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DonInLondon Journal January 2008
January 2008




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December 31 2007 - January 1 2008

DonInLondon - ĎDay In the Lifeí Home Safe And In Fellowship

Past Present And Future

Adventures in the past, all good? Most were in my recollections, the difficult new years were those towards the end of my drinking career. Drink had caught me in a trap, I crossed a line in 2002.

The invisible line which made me dependent on alcohol. I had been a good drinker most of my life and the typical scrapes I got into with drink involved most often ending up in strange places and maybe with people I liked or loved. All to the good as drinking stories from the past used to make me smile, and still do sometimes as the good of this was often in good company and often doing what anyone else might. And then as time went by the drink was paramount and my isolation and depressions came in waves. I have had clinical depression for all my life I now realise with professional help to make me understand.

Present

Now sober for some years and living in the day. Life has become more manageable and more in keeping with the person I feel I might be. itís a hard lesson to realise that much of the success in the past was predicated on what I thought looked right rather than following my path. These days with fellowship, professional support for other ailments I got in recovery, and of course family and friends, each day works as it may, soberly and just for a day.

You Tube

Would I have ever made so many videos on you tube had things been different? I doubt it as the life led before recovery was one of looking right and not one of being right in myself and the world. These days I have a chance, I have choices and make life work in the day.

Learning

I am a learner always and feel happiest being so. Learning life and gaining wisdom, helping myself and others reap the benefits of sobriety. Sober is a new wealth for me. I saw some people tonight receiving their Ďchipsí of sobriety from one month sober to thirty nine years sober. What a gift and to see life is better sober in all elements, physical, emotional and spiritual is a wonderful event.

Future

I need not worry too much about the future, it will be here soon enough, and being a day at a time person, the new year is welcome as the old one ends. My life has more serenity than before. I look back at living and hard times with open eyes and less denials. I know I made huge mistakes and would make amends where possible and as time goes by.

Love

Feeling love and being part of the world again, it is a new world for me. As mentioned my old life is far away, the old life where prosperity was measured materially. These days wealth is how I fare in living a day at a time, understanding my emotional, spiritual and physical conditions! Not about money or power or material wealth. And of course I cannot take that with me wherever I go.

Love is the Key these days. For 2008?

2008

I have no real clue, I have choices, I have opportunity to live carefully and with better understanding. To be present.

Present - the Ever Present, Present

Less to Egoís Drift, more towards courage, faith and confidence to let each day happen and be a part of the picture as it may be. I need keep safe in fellowship, be clear and gain wisdom. Be a part of family, be a part of friendships and be happy as one can be. There will be joy and sorrow in this coming year, just for now, a day at a timeÖ

Daily Reflections January 1 2008

"I AM A MIRACLE"

The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves.

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 25

This truly is a fact in my life today, and a real miracle. I always believed in God, but could never put that belief meaningfully into my life. Today, because of Alcoholics Anonymous, I now trust and rely on God, as I understand Him; I am sober today because of that! Learning to trust and rely on God was something I could never have done alone. I now believe in miracles because I am one!

Twenty-Four Hours A Day

A.A. Thought For The Day

When I came into A.A., was I a desperate person? Did I have a soul-sickness? Was I so sick of myself and my way of living that I
couldn't stand looking at myself in a mirror? Was I ready for A.A.? Was I ready to try anything that would help me to get sober and to get over my soul-sickness? Should I ever forget the condition I was in?

Meditation For The Day

In the new year, I will live one day at a time. I will make each day one of preparation for better things ahead. I will not dwell on the past or the future, only on the present. I will bury every fear of the future, all thoughts of unkindness and bitterness, all my dislikes, my resentments, my sense of failure, my disappointments in others and in myself, my gloom and my despondency. I will leave all these things buried and go forward, in this new year, into a new life.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that God will guide me one day at a time in the new year. I pray
that for each day, God will supply the wisdom and the strength that I
need.

As Bill Sees It

Spiritually Fit, p.280

Assuming we are spiritually fit, we can do all sorts of things alcoholics are not supposed to do. People have said we must not go where liquor is served; we must not have it in our homes; we must shun friends who drink; we must avoid moving pictures which show drinking scenes; we must not go into bars; our friends must hide their bottles if we go to their houses; we mustn't think or be reminded about alcohol at all. Our experience shows that this is not necessarily so.

We meet these conditions every day. An alcoholic who cannot meet them still has an alcoholic mind; there is something the matter with his spiritual status. His only chance for sobriety would be some place like the Greenland icecap, and even there an Eskimo might turn up with a bottle of Scotch and ruin everything!

Alcoholics Anonymous, p.100-101

31st December 2006

Chairs and Shares and Things Spiritual

In our fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous we tend to follow the words of the AA preamble we have for every meeting we attend. itís a bit of a reminder for everyone why we attend meetings, because most of us forget why on a daily basis.

AA preamble:

"Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety."

Important ways of Living Well

As it clearly states in the preamble, we are not allied to any sect, denomination, politics, organisation or institution. And we donít want to be controversial. We donít endorse or oppose any causes. And we want to be sober a day at a time.

This Preamble

It was useful this year, to use the sentiments of the preamble over Christmas and over this New Year I will do the same. I shall have no opinion or any feeling for controversy. I will be powerless over people places and things, and be happy just for the hour, or the morning, afternoon and evening. The words in the preamble make it easy to sail through any engagement with other alcoholics and especially any family and friends we might feel try pigeon hole us one way or another. And truthfully it lets us let other people "be" as well. We just occupy our space and get on with getting on. And happily for me, it seems everyone else did much the same this year. And for this I am very grateful.

No Argy Bargy, at all this Christmas and it was a delight and we all got on.

Anyway back to where I need to explain whatís all this about

Spiritual?

There seems great misunderstandings about spiritual in our fellowship. And as I have mentioned in recent times spiritual is actually making the best of reality today.

Anyone who studies the spiritual path gets to learn we are trying to get our Mind, Body and Breath focussed in this present moment of now.

And as AA call it, being in the day. The spiritual path therefore is quite easy to understand, it means we see real life on real terms without blinkers of denial and blinkers from alcohol and drugs.

Mind Trips we Have

When we indulge in drugs or alcohol, or whatever we use to fix our inner feelings, we are simply fixing ourselves. Mind altering drugs like LSD are the far end of not seeing life on lifeís terms, its an inner kingdom of imagination and, well quite frankly just the size of our head and imagination. So when people say they have mind expanding trips from drink and drugs, actually what they have is a brain full of clashing images and memories, not at all spiritual, more in keeping with mixing all the primary colours together as an artist might and coming up with something very brown and turgid, and quite meaningless.

Spiritual Programme

So the spiritual programme as I perceive it is quite easy to get in AA. It is simply being in tune with the moment, where we can use all our senses to experience the reality of life.

Other peopleís Spiritual and God ( God is optional in AA )

This is a problem and we need not step on any toes here. Many people have a firm belief in God. And it is their experience of life and their belief. I need not undermine in any way, any other persons opinion, nor may they do the same with me.

My Spiritual - Providence and Nature

Is simply acknowledging we are all from Providence and Nature, and we work best with a clear head. When it comes to values and principles of living, I do firmly believe we all have a conscience. And good conscience developed with clarity keeps us on track and firmly in the day where we can be spiritual.

Just for a day.

What gets in the way of Spiritual and Good conscience?

Life seems to throw up all manner of conflicts where we can respond and react from the good of us and the bad of us.

Every Feeling and Attitude to life has an Opposite

Yes it does from Love to Hate, Ego to Esteem. As we work out how we want to be, most likely it involves more Love and confidence and less on Ego and Hate.

The same goes for Bravery to Courage, Fear to Faith, Ego to Esteem. So when we feel courage, faith and esteem, we are more likely to find our spiritual fulfilment.

When we feel fear, we need to be brave, when we have fear and bravery we most often defend our Ego, our attitude to superior ways of life and behaviour. Of course Pride and Arrogance fit close with fear bravery and ego, where humility acceptance fit close with courage faith and esteem.

How we live Life

We need every element of our human condition to find our path to good living and hopefully to good conscience. Where we have courage, faith and esteem, we have nothing to defend and we live in our spiritual moment.

As the same time we cannot forget we will find our fears require bravery and ego, when we find ourselves threatened or under torment. We develop both sides of our emotions and see the good and bad of how we develop and where mankind gets things right and very, very sadly out of spiritual, in the emptiness of our darker emotions, more like a hell on earth as most experience when driven bonkers by drugs and alcohol.

How come we have both good and bad?

I honestly donít know why we are made up as we are. Except we know when we are to the good and also when we are to the dark of living. And what triggers most of our dark times is when we grow in ignorance and in fear of our lives and livelihood, our place in the world feels under threat. So we have reactions and responses and we learn what works for us the best.

As to Why

Do we need to argue it? Do we need to defend what we feel is to good conscience. These are questions we have as we live. For Providence and Nature and happenstance determine much of what we are and what we become. Why, why, why. There is no real answer or ever going to be an answer which provides absolute resolution of anything connected to faith and belief.

I was challenged tonight

Someone quite rightly asked me what I meant about courage and faith and esteem in our fellowship. And my reply is quite simple. I get courage and faith from our fellowship which is about developing our spiritual path, to live life real in this moment of now. When I live with courage and faith, my esteem is right, and I feel equal to living. When I feel fear, I have always needed to be brave, when fear and bravery were my needs and my attitude, I felt threat and ego stepped in to quell my self doubts about defending something about me. Fear strips our feelings and reason, moves us to hate and aggression. Esteem and responsiveness to challenge can enable acceptance of many ways of life and reality as it is today. So we find forgiveness for ourselves and others on the path of life.

Mistakes

We all make them daily, hourly and even by the minute. When we can accept our humanity, we move more easily and with confidence, and enable the same in others.

My mistakes are so many, I have much wisdom both sides of path to enlightened living. So while wisdom is helping me, experience can hinder me. And I need to keep an open outlook as best I can.

We simply Learn

Yes we do to live life on lifeís terms. What we get is what we get. There is no deserved or reserved place where we fit. We just learn to live as we may, and make it an endeavour with good conscience.

Is Life Fair?

Life is neither fair or unfair, life is life. Good conscience and our endeavours hopefully make our path more understood through time. And acceptance is a real key to making life work as it is, just for todayÖ

So where does this leave me tonight, on the eve of the eve of the New year. I write this journal the night before you most likely read it, or for some its already new yearís eve.

Tomorrow is another day, a future I can be part of, simply because I have found a path to greet life on lifeís terms. Sounds fatalistic like that? Well not for me, for I never know where life will take me and tonight I am glad to be sober and to be me. What more? Who knows? Not I!

31st December 2006

End of 2006

A short and reflective message today. Just to wish everyone a happy new year and hope for 2007.

After the last few days its is my sincere hope that we all get some courage, faith and confidence to be ourselves as we determine with the best choices open to us.

I have a friend returning to our fellowship, another celebrating a year in sobriety and many messages of good will. And I hope the same for everyone. We need not hurt each other or judge each other, we need just one gift, life itself.

And this I have for today. May it be so for as long as may be, a day at a time, and with an open mind learning wisdom and love. Now thatís as much as I need say, best wishes to all,

DonInLondon / DonInChelsea / Don Oddy

December 31st 2005

Validation

This question is always there, how to validate. To support or corroborate on a sound or authoritative basis, who we are and what we are. There as so many challenges we face, we get confused and wonder at ourselves, our feelings and our reason. We often feel the need to check ourselves out. We need only look in a mirror once, and then we are hooked, checking and ensuring we portray who we are. Or we don't because we reject what we see for some reason or another. Animals do it, they are fascinated by reflection, and so are human beings. We look and preen as nature intended, we look again and figure there is more to us than we see in the mirror.

At least we hope there is more than this thin veneer. Yet, so often we are challenged and assessed and codified in the blink of an eye. We do it to ourselves and we do it to others we meet. Not such a bad thing to do? Certainly we need that gumption in our minds eye, we need check for predators, we need check for danger and as important we check for safety.

We spend so much time in validation of others and ourselves. We take a split second preview and base a lifetimeís judgment on that assessment and then we seek to endorse that moment. In our validation we find, if we are to take expert testimony, our own, and that of the scientific world, proves assumptions made in that dramatic moment is usually right and by exception wrong. So why is it we find our validation process off the mark, less than, and inferior? Simply we take what we see and then deny it, we shrug it off. We then exercise filters and factors we have learn which confuse and story that gift of perception. The gift nature gave to keep us from harms way. Smiles and take an endorsement out with you today and see the world trusts you and you trust yourself...

December 31st 2004

Melodies

In life our song reaches every moment

sing with great heart your melody

When we survive great catastrophe, at home in our own world, we an rejoice and move on. We experience the powerlessness of world catastrophe, we can contribute in our own way to alleviate and support. It feels hopeless sometimes, yet the simple act of kindness connects us all. Our humanity, our gift to our fellow man will open doors of opportunity.

Indeed the ripple effect of life is boundless. Acts of kindness, and humanity deepen our collective conscience and the world is touched. We have great depth, memory and capacities for love. Love life...

--------------------------------------------------

January 1 2008

DonInLondon - ĎDay in the Lifeí Back To Basics In Living

Day By Day

Somehow and it may seem strange to anyone who has not had to face chronic ailments, I feel more alive today than for many years. An alcoholic in recovery I am. And I make it plain that is what I am. I am also human and feel as most people may do, judged sometimes by others.

Herbert Spencer said something along the lines of:

"There is a principle, which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation"

I have been that man, who throws contempt as concern. I have been that man who judged as he was taught. And these days I reel when I feel the hand of judgment offered in friendship and still the judgment is made with contempt and without any investigation.

Basics

The basics of my living is simply to be open, honest and willing to make the best of each day as I present and the day is present. I am making progress and not in any shape or form in a place of grace and perfection. Indeed life has taught me over and over, no one person is perfect and no one person may judge another without form, purpose or knowledge greater than that of any human in ordinary conduct. Where conduct is outside civilised and societal boundaries, outside the law, the "state" in principal and in reality will make a judgment to conduct contrary to laws made to secure our democratic freedoms.

In the last few weeks my life has appreciably become better. No longer an itinerant, no longer classified by the state as homeless. And to the good of good conscience and how our system in the UK works, I have a roof over my head.

Ailments We All Can Have

Following breakdowns in my physical, emotional and mental state. I spent many years trying to find ways to put myself back together. And in the process I found myself neither capable or able to rise above ailments which have manifested and remain chronic each and every day.

Self Inflicted Wounds

I am an alcoholic in recovery. Alcoholism like other addictions is a permanent and ongoing chronic condition. I am in recovery these last few, very few years and continue in sobriety because of a fellowship called alcoholics anonymous. Self Inflicted wound? I hear the powerful self willed types mulling over this and still even with all the power intellect may have to accept this basic truth, prejudice oozes from those who donít have the malady. I have no problem with that. Life is full of prejudice of one sort or another.

In addition, with good health care and professional diagnosis, I have clinical depression, which manifest as it will when it wants and not when I want. I donít want clinical depression, still I have it.

And in sobriety, simply because I am alive and still subject to all human maladies, after some simple surgery I became type 1 diabetic.

Dealing With Life

Life works for me, as best I can, to ensure what can be done to keep as well as one can with three chronic conditions.

I have no complaints whatsoever as life just is the way it is. I realise the gift of living offers all manner of ailments, and as the passage of time tick tockís along, chronic ailments do not go away, they remain a feature of life today.

In My World Of Now

I learn daily how life may be, I donít quite know how it will be or what may interrupt the flow of life.

Fellowship of AA

Every day fellowship teaches me about me, learning from others experience strength and hope, learning what may work for me and not work as I can make choices in this discovery of living a day at a time.

Spiritual Principles?

Truth is the rock of all spiritual understanding, an open honest and willing attitude to understand how life may be.

Prejudice, denials, life experience offer filters. The seven vices or sins, Luxuria (extravagance, later lust), Gula (gluttony), Avaritia (greed), Acedia (sloth), Ira (wrath), Invidia (envy), and Superbia (pride). I would add judgment of our fellow man as an eighth were it not in there already.

How these manifest in ourselves and in others is apparent to us. How we deal with our own situation is best done with help support and in my case a wide and varied life, a fellowship which offers sound principles for living.

Progress for Me?

I need keep a weather eye on how I do, and actually I ask for support and get it in fellowship. Most of the time from those who know me well enough, I get sound practical suggestions.

I need to deal with my concerns and keep a steady path, trying not to judge where anyone else may be in their life process and their progress to happy and worthwhile living.

Challenge

The challenge sometimes for me is to be careful and considerate of the feelings and outlooks of anyone I encounter. I need not judge anothers path or compare where and how my life is today. If I did compare? Well I need find the right measure to help me find my way. The seven virtues, virtues are chastity, abstinence, temperance, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility. When I start to work on my inventory and how I am doing, I realise that in my whole life, I have experienced both the vices and virtues of living.

We Cannot Escape From The Human Condition

Indeed the human condition and society these days, makes for a difficult path as society has levelled and made virtues out of some of the vices we encounter. Or we do, by believing these principles are negotiable and we are able to get away with things we believe others less clever are then left reeling and plunging into deeper troubles than ourselves.

Judging Otherís

A human pastime as we learn how to live. I am unlearning this particular failing every day or I lose my serenity. As I may be judged quite harshly for my outlooks and exposure, I know others often are busy with their rock piles and their gossip.

Gossip

One of the primary reason for anyone in our fellowship to feel undermined and under valued. Gossip indeed to the sensitive mind can kill. Or in my case find a deep suppressed sadness when I realise I am judged.

Active Alcoholics

Some active alcoholics look down on me because of my recovery and my other ailments which they feel preclude me having an adventure into the world of alcohol. I know I can say anything and they will remain convinced I would die if I relapsed. And they may be right. I have no desire just for today to test their theories.

Recovering Alcoholics with Wisdom

I have support and challenges from contemporaries who quite naturally and with love do ask me hard questions about me and my recovery. I welcome feedback or how else can we progress? We need feedback from trusted objective sources as much as we need family and friends to support us.

If only life were that simple! Most of the time it is so. And then again there are times as gossip is often a form of barter to some with less clear objectives and time on their hands. And interest in the fallen seems pertinent when determining ones place in society. Not so in fellowship as prejudice has no place, even though some make it so. And of course prejudice without evidence or worse prejudice with contempt prior to investigation offers to troubled mind solace looking down on their fellows.

So life and the basics are pretty necessary parts of my daily recovery. I need make sure I keep my side of the street clean as best one can. I too can be judgmental. And when this happens I need tend to my outlook with due care and attention.

Daily Reflections January 2 2007

FIRST, THE FOUNDATION

Is sobriety all that we can expect of a spiritual awakening? No, sobriety is only a bare beginning.

As Bill Sees It, p. 8

Practicing the A.A. program is like building a house. First I had to pour a big, thick concrete slab on which to erect the house; that, to me, was the equivalent of stopping drinking. But it's pretty uncomfortable living on a concrete slab, unprotected and exposed to the heat, cold, wind and rain. So I built a room on the slab by starting to practice the program. The first room was rickety because I wasn't used to the work. But as time passed, as I practiced the program, I learned to build better rooms. The more I practiced, and the more I built, the more comfortable, and happy, was the home I now have to
live in.

Twenty-Four Hours A Day

A.A. Thought For The Day

What makes A.A. work? The first thing is to have a revulsion against myself and my way of living. Then I must admit I was helpless, that alcohol had me licked and I couldn't do anything about it. The next thing is to honestly want to quit the old life. Then I must surrender my life to a Higher Power, put my drinking problem in His hands and leave it there. After these things are done, I should attend meetings regularly for fellowship and sharing. I should also try to help other alcoholics. Am I doing these things?

Meditation For The Day

You are so made that you can only carry the weight of twenty-four hours, no more. If you weigh yourself down with the years behind and the days ahead, your back breaks. God has promised to help with the burdens of the day only. If you are foolish enough to gather again that burden of the past and carry it, then indeed you cannot expect God to help you bear it. So forget that which lies behind you and breathe in the blessing of each new day.

As Bill Sees It

The Fine Art Of Alibis, p.279

The majority of A.A. members have suffered severely from self-justification during their drinking days. For most of us,
self-justification was the maker of excuses for drinking and for all kinds of crazy and damaging conduct. We had made the invention of alibis a fine art.
We had to drink because times were hard or times were good, We had to drink because at home we were smothered with love or not
none at all. We had to drink at work because we were great successes or dismal failures. We had to drink because our nation
had won a war or lost a peace. And so it went, ad infinitum.
To see how our own erratic emotions victimized us often took a long time. Where other people were concerned, we had to drop the
word "blame" from our speech and thought.
12 & 12
1. pp. 46-47
2. p. 47

January 1st 2007 (written New YearĎs Eve UK Time)

God Made Man - Man Made God

Odd that this subject has hit me today and last night. I feel it is entirely relevant to everything we cherish and believe. The relationship we form with our world and the Universe.

The Universe appears infinite to me, and I have no mathematical brain or understanding of physics. The Universe so vast and we humans so small in comparison.

Without doubt I have confidence in the theory of evolution, as confident as Darwin when he first began to express the pattern of evolution. And as we know from our own personal experience we are forever evolving or are we staying the same? We are evolving on a personal level as we age, and then we decay and expire. And yet we are not satisfied with evolution in scientific terms or the reality of the here and now, we feel there is more to this than meets the eye and five senses we have. Indeed we know there are more than five senses, or do we? We all have equal rights in my view to what we choose to believe.

Entitlement to our Faith and Belief

We have a perfect right to believe what we may and find faith and courage through our endeavours and learning, and of course we know we have a spiritual connection to life as well.

Why though are we so challenged by belief and spiritual and faith? What has faith or spiritual ever done to be so difficult to explain or understand. We are not foolish, we humans, and yetÖ

The Universe so Vast

Our Universe is beyond our imagination or comprehension, so it seems until we listen and hear theories and explanations which we can accept. And as we see its vastness, that it is certainly bigger than us, and we are hardly visible within it, we know God made Mankind, or do we? And our relationship to a divine being so personal to us all that we understand that God is watching over usÖ

I am pondering and will write more as I feel able.

My question tonight I guess is why there need be belief in a direct connection to a divine presence, and what has this connection got to do with anything we do day by day. What makes the difference to our living? And have we a conscience to the good inside us? How are we to make sense of living at all?

Yet living seems paramount these days, and what we do and what we endeavour is of great importance as we live and learn life.

Till later and now:

Today and New Years Day

As we celebrate another year of living. I guess some of us are pretty pleased just to be here and witness it.

What do I contend with day to day?

Three conditions to my living as I strive just to be the equal of the day. I state these conditions as they are part of me and part of my living. Everyone works hard no doubt to be well and be able to make sense of life.

First, as you see from my writing, I am a recovering alcoholic. And this is my third year into recovery. And to maintain sobriety I have a fellowship which helps me maintain stability and mental acuity. The problem facing any addict is to find a path of recovery, and my path is made possible with AA, Alcoholics Anonymous.

Second, I have Type 1 diabetes. Diabetes was diagnosed in 1995. How long had I had it? Well it turns out it was caused by a nasty shock to my system, a virus, or just the shock of a minor operation I had. And how do I know? Well I was happy to believe it was a self inflicted consequence of my alcoholism, turns out it was not me this time. Anyway whatever the reasons, it does not matter, type 1 diabetes is it.

Another part of the diabetes story, I cannot walk without pain, because of diabetic neuropathy. My nerves are dying off. So in order to get about, I cycle wherever possible when walking is not possible, that is all the time.

Third, I have clinical depression. What is it? It is a chemical imbalance in my brain function. I am as a rule in depression. With help however from medical expertise like the diabetes, I get on with what I have.

Alcoholics anonymous makes me able to function day to day, and helps with the other two conditions, diabetes and clinical depression. I cannot reverse these conditions, however I can manage with what I have and make the best of living.

The question of God

In my world, where some elements of me have been below par (ordinary) since day 1, and other elements of living have got harder, am I complaining today?

The answer is no. And the simple solution which has only taken me fifty years to get to, is acceptance. Acceptance of what is, no need to complain or be fed up, no need to shout at the world or God. No need to do anything?

Yes I do need to do everything which makes life worth living a day at a time.

God

Well for me Nature and Providence hold the key to living today. Nature and Providence, I use these two words a lot. They suggest there is something beyond the present moment, which had a purpose in creating the Universe.

I have no argument with a higher power or purpose behind Nature and Providence.

At the same time I have great respect for science and medical breakthroughís which have kept me alive long enough to find courage and faith in humanity to make life worth living at all. I am two years alive with the aid of medical science and humanity, and a government and which believes in keeping people healthy. I have the good fortune to live in the UK, and there are many other places in this world where I would have expired long ago from simple yet treatable conditions.

God and the Universe

So big and so beautiful a belief? Nature and Providence is where I live, as to the bigger questions, I have no ready answer. And I donít really expect one. I am content with the cards dealt me by my life and my choices. I have gained experience and wisdom from living, so the journey has been made. And maybe the journey continues just a day at a time.

Spiritual

Not wishing to upset anyone, spiritual connection to this Universe and its purposeÖ

Well I am happy to be as sober and switched on to my life, to see it with clarity given by nature and providence. I am happy to keep on learning life as long as it continues.

Spiritual

AA is all about spiritual. And the founders of the fellowship realised spiritual is simply living in the moment of now. Using every faculty we have to understand our living and our purpose. To live life on Lifeís terms!

Life

Life turns out as it may with choices we make. We make lots of choices to good conscience and our darker side of self will and obsession. When we make ourselves the equal of life, and equal to all who live we work life well.

Work it! We are Worth it!

We often say at the end of meetings the serenity prayer, and it has a God at its centre, for me the word God is about "Good Conscience"

" God (an appeal to my good conscience and that of humanity)

Grant me the Serenity
To Accept the things I cannot Change
Courage to change the things I Can
And wisdom to Know the Difference"

An as we and other anonymous fellowships add,

"It works if you work it, so work it you are worth it!"

Life, Spiritual

Work hard at living. We all work hard at life, and if we do work hard, and we endeavour always, we can make life work to good conscience. And we are all worth it, when we get this spiritual endeavour.

Seeing life as it is, without hindrance of denial or self obsession is the true path of spiritual living, with courage and faith.

So often, fear, bravery and Ego drive mankind to disaster after disaster, the obsession of will and inequality and prejudice.

Life works

The magic of living is precisely in the moment of experience, that true spiritual gift of right now. And we can make life work, as we work at it. Sitting and waiting for life? It will pass us by.

Humanity

Some day, and not forever most likely as we make progress, our comprehension and evolution will help us expand our understanding of living and this Universe, until then, work life, you are with it and live to good conscience.

We will meet our maker, our higher power soon enough, in the meantime we best utilise Nature and Providence as we may, and do so just for today, to the good of ourselves and humanity.

January 1st 2006

Love

Love comes top of every human beings primal drive. We want and need it, we donít want and donít need it. What are to doÖ

Seems I forget my love needs most of the time, at least on a conscious level. I may take my love requirements for granted. Maybe I am truly accepting of love to and from others. Maybe I avoid love and its consequences. Maybe

Yet love is always there. Admitted or not we do have love of one sort or another surrounding us all the time. And love after all, it is the number one reason we carry on living. Without love there is no point.

Love affects us all in different ways and with different people. Love is shallow, love is deep and love will keep us awake for an age when its out of balance. Too much love and we are Ďluvvedí up. Too little love and our feelings of starvation makes for sadness and insomnia. Love, very powerful when its there, very powerful when its not.

A balance of love in our lives may feel the most elating and happy sensation known to all beings on this planet. There is nothing to compare to a balance of love, equal in all respects and meeting our needs and wants for love.

Sometimes seems distant, out of our reach, sometimes overwhelming from others we cannot absorb. Sometimes we are damaged in repair from our love. And sometimes bereft where grief holds us together and love lost forever.

Day to day we donít reckon much to love as it surrounds and heals all manner of life. We donít know its there and even forget what it is, until its gone and emptiness grows inside.

Why pick love to write about on a rainy day, not far from a new year and posting to the world why love came aroundÖ.

Simply to remind myself what it is, who I love and why, new love and old love, love gone forever, and love recollected living somewhere beyond my reach. And love round the corner welcomed without fear, love complete and very, very near.

The gift of nature and goodness knows what, we have love in abundance, was it from God? My word this love covers about all we might do to others and ourselves over a lifetime and maybe more as our memory is held in others we know and know us.

This gift of nature manifests so many ways in all our behaviour and thinking as well. Love is to blame for every other emotion we feel.

Logical and intellectual, love is described

1.strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties (2) : attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers: affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests b : an assurance of love 2 : warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion 3 a : the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration b (1) : a beloved person : DARLING -- often used as a term of endearment (2) British -- used as an informal term of address 4 a : unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another: as (1) : the fatherly concern of God for humankind (2) : brotherly concern for others b : a person's adoration of God

I am reminded every day how to love and feel love. Of the balance of love in my life. Like a body of liquid pushed this way and that ever fluid and filling to capacity where it will go. Received and rejected indeed ebbs and flows, into one or another love tends to go.

Both physic and metaphysic, love knows no bounds when love finds its boundaries, and humanity follows.

Love offers us light in the darkest of days and love makes dark of the lightest of light when we make heavy our way. Light and the dark of life, love is involved, with its touch and its loss.

Be mindful of love, its up and down call to every emotion we have, inside us all.

Confront with even hand our love inside, we get what we give as we learn through our lives.

We cannot make others love us and they cannot make us love them. Through our conduct our presence and inner being and belief, love finds expression and shared connection.

Love at first sight, so delicious a treat, love over time a cherished delight.

Our inter-dependence develops our love, for others and self, beyond any measuresÖ

Who measures when love does come to town? No one until it leavesÖ

Love is our soul and our reason for life, best cherish it, develop it, throw it away, find it, live it experience it write about it, share it and accept love, its light and dark, joy and sadness, innocence and corruption, ever changing, never ending colossus and meaning of lifeÖ

To all loves, past and present, a wish for gentle days and times, joys a plenty to wash away sad reflections, maybe not! For we need both to be complete...

January 1st 2005

Haunting Melodies

We cannot change a moment of past let past rest easy in memory.

New year dawns a world away, as we play catch-up in this hemisphere. Yet as this world turns and moves on, we are laden with memory. Good, bad and indifferent we store memories rightfully, to help us with this day, as memorable in our mind to the past and shaping our responses to future days.

Rich and heartfelt moments, a catalogue, a library in which we indulge to form a view of now. Our feelings for the day, our responses to what prevails. Seek out your happiness, where it confirms your choices for.. 'the common and personal good'. Seek out your similarity and immerse your presence in your world. Value our diversity and gifts, we share them all. Enrich yourself and fellows with support and worldly experience.

Be patient as nature throws us off balance, makes living as tough as it gets, and work with all Natures, that of Man, that of the Earth, our World as it spins beyond control. Work with what is, today, and what might be? What might be is the infinite possibility of your life, connected with every other, today and forever.

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January 2 2008

DonInLondon - ĎDay In The Lifeí Easy Does It - Careful Encounters

Life is Precious

Indeed life is precious. I just deactivated my face book account. Anything like face book which is worth as much as it is today, billions of pounds, is not attractive to me. Someone who knows suggested it is merely a marketing tool, and is out to make money from those who subscribe, nothing new in that.

Connections

We forget why often we have moved along and lost contact with people we have held in esteem over the years. Life gets busy in all directions where we are locally, and often we find solace in far distant connections when local ones are not too good.

Distant Connections & Honesty

In the distant connections we make, we can be as honest as we may be, and still hold back vital details which may make us more attractive to be a friend or less attractive as we hold back those parts of us we cannot share so well. Either at home where we live or even over long distance. My experience is the longer the distance, we are often able to share and bare our souls to complete strangers. And yet as a consequence we show our good and not our overall situation. We donít always show everything because if we received the whole picture then we might wonder what is going on. And worse feel as rejected as we do at home.

Honesty Openness and Willingness

A way of living for me, and in this we can still make assumptions about what we share and what we want to share. The sin of omission has made one friend feel out of place in recent weeks and hopefully that is on the mend. We do what we can, and still we need more living to make the progress we want.

Feelings of Misunderstanding Abound

We complicated humans are apt to make a meal of everything we encounter which has attractive qualities. And over the last decade I have made friends all over the world, sharing my journals and in recent years with my life turned upside down by addiction, the recovery story has featured prominently.

Just Because You Know MeÖ

It does not mean I know you, and the danger for me is there are plenty around who would wish to undermine my recovery in this world. Not because it is me, it is because they can and itís a sport for them. These things happen and many of us who blog are subject to preposterous connections as well as genuine ones. When we know the game we are alert enough to spot the dud ones and then again elaborate hoaxes can go on for a while.

What To Do?

Actually I need not worry about pranksters and hoaxes, those who perpetrate these events will and always will be reminded of their fun one way or another. I need do nothing and actually I accept there will be hoaxes, pedlars of the selective truth and people who are just not worth worrying about. The path of life and for me in recovery is about me and my conduct, not how others conduct themselves. I need not worry about them as life goes along.

Authentic and Genuine People

Fortunately there are authentic and genuine people, and they are the majority. As for when and where we realise the authenticity of some is suspect, we can with every right terminate contact and let go. There is no mileage in consideration of anything more. And it is a waste of time effort wondering why, after all its none of my business.

I do realise that in sharing openly about me and my situation, I do attract some long distance connections which present well, and yet I know in my experience and deep inside these distant friendships can be unreal. They donít always stack up in reality.

