Thursday, 16 January 2014

Alcoholics Anonymous | Jan 16 2004 - 2014 | DonInLondon | Step 1 "Powerless" |

Alcoholics Anonymous Blog & Video | Jan 16 2004 - 2014 | DonInLondon | Step 1 "Powerless" |


January 16 Video

January 16 Video


January Step One Month: "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable." It can be the worst experience to discover that no matter what we do, we cannot stop drinking or using substances or addictive behaviour. And the hardest thing is to realise that admitting and accepting this truth can lead to a greater freedom and a more enriching living experience. The road of recovery is the toughest anyone may experience, unless we realise the road we take is simply for today.


DonInLondon January 16, 2014: so far so good, lunchtime already and quite a lot of fun being in the company of a loved one. From moment to moment, depending what's going on our mood changes. Some difficult conversations, all about life and experience. Some funny conversations about people, places and things. The truth of being sober and dealing with every encounter opens the door to feeling everything that is happening in the moment of now. Being in a car: how other people drive, how other people behave on the road is a bit like life, sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad and sometimes it’s ugly. And recognising the difference, and of course realising the truth of what we can and cannot do, releases us from the burden of judging others and getting on with our own lives more happily.


It feels quite strange when I don't go to a meeting for a couple of days, that is a meeting of the AA Fellowship. I start to miss the people, who they are on what they do, what they share, and the reality of their feelings in the moment of now. Put a group of sober Fellowship people in a room together, and it can get quite raucous and full of laughter very quickly. At the same time and in the flash of moments, as someone shares about their truth it can be a very sombre and upsetting time to listen. We have empathy, not apathy as we listen. And we don't judge after a while, we simply consider how we relate to what other people say and what they are up to today. And because Fellowship evokes love in people, it can be very hard when we are still learning the basics of how to love even after years of being on the planet.


I can remember a friend of mine sharing that they had fallen in love with their wife all over again when they got sober. It felt humbling to hear their story, and humility needed to restart life and fall in love all over again, more passionately and more deeply is beyond measure for them. I guess if I had been still in the mind of active addiction, I would not have felt a thing. What it did evoke in me, was my loss of love over the years, and then a reminder how much love there had been in my life. To cherish and love, rather than be superficial and indifferent to others is one of the most profound changes any human can make. It does not happen overnight, it is a slow and steady process of learning one day at a time. We do not fix ourselves any more or try fix other people, we learn how to live and love today.


DonInLondon 2013 - 2005


January 16 2013 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 1 "Powerless" | Alcoholics Anonymous "Who Is John Barleycorn?" The references in The Big Book, The 12x12 and AA Comes of Age were likely made in loose regard to the 1913 autobiographical novel by the extremely popular American author Jack London that chronicled his struggles with alcoholism. The novel's title "John Barleycorn" was taken from the British folksong of the same name. In the song John Barleycorn represents the vital barley grain crop and the beer and/or whiskey made from it. In the song, John Barleycorn suffers pain, humiliation and death, in ways which are said to represent the growth, cutting and distilling of barley. Around the time of the writing of much of A.A.'s literature "John Barleycorn" had come to be used as a euphemism for alcoholism or alcohol. There are many different versions of the song and the content can vary considerably but generally have to do with themes of growth, suffering, death, alcohol, revenge... and barley.


Given the choice, would you play Russian roulette? With a clear head and a focus on reality, would you pick up a gun, with one bullet in one chamber and five empty and spin the chamber, point the gun at your head and fire? The odds favour the stupid and insane. And yet life is about risk, life is about courage, and life is about bravery. And life is about having fun. In our right mind. We wouldn't even consider Russian roulette. And yet everyone doubts the dangers apply to them when it comes to alcohol. The consequences of being out of control impact emotionally and physically. I worked hard and played hard over thirty-five years, alcohol a constant companion. And they say, whoever they are, and I've yet to meet them, "nothing is wasted in God's economy." Actually, I'm happy to say that nothing is wasted in God's economy, and I do not want to put the clock back, alcohol served its purpose in my life, at the same time, many people are not alive to tell the tale and only serve as dead examples of the consequences with alcohol…


