Friday, 31 January 2014

Alcoholics Anonymous | Jan 31 2004 - 2014 | DonInLondon | Step 1 "Powerless"

Alcoholics Anonymous Blog & Video | Jan 31 2004 - 2014 | DonInLondon | Step 1 "Powerless"



January 31 Video


DonInLondon January 31, 2014: I have a lot of gratitude to simply be alive today. All these years of living extra time courtesy of the fellowships of addiction. My primary addiction? To an old lifestyle where alcohol was my best friend, and I didn't know about the other behavioural addictions connected with work and romance were issues. These days, living longer I even have gratitude that I was diagnosed with type I diabetes some years into recovery. And today, the meeting was all about trust, learning to trust Fellowship and the process of recovery which works just for today. It may be just for today, and this is true, and it is also true that it is quite a number of years since my last indulgence in something which was killing me faster than anything else.


Meetings, early-morning meetings have helped me gain perspective and help me set myself up for daily challenges. I have always been a fan of any meeting at any time of day, but in particular, January has been a difficult month. So these early-morning meetings of different fellowships which are on my doorstep have been immensely helpful. I love people without conditions and meeting new people to love unconditionally is momentous. I don't know if I shall stick with early-morning meetings, it depends on my mobility which is sorely challenged. Either way, meetings at any time of day provide perspective beyond my own about reality, emotionally and spiritually: coping in the moment of now and being able to see the truth as it unfolds.


Emotional and spiritual: I was becoming angry and resentful in the moment of now to the point where I was willing to give up trying to challenge a series of unfortunate events piling up with the medical practice who are caring for me inadequately and sporadically. Anger and resentment in recovery is not good, and working through these feelings on a day by day basis helps me gain perspective rather than me spiralling into apathy and underlying anger contaminating my existence. I appreciate everybody who has given me advice and support and to share the truth as it is and how I am experiencing it.


So life isn't all a box of chocolates in recovery, far from it. We still need to contend with life which is always difficult in some way or other. As M Scott Peck said, "life is difficult," he then went on to say if we accept that life is difficult we will probably cope with most things that happen. And coping with things that happen does not mean we sit in silence, we sometimes have to sit up and be challenging and if we can in the challenge we can be supportive. And then there are times when challenge needs to be made because: because there is a challenge and something to be put right.


I have great gratitude this morning, the light and dawn breaking with cloudless skies and wisps of mist, squirrels running up and down trees and the silence of London just about waking up and the thrum starting. And being in a meeting, sharing about the issues of trust and how we develop trust in our own abilities, and how to ask the help when we are uncertain. The instant feedback from a friend who is new to me, continue with my challenges because I am certainly not the only one experiencing difficulties with medical people who are being torn in two by conflicting directives. In the old days in private companies, these conflicting directives often lead to psychotic behaviour in senior managers and their supervisors. The writing has been done by others on this subject in many business schools, but of course not everybody has the experience of psychosis until they are in it, or indeed on the other side of it.


"We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable."  Experiencing feelings and knowing what they are helps me understand a great deal more than I ever did before. Knowing what my feelings are, rather than feeling suspicious about what was going on and my inability to speak out left me very unbalanced emotionally. Today I don't deny the truth of my feelings, if I know the truth as I see it, sharing the truth with another person can help me gain a bigger perspective and see more of the truth. This is possible by being powerless and surrendering to the truth as it is and not just my version of truth. I surrender to the truth of now as it unfolds day by day. May the experience of truth continue every day.


DonInLondon 2004 - 2013


January 31 2013 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 1 "Powerless" | Alcoholics Anonymous | "old life experiences, new life experiences." contingent on our spiritual condition! No matter what is going on today, good, bad or ugly, we are having a spiritual experience. We can feel distracted, in the moment we do not connect, we cannot hear what is going on, and respond to the present moment. Or we may be fully engaged in the moment of now and feel right and connected and able to cope with reality. Nobody is immune and completely focused in the moment of now, all the time, because life will always have its ups and downs…