Power And Manipulation

Half of what has been troubling me lately is somehow sorted, and is nearby rather than thousands of miles away. The connections across oceans are important and remain. Those who are false drop away as unsustainable and impractical as time and complications reflect the truth.

Co Dependence

Between writing the above and now, there have been a number of calls about situations and events. It makes me realise the nature of living can be easy when we are sure of ourselves, and less so when insecurities and other matters generate connections. Co dependence is an area which is much misunderstood. And in reality the truth of co dependence is one person feels they are in control, and the other is less aware of the manipulations until something big happens.

Truth

A difficult concept for many, as much as denial of truth offers such a rich tapestry of justifications and disorderly conduct by all concerned. For those reading my words who know me locally, this is not about you! I get calls from many places on this planet, and thankfully those connections remain confidential. However if anyone feels a burning sensation reading what I write, its probably wise to have a look at your personal conduct rather than mine.

Truth is immutable and at the same time a revisionist mind can make a complete fabrication and justification. How do I know this? Why of course I have done it too. I hope less so these days, and still I need forgiveness always around these haphazard happenings.

Were life so simple!

It can be simple when we realise we can use our time to suite ourselves and be happy, we do not need to be told what makes us happy, we need make sure we donít end up doing things for the sake of it, or because we feel we should.

Ghandi

"An emphatic no is better than a half hearted yes"

"God Is truth"

Both these quotes help me resolve much of my living today. And help me find my path. Just one day, sometimes by the hour, by the minute, when we respond and not react as if we are here at others behest, life takes on new meaning as we go.

Daily Reflections for January 3 2008

POWERLESS

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable.

TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 21

It is no coincidence that the very first Step mentions powerlessness: An admission of personal powerlessness over alcohol is a cornerstone of the foundation of recovery. I've learned that I do not have the power and control I once thought I had. I am powerless over what people think about me. I am powerless over having just missed the bus. I am powerless over how other people work (or don't work) the Steps. But I've also learned I am not powerless over some things. I am not powerless over my attitudes. I am not powerless over negativity. I am not powerless over assuming responsibility for my own recovery. I have the power to exert a positive influence on myself, my loved ones, and the world in which I live.

Twenty-Four Hours A Day

A.A. Thought For The Day

When I came into A.A., I learned what an alcoholic was and then I applied this knowledge to myself to see if I was an alcoholic. When I was convinced that I was an alcoholic, I admitted it openly. Since then, have I been learning to live accordingly? Have I read the book Alcoholics Anonymous? Have I applied the knowledge gained to myself? Have I admitted openly that I am an alcoholic? Am I ready to admit it at any time when I can be of help?

Meditation For The Day

I will be renewed. I will be remade. In this, I need God's help. His spirit shall flow through me and, in flowing through me, it shall sweep away all the bitter past. I will take heart. The way will open for me. Each day will unfold something good, as long as I am trying to live the way I believe God wants me to live.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be taught, just as a child would be taught. I pray that
I may never question God's plans, but accept them gladly.

As Bill Sees It

Speak Up Without Fear, p.278

Few of us are anonymous so far as our daily contacts go. We have dropped anonymity at this level because we think our friends and associates ought to know about A.A. and what it has done for us. We also wish to lose the fear of admitting that we are alcoholics. Though we earnestly request reporters not to disclose our identities, we frequently speak before semi-public gatherings. We wish to convince audiences that our alcoholism is a sickness we no longer fear to discuss before anyone.

If, however, we venture beyond this limit, we shall surely lose the principle of anonymity forever. If every A.A. felt free to publish his own name, picture, and story, we would soon be launched upon a vast orgy of personal publicity.

"While the so-called public meeting is questioned by many A.A. members, I favour it myself providing only that anonymity is respected in press reports and that we ask nothing for ourselves except understanding."

1. Grapevine, January 1946
2. Letter, 1949

January 2nd 2007

Three Steps to Heaven

It has been a good start to the New Year with Lunch with family and a gentle conversation about doing good for ourselves and others. Being in my fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous is seen as a very positive move by my family about me and keeping to safe ways of living. After the awful times of years gone by, where I was either mad with depression or mad because I was searching for oblivion, seeing me sober and making some sense of life at long last is a real bonus all round. After having a nervous breakdown in 1996 I reckon I was written off by most people who knew me, as I had no clue how to help myself and neither did anyone else. At the time because nobody could really, and my career was done and I was fired unceremoniously by my employer. It still hurts how those days unfolded. Exhaustion and depression having a mental illness are quite deniable by the sufferer and a company who enabled the ailments in the first place.

Anyways thatís part of my story and will be so for evermore. I still do forgive and wish those people well who played their part in my ending of that career. And when they sit back without their plausible denials, one day they too will see their part in it. I have no concerns on those matters, other than it is useful to know history and what would put me back in the same pickle again.

So why three steps to Heaven?

Eddie Cochran:

"Now there are Three Steps To Heaven
Just listen and you will plainly see
And as life travels on
And things do go wrong
Just follow steps one, two and three"

Yes my AA meeting tonight was all about step three of the AA programme of rehabilitation if you like. Step three is a bit of a tall order for some as it requires us to have some understanding of God. Step three reads:

"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives our to the care of God as we understood Him"

God and Good Conscience

For those of you who read this, and before you click off with the mention of God, that is if you havenít already, God is completely optional in AA. There are some who are strong believers and some like me, who without doubt know that we all have the capacity for good conscience. As to God, well we donít need debate God, if we do, God exists in some way in your head. As for me, my understanding as clearly stated, we get from Nature and Providence, our good conscience and our best way of living, which without a doubt is without drink or drugs, its quite obvious, unless you are an addict like me and thirsty.

I wonder why the three steps to heaven lyric came to mind.. Well for me step three is about simply activating our trusty and often rusty good conscience.

For me in AA I get heaps of wisdom from sober people who live well and get on with life. Some believe in God, some believe in Good Conscience and some believe in Father Christmas. I know what I feel I believe is right for me, and its not Father Christmas.

So when we hear people share their experience strength and hope in meetings, we listen for what will work for us.

AA Tool Kit of Life

Actually the AA tool kit of life is simply the combined wisdom of people, their experiences and any literature we care to read about making life work without our addiction being active. So we are in recovery and not discovered pissed or stoned on the streets anymore.

Now please respect other people and their faith. Even those who believe in Father Christmas, you donít have to, to find wisdom and how to live sober. No one else gets close to keeping people sober like AA. And you never get people coming back saying how marvellous their trip into more addiction was.

A lot of people donít like the God element in the AA programme. By the time I set foot through the doors of AA properly four years back, I was just needing somewhere to go and be sober. And the God bit only got to me when I felt angry at all the sober people being happy. I soon discovered the number who believe in something was very high, but everyoneís idea of God was quite different.

So it is the God or the Good Conscience part which you choose. Both work brilliantly as a guide to behaving to the good and not drinking, injecting or snorting large amounts of unhelpful substance which is killing us. And the proof is most people who get addicted and donít find an anonymous fellowship either live miserably, or worse just simply die early or sooner through overdoses and misery.

Insanity is addiction and addiction is insanity. So if we are comfortable with asking God or Good Conscience to be our guide, then all well and good.

And as there is only one qualification for joining AA, it is simply a desire to stop drinking, we have every faith, every hue of non believer and every element of humanity in our fellowship.

Our Chairperson or principle Sharer

Yes indeed, they were a firm believer in God. And good for them, as they gave a great example of using faith and or their good conscience to good effect in living.

However we get the message to stop harming and self harming ourselves, I really donít care if its God or Father Christmas, good conscience comes out strongly either way for me.

The Room was Packed

I enjoyed our meeting tonight full to the rafters as there were other meetings closed for holidays. And we all packed in and drank tea, which I enjoyed making for everyone.

And being in a room with all these people with their own beliefs and me with mine with a single purpose, just to be sober today, well it bloody well works for me!

And of course it teaches me so many things, from basics to big things I really never realised every time I go to a meeting.

Sobriety

When we have lived for decades with alcohol or drugs, drugs are not my story really but itís the same, and now to be sober a day at a time, with a fellowship where I go share my stuff as I need to, its blinking marvellous to be free of worries and desire to drink at all.

Dealing with my Issues

I get to deal with my other ailments as I may, two of them are really quite hard work. Depression and diabetes are not seen as fun to have, and I can testify to that! It drains and makes me weary very often.

I donít talk about my other complaints much in meetings, only if asked or if I do the Chair. Or if its relevant.

Happy in my silence

I was tonight, and it made sense to be silent, as many were aggravated and felt the need to share.

Celebrations Too

Some people were sober some years and got their chips for years sober, the highest tonight was thirteen years. And in the room there were many with decades sober. I am glad to be in their company and how they help me just keep sober one day more.

We Work Hard

We do, we have to because life means we work it, and make it worth it. Anyone who thinks they may come sit and be cured get very pissed off very quickly, because the magic only happens if we work at life and living sober. The gift is beyond measure, from ruin to living. Now if you feel that is a miracle, you may find faith where you had none before. Indeed why not? As for me, I am happy in good conscience always and resolve it is my responsibility to make life work as I may, with all the help that is there.

I will always respect others faith and judgment for themselves, as they do me, at least I hope so.

And I do pray and meditate. Now what on earth do I do this for? Try it and see. Spiritual and meditation and prayers to good conscience work without doubt for me.

Any mystic or gifted and peaceful person reflects and meditates as do we all, with focus and aplomb. The difference is in how we behave as a result and how we live.

So if you are new to trying to live sober, be open minded and let a little humanity back into your heart, and see what happens. At least if you are at a meeting, you are more likely to be drinking tea. And if you are not sober, we donít mind in the least, just keep coming back, after all you are worth it, so work it if you please.

Overall

A good night out with a load of friends who know how to live life on lifeís terms, just for today! What more might we wish for? Well I will send Santa a note next Christmas.

I write partly with humour for we need to remind ourselves this programme is about fun and life, not death and torment. We all who become fellows of AA are well aware of torment and death, most likely we have stared it in the face too often. And often many donít make it. Very fierce, this addiction malarkey, it kills with ease, and we see denial every dayÖ, all you need to know is, it need not be you.

January 2nd 2006

Greetings To 2006

a year of promise, and many changes for me. A recognition of my humanity. A recognition the world has more synchronicity than I ever imagined and difference held in conflicts thrall.

One day at a time, last year has been magnificent in teaching me lessons over and over about the way of this world and people. Beyond my wildest dreams? More a confirmation of our potential for the good and less good.

That we learn slowly and quickly, move forward and backward with each passing event. That we understand ourselves less then more. Then we discard reality as quickly as we acknowledge every element of living.

Hapless and happy, hapless and sad, we move on. Sometimes we move to new days and leave old ones where they belong in the past. Increments of time passing as we learn to make good our days or make the same moves over and over, pleading to our insanity to make things come out the way our will desires.

Waking to new year, no difference from one day to the next? Maybe there are similarities and there are differences as we open eyes to days with hope and happenstance.

When we acknowledge we move forward not backward, we hear our own call to new prospects. New prospect are to the good and to our learning, we move forward as we programme our living to change.

Living to change. Luck for the luckless, the winners, there are no losers in this chaos so perfect it might as well be our plan. Chaos in perfect order, we time travellers know there is no root back to the past.

When past is accepted and placed with true value, wisdoms key unlocks this day and every day. Perception as complete it must may inform our next endeavour, with an open mind of course, maybe, the ever maybe we will hark to history and leave dark glooms. Or indeed, recall our best of times and loves, I do this day.

Many moments of love and glorious memories tinged with a glow and gratitude that every love based on rock holds good its foundations, and every moment was meant to be.

Superficial and indifferent were never my stock in trade, most evident to cherish and care for lovers as best this soul could muster for those times and places.

And with fondness of memory, moving forward loving as always to new days and times. As we grow old our times are renewed a plenty, with the gift of hindsight to cherish the ever-present present. To cherish our future potential for Nature's gift...

Love

January 2nd 2005

still those inner voices of doubt

Resolutions abound this time of year. Where remembering and memories make us think about old habits and new beginnings. Our heads are full of history, and our feelings to improve our lives sends us to dreams for our future. Sometimes it is best to sit and let our voices go quiet. Pick a small fancy for the future.

Something which requires little thought or feeling. Maybe as we wake, we start the day, with just a simple expectation? To expect nothing. To keep our mind open, to forgive everyone, especially ourselves. And from nothing expected, comes something or nothing... as has been said,í the usefulness of any vessel is in its emptiness' and an empty head has much room for the day, for love, for understanding and enquiry. Be generous to ourselves and let in the day...

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January 4 2008

DonInLondon - ĎDay In The Lifeí There Are Always Consequences

All About Living In The Moment

[A Gentle Reminder - I Do Not Speak for AA I Speak For Myself, I Am Not A Guru - I Am Just Another Human And Always A Learner]

When we are living in the day, we have good opportunities to make life work. Even when we try our best, things will inevitably go wrong and some will go right. I guess its about trying to work out what the balance of good and sad, or plain bad might be. And why. What is my part in all these events.

Keep It Simple

I do try for simplicity and then life ambles along and for many, we get the best of living and find tranquil and even serene moments. Life is busy though and much of what we encounter, we are powerless over. I feel like I may be repeating yesterdays words and maybe I need do this.

Today

Two meetings of AA, Alcoholics Anonymous, one at Hinde street in the West End of London and another local to me at Radnor walk. Two meetings with different agendas. And each was helpful to me.

At Hinde Street I realised I am not the only one who feels out of sorts. My feelings and my outlook have been undermined. I feel sad because when we are wronged, it hurts. What hurts even more is when we are wronged, and the blame and all the hullabaloo which goes with who said what about this and that.. In the end we need to let go, if we want serenity. And we learn the lesson that its not whether we are right and someone else is wrong. It is what we do next time. And how we resolve the problem as it is. A breakdown in communication, behind it are feelings and a lot of anger.

Pride and Denials

We all have these qualities, we need them sometimes to get over whatever else is occurring. And in the final analysis, we may get to truth. Truth and being found out are limitless opportunities to learn. These opportunities hurt, as we all feel pain when caught in unhappy recollections, and quite often in half truths utilised for reasons we can only wonder about.

Esteem And Ego

I realise that esteem, that positive feeling is maintained as we learn from our living and our mistakes. I get no kick from challenging others views or their outlooks. Judgment is least preferred by me. However when it comes to bends in the truth which are convenient lies to make unreal and nasty connotations, well I am like any human, subject to moments of intense anger.

This happened to me before and I usually work it through. And get to a place of bygones. We let it go as the result of truth can be unpleasant as we play Ego and worse want our way and our outlook to be the only way. Today its not me, and yet I know it can happen to me again. We are forever learners in this life.

None of this ego inflation works, it breaks down lots of people and leaves bad feelings. The way to deal with life and its challenges is often simply to keep a careful and straight path.

Noses Out Of Joint

Often we can be forgetful of others and their sensitivities. I am less so over the years. And feel quite honestly that most of the time my open book life is there and can be criticised as much as one likes. Be smarmy and unkind about other people and I will react, and I will be angry. Drag others into personal one on one disputes with me and I really will take a dim view. And of course let it go? I need let it go or life just becomes uncomfortable. Grudges are not worth a damn.

When its none of my business, I do generally keep out of the way of others disputes, or I will resort to old behaviour? And indeed if that behaviour is not acceptable to me, why keep the associations? And why stick my nose in if its none of my business?

Trust

A hard earned commodity I have squandered in the past and deserved all the consequences. Forgiven maybe, yet the burn of those indiscretions can glow white hot again. And I need take care, when undermined I have a thorny nature. A time of forgiving is truly important as these things happen and not excuses of justifications.

Tonight At Radnor

Much mulling in my own mind. We were not too many tonight and its always difficult as the new year is often a bumpy start. There was a suggestion I might want to be nominated to a new service role. And I had to decline presently because I would give up the message of recovery in my own way, here in my writing and on You Tube.

Recovery Messages

We all have our way to share recovery. In this ever changing world which is more loose and far flung, the message of hope to find recovery is a difficult one. We need share as we feel is right and see how it goes.

What Gets In the Way

If we keep to our position of being right we will inevitably be wrong. No one person holds the key to truth. The truth in some instances is a movable feast. Ask any politician for truth and see where it leads.

In fellowship however we are apt to get our wires crossed, to upset each other and in the end work out how to find empathy and harmony. Best done without justification, best done without resentments, and a lot of love. Love really is the final conclusion to disputes. Trust need be earned it is never a given once it is broken. And in truth we need find our own forgiveness or we really have none for others.

Life is too short, mine is for sure to keep grudges, so bygones wins always and not me.

Daily Reflections

BEGIN WHERE YOU ARE

We feel that elimination of our drinking is but a beginning. A much more important demonstration of our principles lies before us in our respective homes, occupations and affairs.

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p.19

It's usually pretty easy for me to be pleasant to the people in an A.A. setting. While I'm working to stay sober, I'm celebrating with my fellow A.A.s our common release from the hell of drinking. It's often not so hard to spread glad tidings to my old and new friends in the program. At home or at work, though, it can be a difference story. It is in situations arising in
both of those areas that the little day-to-day frustrations are most evident, and where it can be tough to smile or reach out with a kind word or an attentive ear. It's outside of the A.A. rooms that I face the real test of the effectiveness of my walk
through A.A.'s Twelve Steps.

Twenty-Four Hours A Day

A.A. Thought For The Day

Have I admitted I am an alcoholic? Have I swallowed my pride and admitted I was different from other drinkers? Have I accepted the fact that I must spend the rest of my life without liquor? Have I any more reservations, any idea in the back of my mind that some day I'll be able to drink safely? Am I absolutely honest with myself and with other people? Have I taken an inventory of myself and admitted the wrong I have done? Have I come clean with my friends? Have I tried to make it up to them for the way I have treated them?

Meditation For The Day

I will believe that fundamentally all is well. Good things will happen to me. I believe that God cares for me and will provide for me. I will not try to plan ahead. I know that the way will unfold, step by step. I will leave tomorrow's burden to God, because He is the great burden-bearer. He only expects me to carry my one-day's share.

As Bill Sees It

To Lighten Our Burden, p.277

Only one consideration should qualify our desire for a complete disclosure of the damage we have done. That will arise where a
full revelation would seriously harm the one to whom we are making amends. Or--quite as important--other people. We cannot, for example, unload a detailed account of extramarital adventuring upon the shoulders of our unsuspecting wife or husband. It does not lighten our burden when we recklessly make the crosses of others heavy.

In making amends, we should be sensible, tactful, considerate, and humble without being servile or scraping. As God's people, we stand on our feet; we don't crawl before anyone.

1. 12 & 12, p.86
2. Alcoholics Anonymous, p.83

January 4th 2007

Hello My Name isÖ

"Hi! My name is.. (what?) My name is.. (who?)
My name is.. [scratches] Slim Shady
Hi! My name is.. (huh?) My name is.. (what?)
My name is.. [scratches] Slim Shady"

Weird times these days when odd lyrics spin through the sober mind. In our fellowship we announce ourselves, my name is.. And I am an alcoholic. And sometimes the connections are so strong, that song and the lyrics an epithet to living through hard knocks and desolate times.

But today has been pretty ok for me I have done good and had good done to me. After yesterday and the hypo reaction to low blood sugars, my system is complaining. Hard to sleep as the body finds ways to balance and heal how it may. I was up late and awoke early.

A good day indeed, with a two hour chat with another alcoholic in recovery. This one though finds AA a real bind as they have still to get to grips with being themselves and find AA stifles them and their outlook.

Actually AA can help lots of people, and also lots of other programmes help lots of other people with their addictions and their habits which undermine their living. My good friend and I had lots of laughter about the programme of AA and how to be ourselves. Whilst I am content with AA and find peace with others and tranquillity, it can do the opposite when your head tells you one thing and your heart is saying something else

Intellectual and Emotional Capacity

As you see from my headline I avoid this IQ, EQ (quotient amount of quality: a scale, or a point on a scale, indicating the amount, degree, or level of something (informal)

Capacity for intellect and emotions depends on experience and our raw material, brain power. Some people have lots of one and not the other, or both or none. Its really about nature and nurture and something else, our overall will and conditioning from life experiences. So the hard science of measuring IQís and EQís is really problematic as whatever we use to make a judgment falters simply because of our inbuilt prejudices about how and what we measure.

Maturity of Outlook and Experience

Are far better ways of getting along in life and how we relate with others. All to often we fill our immediate moments with prejudged labels on people and their beliefs and their conduct.

Now that is a real problem, as we can always block our own progress by simply being prejudiced and very stubborn.

Now I know my friend has great intellect and emotional capacities, and without shadow of doubt has great prejudice against themselves and others who they find either weak or unacceptable because of their outlook and their alcoholism, they forget they are an alcoholic too and judge away..

Not a good combination as the truly gifted can be truly prejudiced as they value people as commodities and as consumable objects or material for using or indeed abusing.

Real Life

It is real life, so many understated prejudices exist. We might ask ourselves where and when we got so bigoted? Answer is simple from nature and nurture. How we choose to educate ourselves and make life work is always a personal choice in the end. And lots of people find it hard to choose. So some follow as others lead.

Both Me and my Friend

We agree on many things. And yet some fundamentals we will never share. For they are still full of ego, as my esteem replaces ego. And they still operate from fear, when courage makes good our beliefs and faith. So many people live in fear and therefore have to be brave and steadfast to their views and outlook and of course their ego which really makes them defend things indefensible.

It is far better to have faith courage and esteem, and value diversity of outlooks. So while I am flourishing in AA and finding out who I may be and might become, my friend is doing the same in their own way. It is not for me judge their outlook merely to judge what my outlook may be and how my life works.

I suppose, I have to acknowledge my feelings for some who cause harm through their unhelpful example. Yet we are all able to make choices as we live and get sober and understand living again.

Choices

I have chosen well for me, the route of AA makes me see the way to live a day at a time and squeeze life out of each day. This is not just for happiness, its about knowing the joy and the sadness of every part of life.

And for me, I have a lot to do just to keep body and soul together. So I listen and see how the wisdom I hear and read about can be utilised in my personal programme of living.

Choices are about finding what works for us given our overall preferences to living.

Good Conscience is my Guide

Indeed good conscience is my higher power in life. Actually the wisdom I hear from the good conscience of the many in AA is a clear and open channel to wisdom. Sober people have good wisdom, people struggling are trying to make sense of simple living let alone anything more. So I stick to the winners and the people who adopt a good path to living soberly and with joy and happiness are their truth. And of course the wisdom outside the fellowship on all other matters besides alcohol, is so vast we may never know so many elements of living, its just what we choose as we find our path.

AA is about finding joy and happiness, people in early recovery are still bedevilled by comparing and contrasting rather than learning.

And this is where my friend and I differ. While they continue to debate big clumps of AA language, they donít see what AA is doing for them or how to get the tool kit of living happily. Anyway thatís not my concern. My concern is to be a friend and share truth of what is working for me, and what others do is none of my affair really. Unless of course I see actual harm or dishonesty. And I may challenge if I feel it is appropriate. And the learning here is applied to life too.

There is plenty of BS about Everywhere

Yes bullshit actually, and we see it, hear it and smell it as dishonest bollocks.
When we see and know what we are experiencing, we can voice opinion or not as we see fit. We can influence but we cannot change others to our views or control how others behave overall. We waste our time when we do.

AA changes just one thing, just us, we change and find our path, the world turns whatever we do and we are as Shakespeare said, "merely players" and its about what we can change in ourselves and our attitudes, not changing the world to suit us, because we canít change the world.

So I do adopt the reconciling understanding that I am powerless over people places and things, simply because I am. And trying to exercise power over is unhelpful in just about every social context and even other contexts unless there is danger manifesting. And even then if reaction need not be made, responses often mean others learn and do not need a Sheppard.

Tonight

A bloody good meeting and full of good people who know their own minds and are in sobriety. Not many newcomers or youthful (early days) in fellowship terms so we made a lot of good noises about recovery being fun and not all detrimental.

Some of us get immense highs and lows in our lives, and mine is made slightly more extreme by clinical depression, yet I find myself with good medical support which helps me keep an even keel and be on a par with my fellowship
Fellows. Now that is the truth for me.

If I were to listen purists of revisionist AA, the purists who extol the virtues of sack cloth and ashes, and tortures and strictures of some unbelievable stupidity, namely bearing witness to sins and calamity, and not following medical advice, they can fuck off. After all this fellowship is about healing and not hostility, about forgiveness, not about retribution and self obsession with guilt and shame.

So AA is to the good overall for me. As to others who find they cannot get on with AA and its more Ďdevout,í I suppose blood and guts exponents, you have my complete empathy. At the same time the honest path to tread is finding your principles of living and finding your personal path. And that has nothing to do with any Ďrigourí AA purists, it has to do with self development and self appreciation. We find there are stupid people wherever we are in society and life, it does not mean we need be stupid too!

As was Said

When we can let go our shame and guilt for whatever we have done, we need find forgiveness for ourselves, or we will find no peace or understanding for anything and anyone we encounter. We learn life through our good and bad judgment, make to the good with good conscience. And if God works for you all to the good. If good conscience works for you all to the good of living too.

We need find the love inside, stop judging and start loving. And also know we will often walk away from those we cannot abide. No amount of love or forgiveness will ever make some people our friends, yet we need not make them our enemies. They are busy doing that and we need not join in unhelpful and futile battles.

Everyone deserves their place in the world, we are really all equal across all the capacities we have at our disposal. We need not judge harshly others and we make life as we work life to the good, and of course good conscience my everlasting higher power.

When is judgment day? Right now, your conduct, my conduct and doing the next right thing. The true spiritual path of all humans is now in the ever present, perfectly imperfect moment of now. I am chuffed tonight my friend who does not like AA is sober their way, and chuffed with my friends
in and out of the fellowship.

After all AA is about the bridge to living a normal ordinary and extraordinary life, just one day at a time in this ever present, present moment of now! Respectfully, Amen to good conscience and the God of your choosingÖ Live life a day at a time, it works if you work at it hard as you would anything worth having. Sit and watch and life, it will pass by soon enough and that may be very disappointing as we take stock of our living.

Hello my name is Ö
Don, I am an alcoholic, in recovery a day at a timeÖ

January 4th 2006

You Can Please Some Of The People...

I rarely comment on email from other people. I just keep it and file it. Just in case. Of what?

What we write over time is a body of work, it reflects what is going on in our own mind, our judgement and reaction to how we are treating the world. We go through good and bad times, we all do it and I do it.

When we treat the world with care, support and nurture, we feel it inside some way to the good. When we lash or strike out, as good people we don't want to, yet some indignant bit of us still finds time to do it...

We have every emotion in us and no exclusivity to truth. Truth is just what we see and as good as our perception this day this moment. Ask hindsight what it knows!

As you behave - So I find

Other peopleís anger comes into our lives, like TV, or real to life they illuminate the day. Fractious hurt little bleats across our Universe as reality sucks to their eyes.

How we behave towards each other, so distant so close we cannot see our own demands to attend their drift to ego's hollow pit. Damned if we do, damned if we don't, the mighty sway of time served provides for ready feasts that fill that hollow gnaw where love is lost and lost as self will harms our soul.

Let go and make good our good conscience as we fire and rail against the truth, not honest, not complete in our gift to the world, we hide in insecure half lights, and half darks.

Half in and out our shadow lands we dwell, best foot forward to share to the world , our events, our wrong footed rasp. Dark drags us half confessing, half evading truths glare, lest our darkness pervades and shutters as repellent ether blocks our path.

We hold our shadow close as fear grips our honest core and holds our truth to ransom. When we take our reckoning day by day, we find that burr that sticks and clings and let it go. Or simple burr so burdened takes our state of mind to shame and guilt, as modern man is apt to hide his folly. And so guarded wounds develop and run the gamut as endarkened ramparts grow to hold the festering lies we push to silent memories.

And gifted thus we push to forgetful banks of time our lush unhappy briar which grows and grows like topsy, till just a light touch, the merest whiff to ego's will, cuts wide, cuts deep the salted wounds of time.

As you behave, so I find, we praise the poker hand, as our deft gambling shadow sucks on smoke to hide the mirrors gaze. I am no mirror and shadows smoke fills our gamblers mind, his hand is played to bluff. A grifters take on being right forever clouded to their grip.

As you behave so I find, your worth and value to the world. As I behave, so you find my worth and value to the world. Our impact true, our intent our own, we move and make our way, we show our world and make our world its might and tempest comes straight back to catch our self within.

A daily show to all mankind is how we make our way. As surely we all evolve, our delving questing selves find peace not ever in any rhetoric, for its touch is past...

How we behave is our experience and grip from wisdoms fort to show our world, we get our gift as we give and not by right or presence.

And as I behave and find the world, I find myself complete, another imperfect perfect wanderer as if in war and peace without the mask of dark.

Harsh mirrors light I find myself the equal of my fellow, not bigger or smaller, no more wiser to wisdoms fold than this day, this moment give to acceptance as the key.

When angry sores are ripped, excoriate that skin, that festered hide, corrupted smoke blown down! And breath and breathe till cleaner air pulls vision to sharp relief. Then reflections grasp helps reality to find its way and smoke is lost to atmosphere..

January 4th 2005

Great Wealth

Even with a small bank account, the one who is contented finds himself with great wealth.

Tough times around the world. No amount of money will ever put at ease the feelings inside so many who lost so much. A person's wealth is the sum of their experience and the experiences are not often what we would wish. Sentiments abound for survivors of the great catastrophe, the Tsunami...

For a person shivering with grief, there is not much to offer from far away, for much of what we feel and express through giving will be only heard and recognised a long time from now.

We can do our best to support and help, and there will be the 'knowing' of what we did. It may be years and generations who look back and see the consternation, the sadness and immense desire to do anything to help. For those bereft and bereaved, a time of struggle, to come to any sense of belonging to humanity again.

Humanitarian aid, the hardest and most fickle response in our forgetful world, let us hope we do not forget.

The one who is most contented? Not one person on this planet will be content to see this humanitarian aid squandered, or this catastrophe forgotten. What nature threw us, we are powerless over, yet we have great resources to help those in hardship.

Our greatest gift to all our fellows in the world is our friendship as we are able to give it. Our gift will come as timely to our understanding, and to each others understanding of humanity....

--------------------------------------------------

January 5 2008 DonInLondon - ĎDay In the Lifeí

More Centred Feet On the Ground

In case I forget, I need remind myself I am a human being merely the same size and of equal value as any other. I never want the mantle of Guru or Master of anything. Why write this? Because it is easy sometimes when we share our outlook and people get something from what we have to say, that like any other person we might get too big for own boots.

Esteem

Self esteem and esteem for anyone needs somehow to feel right, and it feels right for me when we are evens, that is everyone of us is same sized and has a right to be the equal of anyone regardless sometimes of the difference we may encounter. Not everyone is our best friend, not everyone on the same path. We need be mindful and respectful always of others and their outlooks, values and principles, especially faith and beliefs.

Friendships

We can be awkward when we feel our situation is undermined. As one can feel nothing wrong has been done, I can feel the opposite then things can end up pretty difficult. Difficult yes, not an ending though.

And as the time goes along, the whole thing is dug over a few times it gets worse often rather than better. Then we have a breakdown as much of what made us cross in the first place becomes bigger and bigger and everything is thrown in for good or bad measure. A calamity we can all be part of, as life offers.

We need to make bridges, make the effort to sort our feelings out, to be responsible and make gestures both ways to get level. And level means we are talking, we are resolving, and we are forgetting our differences and reminding ourselves of our similarities.

Local and Global

So in my local world, some mending has been happening, and this is done by deeds and actual living and doing the next right thing or experience. I take note of my part in matters.

Global connections are proving a challenge as time to keep long distance connections can feel like they are as local as my next door neighbour. I still donít really know my next door neighbour presently, that is just how it is. And in this regard I do feel somewhat at a disadvantage because when we donít know as much as we would wish, long distance remains a long distance.

Today

With mending underway and truly I do believe it is so, then I feel a lot better than a few days back.

Back to Basics - The Promises

In my You tube video tonight I included the reading about the promises AA offers to newcomers and old timers in the programme. That life will get better when we are sober and face up to living in this one day.

A Day At A Time

This is our daily reality, that we feel as right as we may and understand how to make the most of what we have and what life can present. Definitely this is a life long journey facing reality as nature intended rather than the out of our mind experiences many an alcoholic and addict might have preferred before addiction made the penalty a death sentence.

Overall today that is January 4 has ended so far reasonably peaceful and with a better head.

Company

I have been in good company and found that today turned out better than I ever imagined. Just better mind, I have to work at my relationship with the world and my personal relationships. That is the gift of sobriety. I can make choices and not malinger or procrastinate. I make choices based on information I get and not speculations or imaginary situations.

Listening and Hearing

Listening is one area for me, where I can make leaps and intuitive guesses and find my whole reality shifts into my own imagination. When I listen I hear everything if I take the trouble to stop my head leaping forward, donít make assumptions and certainly donít speak for anyone but myself.

A lot of the problems of the world would be improved if people listened properly not only to things they want to hear, but those things they donít want to hear. We learn as we go and itís a real opportunity to listen without prejudice, and learn our own world can be improved as we hear and see the world about us as it is, and not some fabrication concocted to defend the indefensible.

I do not speak for AA, I speak for Me

I am learning a completely new way of understanding how to live daily, with help from the AA fellowship. I do not ever speak for AA. And I speak for myself and what has worked for me in recovery.

