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Archive June 12 2007


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"The Big Issue"

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.



Twelve Step Fellowship

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.



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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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June 13 2007

Fix - Fear of Life DonInLondon ‘Day in the Life’

This element, of fixing things. Fixing me and people, places and things. All the fear of life revolves around fixing and looking the part and being the something you may relate to. Fixing often means we apply a plaster to a gaping emotional wound. I have had this emptiness inside for most my life, and it’s a real fear when we see the truth, that life is something we have feared almost from day one of living and breathing. Ego and bravery cover fear, its always there even when we don’t exhibit it.

The last few days have offered much food for thought, the problems can become indigestible and so we get stuck trying to resolve the issues and realise there is pretty much nothing we can do. A normal person in similar circumstance, well I wonder what a normal person might decide. They would probably be stoic and accept life is life. And then there is always a but, or not yet.

Housing issues are on my mind. Having found my housing details suspended on the council register last week, and the flap to make sure all paperwork has been handed in… Well I did that and everything seemed ok until yesterday, and found myself downgraded as a priority in a certain category. Which indeed is what has happened, but it’s a computer glitch and the department concerned have advised me there are many anomalies occurring.

So by tonight I felt reasonably safe, but not safe as my head can imagine the worst when there is nothing I may fear?

And on top of this I have an assessment with the Department of Work and Pensions medical people in a couple of weeks. This assessment last year left me feeling very disturbed and a challenge was made about my ethnicity and outlook on the world. A cruel and nasty suggestion from a doctor paid for by the government and the works and pensions department. And I feel powerless and concerned the same may happen again.

What can I do?

Well today I have arranged an appointment with my own Doctor a week ahead of the department of Works and Pensions, to understand the things I need tell the government assigned doctor. And also seek advice about what that Doctor may do and say to me. I hope he does not do as last year and call me names. Indeed I would prefer that this assessment was on camera and his questioning made clear and how they do their assessment.

But and yet - Fix

The problems are manifest, there are no ways to understand the process and fix myself so I may share the right information. So the best I can do is ask and ask and ask. Different questions to the right people. I realise already this is a process which disables both the Doctor assessing me and my responses to a narrow band of questions relating to physicality as well as mental health.

Fixing

I cannot fix a thing right now. And it seems powerlessness is the key. As is acceptance that this whole series of events feels overly complicated and overly managed to produce a particular result, and is not designed in any shape or form to help me and my recovery. But why should it?

Why should anything be designed to assist people to new endeavours, a little bit of security and being able to make a contribution to life?

As things are, the systems are there and they do whatever they must to make something happen. Often it leaves people in disarray and disorder and back in fear of life.

Fixing

I cannot fix any of this and need let go and let go, it’s the sanest thing to do. Even though I am not too sane most of the time and emotional upheavals and undermining processes are not easy to live through, well I am one of many, and we perish easy. And then the problem certainly does go away.

Fixing things Generally

When we can we do, and we are all good at fixing things on a day by day basis. Confronted with three elements of recovery has been a complicated process for me.

What works for me?

In recovery and making life work in the day, as an alcoholic in recovery, I see the world more real these days. Fear of life however is a continuous conundrum and sometimes its nice to reflect how easy it is to give up and become what I used to be. Simply mad.

I never enjoyed mad and became more and more unhinged in trying to fix myself. So fellowship and good conscience have helped me find a path. Not easy as we all can break down in a day, and find we need to start again. The truth is we have one day only in recovery, this one. So we try keep our feelings and thinking in the day.

Day by Day

I see how I am with type 1 diabetes, a self managed regime with a lot of support from my fellowship friends. Clinical depression is chemically assisted as well as professionally monitored and by me. Recovery a day at a time and the fellowship of AA has helped make life possible through awful times and breakdowns.

For me A Day At a Time

This is the key and when I project, I am powerless, and when I utilise my history, it keeps telling me to let go and move along and be whatever I may as life becomes more manageable. Well, maybe, sometimes.

