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DonInLondon January 6 2008



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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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Be Tolerant

You have the power to tolerate anyone and any situation. But tolerance is not just suffering in silence.

It means going beyond any personal discomfort you may feel, and giving a gift to whom ever you would tolerate. Give your time, attention, understanding, compassion, care - all are gifts, which paradoxically, you also receive in the process of giving.

And, as you do, you will experience your own self esteem and inner strength grow. In this way you can turn tolerance into strength.






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Ghandi

There come to us moments in life when about some things we need no proof from without. A little voice within us tells us, 'You are on the right track, move neither to your left nor right, but keep to the straight and narrow way.

A person falsely claiming to act under divine inspiration or the promptings of the inner voice without having any such, will fare worse than the one falsely claiming to act under the authority of an earthly sovereign. Whereas the latter on being exposed will escape with injury to his body, the former may perish body and soul together.

You have to believe no one but yourselves. You must try to listen to the inner voice, but if you will not have the expression"inner voice", you may use the expression "dictates of reason", which you should obey, and if you will not parade God, I have no doubt you will parade something else which in the end will prove to be God, for, fortunately, there is no one and nothing else but God in this universe.

For me truth is the sovereign principle, which includes numerous other principles. This truth is not only truthfulness in word, but truthfulness in thought also, and not only the relative truth of our conception, but the Absolute Truth, the Eternal Principle, that is God. There are innumerable definitions of God, because His manifestations are innumerable. They overwhelm me with wonder and awe and for a moment stun me.




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Ghandi

There come to us moments in life when about some things we need no proof from without. A little voice within us tells us, 'You are on the right track, move neither to your left nor right, but keep to the straight and narrow way.

A person falsely claiming to act under divine inspiration or the promptings of the inner voice without having any such, will fare worse than the one falsely claiming to act under the authority of an earthly sovereign. Whereas the latter on being exposed will escape with injury to his body, the former may perish body and soul together.

You have to believe no one but yourselves. You must try to listen to the inner voice, but if you will not have the expression"inner voice", you may use the expression "dictates of reason", which you should obey, and if you will not parade God, I have no doubt you will parade something else which in the end will prove to be God, for, fortunately, there is no one and nothing else but God in this universe.

For me truth is the sovereign principle, which includes numerous other principles. This truth is not only truthfulness in word, but truthfulness in thought also, and not only the relative truth of our conception, but the Absolute Truth, the Eternal Principle, that is God. There are innumerable definitions of God, because His manifestations are innumerable. They overwhelm me with wonder and awe and for a moment stun me.







Don In London
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