Monday, 14 April 2014

Alcoholics Anonymous | April 14 2004 - 2014 | DonInLondon | Step 4 "Fear Less Inventory"

Alcoholics Anonymous Blog & Video | April 14 2004 - 2014 | DonInLondon | Step 4 "Fear Less Inventory"



April 14 Video


DonInLondon April 12, 2014: step four month: "fear less inventory." And what about steps 10, 11 and 12? When is it the right time to learn about the steps, sequentially? I do believe that we can learn about the steps from day one of sobriety. Like anything we are learning, putting things into practice takes time, we learn, we adopt, we try out, we make mistakes and we make mistakes and we make mistakes over and over again. It is never too late or too early to keep on learning what the steps mean in reality.


I heard this recently: "My sponsor has me on step one, and I'm still on it, after a year!" The good news is we are always on step one, if we are in tune with the principles of living life with freedom and without the need to manipulate and control anything. The bad news, sitting on step one, or continually wondering what happens in step two for a whole year may not be very helpful. All the steps work together as we live life one day at a time. So whether we like it or not, or we feel we have not done a particular step, after a while, being sober, you cannot fail to be doing the steps! The question is: "are you consciously aware of what you are doing and the impact of the steps, or are you sort of mysteriously wondering whether or not a mystical presence is working in your life?"


If I ruled the world, every day would start with step one, a meditation, and reminder of what it is to have freedom of choice based on powerlessness over a substance or thing, and not making my life unmanageable. When I say, "if I ruled the world," what I mean is I would be trying to impose step one on everybody else and not me! So I better stick to my own behaviour and actions when it comes to the steps. The steps I take apply to me and my actions, my attitudes and what goes on in my mind. So if I tread on your toes, tell me to bugger off.


Sometimes it can be very difficult to work out what to do next, and when we feel we are being held back for some reason, there needs to be a reason, not some vague statement about, "not ready." And there is nothing to stop you as a human being, advancing your understanding of the steps, by doing a bit of reading, doing some research, and having a go to see what happens. And if you are uncertain about anything, you can always ask someone sitting next to you in a meeting, and if they don't know maybe both of you need a little bit more help from other sources. Ignorance is not bliss, ignorance leads to thinking that life is moving in mysterious ways? Indeed, life does move in mysterious ways, usually because somebody is not telling us what is going on. Fearless inventory is about you, and your judgement of yourself. Don't get bogged down by other people's judgements one day at a time.


We don't always get our own way in recovery, in my experience, letting go my way, the narrow path of life is absolutely necessary. The more I don't know and need to ask about the more possibilities open up, because I am not limited to my own opinion or beliefs. Much of what we do on a daily basis is make sense of what we can do next to cover our needs and feel secure. More than this? Needs met, wants forgotten, and then we have more time to play one day at a time.




Step Four Video 12 And 12


Alcoholics Anonymous Videos, AA is for Alcoholics, AA 12 Steps, Addiction And Recovery, DonInLondon, Don Oddy,

Friday, 11 April 2014

Alcoholics Anonymous | April 11 2004 - 2014 | DonInLondon | Step 4 "Fear Less Inventory"

Alcoholics Anonymous Blog & Video | April 11 2004 - 2014 | DonInLondon | Step 4 "Fear Less Inventory"



April 11 Video


DonInLondon April 11, 2014: step four month: "fear less inventory." What have I got to fear today? Nothing! I have not had a gut wrenching feeling of fear recently. When I went to the hospital to get some test results for internal examinations and scans, it was only a couple of minutes beforehand that I experienced any grip of fear. And the outcome, is there is nothing to worry about. And there is nothing sinister to report from scans within.


And I guess with the help of Fellowship and the serenity prayer in particular, I keep on learning what I can do, and what I cannot do, and the wisdom to know the difference. Some things cannot be speeded up to be done efficiently in my time frame. I just need to know and ask about the time frame, which is being worked to any particular subject, activity and outcome. I am often in a queue when it comes to medical matters, telephone answering services and the fact that people have lives to lead which are quite separate from my own. Nothing to fear on that score, just be aware of my own impatience.


An absolute delight this week to be involved in a project being run by somebody else. I was asked to role-play a despicable husband! And fortunately somebody else had written the words, because I have never been a despicable husband, more often a fast-moving and hard to pin down partner in real life. Until now, of course, I'm not frightened and I don't feel that I need to measure up to any particular standard of behaviour beyond open honest and willing to be myself and have a go. But it was good to see how easily relationships can be made good, or can be made bad depending on what people say and do and their motives which are often hidden, even to themselves.


Less fear, more faith: an attractive sound bite. But what does it mean in practice? In the past, it would be fear of what might happen if I got things wrong, and very often the blinkers would go on because of it. Or worse, imagination would take hold and I would not measure up to what I imagined I was supposed to do, be it romance or finance. More faith in trying new things, more faith in making mistakes and learning from them, more faith in being myself and not trying to be someone else takes away the pressure I would inflict upon myself, and worse, give up my power to bullying types who are all around us all the time.


