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.
AA Step Change For Human Beings
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.
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.
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.
We British people are
not so good with gratitude. We can feel it and it makes us feel deeper emotions sometimes we have lost touch with as we get more mature in years. There have
been tears from me today as things unfolded over the day. This morning reading some of my post from readers of the blog, and also news from family and
support. Between both I am humbled and grateful. And this I do mean sincerely as the words are described. Love is what we need and love is what we fear
losing most in this world.
Its always been one of my hardest battles, to accept help or any sort of praise for anything really. And it still feels hard to cope with the feelings I
now get as do all normal people as daily events unfold. Seeing the world as is and how it used to be makes me realise the journey to sobriety has been worth
the torment and struggle. Most people don’t make it into sober life without grudges or some self hate, unless they get help and understanding.
Help And Understanding
I decided to pop down the road a mile or two in the rain on the bicycle to see my Mum. I had shared some of the words sent and she wanted to understand
more about what I was doing with the writing each day. It was good as always to see her and you know we are forgetful so often how much parents do, have done
and how much wisdom they have to share if only we had been able to listen! Well these days I do.
I hope we came to an understanding about the nature of addiction and how impossible it is without the right support to get a person on anywhere near the
road to recovery. And another point was manifest.
Blame Shame and or Guilt
For anyone close to an addict the sheer destructive force of addiction comes home as the person with and those helping get to realise the horror of this
illness. An illness it is of the mind and body. No amount of help seemed ever to help and no amount of promises to give ever yielded one shred of success.
These things we learn hardest first hand. And the torment is immense.
There is no blame, shame or guilt because even if we know we have gone too far, we cannot stop once the malady is manifest. The alcoholic is despairing as
much as those who love them, and no amount of self will ever seems to make a dent in the return to drink in my case or drugs in others.
I hope today my Mother can accept she had never done the wrong thing, or dropped me on my head or had in any way caused this malady in me. Indeed both
nature and nurture are confounded by this awful illness. It comes and never goes away. And is not the fault of anyone at all after the first sample has been
Reservations about such a bold statement?
If we cannot blame ourselves how then do we apportion blame? The answer is there may be patterns of life which lead to fear and awful emotional states.
The truth is some work themselves through and understand that life happens and there is no rhyme reason or blaming to be done. What needs to be done is
healing and growing out of whatever hardships have happened.
There is no road map to life and there is no set of instructions to keep a person on track.
The torment in all this is often our self will trying to get out of the problem and getting more stuck. The greater the self will the harder it seems to
me to let go and let fellowship or indeed love find a way to help a person find time and effort to grow all over again.
As time has gone by
I might have wondered whether nature or nurture had caused me so hard a time. And all the truth I have points to depression being a big factor for years
and years, and utilising alcohol as a means to damp down all feeling and become more and more reliant on coping strategies like more drink and working harder
and harder till I cracked up.
The gap inside
That gaping wound of life not understood, filled with anything to take away the tremendous emptiness. Alcohol causes it to grow and any fix will do as we
become more and more alienated from true feelings and the truth of life. Hard boiled and immune to our feelings, then alcohol rips us wide open and the
depths just go deeper and deeper into black and dark times.
I hope my Mother does understand that she and my Father are not the agents of this malady in me. It was nature and my gap inside, my way of coping. And in
this truth I feel acceptance for life is always on life’s terms.
Blame has no place in my recovery these days. And actually what I learn most is how I react or respond and have better tools and wisdom developed along
Even in a simple meditation, accept those things I cannot change (anything, people places and things) and change the things I can, me and my
Its been pretty full on today and tonight. As we listen in fellowship meetings to experience strength and hope, we hear our own story over and over. And
of course we hear the ways to deal with, the wisdom of the years in others and the truth of living in the day.
Physical Emotional and Spiritual Progress
Comes in daily doses I find today and tonight. Hearing another’s story makes me feel just right and accepting of everything.
Is a word we only get to truly understand through experience of living.
I am certainly in a good space tonight, and simply feel a good deal of help has been worth the effort. Just for today, and hopefully another day..
Cycling home tonight
I saw a friend, a psychiatrist walking along the path, I waved and smiled as did he. One day we may discuss all this over a cup of tea. I would like that.
I wonder if he has my number. I guess not today and I have lost his some time back. We never know where and when and happenstance and chance connections..
Life rolls on.
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
- - Shakespeare
May 30 2007
A reply to an email sent, one of a number today.
[ Hi and Thank You
a heartfelt thank you. Seems the world tells me and you in particular on this cloudy Wednesday morning, that its worth it to keep the blog going.
It gets quite rough sometimes and the strength of fellowship helps with most elements of life encountered. I appreciate beyond words what you say and the understanding you have from experiences over the years.
