Alcoholics Anonymous Blog & Video | January 2 | DonInLondon | Step 1 "Powerless" |
"We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable." Speaking for myself, I need to translate the twelve steps into an active statement: "I do admit I am powerless over alcohol, and that if I drink today the consequences are life will become unmanageable all over again." If I ever forget or feel that I can go back to drinking without consequences, bad consequences, the only person I will be fooling is me.
January 2 Video
Step One Video 12 & 12
DonInLondon January 2, 2014: this time of year, we get lots of reminders about expectations being resentments under construction. We hope we are loved, indeed our expectations are that we will be loved in this life. The problem is that most people don't express love to each other and so when people do express love it comes out awkwardly and often in ways which feel inappropriate. Nothing is appropriate or inappropriate if we are in a learning living situation. Before you start doing anything, ask! We are not mind readers, at the same time if we do not share our needs with others, they become wants and then fixations and fantasies we can never realise.
How to love is very difficult when we have never found how to love other people, we may have pursued them and desired them and captured them, and then the disappointment that life is not perfect. How to love other people is an ongoing moment by moment, minute to hour, and then by the day. Either we are building love and intimacy, and sharing as we go, or we are trying to impose a version of love we think we know will work. If we do not ask people, if we do not relate to people, if we do not express our feelings, simply expressing our expectations, resentments fly in all directions very quickly.
Powerless over alcohol, people places and things is always a good start every morning. I am powerless over alcohol and if I drink life will get unmanageable. I am powerless over people and what goes on in their heads, and if I try to control or manipulate them rather than be honest with them, my life will be unmanageable and I will be resented by them. Places and things! They are what they are right now, and I am not here to change them, unless I'm employed to do so for some reason.
Every day a power greater than me restores me to sanity. The power greater than me is the wisdom out there which is available from other people, history and fiction. If I relate to people, share my opinions and beliefs, and they share their opinions and beliefs, we find common ground or we don't and we do not keep on bashing away: the serenity prayer helps always with you believe in God or not, 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. Of course learning the wisdom to know the difference is what life is all about, just because you have the wisdom sometimes it takes a little while to accept the truth of now.
Right now I feel extremely happy, for all the right reasons, feelings fitting reality in the moment of now. And this is exciting beyond measure. With friends, able to share over long distances and face-to-face, love and cherishing and being together is as good as it gets in life one day at a time. We are never sure where we are headed, what we will encounter today, and how we may respond. Our greatest ally is the truth, when we like it, truth prevails. When we don't like the truth, we often ignore it and deny it until acceptance jolts us into reality. I am happy in the moment of now. And in the moment I am loving reality and coping with it.
The beginning of a new chapter and a new day. January 2, 2013, bright and sunny, and a relief and a wondering what to do next. I need to start at the beginning again. And what better place to start with some basics of what makes life work for me.
The serenity prayer, which can be said to God, or as an exhortation to God, or depending on your faith and beliefs an exhortation to good, simply the good of life: the serenity prayer, "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."
Serenity is a state of mind which can be lived. Serenity in the moment of now, even when life is chaotic, even when life is good, bad and ugly. Serenity needs to be in the moment of now, or it is history, and it is something we try and attain in the future. If we don't have serenity now, and live serenity, what is the point?
And January is a very good month to start again with an understanding of the twelve steps and the twelve traditions. I need to read the twelve and twelve, the twelve steps and the twelve traditions of the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. The absolute bedrock of recovery is living the steps and incorporating the philosophy and the practicality they offer anyone anywhere at any time. And this needs to be part of my morning reflections. I share them and have done for quite a while. Today, being the first day of the New Year, I felt the need to let go some of the publishing I have been doing over the last few years. And just put it in one place rather than a scattergun approach, with blogs, here there and everywhere is not necessarily worthwhile. Or is it? Probably the most important thing is there is a message of experience, strength and hope being shared by many people in whatever way they find appropriate. I just want to be one of many who shares, I don't want to be better or worse than anybody else and I felt like I might be overdoing some elements and crowding out the voices of other people. Sometimes I feel that way. Meetings, I put my hand up to speak, automatically because that is what I feel I need do. And then I shut up, not sure what to do. And these uncertainties are really important, it is part of life, not to know the answers and ask for help.
An evening meeting, at one of the venues I like to call a spiritual hut. It is actually a hut and old scouting hut. It now serves many purposes as part of a great big church organisation here in my local community. During the day, it serves as a nursery and in the evenings and weekends can be used for many reasons, providing you pay for it. Anyway, last night as it is now January 2, it was busy, messy, unruly, and full of promise. Many newcomers, many people from other meetings and abroad from Europe from far flung places like the Americas… A real mix of real alcoholics getting to grips with reality, or not getting to grips with anything!
