Alcoholics Anonymous Blog Video August 4 2014
Eighth month, eighth step: listing amends and be willing to make them. How do we keep our side of the Street clean? It can be very difficult to keep our side of the Street clean when other people or organisations are throwing rocks and boulders onto it. A chance remark, it can undermine trust in other people very quickly. Just because they say they will, they can do, and all the evidence is to the contrary, at what stage do we keep on doing the same old same old, and as a consequence feel let down?
Trust and integrity, within the Fellowship the trust and integrity of each person is a personal journey. Whatever we say in meetings is supposed to stay there, the problem is we are all learning about trust, integrity, and confidentiality and keeping the Fellowship a safe place. I only share in a general way and never in a way which will break confidentiality or anonymity. To be anonymous is a personal choice. My anonymity was never something that could be sustained. And actually anonymity utilised in the wrong way is a really damaging and truly devastating activity. Gossip kills, and if gossip is received by the subject, it can cause relapse and worse isolation of a vulnerable person. I prefer to be open about who I am and what helps me on a daily basis, but it is not for me to breach or break personal anonymity of anyone else.
Gossip is devastating for a lot of people, Oscar Wilde suggested that: "There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about." When it comes to an ailment or disease, we don't expect the doctor to blurt out to everyone what is going on with us, and this is because there is a Hippocratic Oath, and a code of conduct. I don't mind personally if people know my medical history, because my medical history needs to be open in order that people have an idea of how to treat me when things can go wrong, and this can happen at any time and any day. And some of the things which have happened to me in terms of medical procedures are very funny in my opinion. For example, being examined by three medical professionals who happened to be very attractive women, who then had to insert a tube into my bum and inflate my intestines to take pictures of my insides. It was very funny at the time and thankfully they didn't find anything sinister. But part of the after-care apparently required me to expel the air before I could go home.
It was well put when the Fellowship was described as a spiritual kindergarten. Everything that we have suppressed over the years, mainly the emotions associated with past history often come flooding out with so much power, we are overwhelmed. I never knew the strength of emotions until I stopped self-medicating the emotional issues I had kept under wraps for so long. And sharing these feelings, as part of the emotional and spiritual journey is why sometimes we refer to the steps: "the steps are to stop us from committing suicide," and the traditions, "the traditions are to stop us from committing homicide." Learning our feelings on the emotional and spiritual journey is a daily progress. If we are fortunate we learn this emotional and spiritual journey as we go along, and we hear the experience, strength and hope of others. And because we find like-minded individuals in recovery, although we made do our best not to gossip, it is very likely that people will gossip. Or actually they may ask like-minded people for help to understand the experience strength and hope, because we are learning how to live all over again. Conversation to try relate and understand could be interpreted as gossip even though the intent is not malicious.
This spiritual kindergarten is just like normal life. Full of people doing the best they can in the moment of now. Some embrace the principles of open, honest and willing, trying to learn and be the person they really are. But there are people struggling, not only to stop drinking, they are struggling with sobriety. Emotional and spiritual living is not an easy path to tread. We work the steps every moment of every day to whatever degree of integrity we have developed. Overcoming fear of life itself is a dramatic change in outlook for some of us. Fear of living, fear of being inadequate, not good enough, a pariah in family and community are very difficult obstacles. And acknowledging these fears, it opens the door to try new ways of living. If we share that we are starting from scratch all over again, which is where I got to, I had nothing to lose and a great big empty space which in itself was quite frightening to start with. This was because I had a history of success as well as failure, comic and tragic events, in love then heartbroken, people dying, grief and acceptance. Never closure because I have learned and now understood how to cherish the memories and deal with the wreckage of the past. Step eight, the list and willingness starts with trusting it is okay to start life again.
Contingent on the current conditions today, my behaviour and my feelings will be impacted by events. The twelve steps, they are not tablets of stone, they are timeless principles which help us live depending on the current conditions today. And they do work in all elements of living. Depending upon how I feel in the moment of now, impacts on my thinking and then my actions. Life keeps on changing every day and if we are rigid, we will break. Somebody said: "I never have a bad day in recovery." I don't believe this to be true because we are all operating under the current conditions today. We will necessarily have ups and downs, experiences which are good bad and ugly and we will respond to situations based on our mood, our feelings which will impact on our feelings and then our actions. If someone says to you, "you haven't done the steps properly," it probably undermines your confidence. When people say this sort of thing to you please don't follow my example, because sometimes I say, "fuck off and mind your own business." I would rather listen to someone who has a good suggestion rather than somebody judging me and my capacities to live my life. I might not be very good at life sometimes, and I need to keep on learning and not hiding behind the steps as some rigid form of thinking or action. This is an emotional and spiritual journey, sometimes good, sometimes bad and sometimes ugly.
How am I feeling today? It's been a few days, in fact weeks since I reported the problems I have at home with my landlord not resolving issues. And so far the response has not been received. In the past I would have been annoyed angry and frustrated. But I have learned that big organisations will ignore anything that undermines their public perception, until they wear out their processes and procedures, all I need to do is follow their rulebook. So today one of two things can happen, they may ignore me some more, or offer some solutions. Presently, I really don't know their intentions if any. And I suppose they have conditioned me into believing that they will do nothing to help me with repairs and renovation required under law and a code of conduct they have. I have plenty to do and no real time to worry about it because it doesn't matter in the long-term. But it does impact on other people, who are bystanders and they are affected by the defects in the building.
Step Eight Reading 12 And 12
Alcoholics Anonymous Videos, AA is for Alcoholics, AA 12 Steps, Addiction And Recovery, DonInLondon, Don Oddy,