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December 5 2007

DonInLondon - ĎDay In the Lifeí Questions and Answers

Life : The Universe and Everything as Usual

A friend of mine wrote asking me some questions and my reply here is in a general way about some things we learn in Fellowship of alcoholics Anonymous. My views only.

I never speak for AA, just my understanding and how it impacts on me, to the good and less so sometimes.

Hi [xxxxx],

thank you for asking the questions. I don't know that my answers are any better or worse than anyone else. The question of addiction and what it is, how it develops and how it manifests.

I feel the easiest answer with addictions and the behaviour is in what happens [drug dependence: a state of physiological or psychological dependence on a potentially harmful drug devotion: great interest in a particular thing to which a lot of time is devoted ]. An obsession to keep doing something which has become repetitive and deemed harmful. In the broadest sense of addiction, it can be applied to people, places and things.

This is why so many fellowships of an anonymous nature have come into being. AA is the first recognisable fellowship, but there have been many more movements and civilisations which have taken everything to the limit in obsessive behaviour.

Cross Addictions

And of course for the obsessive and compulsive nature of some, either to get it to perfection and or take it to extremes maybe is your question.

We can be addicted to love, as the song goes. Most often from a place of fear, and as often maybe from a place of imbalance. Whether it is work, love, sex, drugs, rock and roll, or a religious zealot, food, you name it we can cross addict. A place where we are stuck in a rut of behaviour which becomes out of balance harmful, and most likely a habit which seems impossible to break.

AA An Addiction?

I am not touchy about this fortunately. Can AA in itself be an addiction? I feel it can be if we choose to make it so. What AA has at its core is the twelve steps to change and become as normal as one can be, to get the balance in life back.

For an alcoholic who is stuck compulsively and obsessively drinking 24/7 or a binge drinker who lives for the next bender, or a mind twisted to extreme views, then AA might fill a void as we let go the obsessive attitudes, outlooks and intemperate living.

The stretch from culture to cult, and from dogmatic to dogma is not a long distant journey when a person just needs to fix themselves.

Addictions and Fixing

We are all apt to look for a quick fix. With addictions and alcohol, we are going against culture and most often generations of alcohol dependence. In the days of prohibition in the USA, and religions which call for temperance, freedom to choose always makes the elicit more exciting and the potential for addiction a possibility.

AA Is Not A Fix

Indeed the whole programme is against the notion of extremes and promotes middle of the road attitudes and behaviour. AA suggests steps to learn life all over again, which is a life long path sober and not just for a few months or a year or two.

At the same time those who founded the fellowship realised the fellowship is always just good for the day and the people in it.

And we need remind ourselves that addicts who find salvation from drink are likely mad to start with, driven insane by drink and then can become even more insane in their behaviour trying to sort out the wreckage of previous living in the hell of drink or anything else too. So the first steps to recovery require a lot of effort to find some peace in a troubled mind.

Donít forget we can love people who are driven to obsession, our love for people who are imperfect is just what it is. So there is no amount of love to give which can stop an active addict making their lives and others lives hell. Unless the addict finds a way to relate and find a different path to be a part of or start over.

Most People Donít Recover!

Donít forget few make it into recovery using AA or any of another form of recovery programme, so the odds are against recovery for anyone. And the stigma of society kills more addicts than any programme trying to offer sanctuary and a place to grow again..

Some People in AA are strict and Zealot like, some middle of the road and some likely to be out drinking or cross addicting.

Cross Addictions [ your question ]

My obsessions or cross addictions were always from my nature, my natural instincts. And we become obsessive with fear often and never have safety.
Fear is a candidate for prime addiction from a natural instinct.

As I grew, I am guessing because its hard to understand ourselves without someone there to hold up the mirror. So for me fear was always there in some way. Fear leads to being brave, brave facing, and worse never really understanding peace. Ego holds a key to how we resolutely put on a mask to the world and be brave. Esteem is a distant desire we cannot see or articulateÖ

So as I grew, academic seemed a good place to dig in the trenches, a poor student and maverick interpolator , then later a scholar at life and much more academia along the way . Always a fascination with everything female and as a maturing male adult, girls were always on my mind. As home life was not good and there was no real safety, work came next, then money and underpinning all this for me was drink [ my father taught me how] which afforded oblivion from pain and obsession. Until drink was all there was. No amount of drink would suffice, no amount of success with relationships, so many and so superficial gave me peace in my early years.
How long had this been going on? From early years in truth.

Along the way were great relationships. At the same time though we can attract like for like. And men and women have similar experiences growing up so no one is immune to life experience and where it takes us.

