From the words last year, when I was still pretty raw with new incapacities, it was hard to share my story. When we share our life experience in AA we share our experience strength and hope. Last year I felt like the hope was less, the strength somewhat feeble and the experiences just seemed to be more bad news and then more bad news.
A good start and getting a few things sorted and admin, making sure all my details are up to date with those who need to know.
I was approached by a TV media company about sharing my videos on one of their channels. When it came to understanding the purpose and what they were about, I was concerned. The you tube videos are really about making life work and keeping in recovery from incapacities experienced. And also my feeling with the videos on you tube is they are for people to watch if they are looking for recovery. I never really thought of them as anything else. So I will post them to you tube. A personal view of recovery might easily be mistaken for something else, and that would make me feel very awkward indeed.
By lunchtime my head was cloudy and not so happy. I had a couple of calls and felt stretched trying to help friends. Then to do updates to my web sites, computer repairs and also offering support and suggestions to another with issues not in their control.
So by lunch I went off to St Jude’s to an AA meeting. I biked to St Jude’s, and sat and listened to wise words and felt better for being in company.
Rather than go home and feel more isolated I went off on a ride into the centre of town, took photos and found some scenes of interest to me.
And then home for a wash and brush up. And then to a meeting tonight.
I feel better for two meetings, I don’t know why I felt dislocated and quite miserable earlier, its fatigue I suspect. And the Sun helped. And also spending time with my Sister tonight.
My days have been so full recently and the pressure I have put on myself to keep routines and outlooks to the good, can work against me. I need slow down as mental fatigue is a real issue always for me.
Being in a meeting and not the focus of anything I just feel better. Last year this day and tomorrow I had been asked to do "chairs." Chairs are for us to share our experience strength and hope. And in expression we are hoping we feel better as the world knows our truth. Last year they made me feel pretty unhappy, and drained and lost somewhere. This year I am ambivalent, sometimes I feel better other times less so. The crushing depressions of last year are less than, just for now.
So tomorrow I am to do a chair in the evening. With luck it will be good to share. I am nearly at the end date of my year in recovery writings. Where next?
More of the same maybe as it seems cathartic, but I feel some other media or form may be better. And the content may change as my attention focuses on new vistas.. It was a good day today.
August 10 2006
Let’s Talk [ principal speaker - doing a chair]
Its about me! When we speak as the "chair" its all about me..
Now a few hours after talking how am I feeling? I feel no different to before talking in the sense there is no elation and no feeling of burdens removed. Its been a lesson I guess to share some things with other fellows. And its done nothing for how I feel. I wonder if this is ok, or there may be some delayed reaction, or maybe I have missed something along the way.
Talking in public, well nearly I guess, an open fellowship meeting and on the spot to discuss how I deal with my moral inventory. A moral inventory, of me. I am wondering how many times I have done this already and reflect the times spent in therapeutic process. I don’t know how much more there is to say about my moral inventory. I have taken my own inventory so often over the years and examined with professionals all elements of conduct. I know my faults and where they occur, that they are reactions to situations where there is danger and obvious alarm, and how to respond rather than react. Maybe this has delayed relief as promised from those in the know about sharing and doing the chair at meetings. And yet I knew there would be no spark of anything in particular.
Maybe the burdens have been carried and discarded. Maybe other process has been utilised in order to free my mind of obsession around my conduct. Maybe I have already discerned my part in my past, and maybe its enough to share as much honesty and truth as I can muster without overburdening feelings other than the moment I share. Maybe I have learned a few things along the way. Or maybe I am so far in denial cannot see the truth? I suspect cynical readers may subdue those feelings if they knew my insides out.
And so to speaking in a group, no old fears or new ones and no relative shocks to the system as fear was not my key. Fear as before, and then years as the actor delivering this and that. And now a more authentic share with less the actor and more me. And still I cannot discern relief or burdens or anything other than trying to share honestly. And I still challenge my ability to be honest. it’s a real difficult thing. To keep on sharing old news and maybe a bit of new news.