Daily Reflections January 5 2008 [ sources AA inspired daily reflections on the web]

TOTAL ACCEPTANCE

He cannot picture life without alcohol. Some day he will be unable to imagine life either with alcohol or without it. Then he will know loneliness such as few do. He will be at the jumping-off place. He will wish for the end.

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p.152

Only an alcoholic can understand the exact meaning of a statement like this one. The double standard that held me captive as an active alcoholic also filled me with terror and confusion: "If I don't get a drink I'm going to die," competed with "If I continue drinking it's going to kill me." Both compulsive thoughts pushed me ever closer to the bottom. That bottom produced a total acceptance of my alcoholism - with no reservations whatsoever - and one that was absolutely essential for my recovery. It was a dilemma unlike anything I had ever faced, but as I found out later on, a necessary one if I was to succeed in this program.

Twenty-Four Hours A Day

A.A. Thought For The Day

Have I turned to a Higher Power for help? Do I believe that each man or woman I see in A.A. is a demonstration of the power of God to change a human being from a drunkard into a sober, useful citizen? Do I believe that this Higher Power can help me from drinking? Am I living one day at a time? Do I ask God to give me the power to stay sober for each twenty-four hours? Do I attend A.A. meetings regularly?

Meditation For The Day

I believe that God's presence brings peace and that peace, like a quiet flowing river, will cleanse all irritants away. In these quiet times, God will teach me how to rest my nerves. I will not be afraid. I will learn how to relax. When I am relaxed, God's strength will flow into me. I will be at peace.

As Bill Sees It

A Higher Power for Atheists, p.276

"I have had many experiences with atheists, mostly good. Everybody in A.A. has the right to his own opinion. It is much better
to maintain an open and tolerant society than it is to suppress any small disturbances their opinions might occasion. Actually, I don't know of anybody who went off and died of alcoholism because of some atheist's opinions on the cosmos.

"But I do always entreat these folks to look to a 'Higher Power'--namely, their own group. When they come in, most of their A.A. group is sober, and they are drunk. Therefore, the group is a 'Higher Power.' That's a good enough start, and most of them do progress from there. I know how they feel, because I was once that way myself."

Letter, 1962

January 5th 2007

Barking Mad

Its an old phrase, I have no idea where the phrase comes from. And it feels relevant to remind myself of it tonight. I have had a pretty reasonable day. I got out and about, and within minutes was aware of my "dogs" (feet). Not sure where this particular manifestation of Diabetes is going but neuropathy is not pleasant when it affects walking all the time. I can walk and am pleased I can. My ability to ride a bicycle is not impaired it seems. So while walking can be a real tortuous experience, cycling about in the wet and cold is quite fun with thermals on!

Now barking mad I used to be, driven quite bonkers by life. My behaviour was not typical in some respects. I had long periods of time alone and during those times I was clinically depressed. Its been a condition all my life I am beginning to realise. I have been told this more than once by psychiatrists. And as per usual, because itís a mental health issue I preferred my denial of the problem to actually taking on board what medical science was telling me.
There is nothing like a mental illness to make a person feel less than others. And in truth is still bothers me a bit today.

My mental illness tells me I donít have it, simply because it has been unacceptable to me, and to anyone I used to know. And my prejudice was so great I suffered in silence all my life. Pretty dumb behaviour but completely understandable as no one wants to feel that defectiveness of mental illness, and especially the stigma society place on it.

As so many people suffer from some form of mental anxiety, and indeed large groups in the of the population know depression from personal experience we might be a little more forgiving of ourselves if we have such a condition. Not me for most of life though, for it would mean I was less than others. And actually the problem was left untreated it nearly killed me along the way.

And as a result, like so many, I used oblivion found through the most convenient means available to me, alcohol. I used alcohol to get through horrid times and of course as alcohol naturally depresses people, so it did me in the end. Which came first? Depression or alcohol, now I know depression was there from the start, a chemical imbalance either from nature or nurture.

So in truth where it comes from has no value to me, its what I experience these days.

So while my day today has been good the subject of madness is never far away from me in the fellowship of alcoholics anonymous. I have had and enjoyed my day pretty much. Yet tonight I have to reflect on the role of medical people and psychiatry in my recovery.

In 1996 I had a complete breakdown mentally. From anxiety state lasting months to marked reactive and reactive depressions for years following. And with medical help I was kept sufficiently stable to stay alive. After a short period, my medical help dwindled as my financial state deteriorated too. And with the unfortunate lottery of GPís and my denials of life being hard as hell, I slipped through the cracks, turned to drink and gradually found myself homeless in the end.

In the latter stages of complete meltdown I took to drink as the only thing to blot out the depressions and the awful state of my life. My life was a complete and utter mess and my drinking became a round the clock affair, and I was addicted as anyone will be who has followed my path to the edge of life.

Tonight AA

As I know AA keeps me healthy enough to contend with my clinical depression and affords me courage and faith and confidence to keep things ticking over in the day. AA has allowed me to mange my regime for Type one diabetes too. So with clinical depression, diabetes and being in recovery a day at a time I get along.

Tonight though the role of medical science was questioned as it inevitably is. And the role of psychiatry too. I suppose by the time we have got to the last chance saloon of life and AA, we are as worn down by our maladies as we can be.

But we forget what we demanded of medicine and the psychiatrists!
We can be very undermining about medical science as the medical profession often cannot deal with mental health issues as well as we might wish.
By the time we go to a Doctor with a mental health issue, we have had it for a long while, and when we go with addiction, we are very ill by then. Yet we expect them to dispense an aspirin or some form of fix to make us well, when we have spent years getting unwell, or have been unwell mentally maybe from birth.

Bonkers

If it takes us years to go completely bonkers and then seek advice, then we can expect the healing process is going to be a long one. Our impatience and pain in mental illness is as profound and maddening as can be, and we lose our patience and do all we can to get oblivion from our condition, and drink and drugs make it so easy.

So as we are mad already, how then can medical people sort us out? Indeed we cannot be fixed overnight, it takes years to go nuts and years to get out of the horrid place we occupy inside our heads.
No Wonder we Rubbish medical support? I donít!
Many people in AA get well and return to living perfectly ordinary and extraordinary lives because of AA. It is a fellowship which gives us experience strength and hope, the wisdom of years in recovery. It also gives us courage, faith and confidence. AA helps us stop being caught up in fear, bravery and ego. Now without doubt AA works if we work it.
At the same time, it we spent as much time with medical support might we be able to get the same result? Probably not because there is no medical facility to do what AA does for us these days.
Psychiatrists

Its true, get a bad name. Not because they are wrong, but because they cannot fix us quickly like we want. And what psychiatry has not got is the time to change us as we change in AA.

AA versus Psychiatry?

Its not the right way to look at what has happened. AA people often feel there is nothing more than AA to keep them well. And many in AA go untreated for other mental conditions because some arse in AA says they need only follow the programme.

The truth is we need medical science, psychiatry and AA or some form of community to make life work again.

Speaking as a person who can get onto the playing field of ordinary life with the aid of medical support for both physical and mental ailments, I am very happy with medical practitioners I have found I can trust. And the its exactly the same in AA.

Some Egocentric arse who suggests I should stop medical interventions can please mind their own business. As I know from experience of life and the deluded I still see that medical science is also integral to some people like me and survival.

If I stop taking insulin I would die, if I stop taking medication for neuropathy I cannot walk, if I stop medication for a mental illness called clinical depression, then I will no doubt slump and end up back where I started? No, worse it would end any chance of normal and ordinary, or extraordinary living.

In AA we have every type of person as we do in society. As we find in society, some people have a few quirks and strange beliefs, we need not follow them blindly back to oblivion, nor should we in AA.
The problem with some in AA? Yes there is, for the truly deluded who put all their faith in the wrong vessel, namely themselves and the good conscience developed from the programme will find themselves in harms way eventually and then feel bereft and more likely to lapse back to drink

Help

Whatever help we need, we need to find it, we do not need stupidity to make more danger for some and based on loopy ideas dreamt up in the insane machinations of a recovering alcoholic. As if anyone in their right mind can recreate the Beatitudes. For those who are unaware what they are, in brief they are a map of life, a series of directives helping us on our journey to be with God.

Now what we really need is understanding faith and courage to be ourselves and regularly checked out for our physical and mental health as we may. This will reduce the number becoming afflicted further and more ill. And as a result we will understand the science of the conditions we have, as well as the courage and faith to get on with life as we recover using the fellowship as it was always intended!
Anyway a weird ending as you can see. Not quite happy with everything some people have to say, but I do know we are allowed to find our path in life.
And for any who are believers in what is working for them and have made the bridge back to modern living I salute you. At the same time a lot of people are driven away from AA because they misunderstand what it can do and what it cannot do.

The underlying message is, it takes time to find wisdom, it takes time to recover, it takes time to get our sanity back. And if we are fortunate we listen very carefully to our medical support and all we can find to simply make one day work at a time.

Time is with us in the this one day. The twelve steps of AA work for me as I understand them, and for others as they understand them. We need take account of any life saver or life preserver offered to help us and discern what works and then work for all we are worth, we simply are worth it. Amen and good night, smiles here I feel better for a rant!

January 5th 2006

A lifetime to work my prejudice

I grew up in a small village, just my first few years. And in those times, a village was simply cut off from most of the world. All I rally knew about was growing and learning to read, write and do simple sums. And I marvelled at my world. As any kid I guess with parents who fed and clothed and kept me full of love. Their love.

Not much of that world is there to recollect, I guess it was as good as time and circumstance permitted and everyone did their best. Did their best.
When we moved from one village to another, across a great divide, from North to South, it was a wrench and one I did not bear well. Yet it was no different to any other. I did not know I spoke as an alien and behaved as one too, I was just a kid after all. And it took me time to reconcile, but not that long I feel, and somehow somewhere I loss my difference and became as them. Became as them.

We push our heads above safe havens as we grow and feel the mystery of life ever broader, thirsty for more knowledge we find boundaries where we must not go, the why untold as youth dictates. And we wonder at the lines so drawn, we wander over in some peril and punishment for discovery no stranger to my eyes. Bitter Sweet our explorations into uncharted ages we assume through time. And time marches ever onward.

My good and my bad times mingle as one in a mind confused by daily life. No real routines holding me, no culture impeding me, life a constant challenge. My happy times and sad times, my likes and my courage, my experiment my life and never a dull moment as the world became safer and I knew more and less so for I knew so much less than the world has to offer. A world of opportunity and dangers.

I like this and that, avoided harsh encounters and found my feet as if on hard and steady ground, and aware of the pitfalls and swamps of that time. To the good I flourished and to the bad had bad habits, from nowhere to somewhere they were there within me, making my prejudice work for me. My prejudice to the good.

Hard working, and seeking, hard playing and grafting, my days spent in labour as sweet as any day. Dark moments and fears, so real in their grip, kept me playful and avoiding and most to the good. Dark moments beyond measure as growing I could, yet these dark memories and disasters no avoiding their grip, made good on my psyche and held in dark shadows. Dark shadows of time accessed by places.

And places there were where the dark held sway, I avoided as if steering without any say. Away from the light of every clear day, my dark and sadness loomed and overcame me, with no defence in the way. As if touched inside my being by unfair events, swamped in their chaos I could not shrug off.

Taught to the good and happy inside, the dark sides of this world appalled me and hurt my insides. I saw to the good and defended the weak, and so my own strength in fighting for cause after cause, I paid no heed my own cause in case it went wrong. Just like my father, who did nothing wrong. Nothing wrong...

Safer to fight on for what we feel right, with prejudice eyes to the good of mankind as we see the surprise, in ourselves. That our right on our side is all we have learned and that right is not exclusive to my side or their side and nor is there wrong. We do no wrong.

When we look back with clear minds and see our lives, we know there are better ways to make good our minds. Let go that prejudice of right and wrong, for there is no right and there is no wrong. No right or wrong.
We have our life and our experience, we have our wisdom and our memories. We have knowledge and our choices and we have balance to connect this present to our future. Stuck to extreme we burn sooner than later, as if ever there is a later. From small village learning to global living and leaning, we all have our prejudice to help or hinder us on our way. What might hinder us.

We anchor ourselves to values and principles, and often to will and expression exclusive to us. And forget universality that diversity of right and exclusivity is lost, thatís our birthright. What prejudice teaches, our battle is won, let go our prejudice or humanity is gone. Humanity gone. Safe inside my little world, safe outside my greater world, careful of allies and enemies alike, careful of newcomers rules to advise, careful we let go our small notions of pride, unready with answers only time will provide. Time will provide...

January 5th 2005

We All Talk To God

Our Conscience Is Connected To Our Higher Powers

I hope this does not sound strange. I often talk to my conscience. It might be my way of sorting things to help me with others. I regard my conscience as my higher power. I also feel our conscience is directly connected to every memory stored inside us as instincts and our connection to our spiritual senses, if you like our connection to God and good. And with 'good' as the source of these conversations then, we can consider all things worldly and
spiritual. A happy feeling for me.

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January 6 2008

DonInLondon - ĎDay In the Lifeí Spiritual Life Is Not Theory

As Time Goes By

This day has been better than I might have imagined. Some healing, some understanding and some mending. As I can be crestfallen by events, so can others. And often we forget that we all try to do our best. And even when we think and feel it is the best we can be, we can still make mistakes and get the wrong end of an argument.

Mea Culpa

I have no idea why something bothered me so much as the intention was really good and to the good of me. A friend of mine was party to a conversation and my name came up, and the inference as I understand it was me being condemned without investigation of my blog and my words, videos or recovery.

Oscar Wilde

Ď

There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked aboutí

Although there is ego in this quote, it helps me laugh at myself and try to realise what I may do. The answer is nothing, simply not everyone, or anyone might agree with me and what I endeavour. And it is acceptance which helps me understand that if we do share anything there will be those for, against and most likely many simply indifferent and happy in their lives.

So Why A Sore Head Over Others?

I guess when we do share anything which is simply opinion, it can be argued over, dismissed and generally it can be ridiculed or worthy of comment to the good. After all we get nowhere if we sit and stew, if we sit and ponder too long and donít get to the action of life and living.

Spiritual Life

Is no different in essence to just life and living. It is however maybe the context and the texture of living as we develop an attitude to the good and behave in ways consistent with our inner beliefs.

Spiritual is not Simple

Indeed we are complicated people, living in the day hopefully rather than stuck in some past, or worse waiting for the future which often never happens as we might wish.

Spiritual Living is Now

Spiritual is seeing the truth, seeing our part in what is happening, how we work with what is, the truth and the way we can choose to make of the day what we will. Its not about giving up or giving in, its about what can be done today.

God - Good Conscience - Good - Truth

As we live we learn what we may of this one and only spiritual connection which matters, right here and now. Whatever nature has given us and Providence has equipped us with, then we have free will and freedom to choose what we may do.

Balance In All Matters

Our understanding of God, or no understanding of God is a personal issue, yet we still have and I hope a moral code which leads to good, good conscience and the truth of now. We can find our happy balance in all this and it is never about exerting our views on others. It is what we come to understand that really matters in our lives today.

When we try our hardest and still find it hard to achieve what we set out to do, it is simply the journey, the endeavour, the progress we make. And we can never be perfect it seems to me and most people I know. We do our best and in the endeavour is the joy of moving ourselves along as far as we may.

Sorrow and Sadness

Is a part of our living. We learn to love, how not to love, how to do what we may. And we learn the lessons of life if we are open to change, and to our attitudes altered as time and endeavour is done.

Not One Way

There is no one way in this life, what suits us may not suit others. And in finding acceptance we know we do our best as others do a day at a time.

I need not be harsh nor others be harsh with me when we live and work to sound principles and best ways to live. The differences are not that great, the similarities and pattern we humans are, is far greater that nature made so. Difference man made, not helpful I feel as times show us the folly of where our human madness can go.

A spiritual Path is as we can make it, not perfect and ever changing as we learn. And the truth of life spiritual is right here and now for me. As I learn I share. And as others learn they share. We need heed all we can and make the best of each day often so simple in a very complicated way.

Mankind is Not Capable of the Absolute Truth - A Mere Fantasy of Minds In Denial. Let Go, Move On Learn as Time Affords and Our Wits Enable

Daily Reflections

THE VICTORY OF SURRENDER

We perceive that only through utter defeat are we able to take our first steps toward liberation and strength. Our admissions of personal powerlessness finally turn out to be firm bedrock upon which happy and purposeful lives may be built.

TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 21

When alcohol influenced every facet of my life, when bottles became the symbol of all my self-indulgence and permissiveness, when I came to realize that, by myself, I could do nothing to overcome the power of alcohol, I realized I had no recourse except surrender. In surrender I found victory - victory over my selfish self-indulgence, victory over my stubborn resistance to life as it was given to me. When I stopped fighting anybody or anything, I started on the path to sobriety, serenity and peace.

Twenty-Four Hours A Day

A.A. Thought For The Day

Keeping sober is the most important thing in my life. The most important decision I ever made was my decision to give up drinking. I am convinced that my whole life depends on not taking that first drink. Nothing in the world is as important to me as my own sobriety. Everything I have, my whole life depends on that one thing. Can I afford ever to forget this, even for one minute?

Meditation For The Day

I will discipline myself. I will do this disciplining now.I will turn out all useless thoughts. I know that the goodness of my life is a necessary foundation for its usefulness. I will welcome this training, for without it God cannot give me his power. I believe that this power is a mighty power when used in the right way.

As Bill Sees It

Recovery Through Giving, p.275

For a new prospect, outline the program of action, explaining how you made a self-appraisal, how you straightened out your past, and why you are now endeavoring to be helpful to him. It is important for him to realize that your attempt to pass this on to him plays a vital part in your own recovery. Actually, he may be helping you more than you are helping him. Make it plain that he is under no obligation to you.

In the first six months of my own sobriety, I worked hard with many alcoholics. Not a one responded. Yet this work kept me
sober. It wasn't a question of those alcoholics giving me anything. My stability came out of trying to give, not out of demanding that I receive.
1. Alcoholics Anonymous, p.94
2. Grapevine, January 1958

January 6th 2007

Fridayís at the "Old Curiosity Shop"

I do enjoy my Friday meetings at the Response bookshop, I call it the Old Curiosity Shop, simply because we get curious types there from time to time and I am always a curious type. If you like, its the real reason for why I love Alcoholics Anonymous.

The Spirit of AA - Anarchy!

Funny really that a fellowship thrives where it has no leaders and everyone is equal, and everyone is allowed to be a fellow. Fellows of AA we are indeed. Simply because we have a desire to stop drinking a day at a time.

There are no rules, there are no dues or fees for AA. Simply resolving that drink is better left to others who can drink alcohol and not us anymore, for we are addicted to alcohol once the line is crossed to dependence if we take it.

AA is forever strong in helping anyone find themselves and be themselves. Of course there are many insane and mad people around in AA. After all the insanity we went to in our drinking means it takes time to get well and be our true selves again. In fact we often find the person we want to be rather than the suppressed person we were in our drinking days.

Tonight at the Old Curiosity Emporium, there were free spirits around, the stalwarts of AA who have gone through those times of finding who they are, or worse trying to make others like themselves. We are a strong fellowship who thrive on the individuality we have, our authenticity and our unique outlooks. We just have this one thing in common, a desire never to drink again. And that sums it up really, except for how to stop drinking.

Steps to Sobriety

Yes we do have them and tonight we heard how one person has made the steps of AA work for them. And very much like me, so tonight I am happy to hear a part of my story from our principle sharer, the chair of our meeting.
Like them I have found some in AA to be baffling characters who have big ideas for others to follow. And like our "chair" tonight I have often gone back to the simple structure and steps of AA.

AA Bleeding Deacons

An odd turn of phrase sums up some in AA and the founders called these potentates in AA "bleeding deacons", they are the ones who have the ideas for change, and what we might do as fellows. They are always ready with advice and notions they have gleaned from AA literature to make their point, or they adjust it to their view. Bleeding Deacons tell others what to do, and others if they have sense take no notice and get on with their recovery.

AA Elder Statesmen

Are the people who will offer us suggestions and make their story alive and share it so we get connection. Elder Statesmen, both men and women by the way, they are the good folks who value diversity and enabling people to find their true selves and their path to sobriety. They make good sponsors in the AA Fellowship of equals.

AA is a place of safety

Yet we need to understand that some favour making new rules and need their cohorts to make their own form of a fellowship. Bleeding Deacons we can find in any organisation, quoting rules as if scripture, and their own opinion and belief as if it were the absolute truth. Jobs worth and busy bodies and well arseholes really.

AA people get wiser

Well some people in AA do. They work the suggested 12 steps of this spiritual programme. And those who follow the steps, with good conscience as their guide, and or a God of their faith. Well here we are where I always end up. Good Conscience always for me, so we have choice in decisions and are responsible for our actions in sobriety.

AA Friends

I now have friends and fellow fellows to be with and to enjoy their company. As to the Bleeding Deacons, the bible thumpers, the press gangers, those who foster elitism and difference, rather than diversity? Well they still have their bullshit all over them, and they donít see it.

God and AA

As if in the vastness of this Universe we might expect a God to be busy overseeing every person and situation. By our own morality that would be unacceptable at the very least. Anyway my point is not to undermine belief in God, its to access what we can all learn, common sense, good conscience and how to live as Nature and Providence made us. Simply free from denial and substance to get on with living in this moment of now. God and their outlook is not my business. My business is to make the best of Nature and Providence and this day as it is using my good conscience as my guide!

AA and Good Conscience

Are my higher power and the suggested steps of AA had set me free. What might bind me and make me unable to live to freedom and choice, simply a few who persist in dogma so readily seen and yet they seem to get away with espousing things most people might find insulting. Why? Because we are a fellowship where anyone can be a fellow if they desire to stop self harm and addiction. And of course it takes ages to get well and we need everyone to have a break to get to their place of sobriety.

Humble is not Humiliation

Some Bleeding Deacons are so full of ego and piety through their abstinence they are completely unaware of what they are. Bound not radical, chained to their outlook, narrow and superficial and sitting on their sobriety as If they have status and position

Elder Statesmen

Well they are sober just for today, they donít tell anyone what to do, they share their story, how to make the toolkit of AA (the steps) work for each person and tailor them to make their sobriety strong and resolute on a daily basis.

In All Living there is Balance

And as with any fellowship we have our cranks, our opinionated who as I say, shout their belief from the gallery as if their belief is the truth.
Fortunately in AA well do this and after a while we know our path and others path.

We are a Fellowship

We are not an organisation, we do not have affiliations, and we believe fundamentally in freedom of spirit. So anyone can be a fellow and cause a scene or have views which others can accept or discard as they wish.

Spirit of Love

Spiritual is this ever present moment of now experienced with all our faculties and senses. We learn best from life with life lived on real terms and no filters. We learn a new path to reality in AA. Just be aware that some people who think they have Messiah qualities are deluded and we need to be tolerant of everyone who walks through to the rooms of AA. As to Prophets and Tax Inspector, we have plenty and some are quite ok and others are what you might expect, very hard work to be around!

Find your Truth and Your Path

As in life, its hard and full of sorrow as well as joy. We need both to know the difference.

Inside and Outside AA

I have friends and acquaintances. We tolerate, love each other, have friendship and fellowship. And in all these relationships we develop and learn to be equal. That is balance and fortitude for me. Be ourselves is my message tonight.

And with Friends here and there and much joy and sadness always, we learn from ourselves and life and our trusted fellows. There will always be plenty around looking for other elements that make them happy like trying to impose their will even though they think they have accepted powerlessness over people places and things (some of our principles of living), we need not be part of their lives.

AA and Choice

AA gives choices back to us fellows where choices had been lost. The best choices we make with the help of people we learn to trust. And like any fellowship there are shysters and cavalier types, as well as well adjusted and happy people making their lives work. Why do we have both? Simply we are a tolerant and strong fellowship with one primary purpose, once we are on the mend and doing our steps and developing our tool kit for survival, we learn and discern what works when we work at life.

So tonight after a very good meeting of AA, with plenty of free radicals with decades of sobriety I am a happy fellow. Just for today and tonight.

Peace until tomorrow, and I start from scratch just for a day!

January 6th 2006

When We Hesitate

When we hesitate, its because something slows down our immediate response. We take a measured view, we pause and reflect. And when we analyse much of what we do, in reflection its merely to endorse our initial feelings and assessment of life and situations.

So much time in reflection may be useful, for our outlook and our reaction or response to people places and things might need further thought to make our decisions clear.

Gut reaction more often than not, is supported by subsequent events. I will listen to my gut, my inner voice which tells me to be speedy or be cautious, be quick or be slow. And don't waste time where its better spent on my important matters.

One lifetime and so much opportunity, glad life teaches and lets go fanatical futility, picks us up and sends us soaring when we least expect...

Glad of life today!

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January 7 2008

DonInLondon - ĎDay In the Lifeí We Need Find Our Own Spiritual Path

If I Tell you What To Do How Will You Ever Learn?

There is no one formula for life and the living, we need find our own path. My path need not be yours and yours is as you choose.

I know I donít have all the answers and I am heartily pleased I am the same as anyone else. Just a Learner. Or maybe with a lot of acceptance I am glad to be the same size as other humans and equal as may be. And a learner everyday.

Judging Life

We do, we are human, we judge all day long and make assumptions and make the devil of a pickle if we continue to react as we always do and change nothing. Nothing changes as we react, everything can change as we respond..

I mentioned on a number of occasions feelings never lie, we do.

Why am I so certain of this? Nature gave us feelings, and we feel love first as we grow. Or we learn we have no love as we grow. We are though eminently teachable if we let go our judging behaviours when it comes to us and our feelings.

Wake Up, Wake Up Just for Today

When I wake up, I start feeling straight away, and these feelings can be joy, be sad, be courageous, be fearful. We might want to pretend how we are, that we are ok. We know from experience if we tell the truth of our feelings we might be in for trouble!

We Need Know ourselves and Our Feelings

Nervous to do well, is a split decision often between nervous excitement and wanting, and fear of what we want and failing to achieve our want. Maybe there is another way

Start with What We Need

We need some self esteem, we can do a lot to find our self esteem as we start a day as we may. A thorough reckoning of the needs we have. Meet the basics, feed ourselves, check our feelings, share the with? Your partner, your higher power, the dog, the cat. Sharing is expressing whatís inside and knowing we are not always alone. We keep ourselves from being isolated. And when we are hard against deadlines we need find a way to keep ourselves as able as we may. Being tired leads to a fix if we are in the wrong frame of mind and we are definitely able to argue our way to a fix..

Contact With The Day

The better we see the day as real, the better we meet its challenge. Somehow as many can say, if we keep a conscious contact with this one day, and often just the moment of now, we find our truth.

Truth In the Day

With less filters and less denials is my understanding of spiritual. Being in the now, not last week not tomorrow or planning years ahead. Today counts.

As Ghandi suggests, ĎGod Is Truth,í Truth offers Love

And beyond the dreams of yesterday, today is far more open and we are open to anything and everything. How we make our choices is best with informed truth. My truth is better for sharing and common understanding.

Alone

We need never be alone when we find our truth and good company as we make our way. Sharing counts and helps inform us.

We need support and some direction, at the same time we must find our own path, or what indeed was the purpose for living. We can start again anytime, as life moves us up and down, here and there. Find that constant which helps centre us, for me today, this is the truth of now, best shared and in company.

Believe in what you understand, make good connections and know where you journey, just for today.

Daily Reflections January 7 2008

AT THE TURNING POINT

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 59

Every day I stand at turning points. My thoughts and actions can propel me toward growth or turn me down the road to old habits and to booze. Sometimes turning points are beginnings, as when I decide to start praising, instead of condemning someone. Or when I begin to ask for help instead of going it alone. At other times turning points are endings, such as when I see clearly the need to stop festering resentments or crippling self-seeking. Many shortcomings tempt me daily; therefore, I also have daily opportunities to become aware of them. In one form or another, many of my character defects appear daily: self-condemnation, anger, running away, being prideful, wanting to get even, or acting out of grandiosity. Attempting half measures to eliminate these defects merely paralyzes my efforts to change. It is only when I ask God for help, with complete abandon, that I become willing -- and able -- to change.

Twenty-Four Hours A Day

A.A. Thought For The Day

When temptation comes, as it does sometimes to all of us, I will say to myself: "No, my whole life depends on not taking that drink and nothing in the world can make me do it." Besides, I have promised that Higher Power that I wouldn't do it. I know that God doesn't want me to drink and I won't break my promise to God. I've given up my right to drink and it's not my decision any longer. Have I made the choice once and for all, so that there's no going back on it?

Meditation For The Day

In silence comes God's meaning to the heart. I cannot judge when it enters the heart. I can only judge by results. God's word is spoken to the secret places of my heart and, in some hour of temptation, I find that word and realize its value for the first time. when I need it, I find it there. "Thy Father, who seethe in secret, shall reward thee openly."

As Bill Sees It

Going It Alone, p. 274

Going it alone in spiritual matters is dangerous. How many times have we heard well-intentioned people claim the guidance of God
when it was plain that they were mistaken? Lacking both practice and humility, they deluded themselves and were so able to justify the most arrant nonsense on the ground that this was what God had told them.

People of very high spiritual development almost always insist on checking with friends or spiritual advisers the guidance they feel they have received from God. Surely, then, a novice ought not lay himself open to the chance of making foolish, perhaps tragic, blunders. While the comment or advice of others may not be infallible, it is likely to be far more specific than any direct guidance we may receive while we are still inexperienced in establishing contact with a Power greater than ourselves.

12 & 12, p. 60

January 7th 2007 - Written Last Night

Saturday Double

For a long time now I have found going to AA meetings hugely beneficial to my living. And especially on Saturdays I really enjoy getting to a morning and late afternoon meeting. This time of year we get many fellows of AA returning from "research" back out in the field, as Christmas and New Year are always testing times for us alcoholics.

Newcomers

This is the news of the last fortnight, wherever I have been there have been new people coming along to the fellowship of AA, after continuous or binge drinking, and taking too much alcohol over the holiday period. Nobody and I reckon there are very few who come, make a mistake in seeing what AA is all about. Anyone who has found that their drinking has taken on a new dimension, where there seems no way to stop or the consequences are getting too much to bear, they drop in to see what AA may do for them.

Old Timers

So often our old timers in the programme have their radar switched off to newcomers into the programme, its as if in getting sober we can be forgetful how daunting it is to come into an AA meeting for the first time.

After all who wants to go to an AA meeting ever? Well only those who realise their problem and feel there is no alternative. AA is the last chance saloon for most last gaspers. Yet these days newcomers come along when they are merely sliding into oblivion.

Recently I see there is some difference between where I got to, complete meltdown and some, nearly at the meltdown. And of course there are some I recognise clearly with just about no hope of ever finding their path to recovery.

We forget easily in recovery, this disease kills most people and AA is a last chance when other ways have failed, and then there is truly the oblivion where all ailments come and death follows so slowly or quickly, it matters not, the torture is set to destruction.

Tonight and this Morning

This morning some people newly back and some so happy they could burst with enthusiasm. We had a great "chair speaker" who shared their full story, just highlights and they were so insightful into their own recovery and what made it work.

Some people recite, "it works if you work it, so work it you are worth it"
Seems like a bit of a wind up statement, yet the truth is working recovery is a matter of life lived well, or a quick or slow death in misery depending on a persons physical strength and emotional tenacity.

Last night

I just need to mention someone sharing last night too, who is an atheist. What they said was entirely relevant to the spiritual path of AA, it is a spiritual way of living - spiritual is living life in the moment of now without filters - They said even though they are an atheist they still said their prayers and meditated on the way to live. The prayers are to good conscience and that inner voice we have with us all the time we are awake.

Inner Voice

We all have one, its our head, or our conscience which says how we feel about things. We do hold a conversation in our heads and then often censor it when we speak. Its that inner voice which says I can keep drinking, or itís a great day or itís a lousy day. Or it judges others as we go about our daily life, or says, I am tired, or lets go get spangled and fuck it all. Thatís our inner voice which wants and wants things our way. And the inner voice can also say what is best for us, and we ignore it when we are addicted and get on with drinking or whatever it may be.

Back to today

It was good to share my past experience of Chelsea and Westminster hospital, I have been a resident, when my life was on the line through drink. Miserable times when I was there in fear, in a place of putting on a brave face, and using my ego to minimise my feelings about my drinking.

And now when I attend meetings in the basement room, I go with courage and confidence which comes from my fellowship to share my life and living these days. Courage and faith, which comes from fellowship and good conscience working for me, and not fear. For fear does require bravery, to overcome it and the ego too which is puffed up when confidence is lost in addiction and some insecurity.

And Tonight

Well a strong share from a good old timer. At the same time and I shared more about how I got to AA, than what I do now. We need to remind ourselves and the newcomer of the transition from drinking and addiction to sobriety, although painful is well worth it. And I know we need focus on practical steps before we ever talk spiritual path of living. For the spiritual matters most people have their views and donít need share them in early days.

And of God, used inappropriately and shared about in my humble opinion a bit too freely, rather than the practical steps to recovering, well my views are allowed and so are those who have God in their repertoire! Smiles I know both paths work as we work hard at recovery. And in writing these words I need not be troubled by God or how he she or it or good conscience manifests. itís a personal thing in the end. Yet early days are really about just getting to know that when we are powerless over alcohol and take a drink life becomes unmanageable, and thatís the message to get across.

So hopefully tonight there was balance. As each persons path is their own, I see I need be respectful of everyoneís beliefs. AA is not secular, nor is it God bound, spiritual it is as life lived in the moment is really our true place of spiritual in the ever present moment of now.

