Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Alcoholics Anonymous Jan 7 2014 | DonInLondon Step 1 "Powerless"

Alcoholics Anonymous Blog & Video | Jan 7 2014 | DonInLondon | Step 1 "Powerless" |

January Step One Month: "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable." Twelve steps all about emotional and spiritual growth, or decay depending on where we are headed. Had you feel about that? As soon as somebody says: how are you feeling? The most obvious thing is we start to think about it and look for the correct response. "I'm feeling fine thank you." And inside at the beginning I felt horrible even though I might have said that I was feeling fine and dandy.

January 7 Video

Step 1 "Powerless" |


Step One Video 12 & 12

Step One Video 12 & 12


It was a big meeting this morning, and I thoroughly connected with everyone there. Sometimes rehab seems to be the answer for some people, and it's an irony that I was writing about rehab before I went out. I get the impression that some people find themselves in rehab because there is an element of people wanting to punish a mentally ill person and pound them down into submission. There is a huge difference between improving a person’s mental state and suggesting how to surrender to the truth of their addiction. Tough love, boot camps, those things might sell to the general public, I don't know how well they help an alcoholic or addict into a state of freedom of choice, and to be on a path of sobriety.

It is wonderful when there is good news, the good news about celebrating birthdays in recovery, and also celebrating the fact that somebody keeps coming back even if they had a relapse, it doesn't matter to me, what matters is they are able to come back without feeling inferior. It is so difficult to get sober, overcome self-prejudice and self-harm without the added burden of judgement from any other source one day at a time.


DonInLondon January 7, 2014: January, a time to make resolutions about the future? Ten years ago, January 2004 was a complete and utter nightmare. Day in and day out, unable to stop drinking and already insane, paranoid, looking over my shoulder, and pretending to be okay with the world. In 2004 I needed a job, I was running out of money and only had a little time left on my lease, and I was drinking constantly. Homelessness, it was not only on the cards to happen, it did happen. Drink stopped the panic, drink started the panic about what to do with the wreckage of my life. I had no clue. It is hard sometimes to remember just how intense and dangerous my situation had become.


A friend's memory of their last days of drinking, the last six months were awful, and the next six months they started to feel better. It is a fair comparison, with the weight of the world on my shoulders in those last six months, and the jobs I could take where I wouldn't have to see people, that's all I could do. And then I became incapable of anything. Absolute rock bottom? Well on this occasion, it was memorable. I asked for help, and horribly, I got some help and ended up in a drying out clinic for three weeks. I didn't want to go, I even consulted my family, who I thought would oppose such an idea because I wouldn't be able to work. Ironically, family said, "why not go?" And so I went, and indeed it was quite horrible to begin with, but I sort of liked it. And I started going to AA meetings, with a safe place to come back to, the Rugby house charity clinic in Bloomsbury.


There were quite a lot of people in the drying out clinic, some just wanting respite for a few weeks, and they were regulars. Some with an idea that may be they could stop the drink or drugs, and all the behaviour that goes with it. I just wanted time out and the idea of going to AA meetings, it felt right and I understood why I was going, because I really was an alcoholic after all and it didn't hurt to say it, and I didn't need to deny that was an alcoholic to anyone any more. The only people who cared about me already knew that I was an alcoholic, because they had consulted Alcoholics Anonymous. I did finally admit and accept that I was an alcoholic and there was the help if I chose it. Freedom to choose, either to drink myself to death quite quickly, or try to live sober one day at a time.


In the drying out clinic, people came in after me, some people left and went to the pub at the end of the road and never came back, and some people disappeared into rehabs, rehabs which are run on charity and also had a strong connection to a particular religious organisation. Being at my wits end, I was happy to go along with anything that was being suggested to try keep me sober. And I was given an appointment to be interviewed for a rehab in London, it was called Saint Luke's mission, and I was accepted as an inmate, they were nice to me at the interview and offered thirteen weeks of rehabilitation. This part of my story is horrible, apart from one thing, I was able to get to AA meetings, and AA meetings were an escape from the horror of rehab. Rehab is not like this most of the time, but I do suspect that many rehabs may have good intent, at the same time the punishing regimes run by some can surely take the best out of people and leave them in the worst situation ever, more broken than when they went in.


Anyway on my way to rehab, I had to pack up my belongings and move out of the flat because I could not pay rent anymore. So upon entering rehab with the assistance of my local social services, which I might call antisocial services, I was trapped by a desire to have a roof over my head, and find a way out of the nightmare of drink. I was mentally and physically ill and willing to go to any measures to get sober. It was an intense time, and the only thing that made sense and the only people who made sense were in the Fellowship of AA, excluding the people who were running the rehab. Those times were definitely a rock bottom which left me feeling completely useless and no doubt not fit for anything, even living. I can truly say that the Fellowship of AA in South London save my life, because they said to me that whatever I did next, keep coming back to meetings.


A few months later, I went to an emergency department, having been homeless for a while and on the streets, living under the local cinema where it was warm, living in various strange locations. I asked for help in the emergency department of Chelsea and Westminster hospital, and the resident psychiatrist spent a few hours with me. They had to wait and I had to wait to be sober enough to tell my story. The psychiatrist helped immensely, after I shared my story of rehab with him, he remarked, "some people derive great help and support in rehab, but in your case, just being thrown into a rehab without a clue, and being a particular type of personality, it wasn't right for you." Having what he meant was I should have been sectioned first. And then spent time in the mental health unit before even going to rehab. Anyway more follows, and it is a good beginning on a very rocky road. The Fellowship of AA, I knew it worked, and I just needed a spark of support to make a free decision, a free choice to start sober living one day at a time.