And there were noises off, disturbances from other parts of the building, I was wondering if others were concerned, it seemed some had. I did not hear the disturbance. Anyway its done now. And the worry I had over the event, it seems was no bigger or smaller than anyone speaking with a subject they know well, themselves and their inventory.
I guess when we have had opportunity to deal with much of what we are, when we have been analysed inside out by professionals and been therapeutically processed over and over, doing it again for others to hear is just the sharing of knowledge. But I know I am far from perfect in my behaviour overall, and much is there to resolve in future conduct and amends to make when time permits and no hurt to inflict.
In other times I imagine this would have been a pivotal moment. Not so now. I have been through all this so many times before. But I do ask myself what have I learned from sharing.
Well first was preparation was limited to understanding the context. And listening to others who are longer around in the fellowship. And doing what is suggested. I did what was suggested and approached sharing without a script, just enough to place a framework and try keep on track with the moral inventory.
And of course the good news with something like this is the feedback. And my careful listening to how others shared back to me their experiences helped me understand the context of my next steps in the recovery programme.
More so in recent months I realise that through osmosis we move to acting and behaving differently. We become aware of where we were and how we are now, and painfully we recognise where others are too in their recovery process. It is cathartic and with a neutral balance when others relate, it is easier to understand the journey I have been taken from a broken wreck, to more pleasant and balanced individual. And as I relate, becoming better at honest sharing. And this honest sharing is difficult, it needs care, for without due care and attention we might hurt others as our story unravels into theirs. No amelioration of truth, at the same time putting the share across in words which enable enlightened movement in thinking rather than disablement of listening and staying the same. I am aware of these things, and still err on the honest share.
I feel flat actually as if the process has worked and still there is so much more to do. An action programme for sure. And more levels to explore, as time permits. When and where? As time permits…
Some things become obvious and some things are relevant to me, associations in the fellowship so easy to fall into, and so easy to feel others weight upon my shoulders. And these things I take with great care and realise association can be helpful and a real hindrance too. I am my own man at last and need no other trying to offer a hand, or lend me to their needs and desires for fulfilment. There is much projection and sadness around and still waters are not that deep in the fellowship as angry voices make their presence felt. And softer ones need more listening to hear their truth along the way. We need compassion and care for sure. And not take inventory of others. As we are apt to do.
Maybe this is my big learning and the learning from the meeting, about inventory of others. Knowing others and what they say, and hearing their words we can rush to judgments. And the judgments may be correct or erroneous, it is not for me to explore too far, I am not their analyst in fact, although I see the need and so realise I need take care of me, and keep clear my goal in this programme of recovery.
The bridge to modern living. Or just a bridge to get back to being ordinary in an ordinary world. Well it seems there is a price to pay. And that is hearing where others are still looking for that bridge and still are focussed deep within on matters of the inventory. And that inventory, they seek clarity and its written large and easy to see as denial is fading in some and growing in others where the writing on the wall is so small it cannot be made out at all. Denial plays a key role in saving many for as long as it takes to face more openly the imbalances of where nurture has taken us and nature has been distorted from its opportunity to make good on what we have.
Good conscience, my forever friend. Well now, back with me again, and missed for many a long year. I am sad good conscience got lost along the way of living and things have taken longer than maybe I might have wished. But not right now. For this is the real world where things will run their course and we get opportunity and time if we have the luck to make on our good conscience. Or we die without opportunity to see the reality of where we are.
Our active programme where we get to find our balance in this world…
To some extent we do. And even when we face some other challenges like me. I did something good I see. I shared the truth of all my current maladies. The conditions which are part of me. Two diseases one of mind and one of body, well they know now, what it means for me plus being in recovery. Not the details for that would take another thousand years and still provide no real understanding.