Alternatives to tonight

I must smile here for I may have been out to see a film, and be in company, and actually I reckon more was accomplished in being in the meeting. Another day for film viewing I guess.

Overall a good day in recovery where I can relax and be myself, and let other people relax and be themselves.

I do feel concern for every newcomer who walks into AA. It will always be the worst moment when coming in and the best moment when we look back in hindsight with happy sobriety, just this one day at a time - the spiritual moment experienced without filters, right now!

January 7th 2006

Other Peoples Madness

We are all apt to be driven half mad by the behaviour of other people. The more we are experienced and learned, the more we all fall into traps of self will and opinion. I am no different.

I write across many blogs and time zones. I write mainly for myself and to get better expressing myself using words.

I try to contribute to others weblogs and sites, with their co-operation and agreement. And still I get caught out trusting others to have sense and judgment.

We might consider our behaviour anywhere, as open subject to scrutiny. We might be careful with our words and views. We aim for honesty if we are made that way, or dishonesty if not.

There is no superior view on life, and sadly often people assume that knowledge provides for higher order intellectual values of worth to society over other values of worth we develop all our lives.

Just because we develop expression and its various forms, it gives us no extra overall value over another who labours differently, to themselves or others, unless it is perceived and rewarded so. These perceptions will always change as we develop our humanity.

I have some misfortune again today, where trust has been abused and the likelihood that abuse others carry out is not even registering on the people who are involved. I am truly saddened by base and underhand attacks on people who are simply doing their best to survive this difficult world.

We can undo the well being of others with a look and a hard word. We might spend a lifetime putting them back together and never succeed. We need take care and stock of all people we encounter, and be careful with our feedback.

When our words hurt others or touch home and hard, we can be misunderstood and feel anger and defensive. We might learn to get over these times and situations. We must never forget our purpose, our intent. And providing there is integrity and fair dealing we can continue, and argue our case.

There is much humbug in this world. There are base and nasty people who feel they have superior wit and ego. There are people in this world who will match their venom and make good the balance in their own way and time. We need follow our internal compass and personal values to enact and live with ourselves.

And where others strike with ego's drift, where fear and insecurity pull the hapless to base worth, the winning is never good enough and the loss forever felt. Sad times where confidence is thin and the twist of satire stings with viper's tongue and stabs it just as well. It maybe made by clever intellect, and lost on no one, as we turn away and reflect in saddened moments and reject their repellent ways...

I have my mirror ready

January 7th 2005

Worthiness

Before I get any kind of advancement or promotion in life I need to have earned the right to it. There are no free gifts in life nor are there any short cuts to success of a lasting nature. Being worthy of any kind of responsibility requires an attitude of service to others. I earn a right only when I have given cooperation to others from my heart.

And there it is written somewhat bold... cooperation is the only way, with a level and even feeling for us all. Not with advantage or with capricious notions. With honesty and words spelt out. We need each other to varying degrees and amounts to prosper. Since the dawn of time, it is never one man's kingdom, it is society, with commitment and agreement which brings out the best in us all. Advancement and promotion, these are heavy words if shouted aloud for oneself, not so in a crowd, where collectively we advance to common purpose....

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January 8 2008 DonInLondon - ĎDay In the Lifeí

Always A Learner

Seems to be a recurring theme for me these last few weeks. I am pleased this is so, and although there have been some up moments and many down moments, the balance today is somehow even.

New Meeting New People

I went to Maida Vale tonight, for a meeting titled Bill and Bobís excellent adventure. For those in fellowship these names are known, they are the co founders of the fellowship of AA. And Bill and Bob were responsible for the understanding they found in how to get a person sober, including themselves and then share the message. AA meetings are really the first hand experience we need to share to help ourselves keep sober and at the same time pass on the experiences to new people coming into the fellowship.

Its only a few decades old - Alcoholics Anonymous

And we already have traditions which help our fellowship keep itself together. Much has changed the those decades and maybe the one thing we can be certain is there will always be alcoholics who need recovery. I mentioned recently that our health services estimate 1 in 13 in the adult population is alcohol or drug dependent in the UK. This is a large number and very few ever make it into sobriety without some help from somewhere.

Good Principles suggested to keep sober and Traditions to help us stay safe in fellowship.

No One Is In Charge

So helpful to me, I cannot be in charge, I cannot be the leader. Nor would I ever wish it so. Yet there are many who feel they have some power. Well for a while maybe.

I like our loose arrangement, people are free to do as they please, and still somehow we really come to understand the way to live in happiness or sadness as life offers when we hear experiences, strength and hope.

Sitting And Listening

We all learn over and over how to live from each other. We will have preferences and also differences. Some need outside help, some only need a glimpse and they are off and away, and in fellowship too. And some like me, slow and ponderous and simply happy to be getting there eventually.

AA is Not A Race

There is no race or finishing line in sobriety, just for a day is all we want and really need. One man or womanís sobriety is not better or worse than another. We have life experiences which dictate how we may get along, we are all subject to ordinary life and what it deals.

Wisdom

Wisdom is not from books, its not from listening, its from doing and then sharing as we may. What might, may, could happen and what to do. So easy when we are ok, so hard when the chips are down and the journey of life can get rough. As it does.

So just for today

I need be mindful all I share may not be useful, maybe one or two things were. And for me I am never sure and leave the door open for more sharing as life can be very hard indeed. Care always and with love. A day at a time.

Not All New People

I am relieved always to find that I know people in the room I visit, and this room was very cosy on an otherwise cold January night. I did the chair and hopefully it was ok, I listen hard for feedback, not on the performance, but what people actually share about their living in the day.

This way we keep getting new ideas, reinforcing our understanding of sober and what is working. Tonight there were many with more experience than me, and this is my bonus if you like. I get to hear wisdom as well as fresh wisdom from newcomers too, and its just good to realise we are in the same boat and just about all pulling in the same direction.

January 8th 2007

Powerless over People, Places and Things

Most of us are, although we may feel we have power over people, places and things. Our living makes us feel we are, our reality is not quite so. And when we wish to go about our affairs without hindrance or hurt, sometimes people unwittingly can cause us problems. Where its not intentional and without malice or prejudice, we can usually figure out a way to make things work out.

On the other hand where, there seems little or no chance of reconciling differences, our best route is to make tracks and let others get on with their affairs. Its not easy, as others can be offended or feel they have rights to exert their power and control over us. All ways round these situations become sticky and really beyond our capacities. Indeed its better to stay away from people who want to hurt us.

Hurt people hurt people, angry people often want others to be angry and feel pain or worse shame or guilt for not wanting to join in. Not supporting or joining with some people makes us targets. Most often people with narrow views and little substance can use hefty tools to hurt others, simply because they feel hurt.

The best way is to move on as quickly as one can and observe courtesy and distance. We donít have to join in and fight unworthy people or causes. They want us to join in and feel their pain. So forgiving those who hurts us is probably the best way out, and as a consequence move out of their sphere of endeavour.

I have done this and left people to their own devices. And sometimes this may sound or feel like the battle or war, or whatever the situation is, is lost in some way. The truth is some things are really not worth the effort.

Why do I mention this?

Well we are never going to be friends with people who set out to hurt others, unless we have due cause. And truly today my opinion and thinking have been proved correct. A personal attack or two has been made against me, and it seems I am being made use of in some activity, which has nothing to do with me. So I have handed it over to others who may investigate the merits of actions against me and others involved. Handing things over to others is truly understanding my view and my outlook may be impaired and unfair. And if this is true, no harm done. If however others find malfeasance, then it truly is not my concern, it is theirs.

Higher Powers

I have to share that just about everything I encounter these days is of a higher power than me. Fortunately most higher powers I encounter regard my life and activities as pretty social and above board. As to others with their powers and their responsibilities and their conduct, it is not for me to judge, only to highlight their conduct and behaviour if needed.

No powers

No power on earth can convince me to work against good principles and ethics and values which are to the good of good conscience. While others have principles contrary to anyoneís good conscience, the consequence may be outside the individuals control. After all we can all make a mess and break rules which hurt or harm. The intent actually is the issue and why some actions and behaviour can have consequences beyond others imagination. And that is my view.

Today

So far a truly magnificent meeting of AA this morning. Where sharing was certainly very beneficial and deep.

We learn a lot every day about the human condition, our own and others. And truthfully we are all susceptible to errors of judgment. As we go along hopefully we learn and this was the way the meeting developed.

Much talk of wanting the world our way and as perfect as possible. And we all realised by the end of the meeting that much of life is about compromise and getting on together.

Fortunately there were no Saints or Martyrs to lost causes willing to string themselves up for vilification or further cruelties inflicted on themselves.

When people want it their way and no other way, they can hardly expect the best cooperation and also cannot expect their behaviour to go unnoticed when it breaches codes of conduct and even the law. We are all subject to societies values and ways of life. Our ways hopefully fit in as we learn our craft of living.

So all in all a good meeting.

And later I was side tracked for nearly an hour, and then realised it was not worth the effort on a personal level to pursue and challenge somebody else trying to harm me personally. So as mentioned the situation has been handed over to others.

It does bother me that I have made someone feel so angry and bitter, and consequently it makes them behave badly. I thought I had hoped to have left this world behind, and with most of my life it seems I have. So some progress. I know there are plenty of things I need make amends for as I go and will do as time allows and perception enables.

Progress not Perfection is emblazoned around this world as we all endeavour to get on, and as sure as can be, with our best intent and that of others it will not ever be easy. We have our different outlooks beliefs and way of looking at events and the world. We will always find people who disagree, and we will too.

Forgiving

Is an everyday action, for our own behaviour to others as we go about our business and for others too who conduct themselves as they will. We donít need fight over small things, we need hand over situations which are not in our power to resolve. So we live and learn.

As an Antidote

It was said this morning over and over again by people who know more than me, when something happens we donít care for or the world or something is not so good, go to a meeting. And this is precisely the answer today.

Go to meetings

When we are in need of direction I have always found my meetings of the AA fellowship help me determine what I can do. I donít have to have power. I have to utilise life and society, and let it go where it may. And in this I do find peace.

Whether I am right or wrong, it I have made assumptions or made mistakes with others help I may learn to better ways. Nobody is perfect least of all me. And as to others conduct, I cannot judge, and let go and move on, and stick with endeavours which are positive and not detrimental.

So I shall go to a meeting and do a lot of listening and hear how I may move along just simply for today, and let tomorrow take c

January 8th 2006

Low Ebb

When others are at their lowest ebb, we might help restore their self-belief by keeping a clear vision of their undoubted goodness and specialities. And if they don't appear to be readily observable, give them a break.

Too often we judge, then in hindsight realise our quick to blame temperament overplays the gravitas of a situation. Mind we need our gut reaction to keep us alive. Now where is the balance in all this?

January 8th 2005

Deep Self-Respect

Spirituality creates the kind of deep self-respect that does not need praise or special attention.



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January 9 2008 DonInLondon - ĎDay In the Lifeí

Some Changes For My Blog

As you may have noticed I am including the link for the daily AA readings, top right on this web page, so for a good read follow the link. That is if recovery readings are for you. This is instead of including words from external sources. So the link is there. Top right!

Tuesday For Wednesday

My you tube videos feature the readings of the day for January 9 ahead of the day and are published updated late evening for next day. And what I write here is about recovery and my day and experience, strength and hope.

Experiences

A day of updating and changing various parts of my web and looking into my photo vault for daily publishing. I am becoming more and more keen to develop my interests in photography and enjoy publishing the pictures I take. May seem quite a limited outlook? Maybe, at the same time I continue with the recovery blog and helping generally as asked by other fellows in AA.

Last night Chairing a Meeting

Sounds a bit grand, actually it merely means I go along to a meeting and share my experiences, strength and hope to people in the meeting and then others share back. I used to spend my life in front of people and share all sorts about companies and how people work and develop. Somehow the experience of Ďchairingí can leave me feeling very out of sorts. It did today.

Feedback

We know if we have done the job reasonably well from the feedback others give us and its really hard always for me to accept any sort of praise. Never really learned to accept I did a reasonable job in the old days and there is some hangover from times past which leaves me depressed when speaking in front of others.

Today

Two AA meetings and its always good to move myself out and about. I have difficulty walking and yet I know I must, and also ride the bike. Last night left me very uncomfortable as neuropathy advances. itís a one way ailment which is not about to disappear. And it does make me slow and ponderous.

Hinde St & Kensington Shy Sharers

Both good for me to see and hear people I have known for a number of years in the fellowship. I always feel better knowing I am in the right place and with Ďmyí sort of people. That is reformed and still in grip of a malady for which there is no cure, alcoholism. Recovery is a day long at best.

Strength

I learned again that we can get overheated and upset by small things, in the big of life, itís the small things that often trip us up. I have good friends, and one was chairing tonight. Friendships are as important to me as recovery in many ways. Recovery and the principles need come first so I may be right with my friends and friendships. We may feel it better the other way round, and actually itís the programme which continues to remind me of the importance of the principles so friendships can work as I do too.

Hopes

Just small and gentles ones tonight. I am hoping a friend of mine is ok, they have had a bereavement, and its not easy for anyone. I have experienced quite a few bereavements in recent times, and it gets no easier to feel my feelings, and acceptance only comes when it may. We grieve at our own pace.

Feelings Never Lie?

I am still pondering over this. I am aware that it is a bold statement, and truly its only when we understand the depth of feeling we have, that we get to understand our true capacity often to have feelings. Love of course is always top, although we are so good at denial we often cover up as soon as its activated!

Denials

We need denial, it is a coping mechanism. Some suggest denial is a coping strategy, I am learning it is better to not try strategise a profound set of feelings. We are better not coping letting feelings out as we may and only cope where the pain is lessened when we are unable to deal with all of what has been going on at once. Suppression leads to bigger problems later I realise, for me anyway.

Not Coping and Expression

A better path, never learned by me, as my stiff upper lip and decorum made it hard to understand feelings and what to do with them. All in all I pleased and very gratified to be a late bloomer, very late!

So for now its ok just the way it is. And am pleased to be home and out of the elements. I just had a call from a good and very wise fellow. Is always good for me to be a part of life and this feels just about right tonight..

Acceptance is a Key

A friend who is travelling came up in conversation, and sometimes we hear good and sometimes we wish them well, as there is nothing else we can do.
I hope for good tidings, it will be a while and no doubt the worst might happen, such is the nature of this malady.

January 9th 2007

Getting Over "IT"

The "it" of life can be anything we encounter, which tends to lay us low and maybe make us feel undermined. I realise now why I was upset yesterday, in olden days I was able to feel like I might find ways to retaliate and make other people feel horrible for things done to me.

And over the last few hours and last night I came to the conclusion that some things no matter how unsavoury and unpleasant are just not worth the time and effort.

And actually highlighting and letting powers greater than me scrutinise the situation has left me feeling more ok and more right sized than before the event.

We do get times when others have a go, simply because they donít find us helpful or compliant to their outlook or point of view. And its quite natural for them to try and make us feel bad in some way. When others suggest we are something they choose to describe, we donít really have much challenge other than the record and what people know about us. And as to making out someone has qualities or virtues which are untrue, or similarly vices which are criminal, it is an unfortunate set of events. So we are best to hand these types of problem over to authorities with power to do something if they feel its right to do so. Indeed its not my judgment which is being questioned at all, it is the behaviour of another, who knows me well enough not to participate in their malicious and degrading behaviour.

Fellowship Friends

My fellowship friends have been fantastic, as usual. Even when I have nothing much going on, they check on me to see I am ok. And I need this help, for its easy for someone like me, to get off track.

Being Human

We are all human and we donít like to be falsely represented, or to be involved in harmful conflicts. I donít for sure. Anyway what I know is, I am trying to do the next right thing. And that is simply to live as well as I can and make of my life what I may. And feedback is great. It helps me when I wander off the track and helps me find the right path..

Contacts

I am so grateful for people inside and out of the fellowship who just keep an eye on what I do and share. There are in tune with my moral compass. And they know me better than I do probably, as they are on the receiving end of me. And itís a two way street of feedback.

A friend I have known a while, has thirty plus years sober, a great wise old man. I hope he does not mind me describing him so, but he is over 70! And smiles here, has an agile and young outlook!

We shall have coffee this week sometime. And will be good, because I value him immensely, for his humour and wisdom and forgiving nature. And if I make it to his age and where he is, simply living a simple and straightforward life, I will have contentment.

Tonight - Step 4

Now this step of action in the AA programme asks us to write a fearless moral inventory of our history. This reads and feels like a great exposing of the inner person. And of course it is. The good news in all these things is we get to know ourselves, our part in the life we have had, the true of good and bad. There are so many ways to actually do this step it would a million people a million descriptions.

In essence though we start to get a grip on who we are, how we have been, where we are ok and where we need make changes

Changes are the Key

Not big ones, and the real way to do this is to remember we are in a fellowship where we live one day at a time.

Changes in the Day

Some people spend months identifying there part in life, and this thorough approach can be very revealing, after a while though the themes become quite clear, where we need to change our attitudes and our behaviour.

Fundamental Change

Is a day by day process. People and Organisations get buggered up by calamities and big changes which cannot be sustained. So in our programme a day at a time, we get to change a bit and then another bit. We make life by changing our attitude and our behaviour, its that simple. Doing it is very hard, as we are set in stone sometimes!

Making Changes requires awareness and help and support.

So donít go changing to try and please me comes to mind, a Billy Joel song. Whatís important is changing ourselves and our outlook and behaviour so we make life work after we give up our terrible drinking habit, to live sober and have a happy up and down ordinary life. this means we achieve our ordinary human status and get on as others do and deal with the good and hard as we go.

Changes for me Today?

Yes in attitude and outlook, keeping it so and reinforcing changes is another hard path. I need fellowship and good orderly direction (god, if that were my key), or good conscience and higher power of AA to help with wisdom and direction.

We are not islands as somebody many years wrote about, Donne methinks:

"No man is an island, entire of itself
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main
if a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were
any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls
it tolls for thee."

-- John Donne

January 9th 2006

Good News And Bad News

Where is the news today? International news is depressing and local news as bad. Where are the feel good stories we all need to take our focus from the serious. Indeed should we take our focus off the serious?

I guess not. As we see new political struggles emerging in key states, masquerading as religious geo political stances, the old necessarium of economy, money, lending and greed emerge triumphant!

So what changes? There is a mood emerging slowly in decadent civilisations within an educated populace, which is growing and undermining old stogies and decrepit warhorses.

Emerging slowly, yet strongly and more aware the big business and profit racketeers...

Time moves too slowly for impetus to gather, a few more decades I suspect.

January 9th 2005

Handles

To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.

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January 10 2008 DonInLondon - ĎDay In the Lifeí

Anvils Of Experience

Somewhere in the reading of the twelve traditions and twelve steps of AA the phrase Anvils of Experience is used. Hammering out the traditions which help AA stick together took many years of trial and error. In the end the fellowship of AA with the benefit of the Anvils of Experience continues to help keep a number of alcoholics in recovery.

Experiences Today

I went to the lunchtime meeting of AA at Eaton Sq. And it was my turn to be asked at the door to do the Ďchairí which felt right to say yes to. I guess in my experience being asked to do a chair anywhere is a privilege and most often I say yes. Unless of course I am not up to doing the chair. As a person with various ailments which are made worse by stress or just plain difficult when other physical problems manifest, I am apt to say yes to most anything these days.

Balance

There does need to be a balance. As a result of Today, another request to do a chair tomorrow. And another yes from me. At a place I have never been to actually. And not surprising as there are seven hundred AA meetings or thereabouts in London every week.

Big Deal or Just What We Do

It is a big deal to speak to others sharing our honesty and our way of living and how AA helps me keep sober. Sometimes we may wonder why we get asked regularly to chair a meeting, and its simply because there are so many.

Whatever we share has an impact. And still I remind myself that what we say needs to be considered, and still it needs to be honest.

My way into fellowship took me years, and I am no poster boy for AA over and above anyone else. In fact me writing about recovery and being out here on the internet is always going to pose questions. In truth, my truth I feel being an open book in meetings is important so people new and coming into this fellowship know they have the right to develop their sober outlook their way.

Tried and Tested on Anvils

What we know is we will eventually hear our own story from others who are in differing places in their sober living. And we learn what works for others can work for ourselves.

Problems We Face

Always there are problems of truth and honesty, and being willing to find a path of sobriety which works. I donít have anywhere near all the answers for myself let alone others and their lives. Somehow though we learn sober living. Never having to pick up a drink again.

Just The Ticket

AA with all the people in it, well we do find we have just the ticket for most who ardently want recovery, and peace, and whatever life offers in sober days.

Ticket to Ride [ valid on day of issue]

AA and sobriety, its just one day long. For all that anyone and even me might say, it works for the day or a part of it. Whatever happens we are encouraged to keep coming back. Why? Because we all know that our sobriety is valid just for today.

Wisdom

As time passes, we share the learned wisdom of our experiences and what others have shared over and over again.

Why Do People Pray

Even though my god of my understanding is the element we all have at our disposal, that is truth and also love. Resolute in learning, never ending.

Truth and Love

We are always and forever learners as life affords about our truth and love.
Always developing and changing, there are no absolutes as mankind moves along.

For some of us reclaimed from a life set for early endings, and maladies which come more frequently to damaged people, sober helps get to where normal people live their lives. And for recovering alcoholics, always a day at a time seems to be best..

Spiritual

We all live a spiritual life. Even when we cannot understand what on earth its all about. When we show up for life, open, honest and willing as we can be, then we have a chance to live in the present moment, learning as we may, never perfectÖ

Or there would be no point to life at all for us humans.

January 10th 2007

Spiritual Progress

Seems to be another theme running along in my life. Donít get turned off by the notion that Spiritual is about God. God may have a place in the Universe or even have created the Universe, its all a bit beyond my experience so far.

From early times in my life the manifestation of God has been about. I am C of E, Church of England which means little or nothing to me these days. Except in the olden days Catholics were to be seen as less than C of E. I am sure and with a lot of firm belief, Catholics rightly believe in their faith and destiny as laid down by scriptures.

All the religions of the world have a thing about spiritual and God.

Actually these days my spiritual path is more easily understood by me. Spiritual is simply living in the moment. Having had some fifty years of being alive, we do get a sense of what our outlook is and where we are with Spiritual and God.

Spiritual Progress

I make some spiritual progress daily, its about now and making the now of my life work. Its about making use of my wisdom however small or big it might be about making life work and doing the next right thing.

Perfection

Yes I wanted to be a perfect person back then when I was small, because I was told it was best to be good and being good works best. I had standards I never seemed to be able to achieve and I never quite felt comfortable. A person uncomfortable being themselves means we act and pretend and have much denial about what is real and in this moment of now.

Imagination

Plays tricks on our reality, as we make big of our past or small of our past. We forget we use experiences to shape our way of living today. And of course we dream of futures beyond the present.

Beyond my Wildest Dreams?

Right now being alive at all is beyond my wildest dreams as for many like me, we are alive because of science and not belief. Or maybe a bit of both. Dreams and history, we make them our best recollections and imaginings for ourselves when life is full of pain.

Real right now

Being real right now without denials and filters like drink and drugs means I stand a better chance of making good this moment. When we learn that spiritual is the good, the bad, the in between, however it manifests in truth is the barometer of our spiritual development.

So easy to forget reality and so easy to hark back to good old times, we forget pain often as if it were never there, unless the pain is as real as now.

Avoidance

We humans avoid at all costs some pains we need experience to understand the depth and redolence of our living, sometimes it smells right, or strongly to the contrary, we get our sense of what we have from reality. And then we make it as we wish as imagination and our will desires.

Love and Hate

The great big emotions we humans experience and every hue in between across all the repertoire of living. Is it any wonder we would make life seem different when it does not live up to our desires, or for us to bend our perceptions so we feel more in control, or less as we need to be liberated from the ordeal of living.

We humans enjoy bigging life up, so it seems more than it is as the grind of life, the true spiritual path takes some decades to comprehend!

Time

Yes time we need it to get it, and sometimes we are in a hurry to speed up what we might miss.

Burnout is not far behind many of us who have burned our candle at both ends. We need to regroup and take stock and get to living life in the moment as best we can to make it really work.

Patience over speed, to dig and delve and know this life we need to be present in it. We need not hurry spiritual as the patience we learn enables us to feel the gravitas Providence and Nature afford. As to where God features, most likely in the making

Powerless

As we learn in our fellowship we are powerless over people places and things. We can change just ourselves and outlook a day at a time, if we keep to the spiritual path of living in this moment without blinkers!

Maybe as I mentioned before, God made man, man made God. Both equally powerless over the other? We may find out one day, not in this life as we may be judged a day at a time and how we lived our daysÖ

Overall

Today has been a lesson learning to hold to my values of courage and faith in human kind. I know without doubt most people I know and in the fellowship of friends I have, the issue of doing the next right things is clear. As to some who cannot see this, its not my job to illuminate or make life harder.

I am learning again to make sure I know what I commit my time and energy and experience to doing.

My spiritual path has shown me the good of people over recent days and the worst of people over recent days.

If I had lived in Iraq all my life in one sect or another, would I have the same outlook? Not really, but in essence wherever we are we make choices to our spiritual and emotional well being. Surely we learn the difference to the good as we go? Not always for having come through a patch of life which altered everything I might have held dear, only one element is left, that is me.

And in truth I am relieved of much pain in recent times so I have been able to be able to do the next right thing. And that is not to isolate and fret, it is to have courage and be open, its about getting wisdom by living in this present moment.

Today has been good, and yet its never quite what I might have visualised for me. And the good news is life is working to an extent, and imaginings are where they belong, smiles here as life is never quite as we might endeavour. Yet life is worth the endeavour today. Sometimes outlooks change and as my outlook is not from will but from hard endeavour, I am on a spiritual path.

Love, hate, bravery, courage and all the polarities we can experience and feel make the pattern of our spiritual condition. So live life as life is, real and as can be. Happenstance and serendipity do make us what we are, choices we have make our difference. Better to have wisdom from many who we trust than wisdom singular and often misguided we have picked along the way.

Tonight is quiet and I am circumspect about recent events, and so I live learn and get on a day at a time. Hard work, as life is, we get our rewards in the journey, the destination is inevitable..

January 10th 2006

Serenity

Our serenity is based on taking responsibility and being accountable, letting go and moving on.

This version of a thought for today has been amended to suit me. The thought originally contained references to blame and giving up. Serenity is not a state of grace, and not some palliative. Serenity is a state of mind we find when we do understand our relationships and agreements with our world.

Serenity is not a state of being which is maintained throughout life with constants which never change. Serenity is achieved in the here and now, we cannot assume it or will it. Serenity is peace in this experience and moment of now.

Serenity is a state achieved by anyone finding their relationship with the world in balance with their temperament and the temperament of all connective elements.

Others serenity can be a fucking pain! Especially sanctimonious serenity, piety and sanctimony.

Acceptance is the key!

January 10th 2005

Fickle In Life

Marked by lack of steadfastness, constancy, or stability : given to erratic changeableness. In life, often we are fickle, touched by insecurity, sometimes surface, sometimes deep we cannot fathom where this fickle nature may have root.

We have deep instincts to self preservation and we have learned responses from birth. Our fickle nature resides within, holding us to the familiar, saving us from harm. Yet when fickle takes over, we are immersed as if our toes just touch an ocean deep. Fickle keeps us from our richness within and traumatised by the most fleeting touch of reality.

We may demonstrate how fickle we are to others when we don't hold them with esteem, for ours is so shattered we cannot find our own self worth.

How many lovers, friends do we lose as the deep within remains untouched? Our lightness and superficial wanderings keep tight our grip and fear. Our self, the inner loving one remains desperate as our fickle nature covers up.

Attest with mendacity as fickle breath is shallow, and testament to pain manifests in our ghostly glow.

Put down a tap root to knowing yourself one day soon and authenticate how much there is to learn. It takes great courage to let go whim and clever intellect, and nourish our soul without wit or rapier, that double edged cleverness of knowledge and application.

Encourage experience to dull the pain of loneliness, and become enriched with living moments and dull the edge of daggers intellect.

The grime of living, gnarled wonderment abounds as we let in the tide of humanity...

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January 11 2008 DonInLondon - ĎDay In the Lifeí Chairs And Shares

Seems to be my week for being in the "chair." In the olden days before
Giving up the booze, being in the chair meant it was my turn to buy a round of drinks. I guess if I were to go out these days in company, being in the chair usually means buying tea, coffee and soft drinks, usually water. What a change from just a very few years ago. I donít drink on a daily basis.

Yesterday And Today Chair Two and Three For Me

I mentioned doing a chair at Eaton Sq yesterday. Just experience strength and hope, a normal uncomplicated chair. Sharing the message of life I realise its not so bad this week. That is its not as bad as it can get. While I may be able to turn up to meetings, the actual physical limitations I have and the discomfort make me realise I am pushing on the edge of my boundaries.

As a consequence of the Eaton sq chair I was invited to go to the Hop garden just off St Martinís Lane and near to Trafalgar Sq. a chair all about step ten in our AA programme.

Step Ten

Ď

Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.í

I am glad I was asked and still as anyone in the fellowship knows, we say yes to doing chairs and then feel the Ďoh noí for agreeing to put ourselves in the spotlight. I donít know if I enjoy the spotlight or ever had. Some parts of me prefer a low profile and still here I am on the internet.

Lead by Example

Exemplars are always going to be criticised and then we need to know why. Most often it is because people are uncertain we have a right to be saying anything when they feel they want to have their say. I blocked someone from my you tube space because they were on their mission and on their podium on my space. As their message remains confused to me I donít feel I need their brand of Ďtruthí shared as if I accept or agree with it. Indeed I am sure I really donít know their message, so until they can confirm their purpose the block remains. I hesitate to block anyone, and its always a tough decision. At least I know my motives are to share experience strength and hope and however a person finds themselves and finds their sober living is not for me to criticise. I need not be host however to contentious view or vexatious views. Regardless of their progress and not being perfect, saying it does not then licence the vexatious one to suggest their brand of recovery need be shared on my space on the web, they can utilise their space with their words.

This all happened this morning before my journey to the Hop Gardens. Do I need worry about blocking a person on my space? No, at the same time I wish them well with their life journey, I need join theirs, I have my own.

Hop Gardens

A lovely room and venue. I shared and chaired, I realise as time goes by I speak for me and not for AA. And rightly so. With decades of more wisdom in the room, I chair and share to where I am in recovery and what it means to keep a weather eye on my progress. It seemed to go well, it seemed I got the missing ingredients to successful step ten work from shares back to me.

Appreciation of the Gift

The gift of doing chairs is when we get over our worries at what we may say and the impact, we learn to listen to what others knows and have learned by the day for years and years. Now I realise these opportunities are for me to just kick off a meeting and discussion, I am happy to learn and listen and listen some more. The gift to hear others and their truth helps me understand how I am doing and also just to learn fills me with gratitude.

Listening

I appreciate more and more that as we get comfortable, the gift of this fellowship of Alcoholics anonymous is beyond measure. Some suggest we get a life beyond our wildest dreams..
I am lucky the opportunity to listen to make the best of what is, and then keep faith, courage and confidence going, learn life over and over, just in the day. A very present, present moment for me and a gift beyond my wildest dreams, simply to be me..

January 11th 2007

Bullies and Mean People

Wherever we go in life we will find people who have been damaged by their upbringing and their personal circumstances. I have met my fair share over the years and will continue to meet them as life offers. Its not their fault actually, to be a bully or mean spirited person, it is their whole life experience and their pain. I need not join in with their outlook.

Recovery is about recovering our lives and senses

And you know I suppose the hardest thing we have to do is deal with those things we donít like most, the horrible behaviour of others to others and ourselves. Sometimes people do strike and lash out because they donít feel valued or they donít get their way. If a person is feeling like they have no value, they may need help and some sort of sponsorship like our fellowship offers. And when a person is in pain, because they cannot impose their will on others, well it just is too bad I guess.

How to respond?

I have often wondered how to do this. Actually what bullies need is cooperation in their game. Playing into the hands of bullies is easy. Donít say anything and keep trying to appease them.

Take Action in our Fellowship is the key

When we find ourselves being undermined, we might feel shame or guilt, as this is what the bully feels. Shamed and guilty, so they try make the world fit their perception. A sad reflection especially when its people in our fellowship who do these mean things.

Fortunately

These days I donít need to suffer or challenge bullies myself. Bullies feel they can do what they like. Bullies donít realise the consequences when they feel powerful in their own head, and other people realise what they are doing.

Share the Problem

As soon as I realised what was going on, that someone was trying to bully me, through their sneaky behaviour, I realised the game of cooperation was up. And what has the Bully done, they have tried to belittle me on the internet, and give me qualities and perceptions that they the bully fear themselves. They fear people knowing their whole life story and would expunge it, they play self pity as their chances are dulled by what they feel people know about them.

Share the Problem

I am sharing what is happening as I may, because that is the only way. If I try and make the bully be nice, I am wasting my time, the bully is hurt and wants to hurt me, because I refuse to support their bad behaviour to me now, and to others in the past. I will not comply with the Bully, he can get on with his bully behaviour as he chooses. I will just share openly and honestly all round my fellowship what they are attempting to do, and share also where the evidence is, so people can make their own minds up.

Bullies

Are not nice people. So donít bother to try reason with them. Bullies are hurt and full of pride and ego. They feel powerful and get their kicks from controlling others they feel are weaker than them.

Bullies

Look and sound reasonable until we often get to know them better. And their self hatred is what makes them who they are today. I need not name the bully here, for indeed everyone knows them in my community. And that is enough for now.