When I was new to recovery, a newcomer, my experience and wisdom had me on my knees, overwhelmed and living in my less preferred traits and extremes of negative behaviour. Sometimes call defects of character, the extreme elements and personality traits are about excessive and persistent fear, isolated and pretending to be okay and not showing my feelings by putting on a brave face, and my ego covering up shame and guilt about my illness and fatal malady. As a day timer, or "old timer" in fellowship, all these defects of character, a defect being an extreme, rather than the natural amount of something relating to what is going on now, one day at a time. I have been learning how to have the courage to change, develop faith in doing the next right thing, and asking for help when help is needed to resolve and cope in the present moment of now. The shift from step six and the old life, to step seven and the new life where we learn how to be open, honest and willing to make good one day at a time…


As a newcomer I had read the AA literature, the AA big book, the AA twelve steps and twelve traditions book and quite a number of other pamphlets and books, including as Bill sees it, written by the co-founder of the fellowship. After all that reading and absorbing, if you had given me an exam paper to test my knowledge, I feel I would have done reasonably well. So if fellowship had a graduation day, based on knowledge, I would have passed with flying colours? Well, good enough, I feel I would have been okay. And then I would have missed the point completely, knowledge and an exam would not have helped at all when it comes to emotional and spiritual living. Understanding my emotions in the moment of now, is wisdom learned from experience and not from a textbook. And fortunately there are no textbooks in fellowship, simply the sharing of experience, strength and hope and written by people in recovery in the moment. We can write our own book of experience, based on our wisdom of living, and it is the experience of life which is enhanced when we understand and live the principles of the twelve steps and the twelve traditions. The starting point, always today, and the finishing point? There is no finishing point when it comes to the emotional and spiritual experience...


As a newcomer, living in the moment of now was hell, or rather speaking only for me, living in the moment in the first few days of sobriety was hell. "Rattling" around, sleepless, body constricted and the dull ache in my mind and in my body, wanting a drink, and not needing a drink as drink would mean I would have to start over. The insanity: was always about self-medication and expecting I would be okay the next day, which led to dependence and addiction and continuously expecting the next day to be better and it never was. Breaking that insanity of wanting a drink to fix the pain, I wanted a drink, and a drink was the last thing I needed if I were to change anything and try get a bit of courage, just an inkling, have some faith that of others had stopped maybe I could for another day and have enough confidence that it was worth the effort and exposure to other people to try make my life work once more, for a day…


Pounding the pavements, walking to meetings in the first ninety days, as many meetings as I could. Reading the AA big book, reading the twelve and twelve, and anything else which might help really did help keep me focused on sobriety. I could see the connections, and read the words which made sense in reading them, and why was it I still felt so horrible and out of touch with reality? Simply, I had no peace of mind and was full of paranoia, looking over my shoulder and wondering when the world would end. These are the defects of character. I started to realise that pretty much everything I had done in the last days of drinking had provoked and made possible the living hell of every defect of character. So I stop drinking, and somebody said, "it might feel worse, before it gets better…" They were right, at the same time, as the rattling stopped and the physical pain abated, I started to listen to people with courage, people with faith and people with confidence. It started to rub off, the feeling that life was no longer hopeless and that life could be hopeful again. I really needed to understand that I was making a change in how to live life, and the only way to get the wisdom was simply to keep on living the new life, so I too would have experience and wisdom just a very little bit at a time. And for a day…


Everything in fellowship falls into place. Eventually, realising the old life was full of spiritual experiences and wisdom, and what I cannot do in the future. And the new life, was all about the can do in the moment of now, and I was learning the difference just one day at a time. And also realising that we are all imperfectly perfect, sometimes we go backwards and sometimes we go forwards in our learning about what we can and cannot do. Cannot do: the old life of step six, can do: the new life in step seven, developing my shortcomings which in my case was all about courage to change, faith and asking for help and accepting it was never going to be straightforward because help, like life, is somewhat haphazard and never as immediate as I might expect or want…


