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.
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. it’s 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.
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.
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 ‘chips’ 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.
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.
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?
I have no real clue, I have choices, I have opportunity to live carefully and with better understanding. To be present.
Less to Ego’s 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 time…
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!
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
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.
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!
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. it’s a bit of a reminder for everyone why we attend meetings, because most of us forget why on a daily basis.
"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 don’t want to be controversial. We don’t endorse or oppose any causes. And we want to be sober a day at a time.
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 what’s all this about
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 life’s 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.
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 people’s 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 don’t 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.
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 life’s 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 today…
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 year’s eve.
Tomorrow is another day, a future I can be part of, simply because I have found a path to greet life on life’s 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 that’s as much as I need say, best wishes to all,
DonInLondon / DonInChelsea / Don Oddy
December 31st 2005
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 lifetime’s 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
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...