Being secure by being myself: reminding myself every single day that there will be good, bad and ugly situations and I don't know what they are going to be, until they start happening. When I interact with other people, I might be very open, honest and willing to participate, it does not mean everybody else feels the same way, and sometimes we will encounter people who have lots of fear going on. And they who fear are not only brutal with themselves, they are brutal with other people around them. Sometimes we can help and offer support, and other times we need keep our own counsel, or we get our heads bitten off.


Can do can't do: learning what I can do, change me and my attitudes is a possibility. Cannot do: it's not my job to change, you or even think I should try correct another person’s attitudes and behaviour. At the same time if somebody is being bad and ugly with me or anyone else, I can say so, because it is the truth. And then I need deal with the consequences of my truth telling. And telling the truth will not always be tolerable to other people as we trample on their beliefs and opinions about reality today.


DonInLondon 2004 - 2013


Alcoholics Anonymous | April 11 2013 | DonInLondon | Step 4 "Fear Less Inventory" For example: twelve steps to help with in everyday life: what happens when you wake up? Have you got a head full of thinking about what you have to do, and how do you feel about that? I need to get up and get washed, I'm in a rush, and I’ve got things to do. And if I don't get started now, I'll never catch up. I must do this, I must do that, and I am already hungry, angry, lonely and tired! I haven't got time to think about recovery right now…


For example: I've had a sleepless night, only a couple of hours of sleep or less, my head is churning with all the things I am worried about. Deadlines, what people think of me, I'm short of money, where did my romance go, why does it always happen to me? I haven't got time to put recovery into practice right now. It's all right for some, they seem to live and breathe recovery, but they don't have my problems, and my problems are getting in the way of anything to do with spiritual. And spiritual is for wimps, emotional nonsense is not something for me.


For example: I want to follow the old dream, where I can do anything, I can be with anyone, and the world is at my feet. I am frustrated by life, it never seems to be quite what it was supposed to be. Other people got the breaks and I didn't. And when I got my break, somebody undermined me. I don't like the way the world is, what am I going to do to get ahead, and be number one in my work or family or both. When will people really see me and what I'm worth. Why don't people do what I tell them to do. Why doesn't anyone see my point of view. They undermined me, they robbed me of my chances, no wonder I drank, no wonder I had another affair, no wonder the world has gone to hell in a hand basket. There is no God. And I haven't got time for anything to do with this recovery nonsense, life is too short. Those people in fellowship, I don't know where they are, I reckon they are on another planet. A bit like Brazil, where the nuts come from…


For example: If I am pulled back into the negative way of thinking, and the madness of how it life used to be starts to rule my actions, I will completely forget about emotional and spiritual, because that is just what happens. When I forget to check out my mood, in the most straightforward way, H.A.L.T. hungry, angry, lonely and tired, forgetting these feelings will place me in a negative mood all day long. Are we that simple? In our decision-making, so often we are driven by thoughts, we forget what is driving them, feelings drive our mood, feelings drive us mad, feelings can help us get back to sanity. We are so programmed to believe that thinking rules everything and that thinking comes first, because we have been taught to think. And there are very few lessons in emotions: "feelings always drive what happens next." Using thinking to explore your emotional and spiritual life? Truth, love and wisdom: explore the truth of how you are feeling right now, explore who you love and how important love is in your life. And then ask yourself, what do I need to do today? Who takes time to understand their mood right now? Probably people who know it's a good idea to know your mood and then understand why you're thinking is quite wonky today…


For example: I feel good, I think good, and I have good outcomes, sometimes it works out my way, often it just works out the way it can. I feel bad, I think bad and the outcomes are bad, and I knew it would be that way! It felt ugly, and the more I thought about it, it was very ugly and outcomes were ugly as well. When I felt good, I was not hungry, angry, lonely and tired, but when life was going bad, it just got me down and I couldn't get out of it. And when it was ugly, I felt so angry and horrible. I could not sleep. And I missed breakfast, I was late, and nothing was going well… Why didn't I consider doing a step ten last night and writing a gratitude list, and why have I forgotten to do this for ages, or given no time to me to work out how to start again. Why don't I do the basics, basics are for wimps! Or are they?


