And I am told we are sure who is responsible. And I am sure Bin Laden being a terrorist will be happy to accept responsibility even if he were not the one behind the action. Terrorism has achieved its goal, to inflict fear and narrow freedoms in our societies. And the reaction, where the richest nations bomb the poorest to flush out the terrorists hiding behind a barbaric regime of repression, stirs moderate Muslim Nations and Western liberals to horror and consternation. Me too, war rarely achieves anything but more war and tragedy.
I wrote recently: how can you negotiate with a fanatic? How can you change the mind of another pledged to martyrdom in the name of their cause? The view of America is clear and potent, a war on mass terror. If we sat in the ruins of Kabul, a child or a woman what would we make of this world and the sense of all the bombs falling? If we were a Taliban warrior how would we feel about the creation of so many martyrs in the eyes of God?
I do not know what is right or wrong for others who have experienced first hand terrorist acts. I do know as bombs fall and winter draws in millions may die if we continue action unchanged. Who will stand to account for these deaths, who will claim their moral code is secure? Everyone of course. The lessons of history teach us clearly, modernity, the growth of prosperity and knowledge liberalises secular life and frees religion to take care of faith and not be the controller of mankind.
It is easy for me to draw many comparisons from history. The bombing of London by the IRA, where I lived and still live, did not lead to the British Government going to war on terrorism by bombing Dublin or Eire, it would be seen as barbaric. We should take care how we proceed and think with care and prudence. We should think hard how we move nations forward together especially when we go to war.
I still don't know how we should go forward, is there anyone we should consult or ask? Is there anyone we have left out when listening, and through whoís eyes are we viewing these moments in history? The answers are obvious of course. The answers are unacceptable for they would lead to amelioration and a recognition that blame lies at no particular door and certainly not at one door. Have we as nation states lost our maturity of government and in particular our compassion as United Nations? Time will tell and history will reflect on current actions.
Writing a diary. I am still not sure in my own thoughts why I feel the need to write. I don't know if this will turn into a daily event or a sporadic and undisciplined addition to my website. I like to think I have the determination to put down my thoughts about what is happening in my world and the world in general.
This is a time of turmoil and a worldwide threat of violence caused by recent anarchic and barbaric activities of a handful of individuals. We now have events of terror, taking away fragile stability. Nation states split by religion and differences, hard to comprehend to modern minds and democracy. A huge misunderstanding by secular political thinking, driving a wedge between capitalism and religious fundamentalism.
Wars for decades waged in the poorest of countries, Afghanistan its epicentre this time. Bin Laden and Taliban, the so called terrorists, and the focus for revenge of the most powerful nation on the planet. Thousands dead at ground zero, the Twin Towers
And as the war on terror is progressed, so too large nations are destabilising as religious fundamentalist groups gain support as we in the west trample full tilt over the civil rights of innocents in the name of justice and righteous thinking.
I am appalled at the events sparked off by ill conceived and immature postures struck out of grief, or out of national pride? There is little doubt about the pain inflicted on America, it is not right. Nor is it right to hold ground zero as a separate and unique event to justify the prosecution of the current war. It did not happen in isolation and was a result of history which cannot be revised. I forget who said "revenge is a meal best eaten cold". To beat a country to a pulp and then reward who is left with support, and what kind of support is yet to be determined...
September 11th 2006
Peace, Harmony and Good Conscience
What an odd day. Its been glorious weather so I am told. Mind, as I keep odd hours here and there, I did fall asleep for an hour this afternoon. Rested and calm. As you know by the now I usually write my stuff in the early hours, but have some time now. itís a while before the new series of Dalziel and Pascoe is on the Beeb at 9:00pm. But then I was interrupted and now its just after 4:00AM, a call from a friend with much to say and do. So I am amending this as I go. It may be a little disjointed.
Written last night
I have just come back from a local meeting and declined to go for a coffee with two other fellows. They were sort of enjoying a flirt with each other and I felt they didnít need a gooseberry. I may be wrong but is ok, smiles here.
This morning (Sunday)
Yes sun and warmth at last as the weather is good. And I finished writing sometime before seven so had plenty of time to wash and spruce up to get to my meeting down in Chelsea for nine. I was late, the tube was slow and so was I getting ready. Its odd walking into a full room of chatting happy alcoholics, there were I would guess about sixty people. All still Sunday dozy.
