DonInLondon - ‘Day In The Life’ 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.
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?
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.
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 January 4 2007
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 is…
"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 IQ’s and EQ’s 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.
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.
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 don’t see what AA is doing for them or how to get the tool kit of living happily. Anyway that’s 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 can’t 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.
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 ‘devout,’ 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 ‘rigour’ 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 choosing… 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 …
Don, I am an alcoholic, in recovery a day at a time…
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 people’s 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
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 3 2008
DonInLondon - ‘Day In The Life’ 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.
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 don’t 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 Me…
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 it’s 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 don’t 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.
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.
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 don’t end up doing things for the sake of it, or because we feel we should.
"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
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 that’s 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?
"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 haven’t 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 don’t 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 don’t 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 don’t 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 everyone’s 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 don’t 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 don’t 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.
When we have lived for decades with alcohol or drugs, drugs are not my story really but it’s 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 don’t 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.
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 don’t mind in the least, just keep coming back, after all you are worth it, so work it if you please.
A good night out with a load of friends who know how to live life on life’s 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 don’t make it. Very fierce, this addiction malarkey, it kills with ease, and we see denial every day…, 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...
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,’ 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...
January 1 2008
DonInLondon - ‘Day in the Life’ 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.
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 don’t 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 don’t 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 tock’s 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 don’t 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 Year‘s 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 yet…
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 us…
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.
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 breakthrough’s 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 don’t 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.
Not wishing to upset anyone, spiritual connection to this Universe and its purpose…
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.
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 Life’s terms!
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!"
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.
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.
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 comes top of every human beings primal drive. We want and need it, we don’t want and don’t need it. What are to do…
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 ‘luvved’ 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 don’t reckon much to love as it surrounds and heals all manner of life. We don’t 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 around….
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 measures…
Who measures when love does come to town? No one until it leaves…
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 life…
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
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.
December 31 2007 - January 1 2008
DonInLondon - ‘Day In the Life’ 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.
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.
Present - the Ever Present, 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…
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
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. 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...
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!
For anyone who would like to work the steps, these versions of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous provide a platform for changing our lives and outlook to sober living one day at a time.
God Conscious 12 Steps Spiritual
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Good Conscience 12 Steps Spiritual
For anyone who would like to work the steps, this version of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous provides slightly different wording of the six steps that make reference to God or a Higher Power. This version of the Twelve Steps seems to have originated in agnostic A.A. groups in California.
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe and to accept that we needed strengths beyond our awareness and resources to restore us to sanity.
[Original: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.]
3. Made a decision to entrust our will and our lives to the care of the collective wisdom and resources of those who have searched before us.
[Original: Made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.]
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to ourselves without reservation, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
[Original: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.]
6. Were ready to accept help in letting go of all our defects of character.
[Original: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.]
7. With humility and openness sought to eliminate our shortcomings.
[Original: Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.]
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through meditation to improve our spiritual awareness and our understanding of the AA way of life and to discover the power to carry out that way of life.
[Original: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.]
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Bhuddist 12 Steps Spiritual
1. We admitted our addictive craving over alcohol, and recognised its consequences in our lives.
2. Came to believe that a power other than self could restore us to wholeness.
3. Made a decision to go for refuge to this other power as we understood it.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to ourselves and another human being the exact moral nature of our past.
6. Became entirely ready to work at transforming ourselves.
7. With the assistance of others and our own firm resolve, we transformed unskilful aspects of ourselves and cultivated positive ones.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed.
9. Made direct amends to such people where possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. In addition, made a conscientious effort to forgive all those who harmed us.
10. Continue to maintain awareness of our actions and motives, and when we acted unskilfuly promptly admitted it.
11. Engaged through the practise of meditation to improve our conscious contact with our true selves, and seeking that beyond self. Also used prayer as a means to cultivate postive attitudes and states of mind.
12. Having gained spiritual insight as a result of these steps, we practise these principles in all areas of our lives, and make this message available to others in need of recovery.
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.
"And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation -- some fact of my life -- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.
Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in our world by mistake. Until I could accept my humanity, I could not be complete in living; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes."
adapted by DonInLondon
practice acceptance as a key:
Acceptance is a daily task as we live life to our full extent. And the practice of acceptance has many elements we learn as we progress our emotional and spiritual development. Two forms of practical steps to acceptance help us in our daily living.
1. Accepting day to day experiences as they occur, as life offers them to us. When we accept our day, how we feel, why and what we can do about it, we see our part in our daily experiences with others. Acceptance is not blind to our personal choices, merely making sure we respond and not react to what we encounter. Ask how am I feeling, why and what can I do?
2. Accepting long term experiences which affect our daily living is part of daily life. Our past will bring up issues for us, sometimes daily, sometimes less frequently. How we feel about ourselves generally, why and what we can do to let ourselves be free, overcome old denials and just live for this day, this takes time and often support and help from sources we trust.
When I ask myself:
How am I feeling
What can I do
I am asserting my "being here and now", and helps to acceptance of my real situation.
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