How am I feeling this morning? When I woke up, I felt thirsty, blood sugars too high, need insulin, inject insulin. What is my mood? How am I really feeling? The true answer right now is I felt better for a cup of coffee. I felt worse, listening to the news, because I have time to do so. I felt better doing a couple of morning routines. And then of course I am reminded of my morning meditation which takes a few seconds: "step one, I am powerless over people places and things and if I try control them, life will get unmanageable. Step two, doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result is mad. Step three, let go my way, being the only way, and ask for help if I feel I need it." "Can do cannot do and wisdom to know the difference." That few second meditation in my head or spoken aloud, it takes as much time as it does to switch on the kettle, go for a pee and flush the loo. Those few seconds focusing on, can do cannot do and then the big question, how am I feeling? If you know your starting point with your mood, you will know what needs to be done. Usually if we feel H.A.L.T. Hungry or angry or lonely or tired, or all of them, we need conscious contact with someone and in recovery, hopefully we can…


Alcoholics Anonymous | April 11 2012 | DonInLondon | Step 4 "Fear Less Inventory" Today's AA daily reflection: "a word to drop: blame" the key for me in all this notion of blame is to remind myself of the serenity prayer, "serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference..."

Video For Today:

Step four is clearly difficult when our heads are full of old attitudes and behaviour where we may have blamed the world for our woes. In the writing of our inventory, which is sometimes called the grudge list we start to see where the blame is, most often continuing to do the same old things expecting something to happen which is different. A lot to do with step two in my case, where being restored to sanity is contingent on my ability to remember what I can and cannot do today and need remind myself on a daily basis with the serenity prayer and a reminder to self, "I need ask for help when needed!"


Practising and living life with the benefit of the twelve steps really helped in early days after step four and step ten and spot-check inventories continually let me see my part in all matters. Often my part where situations will not to my liking meant I was either in the wrong situation or expecting the situation to change with regard to people, places and things. In the past I have lingered too long in the wrong place with the wrong people trying to do the right thing! Stopping old behaviour and having the courage, faith and confidence to move on, let go and very often say no… Especially in the finance and romance departments…


Key triggers to relapse and disaster are often highlighted, especially activities involving finance and romance. Spot checks of my part in matters, where I might be wanting rather than needing finance and romance to work will always place me in risky situations. Romance and finance are absolutely part of life and if we are fearless and rigorous and honest, rather than needy and sneaky and hoping against the odds, chances are we feel better able to cope with reality, especially when we are successful…


Yesterday, a medical consultation regarding physical and emotional ailments. I set my expectations to zero, and during the hour and a quarter wait, at the diabetic clinic, I read up on what the consultation ought to be based on information on the leading diabetes UK website. If I had set my expectations to those suggested on the website as to conduct of the consultant, I would have walked away full of anger and resentment. Utilising the program and with zero expectations I was able to walk away with a modicum of anger and resentment, and reciting the serenity prayer put me back on track for the rest of the day… No blame, medical services do not set their own standards, it is a political and historical mess…


DonInLondon 2005-2011


Steps one to nine are in an order for a reason. When I came into fellowship under my own steam, my then sponsor suggested the practice of step ten, eleven and twelve were good to practice from the outset. Step ten, what disturbed me and a gratitude list. Step eleven, pray and meditate. Twelve, get to meetings every day, be there and listen...


As we wake, dreams fade, feelings and thoughts emerge. How am I feeling, why and what to do, a thousand thoughts not yet formed ~ Kahlil Gibran "In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed" -/- Step three and acceptance, opens up our choices for today...


No single human source is a higher power, truth is developed through learning our own wisdom and wisdom from many others life experiences. We can find it difficult to listen and hear truth ~ Leo Buscaglia "Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around" -/- Listening and hearing truth, a human skill we can develop...


AA Daily Reflection: A WORD TO DROP: "BLAME" To see how erratic emotions victimized us often took a long time. We could perceive them quickly in others, but only slowly in ourselves. First of all, we had to admit that we had many of these defects, even though such disclosures were painful and humiliating. Where other people were concerned, we had to drop the word “blame” from our speech and thought. TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 47


When I did my Fourth Step, following the Big Book guidelines, I noticed that my grudge list was filled with my prejudices and my blaming others for my not being able to succeed and to live up to my potential. I also discovered I felt different because I was black. As I continued to work on the Step, I learned that I always had drunk to rid myself of those feelings. It was only when I sobered up and worked on my inventory, that I could no longer blame anyone.


As Bill Sees It ~ Spot-Checking A spot-check inventory taken in the midst of disturbances can be of very great help in quieting stormy emotions. Today's spot check finds its chief application to situations which arise in each day's march. The consideration of long- standing difficulties had better be postponed, when possible, to times deliberately set aside for that purpose.

The quick inventory is aimed at our daily ups and downs, especially those where people or new events throw us off balance and tempt us to make mistakes. TWELVE AND TWELVE PP. 90-91


Step Four Video 12 And 12

Step Four Video 12 And 12


Alcoholics Anonymous Videos, AA is for Alcoholics, AA 12 Steps, Addiction And Recovery, DonInLondon, Don Oddy,

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Alcoholics Anonymous | April 8 2004 - 2014 | DonInLondon | Step 4 "Fear Less Inventory"

Alcoholics Anonymous Blog & Video | April 8 2004 - 2014 | DonInLondon | Step 4 "Fear Less Inventory"



April 8 Video


DonInLondon April 8, 2014: step four month: "fear less inventory." Surrendering to the emotional and spiritual truth of now. I'm not sure how you would define the emotional and spiritual truth of now, because emotional is about feelings, and for me spiritual is seeing the reality and truth of now. My problem can be letting go my opinions and beliefs which cloud the issue of truth and how to cope with it.


