Alcoholics Anonymous Blog & Video | Feb 5 2004 - 2014 | DonInLondon | Step 2 "Sanity"
DonInLondon February 5, 2014: just because I'm being restored to sanity on a daily basis, it does not stop me feeling angry and resentful when I am unjustly treated by other people, organisations, and anything which feels wrong. Being restored to sanity means I know when I'm angry and resentful and why. I did have justifiable anger yesterday because of circumstances which are beyond my control. And as a consequence, I'm sure I made people angry and resentful at me, by complaining to senior management about their officers supposedly resolving issues raised over the last year or so.
How on earth can we be restored to serenity and peacefulness when there is conflict? Very simple, we need to work out what we can and cannot achieve in whatever emotional state we find ourselves. 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." Courage to change the things I can is the key, and sometimes when we take up the challenge, courage will lead to matters becoming contentious and challenging other people about their conduct towards us. These times of courage will be challenged even more acutely when people feel they are in the right, and we are in the wrong in some way. Even though I have been angry about the conduct of others in an organisation which is there to help me, without the Fellowship, I might fall into the trap of being angry to the point of self-harm and resentful to the point of thinking life is just awful. And I don't want to put myself through all this again.
Faced with faceless people on the telephone, who are determined to limit the parameters of what they can and cannot do, opens the door to going up the levels in the organisation in order to find out what is really going on. Usually we do find that people further up the organisation are completely unaware of what people down the organisation are doing to their customers. Or worse, they instruct the foot soldiers to be obtuse and utilise defensive mechanisms in order to put people off challenging the status quo. And when I have been patient, tolerant and understanding about the inadequacies, it is time to really ramp up the challenge and take on managerial officers/managers on their conscious competence to deliver the service for which they are paid. I don't like doing this, and it really feels hurtful to be in a position of powerlessness over the attitudes and behaviour of what people do in organisations designed to deliver services which are not forthcoming.
Conflict is always going to be a part of life, and conflict does not offer serenity and peacefulness, until some form of agreement can be made. In my case, having had so many different people involved in a simple matter, it is obvious that if I leave channels open, and I rely on other people to communicate with each other, there is opportunity for everything to go wrong. At the end of several telephone conversations with different people who were responsive by firing off emails to each other within the organisation, we finally got back to a place where people within the organisation, hopefully got the message, that one person who I trust in the organisation was in fact on top of matters and doing the right thing, it could have been simple and easy, if that organisation had pulled its finger out and talk to each other.
What was that got to do with recovery? It has everything to do with recovery. When we are in conflict it is exactly as Churchill said, "truth is the first casualty in war." Indeed truth, is probably the first casualty in daily conflicts. Conflict requires two sides who cannot agree on the truth. And that was the case yesterday, and for over a year about necessary improvements and repairs to my abode. And the worst part of all of this? I got into conflict in the first place, at the same time I could not see any way out of it without going up the line of command. And I will derive no pleasure from the outcome, because there is no satisfaction in winning over incompetence which might lead to punishment of others. I don't want people punished for their incompetence, I need them to be retrained and competent so things don't happen to me again, which are very negative, and hopefully the same would be true in the future for other people. And that is out of my hands. We might win a battle and feel only sadness, because nothing truly has been gained in any way. Serenity comes in letting go and letting people get on with whatever they can as best they can in the moment of now.
How do I feel this morning? I feel battered, somewhat wrong-footed, and sad that people just don't talk to each other in organisations. If only! If only people in the same office, who know each other were communicating, I feel life would be a lot better. But the awful truth is I don't know how this organisation, which is undermined me for over a year, ignoring the truth of their situation, ignoring the truth and the evidence I gave them to put things right, and then having found someone who would put things right, were unable to work together. And the worst part in all of this was the conscious competence of one person to suggest it was all my fault by their behaviour, made me very angry and very resentful. In the past, this one person has ignored many communications until the very last day when they were tasked to give an answer, ten working days. And when they had the opportunity to suggest I was at fault, they were on the phone within hours and ready to close off any further communications. Ten working days to ignore complaint, a few hours if they could wheedle their way out and close off any further contact. Outrageous behaviour by someone I would expect to know better. I do forgive, because the organisation allowed it to happen. And the person concerned will have interpreted the rules and procedures to get their own back, and leave me at a disadvantage and powerless.