Sometimes when overwhelmed I do break down and then ask for help from friends in fellowship. I try not to bother professionals least often simply because they are so unavailable. I have seen my GP once in a year, for example. And so it’s a novelty to go so her next week. And why? Because they have little time and no time for complicated as my situation is. Psychiatry and diabetic assessments are done in the hospital down the road from me. And in truth their reporting to my GP is limited.

Expert Patient

I truly am the only person who is really aware of the day by day, and to an extent anyone who reads my words has more insight to me than me and any professional I suspect. But there is an expert patient training course for some of us who have more than one or two things to contend with.

So I am concerned to give this a go, and then maybe it will help me and others, mainly professionals understand the simple truths of what someone like me does and lives with as a consequence of illness in my head and body.

Complications

The problem often with how the current medical support is divided up, by lottery and postal brick, by how far some professional has made good on their studies. Well, its all in the lap of some external force to me, and I am as powerless as can be over medical processes and assessments designed not to help me particularly.

Rush to End Games

We all rush to conclusions and find great satisfaction in comprehending and being in command of truth, hard facts, and our emotional understanding. And worst of all the prejudice of years in systems and processes where we are rewarded for and made more attractive by rewards for "Job Done"

Recovery: The job is never "job done"

Like life we must attend every day. As some of us do this without denials and filters of one kind or another, so too many utilise hard measures and some performance management techniques to their processes and professional standing is enhanced by quantity and rarely quality.

Quality of Life

Although I am now less able and have some drawbacks and incapacities, I realise my understanding of much of the fear in me has been solved. All I need now do is get over it! And just for a day or a lifetime? A day only is all I can reply at this moment.

Truth

Some things we cannot get over or change and put back the clock. Some things are profound and don’t go away. I am learning and seeing this day by day on a personal front.

Prejudice

I am learning a lot about prejudice and what people cannot deal with. As much as I deal with me, it’s a complicated, yet very simple plot to living by the day.

The prejudices experienced these last few years have been as humiliating as anyone may feel and now the humiliation is less on a day by day basis by me about me. At the same time I have grasped more of the fundamentals of life and living in this journey. Prejudice and Ego keep many in false prisons they feel happy regulating in their own delusions. And made easier through fear and lack of challenge and going with what has been abysmal and murderous on many who live on the edge of society, condemned and ridiculed for ailments not intended or realised until it was too late.

Acceptance

Is my key today, and as I may I will endeavour. I need not worry or feel less than or more than anyone else. Ego will destroy me as courage will save me by the day. And acceptance of life on life’s terms as prejudice exudes, and compassion is sometimes found, this is my key.

A day at a time




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Guardian Unlimited OnLine June 13 2007


Secret UN report condemns US for Middle East failures June 13 2007




Envoy's damning verdict revealed as violence takes Gaza closer to civil war

Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem and Ian Williams in New York

The highest ranking UN official in Israel has warned that American pressure has "pummelled into submission" the UN's role as an impartial Middle East negotiator in a damning confidential report.

The 53-page "End of Mission Report" by Alvaro de Soto, the UN's Middle East envoy, obtained by the Guardian, presents a devastating account of failed diplomacy and condemns the sweeping boycott of the Palestinian government. It is dated May 5 this year, just before Mr de Soto stepped down.

The revelations from inside the UN come after another day of escalating violence in Gaza, when at least 26 Palestinians were killed after Hamas fighters launched a major assault. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, head of the rival Fatah group, warned he was facing an attempted coup.

Mr de Soto condemns Israel for setting unachievable preconditions for talks and the Palestinians for their violence. Western-led peace negotiations have become largely irrelevant, he says.

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Times OnLine June 13 2007


Arthritis drugs offer fresh hope at a price June 13 2007




Nigel Hawkes, Health Editor

Tens of thousands of patients crippled by rheumatoid arthritis can expect dramatic improvements in their treatment with the arrival of a new class of “smart” drugs, scientists said today.

A study of three medications has shown that they can reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, the debilitating joint disease, by about 50 per cent. Experts say the drugs will help liberate many sufferers with severe disease from pain and allow them to lead a near-normal life.