We seem to live in a world which is absolutely awash with beliefs and opinions. Most people have learned not to trust politicians and the government, because they say one thing and do something else behind our backs, until it is too late, they are in office and they are doing things which displease those who would have voted them into office. Even the most fundamental principles of science, which govern how the universe works are debated not only amongst scientists, the purpose of the universe is debated very often by theologians, and of course every human being has an opinion.


Life works better in my case when I let go expectations and entitlements, get back to basics and try live with an open honest and willing approach to all endeavours. Sometimes, I know my expectations become quite agitated and I feel that entitlements I might delude myself with can make me very angry and resentful, when people, places and things do not do what they are supposed to do. Where I live, I need bucketful’s of forgiveness every single day. Or I might become a revolutionary in my dotage.


Alcoholics Anonymous: a place where we are included, nobody ought to control another, and we find friendship. Friendship is based on love, the most elusive feeling when we are new to recovery. Seeing new people find Fellowship and friendship in the true sense of unconditional love is amazing. Of course there are those who might try to control, who might have other matters on their minds, fortunately there are less of them, and more of those who are open, honest and willing to help.


There was a reading this morning, which suggested we might be able to control our feelings. Mood is something we have all the time, we wake up with our feelings and we rarely take notice of our feelings, because it is easier to rush into doing things we feel we ought to be doing. This leads to frustration, anger and resentment very quickly, because we do not give ourselves a break, to pray, or meditate or simply ask ourselves, "how am I feeling right now?" We are powerless over feelings, and only through action and reaction do we find ourselves in one mood or another. Feel good: likely to think good, likely to take action, which is good for everyone and not just us. Feel bad: likely to think badly, our actions, then become difficult because of resentment and entitlement to something else; we have to do the right thing. And if we don't know what the right thing is, time to ask for help. Actions develop outcomes and then mood changes.


On a careful note to self, "I have clinical depression, and without help I can find myself in a desolate place, and then asking for help is needed from professional sources who know me better than I know myself in those times." Clinical depression is a condition I have had all my life, and at the moment, my mood is helped by facing reality rather than trying to make reality be the way I want it. Reality doesn't work like that.



DonInLondon 2004 - 2013


Alcoholics Anonymous | April 8 2013 | DonInLondon | Step 4 "Fear Less Inventory" step four: "creation gave us instincts for a purpose. Without them we wouldn't be complete human beings." First sentences in the twelve and twelve. Natural instincts hardwired into our consciousness, our brain. We have five senses, hardwired to provide instant information. Without these hardwired instincts, we would not be human beings. And for whatever reason, when our instincts are out of balance, our desires for something or someone, probably imbalanced because they do not fit society’s codes and morals… The fearless moral inventory highlights where we may be out of step with common codes of behaviour which have been established for generations…


On Saturday, a friend suggested I might be going out with my camera to take photos and they were right, I felt like getting out. I absolutely love taking photographs of people, places and things because I love to see the truth of now. The season is changing and the mood of people is changing. The way places look in the spring, and all sorts of things come to life at this time of year. I feel it and have a desire to be out there. Saturday, still cold and the mood outside in the world seemed depressed. And then out on Sunday, sunshine and warmth, warming people, warming up places, and things are happening. My natural feelings: to be in the world and observing and taking part. And seeing the truth of now… I feel attracted to the warmth of the world, the warmth of people, places and things coming alive at last, after a long winter. I am of nature and I love nature and I love people. From the glamorous girl posing for a film crew, to the drunken man shouting on the steps of Saint Martin's in the fields about the world coming to an end, I see it and feel it in the moment of now…


If I were to think about what is wrong. Right now, the washing facilities need repairing, the drainage pipes are blocked and in another life, I would pick up the phone and call Pimlico plumbers who would sort it out in a couple of hours. It's only been three weeks since the washing facilities broke down, and the drains backing up to the kitchen made life complicated over the weekend. If I were to raise expectations above what is possible for my landlord to do, and felt an entitlement to special treatment, over and above other people in the queue, my resentments could quickly pull me down into darkness and obscurity. I would become, "Don, the obscure…" Hiding away and rattling and raving at the unfairness of my plumbing system, not being fixed in the way I used to fix everything with a wad of cash in my pocket… Without the wad of cash in my pocket, and with a smile on my face, I do revel at being able to get out yesterday and take photos on my rambling on the electric bike, because my feet don't work too well these days. And if I were to feel downtrodden because I can't tread too far, and because of nerve damage in all my extremities, except the one down below which seems to be okay, I could be trudging the road and the journey with a depression, the size of the universe… Step four is important, my natural desires are good, but the ravages of time mean that some things are no longer possible and can be done as they used to be. The fearless moral inventory, and then step five, six and seven, change my outlook from an old life of fear, pride and ego to a new life of courage to change, faith in doing the next right thing and confidence to be me as I am just for today…


