Friday, 17 January 2014

Alcoholics Anonymous Jan 17 2004 - 2014 DonInLondon | Step 1 "Powerless" |

Alcoholics Anonymous Blog & Video | Jan 17 2004 - 2014 | DonInLondon | Step 1 "Powerless" |


January 17 Video

January 17 Video


January Step One Month: "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable." Life was certainly unmanageable at the end of my drinking. I was isolated and close down, hardly able to speak let alone get out and about, the phone off, curtains closed, and all this happened on the way to homelessness and destitution. Not a pleasant journey at all. It took me quite a long time to realise that a Fellowship could help me face reality, cope with reality and when I could not cope it was always okay to ask for help.


DonInLondon January 17, 2014: I feel better than I did yesterday, by lunch time I was shattered and needed rest. I always accept the current conditions today, and my current conditions today. How am I feeling? Happy and tired out. Why? Because I was able to help a friend in need which meant going on a journey. What did I have to do next: take time out and rest long enough for the aches and pains to subside. All this done and I wake up at silly o'clock, silly o'clock is where I am awake and the rest of the world around me is hopefully happily fast asleep. When I need to rest I do, because I need to and not because I should or ought. If I push too hard in any direction, I move from being able to do things, to not being able to do things. And I accept it as truth. Then I don't worry if I keep different hours to what used to be normal.


There were lots of consequences to drinking to excess: especially with romance and finance. In the area of romance, drinking to excess often meant romantic interludes were of a very short nature, wonderful and yet not really romantic. Finance: I guess I was driven by many forces, and as a force of nature and also with the aptitude to learn quickly and deliver well in terms of job and career, it was always work hard and play hard. As a consequence, it was a lonely business being me, frequent romantic entanglements, and always working as hard as possible to prove I was worthy. Fear of never having enough money, and then fear of not being good enough to love, left me driven to extremes trying to create perfect scenario's impossible to maintain.


Consequences! Loneliness, unforgiving of myself, somebody pointed out to me once that they were fearful of ever letting me down. I had never considered other people letting me down at all, I always took responsibility when things would go wrong and it never occurred to me to blame others. And then I did after a while, because by blaming myself, somehow it opened the door to resenting other people, who actually were doing the best they could and also had limits to what was good for them. In romance, I feel sometimes we all try to replicate a time when everything seemed to work out, and then the disillusionment would set in, and it is impossible to keep on trying to get to a place of happiness without putting in the effort. And of course self-oblivion was a good way to be in a selfish obsession and sadness.


The good news is in recovery that anything can happen if we work at life itself. Working at life itself, starts with the inside job, which is to understand our emotional and spiritual condition. We do not become emotional and spiritual giants incrementally with wisdom learned. We remain human beings who can be whatever they can be, given the current conditions of the day. The spiritual angle of living, in the moment of now, and our ability to connect with the moment of now is as big as it gets in the emotional and spiritual world. No amount of wisdom will make us better than anyone else. This natural equality imposed by nature and nurture, to live in the moment of now is the best it will always be. The best spiritual experience? Probably it is readiness and appetite to greet and be in the moment of now.


I feel Bill Wilson was right when he shared that if we can find the truth in the moment of now, admit the truth, accept the truth and actually surrender to the truth, we have a better connection to what we can and cannot do. And such a view is not diminished by our own personal beliefs or opinions, unless we are waiting for something or other to illuminate the truth of now. Illumination usually comes in the form of: sharing what we feel is going on with those we are connecting with in the moment. And by truthful disclosure by everyone, we find common ground. And often the common ground we find feels like a miracle, indeed if it feels like a miracle to find these truths, happily for me it is miraculous.


And I reckon we are also powerless over what goes on in the heads of other people, and whether or not they share the truth. But of course they do share the truth as they wish to present it, and I don't argue with that at all. But what might be true for other people, may not be true for me through experience and my own endeavours. I do need to question my own point of view, and challenge the point of view of other people. How we do this, depends on the importance of what other people believe and what I believe. Worst case scenario, we change where we are and what we do, sometimes the best scenario is the wisdom learned by these encounters and I can change and find my path, which may fall into a pattern and a path with you. Some people just do this normally, and don't even think about it.


We are all doing the best we can with what we know, and if we have courage faith and confidence to explore possibilities, we are likely to change. If we are feeling threatened or challenged, we may become fearful and our pride and ego might get in the way of learning something new. Addiction easily distorts our outlook and fear, pride and ego can manifest and make us resist change. Thank goodness for these twelve steps based on learning, humility being the key. Humility is the greatest strength in trying new ideas and developing the courage to change, faith in action and confidence to try and try again. As a newcomer it took me a long while to shrug off my fears even when I did not know what I was frightened of at the time.