I will keep sharing the bully behaviour as it manifests so everyone can make up their mind about whether to be in their company, or not. Bullies need to be given the opportunity to get well. And actually it is not my job either to challenge their behaviour directly or with threats. As this bully knows from past experience where violence took them, I sort of hoped they were past that time.

Rehabilitation of Bullies

Is entirely possible, and not my job.

My Job

Is to live my life and be myself. Stick with my values and principles and let the world take care of the problem. Mean people get nothing out of life except mean glory, and mean rewards which help their ego keep them going because their esteem is rock bottom. My job in life is to make my life work as it may, with what is left of me. Its not my job to prop up wasters and bullies who cannot make their life work. That is their job, to make their life work and not sponge off me by association or by my work. In this instance it is a shame because there was light, and then they snapped back into their dark ways. My job is to be aware of them, share what they do when needed with the right authorities, and I have. And so and get on with life with people I care for and my life.

Bullies I have never cared for them, ever. And fortunately I donít need or have to. Let go of them and make sure authorities know what they do so I have.

Sharing my story tonight

Well it seems some people are aware of who this bully is, and they say that this is their typical behaviour and actually the bully has repeated this pattern over and over. So I am not special, I am just the latest to get the bully treatment.

I shared my part in this tonight. And like the man I listened to before Christmas, about the Twin tower bombers, you could see why they did what they did, and actually, the well people and recovering people in AA see the same behaviour in the Bully they know and I know. Life has given them the seed of their behaviour and this bully make it worse. We can accommodate our understanding why and not condone their behaviour. For this Bully, his last victim was a female who had done nothing to him. And actually he has done this before with another girlfriend. Sick minds produce sick times for themselves and everyone knows this. Even the bully who does it..

Forgiveness

Yes there can be forgiveness, and there are consequences too, as people know and realise this bully and what he is doing. Sad and very sad overall.

For me?

Another lesson why I donít wish for their company. As if it mattered to me what they do? If they were accurate I guess there would be shame, actually their behaviour is the shame they have and live with. I need not act upon their behaviour, their behaviour belies their true spirit, mean and nasty, the product of self hate and loathing. I would wish them well, their sickness makes their life intolerable and so they look to blame others. The Fantasy of their self importance and their life. It could not be smaller if they had wished it so. SadÖ

Overall

An excellent day of sharing and living life in sobriety. Spiritual truly is all that life involves the good the bad and the ugly, so we know the difference.
Serenity indeed is there when we understand life on lifeís terms.

January 11th 2006

How Things Used To Be

If opportunity does not knock, go out and build a door!

Seems we all have a golden age we might revere. We look back with hindsight and let our memories and imaginations play a part of our lives over again.

We all find those magic moments when the world might have been a happier place. We sense and capture a frission, a thrill and hold it dear to our inner being, our heart.

And today in its harsh glare, cold light, wake up moment, the reality appears stark. Or is it our attitude? Hard to say, for when we jump out of bed and feel the joy of a new day...

So maybe its attitude. We look at our world and see it with potential and possibility or negatively entrapped, or a mixture against a range of our daily activity.

Is the world going to the dogs, or is the world becoming more interesting and opportunistic. It is a lot to do with attitude.

We know from experience what works and does not. And we sometimes feel trapped and unable to change the negatives. We know there are ways to build our positivity, and we know if we are gifted, our ability to change our lives.

As if addicted we can keep doing the same things over and over. And when they are happy things to do we are satisfied. Yet doing the same thing over and over and feeling bad about our lot is often our outlook.

And changing our world and moving ourselves forward, we prefer to stick with what we know, than know something different.

Hard habits are not easily broken. And our culture of blame comes to our rescue more often than we might acknowledge, keeping us locked in old ways we would wish to let go.

Debate is raging across many countries about our youth and their unruly behaviour. We see many measures to put people down rather than change their outlook.

And when I look back to old golden ages, where there were less people, less opportunity and less open societies, I wonder if there were any golden, golden age.

Surely we might do better to acknowledge our developments and build as we can and include all our resource, as best we can muster.

Every age is golden, every moment we are changing and every day we are learning.

Simply we have more people, more problems, more solutions and more energy. We see more of the world and what works and what fails.

There is no end to our world and its progress, moving on at a pace as big as ourselves. We need find our niche where we feel most at home, and home will keep changing all long as there's man.

January 11th 2005

Disquiet

As if to take away the peace or tranquillity of this day. Any remnants of past can bring turbulence into the quiet of our reflection, and this day. I am reminded often of the hurt experienced when a nightmare strikes home some fear and complication which I felt long gone.

Then an incident, something I see, I am captured and trapped, engulfed in a fire of anger and anxiety. Nothing can touch those feelings of rage and bitterness. No amount of examination pulls me from the fire and bellicose notions...

I will favour and be inclined to start quarrels or wars, I will, my will. Not good for a sensitive being who wishes for peace and tolerance. A part of me lingers in a fire of untold fury. Then in the writing of these words I am gifted with patience and recognise my will and my desire will heap great volumes of hurt upon my inner being. I must let go of fury and revenge, let go those damaging images from a hell, a part of my life, which churns as a
reminder of what I stand for. Humanity, that gift of knowing, so complicates, that in essence we are all culpable and able. We can turn to good or bad, with such compelling argument inside us. We can become that which we hold in contempt in our prosecution of fundamental rights...

The wounded soul, so hurt by twisted nature, is lost if left to drift. We must attend to nightmare's as we to our happiness, so inextricably linked to our freedom. Shared reflection dismantles inner torture and free the mind for forgiveness.

We all need counsel, we all need the touch of humanity, we should seek it where trust lies.

Trusting ourselves to trust others, is never mistaken over a lifetime. Wisdom's touch is acceptance...

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January 12 2008 DonInLondon - ĎDay In the Lifeí Changing Times

The Times They are A Changing

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

Bob Dylan

Old words new beginnings. Seems like this is the case. It was a real eye opener for me today to hear a friend and fellow share their experience strength and hope in a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. Without a doubt my life has improved in many ways with AA. I donít drink alcohol, just for today. And anyone who is in recovery knows the day at a time philosophy helps keep the daily reprieve going and alive. Once an alcoholic or addict, we know the dangers of isolation and a return to being on our own with the malady we have. We know we flourish in company and by being vigilant in our behaviour and knowing what is happening inside our heads most days.

Eye Opening?

Having been around for a few years now in the fellowship, people I know and have seen become more solid with every day that passes, the miracle is first to be alive to see these things happen, and second to be able to see our own progress,

So eye opening for me, as listening and hearing a person get rid of old ideas and find they were not diagnosed as well as may be all those years back is a wonder for me. Well being without any form of outside influence or medication is their path.

Medication

For me with my history pretty well understood, I know I have recourse and absolute need to follow medical advice. A type one diabetic need follow professional advice and also the other maladies which come with the condition. As for me, I know the depths of clinical depression and see these days how my life is with professional interventions. Professional support puts me on a par with others in the fellowship of AA.

I mention medication simply because some of us are better equipped to deal with daily living. The phenomena of science and its advances is part of my recovery. And as I see it, it made possible the daily rehabilitation of me and my living.

The Debate Still Trundles Along in Alcoholics Anonymous

Even though the founders of AA made clear that many fellows need medical and professional outside help, there still remain the gifted and well meaning amateurs in the ranks of AA who will look down on those who resort to outside help. I wonder if they prefer me dead and not alive with their judgment sometimes. I am sure in their well meaning way, as I would starve without insulin, they might congratulate me on my weight loss on my way to an early grave.

And in fairness today, most suggested they need have no opinion on outside matters which are medical, yet I detect their intellect and their prejudice is near to the surface. A friend of mine interjected and made clear their experiences and the fatal consequences for many who go untreated with their mental ailments, clinical depression and every derivative of the human condition. People need keep to what knows works for them.

Clinical conditions and chronic ailments are just plainly that.

A reminder for the ok alcoholics in visionary states of Ďmind over matterí and in recovery. We have an emotional, physical and spiritual recovery. But when we decide to play god with others, and play god with ourselves, providence and nature will not say íI told you, you were illí it will be too late and you or I will be dead.

So better to meet science and professionals who know what is going on rather than be concerned about old wives tales or in my case old drunkards tales of sobriety. Suspect indeed.

Conversations Today

So many to the good my head is spinning with good news, and some who are aware they need more meetings to settle concerned heads. One thing common to all alcoholics is isolation and time out away from meetings is we lose our connection to daily recovery. And some feel it more than others.

Recovery

Today after a long week of making sure as these blue days of January can really be undermining for me, the pay off of regular meetings and talking with my sponsor and people [especially a Welsh one!] who ask me the right questions, its all good for today.

How I am Feeling?

Good enough, making some progress and nothing like last year at this time. I forget to mention my medication changes last year at this time. I had no option but to change and keep faith with professional support as my condition was becoming quite dangerous as conflicts became apparent in medicines for type 1 diabetes and clinical depression were not quite contra-indicated, but near enough to give me all manner of unfortunate side effects.

My mental state was particularly poor as a change from one regime to another more therapeutic gave me some months of emotional agony, made worse by other matters. As these changes have been made some chronic conditions remain and that is fine. And the difference made is there on you tube. There is a real change in me from this time last year to now.

A testament to recovery, family, professional support and alcoholics anonymous, just one day at a time. And in all matters, fellowship has been the glue to making life work. There were the hardest of times last year. And although there is always the daily challenge, I know a day at a time I have help and assistance in most matters of recovery. And a question mark still remains about what else to do as some particular matters will never get better as degenerative disease simply will not go away.

Not a bad day at all..

January 12th 2007

Doing a Chair - And Being Myself

Smiles here its been a real stormy day in the UK. I nearly got blown off my bike as I cycled into Fulham tonight. It was tough with the wind against me and good coming home wind behind me.

Chairs in AA

Well doing a chair in AA means we are the key speaker if you like and we get to share for 20-30 minutes on our experience and strength and hope in recovery. We share as long as we like actually as the time is optional. Most people start without a clue how or what to say, just like me. I donít prepare, I just share what is on my mind and in my heart I guess.

Chairing is somewhat daunting as to tell the truth of our most ghastly times with drink and the experience of sobering up and finding recovery and how life is working today. Well actually you can only cover so much in a short time.

Perfection Creeps in if we get worried

Yes the tendency most alcoholics have is perfection underneath much of their drinking and addictive behaviour so itís a bit of an antidote not to prepare and speak off the cuff.

In my years presenting and doing a lot of public speaking I was always prepared and was taught well by people who knew how. And all that training is not for nothing, yet is of no use in AA and our fellowship.

We live in the Day

Yes we do we live in the day, and as much as we can keep our doings in the moment of now. And I hope I got this across to my fellows and friends. I have to be in the day, if I go too far into history, there is much to complain about, not because I failed, maybe because I was on the wrong path for so long.

I reckon I pretended to be ok most of the time when I was desperately unhappy. And why? Not because of anyone, merely because I was always challenged emotionally and mentally.

Knowing the cause now, that clinical depression is a cycle in my living, makes it easier when it starts, and as it is starting to turn downward somewhat I need to keep close to my fellowship and my friends.

I have been wondering for a couple of months what has been going on, the side effects of medication for the painful diabetic neuropathy has kept me somewhat buoyant in my feeling because it works not only on nerve damage, it works as an anti depressant too.

So while I have been reasonably ok, I do detect the meanderings in my mental condition, sometimes joyous and sometimes very down very quickly. A sort of roller coaster. Where medication takes the high and low out for a while its never a permanent condition.

Therapy

Well I get plenty of this in the fellowship and realise I am extremely lucky to be able to understand how this all works for me. Therapy helps us understand the process of depression and its causes, it does not stop chemical imbalances from clinical disorders per se.

So I do my best and live as may be. Sometimes I continue and keep going simply on reserves of energy, which are also low presently. So itís a tricky one, to be aware three things, recovery, clinical depression and the various manifestations I have from the type 1 diabetes. Its pretty much a full time job in itself just keeping myself together. And on top I feel the need to share my story.

By now as you read this, you know there is a lot of work put into sharing my life on the internet and now trying the video blog with you tube.

Its never a planned exercise and never quite how I might envision.

Life on Lifeís terms

Yes I get it at last, what most people have known since day one, they just live and get on. I had a long journey just to know a part of me, and not all of me. So much more I cannot grasp. Yet.

Changing - Beyond Everything I ever Considered

So itís a bit a culture shock? To be where I am and be doing many things just to keep life and soul going. Which was never a consideration.

Living as I do, without the benefits of the old career and material wealth I was accumulating, life is somewhat threadbare in the possessions stakes and future living standards I might wish to enjoy. And actually my whole outlook is about making life work, and not about physical and material accumulations. We may get to look good with our wealth, yet the real wealth is the wisdom and experience we have inside our noodles!

If and when I do face the end of where I get to, I hope its with clarity of mind and not with some dementia, its seems a horrible way to end up. And I have no idea how things may go in the long run or beyond one day.

Daily

It is daily, living to the best of what we have, and not looking forward and wishing time away. We all might do better in this life, being aware of the long term goals and making sure we really to experience the journey.

Waiting

Waiting for something to come along is as useful a watching paint dry. Patience and endeavour are different. We have so many words to describe our living we are better utilising our time so we get to know the meaning behind them from what we do, not what we think or comprehend or imagine.

Philosophy of life

To understand the wisdom we have is mostly due to life experience, beyond all other forms of intellect which many have, being a spectator rather than a player is little compensation. So whatever we try and do, it is far superior than trying to imagine what it may be.

The risks?

Better to take calculated risks and feel living happen than watch a life pass by. Sounds simple, as hard anything we may achieve. Just one day at a time of course.

However we are, warts, capacities, the best way is to utilise what we have and make something work daily. And keep with the spirit of the moment, our personal zeitgeist!

So thatís it for today - until tomorrowÖ

January 12th 2006

No Need To Evoke God ~

"Like the sun, blessings nourish the heart with the light of hope and the warmth of love.
Blessings are thought vibrations that can encourage, enlighten and empower.
Blessings are words of encouragement, that when filled with great love make a huge
difference...

Somebody may be miles away but your blessings will reach them."

Dadi Janki

To me the words by Janki ring true. And I believe as Einstein, when he said everything, absolutely everything has purpose. We are gifted in many ways we are yet to understand. The gifts we have are to be developed. The gifts in themselves will bring great benefit to this world, without seeking help from another!

So gifted, we might develop our abilities and rejoice in nature, good conscience and science as we move forward. What we can prove and disprove has no bearing on our common potential and greater potential as family and society. Foundations barely built in our development as a human race.

Our primitive outlook makes us forgetful how quickly mankind is developing, and how primitive we are as just another form of life evolving across this Universe

January 12th 2005

How Little We Know

In our own world we know most, and often when others are included it takes forever to share enough of our world, they can join with us. Similarly, we have to get to know the world in which 'they' live. Our common ground is what we share, our common ground is often something we assume.

We assume our experiences are enough we can understand one another. We have common language, we have similar experiences, yet our world's are apart.

Separate worlds so close and so different, our neighbours are not our intimates. Only those we share day to day and year to year get close enough to comprehend our vastness and our limited views of this reality.

We need patience, not assumption, we need enquiry, ambivalence and a multitude of approaches to understand another's world. Indeed we need the same for our own. In these world's in which we live, knowing ourselves is as fascinating as knowing our fellows.

Our world's may sometimes appear small, by connection and coincidence, be surprised how big our world's are, infinite beyond any measure, akin to the Universe....

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January 13 2008 DonInLondon - ĎDay In the Lifeí Life In General

All about Recovery

Two meetings of AA [Alcoholics Anonymous]

I feel ok tonight, just right and equal sized, having just returned from my late Saturday meeting. I sat, listened and enjoyed just being there. Lots of people I know and newcomers. We do our best to keep sober a day at a time and help newcomers do just the same. Its all about getting our lives back on a sober track so the rest of living just follows as we are able.

No quick fixes for us, life is for endeavour and so far today its been worth it. I can relax. Some words written earlier this evening and journal extracts from previous years.Ö

A Right To Life and Living

Looking back at how I approached life, I can see many happy recollections, when I was on track and feeling ok. At the same time I wondered about the purpose. Life is to be lived and we all have a right to find our peace and happiness. It is relative I guess.

The World

Where we are born and how we develop is limited not only by our own outlook, it is often limited because of heritage and everything civilisation has learned. Scarce opportunity, geography have often as much to do with happiness as we are lead to believe what we may do in our society.

Opportunity

If we have them, then we can decide what to do. As we look back in history, we really only know about folk heroes and more extraordinary lives and living. We imagine ourselves in certain scenarios and we can live in dreams and denials of truth. The difference between dreams and denial, one is possible the other a straight lie about our reality. We need opportunity as much as we need drive to carry on in determined living.

Last years hard knocks included the loss of one of the family, that is my sisterís partner, Christopher. I came across a photo from a TV website where he was a guest expert on matter of economics and business. The picture made me realise just how much of a gap he made in day to day, for my sister and mother. And how his loss still feels just plain wrong.

Time Does Move Us along

And when we are able we see new possibilities. We donít forget or stop grieving for losses. The process of closure always makes room for good memories as well as the sad. We can be hit in an instant of recollection and feel the barb of time.

Friendships

As we get on with living and in my case a very sober life presently, I can see the need to have friends and indeed I do. The good news some we get to know really well, and others who hold back, or have to hold back. When people hold back and keep their inner workings, their overall story superficial, we cannot get deep with them. And of course there are good reasons why we donít get to hear some of the inner self from others, it can be just plain impossible for another to share it. So we end up the same way, somehow sharing in a superficial way.

Practice At Our Deeper Core

As we get along in living, we learn many ways to be with people we know and others who are remote, on the periphery. And we benefit when we learn our boundaries and safe comfort zones.

The Deep And Feelings

How we feel about ourselves and how we are able to share our real insides out, it is a voyage of discovery. Some with practice can do this sharing with ease, others like me work and then find the ease of Ďself sharingí becomes a more comfortable practice which just yields more and more.

In The Modern World

Fast and Furious seems to be the order of every day. And we are often driven to follow our leaders, follow our icons and what they do, we can emulate to an extent. From our attitudes, to our behaviour, from how we share our lives, to how we dress, appear on the surface. And still there is more about ourselves we will never know, simply because we forget to keep on learning.

Gifts and Destruction

Some of us are completely and utterly destroyed in our living by addictions and all the complications thrown in our way, by our lives being so bent out of shape we have no clue which way is up or down, left or right. Like a pin ball in a pin ball machine, careering and never still till we disappear from the game.

Today

So far today has been pretty ok, weather bright and cold, the day feels fine and the cold a pleasure. A meeting of my fellowship and one to follow shortly. I am having a good Saturday.

Friendships - Learning to Love our Fellows

Beyond kinship, friendships are developing. Both men and women. Someone shared how wonderful it was to have real friends, both male and female as well as family. The gift of a sober head. The gift of friendship is as it is, deep and on a level where truth is more open, denial less a concern, and where we can be genuine and authentic.

Reality

When he hit reality and see who we can be friends with, how this works, how we are able to share. Its about inclusion, some control shared, and love. The elements of control, inclusion and love have been written over and over as stories we teach, how we were taught when young, and in our living day by day.

Learning who our friends are is a wonderful journey which requires much forgiveness for ourselves and for others. We will bond naturally with some, find others difficult to keep in our lives. Others will be awkward and cussed often providing the best learning about who is in and who is out.

It is not our journey to live in fear unless it is made so by repeated misgivings and distrust. Trust in our own understanding, trust is something which we learn and is truly often earned by deeds and not by right.

Wisdom

As in all matters, we get serenity when we accept the things we cannot change, find those things we can and get the wisdom to know the difference. A life long journey and applied in good heart keeps our path peaceful and happy as it may be. And able to deal with troubled times, again as reality bites hard then we learn our deep. And makes our living richer, deeper and lighter as moments in days makes us one way or another.

Anon

January 13th 2007

Feelings - what use are they?

Seems feelings are often wanted and some unwanted. We all need the full repertoire of feelings even if we would prefer we had none sometimes. There are parts of life connected to loss of friends and family we would prefer never happen or feel the pain it makes inside us. They do happen though and its always surprising what we learn from life.

As you may know from my video blog and my journal, some feelings this week have been unwelcome and made me want to retaliate and follow the lead of an antagonist. And I nearly did. I was told it had no value, that the person concerned had their own agenda and basically its none of my business what they say or do. I have also been advised its best not to look. And it was an actor and director who have had some success and some as they called them "Turkeyís" in their lives. So I might feel lucky its taken this long to get hateful and prejudicial impersonations.

And what they said, was as Oscar Wilde suggested, "there is only one thing worse than being talked about, and thatís not being talked about." And they also said its quite flattering to have such attention because we represent something that is worth having. Like morals and values and trying to live to the good and the next right thing. Friends have said the same. So they are quite right of course.

We find in all areas of life with feelings we can either find acceptance or most likely some self hate for what has happened. And in this instance I can only imagine the hurt felt by my impersonator. I do wish him well in all his enterprise which seems like a sound commercial exercise, and this is no saintly Don here, it just means if he succeeds at his endeavour he will be happy. And happy people get on with life and make more happiness.

Unhappy people tend to wallow and keep on going round and round in their small world of hurt. So all in all its far better to wish success and let them be whatever they can. There is no value in our negative emotional states, although we need have them to realise where the good of living resides.

So feelings one way or another need to be acknowledged and worked on. This week has proven a good all round. As with some down sides, there are always upsides and getting on. So I am very happy to feel where I am right now.

Resent Nothing?

We will for a while until we see its of no value, better always to forgive and make the world work as well as we can. Resentments when we have them, are about our Ego and not our Esteem, even if we have great intellect it seems intelligence is no help where feelings are concerned, so we have to work them out as well.

Feeling and then Thinking

We always have a gut reaction and then think through our situation. And we are often persuaded we may be involved and included, when in fact the opposite might be the best course of action our gut reaction says no when our intellect says yes? Maybe.

Always thou when it comes to feelings we think we are bigger than them, and in fact feelings are ignored at our peril. So we need to work them out.

Two Meetings Today

Both very good and very helpful to help me see the good of life right now, the history I have and the present where I need to be alert and open to what is happening and how I feel.

And also a couple of calls from fellows nearby with anger on their mind. As with anything which creates disorder and displeasure we are apt to strike out, when a moments pause or even a few days thinking can make a huge difference in all respects.

And tonight a chair by a great speaker who has learned so much of what forgiveness is. And in the end it seems as we accept life as it is, we do see all points of view and not just our own.

So for that reason, I tread a more careful path, more so from here on, to include or not as seems best. And a good consult with a fellow of AA who I have learned to trust will help immeasurably in future.

As to Now

Well my video is done and processing and maybe by now ready to be You Tube.

My post from now will be shorter in the written form, as I am advised five hundred words is enough at one sitting for anyone! Smiles except me who writes long pieces which are too much for internet consumption, so fair enough and so much shorter than of lateÖ

Overall a good day of learning what is right and what is not right. For me only, a day at a time, and with great consideration for my values and others I care for. Maybe just an ordinary human doing human living is my goal, and that feels just right for me and everyone.

January 13th 2006

Powerlessness A Gift For All The Family ~

The only thing I can control is the way I choose to respond

January 13th 2005

Wonder

A cause of astonishment or admiration

It is with wonder we might look at our world. Wonder at the complexity and so too the simplicity. How we exist is much to wonder at, and wonder also at the multitude of similarities. There is complexity in all we see, and we can make it unmanageable easily.

Best to keep our wonder simple, not to understand everything, for this is impossible. Best to appreciate and experience our world and what it offers today. Beyond this day is a labyrinth, built on history and connections to futures we may only guess. Enjoy this day with wonder, with enquiry and with verve....

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January 14 2008 DonInLondon - ĎDay In the Lifeí

A Mixture Of A Sunday To Monday

An Excerpt with some alterations after more reflection :

[very true evil does flourish when good people do nothing. It is true and so true, at the same time these days I am really aware that even I, or especially me, no matter how much I may mean well, can just get things plain wrong. Indeed we can influence people to find their path. I try to make certain its not my path I suggest but the one they would choose for themselves. In other words be a mentor to an extent and still the choices are always with our friends.

Behaviour consistent with our outsides - that is thinking and feeling as the moment is.. the elusive present tense without a huge amount of history having an influence is pretty impossible. We do react and then find ourselves trying for a measured response when the damage may be done is very human.

No two people are alike so we often hear the familiar story and attitudes from both men and women. Some men may think women Ďare up for itĎ and some women think men are Ďup for ití, not me in my experience. Whatever has occurred in my relationships had to be based on choice and inclination. I do have a natural and careful approach, and in truth I too need to be inclined. So this cannot really happen in open groups of people for me, it needs to be a conversation and with all the boundaries as they are.

In general terms I feel for anyone in sobriety and is making their emotional progress starts to develop more consistent relationships with both men and women. Nature and nurture and any amount of experience develops us as we are. To this point. And the absolute experience a person has is going to develop an overall attitude to matters of friendship and beyond, fraternal is very good and welcome. When it comes to our sexual conduct, how we are is very much based on what we know and what has happened to us.

What to do?

For me self honesty. with just a little time into sober living, I know I have my learner plates back on. And in fellowship we can be close in friendships and still need more time to develop our own life patterns all over again. When I don't understand my own feelings I can be sure I will be sending mixed messages probably. Self knowledge is good, and the boundaries we have really have a lot to do with what is important and what we actually need. Most often it is space to find ourselves enough, to be interdependent and to be happy in company.

As time is moving along and as each person finds their path, there will be mistakes and new understandings. Old understandings about some men and women will remain the same, as long as we find out what they are. And truly judging does happen as we realise that while we may be a part of a fellowship with principles and values, those values and principles need to be learned in experience and sobriety.

No Rush From My The Bunker!

I do empathise strongly with what you say. I have found my bunker quite a relief. My loneliness in my drinking years meant I shared a lot of time with women who had the same loneliness and I even made sure my career meant there were opportunities to be a drinker and available to be lonely in company.

The difference today is I am not lonely. So some of the attributes of relationships in the past has been taken away. And with the march of time for me, I do not feel the need to be in a relationship because that is what people do. I would prefer a relationship which? Now there is a question. I have no answer because it has not happened yet. I have not met my partner to be yet, or have really thought strongly of looking. A lot of this is a health question for me. And in matters of the heart it is all about time place and coincidence I suspect. The rule of thumb that we need be a year sober before anything happens, well it is a guide for newcomers as I was. In a right sized head it is an obvious and welcome suggestion. Today I feel it is more about lifestyle and connections we make which lead where they will. We are human and we are intuitive and have desires. How we work these conundrums out is as time unfolds. I have no formula for me or anyone.

Someone shared not too long ago about their crush on a man in the fellowship, and then he turned up looking different in a superficial way and the crush was gone in an instant.

What is true of the crush, is also true for all of us humans still inclined to single status. We think, we feel, we should, we ought, we can't, we might, might I, could I. All a bundle of maybe and might be. Truth is when it comes to love, I suspect we are powerless over our attractions and desires, they are our deep. At the same time we know the consequences and the risk and vulnerability is often there in my mind.

So I remain content for now. And know the life I have is evolving gently. I don't have any illusions or delusions presently, and as usual if I do have an odd thought here and there about women I see and get to know, it usually passes me by as friendship is far more compelling presently. Will this change? Now that I feel is a good question and I do not have an answer.

Powerlessness

Influencing others to danger is a good stance, and to make anyone aware of consequences is always good to suggest. I have had these conversations with others regarding the feckless types. They say they know feckless types and still recognise they both have been involved with feckless types, there are plenty around. And I too have been superficial and indifferent to myself because that is what I learned, and as a consequence the same with women in my life. Hopefully we all learn from experience. And I have a better understanding of respectful and sensibility, cherishing people is my key.

There are certain types of men per se, and certain types of women per se. I never know the truth of either until I have the evidence. I was always taught to honour women and women make their choices to be involved or not. I never realised I had choices until these last few years to say no and mean it.

Abuse comes in all shapes and forms, physical, emotional and spiritual too, although the latter depends on having some spiritual to be devoured.

Men and physical abuse, is impossible to tolerate for me and has landed me in awful jams. Women who abuse men, is a difficult subject for me. I have walked away with hurt unimaginable. A sadness beyond measure.

In a similar way understanding conflicts which just happen out of nowhere,
I just had a coach driver try knock me off my bicycle. The feelings in me were astonishing, and I am glad I rode away shaking with a mixture of emotions. All real and very much as a response to keep riding away from the madness rather than turn back and be stupid.

Context - powerless, people places and things is a very Zen way. The reality of life will make us wonder. People will find their boundaries with experience, and behaviour which keeps a person safe is also very difficult. Sober from drink affords the luxury to develop as we may, with good conscience and also mentors around who help us find consistency in our personal behaviour. We all need time and that is the one thing we fail to recognise when we may feel driven to be like everyone else.

I prefer the bunker often - I prefer not hurting and causing pain. That however will not save me when the time comes, if it does, to fall in love again. And that I am powerless over too.

In the meantime I love company, and love my single company too. What on earth will I do when love comes knocking on my metaphorical door? Just be human and open the door I imagine.

Friendships

As I see it, judgment of others and limiting my suggestions, is something I have not really done much to change in sobriety. I made some ghastly connections in the last few years which still make me feel sad from time to time. I do know being an open book works, just some 'readers of my open book' will not get my outlook or me. And they make there path elsewhere as I prove too hard to know.

In friendship I feel comfortable presently and time will make fair weather, as well as distance make some present friends, acquaintances in future times. Proximity and outlook are key.]

Defining God

Man Made God - God Made Man

Is it any wonder we all get to talk about God? Mankind has had some form of relationship with a God it seems to me. As we become concerned about the purpose of life beyond our human nature we do wonder rightly, what is life all about?

No apologies for my views these days.

Indeed in a democracy, we are allowed to have our views and express them. And in America, the land of the free, there are many forms of religious views help and its perfectly to have themÖ That is if it were a perfect world and a perfect system of democracy.

I have the right to have my views and so does anyone reading my words here. It is not for me to challenge religious belief, I have no cause to fight a good fight when it comes to religion. And dogma of any sort, especially my own is always going to make me feel awkward.

I have no answers to others understanding of God. And its ok these days. As a staunch undecided and worrier around any form of cult, dogma or brainwashing activity I feel a sort of middle of the road type.

One persons devout outlook can be anotherís dogma and form of brainwashing. Very similar views and polemics just happen all the time in any fellowship which deals with fellowship. Alcoholics Anonymous is no different.
Somehow most of the time we deal with our similarities and not the differences.

January 14th 2007

So here I am half way through Sunday and the world is fine, its sometimes a bit difficult to understand everything until we understand and see the bigger picture of everything. It gives us context, so here is a video clip to share this morning and what we did at our AA meeting. Just my outlook, not everyoneís, so hope it gives you some context to my Higher Powers in life.

Serenity - (posted last night)

What is serenity? Actually is not something we can get all the time and indeed serenity, a place of calm and acceptance. The trouble with life is we can encounter so many situations a day at a time which can undermine and to a large extent unhinge us.

We can start the day feeling ok and find we do something or someone does something and we feel less than serene. Funnily enough it happens so often in life we might say bugger serenity and lets get spangled!

Spangled is a good way to describe getting out of it in some way, using some fix, like a drink or activity or drug or whatever we find takes the edge off the harsh reality of the present.

As spiritual is linked with serenity, its often misunderstood, serenity and spiritual is simply living life as is and being able to cope with it as best we may and finding how to do this sometimes impossible task of just seeing life as real.

Serenity also comes from understanding our right size, where we know we have our part to play in matters and making sure its just the right size, not enormous and not us trying to run the whole show.

We often find we have our egoís punctured as we realise we cannot control or have as much power over outcomes we would want. The truth of the AA fellowship is we learn how to be right sized, to play our part in events and be the equal of everyone and no bigger or smaller than them. Even when others are in charge of something we can meet them equally in mind and spirit. How we conduct ourselves is through getting ourselves to the right choices and at the right time.

And if that was not enough we also recognise we are powerless always over people, places and things. This does not mean we are a walk over, it means we size up what we are endeavouring to do, and make the right choices with responsiveness rather than reactions to our feelings.
This whole week has been a reminder to me about being the right size and seeing life as it is, not just through my eyes but through the eyes of those I encounter. We can easily forget the impact we have on others, which can be sometimes wonderful and other times as useful as a hole in the head.

And its something we only become aware of as we get reactions or responses from others. It been a good day for being right sized for me. A friend for some lengthy time and me, we were able to sit down and find out where we had a breakdown in communications and the result today is to find this elusive place of serenity. So blinking difficult when we are driven to look right and sound right and behave right.

Its often better to reflect and make our way with a response. And in most instances I do.

Still a Problem

And I have still one problem to get along with, and you know I realise I am powerless over the behaviour and attitudes of others. At the same time it has been my misfortune to act quickly and then find another unleash their venom. Sadly when we meet tricksters shysters and grifters we will be sucked in and when we donít dance to their tune, they play merry hell and behave as badly as any child spoiled by life. I feel the process evokes the sadness in me and the need to back pedal and withdraw from their influence.

Realising my Powerlessness

I do, and leave it to authorities to decide what to do. I donít mind the outcome. I have decided its beyond me to fathom and pain felt is due one way or another. Often pain is our way of dealing with our own recalcitrance and others pain is felt in their venom towards us.

Healing Processes

There is always room for healing when people get to a place where there is no other point to explore, as people are as stubborn as me I feel, it is often overdue and way beyond a place of mutual understanding. I live and learn.

