Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Alcoholics Anonymous | Dec 31 | DonInLondon | Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"

Alcoholics Anonymous Blog & Video | Dec 31 | DonInLondon | Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"

"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..."


Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"


December 31, 2013 Step Twelve Month: all about daily resolutions because I am living, working and a human being in the moment of now and coping as best I can. Some days over the last year have been extremely difficult, on a personal level and quite a few people have perished. This is all part of facing reality. Every person still needs the denial process to help with overwhelming situations where we cannot cope on our own. Some realities do take time to sink in.


My daily mantra: step one: I am powerless over alcohol and prefer not to control people, places and things. Being powerless over alcohol is the strength and vulnerability all rolled into one. Now that I don't have to try controlled drinking because I don't drink at all, it ceases over time to be an issue. I could never imagine life without a drink all those years ago, it was my best friend after all and then my worst enemy. Step two: I can be restored to sanity when the world drives me mad as a Hatter on any given day by asking for help and not trying to do everything on my own. Step three: let go my opinions and beliefs, in good conscience surrender to the truth, love and wisdom of now. And remind myself the serenity prayer which highlights what I can and cannot do and then ask for help when needed to keep on learning the wisdom today.


If I can be kind to myself, follow the advice given to me by others about various aspects of my life and welcome the advice, I am in a better place and better informed about what is possible today. That simple admission of powerlessness to the way the burden of having to be right and trying to do everything to my own set of rules. I threw the rule book away, and started and still do explore the possibilities today. Part of my plan today is to make sure I check and keep my blood sugars where they ought to be by injecting insulin. I have recalled my mantra, which I forget sometimes and leads me into self will. And if I let self will run its course, I will become stubborn and defiant and hold on to my own precious opinions and beliefs which may be out of tune with reality.


Just because it does not occur to me to take a drink today, I did notice about six months ago that drinking, just the one did cross my mind. And it would be foolish of me to think that I know better and I can overcome anything in recovery on my own. That will always be a return to old thinking, then the old thinking becomes overwhelming and will go round and round in my head for days if I do not break the cycle of self will. I don't need to be in control of anything, especially people, because people have their own path and anything we do together needs to be by agreement and not in a controlling way. Any day we can change and keep on the path we find most appropriate, and if we are uncertain, or overconfident we always have people to ask in fellowship about what we are doing.


Always the many voices in fellowship required to keep one newcomer interested in their recovery. If a newcomer decides to latch on to one person and then expect one person can keep them sober, I do feel the burden is too great. So the answer is always solidarity, listening to many people share their experience, strength and hope and then slowly or quickly, a newcomer finds the freedom and the choices become more clear every single day. Freedom of choices and clarity, no two days of the same and freedom does not mean you will always get your own way. Let go self-opinion and deep seated beliefs, let in the world and find answers in consultation with good people you will find on your journey today.


Learning how to love without conditions, learning how to be loved back without conditions and find useful endeavours on a daily basis is the wonderfully good news about life in recovery. It is not about war or battles to overcome anything, it is about working together whatever you may be doing and always making sure that you are going with the flow of reality and coping with it, and the principles work in all conditions if we can remember them in time. Life will be sometimes: good bad and ugly, it may be all good some of the time, all bad some of the time, all ugly some of the time, or any combination because life is unpredictable. Not every outcome is happy or unhappy, loving or hateful, it is probably somewhere in between where we live most of the time.


If I don't know the answers for me, how can I possibly know the answers for you? Together, we make be able to work out some of the answers, and then in fellowship, and in life we may consult and seek advice from many in order to progress through each day. Humans are better working together, rather than at odds or in undermining behaviour. Then we can strive and live life on life's terms today.


It is a big big world, lots going on and we see most of it these days, we are becoming more open and able to see what is going on. Some things we need never hide from anyone because they need to know how we are on a daily basis. And it is extremely important to be careful with confidential and private information which is shared in meetings of the fellowship, or a one-to-one basis, or in groups. We can share about our own lives, it would be extremely disappointing if we gossiped or undermined another human being in any circumstances. And in the past, no matter how far up the ladder of success we may go, we will encounter some people who are bullies, full of pride, ego and especially fear. And if we cannot assert our own position for whatever reason, better to move on and get out of the way as soon as possible. Some people are all about status, position and power, I never was interested in those things, which made me a good target to be used and abused. And the worst was I nearly became what I disliked most, superficial and indifferent to humanity. Cherish people always, and never think about controlling and manipulating, it is a blight on your life and the lives of others.