The impact on me? I love hurly-burly, I love talking to new people as the meeting numbers grow and we meet people we know and people we don't know. The queue for the teas and coffee, seems to take a lifetime and is eating at the time before the meeting. I chat to a friend, find a seat and sit down before the seat is lost to someone else. Standing room only on New Year's Day…
The reading: from the doctor’s opinion in the AA big book. I love it, I might have read it a few times, and somehow I've forgotten all about it over the last few months. Where has my head been? Probably up my arse. As usual! Not really just concentrating on other things. Anyway, it's good to hear the doctor’s opinion about alcoholics. The basic message is, without continuous support and help, any alcoholic can slide back into drinking and dying more quickly than they need do. And causing havoc to their families, communities, institutions, jails and adding new business to funeral homes. We need to stick together, and work out how to live one day at a time, by sharing our experience strength and hope.
I can only share in a general way, and never specifically about people and their particular situations. I can share about how it affects me as an individual. Having come to the conclusion I should stop sharing on Facebook, as actively as I have done in the past, I really don't know what the best way forward is an need to reflect a bit longer. I enjoy sharing and writing, and still not sure about my own motives.
Anyway, being in the company of dozens and dozens of people is simply energising and makes me feel right, right sized and as part of something bigger than me. Indeed, the wisdom of the world and the wisdom I learn from other people is always bigger than me and I need to keep on learning and asking for help. That was the major impact. And then the messages from newcomers, who are so articulate some of the time, and then others who are listening and still finding their voice. I did share, but the key to recovery for me had always been how to let go of all the old ways and start a new way of life. The old ways, where fear, where the feeling of inadequacy and ego kept me trapped trying to be perfect for other people and never finding out how to be myself. And the new ways, courage to change, faith in doing the next right thing and developing a bit confidence and self-esteem on a daily basis. And always using the serenity prayer. And always asking for help when uncertain.
It was a perfect meeting for a person like me. There was a young man next to me at the end of the meeting and we had a chat. And then a young lady interrupted wanting to talk to the young man, and inwardly I smiled and laughed at myself, moved back from the pair and let them get chatting. There was a perfect sigh of acceptance in me, a young woman interested in the young man's story… I know in the past, it would have knocked me sideways to be pushed out of an ongoing conversation. These days, it makes me smile and recovery is about letting people talk and get to share in a way which is going to help them, even when it dents my ego somewhat, or could, if that was my attitude. And then outside, making contact with a person coming back, full of all the old fears and working hard to get their feet back on the ground. And again, the irony as we chatted, he caught the eye of a younger woman and I could feel his attention turning to her. I bade him farewell quickly, so he could walk up the road with a like-minded soul. And as I prepared to leave, I heard the raucous noise of laughter and raised voices of enthusiasm from within… Had I left too early? Was I missing something? I will never know, but it's just good to have been there and recognise my humanity and the way humanity works…
Daily reflections 2012: Just or today focuses on first, the foundation "is sobriety all that we can expect of a spiritual awakening? No, sobriety is only a bare beginning." I guess for me the first thing is to find out what is a spiritual awakening. And each of us comes to understand what spiritual is for ourselves. One man's spiritual awakening is the very end of spiritual for another. Indeed we will never agree on what spiritual is. But my spiritual is this, the ability to cope with reality. Simply to cope with what is going on now, good or bad, sad or joyful, loving or hateful. If it's happening now, it is spiritual.
Spiritual awakening, becomes spiritual oblivion the moment I cannot cope and resort to finding some way to fix my feelings. And if I am trying to control my feelings, I am suppressing something which I either don't like don't want or don't care to agree or admit to. Waking up with a clear head, knowing I can cope is truly a spiritual awakening and I can have one every morning contingent on not drinking and not trying to fix anything.
What on earth did I think spiritual life was? Somebody telling me how to live and improve my spiritual outlook, my spiritual depth, have a deeper consciousness of reality? In the end it is very simple, as long as we are not trying to be more spiritual than the next person, know better than the next person, think we are superior to the next person we are probably seeing the truth of now. Our Fellowship, an emotional and spiritual society learning how to live in the moment and experience life and reality as it is, not as we might wish it, or expect reality to be. The good news, we find truth, the bad news we find truth. Truth is neither good nor bad it is how we see it, not as might wish it or expect it. Simply the truth of how it is.
So a gentle reminder this morning to myself, step one powerless over alcohol and people and places and things will ensure that if I don't try to be powerful I will retain my sanity. Step two, my sanity is contingent on the day and asking for help when I don't know and not trying to provide answers when I don't even know what the question is. And step three, let go knowing the answers, often letting go not knowing what the questions are. And getting on with what needs to be done, if I know what needs to be done and I can't do on my own ask for help...
God grant me the serenity, to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. And always remind myself that whatever is going on it is only going to be the today. Expectations are resentments under construction. I haven't done anything to deserve anything, no matter how I might feel I'm the same as everyone and if we are truthful we ought to be in the same boat, a lifeboat...
AA Big Book Video | Chapter 1 | Bill's Story |
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 5 | How It Works |
Alcoholics Anonymous Videos, AA is for Alcoholics, AA 12 Steps, Addiction And Recovery, DonInLondon, Don Oddy,