Step four being the "pile of old life," the extremes beyond natural desires for the love, inclusion, career, you name it, it was always about being with the right people, in the right places with the right things, working to extremes and playing to extremes. And eventually, the old life becomes more and more superficial, because we just cannot maintain unnatural extremes to fill the gap of something we crave more than anything, that being love and affection. Of course, if we had understood what was missing, we might think we would have behaved differently. If our life experiences had been different, then maybe if we had not tried to be the poster boy or the poster girl for the Zeitgeist:"the spirit of the age," we would not have tried so hard and failed so miserably to understand the essence of living. The younger people get to AA, the better in my opinion. Mine was a hard long road into desolation and misunderstandings about life because of failure and disappointment in my youth. We identify the truth, the recollections and the resentments and we let them go. There is no rush to fill the enormous gap when we stop our addiction. There is no fix in the new life, there is simply room to grow a new life and find what is right. By being open, honest and willing to change, we all find our freedom of choice on the journey of life, and whatever endeavour we choose today…


I haven't mentioned self-help books for a long time, because I thought I wanted to write one and it would be inspirational for other people. And I wanted to rewrite the big book, I wanted to rewrite the twelve and twelve, I wanted to make an impression? This was in the first ninety days of my recovery as I devoured as much literature as I could. I saw spelling mistakes and as well as that I felt there were mis-takes in the writing as well. And then I realised every story and every sentence was written in the raw, and my attempt to edit and impose my identity on it was pride and ego rising to the fore. People kept saying progress not perfect, and people kept saying just give it time, and people kept saying listen to the similarities and look for the similarities, because we are all different. My story is no more glorious or inglorious than any other. These days I do believe that we write our own book of self-help, we may not write it all down or write any of it down at all, and yet we share equally, and with equality, one day at a time… By all means write your self-help book because it will help you, and in doing so, you are sharing experience strength and hope and there may be similarities which makes all the difference to one person in the world. Usually it is you…


All around us, the world is thinking hard about what next to do, aiming for the stars, being driven to extremes. We think about living the dream, fantasy and endeavour are good. And yet in our emotional and spiritual fellowship, we are always getting back to basics and standing on our own two feet. Emotional and spiritual: living in the moment of now, and all five senses working normally, we feel life as it is, and either we can cope with this reality. Or maybe we need some help with this reality? Humility to ask depends on all the twelve steps, because without humility progress is extremely difficult. The big world opens, if we are willing to ask for help and see what opportunities there may be, rather than using just our own resources, which led to calamity in the past. Feelings in the moment of now, from our senses, hardwired to help us when we are able to identify if we are: H. A. L. T. If we are hungry, angry, lonely and or tired. Courage to change, faith in doing the next right thing, and growing confidence to live life as nature intended, with all our senses working in the moment of now… And on top of all that we have our intellect and thinking capacities, working away trying to control what nature intended, just for a day? Feeling and thinking can be at odds on any given day…


If we are feeling extremes, anxiety and urgency, usually we have left something unfinished or we simply want to move on. And in the first ninety days of recovery, I used to go to a meeting called "after eights," and it was at eight in the evening. After eights referred to the people who spoke first, and shared their experience strength and hope of being eight years sober, and what life was like in later sobriety. I couldn't even think of being eight years sober, it was an impossible thing to come from one day sober, to people being over eight years sober, and in some cases twenty thirty forty and fifty years sober. And then I got eight years continuous sobriety and wondered what all the fuss was about. What happened along the way? Patience and progress were not measured in years, patience and progress was only relevant one day at a time. And when people share, their wisdom of the years is really profound about the basics to keep fellowship working one day at a time. A fellowship of love, just for today and every day… There is no rush to an ending, and even when we hit milestones in life, they feel right sized hopefully and then another milestone happens today…


Alcoholics Anonymous | April 8 2012 | DonInLondon | Step 4 "Fear Less Inventory" Today's AA daily reflection: "an inside look, natural desires and instincts…" Step four is not a fearful moral inventory, it is a fearless moral inventory. The facts as we see them, written down to illustrate how we felt "our emotions at the time" and what happened and the consequences…

Video For Today:

It is very difficult sometimes to work out what a natural instinct is, and our desires. And to what extent we may have found ourselves in other addictive behaviour around people places and things. The more we feared we were out of control or warped in our outlook the less likely we would share our shame and guilt with others. Once we take the lid off and realise that natural instincts and desires, often fantasies are not reality and need to be shared so we get a more balanced understanding of what happened…