Alcoholics Anonymous Videos, AA is for Alcoholics, AA 12 Steps, Addiction And Recovery, DonInLondon, Don Oddy,

Monday, 30 December 2013

Alcoholics Anonymous | Dec 30 | DonInLondon | Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"

Alcoholics Anonymous Blog & Video | Dec 30 | DonInLondon | Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"

"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..."



December 30, 2013 Step Twelve Month: "we are not a glum lot in recovery." Well not all the time, sometimes we are glum with good reason. In any meeting of Fellowship, no matter which Fellowship is right for you, you will find people being restored to sanity and in different stages of success other than the obvious one, sober one more day. Some of us took a while to realise that we could be driven mad by life on any given day, and that we could be very out of sorts even without a drink inside us.


Some of the most interesting meetings we can attend in recovery are not particularly well run, sometimes people run amok, sometimes people cross share, sometimes people have fallen out with each other, sometimes there has been romance and now there is no evidence romance at all, simply hateful jibes which inspire mirth in other people. Sometimes they can be so sad we are all crying together, and then the next moment we are laughing so loud our sides hurt. Sometimes we find ourselves in complete silence, sometimes we are stunned, rarely are we stunned actually because after a while we probably have heard pretty much anything anyone can do. But for the newcomer what of their expectations?


One of the good things about recovery is we are all human beings learning what it is to be human again. And the conventions that might apply or be expected within meetings are quite unpredictable, because people will divulge and share whatever is on their mind. We often find ourselves listening to the story of another person's experiences, maybe wishing the less detail, but the truth is people need real to express their truth or their opinions or their beliefs because how else would they see the impact, get feedback, change to the better or worse. If we try to control people in meetings, and produce a sanitised version of how people are in recovery, I doubt many people would be able to stay and find their path back to extraordinary living.


I feel I have missed out on a couple of good meetings, listening to friends who came round and shared time yesterday. There was no malice or undermining going on, but some of my favourite meetings I have missed recently do provide the best of all possible outcomes: outrage, updates on fantastic events, sorrow at people dying, and newcomers dipping their toes in the water and sharing the truth of their experience, strength and hope. Often newcomers are very cross when the Fellowship seems disorganised, does not have any leaders, and in particular does not have a complaints Department! I wanted to write to somebody about my first few days of recovery many years ago to complain that there seem to be no professional people who knew what they were doing and the whole thing seemed altogether a shambles.


Many years later, I can confirm to any newcomer that somehow Fellowship meetings still are shambolic, because we are all in relative states of sanity, disorganisation, regeneration and from one day to the next nobody knows exactly what is going on. And yet somehow the meetings happen, very rarely are they cancelled because of the weather, and nobody takes responsibility other than for their own conduct one day at a time. The early days where we want to complain about the conduct of people in meetings, is replaced by an acceptance that people will behave the best they can, even if it seems to be the worst experience to imagine on that day. In the end, it is a very rare event when a meeting does not happen in the right place at the right time.


Meetings of Fellowship are nothing like rehab and nothing like anything else you are going to experience on the planet. Much talk of God and many believe in God, much talk about there not being a God and many don't believe in God. At the same time there seems to be a higher power available for everyone, just that it's not the same for everyone, each person works out what their higher power is and whatever you do don't undermine it. Being powerless and surrendering to the truth of now is quite complicated in our world of ego and domination. And understanding what unconditional love might be, well that particular subject is ongoing for everyone every day. I'm sure if we could go to the shops and buy half a pound of unconditional love, we would, but then it wouldn't be unconditional, it will be economic or some other form of barter.


I love meetings in all their shapes and forms, in all their ups and downs, in all their chaos and then some with strict rational organisational bits added on until the group conscience speaks and gets back to the only requirement to be at a meeting is a desire to stop drinking. Which reminds me that the UK "where to find" seems to have morphed on its front page to include rules which do not exist and put there by somebody with control issues. I only saw a rule yesterday when I bought a new one a couple of days ago and it talks about open and closed meetings of AA. Every meeting of AA is open and lest I forget, if you invite me round to a private meeting of AA, it is not AA at all, it’s you in your front room with prejudices I would prefer never to have. Inclusion in all aspects is the key to recovery, any form of exclusion is never good and should never be written into the constitution of anything.


Good luck to all the rehabs out there, good luck to anybody anywhere trying to recover and no matter how you do it, hope it works one day at a time. I am not here to judge anyone else's methods, I am very grateful for the anarchic democracy that is Alcoholics Anonymous, and long may it be so.


Alcoholics Anonymous Videos, AA is for Alcoholics, AA 12 Steps, Addiction And Recovery, DonInLondon, Don Oddy,

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Alcoholics Anonymous | Dec 29 | DonInLondon | Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"

Alcoholics Anonymous Blog & Video | Dec 29 | DonInLondon | Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"

"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..."


Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"


December 29, 2013 Step Twelve Month: the New Year is just around the corner! And then I start looking at step one for the whole of the month of January. I'm not sure if I will concentrate exactly on the step and tradition, or I might try something new which is to look at one step a day? The more we are familiar with the steps, the more we are able to practice these principles in all our affairs. In other words live the steps rather than just know them or think we have done them and can move on to something else?


It is a good time of year to reflect on what has happened over the last one. Quite a lot of health issues for me personally, quite a lot of issues to do with where I live. The health issues are on-going, and most of the horrible possibilities have been investigated and I don't need to worry, nothing is falling off, no more chronic ailments have been added, and even my "willie" works with a little help from the medicine cabinet. I am laughing at myself, not defects of character, simply dysfunctional as a consequence of age. These days, it doesn't matter what is going on providing I am able to be honest, open and willing to share the truth. And as to minor repairs required to my abode, I can let go trying to manage it, and hand it over to the landlord whose job it is to make good on their part of the bargain.


December, has been a good month even though there was a funeral and although it was sad to lose someone, the celebration of their life was a hoot. Fellowship, we see all sides of life more clearly and although someone has gone, we learn how to cherish them and remember them in all their facets of character. Newcomers in abundance over the last few weeks. And I am hoping they have survived Christmas, and will survive New Year. I don't care if they relapse, I simply hope they keep coming back and find life can be highly illuminating and entertaining, and that whether it is: good, bad or ugly, facing reality and coping with it and feelings fitting with the moment is far preferable to being out of it, out of control and lost.


Sometimes we do face conundrums. Romance and finance are always the ones which can cause upheaval. And somehow we come to a balance of knowing the difference between what we need, and the wants which will lead to the extremes all over again. If our basic needs can be met, wants can be forgotten. And the simple elements of being human, is that we can be human. Unconditional love where we are able to cherish rather than to raise our expectations is good. But there can be deception in that because we are full of natural instincts. Sometimes we pull back from romance because we fear losing friendship. Only to realise that if romance flourishes elsewhere, friendship changes as more intimate connections are made. Life changes all the time and this is good.


In conversation over the last year, when people in recovery breakup romantically, it is not as before if both individuals have been honest with each other. Deep connections happen naturally and this is the nature of human beings. At the same time if there is truth, love and wisdom developing between two people, either intimacy flourishes or diminishes which is absolutely normal. There is no reason to feel that we ought to be something ought to be doing something just because it looks right. Even though things might look right on the outside, it is what is going on inside that matters most and needs to be expressed. Never hold on to what is not working, and there is no need to blame when people are truthful and honest with each other.


The good news about sobriety is we never have to be lonely, we develop connections and friendships with like-minded people. And there will be people who we have no connection to and they don't share the same values and outlooks, and we can let them go without any unpleasantness and any hindrance. And sometimes people try to latch on to ask for help which is good and we can. At the same time we do not need to be false to ourselves or them. To thine own self be true.


I don't know why, or other I do know why I haven't been asked to sponsor anybody this year, and nobody has asked me to be their sponsor. And thankfully, I am okay with this, I prefer to be a friend rather than named as a sponsor to anyone. I get no kick from any elevation above my station. Equality in all matters is my preference. The preference being, to be helpful in the moment of now and recognise that redundancy is always key to opening the door to new experiences every single day. I feel we are often better helping in the moment rather than being a long-term source. People need to keep on growing and finding their natural connections one day at a time. And sometimes the best outcome for any sponsor is to become a friend rather than a mentor, the burden being too great for one individual.


In all the years of sobriety, it has always been the many voices sharing their experience strength and hope which keeps me sober today. The wisdom grows from all the voices sharing, and one voice, especially my own is never ever enough. And that are the two reasons, there is always more in the world I don't know about and therefore cannot comment will suggest. And secondly, I too have a life and I need to ask for help and respond and absorb new experiences every single day.


The greatest gift we can give is unconditional love, understanding the limits we have as individuals, learning what it means to cherish rather than be superficial or indifferent. And if we do not know what the meaning of a word is, for example the word "cherish," we need to take time to reflect through meditation what the word or words mean emotionally, the feelings and how they are working in the moment of now. Life is difficult, beautiful, ugly, extraordinary, and ordinary all the same time. We can cherish always.


Alcoholics Anonymous Videos, AA is for Alcoholics, AA 12 Steps, Addiction And Recovery, DonInLondon, Don Oddy,

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Alcoholics Anonymous | Dec 28 | DonInLondon | Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"

Alcoholics Anonymous Blog & Video | Dec 28 | DonInLondon | Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"

"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..."


Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"


December 28, 2013 Step Twelve Month: "strive to be happy." "Take it easy." "Accept what we can do, and what we cannot do today." Recovery can be quite confusing when we first encounter the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. "Work it [the twelve steps principles] because you are worth it." So on one hand we need to take it easy, relax into recovery over time. And on the other hand we have to strive to be happy? And what about serenity!


Recovery is all about humility: in my case to learn how to be a human being again from scratch. I was certainly paranoid when I first got to recovery, I felt that the world was watching me and it turned out that the world was not particularly interested in one individual trying to get sober. My first discovery as a nonentity was that I was frightened and fearful of not being good enough in all respects. Fear of living was far worse than the consequences of an early grave from active addiction. At the same time I was completely surprised to find so many sober people in my neck of the woods, working together in fellowship.


This morning I am at peace with myself, have a good deal of serenity and providing I don't look at the global news for a little while, I might concentrate and reflect on how to help people face-to-face in any walk of life. Sometimes it simply comes down to a good morning to someone we pass in the street. Sometimes it is holding a person close while they shake with fear of the unknown. I no longer fear the unknown, I like not knowing, because then the journey of enquiry and inclusion begins. Not knowing the answers, well even before that, I need some questions to start the day.


Do I feel powerless over alcohol this morning? The answer is yes, and if I take a drink life will become unmanageable, because one drink will lead to another and a thousand is never enough. Am I angry about something? This morning the answer is no, so I'm not circling round and around a problem looking for a familiar solution. Should I know the answer to what needs to be done today? The answer is no, if I don't know how to do something I can ask for help finding the right people in the right place hopefully. Am I aware of my assets and liabilities with regard to my historical behaviour? Yes I am, and I need humility, courage to change and confidence, and faith in doing the next right thing. I can always share my problems and ask for help. Fear pride and ego will set me back, courage faith and confidence will help me go forward.


I can be at sixes and sevens today: step six, fear of being found out? Prideful about something? My ego stepping in to protect my feelings? Or the courage to share my situation, faith in inclusion and the confidence that not every human being is against me today. The inner voice inside my head sometimes erupts in a nightmare of olden times, and then I wake up to reality and thank my lucky stars that I am sober, can ask for help and be myself today.


I have trampled on people's toes in the past, and people trample on my toes in the present. I can continually make amends whenever amends arise these days, and I can avoid treading on the toes of others some of the time. And I can only share what is right for me, because what is right for me might be quite wrong for you. Just because my opinion and belief is wrong for you, you are not my enemy, you can be a really good source of knowledge, support and challenge on my journey of life. No single being has all the answers and probably has no answer when it comes to another person. Everyone is at a different stage in their development of their own life, we might exist in the same moment, and yet the experience of the moment will be quite different for each individual.


Every feeling known to me seems to work in the moment of now: emotions fitting with reality. Sometimes reality is to extremes, and so my feelings run high or on low in the moment. My feelings are working and they are real. How I respond in the moment of now will depend upon my feelings which drive my thinking and my actions today. Knowing my mood and how it impacts on my thinking, means I can take the time to work out what actions are appropriate. And actions speak louder than words, and the words expressed to other people have a direct impact on how they judge me in the moment of now. The phrase: "judge not, lest ye be judged," we all need to ponder on our impact on other people or we lose sight of truth, love and wisdom in the moment of now. We perceive and judge the world all the time, hopefully we put some humility, understanding and love into what we do from one moment to the next.


Our English Prime Minister, sometimes his impulsiveness and lack of restraint puts him in the public eye with unfortunate consequences. He went to Egypt after the revolution, and that was unwise diplomatically. And yesterday he went on tour to see the devastation in some of our English counties where flooding and lack of power has made life horrible for the locals. Unprepared and without a script and without any real understanding, he was lampooned and wrong footed by an inhabitant who was justifiably angry at having their Christmas ruined. Suggesting that the UK needs to get better equipped to deal with erratic weather is no answer to those who are inconsolable about their plight. Words without action, words without a plot, in other words, a man without a clue is no help at all. There is no photo opportunity in chaos and misery. Meanwhile behind-the-scenes, you can guarantee a lot of people are working very hard to put things right. So taking the photo opportunity, and making a hash of it, made the people who were suffering even angrier; and those helping the suffering would have felt very unhappy as well. In other words a bit of a dick head? I don't feel able to answer that question.


This morning, I confirm again I am at peace with the world and feel quite serene in my being. But it is early and there is plenty of time for serenity and acceptance to be lost, and then found again as life unfolds today.