Some things you mention touch home and make me recognise the path some take is without conscious thought. I know my fate was sealed in early teenage years as I learned my living. There is no blame ever these days for how life has turned out, especially for family and the times lived. I see the door open in my mind's eye, the weight of life on my shoulders and already dependent, the half hearted forgetfulness we have when we open the genie in the bottle.
No matter what anyone might have said, and the number of occasions in the 35 years of drinking I can count on one hand when anyone suggested I drank too much.. I was hiding my secret of course and like a man blind to self knowledge I saw it in everyone else. And not me. A tough outside and broken inside. Coping as one can with extreme living, we need find the highest mountain to climb and fall into an abyss of exhaustion. Material success and so much more blighted the sensitive one inside me. And I guess in the final years where everyone expressed their concern, was when I had no power to stop. A cocktail of abject depression, drink and a strong desire for oblivion haunted every step. I had to lose everything material and anything spiritual to see the ghastly truth of ruin. Rock bottom.
Without doubt nothing stops the alcoholic or their behaviour. We are driven and in denial. Your resolute and open mind saw the danger, and accepted the warning. A gift indeed. And one I expect we all have. The choice of path I guess is what lies beneath truth and honesty.
Whether its nature or nurture is not the real issue for me or most who get to recovery. Its simply how to live and love life, people places and all elements of our world.
For you to share and be kind and take the time to write says so much about you. And the good news is you and those close are gifted with love compassion and understanding learned from life. We may be powerless over everything, at the same time love helps the sensitive soul listen and recover their sensibilities. Hope is never lost, merely buried until eyes can open and clarity is sharp enough to accept truth.
I guess where children are concerned, I don't have any so I am guessing it can so frustrating. As we develop into adulthood, our capacity for risk is greatest as life opens Pandora's Box. Like any Treasure chest, life offers so much and we can be so easily beguiled by self will and confidence which can be so easily turned to ego and fear, and of course secrets. Secrets keep us in the deep of silent endeavour to the good or less so.
We can share what we know and then as we humans are so designed we make choices through informed eyes or with filters as we push against the grand design of life and ego wins the day.
Hope is back, the only element not lost from the box of ancient times, for me and your words today will carry me along, so timely and so appreciated,
with best regard]
May 30 2007
Authentic - DonInLondon ‘Day In the Life’
For me authentic means not false or copied, something genuine and original, as opposed to being a fake or reproduction. Qualities include, trustworthy, shown to be true and honest. And in a human context, validated, valid because all necessary obvious truths are apparent.
Can we call ourselves Authentic? It can be so difficult to see ourselves in any context, let alone authentic and unique.
I do have a belief, and belief is the foundation of this, that all humans are similar and at the same time we have our authenticity, we are experiencing life as life is for us. We can have similar outlooks and experiences and yet depending on mood and time in the life of a person, we can view each encounter in life differently and get our own personal and unique take on a world brimming with experiences of nature and providence.
We have so much to learn we can forget so often the impact and nuance of different times and places. I guess this is why we hear and see the world the way we do as life enables. There are no short cuts to living, we cannot fix our outlook, we grow into our outlook and its just ours.
Books, imagination, our life experiences impact on how we live and view living. And we are drawn to imagine and see fantasy as much as we see and experience this whole reality before us.
As we get to be good at living, knowing the truth and being open to new experiences, we can be almost child like in wonderment. Indeed if we are so lucky we relish each day as it materialises before us.
Points of Similarity
Thank Providence and Nature for everything we have today. Our feelings and emotions, our understandings and our confusions. We need everything and all we can muster to make sense, to enjoy and to feel sad as life offers both the good and bad. Life is life.
Sometimes we have a fairly ordinary period where nothing is out of the ordinary and we can get along happy and free maybe. Then the world turns and can throw great joys our way and also the opposite which evoke periods of sadness.
The breadth of our appreciation of all things human, and of Nature and Providence are so diverse one lifetime is never enough to complete our appreciation of all this world would or may offer.
A good day being in the company of so many people I know in fellowship. Some of the time outside meetings and more in the meeting tonight.
Learning is truly forever as we go along and the world makes us focus where we have interest and often self interest. We can be overwhelmed and so focussed we see little beyond our borders or interests.
As this world is closer through all forms of communication, the big wide world is in most every living room and on the TV or some form of media. We absorb so much it is like a stream of consciousness seeing the world as it is, and we the people in it. We see the good and the bad. We watch imagined stories and we watch truth as it unfolds.
We are not stuck for learning these days. We are often overloaded and adrift in a sea of confusion which only time may help us resolve. And we forget and forget.
