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Archive 16 April 2007

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Be Tolerant

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

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

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

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April 2007
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April 17 2007

Monday Steps of Change DonInLondon ’A Day In the Life’

Feels like I am making some progress today, and at the same time I feel like I have been asked to do some things over and over again and nothing has changed as a result. It is going to be like this sometimes in our Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. Sometimes we are engaged with supporting assisting as best we can and at the same time sometimes people find the necessary changes to make life work extremely hard. Change is something very hard to do when we are self obsessed and very egocentric. And especially when we have been that way for years.

The problem we often find is we have been able to get away with our behaviour for a long time and no one has really challenged us other than possibly had a quiet word. And then quiet words get louder and the more we hear criticism the more we deny our problem and the fact that we are on a dangerous road to oblivion and a shorter life.

Some us are in fact so depressed by modern life we cannot cope and our mental health has long been under par as we utilised drink and other forms of addiction to help us get out of the bind and low mood and self hate, and all the malarkey we have as we get more and more dependent and less able to cope.

I don’t know looking back how many mental breakdowns I have had along the way to a path of sobriety. Some have been diagnosed and clinically assessed and were tragic situations. Others were minor breakdowns I covered over and suppressed my state of mind in denial and oblivion.


So hard to admit, so hard to accept that simply stopping our addictive behaviour will make our world feel so much better. And getting an attitude of mind to have another go at life can be traumatic and life threatening, we are caught between the hard rock and hard place. As we get to this terrible nightmare scenario, our ability to cope with anything can be completely lost as we try anything and everything to fix ourselves with our addictions.

So how on earth have I managed to stay off drink? Its not just me who has done this, it’s a true combination of support from my family who were driven to despair. A fellowship of people who know what addiction means first hand and know recovery. A medical service which helped me back to life and possibilities.

So in all these matters, I have had to work hard and follow advice and instruction.

No addict wants control taken away from them, yet every addict is powerless over their addiction, and life is unmanageable.

Attitude and Behaviour

This was highlighted today, that attitude can change in time, behaviour can change in time, as we learn and live and experience some simple steps of change.


And you know this the key. And I know it is the key. As many have found change is pretty darn hard at the best of times. And at the worst we know we are under a life sentence and early death if we cannot move ourselves along. Change is the key and what makes it possible is acceptance and removing our denial of our true maladies.

Life on life’s terms

For me even tho’ and I did follow the suggestions life on life’s terms has highlighted two other conditions in sobriety. One is clinical depression and this has always been there and the medication to help was self medicating utilising alcohol. So many of us do this and never get to grips with the depressions we so obviously have. Why? Because we don’t like the label or stigma of mental illness. Yet so many of us are made unwell by modern life and living. The other illness, type 1 diabetes came along some time into recovery as an extra if you like, and this has had a real impact on my incapacities in some ways.

Life can be better

And this just my message. When I accept my true state and my outlook, I can change what is possible and still accept there limits to what I may do and still keep alive and somewhere near normal. And make life work.

Honesty and Acceptance

They go hand in hand. And as we realise we need find our own normal capacities, we might have some reflection and denial that we are less capable in some ways, and yet gifted in other ways.

We humans have great capacity to adapt once we get support and understanding, Our society so often lacks the time and patience. Which is why I am so pleased to be a part of a community and a fellowship which promotes time and patience as key to healing ourselves.

Organisations should!

We are a fellowship and not an organisation, we promote choice and living, rather than denial and dying. We have some so near to God, and some so near to good conscience and some near whatever, what ever they choose to emulate or connect to spiritually. That is just how a fellowship and society works. Organisations have hard and fast rules, we don’t have any, we merely have suggestions of what works from other people making their way in recovery.

A Voice Tonight

Suggested it could be made easier to join in the fellowship. Well there is only one suggested qualification for joining and staying in fellowship with all your ideas of life intact, that is simple desire not to drink one day only, that is today. And that is the only thing we need abide to and live for. Just one day not drinking. We have every hue of human being in our fellowship and every opportunity to keep our views on life and its purpose, so I don’t know how else it could be made easier to be a part of the fellowship. And of course when we first arrive on the doorstep of AA we are often under the influence and still very hung over from life.

I guess its really a personal issue, if we were an organisation with rules and regulations and all sorts of nonsense we would founder quick and fast. There is no secrecy except anonymity, the spiritual foundation of the fellowship.

Why anonymous? For many reasons to do with keeping all fellows right sized and not about their own power and personality.

Power and personality is not us, we are equal and we try to be so. We believe in keeping life simple and straight, and we are always popping out somewhere for research in early days usually, only to find the fellowship is a day long event. And we may be in it for a day or a lifetime as we choose to live our lives.