Alcoholics Anonymous Videos, AA is for Alcoholics, AA 12 Steps, Addiction And Recovery, DonInLondon, Don Oddy,


Friday, 27 December 2013

Alcoholics Anonymous | Dec 27 | DonInLondon | Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"

Alcoholics Anonymous Blog & Video | Dec 27 | DonInLondon | Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"

"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..."


Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"


December 27, 2013 Step Twelve Month: freedom to choose my path on a daily basis always starts with step one. Admitting I am powerless over alcohol and that if I drink life will become unmanageable. Admitting powerlessness over alcohol gave me the freedom to ask for help and learn about the big picture of life all over again. Out of isolation and back into inclusion with the world, not a fantasy about the world I wanted or desired, inclusion in the real world and inclusion in reality. Participating in the truth, love and wisdom of now.


A definition of insanity: "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." Albert Einstein. The power that restores me to sanity on a daily basis is seeking the truth in each situation I find myself engaged. Engaging in the truth means I need to find out what other people see as the truth of now. The spiritual connection: "the ability to cope with reality in the moment of now." Previous Archbishop of Canterbury. Indeed I could suggest I surrender to the truth, love and wisdom of now and cope. Not my opinion and belief, the truth as I and others see it by participating and sharing our beliefs and opinions to get to the truth everyone lives today. Best not consult with politicians, their truth is based on their opinion and belief and their self-interest?


Step three: a decision to let go my self will, self will which will keep me isolated and full of self opinion and belief. One outlook is never enough to live the truth of now because it requires a greater wisdom than mine. Not stuck in old beliefs and opinions, I can surrender to the truth of now, the love of now and the wisdom which grows on a daily basis. Who is God as we understand him? I don't know the answer to that one, a definition of God which satisfies everyone in the sense that God is the Supreme Being. I'm content to surrender to this understanding: that God manifests as truth, God manifests as love and God manifests as wisdom learned by humanity in the moment of now. God as a metaphor and also a reality manifesting as: truth, love and wisdom in the moment of now. Ever present in the imperfectly perfect moment of now.


I was listening to a theologian at silly o'clock last night. A very well read and practising religious individual. Having risen through the ranks in their particular religious sect, and also having read all the books they could from other religious faiths, he had come to his own understanding of God. And a bit like my philosophy, that if we could see the absolute truth love and wisdom in the moment of now, we would have perfect information to proceed and make decisions perfectly. But we don't have that ability. That is why it is a good idea not to get stuck in some ideological, or theological pattern which separates you and offers prejudice against others and the horror and conflict which follows. In life we all have the same starting point, and then our history causes the most awful conflicts across the world. I am pleased to be in a fellowship where everyone is allowed their own opinion and belief, and nobody can take it away.


Imperfectly perfect in fellowship means we are all probably wondering how to get to the truth a day at a time, keep our sanity, and depending on our personalities, some are looking simply to find a path back to "new" normal living, other more competitive types are probably trying to be superior recovering individuals. It is not for me to judge either way, and not to criticise one bit. Although we may all have started in the same place, being born into the world, every experience thereafter will have made us the way we are today. And that is why I love the fellowship I have come to live in, an anarchic democracy, which holds together through each groups conscience. Each group surrendering to the greater good: truth, love and wisdom and decision-making in the moment of now. I often find the group conscience to be a very disagreeable enterprise, because I don't get my way. And I am glad I don't get my way, because my best thinking got me to fellowship far later than was good for me, and the group conscience decisions are better decisions than I would make on my own.


Emotional and spiritual: being part of the flow of life, part of the reality of now and coping with the reality of now. If we don't like what we are doing, we can start to change direction, we can make good decisions based on truth. But if we are just disappointed with life, fearing something, feeling prideful, and our ego is excluding truth shared by other people, we are likely to come unstuck, and then stuck in a rut which leads to desolation and exclusion. If we go with the flow, have courage to change, have faith in doing the next right thing and the confidence to ask for help, our direction is towards inclusion, action which is positive and happier outcomes. And if the first we do not succeed, we start again and look at the truth of now. It is progress and never a perfect outcome beyond the: imperfectly perfect, ever present moment of now.


Alcoholics Anonymous Videos, AA is for Alcoholics, AA 12 Steps, Addiction And Recovery, DonInLondon, Don Oddy,

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Alcoholics Anonymous | Dec 26 | DonInLondon | Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"

Alcoholics Anonymous Blog & Video | Dec 26 | DonInLondon | Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"

"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..."


Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"


December 26, 2013 Step Twelve Month: Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. Sometimes when a person talks loudly, it is because they are deaf and they shout to hear themselves speak. Spiritually, suggest they get a hearing aid. Sometimes when a person is loud and aggressive, it is because people have stopped listening to them, and this can be for many reasons. Sometimes there is fear, pride and ego protecting the individual from further harm in some way. If a person cannot listen and does not wish to hear what is said, it is very difficult to have a two way dialogue. This happens and we need tolerance and love, patience to find a starting point to start the conversation all over again.