If we keep to our open and honest principles most of the time we will reconcile differences and make to the good. Where there is no inclination we might wait for hell to freeze over first.

Attitudes and Behaviour

I feel unable to countenance bad behaviour towards others generally, and also know I can withdraw support where others malign and disfigure reality. It is a sad time when we see our choices were made without understanding the attitudes and behaviour of others, so we pay our penalties as we go as do they of course.

And also we need know, we are better to see people as they are, not as they may portray themselves. And when people are suffering from hardship, we may help as best we can, but not dig in with them when they behave badly. Such are the lessons of life.

As to me? I am learning constantly and have to be thankful to get my dose of unpleasant exposure here and there. It is as it may be. Life teaches when we donít use wisdom or listen carefully to what we are invited to join in. better to be more circumspect.

Overall

Today has been magic, with good and equal understandings, and without the pain of looking at one which I cannot change for now, life is to the good. What next. Well I may keep the short video on the blog, I have done a longer version, too long on reflection. So am sticking with the quick and quirky one tonight, and thanks whoever rated it already, ratings are done by others and not me, so with thanks and till tomorrow.

January 14th 2006

Ego And Esteem Honest Bedfellows

Let your thinking and doing be equal,
for only then will you be said
to be a powerful soul who has will power.
Let your experience and feeling be equal,
for only then will you be said
to be a powerful soul without need of will power!

So near and yet so far, the problem we face as our wisdom overtakes. Experience, that wonderful memory, our powerhouse and keeper of all our doings in this world.

As we develop our honesty, our wisdom becomes more and more useful. As we develop our honesty, we realise there is no limit to where our experience will take us. We will experience this world in all its elements the more we have truth and honest recollections.

So difficult to enable our minds to soak up all that our senses are able to assimilate. There is a lifetime of lifetimes, no single picture, and no interpretation, which will capture all facets and facts as they happen. Not even our best mechanical devices, not even our computers can relay the world as it is. Only we can do that, individually and uniquely, so similar we might expect there to be little difference in our sharing.. most often worlds apart!

January 14th 2005

Guiding Light

In the midst of uncertainty, keep determination in your thoughts and that will become like a guiding light in front of you.

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January 15 2008 DonInLondon - ĎDay In the Lifeí Tuesdays Child

Tuesdays Child Is Full Of Grace

Words for Tuesdays Child: dignified, polite, and decent behaviour. Fits in well with a life in recovery. With incidents recently, nearly knocked off my bicycle and a return to old anger, even for a few minutes has a big and profound effect. I am human and having got some of my senses back it is so easy to fall into the chasm of past behaviour.

Wherever we are it is not easy to break the patterns of the past. For recovering alcoholics, addicts and anyone facing big life changes, the frustrations bubble up constantly. How hard is it to change our outlook?

Changes and Living

As life never stops, the ease back to old ways is obvious, what has worked in the past does not work today for me. Indignation, angry feelings just make me low as the residue of snapping back to old attitudes is inevitable.

How to break these patterns of attitude and behaviour? We can all find excuses to why we revert to type, ask anyone dealing with addiction, the balance in living is doing the new ways as much as we can and feeling every frustrating minute and angry retort at ourselves.

Attitudes And Behaviour

The keystones of much we can do, change our attitudes, our belief system, then change the behaviour so we can learn new ways to live.

Alcoholics Anonymous

Just a few decades old and still growing and having growing pains. A society or fellowship, not an organisation, which helps us all keep sober one day at a time, that is fellows in the fellowship. We are simply learning a different attitude and a different way to behave around alcohol.

And often as we move away from our fix, that is our way to fix reality with alcohol, leading straight to denial and filtering our outlook, reality does bite hard.

Early Days and Newcomers

A lot of newcomers and people back in early days. It is hard and we who have a few years clean time really do know the difference as we make good our lives in recovery from drink.

A State of Grace

Dignified, polite, and decent behaviour. A small phrase and from an old poem.
A State of grace these days is a hard and arduous task. We are all prone to be angry and hard pressed in a world which never sits still. And the truth of much that we encounter will impact hard, and a state of grace is momentary as the world shifts and tilts us in all directions at once.

We may find a moment of Ďgraceí and then as if by some evil force catapulted back into old fissures and Ďdark reactions as humans being human can evoke the good and worse the harsh dissonance based on fears stored over the years.í

As in all matters progress and imperfect we remain, the moments of grace may get more frequent the dark behaviours which turn us back to pain will haunt inevitably.

So on this blustery Tuesday morning I know all over again I am human. And adage that to err is human, to forgive divine? I am tempted to suggest with humility, to err is normal, to forgive is human and we learn as we may. We are not God and forgiving ourselves as we forgive others is an absolute key or we perish on the vine of life.

January 15th 2007

Evening

Just a brief addition tonight. It has been a good day overall. And so was yesterday in so many respects. I like life to be open and clear. As with any insecurity I might get, itís a good idea to check out with others where my head is, in terms of understanding and feeling.

The big danger for anyone is isolated feeling and thinking and trying to work out everything on our own. When we try to complete and make life right without others who are involved, we can present them with finished and completed scenarios when we are still in the process of climbing on board with the concept.

Its been my long experience when I do this, I am still alone and have not involved all the key players. So easily done in some elements of life where the outcome is obvious and roles are already defined.

Not so easy as we adopt a strategy which is a day long in most cases. So its got to be a gradual process where everyone is moving in tandem and the "givens" are understood. So often we can have made assumptions and then found we are not quite sure where we are, and nor is anyone else.

History

Sometimes we view history and have an idea from it how things are to shape up in the present. We and me especially can make big howlers by not understanding that what was right yesterday has become a different scenario today.

Present

So with aplomb and encouragement I do check out where my head is, the assumptions I make and the place where I am sitting metaphorically speaking. In doing this the picture is clearer and the journey smoother as we all get on the same bus and head in the same direction.

Future

The future, well indeed is out there. A bit like anything we can imagine, we like the idea of a future and we have ideas how it may shape up. Its good to know there is a future. And still keep our feet on the ground in the here and now.

Past - Present - Future

The elements we have in our intellect driven by desire and feelings of what we need and want. So easy to construct we donít give it a second thought often, and then other times we can make no sense or path of any description. And we can be doing this so many times over with so many aspects of our lives, we can either be in a muddle or in clover.

Happenstance and Serendipity

As for all our efforts we can find life just keeps on rolling as we encounter it, and the plans, prospects and everything need change as it may. There are no ways of knowing just how this will manifest until it happens.

Someone mentioned this morning we need our flexibility or we break on our own hard times, and find real rock bottoms as we are frustrated and sometimes thwarted in the simple things, when the overall picture is coming along really well.

Courage and Faith

This helps keep us focussed and able to move with openness and confidence. It keeps our less helpful friends of fear and bravery in reserve when the chips are really down and against us, and where Ego lurks hopefully as the tool of last resortÖ

Anyway enough for now.

January 15th 2006

Love And Obligation

Two words and two concepts and realities. The reality of love and how it manifests is what we believe it to be in our own minds. Our view and understanding, our experience of love is what it is. It is as good as we can make it, for love truly will make our world go round. And stop it as abruptly when we find love is missing, lost, withdrawn or generally lacking in our world.

Obligation is a hard word, full of hard feelings and realities. Our obligation to life is simply to live. No more or less, yet this obligation notion is something underpinning most our lives and activities.

Love and obligation makes our world confusing. Those we love we may hold to no obligation when our love is unconditional. And some argue that loves unconditional, so there is never an obligation. Yet we all know love and obligation has some connection, especially where love is given with some form of condition. Yes there are terms to our endearments until we realise the terms are always unacceptable!

Our learning and realities experiencing love, our need of it, our expression of it make us feel either right sized, downsized or oversized. And we have this want for love back and forth with our near and dear, our less close and our general love requirements from acquaintance and foe like.

We get very confused, we love and don't get some back, we get some, we don't want that much, we give it to those who don't want it and get none from those we do. Obligations, we may do well to dismiss.

Our contracts and assumptions to love and get loved are near always assumed and accepted. Its no wonder most divorce rates and rules about our love partners are so often ill formed and useless to both parties.

We need find love, not be scared of it or its lack, we are forever assuming we need be one way or another. And many subscribe to love being the key.

Acceptance is our real key, knowing where and how we are loved. And our real key to acceptance is through contact, discussion, sharing and grounding ourselves in our love education. The education of life, experiencing truth and love without obligation, even sized to our agreements forever negotiated by our behaviour and demeanour.

We owe nothing to our loved ones, we give everything to our loved ones without prejudice or obligation. And if we change in our love and we have made good our living contracts with our beloved, we make good our understandings and acceptance. Our key in this day.

January 15th 2005

Patience

Patience and more patience enables a closed mind to gently unfurl.

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January 16 2008 DonInLondon - ĎDay In the Lifeí Reality A Daily Gift

How often do we realise the gifts we have around us. As life is always on the move, we are on the move, making and doing something for ourselves and people we know.

Driven Human Beings

We all driven to need and wants. The difference between the two is what may stress us enough to achieve more, the distress is wanting more and more and not knowing the difference between our needs and wants.

We need enough, emotional and physical elements to keep us happy in our daily patterns. We also have a need to be connected to the day, the people and the community we live in. Some may call this just another need, some call it spiritual and the spiritual is what defines us as humans.

Needs Spiritual

Our spiritual outlook is driven by nature and our nurture, often we know what we need to make life worth living, family and partners, being at one with ourselves inside and out. And being part of something we might consider society. Some of us need less of some things and more of others. Some maybe need to leave their stamp on history. Most do this by being in families and being parents when the time comes. Some like me have probably gone past their expiration date when making more humans and at the same time we are part of the bigger society and we help out as we may.

As time passes for me, the gift of today is in many categories, from surprise when I wake to still be alive after decades of torture and misgivings and never quite sure I had any role at all in this world. I forget I would argue the case for any human to be kept alive if they wish it so, and sometimes keep them safe till that wish to live comes back. I spent years feeling I had no value, these days I have the same value to this world as anyone else and I do my bit one way or another to be a part of something called living.

Today

I work hard to keep sober, to exercise better choices and know its ok to say yes to some things and no to others. We need humour, we need serious, we need food, we need joy as life offers and we also need sadness or we would not know the difference.

All day, the elements outside, the weather has been blustery and yet I chose to weather the weather! I went out into the centre of town. Usual haunts to take photoís, and with the dark and gloomy conditions, not much success just for today. No matter I bumped into a fellow here and there I know from the fellowship of AA, Alcoholics Anonymous.

Last night it was the same after the meeting, seeing people I know out and about who are a part of the fellowship. Seems to me the longer I am in AA, a society of people just making each day work, the outcome is I just see people here there and everywhere.

One has just had triple bypass heart surgery, and they are doing well. Better than me in walking which these last few days has been hard. No so easy as we all get older and find different things happen, that is life happens and we do as we may.

Keeping Positive

If we look for the bad in a day, if we compare and judge, if we consider others by what we see, there is always a problem as we make assumptions over and over without proper regard for those we encounter.

Judgments And Book Covers [ Always Already Listening]

If we always judge people by the way they look, their race their colour, their expression, their language, their height their weight, we still go around judging the world and wondering where we are in the pecking order today. Best to stop judging, stop comparing and just get on with life and be part of it as a human sized person and not the judge of anything.

What is always already listening? Its that set of assumptions in your head, how you determine and I determine what next and what we encounter. Our always already listening is looking for the place we fit, they fit, that they are this, and I am that. The always already listening tape when running still casts judgements deep and so hinders our connection to this day today.

Likes and Dislikes

We all have them and often what we do as a short hand is use judgment, and worse still use judgment when we know we are wrong and still deny the truth.

As long as there is always someone worse off, some people feel they are ok and that the world is not so bad. Now how dumb is that? The awful truth is that those who judge us and we know it, well its sad really we end up doing the same back, as long as they see us in some way worse off than themselves they feel ok, and I for one loath this behaviour. I have done it myself, I feel the glass house I lived in has less glass these days as stones thrown back have served me well and I have learned lessons a plenty.

Denials and Attitudes and Judging

Less helpful to the journeyman, less helpful as learning is marred and made so much harder as old attitudes wash over truth and leave it stained with lies and discontent.

Try judge less and feel happier on your own path. Be helpful where you can, let go old judgments from family, from where you once were king or Queen in your own mind. And realise the path to happiness is in a useful life made good in useful endeavour and not in idling and forgetting what life is all about.

Simply living as the day offers, knowing what we can do, canít do and learning the wisdom to see the difference. I am learning so merely one day at a time. Not easy or smooth, as hard as any learning from the school of hard knocks.

January 16th 2007

Manic Mondays - Just Another Day (written for Tuesday)

Seems it was a long day! Yes it has been a long day, all days in recovery seem to get longer and longer as I try squeeze in everything. Not easy to get all my tests done, eat properly, do some coding for websites and make things up to date. Where is my serenity? Well I do have some

Tonight

A good meeting at my local AA meeting in the Boltonís. We are a good group and we do make an effort to understand the nuts and bolts of the AA fellowship steps of action.

As I am probably going to keep on mentioning this week, the 12 steps of AA are all about action. Changing the one element we can, ourselves. The more I understand the powerlessness over people, places and things, the more life works. Its about realising the power and choices of those people around us and taking account of our own choices and what this means in the big picture of our living. Purely on a day by day basis.

So it was about Step 5, "Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs."

In my case it was always an ongoing activity, but I never knew how much I had suppressed a lot of events over the years and how angry I was inside till I started working on the steps. Its like an explosion which manifests in many ways depending on our life experience. Most likely in the process we feel very angry and sometimes rage comes out. And we need to be careful we have enough restraint to know our reactions to times past and then respond as we share our story.

As is often said, confession is good for us as we see our place and size in the world. And for many people in the fellowship this is a blinding revelation to untold hurts. As bad as it can be for any human who has experienced dreadful times, so alcoholics get real with their issues in the steps.

Really good sharing and excellent insights to us humans living in the day. As we find we can sometimes be exploding at situations, we need remind ourselves where these unbalanced moments are triggered. And the change in us as we recognise what we can do, and what we are powerless over too. So its all to the good.

We stayed later, to discuss matters of administration and other bits too. A group conscience its called. Not everyone stays, more likely those who wish to understand the group and how it keeps going on next to nothing in our case, just about keeping a balance in the books. After all, we just try to make a meeting with people and we donít have any funding other than ours. No affiliations or connections.

So as an autonomous group we got somewhere tonight. Itís a strange thing. Trying to get equal sized opinions from everyone. But we sort of got there in the end. We are human after all, and we know what is going on most of the time. Just seems to me, some feel more equal than others.

Attitudes

We all have them, and we all want to do the right thing. And we do need group conscience to ensure safe and good practices in all our dealings, or we would fall down in anarchy. So easy and so its not surprising that people do share their deep feelings. And of course we all get trampled sometimes in life. So in the end maybe we got somewhere sensible, at the same time, we may not always get our way. And that these days is really ok. Smiles here if it were up to me, the whole thing would have been my way, and then there would be a meeting of just me! Or as life shows me, no meeting and no one to talk toÖ

So overall between doing a lot of coding work for websites and then meeting and tea making and group consciences, its been a pretty full day.

Overall

I need pay attention to my sugar levels and diabetic control, some concerns for me presently as my body is not happy with what I am doing. So a very important step is to get this back on track now. Diabetes is also called the silent killer. I guess it is, it can snuff a person out very ably in quick time.

So I have resolve and will make some new data sheets to keep my records up to date. Indeed with all the other stuff I have been doing its even more important I keep a check and do it thoroughly. As often said by those who designed the medical regime, itís a self managed condition, and so easy to get it out of balance. Like now. And now is the time to act.

Odd too the painful neuropathy is just so, painful. So maybe time to check on what help I need.

Other matters

Have helped I hope a couple of friends with some basic and also very complex situations, not easy and not really where I consider it wise to go, at this represents some past where I have expert power, and no desire to practice, being worn thin that way again is a danger too.

Overall

Just for today, I may hit the pillow and be quiet in my mind, as long as the support I have given does not start going round and round. Progress not perfection, some elements of life are dangerous paths to tread, and experience teaches me great care. I will be careful.

January 16th 2006

Love and Obligation

Two words and two concepts and realities. The reality of love and how it manifests is what we believe it to be in our own minds. Our view and understanding, our experience of love is what it is. It is as good as we can make it, for love truly will make our world go round. And stop it as abruptly when we find love is missing, lost, withdrawn or generally lacking in our world.

Obligation is a hard word, full of hard feelings and realities. Our obligation to life is simply to live. No more or less, yet this obligation notion is something underpinning most our lives and activities.

Love and obligation makes our world confusing. Those we love we may hold to no obligation when our love is unconditional. And some argue that loves unconditional, so there is never an obligation. Yet we all know love and obligation has some connection, especially where love is given with some form of condition. Yes there are terms to our endearments until we realise the terms are always unacceptable!

Our learning and realities experiencing love, our need of it, our expression of it make us feel either right sized, downsized or oversized. And we have this want for love back and forth with our near and dear, our less close and our general love requirements from acquaintance and foe like.

We get very confused, we love and don't get some back, we get some, we don't want that much, we give it to those who don't want it and get none from those we do. Obligations, we may do well to dismiss.

Our contracts and assumptions to love and get loved are near always assumed and accepted. Its no wonder most divorce rates and rules about our love partners are so often ill formed and useless to both parties.

We need find love, not be scared of it or its lack, we are forever assuming we need be one way or another. And many subscribe to love being the key.

Acceptance is our real key, knowing where and how we are loved. And our real key to acceptance is through contact, discussion, sharing and grounding ourselves in our love education. The education of life, experiencing truth and love without obligation, even sized to our agreements forever negotiated by our behaviour and demeanour.

We owe nothing to our loved ones, we give everything to our loved ones without prejudice or obligation. And if we change in our love and we have made good our living contracts with our beloved, we make good our understandings and acceptance. Our key in this day.

January 16th 2005

Seeing Things Truly

We tend to see things not as they are, but as we are. Becoming quiet and simple inside is the first step towards seeing things truly.

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January 17 2008 DonInLondon - ĎDay In the Lifeí Unique And Authentic

Two meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous for me yesterday, and very good indeed. I realise that many might wonder what AA is all about, unless of course it has benefit for you, the reader, or interest from others who are worried and concerned about family or friends who may have a drink problem.

Alcohol Addiction - Addiction In General & Prejudice

How is it that some people can drink and drug and come out of that phase in their lifetime pretty much unscathed? If we knew the answer then I guess we would all be better informed. And how is it some of us humans can take a drug and drink and end up with not only a habit, but a habit which will kills us sooner than our natural life span? If we knew the answer as individuals would we have ever taken that first drink? The answer is really linked to the way recovery works for many an addict and many an alcoholic.

Emotional - Physical - Spiritual

Mankind is forever evolving as nature and providence have shown. We are progressive and always changing, to the good or bad. When we learned to drink in our youth ( and for some in later life ) it was not long before some knew when to be moderate and some of us just kept on going and doing more harm. Excessive drinking is self harm yet we know full well by the time we know our situation, most of us alcoholics and addicts are near rock bottom in life. Anyone who knows their problem enough, knows denial keeps us stuck and dependency is a real and not imagined state of being. Addiction is not a self inflicted wound and this is the prejudice we alcoholics often have about ourselves, and what the rest of the uninformed world consider a lack of will power on our part.

Lack of Will and Will Power

Indeed it is because we have self will, willpower, we are always utilising and hanging on to ideas notions and behaviour like "grim death", that almost always, self will run riot and no will at all, kills and ensures an addict has a grim death.

A three fold disease, mind, body and spirit. I am in recovery a while now and have come to understand my malady as anyone else in recovery may acknowledge, we have to learn to live again without addiction to a substance which certainly does kill us makes us anti social, emotionally crippled and unable to function in the here and now. That is addiction.

For Me Today

Recognising I am an alcoholic, and merely in a recovering state helps me find my path in sobriety.. What Alcoholics Anonymous has helped me realise is the nature of my condition, what to do to keep well, what to do to improve my outlook and how I relate to this world, and how to help others in the same situation as me.

Unique and Authentic

How to make life work again and get along as we may, the AA programme has taught me new ways to live to my choices. AA offers no guarantees other than follow some suggestions and life may improve. AA is just a bunch of people, not an organisation you can blame. Full of fallible humans doing their best, AA is like society, full of good and bad people making their way just like everyone else. We find good and bad people wherever we go. And people who are part of AA have the same fallibility as anyone you may encounter in life. You need to stick with people you trust and not blindly trust people.

Choices

We all have them, and yet often we do not exercise choices simply because we have lost our way. We donít have the courage faith and confidence to make our way to good conscience and our preferred way of life. And this applies to many and not just to addicts. AA helps me make my own choices based on reality and not fantasy.

Hard Work - No Fixes

Recovery from any disease, or being in recovery, or just plain recovering is hard work. There are no ways to fix addiction, indeed the word fixing is synonymous with addiction. Fixing, like a repair on our feelings is often a worry for recovering addicts as they realise there is nothing which can fix what has been missing from life. That is some emotional, physical and spiritual balance.

Ask anyone who is mature in their outlook, they will tell a story of hard work, endeavour, application and steadfastness in simple principles for emotional balance. People who work at recovery share their experience strength and hope exactly as others you can meet in the right place at the right time. Always we need utilise our choices and judgment to the good of good conscience as we learn to be sober. And we make many mistakes along the way.

Simple?

To achieve a spiritual, emotional and physical balance which offers serenity in the moment comes down to acceptance:

"Accepting the things I cannot, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

This exhortation to Nature, The World, To Your God, your intelligent mind, your good conscience is the absolute beginning and maintenance of a life lived with choice and purpose. Long may it be so.

January 17th 2007

Dark Days - Dark Times

Seems a little like this tonight. After a pretty useful day I might add. I have mixed feelings health wise. It seems my walking is gradually becoming more and more difficult. I look forward to next month where I can discuss the implications with the diabetic consultant at the clinic in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

I had a couple of things on the agenda, to get a heavy fan back to the shop for replacement. Fortunately for me it could not be replaced, so I had no worries getting it home. Why? Simply because getting there wore me out, or rather wore my feet out. The pain walking was pretty horrid. And I had to abort trip two to get prescriptions sorted at my GPís surgery. Now this is not all bad news. Because after a rest, I was able to get on the bike and cycle to tonightís meeting. Still very painful, but I got there, so a good move.

As the Coffee Shop Cafť Nero is next door to the meeting venue, I was able to sit and wait, and reflect, and of course write! I spend a lot of time writing, itís a solitary endeavour, one which balances my need to be in company too. Part of the time alone and writing, while at the same time surrounded by life and stuff going on.

Makes me see where I am, and what is going on.

Changes and Tonight

And tonight was a reminder that some people had not made it far into the new year. Four people locally have expired, one from drink and three from ailments in recovery.

The absolute faith some people have in handing their lives over to a loving God in recovery has been a hot topic this week. As most are pretty fed up when they get some other malady in recovery, they feel their faith undermined. Not me actually, my faith in human endeavour and medical science has given me a couple of years I would not have had. So in my mind, a reprieve. For if I were in a less developed society, I would have gone years ago. So my faith in higher powers than me is unchanged. And my faith in purpose remains the same too, we have purpose as we keep sober and make life work and share how to live with others who fall to addictions and then hopefully find recovery.

Life has purpose

It does and being fairly pragmatic I enjoyed the share tonight. And it made me realise I am changing and suddenly life is different, and we need to realise we are getting better able to make better choices.

Life and Relationships

A big theme tonight in my mind and others. The understanding that we are changing by the day, and remarkably finding out how to live again. Living again, seems like we are reborn? Actually no, we get to grips with who we are and what we like and want to be in the recovery of living.

Reclaiming our lives is not about discarding our living completely, its about discovering what life can be and with choices made in sobriety, hopefully to the good.

Was reminded that some never change and others change to awful before they discover their best way.

As sobriety affords a better outlook, it affords much consternation about the journey we have, just a day long, as we set ourselves into new ways of living, our attitudes changing and behaviour. The choice of course is always ours how we endeavour and see the world.

Much of tonight was about how we develop and move along. We start to form our own identity again and make our new selves up as we are going along. It means a fundamental shift in many respects as we are enlightened to ourselves and our world.

No one stays the same from recovery

Or we end up back in the drink again. We need change and change happens as we work the 12 steps of AA. Its to some brainwashing, actually its quite the opposite.

From blind endeavour and drink, we move to seeing the world as it is and our life in it. We get our choices back in our new sanity, and we see our lives as they are, warts and all.

Revelations

They are quite profound the revelation of life without obsession as we progress the steps. And the odd thing is they only apply to ourselves. As the world continues much the same, we change quite dramatically, and see ourselves quite differently. We get wisdom and identity.

Identity

Such a big subject and not for now. I pause and leave things where they are for now. Identity and changes to our outlook, we need be careful and gentle as our changes happen and others remain as they were. We need all our faculties and wits. Life gets harder and easier too in sobriety as we develop our compassion and understanding, simply just how to be ourselves..

Being ourselves, it takes time to know and understand this journey, more tomorrow Ö

January 17th 2006

Gratitude

A tough subject when we are displaced and our balance may need some adjustment. When we enable our choices and let go the usual horrors we face on a daily basis, there is much to be grateful for. This life and the content thereof...

Actually I am grateful I have the capacity to love. It went missing a while and now its coming back. Love our fellows and ourselves, just a bit, or a lot, will help us deal with all of our life as it happens and not as a reaction to the past.

January 17th 2005

Brotherhood

Brotherhood means understanding that a cry of pain means the same in all languages and so does a smile.

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January 18 2008 DonInLondon - ĎDay In the Lifeí Good Orderly Drunks

God - Believe In Or Not

A big part of many peopleís lives is all about God. The question of there being a God is almost redundant one way or another if we are wondering about how we might understand God or have a God of our understanding.

AA Alcoholics Anonymous- And God

For many in AA God and belief in God is not a question itís a reality. Same as at least half the world have God in their lives, why not in AA? Simply if we are hung up on the question of God and the existence of God, it can be a real problem for making the AA programme understandable.

With a few years of sobriety under my belt and with a better understanding of the AA fellowship and how it works for me, I am relieved to have found Ghandi provided me with a working understanding of what God may be and how God is a part of my life and recovery.

Ghandi - God Is Truth

Truth is a very good way for me to understand a concept of God. The truth of life, the truth of living. Not surprising with me in denial for many years about me and my alcohol addiction. Denial so strong I could not recognise the dependence even in the grip of drinking in the last years, I was always fighting against this truth. In the end I lost not only the truth, I lost my reason and my emotional being. As far as spiritual connection to this world, I had no clue beyond old feelings and understandings of how life could be.

Back in the Day - Functioning

Did I ever function well? In a dysfunctional way I did. And where did all this start for me? I have no clue beyond life was always fearful and I was always on my guard as a kid. From then on, these patterns well set in e, its as if I was predetermined to be one of the misfits in life. A rebel always and always as my Dad had been, a loner, a hard worker and endeavourer, and not always clued in to what was good for me or anyone else.

Living without Spiritual - That is Living in the Moment

I was always good at understanding what spiritual was, and had no clue how far away it may have been for me. I can recall few occasions of spiritual peace and happiness in my life. Happiness was in emotional relationships with women in my life, happiness came in celebration of the material gains. And these times were good as far as living can be. Yet there was a misunderstanding in me about love and life. I always feared not being loved and fear of it made me wary as my heart got broken more times than be recalled today. I fell in love, I felt love, I lost love, I felt fear and singularity is part of me still today. Risks a plenty, less risky today and with fewer options to misunderstand and be deluded as before, by me of course.

Innocence

In the truth of now, I have encountered quite a number of occasions where there have been opportunities to be in relationships, and they have passed by with good reason. Not being in command of my understanding of me, I felt unable to make relationships when I needed to find my own with myself. Sounds and feels a selfish thing to write until I realise I need not conform or be in a relationship just because.. I need to know myself, so I may share me authentically, and clearly. And by that I donít mean perfect, just able to make sense of connection and being in partnership for love and companionship. Why else?

I am also aware what made for good connection in early sobriety is not the same as now. That desire to look right which most likely clouded not just me and my outlook, it clouds us all. The desire to be ok, to feel right. All the good things we may wish to emulate.

Truth of Me

I am merely learning more each day about me. I need to find connection to help me understand my context for living. The path of spiritual is and always has been top on my agenda or suppressed because of my lack of understanding and experience.

Fear Less Have more Courage

This is true today, while I have had difficulties understanding the truth of now and others have equal problems, itís a wonder we ever make connections and find love I our lives. And even when we love people they sometimes are better on their path and not on ours. We can admire and love from a distance it seems to me. Or we stalk in our denials and become obsessed with something we donít even understand as our own obsessions drive us insane once again.

God And Love

Truth and love so we come to understand may be simply cherishing and caring and loving in every sense as instinct offers. And the spiritual in all this is understanding in the moment, that anything is possible and we are best served by now and not imagination. And we need also let go the past at the same time not forget it. Or we roll back to old tortures and misguided leaps in the dark.

God and Creation

Evolution does not stop with us. We are merely a minute event in the life of this Universe. The Truth of our god revealed and understood as life is today, is what we live in spiritual harmony with our fellows on this small planet.

God is not destiny, God is not more or less than we encounter each and every day as we open our eyes to this world as it is for us. God remains timeless as is Truth and Love. God is no mighty warrior on side with any potentate or leader in this world, nor is God a whim or fancy to sanction our wildest dreams. Truth and Love are timeless even when this Universe is no more, and we are turned to dust in eons of time.

January 18th 2007

Turmoil of Life - About Last Night

Yes a change of postal codes for me tonight, down to Fulham where my Drinking sort of ended on a regular basis. Tonight was good it was a reminder where drinking took me.

In the olden days when I had the big career, and big appetite for expending my life on the career I loved, my life went to hell. How? Well you know, no matter how big we may seem on the outside, we suck up a lot of pain as we go through life. And the higher we go in the business world the more ruthless it can get. I really wonder if I belonged in the ruthless world where life was cheap as any commodity, and my view of life was completely blackened by situations and people who were as ruthless as life had taught them.

I donít mind saying now that the bullying of me and the natural reaction of me to work through it and be stoic, it near killed me and made me want to be dead.

I was excellent at the job I did, yet undermined by my boss, a nasty man. A man so bereft of humanity, more a robot and a very damaged individual. He certainly damaged me, I hope he feels satisfied he did, for he succeeded and needs to be congratulated for being a superior company asset and truly damaged human being.

Anyway that was then. And actually I have another one right now like this so self obsessed they are a shining example of not me. Fortunately they are not my boss and will not make a dent on my path. And not me, never will I allow that to happen again, ever. I like and love people, I am sensitive to their situations and can help them immeasurably. Yet I pause with care as I have my own house to put back in order. The answer is yes I do help by example and by helping in my old counselling role when time and energy allow. Yet I still feel burnout may come again every time I do this. People donít see it, even when I share it, sometimes we need get back to the simple life and living.

I do know so well what makes people tick underneath the superficial, and its that which people often value. And its sometimes a trust and share, and help situation. Now I know too the potential dangers of too much of this. People donít see me, they see a problem solver, and useful connection. Not so much in my fellowship, but elsewhere where I may be seen and in discussion. Most people let me be me. And at the same time I can be everything I used to be. But not on an ongoing basis, my old life is done for now.

Why ever would I want it back? I have no clue. Helping ad hoc and with due care is all we need do, and have another life, the one we are meant to find through choices.

Lonesome

There are a lot of people so lonely and without support it makes my heart ache. At the same time, the gift of sobriety and a fellowship has given me friendship beyond anything I have ever experienced. People who will go out of their way to help and support.

Stuck

A couple of people more distant from me are truly stuck and face difficult decisions and outlooks, and if I ruled the world every day they would get their hearts desire. And so mine too? What I know is we work life just in the day and make it work. And we build our endeavour and living again.

Emotional Physical & Spiritual

Nowhere in the fellowship is there a promise to be materially better off than when we come into sobriety, in fact more often than not, we have lost everything before we get to here and into the fellowship of AA. So the truth is we find value in our new goals and at the same time want to work to make life work, in the day. Sometimes this means back to wealth and riches. And we also know true wealth is in our journey and not material wealth or ego.

Odd Times

I have no long term plans. Why? Simply because some things are getting better and other things are getting worse. And in between right now, keeping body and soul together is about as much as I can do, on a daily basis.

Imagination

So necessary as well as seeing reality. We need temper imagination with our real day today. And see what is true and what is a wish. Wishing life is not so helpful if we are enduring life right now. We need to change and be ourselves. And do this with due care and attention.

Imagination and Dreams

All to the good if they have foundations and reality in them. No good will come from wishing if there is no path to those dreams.

Basics

It is back to basics and living for me, I feel better when I know my next right step, and doing the next right thing, there is great acceptance of now for me, and where I feel I may have dreams and imaginings I need to connect them to now. Acceptance of the reality is by far the best way to live. And then as we emerge on our path with more certainty, we get to a life beyond our wildest dreams.

Choice

As our very sober sharer said towards the end of the meeting, its getting our choices back and working with what we have and not in a place of dreams. We need keep our feet on the ground have a wealth of imagination and dreams and be sure to do the next right thing. There is no mileage in wishing a life different. There is every reason to make a life different and plan accordingly,

Some choices seem harsh for my friends presently simply because they are too far away and have no connection to now. We do well to heed the examples of life, so gifted with these wisdoms we make for certainty rather than risking our sobriety on pipe dreams and imagination.