In our current situation in the UK, the way things are with politicians, media and a whole host of old prejudices, our society is being made more fragmented. Attitudes are harsh and unforgiving. And a lot of this has to do with comparisons between people and a deep sense of long-term economic insecurity. If I were to join in, I know I would start to miss the point of living life. Indeed all those problems we have are important and vital, at the same time if I do not understand my emotional and spiritual learning day by day, I would be sucked into chaos rather than continually being restored to sanity on a daily basis. Fellowship, experience strength and hope on a daily basis, improves my sanity and keeps me out of the insanity that drives other people bonkers.


DonInLondon 2013 - 2005


January 17 2013 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 1 "Powerless" | Alcoholics Anonymous | "A Fatal Progression..." What is normal? The whole world seems to be enamoured with striving to be number one, and to prove prowess in some way or other. 2012 saw the Olympics in the UK, and the nation into the success of athletes who have spent their lives becoming the best at one element of life. What about the rest of their lives? When we cannot do the things we are best at, have been taught and trained to do, and that element of life is taken away for whatever reason, the traumatic impact of change can unhinge anyone…


I was very lucky to be stopped in my tracks, becoming more and more able to do just one thing, to be a specialist cog in a multinational, to be the best eclectic counsellor you might ever encounter on the planet, and certainly in my imagination back then. I could not see how good I had become at helping and advising others, until I could do it no more. And although I might have been a good counsellor, the cost of being that good was killing me. And I reckon I wasn't that good, I could not see myself and the impact of life on me. Old attitudes and behaviour, and very bad habits paid for by excellence in the field of work I'd never planned and only undertaken because I was asked. And I never knew how to say no to the job or the money and never really thought about the consequences… Hindsight is very helpful as long as we do not wallow and think we ought to be back where we were before, even though it might be convenient for many around us…


When we are looking to find a way out of our malady, how incomprehensible addiction to alcohol, substances, particular people, particular places and doing particular things, it all starts with a habit. The habit of fixing our feelings so that we can cope in the moment of now. Unfortunately the moment of now, when we have fixed ourselves in some way with a substance or behaviour, cannot be maintained and the more we try, the more we try fix with the excesses, the less the effect and the less the impact and the more we try to keep on fixing, it seems logical, and then becomes a madness we cannot stop…


An emotional and spiritual malady! It took me a long while to understand that what I was trying to fix were emotions, the feelings and to be okay right now as quickly as possible. What I used to take away the pain, the exhaustion of life and the bad times, which had started so I could experience the joy and the happiness that life offered. No wonder I was confused, in my early days, everyone used alcohol or something to celebrate something or other. And when there was tragedy, we drank it away to avoid the horror and the feelings of grief. Alcohol was my best friend, under all conditions, except one, living reality and coping in the moment of now. I was so used to fixing myself, and alcohol was always there, it never seemed to be the cause, it always seemed to be the solution to anything on any day…


And this fatal progression, from having a substance as a best friend, which never argued with me and never seemed to cause me grief, suddenly revealed itself as the problem and not the solution? No, it was a long road, alcohol, always present never seemed to be a problem. Maybe it takes some of us a long time to realise the impact of alcohol. It seems like a solution to everything, I rarely had a hangover, because I probably rarely stop drinking. Drink seem to make anything possible, and in many ways in my own life, drink made life work for a long time. But it was not the life I would have chosen had I been more able to understand my feelings and cope with real life. Always in a high-pressure environment at work, drink was a good self-medication to work, rest and play…


Sometime last year, a friend mentioned that the last six months of my drinking and the first six months of recovery were the most useful months, learning the difference and making the possibility of a new life start to happen. From no emotional understanding in those last six months of drink, to the most painful six months where emotions surfaced and I had no idea what they were, except they were completely unmanageable and I was being driven mad by experiencing feelings for the first time in the raw. Raw feelings, from loving to hating, and then finding there was something in between, just about every nuance of feeling which seemed to be fleeting as the turmoil erupted, from an alcoholic rock bottom, into an emotional rollercoaster with every moment with the passing of each day and an understanding what reality had to offer… Everything, that alcohol had taken away, feelings in the moment of now, and no way to cope with them, except to live them sober, moment by moment…


It is no wonder that many people struggle with sobriety. From having the control of alcohol to fix everything. And when it doesn't work anymore, many people slide into new ways of fixing. And that's how it works. And when we stop fixing, because it doesn't work, the shock to the system is so great, we may try return to the fix to take away the reality of where we are. The good news, recovery is not about fixing anything, it is about experiencing everything. That's why life is good, bad and ugly. And it is beautiful because of it. Once I realised reality was going to give me the best rollercoaster ride ever possible, I started to wake up to reality one day at a time. This raw awkward new beginning would not have been achieved without the help of other people, who had gone through the same experience of hopeless alcoholic, to a human being in recovery. Nobody knows just how life is going to turn out in recovery, there are no guarantees, except one, "the real life experience in the moment," where our feelings fit with what is going on is always going to offer us the best choice about what we can and cannot do today. We learn to say no to what is bad for us more often, and saying yes to what is good for us in the moment of now. Our brains work again, at first, not so well, and when things don't work too well, we can ask the help because fellowship helps others find the right people to help in the moment of now, inside and outside fellowship…


