You have the power to tolerate anyone and any situation. But tolerance is not just suffering in silence.
It means going beyond any personal discomfort you may feel, and giving a gift to whom ever you would tolerate. Give your time, attention, understanding, compassion, care - all are gifts, which paradoxically, you also receive in the process of giving.
And, as you do, you will experience your own self esteem and inner strength grow. In this way you can turn tolerance into strength.
I have been to my first meeting of today. Alcoholics Anonymous at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital on the Fulham Road. Actually although’ its called the Chelsea & Westminster, its not in Chelsea or Westminster. The postcode is actually SW10 which is indeed West Brompton. I have to smile because I used to live in the SW10 postcode area, and always wished it was really a Chelsea address. I live in Earls Court these days and although it is in the royal Boro, well, its not quite Chelsea is it?
It came to mind this morning when I was challenged about my website and its real purpose. As I have said on numerous occasions before the website continues as a staging post for world news and events, and my journal of local living. The focus of my web is to have outwards focus to the big wide world and a look at my world, the local world of recovery and living where I do in London. Hence the name of my site DonInLondon, London Times.
The outward looking if you like is to remind myself there is a big world out there, and that big world tends to reflect what I deal with in my local world too. Its like the big picture and my local picture mimic each other to an extent. And so I can see context between both and where life works or doesn’t work, global and local.
My interests have always included politics and more, since 1997 and the local world for me. And in recent years my outlook obviously includes recovery and a return to living a life again. So for me, local world interests focus on recovery from addiction, in my case alcohol. And also dealing with clinical depression, which is something I have experienced throughout my life and dealing with Type one diabetes, a recent addition to my living and life in London.
Why Ego and Esteem Today?
Ego is an issue in my fellowship of AA, alcoholics anonymous. And anonymity is a principal of our traditions. The tradition works on two levels, personal anonymity and also in our endeavour to be merely right sized and equal citizens in our fellowship.
More importantly and connected with Ego, is Esteem. And we can become confused and wonder sometimes if we get these things mixed up. I do for sure and need often to examine my motives and my attitudes and behaviour.
And as can happen often we are challenged on our behaviour and why we do certain things. Like keep a website with content like mine.
I am passionate about recovery and have invested a good few years in finding my path to sobriety. I have kept a journal for years on the web, so it seemed right to include recovery as part of my story if you like. At the same time the need for big picture news and views has always been a keen interest. Hence the global and local content of my website and journal. I have often wondered if writing about recovery is an ego thing or a sharing of my journey, simply to inform anyone and share that we can be in recovery from a pernicious ailment which never goes away.
Today a Question of Ego and Self Esteem?
Quite right to be asked and challenged on the Website. Am I doing the journal for grandiose reasons or just sharing my journal as millions do these days on web logs and web sites.
Ego, "inflated opinion of self: an exaggerated sense of self-importance and a feeling of superiority to other people"
Self Esteem "self-esteem: a persons idea of his or her own importance or worth, usually of an appropriate level"
The Question Posed is Appropriateness
Interestingly I do know the answer to the question of whether my motives are about Ego or Self esteem. If I were ego driven, then I would offer opinion as if it were the only truth, that I had found the truth and had some sort of exclusivity. And the answer is plainly that I don’t have exclusivity and really share the actual truth, that I don’t know the path, until its experienced and lived these days. And actually anything I write about really is situational and is as durable as a day is long.
So what I have found in asking the question Ego versus Esteem is simply I have the confidence some days to try find a simple path of living. And as witnessed in my journal, I am very much a learner in living like everyone else.
The challenge to those who Challenge
In our programme we need to observe anonymity and many other facets of being right sized. This includes several strands of thinking. First and obvious is not to judge others, and be mindful to keep our own side of the street clean.
Second in this regard is challenging for the right motives. Does anyone have the right to challenge another’s behaviour, and of course the answer is yes. And equally important is the intent behind the challenge.
In our fellowship anonymity is a personal choice. And my personal choice is to share my truth, be honest open and willing. All to the good, and there is more.
The principle of anonymity also means AA is not allied to anything. It has no views or beliefs and has no affiliations. And never offers opinion on world matters. Simply a fellowship where people have one objective, to live soberly a day at a time. And how we do this is ensuring all fellows of AA are equal and no AA person can tell another what they may or may not do.
This equal sizing is a principle so in all respects, conduct within the fellowship is about being the same size and gaining wisdom in living. It is not about regulating anyone’s behaviour with regard to recovery and sobriety.
Beliefs and conduct
We need respect the anonymity of everyone as a primary principle. Some of us in AA are happy to let the world know we are in recovery and why we are able to maintain sobriety on a day by day basis.
This is not licence to breach others anonymity and where anonymity has been broken, it would be an issue for me.
Ego and Esteem
Writing about recovery is helpful to me. As an individual I feel sharing my experience Strength and Hope on a daily basis when I can helps me and might help others trying to find their way into sobriety. It is just a might help. And always because its just one person’s experience, it is just one person’s view.
