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.
Itís a kinda magic. The Queen song used at the Beginning of the film "Highlander", or was it at the end it matters not. Hocus Pocus or maybe its hogus bogus, all the twaddle some imbue Alcoholics Anonymous with. In all the rhetoric one way or another what makes AA work? Those who turn up.
Trying to explain how it works is covered in the book of AA. Available at most meetings of AA and worth a read if you happen to be an alcoholic. If you are not alcoholic, its not really going to give you much of a clue about sobriety. You already know!
I wrote some words to a person on another continent to me about their concerns about AA being a cult:
"Thank You *******,
you certainly have a lot of experience one way or another. Experience of life is my ultimate guide to living. We seem to have a different experience of AA. It appears to have been empowering one way or another for us both.
I have worked with health professionals as well as attend AA. The nature of a disease is often a tricky pathology. As is the human psyche, we tend to go with what works.
Your vehement reaction to AA is fine by me. At the same time my reaction to AA is to make best use of the process mechanism for changing behaviour and attitude.
As any appeal to a higher and distant power is a matter of personal conviction, the truth of living gives me an outlook and a better understanding of spiritual living, supported by my good conscience.
I applaud your sobriety and would defend your right to believe and your faith. My faith comes from an unswerving belief in the primary development of a collective conscience for good. And this is evolution. Courage, Faith and Esteem, Fear Bravery and Ego are two sides of the same coin in my learning so far. We are very young in this ancient Universe, so vast we don't make a significant impact on it so far.
As to God, to debate God or believe or not believe, an open question which will be answered soon enough. I am in favour of community and a higher purpose for mankind. Our humanity is developing. Long may it be so. And one day maybe we will know the absolute truth as a race. Until then I am happy we are all learning our path to peace and happiness.
However people achieve sobriety, become empowered to make life choices again and find their spiritual path, well I accept there are many ways and not just one way. Or we substitute dogma for faith and then the journey has been lost as humanity fails to reach its true capacity and freedom.
This limitless journey of discovery without filters and denials, fills me with hope. Progress merely, for we are young in development as a species. And it would be folly for me indeed to believe we are the only instruments of a creator. If this the case I would be very sad indeed, humanity develops with every generation, as Nature and Providence enable. There is more to this and a preponderance for introspection and that we are the only instruments of one all seeing and knowing entity? Well I don't feel humanity are that important in the Universe or in Cosmic terms. Maybe it is our ego that makes it appear so? I don't know. Our planet is a mere speck in the big universal picture. That does not lead me to believing we are not important, we are of course to our species!
Peace always and thank you for your concern that I am damned in some way. AA? Is as good as the people we encounter, same as all living, we need take what works and leave others to their beliefs and works for them. After all we were given freedom to choose? Another metaphysical ontology for the intellect. Faith is a gut reaction thing and instinctive, comes from the primal drive we humans have for sure, to love and be loved."
The Reply to this?
Well I could share the email from the concerned individual, I donít simply because their fight appears to be with AA and not me.
Unfortunately complaining about AA to me is really not going to change much. I am not Alcoholics Anonymous.
I donít speak for AA. In fact AA as a fellowship has no opinion on anything.
When people complain about the fellowship of AA, they are complaining about one group of people who they have met and maybe more. Some people think AA is an organisation, its not, some people believe AA should save them from their alcoholism, it canít. People merely get a life back if they work hard at being sober and utilise the tool box of change in attitudes and behaving differently, commonly called the twelve steps. There is reference to God in those steps, same as most writing of the time when the steps were written. What people choose to be, in their religious outlook is purely personal, and not essential to sobriety. And those scriptures are thousands of years old, when mankind was still deluded and believed the earth was the centre of the universe. Science suggests, no, it has proved we are not the centre of the universe, theology is hard pressed to keep up. Mind theology has always been the instrument of control and governance by those who fear its loss. I think thatís called powerlessness these days.
Why do alcoholics get sober in AA? They work the change programme, they donít drink anymore because they donít have to, they swap stories about how to live sober and have meetings to share what works and what ends in drinking again.
Is this a cult? I donít know if there is an answer. Some people donít know how it works and like the kinda magic which they get feeling well again. Some feel its hocus pocus, some might suggest its hogus bogus.
I suggest connection to a group of people as often we choose to swap ideas and experience of what works in life is beneficial. If people have gratitude and a positive attitude they get on. And ultimately if people work at sobriety, the stay sober.
Would I speak on behalf of AA? No
No, its not my inclination or my right to do anything of the kind. I can speak only for me. So far a day at a time, I am sober, I am changing me and my attitudes, behaving and contributing as life, and society enables. And this is because of what I have learned in fellowship. To be ordinary and productive as best I can.
Finally tonight, AA has had no impact on other matters which are me, like clinical depression I have had all my adult life. And recently, caused by a medical procedure I have Type 1 Diabetes. As life is ordinary and AA like King Canute has no special powers, I can confirm with some personal evidence, that shit happens.
Fury as Iran shows footage of captured sailors on television March 29 2007
Britain to seek UN resolution over seizure - Sailor 'admits' boats were in Iranian waters
Julian Borger and Patrick Wintour
Iran dramatically raised the stakes in its tense diplomatic stand-off with Britain last night, broadcasting a propaganda video of the British sailors and marines seized last week, including a "confession" that they had entered Iranian waters.
The Foreign Office reacted furiously to the video, calling it "completely unacceptable" and expressed "grave concerns" about the conditions under which Leading seaman Faye Turney was persuaded to admit on film that the 15-strong British naval patrol had strayed into Iranian territory last Friday.
A mother on parade in Iranís propaganda war March 29 2007
Dominic Kennedy, Philip Webster and David Sanderson
Her blonde hair covered with a black headscarf and puffing on a cigarette, Faye Turney enunciated each word carefully to her unseen interviewer.
Her patrol boat had ďobviouslyĒ trespassed into Iranian waters, she said. But she and her fellow servicemen were being treated well by their ďfriendly, hospitable, thoughtful and niceĒ captors.
A letter apparently penned by Leading Seaman Turney, 26, in which she says she has written to the Iranian people to apologise for ďapparentlyĒ entering their waters, was released simultaneously by the authorities in Tehran.
After parading the 15 British service personnel in their uniforms on television, Tehran demanded a similar apology and a formal admission of guilt from the British Government.
Blair and Bush vent anger at Iran's TV footage of hostages March 29 2007
By Kim Sengupta and Colin Brown
A genuine confession or humiliation and cynical abuse of international law? These were the questions being asked after the appearance of the British hostage Faye Turney on Iranian television last night.
Film footage of the servicewoman taken prisoner in the Gulf, wearing a black headscarf, as she "admitted" to trespassing on Iranian waters, will become one of the iconic images of the crisis between Iran and the West. It also ignited an immediate international furore with the British Government lodging a vehement protest, demanding that diplomatic access be given to the 15 sailors and marines who have been held for six days.
President George Bush held talks with Tony Blair and said that Britain will receive full support while Mr Blair warned the situation would move into a "new phase" if diplomacy failed to secure the captives' release. Meanwhile US forces were engaged in the largest military operations they have carried out in the region since the Iraq invasion in 2003 - a move described by Tehran as highly provocative.
The television images came on a day in which Britain had announced that it was freezing all relations with Iran and produced information which, it insisted, showed incontrovertibly that the British naval team had been arrested within Iraqi waters.
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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