Alcoholics Anonymous Blog & Video | Jan 8 2004 - 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. Who cares to admit complete defeat? The very last thing I ever wanted to do in my life, all my working life would be to admit defeat. I could always see a way out, a new way to work and to live. Alcohol did defeat me and I needed to surrender to the truth of my situation. Truth love and wisdom in the moment of now for me is God. God is truth, God is love and the wisdom learned in the moment of now. I don't have the truth until I share and check out and listen to the truth of others, and between me and you we will get to the truth eventually, of course it is still a limited truth. And as the day progresses, working with ourselves and other people, truth develops and expands. Sometimes we like the truth, sometimes we dislike the truth intensely, usually when the common good is understood, as self-interest is exposed for what it is.
January 8 Video
Step One Video 12 & 12
DonInLondon January 8, 2014: I was struck yesterday just how easy it is to put off a newcomer if we are debating the existence of our own particular higher power. It will take a lifetime to debate the nature of God with our limited experience of God. So whatever we come to understand God to be, hopefully we don't inflict our own beliefs on others. And yet reading from the big book, it can lead anyone anywhere to feel "less than" those who have a firm understanding of God in their lives. I find this very disagreeable, because although the question of God is a part of my life, my understanding of God is very limited. I surrender to the truth love and wisdom of life on life's terms, the truth as it manifests, love at it manifests and the wisdom learned each and every day. I would not wish to proselytise and inflict my own beliefs and opinions on another person with regard to God. Surrendering to the truth, love and wisdom of now and in every moment helps me immensely with this conundrum.
God willing: which for me is the truth love and wisdom in the moment of now, I hope to have a sober day. And the notion of a higher power than me? Just about everything can be a higher power than me, especially people who can speak the truth, no how to love and keep on learning the wisdom right here right now. This may be a very uncomfortable understanding of a higher power, because the higher power is not necessarily on my side of this particular moment, the higher power of truth love and wisdom, is what I learn interacting with every human being I meet. The devil is in the detail: what I feel and think, isolated it is just my experience which can be very prejudiced by life events. In other words, the higher power is to the common good, the devil in the detail is my self-interest, opinions and beliefs which may be worldly, but woefully lacking without the help of others.
Step one: I am happy to be powerless over alcohol, because when I surrender to this truth, I can ask for help which comes in abundance from many sources, at the same time the primary source of understanding and love comes through Fellowship, where people know what it is like to try get sober one day at a time. I am also happy to be powerless over people, places and things. And this means through interaction and agreement I can live in the company of people, in particular places with the things I might need. With my needs met, hopefully extreme wants and desires subside and I find where normal living is preferable, fun, joyful, happy and the opposite as well because life is like that, good bad and ugly. And I can cope, and when I cannot cope I ask for help. Even when coping, interacting with other people is the very best it can be from moment to moment. Acceptance of powerlessness is surrendering to the truth, love and wisdom in the moment, where higher power works through people.
In the past, the pursuit of happiness led to extreme behaviour in me. Popular myths about being able to drink other people under the table, well that started when I was very very young. As life went on, and the culture of the age, some might call it the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the age was to work hard and play hard. And with those givens or understandings, to indulge in working as hard as possible, playing as hard as possible did lead to extreme behaviour, which in the eyes of many was all about success in career and private life. So driven, it is very hard to break those patterns after thirty-five years of work and play. Unless of course we breakdown in some way. Many people don't go all the way to rock bottom and the extremes available, and for that I have immense and great gratitude, because Fellowship is open to people of all ages and backgrounds, culture, politics, religion, you name it, we find it in Fellowship. And this is the greatest gift to improve our truth, to improve our love and develop our wisdom of living with each other day by day.
The welcome we receive in Fellowship is as good as it gets on the day we arrive. And the welcome we receive is contingent on the current conditions of the day, sometimes the current conditions of the day, even though they are the best they can be, might be very attractive as an experience, or driven by the opinions and beliefs of one person who extends a hand of friendship to another. And some people in Fellowship, including me, can be very limited in our approach to newcomers if we forget the basics of unity service and recovery and not impose our own personal beliefs on other people. I know for a long time that I felt awkward about my beliefs, my personal beliefs and opinions, which were out of tune with some of the rhetoric that is thrown about without thought and without consideration of what it is to be a newcomer to recovery.