Something close to my living is never forgetting how life can take a dive and a dip into nothingness and then to reclaim is a complete start from scratch. Starting over for me and others in my fellowship is often the making of us as we were quite broken down and lost.
Forgetting is not really on the agenda of us humans really. But we do and add and embellish our lives and living.
We have our war stories and our successes and somewhere behind some denials inside us are our less than successful moments, failures if you like. Failings are not so easy to understand unless we get context and understanding. It happens that when we can face both the inside of us and share it authentically we find we are not so different overall, although our unique outlook is ours.
After a trip to an after session I discovered so many things I have been considering had already been accomplished.
I hope I remain in this fellowship one day at a time for as long as I have my faith, courage and confidence to find the real me. And at the same time I am finding the path is well trodden around the step programme and how to make it work a day at a time.
I have no idea of how many alcoholics there are in the world, a mere fraction ever see or understand AA as a fellowship. And that is as it may be. Its not an organisation or anything really but a fellowship.
After the aftercare meeting and mention of the 12 steps for Agnostics, I have found the next 12 steps for Buddhists. And no doubt if I go looking I’ll find some more twelve steps around the world too.
Authentic we are, our similarity in AA? Well yes there is one prime one, we are all alcoholic and trying to find our path, and the bridge to modern living. I keep looking for more inclusive versions of the steps, even though I have no problem with the original ones. In essence the similarities are fundamental and then each person gets their life back and gets on with it.
Our reason for meetings and unity is the strength we get from sharing wisdom, sharing what life is like. A Fellowship where I feel at home, which is inclusive, can be what we make of it, and is open for anyone with a desire to stop drinking or in modern vernacular "self harming."
It bit up and down in my own head, and mulling over the right things to do. A time of tolerance and love, forgiveness and at the same time not going back to old behaviour and not opening up doors better left closed.
The longer we have it, the greater the wisdom, the greater the happiness and the greater the sorrow. Let go we must or we head back to the darkness.
Its opposite and I thank a friend from years back who said it, is mirrored by "endarkenment" a word not in common use made up some ten years back or more? I cannot recollect but it sounds and feels right for me, its meaning complete as the light is to dark. We need both to understand the difference as we may and life affords.
May 29 2007
Fellowship DonInLondon ‘Day In The Life’
Blimey I was just going to write a whole page about fellowship and then the phone rang! A fellow and we have just finished having a long conversation about the meeting tonight. Which was all about tradition eight, that AA is not an organisation and is non professional and employs just enough people to keep the whole admin side and service offices open and manned.
So what does this mean? That we are all becoming gifted amateurs? Well yes indeed we are, getting more able to keep sober one day at a time. For someone who is not an alcoholic its almost impossible to understand what makes a person lose control and not be able to stop self harming. So many people see the results of alcoholism as so destructive they feel alcoholics are the lowest of the low. What many don’t understand is an alcoholic has an illness they have no power over and they are stuck in drinking to oblivion and early expiration, that is death.
So in our fellowship we see a lot of people making life work and a lot of people who try to get sober and don’t. Some people die, in truth a lot more people die of alcohol related incidents and ailments than many would wish. There is always a reluctance to admit the death of a person might have been due to drink. And even now people find it hard to admit and accept their drink problem.
After everything else failed me, and I failed to stop drinking, I went to AA. Not because I wanted, I was probably so depressed and ill I would have preferred to die. And that would have been it for me. When we don’t exist anymore we can hurt can we? Or can we?
I don’t know the answer to that question or can offer a suitable guide book to the after life. But this life is the only one I have. And having found I am still alive now is a surprise to me and actually the surprise is a few years from those suicidal times, I can get good days and be sober and be happy on a daily basis.
Well we are certainly not that. Well not all the time. And we deal with every issue any human can imagine as we get sober and a way to live without filters and without that horrid compulsion to get out of reality and into oblivion.
So we rarely have total happy "clappiness," very often its more like unhappy "crappiness" . And what we do is talk it all out as we may.
In our fellowship we have people from every walk of life, from every profession, from every hue and imagined difference. We have this one thing which keeps us solid and in fellowship, simply keeping sober by the day.
Around our one aim we have so much, experience of life, good and bad, awful and wonderful, we can relate and share our path to sobriety and what we learned along the way.
We are a University of Living
A strange way to describe it and not sure some may agree, yet the most important part of all this is we have fellowship, genuine concern to be helpful and we learn and share and support.
Why does it work?
As a fellowship we keep our choices, no one is above another. Unless of course you choose it so. And few want to be in charge of anything, as it spoils the process of self awareness and making good choices to live sober.
If AA were an Organisation with all the paraphernalia of structure goals objective and all that organisations require, what would happen? No longer a fellowship, now a power in itself, AA would fold and pack up. Simply it cannot be made more than a fellowship, or it fails to support people getting their personal choices of living...