Historical suggestions around John Barleycorn, part of the cycle of life, a way of self-medicating, with sterilising against obnoxious plagues over the centuries? Many ways the alcohol served a purpose. And in my life, it did serve a purpose, it took me out of control and away from inhibitions created by fear, dishonesty and self-loathing. Never feeling right, being out of control on alcohol, gave the illusion of joy and happiness. And opened many doors, helped me overcome self-doubt and self-fear. Or could it be that alcohol caused the problem in the first place. And I would have been better learning how to deal with reality one day at a time… In so many ways people have difficult starts to their lives, some people can cope, many people never find their voice, and some people take advantage of their station and their status. Several millennia ago, life was immediate, brutal and very unfair depending on your point of view, and homebrew and eating certain plants took the pain away. And the same is true today, it's just more obvious. And that's why a lot of people drink to oblivion, and some people become dependent and then addicted to substances…


Watching a reality TV show on one channel about British youngsters on holiday abroad, the old adage, drink and be merry still holds true. Finishing off the old adage, "eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die…" It is all part of the mythology we grow up with in our own culture in the UK. And we have never been far away from war, conflict and revolution. And when we are young, our passion, and the right and wrong we encounter can drive us mad and can drive everyone to be revolted and revolting at the status quo. The program on holidays abroad with British youngsters just reminded me that nothing is changed probably in the last few decades. A revolution in personal freedom and freedom from want, has led to a continued revolution whilst on holiday, at the weekend and generally raving whenever the possibility arises. It's like trying to introduce a gun law, when it comes to alcohol and British culture, as individuals we cannot change a thing that other people do because they will. All we can do is work out what is good for ourselves, understand where our own madness came from, and as survivors share our experience strength and hope with anyone anywhere who has a desire to get back to reality…


I was reading the twelve and twelve, that sometimes people don't have to go right to the very bottom, the rock bottom that seemed a necessary part of my education with alcohol, and then emotional and spiritual bankruptcy. And when I look back now, I had already experienced quite a number of emotional and spiritual rock bottoms before alcohol came along and scooped me up, took me on the crest of a wave, and then dumped me on a great big pile of rocks, which were very sharp and as the waves push me back and forth, the scars and the wounds just deepened. Why do people take illicit drugs when they know some people die, some people are left brain damaged and some people survive. Simply we are risk takers and we don't want to miss out. The consequences if we live long enough, through whatever rock bottom we encounter with the help of John Barleycorn, and whatever other substances and behaviour follow, will be as bad as it need be for a person to say enough is enough, or simply get locked up long enough to get a sense of another reality…


Consequences! Still alive and kicking. After all these years, my life is not the one I imagined I would have, I never imagined being alive this long. And through the decades of finance and romance, so many learning lessons in so many ways to share the experiences, the glorious highs, and the desolate lows. And nothing much in between for quite a long time, as my addled head struggled with a dependency, I really could not understand on a daily basis. I do feel that nothing is wasted, because I got this far, but for many the consequences happen very early, maimed, emotionally and physically, the more I would tell war stories and share comedic episodes, the more I was caught in my own trap, thinking that alcohol was the oil in the machine. It was not, it took the edge off me completely then the edge off reality. Today, reality is key, not to be a Puritan, but to be free from fear, free from putting on a brave face and pretending to be okay, free of ego, which is me judging the world as the world is judging me right back by my actions. And the romanticism associated with debauchery, all the vices that are open to we humans and then the turnaround, the appeal is not lost on those who have travelled this road. Until rock bottom, takes away everything and there is nothing left inside except insanity…


What happened this morning! Started off writing and feeling quite positive. And yet I seem to come to consequences based on my own personal experience and watching programs about behaviour of kids on holiday. That is kids around the age of 18 to 25. Going mad when out of country, and doing everything that their home world says is wrong. When the home world sits in judgement and does not really help people grow, the answer is not law, the answer is sharing experience strength and hope. You cannot stop good people behaving badly, and you cannot stop bad people behaving well. It is culture, it is the experience, people go through which causes the problems and the solutions. Some people live through the most difficult times, when everything is out of control and yet they find a place of peace and serenity. Some people through no fault of their own go through the worst of times and are very badly affected and the damage done cannot be undone. Until a person is able to make a free choice and go through the pain and the joy, they will face the consequences of all their actions whilst mad. Like everything in recovery, contingent on our ability to cope with the present reality, insanity is optional and easy to access on any given day. The miracle of those who can get the support and keep on getting that support on a daily basis is what sanity offers one day at a time: freedom, absolute freedom to make good choices which are full of fun, romance and financial components, full of hope and joy, as well as all the other crap we need deal with one day at a time…