With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. We can help people who want to be helped, in any area of life, because that is what we do if we are a human being a human being. And sometimes we cannot help, timing, we may be simply the wrong person to try and help. And there are many broken people in this world, who have experienced the sham, stuck in drudgery and are heartbroken by events beyond their control. And yesterday one of the meetings I attended, somebody said with passion that the serenity prayer brings them back to earth and gives some perspective about what can be done, what cannot be done and the ever growing wisdom to know the difference.


It may seem like overkill to go to three meetings in one day. At Christmas time, three meetings on Christmas Day is a way to catch up with many people I know and have come to know over the years. It is a time of gratitude. I have seen many people come in and find fellowship, find a new path and a new way of life. I have seen many perish over the years, sometimes because of longevity, sometimes because they are stricken by other ailments, and quite often because they were overcome by the disease of addiction and alcoholism. And hearing speakers share their experience strength and hope, some fairly new, some middle timers and some old timers, there is humour, humility and gratitude to hear and bring confidence to those who listen.


When we encounter people outside fellowship, they are very often driven by the old ways we used to have, extremes of behaviour, wanting rather than needing, reaching for the impossible expectations, their heads in the clouds and their feet no longer planted on the ground. These can be the loud and aggressive persons which require us to be tolerant and loving. And trying not to judge them too harshly when they are bitter and tired out by their endeavours. It is not easy to be human being human, especially when things don't go well. At the same time, if we can keep perspective we do not rule out anything, but we do know when to back off and mind our own business. Loud and aggressive persons do need help, and again timing can be the most important factor in helping another human listen to the world, rather than their disappointment and anger when things go wrong.


Quite a mixture yesterday, all good in the big picture of life. Time with my best friend, time was fabulous with friends in fellowship, time shared with family over the phone and far away. And yes of course one or two loud and aggressive persons who are vexatious to the spirit. In the olden days who were allowed vexatious were not tolerated at all, they would cut out of life by my indifference. I keep learning how to cherish, I keep learning about the pain of living for many, I keep learning that superficiality and indifference will kill people one way or another without due care and attention. Loving people and hating their behaviour is not uncommon especially when the world has lost sight of what is important one day at a time.


I certainly cannot solve the problems of the world, and even if I suggest how to help, it can be rejected because it just does not fit how others see reality. And of course I could be wrong! There is always room to try help people, and some of the things that we say directly may land badly on another person in the normal world. However I do believe that practising these principles of support and being challenging will always be the best path to tread. And knowing when to let go of my point of view is always the best starting place today. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Surrendering to the truth of now, it is a two-way Street of discussion and understanding and then planning what can be done next. Overall a bloody good Christmas Day!


Alcoholics Anonymous Videos, AA is for Alcoholics, AA 12 Steps, Addiction And Recovery, DonInLondon, Don Oddy,


Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Alcoholics Anonymous | Dec 25 | DonInLondon | Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"

Alcoholics Anonymous Blog & Video | Dec 25 | DonInLondon | Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"

Max Ehrmann Desiderata


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,

and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender

be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly;

and listen to others,

even the dull and the ignorant;

they too have their story.


Avoid loud and aggressive persons,

they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,

you may become vain and bitter;

for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.


Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;

it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs;

for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;

many persons strive for high ideals;

and everywhere life is full of heroism.


Be yourself.

Especially, do not feign affection.

Neither be cynical about love;

for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment

it is as perennial as the grass.


Take kindly the counsel of the years,

gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.


Beyond a wholesome discipline,

be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,

no less than the trees and the stars;

you have a right to be here.


And whether or not it is clear to you,

no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,

whatever you conceive Him to be,

and whatever your labors and aspirations,

in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.


With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,

it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.


Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"


December 25, 2013 Step Twelve Month: Santa Don was out in the early hours delivering! And hopes the recipient likes the gift. Today like every other day, it's not about me, it is about us, all of us humans being human toward each other. "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..."


The most valued and precious gift we offer is our time. There is nothing more precious than time shared, with those we love and those who love us, and so many that we cherish today. Face-to-face is wonderful, from a distance knowing that loved ones are safe is wonderful even if we are missing them and cannot be with them. Unconditional love and time shared, time to share and time to remember. We may have desires and wishes which are beyond reality, in there is a gift even if we cannot give it except in our dreams.