And the good news about reality is? We will not always get our way, and we don't care to get our way. Thinking the world was about us and what we wanted becomes thinking the world is about everyone and what is needed by everyone. The opportunity to be selfless rather than self-obsessed is there. Not everyone stops being self-obsessed, well, not straight away… Many people remain self-obsessed for a long time, and can only see things from their own outlook, rather than seeing the big picture. There are quite a few bitter individuals who remain stuck, selfish and controlling, white knuckling and thinking their way of recovery is the only way. Recovery from addiction becomes a personal journey of discovery and the outcomes will always depend on the attitude and behaviour of you in your recovery. If you cannot stop being selfish and vain, the meaning of life and all it has to offer will be very narrow. If you become open, honest and willing and selfless helping others, life takes on new meaning, and you will always find yourself with more love and purpose than any single human being can handle. Then, you have choices in all respects. One day at a time…


The fatal malady which kills so many is a tragedy. Addiction to anything, where we try fix ourselves with something turns a human being inwards and completely awkward with reality. It is a bit like a Phoenix rising out of the ashes, an old life which burned us out, to new life which is about developing courage to change, faith in doing the next right thing and confidence to ask the help. It does not mean help will come immediately as we ask, we learn patience and resilience and deal with our feelings in the moment. There is a suggestion in recovery made by some, "to sit with your feelings," I'm not so sure about that, better to get to a meeting and express your feelings as often as you can so someone somewhere may be able to offer some help, from a kind word, to maybe a solution. Over time, we learn over and over again what it is like to be a human, being human today. And I like and I love being human, the same as all humans being human in the moment of now…


During my life, which was so blighted by alcohol, I used to pretend to be okay, I used to pretend I could do things, without ever knowing how to do the things I was asked to do. In other words, "in the old life, I would fake it to make it." And I have heard it said, over and over by many people that in recovery, sometimes, "fake it to make it…" I find this very disagreeable, it is suggesting dishonesty and pretence. In recovery, we do not have to fake anything to make progress, we make progress, by telling the truth, learning how to do things and trying out new ways of living. Trying out new ways of living is better when we let everybody know we are trying something new, and asking for help is about humility and not ego, hiding our lack of ability or awareness. I do believe in recovery, that if you try to fake yourself in order to make yourself, the road of recovery is more difficult and profoundly negative on our emotional and spiritual well-being. Humility! The very essence of learning and asking for help. And if you encounter people who won't help you, or cannot help you, let them go. I didn't get sober to fake anything, least of all, how to love, how to be loved back, and cherish people as they are with all their faults, because if I can see their faults, I most likely have them too...


January 17 2012 | Daily Reflection | Today's daily reflection from AA "happiness comes quietly" suggests I knew what happiness was in the first place. Before recovery, I seemed driven to produce happiness and control it. It was not a conscious thing with me; it was buried deep inside, a longing for another moment of tranquillity.


The moments of tranquillity in all my life were very scarce. I didn't know much about my feelings or emotions. My understanding of love tainted by my life experience and what I thought love was. I certainly did love, on reflection though it was very needy rather than simply a state of being.


As the Beatles song went "all you need is love" seemed obvious to the world. But it isn't obvious if love has been missing in action. Missing in action for many years, love is elusive if we ever felt it, and if we can only think love, it remains a thought and not feeling. Fear of being loved, and not able to love back was a useless state of affairs…


Sometimes we hear the quote "most folks are as happy as they make up their mind to be" suggests we can think it so, rather than live it as it is. Most folks are happy when happiness is happening, where feelings fit the experience of now. Manufactured happiness? Not for me. I prefer happy or sad as the moment is. And we can be happy as life affords.


I am more aware these days of my delusions and daydreams about love. The ability to love, be loved back and useful is always in the moment of now. Love does happen naturally and need never be forced indeed we cannot force anything, powerless over feelings, we just think we know better some of the time until we really know what feelings are…


DonInLondon 2005-2011


From feeling like I knew all the answers to living or how to find them, I found I no clue how to stop killing myself with alcohol. I took myself to the brink of extinction more than once. When all else failed, I asked for help and found recovery. Humility and asking keeps me alive for today...


Daily Reflections AA ~ HAPPINESS COMES QUIETLY JANUARY 17, 2012 The trouble with us alcoholics was this: We demanded that the world give us happiness and peace of mind in just the particular order we wanted to get it - by the alcohol route. And we weren’t successful. But when we take time to find out some of the spiritual laws, and familiarize ourselves with them, and put them into practice, then we do get happiness and peace of mind. . . There seem to be some rules that we have to follow, but happiness and peace of mind are always here, open and free to anyone. DR. BOB AND THE GOOD OLDTIMERS, p. 308


The simplicity of the A.A. program teaches me that happiness isn’t something I can “demand.” It comes upon me quietly, while I serve others. In offering my hand to the newcomer or to someone who has relapsed, I find that my own sobriety has been recharged with indescribable gratitude and happiness.



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 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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