Alcoholics Anonymous Blog & Video | Dec 19 | 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 19, 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..." My meeting this morning was all about step seven: understanding my shortcomings and what I can do about them. My shortcomings can be highlighted when facing the reality of now: lack of courage, lack of faith and lack of confidence. And the answer is humility: asking for help when I don't know what to do.
Emotional and spiritual, knowing my feelings and hoping to understand and cope with the reality of now. When I was young, learning everything, from how to talk, to reading and writing, to be able to do sums, to explore the world, to have imagination, and of course learning about my feelings. It seems I did learn about feelings, quite a lot of feelings felt horrible because I did not know what to do with them when growing up, feelings were not expressed and not understood very well by anyone anywhere it seemed to me. We don't come into this world with an instruction book and nor do our parents or anyone else, we learn from living and learn from the reality of our situation.
A reminder of step seven this morning that we don't have to know the answers to everything, all we need is the humility to ask for help when we are unsure about what we can and cannot do. Expectations, entitlements and believing we deserve something we have yet to earn, these defects of character make us want to control the world and control our part in it. The good fortune in recovery is that we learn to practice the twelve steps, the principles in all that we do and the principles work under all conditions. The twelve steps don't put us in control of other people, places and things, they, the principles are ways to be a part of the world, to be included in the world wherever we are and whatever we may be doing. We are not in charge, and no one else is, unless it’s agreed and hopefully agreeable depending on what is going on.
What we learn in recovery is that we get our choices about what we do. Freedom to choose what we do is based on good information, developing courage to change, faith in doing the next right thing and growing confidence through learning, making mistakes, or rather simply engaging in life and finding out what it is that we like and enjoy. There will always be means to ends, doing things we might not choose to do to get to a particular place, a particular type of work, to be in a particular family, community, society. We always work hard at life, better to have a set of principles which help us deal with just about anything and everything in the moment of now. Contingent on the current conditions today: life can be good, bad and ugly to different degrees with different people, different places doing particular things.
I shared at the meeting, I had been listening intently to lots of other people share, and I wanted to share my experience strength and hope. As I was speaking, I said out loud that my thoughts had got jumbled up by listening to other people and wanting to share in abundance on step seven. In the end I did share enough, but was confused and not able to put across what was going on in my head and said so. After the meeting a couple of people came up to me and said that I made perfect sense, and even now I am suspicious of my own sharing. Which makes me laugh at myself, because right now I cannot remember what I shared! All good.
The gift of being included, the gift of freedom, the gift of not knowing the answers is all part of my progress one day at a time. If we knew the answers, had an instruction book for life, believed that we can control what is going on, this would be a very unhappy existence and would take away the wonderment of what could happen today. Often we feel hijacked and under pressure to be something to other people. Being something to other people actually stops us learning how to be just ourselves first and then see how we fit with what is going on today. An open mind, humility to learn, courage faith and confidence are available every day. And the same is true for our liabilities: fear, pride and ego can undermine everything when life is difficult beyond measure.
I feel happy in my head, my feelings about today? I am hoping feelings fit with reality, that reality and coping with it feels good. Any situation can occur today which might evoke: fear, pride and ego. At the same time, with humility to say I don't know the answers and ask for help, opens the door to courage, faith and confidence being developed no matter what is going on. And the serenity prayer always helps with the can do and cannot do and learning the wisdom to know the difference all day long. A far better way to live life with freedoms rather than the old constraints of fixing and isolation.
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