DonInLondon 2013 - 2005


AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 1 "Powerless" | Alcoholics Anonymous One, I am powerless over alcohol and two, if I were to drink life will get unmanageable. I know this without doubt, and I know that my sobriety is contingent on my spiritual condition. My spiritual condition as described by some religious orders, is the ability to cope with reality. I feel I am a spiritual person, whatever is happening in my life, be it good, bad or ugly. Spiritual for me is the ability to know my feelings in the moment of now, how my thinking is impacted by my feelings and that I am coping with reality…


Step one helps me stop myself from imagining the worst of situations or imagining and expecting life to be a certain way. Not only do I feel good about being powerless over alcohol, I feel good about being powerless over the spiritual condition of other people and what they are about. What this means in reality for me, it means I need to check out not only my own spiritual condition, I need to check out the spiritual condition of those people around me who impact on my life. If I try work out life for myself and other people at the same time, I will cause conflict and disruption. Step one, I like to be powerless over people places and things, and it stops me deciding the future for other people, or thinking I can decide the future for other people. One day at a time…


Freedom to choose my path, freedom in the moment of now means I have not decided how life is going to be today, and I have not decided how I am going to interact with other people. Today, I relate to people first, hopefully in a good way. And then work out what is going to happen. If I stop playing God, or rather thinking I'm in charge of anything, and relate to people to find the best way forward, life normally works as best it can. I don't have the pink cloud mentality, I have a cloud mentality, the cloud may have a silver lining, or it may just pour down with rain all day, it doesn't matter because I can cope, and if I cannot cope, I can ask for help at any time...


The problem in reality is we are still going to meet nasty people along the way. Manipulative controlling bastards, who might upset our inner tranquillity. Usually people who want their own way, maybe, just like I used to. I can remember being turned into a bully for a very short period of time in a work situation, and it gave me a nervous breakdown because I was behaving contrary to my nature, which is to be fair and open and honest. I don't let bastards grind me down any more, and I am not the bastard that I could be in the past without even realising it. And somebody asked me last week, how to get back to serenity? And my reply was, "I need forgive myself for finding myself in a difficult situation. And I need to forgive the person who is helping to make it a bad situation, forgiveness all round brings me back to sanity and serenity." It doesn't happen in the blink of an eye, what does happen in the blink of an eye is saying yes to something which is bad for me and then trying to get out of the situation by trying to be diplomatic, rather than saying I've made a mistake and need to say no, most emphatically, rather than a half-hearted yes...


How am I feeling this morning? I feel good, I've managed to get some really good white light bulbs, which give me white light in the apartment, and I need light in the winter months, or my mood suffers badly. Over the years in recovery, we learn new ways to live. And every day is a new purpose, and a new beginning. Yesterday was particularly difficult, diabetes control difficult, fed up of injections and blood testing and then this morning I feel right about doing them again. The longer we live, the more ailments we get, and without the fellowship and the twelve steps, I don't know where I would have been, or other I do, I would not be here to share, experience, strength and hope on a daily basis…


Today's daily reflection from AA "we stood at the turning point" I don't know how many times I stood at the turning point, it was an all or nothing thing for me. Always “all in:” career, relationships around people in the right places and having the right things. I was lucky, or nothing, sober or dead. Dead, the horror would have been over. Alive, turns out to be the best road travelled one day at a time…


After two fellowship meetings yesterday, I felt uplifted and really included and part of something bigger than me. Newcomers and people returning: facing that monstrous decision, to slip away or survive and find well-being again. I will never forget just how difficult it is to make that decision to stick around and try to make good one day at a time…

We are very honest about where we come from in our fellowship: “rock bottom” is the most desolate place to be. And by ending it all the pain, the abject misery can be over. Yet somehow you just give it one more go, and then we can ask for help. And asking for help is really the turning point in my experience…


DonInLondon Posts In Other Places


Maya Angelou "Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at it destination full of hope." Our experience, strength and hope helps even when we have no idea how...


Friday night meeting, at the Bolton's: New secretary, fantastic chair and wonderful sharing by everyone. Sometimes the wreckage of the past looms large again and we can be thrown off course. With the help of Fellowship, we can deal with day-to-day as long as we can keep it in the day. Most important for me was the reminder of the "chief critic" inside me, who judges the world as the world judges me. I am not chief critic, I am one of the player’s hopefully same size and right sized with everyone, even when the bastards play "chief critic" and judge me. If I can forgive me for being "chief critic" then I can forgive them for being cuntibollokbastard's just for today…


Just for today meeting this morning, I shared how brilliant my Christmas and New Year was. No expectations meant no resentments under construction. Gratitude list at night: alive and sober. Learning that normal is whatever I am today. If I feel right I think right, and act right. If I feel wrong, I think wrong and can behave wrongly. All in all it pissed off all the people who had a crap Christmas. Not really, there's was normal as well, simply crap normal… Love yourself enough so you can love other people.


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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