We get to be normal, and have normal things happen, experience the spiritual nature of life in the day, seeing reality as it may be. And actually this is precisely why I am a fellow of AA, I have life back, and choices and better ones than I made in my last days of addiction.

Life happens and we all have every opportunity back, except one or we are mad all over again. Well is that simple? Yes, and merely means we have hard work and life back. No fixes, no bullshit, just reality in all its dimensions. Wonderful and tragic, that’s life!

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BBC OnLine News April 17 2007

Anger over US shooting warnings April 17 2007

Survivors of the worst shooting rampage in US history have criticised authorities for waiting too long to alert people a gunman was on the loose.

The rampage at Virginia Tech university killed 33 including a suspected gunman.

There were two hours between the two separate attacks, the second of which saw 31 deaths, and students have asked why the campus was not locked down.

University officials defended their actions, saying they could not have foreseen the second incident.

President George W Bush said the US was "shocked and saddened" by the attack at the university in the town of Blacksburg, home to 26,000 students.

Motive unclear

Many unanswered questions remain about the attacks.

Police have still not said for sure that the two attacks were linked. They have confirmed that two handguns were recovered.

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Guardian Unlimited OnLine April 17 2007

Massacre on the campus April 17 2007

33 confirmed dead - Killer evaded police to strike again - New questions over gun law

Ed Pilkington, Andrew Clark, and Ewen MacAskill in Blacksburg

Police and university authorities in Virginia were under pressure last night to explain how a gunman, believed to be acting alone, came to kill two students in a university dormitory then evade detection for more than two hours before massacring a further 30 people and killing himself in the deadliest mass shooting in American history.

The carnage at Virginia Tech, a university with 26,000 students in a quiet country town in the south-west of the state, instilled horror and shock across the country. In the gruesome calculus of these events, it surpassed the previous bloodiest shooting of 23 people in Killeen, Texas, in 1991 and the incident that has become synonymous with America's record of mass killings, Columbine, where 12 students and a teacher died exactly eight years ago this Friday.

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Times OnLine April 17 2007

College killer trapped victims in classroom April 17 2007

Tim Reid in Blacksburg, Virginia, and Tom Baldwin

America witnessed its deadliest peacetime shooting massacre when a gunman killed more than 30 people yesterday at Virginia’s biggest university.

The first shots were fired in a dormitory at Virginia Tech at about 7.15am yesterday, killing at least two people.

Two hours later a gunman continued the rampage in an engineering classroom on the other side of the campus, killing 30.

A lone male, believed to have been responsible for the carnage in the classroom, later turned the gun on himself. Police said that they were still investigating the links between the shootings.

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Independent OnLine 'Indy' News April 17 2007

Massacre on campus: 32 students shot dead at American college April 17 2007

By Andrew Gumbel and Andrew Buncombe in Blacksburg, Virginia

A gunman rampaged across the campus of a large technical college in rural Virginia yesterday, killing at least 32 people in two separate locations before shooting himself in what criminologists said was the worst mass killing of its kind in American history.

The man, who was not immediately identified, began shooting at a dormitory in the early hours of the morning in what authorities at first assumed was a limited domestic dispute. Two hours later, he opened fire again, in a building housing Virginia Tech's engineering school, and this time he created carnage.

"All I saw was blood in the hallways," said Gene Cole, a cleaner at the building who saw a man with a hat on and holding a gun before fleeing along a corridor and down a flight of stairs.

Eyewitness reports suggested the gunman went from room to room, opening fire, seemingly at random. Several students and staff members jumped out of windows to escape. At least two faculty members were shot, one seriously, along with several dozen students. The number of injured is in double figures.

Some students suggested the gunman was a jilted boyfriend who tracked down and killed his former girlfriend first before rounding up his other victims. Many were outraged that they were not properly warned after the first incident. The university administration sent an email at around 9.30am, more than two hours after the incident in the dormitory and around the time of the second, more sustained shooting spree.

Read The Independent OnLine

BBC OnLine History April 17 2007

April 17 1961: Exiles invade Cuba at Bay of Pigs

Reports from Cuba say the island has been invaded by counter-revolutionary forces trying to overthrow the country's leader, Fidel Castro.

The only news coming out of Cuba is broadcast by the government-run radio station. All other communications with the island have been cut.

THe first landing is reported to have taken place in the early hours of this morning.

Broadcasts from Cuban government radio appealing for medical help indicate that the raiders have successfully penetrated 25 miles (40km) inland.

They appear to have come ashore on an area of the coast known as the Bahía de Cochinos, or Bay of Pigs, south-east of the capital, Havana.

There is no indication as to the size of the invasion force, but Dr Castro, in a speech on Cuban government radio, said they are supported by aircraft and warships.

"The glorious soldiers of the revolutionary army and the national militia are battling the enemy at all the points where they have landed," he said.

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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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