forgive the newly privatised Post Office for late arrival of my appointment letter. Forgive the specialist for leaving on time. Gratitude that the cancer nurse was there to put my mind at ease after recent tests and procedures. Thankful for six hours sleep in a row! Thankful to be mentally aware, in the moment and my feelings in balance with the reality I have. Living to the truth is far easier than the lives I see spoiled by ideology, economic dogma, political incompetence and all the other fracas common to everyone in their daily lives. Including me of course, energy prices are really undermining my own personal economic situation, no different to anyone else.
Step ten: desist from pen and tongue, tolerance and love, live and let live, gratitude list. Comparing and despairing comes in three ways: comparing our old life and comparing life today, and comparing our situation with others. If I compare utilising the right measures, my life is the best it has ever been. And the measures I use today are quite different to many utilised in our current culture. The way I measure my life: emotional and spiritual, being able to feel right and cope in the moment of now. How do I cherish people, and how to cherish myself? Do I have the ability to love other people without conditions, and can I feel the love others give me without conditions? If I'm doing okay, I cherish life and everyone. If I step backwards in time I might become the old me, more superficial than I ever imagined and indifferent to myself and others.
Acceptance of life on life's terms offers a freedom which many of us never really understood. That even though the current conditions might be favourable or unfavourable to our preferences, ultimately we do have freedom of choice to say yes or no and move on. I had an interesting discussion with my mother about many philosophers who wrote about life over the centuries. And interestingly she had only started looking at the philosophy of living and the history of these ancient writings after her eightieth birthday. My mum found more freedom over the last twenty-two years or thereabouts after my father died. And although we loved the old rogue, he was a living nightmare and an alcoholic. He is forgiven by all in our family and we cherish him. The legacy of new freedoms continues today.
Alcoholics Anonymous Videos, AA is for Alcoholics, AA 12 Steps, Addiction And Recovery, DonInLondon, Don Oddy,