As a psychiatrist once said to me, "fantasy is a very necessary part of the human psyche." It is when we cannot differentiate between what is possible and natural, and what is not possible and in the realms of dreams and fantasies that we cannot find the wisdom to know the difference…


Fearless and thorough can be very revealing when we look at our history, a self-appraisal for our personal growth. So often we find that our actions and behaviour are so repetitive we get to a point when we want to stop looking and start wondering what to do about life today. However we tackled step four, if it reveals what got in the way of our progress, in my case fear, putting on a brave face and ego "my defects of character" and the things I lacked most, which now seem to be broadly courage, faith and confidence in just being another human being on the planet "shortcomings, lack of growth and self-esteem..."


Step four is like any other step in the programme when it is approached in an open honest and willing way. Making it so big that it cannot be done is a mistake many people fall into. As soon as we stop drinking and start getting sober, we are already on all the steps. I went to meetings where the scrolls with the 12 steps and 12 traditions were hung on the wall and easily seen. Very often the scrolls are lost and meetings continue without them. And imagination makes some of the steps more difficult than others when we don't see them all in context every day…


DonInLondon 2005-2011


April is a review of what step 4 means to me in my videos. A return to balance in my outlook and natural instincts, my feelings and being in the moment of now. When life is at extremes of good or bad, my feelings are too. This is where step 4 and then step 10 are in action and work in the moment. The big picture improves with guidance and wisdom from others. Higher Power and people rock!


Truth Love & Wisdom: help me find who I may become today, letting go old fears opens up the door to new living, understanding how to be just me today. Balance and understanding our feelings, making choices based on real experiences, we let go expectations of doom or omnipotence, the difference between back then, and what is now..


AA Daily Reflection: AN INSIDE LOOK We want to find exactly how, when, and where our natural desires have warped us. We wish to look squarely at the unhappiness this has caused others and ourselves. By discovering what our emotional deformities are, we can move toward their correction TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p.43

Today I am no longer a slave to alcohol, yet in so many ways enslavement still threatens-my self, my desires, even my dreams. Yet without dreams I cannot exist; without dreams there is nothing to keep me moving forward. I must look inside myself, to free myself. I must call upon God’s power to face the person I’ve feared the most, the true me, the person God created me to be. Unless I can or until I do, I will always be running, and never be truly free. I ask God daily to show me such a freedom!


As Bill Sees It ~ Review the Day When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life? We must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflections, for that would diminish our usefulness to ourselves and to others. After making our review we ask God's forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken. ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, P. 86



Step Four Video 12 And 12


Alcoholics Anonymous Videos, AA is for Alcoholics, AA 12 Steps, Addiction And Recovery, DonInLondon, Don Oddy,

Friday, 4 April 2014

Alcoholics Anonymous | April 4 2004 - 2014 | DonInLondon | Step 4 "Fear Less Inventory"

Alcoholics Anonymous Blog & Video | April 4 2004 - 2014 | DonInLondon | Step 4 "Fear Less Inventory"



April 4 Video


DonInLondon April 4, 2014: step four month: "fear less inventory." Fellowship and 12 principles to improve our emotional and spiritual living. The fourth principle of being fearless around the truth of who we have been, and who we are today. Simply improves life in the moment. How difficult is it to get right with ourselves?


By the time I got to recovery, I had no real understanding of how to live life at all. I become a machine processing alcohol and frightened to set foot out of the front door without some sort of courage which came out of a bottle, "Dutch courage." And that simple realisation which took an awful long time to get to was that I could not stop drinking or using anything on my own. That fundamental truth helped me back onto a path of asking for help, listening to the world, rather than judging it and accepted that I could start life all over again, even though I am quite an old geezer! And now I realise life begins when I wake up in the morning and start a new day.


I was just chatting to the wife (we are not married by law, but you never know what might happen) and she is having a great day. She rang me this morning on her way to work, and because she has a mobile with unlimited minutes, and a set of headphones, she was able to chat away as I listened and she was driving very carefully. Listening to the stops and starts, stopping for milk, starting off again, and hearing the greetings of other people. And then she called me back. Just to let me know how good the day was and how different life is in recovery. She now shares with me that if things feel right, most of the time everything is all right. And if anything feels wrong, she knows it's okay to ask for help from wherever and whatever source it might be. She likes the 12 principles which help make every moment in the day, a truthful experience as much as possible rather than worrying and hiding from life as it is today.


Fundamental to recovery is fearlessness about feelings, our needs and our wants. What we need on a daily basis can be different to what we think we want. Needs met in the main, feelings feel right. Wants agitating and causing us to think around in circles is caused by trying to be something we think we ought to be, rather than being the person we are. And the twelve living principles, the twelve steps, work in the moment of now. We live the steps, and we work life which is why the twelve steps work, they work because we know them, embrace them and we absorb them as a process of living.


