Alcoholics Anonymous Blog & Video July 27 2014
A professional interviewer interviewed me recently, not about recovery per se, more about living in recovery and how I keep on learning life one day at a time. The professional interviewer, equipped with a voice recorder was able to help me share my story or as we call it in Fellowship: "experience strength and hope." An interviewer needs good listening skills and this particular one, with a backup of a digital recorder was able to accurately portray my life experience.
Often said in meetings: "take the cotton wool out of your ears, and put it in your mouth." But how do we do that when we are bursting with information we want to share, rather than listen to the experience strength and hope of others. And how can we listen to anything outside our own head, our heads are thumping with our own inner voice screaming to get out of the meeting and find any sort of oblivion from our problems today? We need to learn to listen, so we can learn how others manage to keep sober even when conditions on that day may feel intolerable. No one is immune to life, at the same time as life throws the same problems and many who listen can find answers. Listening! A key skill for anyone anywhere.
When a person cannot get an edge in to a conversation, sometimes the wisdom is to stop trying to speak and see what happens. When one other person is present and cannot stop themselves, by not saying anything, the reward will be silence eventually. But if we are dealing with a person who cannot let go of something, feels they are completely right, feels like they need to raise their voice to be heard, the capacity for anyone to listen goes down dramatically. Anyone of us will shut down when bombarded and we can fail to listen to anyone under those circumstances.
Listening to people, even when what they have to say may be horrible and unpleasant, the horrible and unpleasant may have some basis in truth. And surrendering to the truth, listening for the truth, does open the door to reconciliation based on fact rather than opinion and belief. Underneath opinions and beliefs, there are truths to be found about ourselves and other people. Just because we might find the truth unacceptable some of the time, we have to listen to find it, the truth rather than confirm or deny the opinions and beliefs. Opinion and belief often fosters hostility, prejudice, pride, ego and fear. In the case of a recovering addict or alcoholic, surrendering to truth in step one provides an exceptional starting point every day. What happens next, often depends on the opinions and beliefs of those we encounter.
Surrendering to the truth of our emotions, the basis of all our thinking, opens the door to enlightenment in the moment of now. In early recovery, surrendering to the truth of where we have got to becomes part of daily exercise in well-being. And yet surrendering to the absolute truth of our feelings on a daily basis is something we can be very neglectful about, because we are always likely to be thinking about what we need to do now, and what we need to do next, and where we ought to be with our lives rather than dealing with where we are starting from today.
How am I feeling today? Why and what can I do. The basics of assertiveness training in my old days: knowing my feelings in the moment, why I feel this way, and what can I do. Knowing my feelings, my mood, I then understand what is driving my thinking. Assertive with oneself is a starting point to open the door to having empathy with other people. Empathy in the moment of now, where people understand each other, their mood and what is driving their thinking would be perfect if people could listen to each other and express their feelings openly. Defects of character: pride, ego and fear will get in the way of sharing the truth of now. Shortcomings being improved: courage to change, facing doing the right thing, this builds confidence to share truth and hopefully to listen to the truth other people express to find common ground. In a perfect world it would be wonderful, the best we can do is make progress where it matters and with those we impact upon today. And never expect others to share their truth unless we do. And even then an expectation of agreeable common ground can be some way off.
Step Seven Video 12 And 12
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