My very last Christmas under the influence was years ago, and I would not wish it back. I need not pretend anymore, to be the life and soul of the party and have no soul within. I need remember that on every day, whoever we encounter is being the best they can be in the moment of now. We cannot control the world, we can understand exactly where everyone is today in their emotional and spiritual being. "The usefulness of any vessel is in its emptiness." In the emptiness we all have room to grow.


To thine own self be true, so that we can be true to others. It is not always possible to know where the truth lies until we begin a conversation. Any conversation between two people who surrender to the truth of their situation will illuminate and provide wisdom. Withholding the truth is withholding love and wisdom. Only fear corrupts the truth, pride and ego will destroy love and wisdom, and can be snuffed out in a heartbeat. Sharing truth love and wisdom sets everyone free, free to make the right choices in the moment of now.


Tolerance and love, forgiveness comes in the freedom to be oneself. Honest relationships flourish, trust develops and grows. And there is no need for contempt driven by a desire and expectation of love without foundation. Unrequited love lasts as long as the truth is withheld. Easier to cope with reality, face the truth and live life free of the burdens we impose upon ourselves. Open honest and willing, principles which help everyone make progress and never a perfect state. We simply learn from endeavour and then can find good fortune.


Easy does it, happiness is a daily possibility even under the harshest of conditions. Peace and serenity are earned through time. Without conflict, without misfortune, and without practice we will make no progress. And life is difficult until we accept that life is difficult and then it ceases to be an issue [M Scott Peck]. There is good in everything.


I'm not sure exactly where I will be today. There are many places I can go, and I have yet to decide what to cook, the beef possibly? I am smiling here, content to be me, still learning the lessons of life, still seeing the world with a youthful outlook even though my years are quite advanced. Age does not mean wisdom has been learned, still so much to do, on the emotional and spiritual path of life. Fortunately, I can only experience it in the moment of now. Fear less, cherish more today.


Alcoholics Anonymous Videos, AA is for Alcoholics, AA 12 Steps, Addiction And Recovery, DonInLondon, Don Oddy,


Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Alcoholics Anonymous | Dec 24 | DonInLondon | Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"

Alcoholics Anonymous Blog & Video | Dec 24 | DonInLondon | Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"

Sometimes quickly sometimes slowly I am changing, now I have principles by which to live, open honest and willing, life does change every single day. 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.

Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"


December 24, 2013 Step Twelve Month: what is on offer today? It is not about me, and it is not about you, it is about us working together! That is the possibility one day at a time, out of isolation and co-dependency, into friendship and equality just for today. "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..."


The impact of recovery can be very enlightening about how we became alcoholics and addicts, learning what we can do and cannot do on a daily basis, living in reality where we can make changes. Every day the challenge is always there to: step back into fear, pride and ego or to step forward with courage to change, faith in doing the next right thing and gaining confidence. And when we don't know what we can and cannot do, we have resources, to ask for help and gain the wisdom to make better decisions whatever the conditions of the day. We cannot change the past, we can change our direction with freedom at any time if we are aware of the real possibilities rather than unrealistic desires we may have in our own minds eye.


I can remember suggestions outside fellowship from decades ago when flower power and hippy sayings came from the mystical east: "going with the flow." And all sorts to do with expanding our mind and spiritual experiences. People were taking drugs to expand their consciousness. Indeed they expanded their consciousness to the extremities of their skulls and not much more. Of course I could be wrong about this. In truth however going with the flow and expanding consciousness requires a real connection to now and not something that is brought on by a mind altering substance. Maybe people freed their minds, to experience the breadth of their fantasies, usually people used substances to get away from reality. Emotional and spiritual: experiencing feelings which fit with the reality of now is beyond measure.


The more we hold onto expectations, what we think we are entitled to, what we think we deserve will hinder our ability to live in the moment of now. It may seem obvious, but when a person has been put down and then trodden into the ground by the prejudice that comes with addiction, when we stop the addiction and start recovery, we do need to clear the slate and allow everyone in, until we can make a clear decision about who we need to kick out of our immediate circle and connections to this world. Just because we are clean, it will take the world a while to engage with us and to trust us today.


Quite a few people have died this year who were in the public eye and were either alcoholics or addicts, actually both alcoholics and addicts. And there has been headline news about famous people being ordered into rehab. Whatever the rehab, it is a limited intervention to start a process of recovery. Why do people fail and end up either dead or back in the dreadful disease? The primary reason is the highs that are experienced under the influence, followed by the dread and depression and lows that follow. And the torture of trying to be the "old normal person sober" is completely impossible to achieve. Recovery is about becoming a "new normal person" finding a path where feelings fit reality and we can cope with it. Everyone wants us to cope, and we want to be able to cope, and the tragedy is that people hang on to the notion that they can be returned to a normal which other people want them to be. And the horror is normal can be quite ordinary until we realise the extraordinary is simply right in front of us every single day: that is life on life's terms with a community who supports rather than exercises prejudice one day at a time.