So as discussed tonight the truth is fellowship where people decide how to live as best they can in all their different communities, and to a good way of life comes from good choices made soberly and over time.
AA is not a fix
If anyone wants to be fixed from alcoholism, its never going to work? We can never say never. What we can say even to someone like me who has been to deaths door and found it open, there is hope and a chance. Hope is often our last refuge, and then lost. And as we may feel lost and that life can get no worse, then sometimes we can find a path back with fellowship. And then life can get even worse and we deal as we can with a sober head rather than us being lost then dead! We just learn to live as we can with every adversity any normal person deals with too.
Is fellowship and every human endeavour we can find to help us into recovery. My story and sober living is now supported with the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. On the way and keeping me alive one way or another, a family who care, professionals and medical services who saved me in spite of me. I am no different to many who face this plight and the descent into living tortures we cannot get out of quickly or fix.
We cannot measure human endeavour in this dreadful conundrum of addiction. As we and AA matures and people learn more through life experience, the fellowship will seem different and will develop as society understands all that mankind can do. And we will still end up in addiction its part of us and we need recognise it. Long term recovery is simply done a day at a time and never done in one day. The truth will set us free, and truth is ephemeral never eternal as we are forever moving as life changes and the world turns…
Iran and US see 'positive' steps in first formal talks since hostage crisis of 1980 May 29 2007
Tehran urged to stop arming Iraqi militia - Qomi proposes trilateral forum to discuss security
Ewen MacAskill in Washington
The US and Iran finally broke the ice yesterday to hold their first formal talks since Washington broke off diplomatic ties in 1980 during the embassy hostage crisis.
Against a background of renewed international tension, with the US conducting large-scale war games in the Gulf, the two sides met in Baghdad for discussions described by both as "positive". Iran held out the prospect of a further meeting within the next month.
European countries, as well as doves inside the US administration, had been pushing for years for President George Bush to engage in direct diplomacy with Iran. The US ambassador, Ryan Crocker, met his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, for four hours. Previous attempts to hold direct talks had to be abandoned in the face of opposition from hardliners in Tehran and Washington.
Thousands of buy-to-let families face tax shock May 29 2007
The taxman is preparing to clamp down on tens of thousands of buy-to-let property owners who may not have paid enough tax, The Times has learnt.
HM Revenue & Customs has identified 80,000 landlords who may have claimed too much tax relief or have failed to declare the amount of rent they receive from the property, or a capital gain made on the sale of the property.
The Revenue can claw back unpaid tax from as far back as six years, which means that some of those who have bought properties to rent or are letting their own home could face tax bills so large that they may have to sell their property.
It also has the power to impose penalties, which can reach the same value as the unpaid tax bill, and charge interest on the sum
Human rights in Iraq: a case to answer May 29 2007
Revealed: How Lord Goldsmith advised Army chiefs to deny detainees 'full' legal protection
By Robert Verkaik, Law Editor
The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, is facing accusations that he told the Army its soldiers were not bound by the Human Rights Act when arresting, detaining and interrogating Iraqi prisoners.
Previously confidential emails, seen by The Independent, between London and British military head-quarters in Iraq soon after the start of the war suggest Lord Goldsmith's advice was to adopt a "pragmatic" approach when handling prisoners and it was not necessary to follow the " higher standards" of the protection of the Human Rights Act.
That, according to human rights lawyers, was tantamount to the Attorney General advising the military to ignore the Human Rights Act and to simply observe the Geneva Conventions. It was also contrary to advice given by the Army's senior lawyer in Iraq, who urged higher standards to be met.
Today, rights groups and experts in international law will call on the Government to disclose Lord Goldsmith's legal opinion, which they say could have helped create a culture of abuse of Iraqis by British soldiers.
Last month, the first British soldier convicted of a war crime was jailed for a year and dismissed from the Army after being convicted of mistreating Iraqi civilians, including the hotel worker Baha Mousa, who died of his injuries at the hands of British soldiers. In 2005, three British soldiers were jailed by a court martial in Germany after "trophy" photographs emerged, showing Iraqi detainees being abused at an aid centre called Camp Bread Basket. There are about 60 more allegations of abuse being prepared for legal claims by rights groups.
Last week, Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights wrote to the Government to ask for an "explanation" about the evidence of torture in the Baha Mousa court martial.
Andrew Dismore MP, chair of the committee, said: "We have asked the Ministry of Defence to explain what appear to be stark inconsistencies in the evidence presented to our committee about the use of inhuman and degrading interrogation techniques prohibited as long ago as 1972."
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.
Don In London Progress Not PerfectionDonInLondon London Times Don Oddy DonInChelsea London Times
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