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The Big Issue Foundation's core ethos is self help. We offer support to homeless and socially excluded people who seek to gain control of their lives and help them move off the streets and into a home and a job.We work with over 2000 vendors across the UK, supporting them with a diverse program of opportunities either delivered through our own services or in partnership with specialist agencies. Each new vendor has a Needs Assessment, and from this an individual action plan is set, which is monitored in supervision sessions with support staff.

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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May 2007
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May 17 2007

Art of Living - DonInLondon ‘Day In the Life’

Its good to be in a fellowship meeting. I get to listen and then share when the mood takes me. Some people don’t really understand life and what its all about. And somewhere along the way of living, I too had a crisis and a place where life was unbearable. Why? I lost the plot completely.

I will write more on the Art of Living another night. But a question has been asked and I feel the need to share an answer. My answer is simply of the top of my head and is a gentle response and respectful.

The Question:

"Don, I enjoy watching your blogs. The web page above is for the site and their publication on anonymity. In this publication they modify the 11th tradition to include "all new media". I have been posting to the Anti-AA site as a recovering member of AA. Do you think it wise? Should recovering members be arguing the AA cause at this level? Cheers"
AA Website Tradition Link

Thanks for your words. I do understand what you are saying. And I am cautious about what Anonymity is about. Anonymity does serve on the two levels suggested. And I guess if there were any hierarchy in AA it would be enforced in some way. If AA had the status of organisation I might not be in AA. And if AA were to challenge me in some way about my conduct, well who can? My group? Or AA central? There is no central governing body of AA and anything AA "Headquarters" might put into print is on behalf of the Fellowship groups and fellowship members. There is no power in AA at any level above the AA group Conscience I have been led to believe.

The question of anonymity to protect some from the stigma of a disease is understandable. The concept of principles before personalities is also a good idea too. The key is in the paragraph:

"In stressing the equality of all A.A. members — and unity in the common bond of their recovery from alcoholism — anonymity serves as the spiritual foundation of the Fellowship. Back in 1946, Bill W., our co-founder, wrote: "The word ‘anonymous’ has for us an immense spiritual significance. Subtly but powerfully, it reminds us that we are always to place principles before personalities; that we have renounced personal glorification in public; that our movement not only preaches but actually practices a true humility."

I do not speak for AA on any matters at all, I speak for me and my recovery and my Journal is all about me and world events. It is illustrative and about my experiences and strength and hope. And merely share as do millions a blog about life and living. I share stories of life as it relates to me and my progress. And truthfully it makes no difference to me if people read it or view it. Its a personal biography.

I am not a spokesman for Alcoholics Anonymous

I do share AA does me good and does not harm me in any way. The absolute truth for me is everyone has their path, that is the traditions are there to keep us safe and sound. We are all equal in the fellowship and decide at group conscience level how groups of AA are run. As to a general service board or council having the right to interfere in an individuals recovery, and how they go about it, is a good question. And actually they cannot dictate a persons recovery, or they break the principles of the fellowship. The AA group is autonomous and the decision making at group level is then shared by the General Service Council. The Service counsel with respect to what they do, are simply the administrators of the fellowship, they are not in charge of it and they work on behalf of the fellowship. It is their service commitment. They are not leaders or spokespeople either, we don’t have any? Or do we? Maybe I am a bit simple, but why make it complicated?

I am happy there is no spokesperson and we don’t affiliate with anything. It would be unhelpful I feel.

There is only one tradition which need be applied to our affiliation to AA, that is anyone wishing to find a path in sobriety can be in the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. Spiritually there is no mileage in trying to utilise AA as a platform for personal gain. I would fail at living if I utilised what saved me from self destruction as a means to personal gains over other fellows in AA. I have no desire either to inflate my ego or anyone else’s ego in intent. In practice we are all judged by what we do and how we behave. We cannot escape others judgments or prejudice if they feel they have some grievance or judgment to put to us.

I prefer to live utilising faith courage, and confidence, self esteem if you like and share my message. I don’t enjoy reverting to fear, then bravery, because of fear and Ego because I am fearful and ego, can lead me to a completely horrible existence. But I do realise some may find it hard to know the difference if indeed they are able to differentiate. I am always mindful tho’ that the road to hell is paved with good intent. And I may be deluded about what is good for me.

As a fellowship we can describe our fellowship and how it works. Anonymity in this context serves the fellowship well. however as to personal anonymity, and personal conduct, we need to be careful and respectful of traditions and personal journey's in recovery. I need to be respectful of these traditions which keep me safe and right sized.

And ultimately its for me to judge my path with my mentor, and not interfere with anyone else’s recovery. The simple explanation of the twelve traditions and twelve steps of AA as published make me able to make my life work again. I don’t feel the need to alter one word of them. And I don’t know I have the energy to devote to challenge or being challenged on my spiritual path. No one can judge me and I cannot judge anyone in truth and in the fellowship. I may only judge what is good for me in good conscience with my guide, and most likely group conscience.

But if there is a "Bleeding Deacon" lurking( unfortunately they exist in and outside the fellowship by the way), they can challenge me as they will. I am better to mind my own business usually and seek guidance locally.

We work best flexibly and with the spirit of fellowship, as each finds their way in this very diverse global society. I have no desire to interfere with anyone’s else and their path, and remain respectful to traditions and steps in the twelve by twelve. As they are magnificent suggestions to me, they may be completely unhelpful to others. Live and let live. Keep safe and on a path which helps us to live our life in this very hard modern world.

Truthfully the more I understand my journey the more enthusiastic I am about the real traditions and real steps of recovery as written and suggested. I suggest we might update the language and understanding of the twelve steps and twelve traditions, so they reflect the true diversity and body of fellows in this big wide world. But you know what? They seem to work pretty well as they are and I have a life to lead as do others.