A happy dozy bunch of sober people. Corí blimey! Where else would you find such a gathering? In a church? And all sober without hangovers, I think not. After all its Chelsea. Mind you we have a ritual and go round the room and share our name and our malady. And as usual I just say, "Don, alcoholic". I suppose I could say more like alcoholic addict, which is a favourite, or anything which informs to more addictions than one. Like I said of yesterday we have more things we can own up to if we look long and deep enough into our "fixing" behaviour, like chocolate or food and gym and etc.
Unusual at this hour we did have a newcomer, who not aware of protocol and still quite shocked to be there, just gave their name. A sort of open question left in them as to their status and it may be a day or week or months before they make their minds up if they belong in our fellowship. Like me for example who took years to accept it.
Topic of the Morning - Isolation
And we need pick a topic of the day, and with some reluctance we get to a subject. This caused the person who suggested it a minor upheaval and pounding heart as nerves kick in, as they prefer to isolate a lot and not share at meetings. So they shared about their isolation and their general behaviour in relation to isolating, something we can all do too well.
I was half concentrating and thinking of other things. The journey on the tube and the people I had seen. We see everything first thing on the tube, from those on their best behaviour in their Sunday outfits, to others just making their way home from last nights debauchery. All mixed together, some squeaky clean, others a little shiny from dancing the night to now. And my tube had been bound for Barking many stops after mine at Sloane Sq.
Clean smells and older smells of people and their doings, and fag ends and disinfectant..
The isolating thing I could relate to. Like our Ďchairí, all my life I have found my own company more than adequate, but unlike the chair they had felt great bouts of lonely along the way. And it struck me as I listened I was not too different actually, for lonely I have been when loves have been lost.
Isolating and most likely licking my wounds when I have ended relationships or the other way round. I suspect I was best in a partnership, with love flowing in and out of me as it would when living together. And those lonely times of missing company and shared times as men and women do. Or donít. Well actually I suspect we are all programmed for love and family, and miss what we yearn for, but times seem to have changed me more to the singular as time has gone by.
And as to times past for me isolating was often so necessary as I felt exhausted from work and career and being with people. A chronic workaholic and then alcoholic, time was always filled up, and now what do I find?
Confidence and Esteem
Yes indeedy, when we are confident and full of esteem we seem to get our balance right, where we can be in company or out of it. But of us so driven to drink, its pretty obvious we are not as happy as most people seem to be. And its something akin to being alone in a crowd and not being able to join in the party of life, and drink fills the gap. Or like me, keep drink moderated while out with acquaintances back them and then get hammered at home alone.. Old times, not now
As to now and isolation
Like so many in the fellowship we feel better when connected, so we make the effort we need to get and get out. And we use solidarity, and yet we can still be quiet and isolate unless we make the effort and try to join in. And this is difficult when we are so shy of life, and life has taught us caution rather than freedom.
One or two angry voices
About how some in our fellowship are whimps I guess. Winging can be unpleasant when we feel really low, but its part of the process of dealing with our stuff. And some fellows with time served realise the true nature of the fellowship and feel that some take the God thing too far. As was suggested by this humorous fellow, that handing everything over to the care of God once we have stopped our drinking is a failure to understand the programme and the fellowship. The dissenting voice which argued that the programme and fellowship works because we work it, not because of some divine intervention.
And to a great extent I understand his point of view. The fellowship works for people because it has a set of steps to make life work and a set of traditions which makes the fellowship work. Between the steps and the traditions of AA, the programme of fellowship works by creating a safe environment for people to learn to live well and to their abilities without any divine intervention. The God bit is actually superfluous if anyone follows the suggestions. The God bit is indeed a red herring, for some to believe in and some to be distracted long enough and be able to argue about, as they get well, forgetting their obsessions and addictive behaviour. I have to smile as the fellowship is a mixture of believers and non believers. A secular programme for anyone it has whatever magic we may inject into it to make life work well and build our spiritual connection to just one thing, living well in the moment.
While I have no anger about the programme at all, it took me a while to understand the simple programme for complicated people. The person who dissented in the morning meeting had been faced with major upheavals in their life and had learned to walk and talk again after a major brain operation. They are somehow immune to the God of their understanding as their human frailty has made them aware, that anyone in our fellowship is still subject to ordinary things and illness like me too with diabetes and clinical depression.
