Step Ten All the way to bedtime, and a mental gratitude list!
October 30, 2013 Step Ten Month: "continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it." To thine own self be true! Living to the truth of now is accomplished with humility, vulnerability, and being open honest and willing to change. Step ten: the on the spot check inventory of what is going on, how am I feeling in the moment of now?
Sometimes we have to sound off, share our innermost feelings and try expressing them as best we can. Expressing our feelings in the moment of now is a truthful and honest response to our current situation, or at least I hope it is. Very often a flash of anger can be created when people, places and things conspire to be the same as old events we hated or detested. For example when somebody tells us what to do without authority and without due care for us as individuals. Usually, if we are practising step ten, we realise the futility of trying to change other people, it is often simpler and easier to walk around immovable objects, rocks and hard places where nothing changes. We can change with courage, we can have faith in doing the next right thing and we can gain confidence with humility one day at a time.
I was privileged to hear the experience strength and hope shared about tradition ten this month. AA has no opinion on outside matters. In other words, you keep your beliefs and opinions; you keep your affiliations and to thine own self be true. Within Fellowship it is about recovery, a message of experience strength and hope, sharing the truth of our situation as best we can. Tradition ten is great, it means we can all hold our own opinions, to thine own self be true means you have a right to be wherever you are, and I have a right to be wherever I am.
I am hoping that my closest friend is coping okay with the situation of another who is stricken and only has a short time to live. Trying to respect the wishes of a person with little or no time is very difficult. A well of emotions are thrown up, a desire to do the right thing is being respectful of their wishes. Our own sadness and grief, it is something we deal with moment to moment in such situations and coping is not the issue. We are not built to cope with loss and we need support as best we can from other people. And we can only do this as we are asked and we offer what we can.
Spot-check inventory: H.A.L.T. Am I hungry, angry, lonely or tired? None of these quite frankly, I was irritated at a representative of something called the London region of AA. And I forgive everything, with humility because I know I could be wrong. The person who used to say after their writing, presenting and sharing that they could be wrong was a man called Richard Alpert, who is better known as Ram Dass. "And of course I could be wrong…"
Every single day, life is different, our outlooks change, the truth changes. And with humility we can change. Hard enough to find the answers for ourselves, and alone the answers are limited to our current experience. When we are included in something bigger than ourselves, the rate of change is faster most often; inclusion offers a wider outlook and a wider understanding of the world. The outlook I have sober is clearer, more informed by everyone sharing and being included. And there needs to be respect for different outlooks, different points of view and different ways of living. Diversity offers the best solutions day by day and this is how I keep learning what works and who I am becoming one day at a time.
And it can be difficult to let go of old ideas about life. Change is happening, what worked yesterday may not work today and if we have humility we don't get stuck in the mud. At the age of seventy-five, my mother said she would never touch computer, now she has a laptop and an iPad at the age of 82, and is able to keep in touch with many people near and distant today. Being true to oneself, well if my mother can overcome personal prejudice about computers, there is hope in our family about anything and everything.
A conversation with my sister about loss and grief, what next in her own life, when everything has turned out differently to what she imagined and anticipated. Grief becomes cherished good memories as well as the deep depression evoked by loss. This is a lifelong journey which is not about closure which is very similar to the way we share experience strength and hope. We always acknowledge the truth of who we are, and then share how it was and how it is today. Indeed anyone and everyone in recovery is still acknowledging their situation when they speak in a meeting stating their name, and that they are an alcoholic. We are alcoholics, we are not stigmatised by being alcoholics, and we live a new sober life cherishing the good of the old life and make a new start at the beginning of every day.
Before recovery, before heartbreak, before the drink finally took me over, I did understand what it was to be true to oneself. And to thine own self be true means that each day with humility I simply learn a little bit more about who I am and who I can be one day at a time. Always it is the journey of living and with humility we learn what we can and cannot do. Best to stick with the truth, test it out with other people and see if we are on track. Just because other people are on different tracks which are right for them, better to be careful to keep to the tracks which are right for you. We find on some banknotes the words: "in God we trust." And if God manifests in: "truth, love and wisdom," then we are probably on the right tracks today.
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