The unrealistic expectation that we can control life, that we have expectations which put us back into our successful mode, to enjoy life as we did is simply impossible. To learn to live life on life's terms, where our feelings match the current conditions of the day, and the current conditions of the day can be good bad or ugly, takes quite a while. To be included in family again, to be included in community again, to be included in the workplace again, to find usefulness in our lives and in society, it all takes time. And the urge to fix life and be in control of it really undermines everything until we really understand the nature of powerlessness and letting go the insanity of trying to live the old life without a fix. We don't fix life, we live it.


Christmas Eve 2013, lots of people travelling, and lots of people trying to travel and getting nowhere. It can be okay to stay at home, take the pressure off, see what is possible rather than the impossible of a happy Christmas on the road, in the air, stuck on a train. With every modern connection, if you really need to see a person, you can Skype them and love them from afar. My plans this week would have involved seeing relatives. The weather forecast is frightful! And my relatives would simply prefer me to be safe and happy and they be safe and happy and not worrying over an expectation of a visit. We are in touch all the time, and it would be nice to be there in person, it is not however a necessary part of the Christmas period today. This is me speaking for myself, and having a stress free Christmas this year. And the same time, I don't know what tomorrow will bring, so there may be some stress, I cannot predict the future, at the same time I need not fear the unknowable.


Alcoholics Anonymous Videos, AA is for Alcoholics, AA 12 Steps, Addiction And Recovery, DonInLondon, Don Oddy,


Monday, 23 December 2013

Alcoholics Anonymous | Dec 23 | DonInLondon | Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"

Alcoholics Anonymous Blog & Video | Dec 23 | DonInLondon | Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"

Sometimes quickly sometimes slowly I am changing, now I have principles by which to live, open honest and willing, life does change every single day. 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.

Step 12 "Freedom To Choose"


December 23, 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..." In this morning’s meeting, quite a few of the newcomers have gone away for the holidays. I have a lot of hope that they will return in the New Year. I cannot predict how their situations will go, at least they have some tools to take with them and hopefully be sober one day at a time. Being sober will mean they can cope more fully with the reality of their situation, be it good bad or ugly.


My local shopping street is the Kings road in Chelsea, and it is a windy blustery day, rain coming in torrents later. Seems like the whole world is out to shop, and is only for two days? I have added to my normal bits and pieces, and nice piece of beef, onions, mushrooms, carrots, smoked salmon, ready prepared gravy just in case I make a mess of it, fizzy water, oh and brown bread. And a couple of lemons. People seem to be somewhat distracted by the holiday season, most normal people look tired out, need a drink to relax?


I really enjoyed the early-morning meeting, chatting with people who I have known for many years and also people I have not seen and they have many years in recovery. It was a step nine meeting all about amends, and step nine is very challenging, understanding why we are doing it, amends to self amends to other people, and something much deeper, understanding how to cherish people yet again, rather than be superficial and indifferent to their needs. The deep of this is learning how to love, be loved back without conditions. And this rarely happens overnight.


Reflecting this morning, once we have put the drink down, all the other things become more profound, for example: romance and finance. We can start looking out romantically if we are not attached, we might want to improve our finances in a magnificent way. My experience is that romance is possible in recovery, probably we get a bit more choosy and look for more interesting qualities in those we meet. As to finance, it can be helpful to be secure, but it's not what makes us tick as human beings. Everything is possible in recovery, when we let go fear, pride and ego, and channel ourselves into action with courage to change, faith in doing the next right thing and the confidence to engage in living. And of course feelings need to be mutual in the romance department, and letting go fear of the negative can be very difficult.


Every day we learn something, and today simply being in a queue at the butchers was quite a merry affair. People patient and waiting, not rushing at the early hour I was there. And then as the day or the morning went on, the pace of life sped up, and I am glad I am not normal, when back in the day extravagance in all aspects of this season was a way of diverting myself from the loneliness and dread, and drinking to be Merry rather than just Merry with life. And that is the difference today, whether the holidays are conventional or not conventional, I can be happy being me and celebrating the sentiment of love in reality. What a change the steps have made in my life and the lives of everyone I encounter in Fellowship. The door is always open to new life and living. And with gentle caution, new life and living will include everything, the good, the bad and the ugly as life is and not as life might have been wished in the past.


Alcoholics Anonymous Videos, AA is for Alcoholics, AA 12 Steps, Addiction And Recovery, DonInLondon, Don Oddy,