However, doubts remain over patients’ chances of getting the new drugs, which have yet to be approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the government watchdog, and could add around £250 million a year to the NHS drugs bill.

Britain lags behind other European countries and the US in introducing new medicines. Drugs launched in the past five years, including this new class, make up 27 per cent of the bill for medicines in the US, 24 per cent in Spain, 22 per cent in France, but 17 per cent in the UK.

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Independent OnLine 'Indy' News June 13 2007


Simon Kelner: Would you be saying this, Mr Blair, if we supported your war in Iraq? June 13 2007



'Opinion and fact should be clearly divisible. The truth is, a large part of the media today not merely elides the two but does so now as a matter of course. In other words, this is not exceptional. It is routine. The metaphor for this genre of modern journalism is The Independent newspaper. Let me state at the outset it is a well-edited, lively paper and is absolutely entitled to print what it wants, how it wants, on the Middle East or anything else. But it was started as an antidote to the idea of journalism as views, not news. That was why it was called The Independent. Today it is avowedly a viewspaper, not merely a newspaper. The final consequence of all this is that it is rare today to find balance in the media.'

Tony Blair, Prime Ministerspeaking yesterday

Most days The Independent speaks for itself. We like to think that we do our little bit to make sense of an often bewildering world. But today is different: our editorial approach, and the values that underpin it, have come under attack from the Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

In a wide-ranging speech on politics and the media, he singled out this newspaper as a metaphor for the corrosive relationship between the public and the body politic, and on behalf of our journalists, and more particularly our readers, we felt it would be wrong to let his assertions go unchallenged. The Independent, he said, "is absolutely entitled to print what it wants, on the Middle East or anything else. But it was started as an antidote to the idea of journalism as views, not news. That was why it was called The Independent. Today it is avowedly a viewspaper, not merely a newspaper. The final consequence of this is that it is rare today to find balance in the media."

As the only representative of the multifarious British media mentioned by name, it's hard not to be flattered. Or, indeed, vindicated - our principled opposition to his policy on Iraq (or the Middle East as he quaintly put it: note he couldn't refer to Iraq by name) has clearly exasperated him. But that misses the point. We are unabashed about the way in which The Independent has evolved, although we would point out that this newspaper was not established as an antidote to the idea of journalism as views, but as an antidote to proprietorial influence and narrow political allegiance.

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BBC OnLine News June 13 2007

More 'chemical castrations' plan June 13 2007

Plans to offer more "chemical castrations" to serious sex offenders will be among a raft of measures set to be unveiled by the government.

Increasing provision of libido-reducing treatments forms part of a crackdown on paedophiles, sources told the BBC.

The government is also expected to let parents ask for information about people left unsupervised with children.

But after a year-long review, it is to stop short of allowing details of offenders to be more widely available.

Some of the most persistent sex offenders are already offered drug treatment, but Home Office sources say the review will propose increasing this provision, the BBC's Robin Brant reports.

But it will remain a treatment and not a punishment, and offenders will not be forced to sign up to it.

Convicted paedophiles might also be subjected to lie detector tests if there is a suspicion they are targeting children.

BBC OnLine Full Story




BBC OnLine History June 13 2007

June 13 1967: Moscow calls for UN action against Israel

The United Nations Security Council has rejected Soviet demands for an immediate vote on a resolution condemning Israel's aggression in the six-day war.

Moscow - which has close ties with Egypt - is also demanding the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Arab territories. It follows six days of fighting in which Israel has made advances on three fronts doubling the area of land it controls.

Israel says the attacks were launched to counter huge Arab troop movements along its borders

It has seized Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt in the south and the Golan Heights from Syria in the north.

It has also pushed Jordanian forces out of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The advances ended with ceasefires signed as Israeli troops were poised within striking distance of each of the respective capitals, Cairo in Egypt, Damascus in Syria and Amman in Jordan.

BBC OnLine Full Story






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Ghandi

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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