What is not overlooked by the angry dissenter is if we work the programme and utilise what we have to keep as well as we can, we are making use of what nature provides, and that is certainly providence. Providence is what we get from nature and so is from the deity of our choice or from nature.
And with the benefit of greater awareness than those who have not understood the traditions and principles of the fellowship, they believe in higher power like God. Those who go deeper recognise the programme and fellowship is a loose and tight community. Loose because we all come from different walks of life and belief, tight because we have one common purpose, not to drink and make the best of just one day, today.
So in truth with a strong spiritual foundation of the fellowship, to the moment of now and being able to utilise all our best qualities in this present day, we make good our spiritual capacity. This is where our confidence for living and our esteem is made to the good.
I would not undermine any belief system connected with our fellowship for indeed it is faith in our very humanness which makes the programme work. Strength in unity and not isolation, strength with a process to help ourselves and a common purpose to develop our best way of living soberly. And around all that, every element to make community work in a disparate body of people without any other link than sobriety. And a very equal understanding of our common purpose and support for one another.
I am smiling for once, and feel like I do get what the fellowship is there to do. To help people make the best of whatever they have, through thick and thin of living. Whether we are cured, or recovered, or facing all the other ailments known to mankind, we still all pull together and help each other as best we can. And that is the simple nature of the fellowship.
And my "dogs are barking"
Again, its still a bit of a rum do. As many will share, when we have faced our worst demon, still we get ill with all the usual human complaints. Like me and my feet. But for me, I donít despair, simply because I am allowed to share and be honest when I get fed up and need some help, I can share my woe, even though there is no cure. Can share my happy moments and others are genuinely pleased. We make good use of friendship and good use of time alone. And know we need balance.
As to the problem of isolation, it is always there, and we know it and know where it leads, to unhappy and downward spirals which inevitably arrive in gloom and despondent behaviour and most likely back to our addiction. Which is why we are in recovery and never recovered.
God or Good Conscience?
This strange thing in the modern world. When AA first got going the God thing was accepted as God featured large in mainstream life. As God has been somewhat left to one side, and most often by disbelievers driven bonkers and to drink, the idea that God has much to do with anything can be a bit of a problem.
And for me, the debate of God is not helpful. What is more helpful is the combined good conscience of a bunch of people who collectively know better than me about how to keep sane and keep as well as can be. And with a bit of luck I tap into the collective wisdom of the fellowship through regular meetings and a sponsor and just plain living to the good and living as well as I can within my needs and not my wants. And this helps my confidence and esteem. Each living to their aptitudes and capacity. Not to their wants and desires, which quite frankly leave us all dissatisfied, fed up and thirsty!
The day rolls on
I am still knick knacked in my head. But its glorious out and I sit on a bench in Sloane sq, watching the world go by and rest my aching feet. You know its great to see people in the sunshine and now its late enough to see the beautiful people going by. Warm and scratchy noisy air with laughter blowing on the breeze of life. All that stuff. And beauty all around for any inclination or preference. We all have our "eye candy" and whatever you might prefer, its all around us when we can see. Not that there is any harm in looking, smiles unless you have some quaint and old fundamentalism in touch with the puritans of old!
For a while and about last night and meetings and discussion
I got home and after doing all the usual checks and insulin/blood sugars etc had lunch, watched some TV, did nought much and had forty winks. I am doing better a total of about two to three hours sleep per twenty four. Which on balance is better than fitful and restless dreaming its been for months. Whatever there seems a better balance for this day at least.
Last night as per usual, I am never sure if I turn left or right out of the door as meetings are close in either direction. And end up at the "old curiosity shop."
Wilful Planning and Wants Vs Freedom and Letting go
[itís a kinda Magic]
Yes we fellowship people are so up ourselves, we get philosophical often, once we have restored ourselves to sanity of course. And here is one of these things which seems to have a kinda magic. I donít know about you, but these days we often find we are set goals and objectives, we are given things we think we need be doing at work and even at home. All the self help books tend to lean towards things like goal setting, and being focussed on particular things we want to achieve.