Today

Has been really good to let my feet step gently along my path as gently as one can. With love and attention and due care we can tread soft, as was written a long time ago by William Butler Yeats:

"But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."

January 18th 2006

Good News

When we hear goods news from people we love, and maybe have not heard from in an age, it is a breath of joy. We all get disconnected from time to time, and maybe we are just too close for comfort, or our time together has ended. Whatever the reason when we look back in a balanced way, good news is simply just that.

So I guess any type of news we hear directly or indirectly is given to us on the day, it will evoke memories and connections, we may ask ourselves many questions beyond the news. We might be happy with just knowing or wish to know more. On balance sharing news is best kept in the day, understanding its magnitude and value, understanding how completing news is and how difficult not knowing often makes us feel.

So my good news today, of a friend and their new partnership for life is welcomed for the knowing and completion. Joyous and somehow liberating me from wondering, its the best feeling. Love is the mainstay of any life and loving and accepting how life turns out makes good our confidence, and every element we influence.

This is not philosophy, this is experience. Experience and understanding are our ever growing repertoire of love.

January 18th 2005

Humility

Your happy and peaceful nature unlocks the door to success, and attracts the blessings and respect of all souls.

The word humility has so many interpretations. I have my own like you. Yet we may agree on some fundamentals. Humility is a way of living, we can be humble in our expression and we can be humble in our outlook. Humility is having the knowledge and experience of life, to take life on life's terms. To accept the day as it presents and to make of the day what we can.

Humility and power, oft at odds and screaming conflict. Humility is when the conflict abates and we manage ourselves through the day as it presents, not at odds, right sized and connected....

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January 19 2008 DonInLondon - ĎDay In the Lifeí Friday Night Promises

Promises - Promises

We can all remember promises in the past and some promises may have always been there, we accepted and made promises to and had promises from others. In the analysis of my drinking and decline into alcoholism I fear my perception of promises made and some kept was pretty out of line with truth. A deluded person I may have been. And certainly I was full of sadness for promises lost to time.

Spiritual

As my understanding of the spiritual life is very much about experiencing the truth of now, I realise my deluded outlook in the past helped me set myself up for disappointments. Much of the fault was with me. Much of the fault was me misunderstanding the human condition, or it was me misunderstanding the life I had and the obvious truth that all humans are making progress and are far from perfect.

Spiritual learning is knowing and understanding the truth of now, not being deluded and not evoking filters to rid my inner self of any filters. Alcohol for me made much of what happened to me in my adult life pass with suppression of much I might have chosen to do had I been able to accept the truth of the present rather than some ideal of perfection I might aspire to in living.

Friday Night is Promises Night

Yes The AA promises, in the big book of AA

"If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us - sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them."

Alcoholics Anonymous p83-84

The Promises

Today was a good day for me to share. I realise much of what upset and led me into drink was my outlook. I believed and felt I was able to accept the promises made to me by others. And when they let me down I would never take things out on others, I would swallow my hurts with copious amounts of what took the edge off, alcohol.

I also realise the worst part of my downfall was the horrible understanding that when I became a victim of bullying in the mid nineties, I sucked up the hurt and pain until it was unbearable.

It has been a day for recollecting these things and a day for realising that I never realised how damaged I had become by continually coping and not understanding when to give up and move on.

Powerless over: people - places - things.

I never realised that I was and am powerless over people places and things. Especially people, what people do is what I did over the years. To accept harsh treatment, to work myself to near death in the fantasy that this was the way all people lived and worked. I was very naÔve. I was also savvy in many other ways of coping and in the end I was like a man walking the plank, with just one way to go, to drown in psychosis and trauma through overwork in a regime riddled with deceit and low cunning. That gave me the opportunity to experience a nervous collapse which has taken years to overcome.

All of today, like some odd coincidence there has been genral disquiet about bullying and mistaken loyalties. The rush to cope and prove ourselves so often made possible by careers and by fear, is the very thing that helps the sensitive types end up beached and broken.

It is not easy to see these calamities when we are in the thick of these dilemmas. And many of us hope with hard work and effort and proper understanding we will be rewarded for our loyalty.

Ask any policeman in England how they feel today.. They may reflect that their trust has been undermined and they cannot believe the government of the day had no alternative but to make a derisory award below inflation this coming year. Just an example of the bully boy, in this case the Prime Minister Gordon Brown laying down the rules and losing the sentiment of fair play in a wholly irresponsible action on his part. And at the same time bailing out the Northern Rock Bank with Billions of pounds.

What have I learned all over again is the difficult so many face with society, life in general and a misunderstanding about the rules of life.

We need find trust in people understand their fallibility as much as our own. No one need be loyal to disloyal people.

At the same time I am learning is perfectly alright to live love and learn again. This is in my personal relationships and also its in my outlook. I am open and more honest and more willing. As others might deny their part in life, I see my part in living more clearly. We find and share and understand life better when we follow a simple honest programme.

Progress never perfect.

In the past what broke me completely was me becoming like those who we come to despise, the bully in everyone can emerge as we are tutored by life. And that was what broke me. Forgive me please? I doubt that some may ever forgive me for not being what they wanted. I need forgive myself and change my conduct or I am lost in this spiritual path.

The Truth Will Out.. One day at a time one can only hope and make a clearer path for me and every other journeyman, me and you always..

January 19th 2007

Just For Today

In our fellowship we have slogans and sayings which have been around at least as long as our fellowship. And as with all good things like wisdom it does not matter where it comes from, its what we do with it that counts.

I have felt pretty good all day and although there have been high winds, most likely gale force here and there I was able to get out and about. Odd really that even when the weather is as it is, we Alcoholics will brave elements to get to a meeting! Well some of us do.

Today

Has been more than good as some outlooks are really improving even though some mobility seems a little harder. Off how getting my head in order means I can cope with most things these days. And of course as I share openly where my life is, the better chance I have for comment and inclusion of others wisdom too..

Well this is of course hoping there is wisdom about, and what I have found in my fellowship, is wisdom comes from the youngest and oldest and everywhere in between.

Its only good for today

It seems this is becoming more and more obvious, that what we feel is good one day, was good for that one day and now as we move along we feel it changes and modifies as we change too. Nothing stands still, nothing really except the nature of mankind, as we endeavour we have this thirst for living as we may. And it is as nature made us, to make the most and best of what we are and what we can be.

Society and Culture

Oddly enough it seems we are not so good in the bigger picture as we make our power greater, so too are our disasters. The influence of one man or womanís thoughts can form opinion and belief as if their outlook was truth. And quite often the truth which is based on opinion and belief is just good for that time and era.

I hope this is so as there is insanity across this world as greed and depravation make uncomfortable outlooks and living.

There will come a time if we as a civilisation and race of beings can avoid catastrophe when other generations will look back at us as slow and prehistoric. I donít mind this, in some ways I would wish us more developed, but that is merely a wish.

Reality

Yes reality we have to deal with it and be ourselves. And make the most of where we are and ensure we keep our outlook to the good of what we know. Seems so many of us are distorted from our true path we never find our way. At least on a daily basis I am getting a fair go with what I can do. And this is just fine.

As part of reality though the casualties round here seem more than ever, some sort of Winter malaise as more news of expiring fellowship people. We are always one day from a drink either way we look at our lives, we make our programme as good as a day. And we all know that addiction can take us back to madness beyond our wildest nightmares, that is life.

So for Today

Its not just ok, its been better as denials around my worth have slid away. I realise a friend of mine a couple of weeks back hit the nail on the head when he suggested I was not giving myself a fair go. After years of ruin he is absolutely right and I am learning a lot more as I go along.

Overall

On a personal level, a jolt forwards and with happiness inside me, and less concern for those who would see me less than them. I choose right size and equal with each having choices and power to make them, with faith courage and confidence.

I will see it my computer has managed to upload my video to you tube, it may not, as the turmoil outside seems inside my machine today, we shall see.

I also did another video on CBS and the famous speeches from history, it is easy to make comedy, it is harder to be taken seriously. And what sadness there must be in a Nation when all endeavour is levelled so. As with anyone though if we dare show ourselves above the parapet of anonymity we will find ourselves treated ever this way.

When we are not understood, or ideas seem out of synch with life we will always be open to challenge, and this is life. So I guess I may enjoy or not as the case may be, some critique and wisdom coming my way again. I need heed it and find use in it, and where it fits add and combine.

If nothing else this past few years, I have learned humility and good wisdom is available when I have an open mind and open outlook. So just for today, and hopefully many more let it ever be so.

Tomorrow

Is always another day to learn and develop my opinion and beliefs, I hope they are founded on truth as much can be, and with less of my ego in there too.

As to all human states we might encounter, they have purpose not always apparent at the time, and with sharing we get a better chance to get what life is, always just this one day at a time. And we can all change when we see the wisdom, and not the fear or ego of staying the sameÖ

January 19th 2007

Big Brother - We are all Watching You

Seems so, tonight people made a rush to home to see what would happen after a week of headlines about racism. This programme has taken us to depths we never realised we had. A horrible and dreadful place of watching people suffer after they have been primed with alcohol, some of them and then ongoing psychological manipulations by the production company.

Anyone involved in the editorial and managerial side of the Big Brother event must be looking to deny any culpability for the news around the world. How have we sunk to such depths, where we find it entertaining to see people out of their environment, isolated from their family and friends and then baited to behave as badly as they may?

I am shocked by this whole escapade, it has highlighted nothing of the racial tensions in this country, it has aggravated them and made them worse. No one in the UK would deny that racism exists, and its some slim time since the UK was a racist, it was the Imperial nature of our country. It is not long in cultural terms, since those days were over. Attitudes are only changing slowly.

Our Problem

Somehow this Big Brother programme is looking to make the problem the fault of the contestants. If we look at the whole life of the people concerned and their attitudes and behaviour, we can pick all of them to pieces, the same is true of most human beings. What we see as a snap shot, not a whole life, but now it seems a snap shot may follow the people concerned to the end of time.

Sadness

There is sadness tonight as I no doubt will see how the Production Company make it clear it was the people and not them. I find this denial of culpability as shameful as most of the behaviour of big companies and business across the world.

Power

Power rests with the producers and the manufacturers of this current torture called big Brother, who have most likely succeeded in blighting not just one life, but many.

A sad day indeed.

Highlights

If this programme highlights anything, it shows that big business gets away with just about anything and people get rich off the backs of others. A cruel world? Maybe one thing this highlights is the corruption of our society and its values.

Government

Our UK government so obviously flawed by its intemperate behaviour over the last few years, has shown its true bankrupt values, there are none, they are superficial, and the issues of the next years is how we get back to living in a multicultural and diverse society.

UK Government, so inept and powerless and scared of its own behaviour has led the country badly. Big Brother, what a bloody joke, and what a useless shower of politicians we have, mere spectators when they would have us believe they are a power in our society. We live and learn. They are not leaders, they are sheep.

If ever there were a case for the public order act to be evoked it is now and against the Big Brother production team and channel four. They are low in my opinion today. And tomorrow is another, maybe they may redeem themselves? Not if they can get away with it. Hypocrites one and all.

January 19th 2006

Good Days Bad Days

A bit like here is the good news and now for the bad. Well it may seem so most of the time. When we look for the good and bad, and make them so, we find we categorize life in just this way.

Here is the news... could be the answer and then we can work out what how we feel.

Maybe there is a better way to approach our days. In the morning ask ourselves this simple question, "how am I feeling?"

So how "how am I feeling?" is my first question of the day?

Second question "why" and the why may give us clues to our general feeling about yesterday and going to sleep, what was in our mind, which helped to get to sleep or kept us awake!

Third question, "what can I do about it?"

May make us see the difference we can make to the day. There are things we can change and things we cannot.

So when we know there are some things we might change to make our feelings better, we can make a plan. Where there are things we cannot change we can accept our powerlessness to change them.

I can change my plans today, I have made too many commitments. Make more room to do less. Or I have no plans today, what can I do rather than maybe lose a day where I could get on with good things. Or I have no fun things to do, make sure I contact a friend, or go for a walk or go to the movies. These things may make me feel better overall. Even when we have hard things to get done and cannot change our plans, we can accept the difficulty and do it, and then make sure I do something for myself somewhere and somehow this day or tomorrow!!

So asking myself the simple question each day every day, how am I feeling? And asking why, then making a plan to change what I can to make the day work for me, or accepting it might be a bad day for me, then I know where I am.

Knowing where I am and my overall feelings help me know what I can and cannot do. It helps me overcome bad days and make better ones as I shape my activities to things, which give me rewarding feelings.

We can feel bad about a hard day, and accept is tough, we can feel better once its done and we have time to relax after. And we can stop the rot, where we get resentful about bad choices and bad outcomes.

A routine for life, check yourself out. How I feel, why and what can be done and equally what we cannot do. We learn then and make our wisdom stronger about knowing the difference!

I felt good this morning when I woke up, why? Because I planned to write a few words on my web sites and planned to see friends and complete some home tasks and go to my fellowship meeting. I could not do all these things in the end, I did my household chores and saw a friend, and my fellowship meeting is still a maybe. And I can be flexible. So there we go a simple routine, which sorts, out much of our life and feelings.

Knowing we are happy and why, knowing our sadness and why, knowing why we might be angry and why, it helps make things the right size on the day, and not a big mass of stuff we lump into being happy or sad. Now there is some simple wisdom!

January 19th 2005

Optimism

Optimism converts problems into opportunities Without reservation? We can mistake optimism for denial. Denial that sentient quality that keeps us alive when no other element of life will. Denial is the instrument of self will run riot... a harsh place to live.

Without denial many would feel all elements of their life perish, optimism and denial, cloaks relished for their invisibility, I see them, well worn and
cadaverous, pallid and etched... beware mirrors of truth...

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January 20 2008 DonInLondon - ĎDay In the Lifeí Life Drama

Drama - Acceptance is a Key

Dramaís in my own small world. I misplaced my house keys this morning. I had them and then gone. Backtracking to everywhere a person may go in a morning makes me realise just how difficult such a small misfortune can make.

After backtracking I ended up finding the keys in a locked area where I have a place to store the bicycle. In between a resort to taxis to get about as my walking is pretty difficult. Various shops searched, various locations yielding nothing and a bike locked up on railings now retrieved.

Antidote

And the antidote was a fellowship meeting at lunch where I sat contemplating what to do, getting spare keys, new ones cut, a change of locks and how to get the fire brigade to come and undo my bike from the railings on the forecourt. And the meeting worked to an extent. As I still had to think where I might have left the keys. All ended well, except for the expense of getting about, and the concern about where these darn keys had got to.

More Important

My sister is away for a day or two and I am helping by cat sitting and also keeping my mother company too. And of course I have people I mentor from time to time and they have been in touch. And I am seeing my sponsor tomorrow which will be a highlight this weekend. Meetings as usual to keep my head straight and keep on track with my programme.

Programmes for Living

What on earth would we have if we did not have a programme for living? Me and my fellowship, now where would I be without the rooms and people in recovery from addiction? A lot worse off and maybe expired by now.

Fellowship

Mention to another human who is unaware of addiction the amount of time we need invest in healthy programmes to live and we realise just how difficult it is to comprehend as a normal person what addicts and alcoholics do to keep well.

The World

A dingy sort of Saturday with weather we might find hard to deal with as the seasonal sad keeps us low in our moods.

Compared to last evening and time with some friends and a coffee, we chatted and had amiable conversation, I got home and went for an early night, and then sleep evaded me.

Edge

There is an edge to where sad moments can tip over into the abyss of depression. Not so bad as I recall this time last year. What is really apparent is the unrelated nature of events over what is happening inside my head. In many respects things have been improving for months yet the depression is there and the awful truth that I am powerless over clinical depression just hovers over me. Meetings help me a lot.

People

There is a truth about depression most would want to deny. That we can snap ourselves out of it. I am really not sure if those who offer therapy, for example cognitive behavioural therapy really do accept there is often nothing a person can do to make it go away. I am realising over and over that it is not wilfulness on my part to be in a depression or lack of tenacity to pull myself together. Depression rolls in and sometimes it is there stark almost from one moment to the next. The tears on the brink of falling as life just loses impetus and has little meaning, no matter how good things have been for a while.

Understanding

Indeed the acceptance I need develop around this moments is that from the onset to conclusion, it seems there is no rhyme or reason to it. It is without doubt a chemical change in me and my physiology, as the emotional tools are well understood and the practice a way of life.

Anger Frustration

Part of the depressive process? Seems these two can just plain be missed as the plunge into the deep is just with me. A catalyst need be found? I fear there is none today. Or the last few days as these moments of despair seem to be gathering.

Loss and Love

Even though loss and love, and I can relate to all the in-betweens are not great highs and lows in my life, there has been much talk just recently about where not just me, but others I know are. I am still affected by the loss of a friend, my sisters partner Christopher, part of life for twenty years and now dead. This haunts me as much as it would affect anyone. Grief is a slow process. And maybe this has something to do with matters presently. I cannot find its cause and the effect, the depression that is. And why it comes so quick then disappears and then rattles my serenity all over again.

Chatting with a friend tonight about being alone, I donít feel so lonely these days as before and yet recognise exactly what they shared with me tonight.

Partnerships

Are we humans meant to be partnered and happy, or can we be on our own, not so much lonesome, and still feel the pull of nature? I am certain I donít know the answers which may help or hinder. Or am I just learning life all over again? I feel like itís a lot like this in truth. Simply learning.

Finally After Another AA Meeting
Yes another meeting at Eaton square tonight, and my head is clearer, my feelings feel more normal and just as I may, I am ok at the end of this day.

Sitting and listening to others and their stories of experience strength hope and sadness as I did and remaining silent and listening made me feel ok. It is as it may be. The touch of depression just on that harsh edge, it feels like its abated for now.

So many elements can impact on my chemistry. As it does for any human, I have some extras, being type one diabetic as well its easy for my mood to go into free fall and then bounce back alarmingly. A blood sugar thing? Partly and yet I know the differences as mood and experience teach me the likely causes. I am learning every day and its quite difficult to gauge.

Easy Does It

I need to take it easy, my batteries are low. Due care and attention.

And if you are reading this as I write today, it may be I am already on an upward trajectory to somewhere near my normal, one can hope..

January 20th 2007

Change - "if it ainít broke donít fix it."

There are phrases like "if it ainít broke donít fix it." And I guess that sometimes this is exactly the right thing to do. Today though it feels right to make a change in when and how I make my video clips and when I write my diary. For a while I have tried to get the diary done ahead of time and make sure its posted on the website early as possible. Being hot off the press can be a great advantage and having news on tap and up to date too.

Diary - My Blog

Well from now I intend to write the blog and diary in the mornings. Late nights trying to be coherent and not too messy in my thoughts may have been working. On the other hand it pushes my day to extend from early mornings to late evenings and I need to change this. Simply not enough relaxation for me, being wide awake and diligent at both ends of the day is not helping me and my living. So a change from now.

Saturdays are good for me, an early meeting at the Hospital, Chelsea and Westminster, an AA meeting and good contact with my higher power, the fellowship. I have so many powers greater than me these days, I recognise my power is about choices and what next, and most often with consultation and wisdom sought.

Today

So a video done this morning to accompany this written blog. And from now the video clip and the written blog will be done in the morning maybe wish a fresher outlook and more settled mind. The good news? Well there is always some good news.

Right Size

Already the meeting this morning has helped me realise my true size and also made me aware of what I can do and cannot do. How good is that?

Wisdom

Simple I can concentrate of changing things I can and leaving some things alone which are beyond me. And this helps me with the rest of my day! So for now I am signing off and will share tomorrow what happens today. It seems to me there is no merit in pushing myself to uncomfortable efforts which deplete and make difficult much of what I need do.

Three Conditions

Type 1 diabetes and all that entails including my problems walking anywhere these days. Clinical Depression, managed with a lot of help and actually is just about ok at the moment. Recovery, a daily encounter with myself and my ongoing work to make life possible at all.

Overall

This morning another lesson in my powerlessness, and another lesson about doing the next right thing. As outlined in my blog today. So until tomorrow, will I be able to leave things? Or will I need to write again? I donít know until tonight. Either way it will be published in the morning. We all need our time out and mine is overdueÖ

January 20th 2006

Full of Conundrums Today

I don't have clear thoughts and feelings today. And I am concerned to offer the best support I can to a friend. It becomes increasingly difficult to support, as requested, but not accepted.

My way forward is to help raise the questions and listen to their decisions with enough feeling and thinking to move on or stay still.

Life is the toughest game, better when we don't pretend, unbearable if we don't?

January 20th 2005

Forgiveness and Tolerance

Forgiveness and tolerance are the hands of God in action. We need to join our hands with God and learn and do the same. In my world I learn God is Truth and spiritual is seeing the truth in the moment of now..

The ever present, present moment of now

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January 21 2008 DonInLondon - ĎDay In the Lifeí Benign Anarchy

Freedom In AA

Many people who try the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous will encounter all types of suggestions to keep sober. Always the suggestions are simple, there are twelve simple and yet ever changing steps of living to good conscience. And twelve traditions which in essence are timeless principles for the fellowship to survive what we alcoholics may try do in our anarchic way day by day.

Benign Anarchy? Can there be such a thing?

People Are People

Wherever we are in our daily living we will meet all types of people with all types of backgrounds. AA, Alcoholics Anonymous is no different. Or maybe it is. With large numbers living sober a day at a time and with a disease which can be a killer, its not surprising that everyone is in a constant process of change. Some becoming more sober and some becoming more insane as time offers little respite from a plague of other torments we all may have to deal with on a daily basis.

Suggestions and forgiveness count for a lot as shattered lives are slowly evolving into? Well the truth is we donít really know. Many come to AA and do our level best to make life work. Some also come to make life work and still they can be nasty with it. Or just not our cup of tea. Like life imitating life, AA is no different from any other reality, there are good people and some bad people.

We learn the difference - Good & Bad

And sometimes we are the bad people through and through because of a disease which not only manifests in alcohol, it manifests in general demeanour and general outlook to the bad of living.

We may take a person on face value, we need however remind ourselves that not all people are living to the good of suggestions and principles in AA. Common sense as it is restored makes us realise that in most cases people do work to the good of good conscience and some never will.

We simply learn as we go how to understand this fellowship and recognise the good, the bad and the ugly. Just like life in general.

Temperament

As time passes we recognise those we like, those we trust, those who give us misgivings and those who will never redeem themselves or be liked by us. Its life on lifeís terms.

Today has been good, interesting and quite a revelation in some ways. Indeed, the last few days has helped me resolve a few issues I hope. And also my integrity has been questioned too. And that is ok by me. And quite right.

Powerless we are over people places and things. And its easy as this world is crowded with opinion that old fears manifest in some of us and old attitudes, from our family backgrounds still haunt and persist.

A Question to Self - My Heritage

How often do I behave like my father, my mother? How often do I look and sound just like them when I hear my voice and the words I share.

How much of me lives and mimics old ideas, beliefs opinions, anger, resentments of the years. How am I judging the world? Am I judging with fairness of am I judging as the world has treated me and made my life the way it is today. Not just questions for me. I reckon we all need take a closer look at how we behave with each other, the boundaries we have and the way we share and conduct ourselves. I need step ten myself everyday, or I miss the opportunity to find me and my identity.

Step Ten Inventory

Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

For Me [ from the big book bunch]

Steps one through nine have sensitized us to see the truth about our own behaviour and the manner in which the rest of the world, especially people, respond to our actions.

Having developed this awareness, we come to see, during each moment of each day, what is really going on. In other words, we are living in the truth of the moment. We have, in addition to a new awareness, also developed some measure of ability to actually control our actions.

No longer are we simply sleep-walking under the direction of old habitsóhabits, the way we think and act when we are not thinking about what we are doing, and our elaborate delusions.

The process of exchanging good habits for destructive old habits is, unfortunately, laborious, and we don't always respond in accordance with the principles of A.A.. (In fact we never do get perfectóat least not in this lifetime.) But here are some of the ways in which the spot-check inventory works:

Just as we begin to render the digit of disgrace to a "lousy" driver while driving, we become aware of what we are doing. We also recognize that lousy drivers don't deserve our preoccupation, they will not be improved by deprecation, and we have better ways to behave in the presence of the unwashed. We discover more and more that we do not render the sign at all, and when we do slip, we don't respond to his finger with a shaking fist and a red face. We either break off the escalating exchange or we force out a smileóeven if it is not a sincere smile. Responding with grace, incidentally, is one of the most perfect ways of "winning" an argument.

The daily review. Most of us try to set aside a time every day for meditation. One constructive activity just prior to meditation is the daily inventory.

...we believe we can make some definite and valuable suggestions. 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? But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflections, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review we ask God's forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken. [Big Book, page 86, line 3]

There is no need to embellish upon this direction. One point of interest, however, is that the topic in our mind when we drift off to sleep tends to remain in the unconscious mind during the night. Here are some things to avoid thinking about prior to sleeping: having a big fight with a co-worker, taking revenge upon the ex-partner, having wild sex, being persecuted or victimized, performing destructive or unlawful acts, and the like. These ideas will keep us fighting, exercising or suffering all night. When we wake up we will be demoralized, bereft of the sunlight of the spirit.

So Tonight I have my head and hands rather full, until tomorrowÖ

January 21st 2007

Problems and Solutions

Seems like this is part of recovery. The basic building blocks. When we get into the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous we start at a desperate place most often and we are a walking disaster area. Not surprising you might think and feel. For indeed how many rock bottoms have we really had along the road of ruin?

Lives thick with problems, created by our own chaos, some of us get to AA by our own determination, some of us with a hefty shove from desperate families, not sure what to do. Yet whichever route if we can just stay long enough to let something stick. We are nearer to the solution as we realise our true situation.

Is it any wonder as life has by this time fallen into disrepair and most likely near to disrepute?

So often as we are taught to be brave, we hide our true and appalling dilemma, to confess and adjust, or deny and carryon hoping that our self will may come to our rescue.

As we are reminded nearly every time we go to AA, the disease is one of denial, because we are realising we must give up that which helped us most likely forever, and now has become our downfall and near to deathly enemy.

I am so glad, I was both pushed and encouraged, threatened and eventually of my own volition to get to Alcoholics Anonymous. I know my denial was so strong it made me a complete liability, and indeed my old friend booze had got me in the end and was without doubt killing me.

Now

Now I know and have been a regular fellow of AA a few years, too few in my opinion, yet I am in it now! And thanks to everyone who got me in. And thanks to having some sense shared, some wisdom offered and a daily routine which enables me to be sober just for today.

Disease

Alcoholism is a disease, of the mind and body. The adapted mind and body can turn and recommence drinking with the blink of an eye and without even missing a heartbeat we are plunged into the abyss again. How can we ever stop this return to certain defeat?

Simple, keeping close to those we know have good recovery. Sharing our daily situation in meetings or with a friend or a sponsor, and writing our understanding of where we are now. We have daily routines to keep safe and be vigilant. Isolation is our danger, self will our worst enemy and forgetting for a moment that a drink will surely lead back to insanity.

Dreams

A dream so vivid last night made wake with a start. A drinking dream where out of nowhere I am chugging back a slug of hard spirit. I can even taste it now, after hours of being awake as if it were true. itís a good sign, the nightmare, and a need to get to a meeting, so I will soon..

Just for Today

I will continue my vigilance and be careful and find what is on my mind which offers a regular nightmare of drink and being possessed by insane thoughts of oblivionÖ

Not easy to be an alcoholic? Easier than dying with the stench of obsession trailing me to the grave. Just for todayÖ

January 21st 2006

Time Out For Maintenance

We might do some personal maintenance sometime. Or we might be so busy doing, we don't do much else but live to the beat of the day. When we do this, we are often stuck, mad busy and mad at ourselves for no time.
We need time to let ourselves into our lives and let go parts of our activity which yields nothing for us or anyone! Try doing that alone and surely we will go mad. Find yourself a mentor out there and have an argument, we know you know.

January 21st 2005

Beware mirrors of truth...

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January 22 2008 DonInLondon - ĎDay In the Lifeí Step Ten

Tolerance And Love - Moving Along With Care

Seems like Step Ten of the AA programme seems to be haunting me again. I did a chair on step ten last week, and now its step ten at my local step meetings. And of course Step Ten is a daily process:

"Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it."

And today has been a day of healing some connections and realising some other connections are best laid to rest for now. Tolerance and love go a long way to understanding how we need be with our fellows in AA and as importantly the rest of the world.

Step Ten is not about us being a walk over. Its about realising how the world is and our part in it.

Step ten teaches us over and over how to be mindful of our own behaviour regardless of the behaviour of others and really not to exercise judgment over others, merely judge our own behaviour and responses to life and situations.

I just spent a few minutes on the phone with a good friend, and he and I have had a couple of hiccoughs in our understandings and sharing with each other and others too.

Gossip in a fellowship like ours is a truly difficult state of affairs. Even if we are on side with people who we get concerned about, gossip damages what goes on.

Gossip

A life blood of human doings is really dangerous. So many people can be hurt. We make some people too important in our lives, and we share wonderful views about them, and at the same time they may not want any recognition for what they do. Humility is a strange emotion, to be content and peaceful in humility can be undermined by others giving us too much credit, or not enough credit. And our thinking and feelings get distortions when we realise we are just being talked about in a general or worse a specific way about a particular event or practice.

Anonymity

Gossip breaks anonymity always as we share our views and recollections of people, and somewhere in all this we make simple progress to understand our part in matters. We have a yellow card system in AA. And this is always about what we see, what we hear and who we see in meetings need be anonymous so we maintain a sanctuary to find our truth. Anonymity is often stated as the spiritual foundation of the fellowship, for me it is much more straightforward, Truth is the spiritual foundation of living.

Truth and Spiritual

Always and more clearly these days I see that truth, absolute truth is what we may aspire to have in our lives. At the same time we all know we deal with truth as we deal with other principles of living, we are making progress and not perfect.

I know I often quote Ghandi and his suggestion that "God Is Truth" As to what God or our understanding of God may be, beyond is a personal journey and we need never tread on the toes of others faith, and they need not tread on ours either. We start to deviate from truth when people tell us what to believe and what to do.

Organised Religions

Organised religions tend to drive truth away and institutionalise, faith and belief in one way of acknowledging God and what or who is God we understand, and a way of living. Truth is always being informed and delivered as life, civilisation and humans develop inevitably through time.

As I have my view so too every human has a right to develop their understanding of God as we all learn the truth of life.

Back to Step Ten

In a good way, me and my friend, we have been engaged in working out where we are with our friendship. We both learned much about truth, sharing and where gossip can undo our feelings. We both got burned and the denial of wrong, the denial in me of being hurt by what felt like a misrepresentation of me, and other matters did spill out of control for us both.

Where we are now? In much better shape and hopefully feeling more right sized and equal. We both have fragility and we both do our best with what we can achieve daily. Slow progress we humans make. And in fellowship we are often prepared to work things out together.

Other relationships

As I heard in a general way these last few days, people forget simple courtesy, simple rules and boundaries and overstep often and behave as if they have rights to lay down their boundaries on others. Caretaking is not helpful to those learning freedom of choice in a world which still judges us by our actions and not our intentions.

How we behave especially in fellowship will attract scrutiny. Often the judgments levelled are timely and most likely right. At the same time we need to learn our path and make our mistakes and then live the truth we learn.

Judging Others Generally

This is an unhappy occupation, and ties our time up meddling in others business. We do it from love, we do it because we donít like what is happening, we do it because we will judge ourselves more informed. Than those we observe and criticise. And we often learned to judge others from our upbringing.

Soap Opera

We live sometimes in our own soap opera, and as with the characters we find in soap operas often we find the script is already written simply because the script is well worn and humans are not that unique. We can however develop better choices in our learning when we actually learn and then as we might do with Step Ten, understand our behaviour and our consequences.

When Others Warn and Judge With Concern

We need heed the words and advice of others. And also know that what we hear is based on anotherís experience.

Vulnerabilities

Everyone in this world is vulnerable and always we have our own gullible outlooks as much as we find our wisdoms.

Step Ten

When we review our day, we can consider our prime concerns to the good, and the prime concerns we have which make us feel uncomfortable. Our honesty and truth needs to be as good as we can or we feel justified in our daily judgments of others. Often and without doubt we need look to judge ourselves, utilise our mentor and utilise our common sense. And always check why we feel these things so deeply.

Feelings never lie, we all do to ourselves when we donít get our way. And I am not different, we make progress and are never perfect.

January 22nd 2007

Stepping Out For an Early Meeting

Its my way, Sundayís, get to the early meeting of AA at Flood Street, and listen and learn. Back to basics indeed.

Flood Street is one of those fairly big meetings where we go to "Find the Solution", or as it is called, "Living in the Solution." Now this fits nicely with my thinking and feeling from last night and yesterday.

The real solution to living is getting the balance right as we all know. Yet and itís a big yet, we all get stuck in conundrums and can find ourselves completely stuck in negative thinking and feeling and also wondering and letting everything snowball. So it comes to us so often we need to share it and nip these attitudes in the bud, not easy after 30 years in my case!

Mind I was pretty good at most things before my nervous breakthrough. I say breakthrough as most in our fellowship have had one, a breakdown actually. So in our positive moments we call it a breakthrough. We can be positive.

So Much Talk

We do like to talk and make our way to wisdom, its probably the best talking shop in town, nothing off limits as we alcoholics let anyone speak if they get their hand up and get picked in this meeting. I know this a sore point with some as some never seem to be picked. My solution to that is, if I canít speak at this meeting, no worries I shall share my situation elsewhere at another more easy meeting without 60 odd people to choose from.

