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.
What we see, who we see and what is discussed and shared in AA meetings need be anonymous. Gossip can kill a person.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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..
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.
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.
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.