In the AA big book, in appendix II, it is all about the spiritual experience. Now that I understand that the best spiritual experience for me is where emotional and spiritual are in the moment of now: knowing my feelings and coping with reality, or rather, experiencing feelings which fit the present moment, and I can cope, and if I can't, I can ask for help. There are times when we cannot connect to the present moment and those spiritual experiences are when we are out of touch with reality. When we have a breakthrough, where we suddenly realise that life will improve in the present moment, we feel enlightened, and we can feel exhilarated. A bit like the journey from "rock bottom," to "rock on, life rocks…"


The good news in recovery is, sober we have a chance to cope with every eventuality, and if we cannot cope, we can ask for help. Once I put down the books for a few weeks and started to relax and realise that sometimes some peace and serenity would be possible, I started to relate to people in fellowship and become part of fellowship. I parked my judgement of myself and other people, joined in, started listening and started laughing at the worst of times, and really laughing at the best of times. I was afraid that if people saw me having fun, they might judge me badly. After a while, I stopped worrying about what other people thought, I started to feel it was okay to start from scratch all over again, without the burden of expectations and entitlement based on the old life, and just start again with a new life. Nothing had been wasted if I were able to live and experience life real one day at a time…


I don't know about the nature of other people, but I do know that if I stopped going to meetings and stop relating to people in recovery, I get forgetful and old life behaviour can creep back in quite quickly. And this is why I try to relate what it is like to be a newcomer making those first steps in recovery. And when I go to meetings and stick close to fellowship, I am reminded of myself and how easily anyone can slip backwards and then find themselves full of the old problems and attitudes which can then lead to drink. The fellowship works. In unity, service and recovery. And the first step, made by a newcomer is the beginning of fellowship, where unity, service and recovery begin by just being there. And then as we feel able, we volunteer to do what we can, when we can. All we need do is be a part of something bigger than us, where there is experience, strength and hope shared one day at a time… And this is how it is been working for quite a while. And always just for today…


January 31 2012 | Daily Reflection Powerless over alcohol, people, places and things is my daily reminder. And I know I need to learn powerlessness over computers if I don't read the instructions. Which helps me realise there are steps and an order if life and anything is to be manageable. Humour, powerlessness and unmanageability are a constant reminder of what I can and cannot do today…


Today's AA daily reflections: "our Common welfare comes first" is about unity, service and recovery within the fellowship. We are all equal in our society as individuals. We abide to decisions made in our group conscience. At the same time our whole philosophy is about freedom of choice as individuals, the very essence of sobriety one day at a time…


"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts" and fellowship offers a safe place to grow and develop because of the experience strength and hope we learn over the years, always one day at a time. Sometimes we do go backwards to rediscover and relearn so we may go forwards again, as individuals and as a fellowship.


There will always be loud and noisy persons in our groups, and that is just as life is, and what we need to remember in the group and in fellowship, and especially in the group conscience each voice is equal and each vote is equal. This works in real time and face-to-face, which is why we remain trusted servants and there are no leaders, or the essence of unity service and recovery is lost…


DonInLondon 2005-2011

Learning how to be open, honest and willing with twelve steps of AA has opened the door to a new way of life, sober one day at a time. In unity service and recovery, the twelve traditions serve all as we understand them. If you or I relapsed, the hand of AA is always there, that is my hope today...

Sometimes we are in a meeting where everyone is open and honest sharing their truth and the truth leads to more truth. The preamble, a reading from the big book, an honest chair and we share from the heart, how it was and how it is today, the meeting after the meeting, almost as long as the meeting!

AA Daily: OUR COMMON WELFARE COMES FIRST JANUARY 31 ~ The unity of Alcoholics Anonymous is the most cherished quality our Society has. . . . We stay whole, or A.A. dies. TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 129

Our Traditions are key elements in the ego deflation process necessary to achieve and maintain sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous. The First Tradition reminds me not to take credit, or authority, for my recovery. Placing our common welfare first reminds me not to become a healer in this program; I am still one of the patients. Self-effacing elders built the ward. Without it, I doubt I would be alive. Without the group, few alcoholics would recover. The active role in renewed surrender of will enables me to step aside from the need to dominate, the desire for recognition, both of which played so great a part in my active alcoholism. Deferring my personal desires for the greater good of group growth contributes toward A.A. unity that is central to all recovery. It helps me to remember that the whole is greater than the sum of all its parts.




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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