And so what now? I don't know really, but I will be reporting what needs to be done to my abode through the usual channels and see what happens, not only today, but for future days as well, because there's quite a lot to do. And actually going back to their systems and procedures will illuminate and provide evidence for future encounters, hopefully, where truth will out, and matters will be rectified.
What would I have done back in the day when things went wrong, and somebody would not deliver the service which had been agreed? I would have dismissed them, and found somebody who could do the job. In those days, with plenty of funds, it was always easy to get things done. And none of the above would have happened. These days because of the rules and regulations and the service contract, I am limited in what I can do. And I accept that. It just means that life will be difficult, and it may be difficult for those charged with delivering the service which has so far been dismal and awful. And having expressed this and found a way forward, serenity returns gradually, because I'm human and I have all these feelings which work in the moment of now. And if it were my fault, that things have got so bad, I would own up to it. And the truth would be fair and just in delivering the right outcome. I feel better sharing this experience, the strength to find the truth and hopefully a reasonable outcome all round. It's not about punishment, letting go is being at ease with who we are and what we do today.
DonInLondon 2004 - 2013
Alcoholics Anonymous | February 5 2013 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 2 "Sanity" | "Do I want to be 'right' or 'happy' one day at a time..." Contingent on my emotional and spiritual condition, feelings fitting with what is going on right now and being able to cope, do I want to be right or do I want to be happy? And if I am right in everything why won't I be happy or I will be happy? I know I can be very unhappy being right!
Often we might feel the world is going to hell in a hand basket. And we know what needs to be done, striving for world peace and trying to make the world safe for everybody. I could drive myself mad trying to put right the wrongs of past generations and the many people I know in positions of power and take far more than they produce one day at a time. If I spent my time trying to change the world and its attitudes, there is no happiness because I am powerless over what other people do and how they think and feel about life and their part in it. I can be happy, developing my own outlook and understanding what I can do today and what I cannot do today. Usually and profoundly I can change me and my attitudes and see how I may fit in the world today, living life in reality as it presents one day at a time…
The insanity of doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result is the challenge for me. In step two, came to believe that powers greater than me would be helpful in restoring me to sanity, has helped me understand how to ignite the power in other people, rather than snuff it out. All around me every day people have lots of power to be helpful, to be unhelpful and usually it requires an action by me either way. When I ask somebody for help to help me understand the current possibilities, I offer them the opportunity to engage with me. In discussion I then find if a person can help me or not help me. Often the outcomes will not be my preferred outcomes, because nothing can be as good as my solution? And often my solution is completely selfish taking no account of anything else that is going on in the world…
Within fellowship, we have a pledge: "I am responsible when anyone anywhere reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA to be there and for that I am responsible." I have rights. And I have responsibilities. That does not mean I have the right to have things my way, I have the right to ask to be included and find a compatible way to live and fit with the world as it is. We all have legal rights, and because people trample on legal rights, all the time, we have to find a good way to engage with our fellows on the planet. When I talk about our fellows in this respect, I mean everybody on the planet, and be equal with them, even if they are not equal with us, it is far better and happier to be even handed and equal with people, rather than tell them that I have a legal right and a legal set of principles backing up, why you should do what you should do. As soon as I expect me to be a special case, more important than anybody else, because I have a legal right, I'm already on my way to a head full of resentments. Just because I know my rights, it does not mean I will get the perfect solution, from the world on any given day. Happiness resides, in fair dealing and integrity. And being realistic about what I can do and cannot do, and especially by asking what other people can do and cannot do in the moment of now...