Anyway Steps 5, 6 & 7

Yes step five, the one where we share the exact nature of our wrongs, a big step to share our crap with another human. Actually we can step five daily and share with our sponsor, or whoever it happens to be.

Step Six

Asking for the removal of defects, I just realised I got the order for 6 and seven muddled on my video diary, please forgive this repentant recalcitrant! Progress not perfection as we say in AA. Any the defects we have are most likely behaviour too much one way, like negativity and behaviour in line with feelings and thoughts along the same lines.

Step 7

All about our shortcomings in behaviour and attitudes, indicates in this context, not enough balance towards the positive.

So with a fairly flexible and liberal interpretation of 5,6 & 7, we can make use of them daily, to chew on our negatives spits them out and make room for some positivesÖ

So as I got very "steppy" this morning I got back to thinking about my olden days of SWOT, you know a bit of project management jargon.

SWOT - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

So what I realised in my own little brain was I can use SWOT and the steps to crack on and get to a balance of taking care of the maybeís and intentions and moving into the balance of behaving to meet the needs of my situations and life events.

So easy on paper it fair makes me smile like a Cheshire Cat. And the other part of me, the negative genius residing inside knows where things can go pear shaped and to the detriment of my living in the day.

All this with Step 11

And with a little prayer and meditation, often called thinking and feeling time and looking at the big picture, it really does help me utilise the steps and common ways of getting on with day, which anyone can do.

Now this feels a bit nice this morning so although I may have got my steps muddled in order, I know I am on the right positive and negative track of my Day in the Life existenceÖ

Sometimes it feels so right when I can see the wood for the tress, I just hope I donít burst the bubble of this who hand everything over to God, and then find they wake up some mornings with a face like a torn clog, as they realise handing things over to a higher power, well you cannot blame God, or can you? I donít, I smile and thank Providence and Nature!

If you are not a fan of AA and not familiar with the Steps of AA, just consider the SWOT bit and donít heed all the other stuff.

In the end of this or as some million folk often, "at the end of the day" if we get a balance in our thinking and feeling around our living, we work our steps to recovery a day at a time and just in the dayÖ And put a smile on our own face and most likely others we connect with in that day.

January 22nd 2006

Adopting Others Suggestions

The basis of success is to use your time, breath and thoughts in a worthwhile way. A thought for today, not my own, borrowed from another place. Its a good one to develop, this notion of bringing mind, body and breath to this moment. To pay attention and not daydream, to be hearty, ok in our physical selves and to be breathing normally, not out of breath. Perfectly attentive to this moment. The present, focus on now, comfortable and breathing without effort. Quite a challenge when we have things on our minds, some ailment that nags and fighting for breath as if running or hesitating over something.

Most of the time this mind body and breath works just fine, when we are little stressed and enjoying our day, we give it no second thought. That is normal. So when we are under some undue pressure, we can remind ourselves to breathe, unclutter our thoughts and get physically comfortable with our present surroundings. Practice gives us conscious awareness how we are doing!

The tests of life are not to break you but to make you. And some say what does not break us makes us. These are altruistic notions of the smug and tough skinned amongst us, who are able to deny truth so long it makes no dent. Maybe our sensitivity is better for us, knowing what makes us tick happily, and knowing how to deal with tragedy. We need know what breaks us, and what helps us get back on the mend. We need take account our coping strategies around accepting truth. For truly, acceptance is the key.

January 23rd 2005

Sometimes When We Have No Idea

We get strange days when we have no idea what is going on in this world. Our system is overloaded with to many pieces of fascinating information. And we have no time for sorting out our own day to day thoughts, because our heads are so crowded with information.

These really are days to let go of those things which we have no control over. The world is full of woes, the world is full of pleasures and both are going on at the same time. We need to bring close our own world events and throw out the hapless rest, for we will drown in them. We may be aware of them, and give our best shot if we can through many means. And still we must be still enough inside to collect our thoughts on today.

A day is 24 hours. Some we must give to others and their endeavours, sharing and being caring to our community. Some we must give to daily chores around us. Some time we give to ourselves for sorting and sifting and placing a modest amount of order to the day. An activity for community, an activity for others, an activity for ourselves. All three added on a daily basis, makes for small movements in our lives. And through a lifetime a recognition of many outcomes lived, and outcomes that there may be still.

This puts in perspective, our predisposition to observe and be critical. To cast doubt on difference and measure others defects. No man was ever made more perfect by our critical eye, or our critical word. Society, community and individual growth is reliant on contact every day, graduating our movement and understanding in an ever changing reality.

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January 23 2008 DonInLondon - ĎDay In the Lifeí Emotional Sobriety

Emotional Spiritual Physical Sobriety

We need to learn all over again our way of life if we have been stuck in addictions for a lot of our adult lives. Either addicted to behaviour or addicted to substance, we need break unhelpful and insane patterns of living, or we die far short of our natural time.

Kensington Shy Sharers

A great meeting tonight and although I can only share in a general way about that meeting I can share about my life and my living.

AA Yellow Card

What we see, who we see and what is discussed and shared in AA meetings need be anonymous. Gossip can kill a person.

[Amy Winehouse

The Sun website features video footage of the troubled singer in the midst of a drugs binge which, according to the tabloid, also involved ecstasy and cocaine. In the video, Amy tells a friend she has taken "six valium" before lighting up the pipe in front of her own wedding photo.]

As the newspapers chase headline stories of people and their drug addictions, nothing is sacred and the impact on the singer can only get worse. So many who burn bright in the spotlight have their demons to overcome as great highs can lead to horrible lows in mood and behaviour.

In AA we know how difficult it is to keep a sober head without scrutiny let alone the pressure of open and out there in the world. Gossip and undermining behaviour will keep a person at greater risk and in a place of desperate feelings, when what they need is some sanctuary to resolve their troubles. Not easy as the world adores you for one element of life and we cannot cope with what happens as a result.

Tonight

For me the news on the media is sad. The meeting I went to at shy sharers is a place where we have sanctuary to find our path back to sobriety and then how to maintain it one day at a time. Anonymity offers a person a way to find the truth of how to live a sober life whatever that sober life may offer.

The good of Anonymity for most is very positive. I choose to share my story of recovery because I am not that important, I am merely one human making a recovery from addiction a day at a time. My purpose is really to share the truth and the possibilities of recovery.

AA meetings provide a safer environment for people. Ordinary we all are when we are stripped of our infamy or our notoriety or whatever it is in the human psyche which wants to look down on, or record the worst times we humans may have.

In my world, we can admire anyone for their fortitude, their talent and be sad when some of us get ensnared and trapped by excesses we never realised would cause us to form habits and addictions we had no control over.

Powerlessness

Powerless over alcohol I am. I also realise I am powerless over people places and things.

I am wondering tonight about indiscretions yet again. And the trouble with denials and fears others have makes me feel sad. I am far from perfect as a specimen of human kind. So I need continue to forgive some for their unfortunate behaviour.

Outcomes

We learn who we can trust, we learn who we may share with, and we learn more often than not, whatever is said about us behind our backs is truly none of our business. We need develop acceptance of our humanness and that of others we encounter. I need do this over and over, as often what I may say is utilised by some and passed off as their wisdom or what is reported is utilised to undermine others confidence in me. Paranoia? Maybe, and we can all be misquoted and misunderstood. Wilful babblers are quite common in all walks of life. AA is no different. And I have been a blabbermouth in the past as one person suggested, although their ruminations caused the damage, I was the source and that took a while to accept. We all learn or we continue our blabber and then lose credibility. This happens often and then we get the message or wonder why we feel even more lonely.

When a person shares and praises and somehow puts us on some level we feel is inappropriate we can encourage them to stop doing it. When a person persists for whatever reason and still cannot contain themselves it just makes for disharmony and more denials of behaviour. And of course makes me mistrust them. Silence and a continual denial of behaviour just leaves us in a place of acceptance ultimately. We just stop trusting them let go, and move on. Or we get as stuck as they are in harder recovery where we keep doing the same thing over and over.

Insanity

Is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I need stop this or I will be driven insane. And I have a purpose beyond gossip.

Next steps for now?

Be forgiving and understanding and realise we can all make mistakes. Or we can be undone by the barbs of unhelpful connections and undermining behaviour of others.

Truth

When people admit their truth we can forgive and make better connections. When people remain in denial, its better to understand the denial need remain or their integrity is smashed in their own world. As the rest of the world is judging by actions, they remain trapped in beliefs about their intentions.

Itís the difference between living in problems and living in solutions.

January 23rd 2007

Home Group - Step Meeting

My home group in alcoholics anonymous is the Boltonís, where I also make the tea with my co-tea person. Itís also a step meeting. The steps of Alcoholics anonymous are really all action steps to modern living.

Odd the meeting last night was all about step six. As a matter of fact it was part of my journal yesterday. When I was sharing about the steps five, six and seven.

Somehow there always seems to be synchronicity in the life of DonInLondon, thatís me! And the studies for my action programme are really essential to get a life back, when I had lost my life completely to booze and failing health.

Step six is a simple yet very complicated action step and depending on beliefs and our relative understanding of human nature, we can really get progress with step six and also step seven, or we can languish for a long while and wonder why life stays the same.

All the steps are keys to better living and better attitudes and behaviour.

For a believer in good conscience steps six and seven donít hold any fear for me, in fact they hold promise.

Step six: "Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."

As far as God is concerned, or in my view Nature and Providence, the defects of character we may have fall into three main areas, first is fear, second is bravery or bravado and third is ego, which actually drives both fear and bravery.

Without God available to remove my defects, I do rely on Providence and knowing what the steps are about, and the good conscience we all have available to us. It feels a bit much to ask for my defects to be removed. I feel I have to learn how to behave well, through having the right attitude and understanding how I can behave.

For step six work, I feel also, we need take account of step seven: "Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings."

Now shortcomings are things we donít necessarily have enough experience of and this is where the step programme really needs action with step six

So 6. Removing defects and 7. Building new attitudes and behaviour to get over our shortcomings.

These donít feel like odd concepts to me, because I do believe in a higher power, yet its inside us and its our conscience.

So when we see defects like fear means we have to be brave and fear and bravery come from our ego, a part of us which is truly able to grow so big it explains much of the conflict mankind find themselves living.

Fear, Bravery and Ego on the one hand and Faith, Courage and Esteem on the other.

When the balance of our defects is great for whatever reason, you might feel better expanding and calling them the seven deadly sins if you like, then our Faith courage and Esteem are in short supply. So the balance of steps six and seven really are about knowing the seven deadly sins and the seven virtues.

As in all things to do with belief, we can pray for a balance where we move to faith courage and esteem and lose our fear, bravery and Ego.

Although my common sense tells me we need all these elements simply to survive life as it is, real life on lifeís terms.

So we cannot find a perfect state because it cannot exist. We are human after all, so we need to understand where we are in all this.

Steps six and seven help us see what we are and where we want to be, in our attitudes and behaviour.

So what is the big deal? Simply this. As we driven to addiction, we get fear, bravery and ego gone mad. We lose most our faith courage and esteem. So as we go through the steps we are just learning to get the balance back into living. To be equal and able, to be right sized and not wrong sized!

God and good Conscience

Now if you feel better knowing God is helping you to get balance back, all to the good.

If you feel the gentle hand of fellowship helps you find your good conscience then this is all to the good.

What is the difference? Well there is no difference to the outcome if we get our balance right in our defect reduction and an increase where we have shortcomings. How we are with God is our own business and certainly is not mine, unless of course you wish to impose him on me, and I guess you wonít because we are all equal? Worth thinking through..

Our Meeting

All the meeting regardless of belief in God or Good Conscience just revealed the need to get life back in balance.

Donít take a drink and go to meetings

Our speaker summed it up, we go to meetings and we donít drink. We share experience strength and hope in our meetings and learn about doing the next right thing soberly.

So for me an excellent meeting, where I made tea, got some wisdom, saw how I live with step six, my defects, and step seven, building my courage faith and confidence.

As to the balance we get in steps six and seven, itís a lifetime journey which is why our steps apply every day. So if you like there is no end to stepping along. We just find out how to make life work a day at a time.

Sometimes our defects will manifest because we get bad experiences, and sometimes our shortcomings get less as we learn to live peaceful times. We will endeavour always. Yet we will find use for defects as much as we find life provides the opportunity, it is how we develop our attitudes and behaviour and learn to respond more than react with haste and often catastrophic consequences.

Fellowship

Is so integral to our learning because in AA we have every experience of the modern world in our fellows. And we get experience strength and hope and ways to live more included and less isolated lives.

Till laterÖ

January 23rd 2006

Truth & Honesty~

We are all partial to knowing the truth, its a need, a desire and a want. Or do we? We know we need feedback on ourselves and we need to be validated by others when we live in a community. Or what point would there be to living?

Maybe, maybe not, the truth hurts and yet the truth sets us free. We are full of denial and many elements where filters to the truth help us carry on when life is difficult and filters to get to the truth, that is the lies we are told by others.

The fundamental truth is bent this way and that, because sometimes the truth is just unpalatable. The truth invalidates us, because we don't conform and comport to our community. We actually encourage denial and falsehood to fit in and get what we want.

We might lie about ourselves in many ways when we are describing and being with others. We are afraid the real us will be unacceptable. And its always a trade between being loved for who and what we are, and not loved because of who and what we are.

We let people lie, sometimes convincingly because we need their acceptance in some way. We let people lie because its easier to let it go than confront. We do bullshit each other.

When asked how am I feeling, I might say ok... and yet inside I may have so many internal conflicts I can barely be in the company of others. Why might I do this? Because I am vulnerable of course and don't want to confide and share my true feelings. They hurt so much I would break down if I tried to share the truth.

And as we go through life we are always brokering and bargaining our truth, the acceptable and the unacceptable. We are taught very well how to do this. Truth and truth and truth, all valid, all different and diverse.

We are so layered and complicated it takes us forever to tell and share openly with others, if we ever do, we find others as elaborate in their truths and "untruths".

So as we grow in the company of others we learn the acceptable ways of behaving, the acceptable ways of responding, we learn how to cope with truth challenges, we learn how to keep our truth to ourselves so well, we don't even recognise it.

Truth, something elusive and attractive, feared and welcomed, denied and discounted. Truth helps and hinders us all. Truth is elaborate in its simplicity. And when we are exposed to the truth, it catches us when we like it and shames us when we hide from it.

Other people truth can undo us, for it is not our truth. We see from public life the torments of truth. Leaders who can lie convincingly, so we might accept the lie, for the truth is so abhorrent we recoil from its very existence. This denial of truth can hold us together through crises, then lead to disaffections and breakdowns later as we unravel truth through time.

We put up with half truth, we concede our own to mollify and let others have their say and way. And we can be very unpopular if we challenge values and beliefs offered as truth. For example that there is a God requires faith, and faith is a truth. Yet we can see wars and conflict based on beliefs which hold us back from unity.

Unity, another much overworked truth, Unity is not absolute or a truth, yet we evoke it for harmony and community. Truth is hard to find, hard to share and hard on our connections across this dangerous world.

So when we catch others in a truth we find totally unacceptable, when our truth and behaviour is challenged, the denial is as great as the events dictate.

truth and revisionism are as happy bedfellows in our own mind. For we revise and accentuate our truth and leave out the impossible truth, connected to our vulnerabilities.

Truth is we are all vulnerable. Truth is we all see what we want to see. We can ignore much of the truth as long as we can satisfy and live with its loss and the consequences.

Consequences are terrible ordeals when we find our truth lacking. We are found out, we might find vilification and finger pointing, manipulation and a reaction far greater than our original omission or turpitude. We live our consequences every day.

And with truth we find our prejudice, we find our right size, we find our ordinary selves in our unique value as individuals. We find the joy of life and its sadness. We find our emotions and our capacities. And we find the same in our denials and lies, in our weakness and evasion.

Our ego is fed by our intellect, our esteem is fed by our emotions. We need find our balance in all this chaos, if we note our attraction to and rejection of truth as we see it.

We are the centre of our Universe, and our Universe as we see it, it is nowhere near the actual Universe, infinite, beyond the stars and our comprehension. Good job we learn our limits and our potential if we are gifted so, to enjoy this day and every others as we can, to the extent of our perceptions and truth.

January 23th 2005

The Day Of Depression

It is this day which apparently marks the most depressing day of the year. For a change I am less depressed than at any time I can recollect. I would not describe my situation as elated or anything like 'normal depressed' according to any psyche assessment or questionnaire I have researched in the recent past. I have depression like a dog has fleas, its been around so long I regard depression as my normal.

I would love to shift my senses and emotional state to ordinary, it would make things so much easier.

What is it like? Maybe its about time to admit how depression manifests, I hesitate always, for people would have some empathy for it, but no time for it. I wish I could pull myself together and march right out of it, I cannot. No amount of will or determination will pull me or push me out of the anxious gloom. I have to sit tight and wait, as usual and wait for what seems like eternity. A glum time.

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January 24 2008 DonInLondon - ĎDay In the Lifeí All we Need Is Love

Love Is All We Need

Odd that we might forget this basic reason for living. All we need is love? Love has nothing to do with our material well being. Love is just the raw emotion we have in us all to varying degrees. How we love ourselves, how we love others.

When we donít get love as we grow up, that is we donít really understand it, we are somehow lost to its depth and its breadth. Yet we still have love inside us, we just donít know how to express love to others or have enough self love to feel ok and just even with others who try love us.

Those who have loved me over the years. They had a clue how I might be lacking in understanding of love. I never learned too well, and its nobodyís fault, I just did not understand or even realise love was about. And as I grew, love was more misunderstood by me. I knew I had feelings, yet never knew how to express them. And how I learned to love was a clumsy and naÔve as any other.

Why?

Fear of love, fear of abandonment, fear of being left behind, fear that I was less than deserving. All sorts of fears connected to being loved and loving back.

A normal child to man, a normal outlook on life as far as it went and still an elusive and misunderstood attitude to loving and being loved. From family, to friends to lovers over the years. Either I had too much to give or not enough to give. I never knew if anyone loved me, as I really did not get love. I was superficial and indifferent to myself and always wondered how to cherish.

Cherish

A guide to loving came to me when my Dad died. I had no understanding of the pain of his loss, even though he was no shining example of how to do anything, I realised in losing him just how integral love is to life.

Women in my life saw enough to know potential, and I saw enough to love and see potential and yet somehow somewhere I was lost and not really clued in to loving and love. I always knew those I would love would leave me, they always did. Or did I just make it so, that they left or I did, because I just plain did not know.

Not knowing then what I know today. Well maybe the answers are still being learned. We learn from songs, from life and what its like just to be in a peaceful space and love the ones we are with. I am still a learner in life and love as much as attraction still baffles me. How so? I am a slow learner these days. As I need understand me and love, as I may learn to understand how to love again. I am told we are all worth it. So far I can conclude just for today, we all are worth it, and learners we will always be.

The Beatles

Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It's easy.
There's nothing you can make that can't be made.
No one you can save that can't be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be in time
It's easy.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
There's nothing you can know that isn't known.
Nothing you can see that isn't shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be.
It's easy.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
All you need is love (all together now)
All you need is love (everybody)
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.

January 24th 2007

Easy Does It - What?

Easy does it, what on earth does this mean? In our AA fellowship, Alcoholics Anonymous, it means donít beat ourselves up and donít try and solve our whole life problems, just concentrate on what we can do today.

The last couple of days have felt like I need almost an auto pilot to keep putting one foot in front of the other. As in any life we can have ups and downs, and find ourselves well out of the day. Imagination like mine and everyone I guess can create perfect moments which have nothing much to do with day to day. And without a thought and with great passion start to build my castle in the sky. I am good at this, and it makes me realise just where I am right now. Getting back to daily in the day feeling and being.

Was I so far off? Not really but certainly the reality check in recent days has helped me realise there is much I need attend to keep myself in balance, or I am useless to me and anyone else.

Evening meetings

Evening meetings have been very helpful to me, to break the habit of staying put and watching life on TV and not actually being in life and getting on. How much TV can we enjoy and still have a life. Indeed I have quite a lot to do just to keep faith and courage going sometimes.

Earlier

A trip to the market to get some necessary bits and pieces. Walking in the cold and with my feet absolutely complaining, meant it was no happy stroll. Anyway job done and the bus back took ages. I really suffered. I donít mention the downsides of my situation enough apparently, as people are keen to know what is involved with diabetes, the other factors it gives me to make life hard, clinical depression and doing recovery from addiction. There is a lot and one day I will catalogue it so people know what I do. Not now though.

Cafť Nero Tonight - Kingís Road

I do enjoy writing as you may guess from this journal. I have another, a more private place of reflection in a hand written diary. The two go together, the difference is no names are shared here for reasons of integrity and courtesy. My fellowship is anonymous for those who wish it so, and other matters so private are not for public gaze. Sorry if this is unhelpful, but for me its important to keep my world and people I know safe. I donít mind what you know about me, as I am out there. Other friends and fellows need have their say if they wish, as they choose and not ever from me.

So with an hour or so to the meeting I got my feelings set down on paper. I feel sad and vulnerable over recent days. At the same time I know depression is coming, its those horrid waves of uncertainty which happen as depression manifests. And it will do what it will. It does not stop me writing, just makes me have desolate times and feelings. So great care needed to keep good patterns whatever happens.

A friend turned up, I have not had chance to chat with him for ages and we talked big concepts and small talk too. Odd actually we never seem to gossip about anyone, and he is good at being on the level and avoiding others and their day to day gripes and moans so it was good to just reflect on days and news in the media.

We were Late - the meeting

We hear the same stuff over and over in AA. The fellowship simply there to make us able to get better attitude and behaviour through the twelve steps, and utilise the traditions of AA to keep safe in the day. As simple and as complicated.

Whatever happens in a meeting we do share as best we can our truth around experience strength and hope. I am careful always with my words, and realise I have a storehouse of thirty plus years to off load, its no wonder I go daily in the evenings to AA.

Tonight though it sort of touched me, that on June 6th 2004, when sitting in Hyde Park Corner with the war memorials around me, it was my true acceptance of the end of my drinking days. The video explains the gist of my acceptance.

No blinding revelation, although it was connected to knowing when my Father was dying he overcame life long fears, made his amends and pegged it. What connects the two things? Itís the memorials to the dead and seeing where my Father had served during the war. He came back from the war with a good habit for drink and kept it to his death bar those last two months or so. And I felt I need not keep to his pattern. This is only me realising I could stop the drink and find a life again. And not a criticism in the slightest of how my Father coped with life. Oblivion from pain and self medication have no longer the appeal or offer safety for me these days. Just being real with life.

So we never know quite what is going to happen, what memories are evoked and places and things.

So often its full of laughter and also full of sadness. Where else in this world can we share, the deepest gloom and then a moment later be racked with laughter? I know no other place so open and honest about feelings, where we can be honest and careful too, for we donít wish harm to anyone either. So we are careful people these days. Not so reckless, just as gormless on occasion as we ever were.

Ordinary

Is what we want, and what we find. Yet ordinary life has highs and lows as they happen in the day. This is the gift of living now, in the this present moment. We get better and more practice than we ever had facing life as it is and not as we desire or imagine.

A cool objective and better than being in a state of oblivion or on the way there, as we cannot process our feelings or insides unless we live soberly and happily sad as days offer.

Overall a good day, so much inside still with a tinge of sad reflection on current times and how they are. We donít get over living, we understand and get along as we do. Some elements we are new to, like being real as real life permits us to feel everything as it is. Pain is as much a part of living, and so is emotional connection. We donít make it, we live it, just a day at a time.

January 24th 2006

We Need Control

Do we really need control in our lives. We tell people about wanting control. And we have our own feelings about control we share sometimes and only when we trust others.

Nobody wants to be thought of as a controlling person, or do they? We know what's considered nice, that is to be liberated and free, to let others do their own thing, and we do ours.

Truth is, the more insecure we are, the more we look for control, of ourselves and everything. And in fact as we have less control over our lives, the more we are likely to crave control. Until we have nothing left!

We can control one thing in this life, our choices. And in reality we give that up too as a compromise poorly made and poorly negotiated.

Make good choices once a day, it becomes second nature...

Now is that pie in the sky or what?

January 24th 2005

The Day Of Depression

It is this day which apparently marks the most depressing day of the year. For a change I am less depressed than at any time I can recollect. I would not describe my situation as elated or anything like 'normal depressed' according to any psyche assessment or questionnaire I have researched in the recent past. I have depression like a dog has fleas, its been around so long I regard depression as my normal. I would love to shift my senses and emotional state to ordinary, it would make things so much easier.

What is it like? Maybe its about time to admit how depression manifests, I hesitate always, for people would have some empathy for it, but no time for it. I wish I could pull myself together and march right out of it, I cannot. No amount of will or determination will pull me or push me out of the anxious gloom. I have to sit tight and wait, as usual and wait for what seems like eternity. A glum time.

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January 25 2008 DonInLondon - ĎDay In the Lifeí AA Daily

Alcoholics Anonymous Daily - Step Five Telling the Truth

Ghandi "God Is Truth"

I have been a regular in fellowship meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous for over four years now and an irregular sceptic for more than 8 years. I am not sober that length of time, it took me a lot of attempts to recognise the truth that I am and will always be an alcoholic. Currently I am sober since June 1 2004. In my fourth year about three and a half years since my last drink. Learning recovery and how life may be, sober for some years helps me immensely living with my life as it is today.

Truth and Spiritual

As time has gone by, I have observed how my progress has been going by writing my journal and putting my journals on the internet. This helps me try understand how I am doing with living and making life work a day at a time.

This is me sharing experience strength and hope, gently and as truthfully as can be as each day adds to my time in sobriety. And my endeavour to understand what is Spiritual and this elusive purpose we have in living. We all have purpose although how we understand our purpose we might not necessarily understand a lot of the time. And that is made more difficult when some of us are or have spent a lot of time in denial and in a state of misunderstanding about the purpose we have in living.

God is a good epithet for Truth

And God willing or my willingness to find the truth of living is certainly helping me make life work with quite a few deficits these days. And of course the best part of sobriety is the opportunity live as was intended by nature and by providence.

Truth spiritual works for me these days and the acceptance I now have for the way life has turned out is quite amazing for me. Once driven by fear, by putting on a brave face, and so concerned what people might think of me, I froze and became unable to function at all at any level of life. A horrid time made worse by learning from life which was particularly unhelpful. Society can drive us mad and then as we get more madness and find ways to self medicate, we eventually end up in self harm with a predisposition to fix ourselves in inappropriate ways.

[ Step Five from the big book bunch:

Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

The Big Book is clear that once you have finished your step four writing, you are to review your lists, analyze what they mean, and learn something from what you have written. Your analysis will be augmented in step five, but you should not leave all the thinking up to your guide.

Read page 66 again. We are reluctant to repeat the book. However, some of the points it makes cannot be left without comment:

The world is, indeed imperfect, and our lives have been touched by injustice. Our typical reaction has been to try to fix the world. When that didn't workóit never doesówe got good and sore and bitched and drank at it. Only in sobriety have we learned there is but one thing in this universe that we can and must try to influence. You guessed itóself. Many of us have then discovered a miraculous truth. When we set about to have our Creator manage our lives, we are often empowered with incredible influence over people near us and in the world around us. The catch (wouldn't you know there would be one) is that we must not attempt to exercise self-will.

The power of resentment far exceeds any conception we had of negative thinking. Were you aware that:

..a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness.

The hours in which we allow futility and unhappiness in our lives are not worth while. Resentments waste our lives.

Resentments shut us off from the sunlight of the Spirit, thereby preventing the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience.

When shadowed from the sunlight of the Spirit, the insanity of alcohol returns, we drink again, and we die.

Harbouring of resentments is fatal.

Most alcoholics have a deepóalmost pathologicalósense of justice. If we are wronged (meaning often that we did not get what we wanted), or even conjure up the notion that we might have been wronged, we find full justification to express anger or harbour resentment. It then seems almost a duty to carry a justified resentment. Otherwise those who have wronged us would get off scot-free. And that wouldn't be right, would it? So, we waste our God-given lives judging and punishing our fellows. Relinquishing a justified resentment is one of the most difficult experiences known to the alcoholic.

Yet, it must be done! There is striking evidence that resentment creates a physical poison in our bodies, in addition to the mental and spiritual maladies it feeds.

And, how do we rid ourselves of resentments? Hopefully, this process began in step 4. Our list holds the key. ]

As in all matters of recovery we find our own path. With help and support we really can find what will work daily for ourselves. We always need to respect boundaries and others views, and we need find our understanding as we find support, help and challenge through sharing and understanding. Long may it be soÖ

January 25th 2007

Hard Enough Just to be Ourselves

This is my hard learning at the moment. I really felt I had made significant steps forward in my recovery, and then find myself right back at square one. Well not exactly. I realise the truth will always bite us on the behind as we get to understand ourselves better.

The trouble with Alcoholics anonymous is its full of people learning to be human again. And some are pretty advanced and some like me, feel learners and wonder what on earth I have done for 50 years.

Odd? Not in the least, as time marches along and we have a sober head, someone we can talk to, a sponsor we see and relate to. And making friendships as we may. We are sometimes beguiled and find safe havens with good friends and then we start to wonder, imagine and sort of wish for more, when more is really not what we want at all. For me in this case maybe a yearning to be as normal as can be, and yet I know now I am not as normal as I may try behave.

There are certainly gaps in me, new areas to learn all over again, itís a rehabilitation fellowship on the go and nothing stays the same from day to day.

Dilemmas

I want to feel I belong, want is a difficult concept in AA, as experience is our only teacher and the teaching is from living. And what is so wrong with that? It does not fit my willing to be a certain way, it does not help me care less, it makes me care more about my honest, and open and willing to learn being just in the day.

And tonight this appeared to be a big part of who and where we are. We are finding ourselves through the steps of our fellowship. It feels like I may know myself as best I may on my deathbed at this rate.

Changing

If we are engaged in the steps of AA, reading the books and studying diligently we will find whole new areas and vistas open for us. Not as we might will them, more as we live them and keep changing. We have to live life, there is no other way. And waiting and wondering, and especially imagining, these are not good ways to live. The what if of life is not good for me, the actuality is.

Hard And still Harder

It gets to be an ongoing and deliberate change, made more easy as honesty comes with the territory of AA and the fellowship. We have to acknowledge truth on a daily basis. Stop being wilful and deal with life as is.

A phrase used to day "we wonít ever die of emotional pain." I feel it is the opposite.

If I hold things inside, try make myself will me to be a certain way, I am completely undone. And I guess in my own way, I have been looking to futureís that may never happen and have no legs to them at this moment in time.

My Gap

I have a huge gap in my head, where there is room to feel and think more. To start to experience the real of now. And the reality is right in front of me in this moment. And were it different and a safe environment where I could will myself to be a certain way I feel like I would. Yet I would be waiting on life.

Life with my head in clouds and in the past. I have done this too much and never found my path easy this way. As reality stares me in the face every day then its just the way it is. And no amount of intent can fill the rightful gap I have, because its there for a reason. It is to be filled and empty as life moves along in the here and now.

Realistic

Have I ever been realistic?

I feel so, yet self will creeps in wishing me different and something else I may imagine. The truth of me is quite arduous and deliberate in making each day work.

Love is the very essence of living. From love comes our reason and unreason, our intent and contempt for ourselves sometimes. Without it we are less than our capacity. And we need it for life.

We need appreciate through even older eyes the folly of the past, and also the lure of imagination as we find our way.

Even though we are as careful with others as ourselves we can wish ourselves to be so, in love and engaged in reality. Yet me for one can be as deluded as ever, unless I do take reality checks which my sponsor shared tonight.

I am not right at the moment in how I may be. And feel less than I can be, simply because of this gap. And the gap can be filled with real life and in my face connections which grow in time. Indeed to find enough of myself, and this is an ongoing process, and there is much work to be done.

Living in the moment, and where it takes me must be a key as is acceptance of how I am today. Still learning and finding out who I am. Just a day at a time with a few steps to help change me and my outlook, and not the world to my will and preference. So true and sometimes so hard to accept. Life is what it is. I cannot will myself different, fifty years of trying, and still I am me, with changing attitudes and behaviour as life offers, and a fellowship with wisdom beyond meÖ

It will always be so.

January 25th 2006

Banish Worry

Thought for the day from inner space

Worry is otherwise known as 'fantasised catastrophising' where we create an image of the future and use it to frighten ourselves! Be aware that you are doing it, then stop doing it, otherwise the image will become a self fulfilling prophesy. Imagine only the brightest future, and so it will be. Besides there is nothing to worry about... unless you are under the illusion that your well-being and security are dependent on material things. If they are, then you will have many ways in which you can create worry. Possible loss, damage, separation, uncertainty are but a few. Look, you're killing yourself with worry, all because of the misuse of your imagination. Don't do it.

This is true to an extent. The extent to which this is true, is individual and unique. We learn from our own catastrophising and we learn where danger lies, there is balance in all we may encounter.

January 25th 2005

Love

Love blinds us to people's faults but dislike blinds us to their virtues.

An observation on an inside job. We can feel love for others and see their virtue. We can dislike others which means we see nothing of the good they have. Its the same with ourselves. When we have love for ourselves, we are full of virtue. When we cannot love ourselves, we cannot imagine or see any of our virtues.

The inside job...to blind ourselves to the good parts, to only see the detestable, that is the inside job.

And it is this which hurts us, undermines us and undermines our picture of the day. It happens....

A little it of hope, not amiss, yet inconceivable when gripped by self doubt. This too will pass as time marches and seasons change. A reflection always, an image, the mindful mind's eye blinkered often, hiding and searching for safety amongst our memories...

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