I don’t speak or write for AA and would never assume such a role. I may speak about my recovery and write about as I feel is right and often I check my own personal behaviour. Am I ego driven or just trying to develop self esteem on a daily basis?
Recovery a metaphor for living
This is a daily and recurring metaphor for living life soberly and right sized. As I am learning by the day I share. I share what I do and what has impact on my life in recovery.
Recovery is a personal journey and for many and rightly it’s a private matter whether they share what makes life work or not. The same is true for me, and will always include the challenge of ego or esteem. Life, so complex and so difficult to work a day at a time. Sometimes without doubt I need challenge myself daily
AA - spiritual
In this complicated world where life is hard enough, spiritual is a real challenge. The spiritual path of AA, in my personal view is to open our eyes and see reality as it is, without denials and veils.
I am one person with an outlook formed from learning to live soberly. There are millions more with wisdom and knowledge. some choose to share and some choose not to share. Both positions have their advantage and their challenges. And both are coextensive and contiguous in relation to AA recovery and being sober a day at a time.
Traditions keep everyone safe in AA. "Esteem" and carefulness are part of our well being, "ego" an altogether difficult torment to challenge us all everyday in our living.
We are not perfect… As we suggest progress and not perfection, a day at a time.
"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
Fifteen British sailors and marines arrested by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards off the coast of Iraq may be charged with spying.
A website run by associates of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, reported last night that the Britons would be put before a court and indicted.
Referring to them as “insurgents”, the site concluded: “If it is proven that they deliberately entered Iranian territory, they will be charged with espionage. If that is proven, they can expect a very serious penalty since according to Iranian law, espionage is one of the most serious offences.”
The warning followed claims by Iranian officials that the British navy personnel had been taken to Tehran, the capital, to explain their “aggressive action” in entering Iranian waters. British officials insist the servicemen were in Iraqi waters when they were held.
Miliband could still succeed me - Blair March 25 2007
Brown can be beaten, PM tells allies
Straw to run Chancellor's campaign
Ned Temko and Gaby Hinsliff
Tony Blair has told his closest political allies that if David Miliband challenges Gordon Brown for the Labour leadership 'he will win'.
The explosive revelation came in a series of interviews with those closest to the outgoing Prime Minister. One member of his inner circle made it clear that the PM and his allies still think Brown can be beaten. 'I know what Tony thinks about this,' a senior Blairite who has been close to the Prime Minister since the Nineties told The Observer. 'He thinks that if David runs with conviction and mounts the right argument, he'll win. He'll win, because by the end of a leadership contest, the ground will move.'
UN warns of cannabis dangers as it backs 'IoS' drugs 'apology'March 25 2007
By Jonathan Owen
The United Nations has issued an unprecedented warning to Britain about the growing threat to public health from potent new forms of cannabis, saying there is mounting evidence of "just how dangerous" the drug has become.
Writing in today's Independent on Sunday, Antonio Costa, the executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, says each country has the " drug problem it deserves", and warns that the British government must " avoid being swayed by misguided notions of tolerance".
Mr Costa's comments follow disclosures in last week's IoS that a record 22,000 people needed National Health Service treatment last year for drug rehabilitation, together with doctors' warnings that skunk cannabis is creating a generation with mental health problems.
He says: "Many [people] subscribe to the vague, laissez-faire tolerance of cannabis which is increasingly prevalent among educated people in Western countries. That consensus needs to be challenged. Evidence of the damage to mental health caused by cannabis use is mounting and cannot be ignored."
The intervention, which will be seen as an attack on the Government's liberal stance on cannabis use, follows the decision by the IoS to reverse its support for the drug to be decriminalised, 10 years after launching a high-profile campaign for legalisation.
Mr Costa proposes that young people found in possession of the drug should be penalised in the same way as people caught drink driving, adding that the cannabis "now in circulation is many times more powerful than the weed that today's baby-boomers smoked in college. Cannabis is a dangerous drug."
There come to us moments in life when about some things we need no proof from without. A little voice within us tells us, 'You are on the right track, move neither to your left nor right, but keep to the straight and narrow way.
A person falsely claiming to act under divine inspiration or the promptings of the inner voice without having any such, will fare worse than the one falsely claiming to act under the authority of an earthly sovereign. Whereas the latter on being exposed will escape with injury to his body, the former may perish body and soul together.
You have to believe no one but yourselves. You must try to listen to the inner voice, but if you will not have the expression"inner voice", you may use the expression "dictates of reason", which you should obey, and if you will not parade God, I have no doubt you will parade something else which in the end will prove to be God, for, fortunately, there is no one and nothing else but God in this universe.
For me truth is the sovereign principle, which includes numerous other principles. This truth is not only truthfulness in word, but truthfulness in thought also, and not only the relative truth of our conception, but the Absolute Truth, the Eternal Principle, that is God. There are innumerable definitions of God, because His manifestations are innumerable. They overwhelm me with wonder and awe and for a moment stun me.
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