Anything for quiet life? In the old days, saying yes, used to be far easier than it is today. If I involve myself and made good on your desires and needs, whether it was work, romance, finance, whatever it might be, then you would like me? Not bloody likely, you just keep on using me, your life will be quiet, content and peaceful, my inner life, full of disturbance and resentment and noise. There is no such thing as a quiet life, there is such a thing as peace and serenity in the moment of now. Peace and serenity is achieved, but not maintained all the time. Being right or happy? Being right, and knowing the truth will lead to happiness. We just have to rearrange our outlook, attitudes and behaviour. Equality and equal rights! They don't just happen, we need to recognise what is good for us, what we can do and cannot do and keep on learning that wisdom, as described in the serenity prayer. To God or to the good, "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 is happening right now, very happily in the ever present, imperfectly perfect, present moment of now…" There will be serenity in saying no, there will be serenity in saying yes, that we will not know the wisdom until we are saying yes or no. As we understand what we can and cannot do today…
And every day, life changes and the challenges change. We have rights and responsibilities, to ourselves, to other people who we love and care for. And hopefully we do want equality of opportunity to be happy and also pursue happiness. Sometimes we will help and do not expect anything back, because that is what we do when we love people and have love in our hearts. Equally when people treat us badly, and there is no rhyme or reason for it, better to get out of their way and not try correct them! And if they won't go away, sometimes it what they are doing is bad and ugly and not right, we need alert them to their actions. And if they won't get off our case, time to leave Dodge as soon as possible, or call the sheriff!
Alcoholics Anonymous | February 5 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 2 "Sanity" |Today's AA daily: "a glorious release" was the beginning of freedom on a daily basis from the slavery of addiction to alcohol. In my early days, it did not feel glorious at all. I will still full of old beliefs, attitudes and behaviour which were not bad in balance simply complete blocks in my recovery. The old ideas: standing on my own two feet and being strong, resilient and stubborn and not a quitter. The glorious release, becoming open honest and willing to change, yes resilient but not stubborn in trying to be my old self…
Learning to have courage faith and confidence to listen to others and to new ways of living is not easy. What had seemed to work perfectly well have driven me into addiction, not only to alcohol, it made me stubborn and stuck. Striving for perfection, ignoring and covering up the pain of life, life could only be seen in terms of success. The right career, right girl, right house and all the trimmings of the things which demonstrated life was good. All I really needed to know in recovery was how to cherish people places and things just the way they are and are today…
Released from having to be right, from having to be someone based on values which really had no value except to mask what was missing in me. The glorious release, of not having to be right, not knowing the questions and not knowing the answers became a joyful feeling within me. If I don't have to be right, powerful and dominate anything or anyone, I'm making progress today…
Living in the moment of now, I do ask myself each morning how am I feeling? Why? And what may I do? In the context of step one I am powerless over alcohol, people places and things and if I try to control anything I know I will narrow my choices to my blinkered outlook. And of course as a result life will often get unmanageable. Better to know how others feel, why and what we can do together. Interdependent we are and we work it out together making free choices based on how life is and coping with our real life right now… The glorious release and freedom from self, sharing and understanding how life may be today…
"Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity"
Sober today I become more authentic, more able to learn... When I am truthful, the result is humility and learning. Fake it to make it? If I pretend it is bravado, slows my progress, keeping myself distant and others in ignorance. Deceiving me and others is denial. Open honest and willing, progress is more constant ~ Jean-Paul Sartre "Acting is happy agony." -/- Been there done that. Truth helps life work now...
AA Daily: A GLORIOUS RELEASE ~ FEBRUARY 5, The minute I stopped arguing, I could begin to see and feel. Right there, Step Two gently and very gradually began to infiltrate my life. I can’t say upon what occasion or upon what day I came to believe in a Power greater than myself, but I certainly have that belief now. To acquire it, I had to stop fighting and practice the rest of A.A.’s program as enthusiastically as I could. TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p.27
After years of indulging in a “self-will run riot,” Step Two became for me a glorious release from being all alone. Nothing is so painful or insurmountable in my journey now. Someone is always there to share life’s burdens with me. Step Two became reinforcement with God, and I now realize that my insanity and ego were curiously linked. To rid myself of the former, I must give up the latter to One with far broader shoulders than my own.
Step Two Video 12 And 12
Step One Video 12 & 12
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 |
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