As was commented on my way home by another fellow as we walked, if we don’t experience the actual conditions others have, how can we possibly understand completely what it means to deal with life on life’s terms as they are. And my fellow companion is right, which is why we best keep to our own recovery and not to judge others too harshly as they make their steps to that bridge to modern living.
And yes progress and not perfection is the key.
I am sad as some things will never change, and as we fellows gather, all manner of inventorial matters become illuminated as we speak and share our journeys altogether. The harshness and the guts of us spills out for all to see.
I am reminded of my father and all he learned as life was given and given harshly to him. He said some words which resonate more now than ever. And maybe these words can only be understood with time served living.
His words to me about how we value others along our life and journey. These words were shared just before he died, and applied to himself as much as anyone on his conduct in living, and also to me and how others and I treated each other.
Dad said he wondered greatly how he had treated my mother. And used three words to sum up how he measured his conduct. Three words for him to apply to himself and loving. The first was &;, and then two harsher words to apply with judgment, superficiality and indifference. And Dad judged himself hard at the end of his life. And I cannot deny his judgment of himself, although I tried to abrogate his judgment, he did not flinch at all.
And I realise these measuring words for him helped me see the way I had been treated back then in a relationship so dear it near killed me. At the time I would have preferred to die I know now, and did my best to drink out my pain in oblivion. And then Dad died too, and that was most likely the worst double hit for me in my life so far for there is more no doubt. And the ending of a partnership, where I now know &my girl; and love back then, she needed to move away from me. And his death too in weeks. Those were painful days. And grieved for years. I recognise her need to part company now, as I always did even before she left, but back then love played its way to obsession and far worse feelings as grief made sure my dark was deep.
And as any madman driven to insanity by love lost, applying dreadful judgments on my conduct and that of others made for a devil in disguise as I plundered living and made my way to more grief as the years ensued. I never knew how to deal with those nasty shocks, not matter what I knew of anything to do with human doings.
And living through those times and better able to apply the tools my father used, they need only apply to me and not to others as indeed the journey we all live is ours. We can apply our tools of learning to ourselves and when we embark on judgment of others we might be best served and desist as soon as reaction sparks us to that alert, and respond with better care than anger surely will deliver where others are yet to find their path similar or not to mine.
So the sharing has offered others a view to living towards a more balanced outlook, my experience is their knowledge learned of me, the journey is their own.
And as to hope…
I hope I have learned in all these years some balance and some understanding how I may find the real me. And that is a lifetime goal, a day at a time for me. We think its simple as were are driven along by events and circumstances. Others realise early in life their goals, and me I am a bit long in the tooth, and yet I realise with just enough clarity, my journey a day at a time provides much sustenance for an injured soul like mine.
My hope is better understanding of humanity and our good conscience to a better way of life, where we do enrich and enable each other to become our true selves as time permits and nature intended. And with nurture and our devils brew of living today, we can merely make this day work towards our spiritual growth and connection to the moment and the ever present, present.
And be aware for our drift to ego along the way. In ego’s drift many a fine body and soul resides in splendour and maybe a happy ignorance of other ways to live. All I need mind today is my journey and how I conduct myself along the way and leave judgment applied in care and trust to just one soul and that is my own. And nurture where and when I can through sharing what I learn along the way, so challenged and debated openly, no perfect answer ever need apply to you and me.
And I know with clarity, there will be times when anger spills and rhetoric made, will spit with venom and then subside to let it pass as time permit’s the human mind to grip the darkness we need experience, or there will be no enlightenment to share.
Light and dark we make good our way to balance, and our journey just one day to live, and start afresh as we are able. Progress not perfection, and forgiveness comes with change, where true acceptance makes life work and not a gift from sanctimony to our fellows as good conscience finds its way …
In future when asked to share as chair, I will accept as asked and not say no as a default stance. And with due diligence make good that task, with reservations to my personal needs and others who may be there, be careful and with balanced view keep faith with good conscience in my mind.
Intent for sure and then I will endeavour where I can to make good as time permits in good conscience…