Alcoholics Anonymous Blog & Video | Dec 17 | DonInLondon | Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"
Humility "open to learning life today," surrendering to the "Truth, Love and Wisdom in the moment of now," step twelve: liberty, liberation, release, emancipation, deliverance, forgiveness, tolerance and love.
December 17, 2013 Step Twelve Month: "having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs..." Human beings are fallible creatures. Nelson Mandela said he was not a saint and only through life experience became a forgiving and tolerant elder statesman. Fallibility is one word to describe the human condition, curiosity another, seeking happy diversion rather than confrontation. When it comes to alcohol and drugs, it is sometimes a game of Russian roulette, and the odds of addiction and death are good. Those who deny any concept of addiction are bewildering people.
I was listening to a journalist on TV, arguing with an "alcohol and drug" addict in recovery about the existence of the phenomena of addiction. The journalist, patronising, speaking with authority and with a condescending disposition spouted his notions that addiction is a myth. The journalist in question is an employee of the Daily Mail. The journalist suggests that drug and alcohol taking is a weakness of will. Or as suggested by the presenter and agreed by the journalist, "a lack of willpower." In some ways, addiction can be described as the consequence of lack of willpower, that addiction is the result. Whatever point the journalist makes, dragging his feet, he undermines any debate about what to do to enable the addicted to stop and find their way back to making life work sober with freedom to choose better ways to live. Proof positive when a journalist propounds his personal theories, his personal opinions and his personal beliefs as empiricism and scientific over the collective investigations of the American medical Association. He does believe in God I understand, so he can't be all bad?
Sharing a message of experience strength and hope is not scientific. And yet sharing a message of experience strength and hope, about real life experiences of addiction helped me find a path back to making sober choices about life decisions on a daily basis. And finding willingness, openness and honesty as the tools of life. Surely it is better to find ways to help people into recovery rather than stigmatising, and making alcoholics and addicts irredeemable? I can quite understand why there may be trust issues that some people will never trust someone who has gone to an emotional hell and back. And yet in recovery, we have been to an emotional hell and getting back to emotional reality is simply a start. I do wonder what crippling events happen in the lives of those who are prejudiced and won't trust the reformed human being. Where would Nelson Mandela have been had there not been a realisation that humans can change their attitudes and outlook, from armed rebel, and then become an elder statesman of a nation? Where would we have been without Winston Churchill?
Human beings are driven by emotions, and very often the emotions that humans have are extreme. And human beings are shaped by their environment, and therefore emotions develop as they may under the current conditions. If we were all driven by logic, by education of the scientific variety, making rational decisions, certainly the question of whether humanity would survive at all is a debate most people would ridicule. We are a complex make up of emotional and rational, feeling and thinking. It is very difficult to be one way or the other. To shut down our emotional living and be a slave to rational living cannot be done. We all need our feelings and our thinking. Unfortunately, society, community and family often prejudice and stifle the freedoms each individual born to a new generation. We are lucky indeed if we ever get to a place where we have freedom to choose our path based on the experience of life utilising both our emotions and rational thinking to not only our own good, to the greater good of all. Step twelve is a good example of choice to the good having been to hell and then a return to a new reality today.
I don't like people who impose their views on others, the word which comes to mind is proselytising. And I hope that I don't proselytise too much on any given day. At the same time I do recognise that my views and opinions are simply that, a view and opinion based on what I know so far. So I continue to surrender to the truth love and wisdom I learn each day. I don't want to be held back by dogma or a particular view which cannot be sustained through time. The world is not flat, the Sun does not revolve around the world. Time travel is happening, we just don't like the destination?
Put it another way, since the invention of the “apple,” temptation has caused all sorts of trouble. In our modern world would it not be better to open the supply of apples up to everyone and let them decide whether to eat the apple from an authorised supplier, rather than by an apple on the black market from a bandit whose product is impure at a price which is too high? And what we do about cigarettes and alcohol? And what about coffee? And what about modern day slavery? What we do about all this stuff? And what we do about violence?
One day at a time, if we have the freedom to choose, learn by our mistakes, and be truthful and honest, we can earn trust. Trusting the peddlers of morality who impose their beliefs and opinions on you, really depends on what freedom remains. Today, I choose sober, and under the current conditions today, I hope to go to bed sober. As to all the other stuff flying around in my head, I am better off not being a politician, not being influential in any particular way, because as ram Dass said: "of course I could be wrong." And I could, "certainly be wrong for you!"
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