Getting to the truth of what has happened to us when we start our step four fearless moral inventory, is part of a bigger picture. We all have natural instincts, sometimes we find ourselves at extremes for a great many years because of how we used to be. As we encounter life on a daily basis, and deal with it, we can surrender to the truth of now, without fear, and with more faith, where it counts in our emotional and spiritual living.



DonInLondon 2004 - 2013


Alcoholics Anonymous | April 4 2013 | DonInLondon | Step 4 "Fear Less Inventory" the first three principles: step one, powerlessness and unmanageability. Step two, restored to sanity by asking for help. Step three, letting go self-will and being open. Three steps which yield good news and bad news: the good news is we get our feelings back, the bad news is we get our feelings back… Emotional and spiritual awakenings, good bad and ugly…


Step four: feelings running riot, no longer medicated to oblivion, one minute I feel okay and the world is wonderful, the next minute I feel dreadful and the world is as dark and desolate as it ever was. Feelings do run riot when there is nothing to suppress them in early recovery. It is a harsh shock that we cannot control the way we feel from one moment to the next. Is it any wonder that without help, we are likely to want to go back to a place of self-medication and oblivion? Somebody mentioned that life was okay until they got to step four and then the prospect was so daunting, it could tip anybody over and we might find ourselves going back to the beginning. I do believe this to be true, with all our emotions rising and falling with every life experience we encounter, step four, and can ramp up our rage and anger at the world and what happened to us…


Step four: to admit and accept powerlessness, and we stopped drinking, followed by an understanding of the insanity of doing the same thing over and over again and then suggesting that will power will fail! And then, to face the prospect of the fearless moral inventory. Fearless moral inventory, it needs balance, to identify where pride, ego and fear did not help and we were unable to develop courage to change, faith in doing the next right thing, and growing confidence in making as many mistakes every day as we need to, to learn how we can work towards solutions rather than be stuck in problems... We do need to feel the anger and rage and the resentments of the past, because these are often the feelings that we probably provoked in other people over the years…


Something extraordinary happened this morning, I accidentally turned on the TV and caught the end of the Jeremy Kyle show. Jeremy Kyle seems to be a well-intentioned individual, however, his approach is probably the worst way to treat families in distress and suffering from the effects of alcoholism and addiction. He seems to believe that tough love, dressing down people, belittling them and bullying them is the answer to starting recovery. Of course it is easy to provoke already damaged people into the worst of behaviour on television, with a moral crusade against lawbreakers, some of whom are going to be sent to jail today for life. He has become immune it seems to the plight of individuals who are mentally ill, cannot make sense of their situation and then displays them as corrupted people hardly worthy of any consideration as human beings. He may be right in some instances, and the trouble with that is they should not be on TV at all. And mentally ill people should certainly not made scapegoats for the ills of a big broken society…


Step four: the starting point of a lifelong exercise in learning to live to the full emotional repertoire we have. The full emotional repertoire is understanding how we feel when times are good to extremely good, bad to extremely bad and ugly to extremely ugly. And the measure of our feeling depends on the experience happening right now. We learn how to love, we learn how to be loved back and our emotional range becomes enriched with every life experience. We will like some life experiences, and other life experiences, we would prefer not to have had. The spot-check inventory, which is step ten, together with a gratitude list, offers a way forward with courage to change, faith in what we do, and the confidence to keep ourselves healthy, even when life is difficult…


Something else extraordinary happened this morning, I could not stand watching the Jeremy Kyle show. And instead put on the BBC iPlayer to watch the voice recorded last Saturday. To hear the extraordinary singing abilities of potential artists was profound and very emotional in a good way. To listen and share the experience, even though as a recording lifts the spirit within and opens our emotional capacities to be moved. And for us to enjoy the absolute wonder of the human voice. A great contrast between Jeremy Kyle, who frankly has lost his temperament and ability to be balanced and sits in judgement in a monstrous way? To the "Voice," where performances were certainly judged, because it is a competition, and at the same time feedback skilfully kept those who were not chosen to go forward, hopeful and respected for the people that they are... On the one hand, Mr Kyle with his pride, ego and fearful judgements, metaphorically flogging the mentally ill in public. On the other hand, the "Voice" challenging and supportive at the same time, building courage, faith and confidence in those performing… Extreme feelings: anger and resentment by Mr Kyle, and gratitude for the BBC voice which pulled at every positive emotion I had this morning…