Self-prejudice which is a part of recovery, can lead to harsh conclusions, shortcuts in explanations of the road ahead. And I am reminded of many of the old timers who helped me in my early days just said, "whatever happens to you, sober, relapse, madness, being restored to sanity for a little while, and then more stuff to sort out, whatever happens just keep coming back." And keeping the door open to newcomers, no matter what happens, it will be the many voices in the Fellowship sharing their experience strength and hope which will help any newcomer understand their own life story. It is the many, the Fellowship which helps restore us all to living a better life together and a better life in society on a daily basis. There is no graduation and no exam, simply living to the best we can be one day at a time.
DonInLondon 2013 - 2005
January 8 2013 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 1 "Powerless" | Alcoholics Anonymous What was a weakness is now a strength, no need to feel powerful with a drink inside me, no need to imagine future success. One day at a time, finding the measure of success in emotional and spiritual living. Emotional, knowing my feelings, spiritual, in the moment of now. It does not mean I will always be coping with what is going on, the strength is in asking for help when needed from anyone anywhere at any time, including most importantly our good conscience...
We all have a conscience, and depending on how we have learned life, our conscience will drive us to do what is good, what is seen as bad and what is seen as ugly. We may not like the consequences of our actions, and so often we don't even think about the consequences of what we do under the influence of something, we just want to do it. Like an ad campaign, which suggests: "just do it!" If we just do things because we are driven to do them, without applying some common sense and gumption, the world would be in more chaos than it is and nobody would ever find any serenity in anything...
Under the deception of teaching me something useful, my father showed me how to make homebrew at a very early age by throwing rhubarb and sugar into a bucket with water, put it in a dark cupboard and waiting for it to ferment into a very rough wine. To improve its flavour, throw in a few raisins, and a few weeks later a very rough liquor to be ingested and cause a new experience in my head. Giddy and carefree, for a little while and then a headache, and then a desire for more giddiness and more carefree feelings and a complete withdrawal from reality. Great moments of release from reality. I guess back then reality was not that good, and my look back with a sober head, reality was pretty awful, no wonder I was in the thrall of home brewing from an early age…
All sorts of neat tricks to make alcohol from anything, beekeeping became a fun activity in itself, producing honey, and then producing mead, and getting a pat on the back for my enterprise from my dad. He seemed to enjoy any sort of alcohol, and any sort of medication which might produce a different way of feeling. In hindsight I feel he'd probably used us children as guinea pigs, or a way of endorsing his natural inclination to find substances which took away reality as soon as possible. Generally, my dad was very angry about the world and he had good reason to be angry. And his way of dealing with reality was to get out of it as soon as possible on a daily basis. I think we used to call it, taking the edge off, and I joined in enthusiastically as much as I could, because I thought that's what people did…
Taking the edge off reality, taking the edge off the good, the bad and the ugly, meant my perception of the world was probably at extremes most of the time. And one of the elements of recovery, which has been the most productive, is learning about feelings and how they impact on my thinking and the actions I take. Somebody said recently. Feelings are not truth, and I waver on agreeing. I know feelings are very real, they inform me of my spiritual condition right now. When my feelings do not match reality, that they are exaggerated in some way and stop me seeing the truth, although the feelings are real, I still need to find the truth of now. Feelings are the truth in the moment, and then finding reality is another matter in spiritual living, simply living in the reality of now…
My dad died early because of drink and substance abuse. There is no doubt about it, and it is a wonder he lasted as long as he did. I feel he would have made better decisions about his own life had he not been pickled most of the time. He would have learned a better path with better choices based on better information. And the world was mad when he was growing up, and the world is still mad, as mad as hell about a lot of things. Depending on your nature, and learning how to cope with life, we can all be driven mad daily. The tools of the fellowship program, the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, help me work out what I can do and cannot do on a daily basis. And to put the right value on my life, to live an emotional and spiritual experience, where my feelings fit with reality and I can cope, I cope mostly by including people and asking their opinions, and sharing outcomes through negotiation, rather than trying to impose my will and my ideas on anyone. We are all interdependent, and fellowship has taught me how to be equal, included and find unconditional love works for one day, one hour, one minute at a time. Imperfectly perfect in the ever present, present moment of now…