Fellowship, no age restriction, the doors are open to anyone anywhere at any time. Learning to live reality, learning to deal with all the consequences of life up to this point and then learn how to deal with life in the moment of now. Or maybe not deal with it, live it and cope with what is going on. Living reality, means we are growing and learning about every element and every component of our life today. We still need deal with good living, and bad and ugly living, and know that is just part of life. We learn how to deal with feelings, setbacks and success and keep on choosing and having this freedom to choose what to do next. It is not about being compliant, not for me anyway, it is about being rebellious in the nicest possible way, sharing the truth of what I see and the truth is often ugly. And the good news is, even though life can be pretty awful, there is a lot of humour and a lot of joy to be experienced in everything. Human beings, we all have emotional resilience as we go through life. And we will have good naughty experiences because that is part of life, bad naughty experiences and ugly naughty experiences or how else would we ever learn what is right and what is wrong? Maybe I am just a rebellious Puritan with a head full of vices as well as virtues, I quite like wearing black and not the pointy hat, and not a judgemental attitude on others. I don't feel any amount of legislation is ever going to stop some of us going through the experience offered by John Barleycorn and the madness that follows, out of the madness comes sanity for a few, never enough in my view is the consequences remain as dire as they ever will one day at a time…


January 16 2012 | Daily Reflection | Today's AA daily reflection: "hitting rock bottom" insists that we must hit rock bottom if we are to completely surrender to a new way of living. Nobody suggested or insisted I hit rock bottom, but I was pulled up short when asked, "How many more rock bottom experiences do you need before you get the message?"


As an active alcoholic I may have heard the expression "rock bottom" and had some inkling of what it meant. Most likely a place where life could get no more difficult and no worse, whatever way we might look at our situation. A completely desolate place of existence, no inner resource left inside me, put down and done…


I can remember going to a rehab centre after I thought I had reached rock bottom only to find that the staff were determined to make sure I was at rock bottom by tormenting me further. After months in the rehab centre I left with anger, rage and hate. Bullying people to death is not rehabilitation; it's a death sentence…

At rock bottom we have been hurt by life and by our own hands. My own experience is, hurt people can hurt more people in order to prove a point. Thank goodness fellowship is all about learning how to love, be loved back and useful one day at a time…


DonInLondon 2005-2011


Listening to another share their compassion and concern for another who had deeply wounded their spirit for many years gave me a feeling of joy that redemption is possible, forgiveness is real in the most extreme moments, and being human we can all learn as time affords. Seeing people grow into their true selves is a real joy today...


HITTING BOTTOM ~ JANUARY 16, 2012 Why all this insistence that every A.A. must hit bottom first? The answer is that few people will sincerely try to practice the A.A. program unless they have hit bottom. For practicing A.A.’s remaining eleven Steps means the adoption of attitudes and actions that almost no alcoholic who is still drinking can dream of taking. TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 24


Hitting bottom opened my mind and I became willing to try something different. What I tried was A.A. My new life in the Fellowship was a little like learning how to ride a bike for the first time: A.A. became my training wheels and my supporting hand. It’s not that I wanted the help so much at the time; I simply did not want to hurt like that again. My desire to avoid hitting bottom again was more powerful than my desire to drink. In the beginning that was what kept me sober. But after a while I found myself working the Steps to the best of my ability. I soon realized that my attitudes and actions were changing - if ever so slightly. One Day at a Time, I became comfortable with myself, and others, and my hurting started to heal. Thank God for the training wheels and supporting hand that I choose to call Alcoholics Anonymous.




Step One Video 12 & 12

Step One Video 12 & 12


AA Big Book Video | Chapter 1 | Bill's Story |

AA Big Book Video | Chapter 1 | Bill's Story |


AA Big Book Video | Chapter 2 | There Is A Solution |

AA Big Book Video | Chapter 2 | There Is A Solution |



AA Big Book Video | Chapter 3 | More About Alcoholism |



AA Big Book Video | Chapter 4 | We Agnostics |

AA Big Book Video | Chapter 4 | We Agnostics |



AA Big Book Video | Chapter 5 | How It Works |

AA Big Book Video | Chapter 5 | How It Works |


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

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