I am still a Novice

How my views change will reflect how I live and endeavour. The spiritual path is as clear as it may be, one day at a time. And there are far more people out there with more wisdom I may ever know in this life. And just for today I am sober, feel more enlightened and more able to get on with living.

I am just me, a single voice in the big world. And have no ambition to change anything but me and my attitudes as they are developed in a sober frame of mind and with a fellowship which keeps me safe.

Sharing experience strength and hope is a personal outlook and journey. How we do this? Well we all change over time. And I guess I will too. As life unfolds..

We are equal after all, when all is said and done.

More DonInLondon "A Day In The Life"

China Today

Guardian Unlimited OnLine May 17 2007

Russia accused of unleashing cyberwar to disable Estonia May 17 2007

Parliament, ministries, banks, media targeted - Nato experts sent in to strengthen defences

Ian Traynor in Brussels

A three-week wave of massive cyber-attacks on the small Baltic country of Estonia, the first known incidence of such an assault on a state, is causing alarm across the western alliance, with Nato urgently examining the offensive and its implications.

While Russia and Estonia are embroiled in their worst dispute since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a row that erupted at the end of last month over the Estonians' removal of the Bronze Soldier Soviet war memorial in central Tallinn, the country has been subjected to a barrage of cyber warfare, disabling the websites of government ministries, political parties, newspapers, banks, and companies.

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Times OnLine May 17 2007

Half of all A&E units marked for closure May 17 2007

David Rose and Philip Webster

Up to half of all hospital accident and emergency departments face cuts or closure under plans to improve patient care, presenting Gordon Brown with a massive dilemma as he takes over as Prime Minister.

Ninety-two out of 204 A&E departments are under threat if guidance attributed to the Department of Health by NHS trusts is followed, the Conservatives claimed last night.

Some NHS organisations are already using the guidance, which calls for A&E departments to serve a minimum population of 450,000 patients, to justify closures in smaller catchment areas. The average A&E unit currently serves just under 250,000 people.

But the plans are proving hugely unpopular, even though they have been promoted as in the interests of patients and NHS staff.

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Independent OnLine 'Indy' News May 17 2007 2007

Leading article: Why Tony Blair should go now May 17 2007

Gordon Brown secures Labour leadership, but Britain faces a six-week wait for its new PM

Gordon Brown's confirmation yesterday as the sole candidate for the leadership of the Labour Party after his only rival threw in the towel means that he will be the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. John McDonnell withdrew from the contest when it became clear that he could not muster the 45 nominations necessary to mount a challenge.

We would have preferred a full-blooded contest to decide Labour's next leader. Even a half-hearted contest in which the other participant was a token, left-wing challenger such as John McDonnell, would have been healthier for the party and the country than a coronation for Mr Brown. But the plain fact is that the Labour Party has been unable to put forward even a single challenger. And that raises an inescapable question: what are we waiting for?

A contest would have been an opportunity for Mr Brown to set out his policy stall to the British people. It would have been an opportunity for the Chancellor to tour the country listening to the concerns of the British public. It would have been a chance for us to evaluate the character of a still rather enigmatic man. But all that is irrelevant now. Mr Brown will be moving into 10 Downing Street.

In the event of a contest, there would have been a reason for Tony Blair to stay on as Prime Minister until a new leader had been formally chosen. But that reason has disappeared. Rather than waiting until 27 June to make the trip from Downing Street to Buckingham Palace to hand in his resignation, Mr Blair should hand over power to Mr Brown immediately.

It serves the interests of no one for Mr Blair to delay. It is hardly as if there is no important government business that needs to be transacted over the coming weeks. There will be two international summits at which important decisions over the future of Britain will be taken - a future in which, let us remember, Mr Blair will play no direct part. At the EU summit in Brussels, an agreement is likely to be forged over the future of the EU constitution. Then, at the G8 meeting in Heiligendamm the heads of state of all the world's richest countries will discuss acommon approach to climate change. Britain's new Prime Minister should represent us in both.

Read The Independent OnLine

BBC OnLine News May 17 2007

Brown awaits leader confirmation May 17 2007

Gordon Brown will be confirmed as Tony Blair's successor when nominations for the Labour leadership and deputy leadership close at 1230 BST.

The chancellor's only rival, John McDonnell, conceded after Mr Brown secured enough nominations from Labour MPs to stop him getting the 45 needed.

But Mr Brown will still take part in 10 hustings with the six MPs hoping to succeed John Prescott as deputy leader.

Mr Blair has said he will stand down as prime minister on 27 June.

Opportunity 'denied'

On Wednesday evening, Mr Brown received his 308th nomination, which Mr McDonnell, who was on 29, admitted made it "mathematically impossible" for him to reach the threshold required.

BBC OnLine Full Story

BBC OnLine History May 17 2007

May 17 1943: RAF raid smashes German dams

An audacious RAF bombing raid into the industrial heartland of Germany last night has wrecked three dams serving the Ruhr valley.
The attack disrupted water and electricity supplies in a key area for the manufacture of Germany's war munitions.

The Secretary of State for Air, Sir Archibald Sinclair, called the raid "a trenchant blow for victory".

"None of us had any idea what this project was; we were just given instructions to construct and modify various items. The head of this program was Dr Barnes Wallis."

People's War memories

The mission, known as Operation Chastise, has been planned for months.

The crews were specially selected for the job, and have been training in absolute secrecy.

The bombs themselves were invented specifically for the task by the aircraft engineer Dr Barnes Wallis, the designer of the Wellington bomber.

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Archive May 16 2007

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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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