Even when other people around us have a different set of rules, or rather, it simply ways of living life, we don't have to join in with their way of living. If their way of living is unhelpful, bullying or simply a bad practice, we need not join in with them. Easy to say and very difficult to do. If we feel that we ought to be like them, we need to challenge our own outlook and our own behaviour. One of the things I know most often happens is that we think we can change another person's attitude and behaviour, and especially how they feel about the world. I am powerless over people places and things, and when I remind myself that I can change my outlook, my choices and my destination, with due care and attention, I'd need not undermine other people and what they are about. We will encounter many people in fellowship with different ideas and beliefs, attitudes and outlooks, and just because they may be loud in their opinions, we do not have to join in with them. As individuals we decide our right choice in the moment of now, and often this is a difficult path, and the serenity prayer helps always in the can and cannot do and accepting the wisdom we learn one day at a time…
I am going to make mistakes today, and if I break down the word mistake to miss and take it is like something which can be redone or completely rebuilt. If I can forgive my fall into alcoholism and all the consequences which led me astray and into a very small world inside my head, I need to be able to forgive everyone everything in the moment of now. Forgiving people does free me from trying to persuade people to my point of view, forgiving people frees me from bad feelings about them, and restores me to sanity faster than anything I know, forgiveness is a daily practice for oneself and for other people, at the same time, and actions have consequences. And some people we let go as they are harmful to our outlook and our way of life today…
January 8 2012 | Daily Reflection|
Yesterday; at the hut for our lunchtime spiritual meeting. We read the spiritual experience and then a five-minute chair and raised hands. Newcomers, and old timers new to our area. Chair about acceptance of who we are today. Feels like all the meetings recently have been about courage to change as life is changing. Acceptance; of the past so important and letting go. Opening the door to let go and let the world in, asking for help when it's needed and helping others when they ask. No expectations, no resentments and a clear view to what might happen today…
Today's AA daily reflection is about "do I have a choice?" And my experience is we do have choices today. Sober and sobriety can smack of puritanism. But I didn't get sober to be a puritan; I got sober so my natural instincts would work again. The good news is my natural instincts work again; even better news is I see when other people's natural instincts are working well for them. And I also like the natural instincts of women to like men, or whatever combination floats your boat works as we live and breathe sober today…
Do I have a choice today? I wake up in the morning, as myself how am I feeling? If I feel good I am likely to be thinking good and my actions will result in good things. If I feel angry waking up, my thinking is angry and my actions are likely to be angry as well. Whatever mood I wake up with, as long as I ask myself what it is, I can influence what happens and make choices. But if I wake up with a hangover and don't think my actions may be to act out badly all day long…
I didn't get sober to be a puritan, I love being sober so I may enjoy every single aspect of nature and providence, that is my natural instincts and where life may take me today. Life is all about change, and the funny thing about acceptance is we accept what happened, and accept life is going to be changing forever. Most likely changes for the good when we know what can be done, like to do each and every day. Can do and cannot do and wisdom to know the difference today… Now how hard is that?
Powerless over People Places Things ~ Henry David Thoreau "Nature puts no question and answers none which we mortals ask. She has long ago taken her resolution."
Open honest and willing… freedom living in the moment of now
Freedom ~ Thomas Jefferson "Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits."
Powerless over People Places Things ~ Henry David Thoreau "Nature puts no question and answers none which we mortals ask. She has long ago taken her resolution."
Open honest and willing... freedom living in the moment of now
Inner Calm ~ "The greater the demands on us, the more we need to sustain our inner calm and stability."
God Is Truth ~ God Works Through People ~ God Is Love ~ Listen To The Inner Voice, Listen To Others, Love In The Moment...
What is the worst thing that can happen when there is a newcomer in one of our meetings?
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,