The problem we know though, is we focus on something, make it our goal, and drive at it full pelt, and so get it often and then find it wasnít what we thought, or it was and we are pleased and do it again. Somewhere though we have limited ourselves to that goal and single purpose. It is in fact limiting. And it can be obsessive and compulsive.
And some of us feel it better to be more loose in our approach, to let go and see what happens and so donít have limits and only have possibilities. Which means we can be very happy at anything, or unhappy because we feel unfulfilled and have no actual goal or ambition.
Somewhere in the middle
Yes somewhere in the middle we can be confident to have a good orderly direction to good and good conscience. To making the best of what we have, covering our daily needs and not getting hung up too much on our wants and goals. For indeed we will never achieve our full potential or possibilities if we introduce our own limits. Our vision is only as good as our own. So sometimes self help limits us, and more open ways to live affords more opportunities to get to know ourselves and others.
Not knowing the final destination is often better than a limited vision we develop on our own. And so we are often better off going with the flow of life and where it leads. As long as we take care of ourselves and get along meeting needs, and to a large extent not being driven by transitory wants.
Wants limit us, needs met, we get on and find anything possible! Now that is a confident way to approach life, and build esteem in being open and not closed down.
Good News and Bad News
We are always going to hear the good of living. We focus on experience, strength and hope when we gather. And most of this is to our continued recovery. The good news is we utilise everything we have. The bad news is we are human and get other ailments along the way.
So again another fellow has just had bad news on diagnosis of cancer. Yet as they share its not worth drinking on, and that would smash any chance of recovery. Its all about how to stop their slide back into the pit of clinical depression (my unfortunate diagnosis as you know by now), by using our tool kit of survival as best we can. Our meetings for fellowship, our networking for friendships in and out of fellowship, our family and not hiding the truth, our attitudes to make the best of what we have a day at a time. And of course our health service and what they can do. And their spiritual well being? Is conditional on their sobriety and not going down into that mire where self pity and self destruction lurk all to easily to undermine our day.
And though its not all good news, we know and share as things happen. We know we are human above all things we do. And as humans we can be distressed that even when we live a good life, bad things happen and frankly its just our lot! And we are able to be depressed and we are able to make the most of what we have, whatever that may be. And when we have bad days, or good days, we make of it what we can. I realise as I write it seems we accept the fates we have. And its not always like this because we do get very, very distressed often as depression does its worst. If we keep to the fellowship we can make the most of what there is. And sometimes thatís not as long as we may have hoped.
And itís a reminder of last Friday
Yes the chap who said if he was to get run over by a bus that day, on balance he had made best use of his time and living to that moment, and really thatís all he could ever have done. And we never know whatís around the corner in life, good or often to our bad. Its just life!
Baby and my Neighbour
Its just after five and my neighbour is up as her baby cries for the morning feed. And the trains are firing up on the underground, itís another week in recovery.
End of "a month in recovery Posts"
Just a couple of days to go and the posting of a month in recovery. Which is basically where I began on my fiftieth birthday. On reflection I guess the week of being 50 was quite awful in some respects. I did not have a party, I had no champagne. The week got ugly with wrong information and bad assessment to my health and if things might go wrong they most likely did. And at the end of the week I had been broken inside and was pretty fed up. And a letter from my significant other of the past was quite sharp and no less than I expected. Smiles it was just a typical week in recovery and as in all things we shift as we let go and try move on.
On balance though, and as I see my progress looking back over these short weeks, there has been much progress and acceptance of life and things. And in accepting where things are, be they people, places or things and health, I have let go my sadness and made room for new chances. Understood I have some limits as depression and diabetes dictate. I know if my clinical depression is not managed, all bets are off and I will surely expire. And know if I keep with my fellowship whatever is left is made possible with a more confident air. Not easy to achieve, yet somehow Iím still standing (just, smiles) even when my "dogs are barking."
What next and the future?
I have no clue overall, smiles. But for today, well I do actually, but just for today, an assessment of my back at the health centre and then a trip to the Soho Treatment Service where I discuss my contribution to a conference on helping people in recovery in the NHS. That is if I am worthy and allowed to contribute. Do I have anything to say? Well I guess I may, and all good on this occasion, as the NHS made life possible in my case and the gratitude for so many parts of it is beyond measure, indeed I was a hopeless case..
Copyright © Don Oddy