Step four and five: the purpose of the fearless moral inventory is to understand what happened, emotionally and physically over the years. And as a consequence our eyes are opened to both emotional and spiritual living in the moment of now. Revisiting old wounds, old resentments which have never been resolved, the point is to let them out and deal with them and see our part in what happened. Our personal conduct over the years, will often cause us considerable pain because of what we did. Taking account of nothing in between our raw feelings and what we are doing in step four, I did need fellowship and friends to support me. If I had needed to be taught a lesson about my behaviour and made to feel inferior, I would have been best placed with Mr Kyle, who would certainly have heightened my emotional range considerably. If I wanted to make progress, deal with the awfulness of the past, and then come out the other side with an understanding of consequences and amends, the wise choice was the counsellor, truthful, challenging and able to help me put my life back together. Do I want Jerry Springer/Mr Kyle as an intervention? Or straight talking people in fellowship? I know what worked for me…


It may be unfair to be suggesting anything but good intent, putting alcoholics and addicts on show on TV and I could be wrong in my opinion of the Jeremy Kyle show? When it comes to TV programmes which invite mentally ill people to participate and entertain, I am not sure what the impact of these programs intend. The number of alcohol and drug dependent people in the UK is very high. And certainly TV programmes which show how disabling alcohol and drug dependence is to individuals, families, communities and society need to be made. And I do not know the answers for society, so maybe I ought not to criticise, after all, recovery is just one day long. And the ills that these TV programmes highlight have been going on for centuries… No wonder the balance and content are difficult. And the truth changes every single day…


Alcoholics Anonymous | April 4 2012 | DonInLondon | Step 4 "Fear Less Inventory" Today's AA daily reflection: "crying for the moon" I'm not too familiar with what this means, but what follows is the description of how alcoholism holds us in its grip, and the obsession to do well when we feel inferior continues to hamper our progress into sobriety…

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I was certainly in the grip of many fears in my drinking years, a desire to be accepted, a desire for a wife and everything including family, a desire to succeed in any enterprise. And I set high standards for myself and tried to sustain them, and alcohol was always my best friend when I had success and when I did not measure up in my own estimations. Drink took the edge off the pain and success and then drink took that edge off me, and without drink now I realise I was simply good enough and no need to be perfect…


The only way for me to drink responsibly these days is to drink water! I now realise just how hazardous self-medication with alcohol was. It may have taken one drink in the past to set me off on adventures which seemed to be very pleasurable at the time and full of encounters I can see would have flourished, and more interesting and meaningful if I had not been so self-absorbed. The journey for each of us is arduous when it comes to recovery and step four; a chronicle of success and catastrophe and how we felt about life is so valuable in learning what I can and cannot do today…


Can do, cannot do and the wisdom to know the difference happens in the moment and just for today. I now understand fully what it means when we ask ourselves, "hungry, angry, lonely, tired H.A.L.T" simply stopping and taking a reality check. How am I feeling, why and what may I do next, it can be something or nothing depending what is appropriate in the present moment. Keeping it simple for a complicated person like me? I think so and always just for today…



DonInLondon 2005-2011 


No longer driven by the idea that "life will be better when I get this job, that girl or whatever it may be…" Sober today I may have dreams, and make steps toward the future based on real life, real life as it is. I can be open, honest and willing, share my hopes and put in the foot work today. Unrealistic dreams are resentments under construction...


How do we look after ourselves? My late father, said to me many years ago, "I wished I had cherished your mother more and been less superficial and indifferent" Dad never found recovery. Those words, cherish, superficial and indifferent help me every day. To cherish always and be aware of superficiality and indifference..


Every day we learn more about who we are, how we are feeling, why and what we may do ~ Katharine Butler Hathaway "All I can do is act according to my deepest instinct, and be whatever I must be; crazy or ribald or sad or compassionate or loving or indifferent. That is all anybody can do" -/- We learn to cherish ourselves and everyone, just as we may be today..


AA Daily Reflection: Daily Reflections ~ CRYING FOR THE MOON “This very real feeling of inferiority is magnified by his childish sensitivity and it is this state of affairs which generates in him that insatiable, abnormal craving for self-approval and success in the eyes of the world. Still a child, he cries for the moon. And the moon, it seems, won’t have him!” LANGUAGE OF THE HEART, p. 102


While drinking I seemed to vacillate between feeling totally invisible and believing I was the centre of the universe. Searching for that elusive balance between the two has become a major part of my recovery. The moon I constantly cried for is, in sobriety, rarely full; it shows me instead its many other phases, and there are lessons in them all. True learning has often followed an eclipse, a time of darkness, but with each cycle of my recovery, the light grows stronger and my vision is clearer.


As Bill Sees It ~ Foundation for Life... We discover that we receive guidance for our lives to just about the extent that we stop making demands upon God to give it to us on order and on our terms. In praying, we ask simply that throughout the day God place in us the best understanding of His will that we can have for the day, and that we be given the grace by which we may carry it out There is a direct linkage among self-examination, meditation, and prayer. Taken separately, these practices can bring much relief and benefit. But when they are logically related and interwoven, the result is an unshakable foundation for life. TWELVE AND TWELVE 1. P. 104 2. P. 102 3. P. 98 20



Step Four Video 12 And 12


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