Back to your experiences

With your partner in the programme, and it seems sharing much of what had been going on in their recovery, and worse finding out much from the past you might wished never to know gives clues to why things have turned out as they are.

AA how It works

As a lot of people want a guardian of higher power, the programme is about letting in some light to the dark living hell of addiction. As you partner was not able to share why the "AA way worked" is quite a common feature for many in recovery. Many prefer a little mystery and some belief and faith that things may go well with confidence and esteem gained in sober living. In truth the fellowship works because people put the work into their recovery, itís a self healing process [ I hesitate to say a process intervention on a daily basis as eyes glaze over and no one really cares as long as life does not involve a drink ]

My Higher Power so far - as Ghandi said, "God Is Truth"

And to truth I aspire on a daily basis. Progress and not Perfection, and not needing more confusion beyond the truth of now.

Early days and Maturing and Changing

As people come into the fellowship wrecked beyond belief usually, a profound shift can happen, slowly or quickly as people get sober. An appraisal of how one has been living, now preferring sober even grudgingly at first means a person is going to change, or die of their problem.

People Change - The AA Fellowship remains constant in its principles and traditions. The principles and traditions do not stop us being a horses bottom if we are gifted so, or anything else in "truth."

People do change. And those influences they encounter in AA, are simply others in recovery, they arrived with no clue and are simply learning. Mad people make people madder! Hurt people often hurt othersÖ and so we go

If we find people we like in AA, we most likely form friendships and fellowship. Some are very hard core AA and nothing else, most are middle of the road and getting along in life, and some as mentioned leave and never come back. Many die because the road to recovery is so hard, its just too hard to live anymore.

People keep changing as their recovery moves along. Change is the key. Being open and honest and willing is part of this. We are all learning these principles in all we do, and we are not or ever will be perfect specimens.

Getting honest about? Cross addictions is a part of this changing outlook.

For me these days, I realise obsessions are around the corner and very tempting. I strive for balance. And if all of my past comes out and I am sure it will over and over again, I need live with consequences. That is some will accept me as I am and others with a sensible heartfelt understanding will not want to know me at all.

The Big Book of AA - Stories of recovery and how it all works for recovery to happen. We can read it many times and realise the clues, and then as we live life again, we understand how to live sober by doing rather than thinking.

Living Life not watching Life

Is truly as you have identified the key these days in recovery. No fixing as a patch to cover up, but really taking everything on the chin owning up to how things were and how things can be. It can be a truly hard and horrible path for a while.

Enabling

A rather unhelpful word utilised by the zealots, and truly not utilised as in a dictionary definition, to be helpful!

Love is the Key

We can be enabled to stay in addiction, and often the cross addictions manifest after some sober time has happened. The gap inside, and love, need to love and want to be loved. Need for control, need for inclusion all there always as our fear creeps in the shadows.

I guess the long and short of it is what happens this one day.

For every word written, for every word which describes the situation some of us encounter, it has happened millions of times to untold millions.

Just for a Day - Good News

We can make our minds up how we wish to be, to behave, to believe, to endeavour, to have an outlook for doing the next best thing.

Just For Today - News

We make progress and not perfection. We endeavour feel we are doing the next right thing and it turns out different. More practice required for ever and ever. And never perfection merely progress.

Karma -

What goes around comes around? Always if we stay the same, or we move gently and with grace and humility and as gentle as we can, just for today.




5th December 2006

Hurt People "Hurt" People

It is true, really hurt people go around hurting others till their pain is somehow equalised. Its rough and hard to be hurt, and we are human after all and are we not allowed to hurt? This is really a problem for us on a path of spirituality, especially when we are just human beings and learning from life as it presents. If we went around the world looking and asking how to stop hurting, people would look at us as if we are mad. For everybody is hurt sometime.

I have been hurting myself over and over with the same long standing relationship, one which goes along with bumps and never really resolves itself. Until now maybe. And I say maybe because this time the utter truth which I can share without further harm is the other person involved has stitched themselves up in their own dishonesty. And even saying this feels like there was intend on my part to set a trap. Actually it was the complete opposite, I wanted this relationship to work out as their friendship was extremely important to me. And if the truth of it is, I am merely worth knowing for the support I can give, without any care of me, and this has been proven more than once. And without any underlying other motives. Then I wish I felt better about the situation. There is nothing worse than abandoning a person when we wish we could help, but actually to help hinders any progression at all. Let alone the truth that they could care less about me.

Hurt people do hurt others, most often without thought or intent, they just plain do, because they donít know what they are doing. This is me hoping to be kind and also believe they are so deluded they cannot see their intent. I prefer this to the absolute truth beyond their desperation and worry, and asking for help. It was so plain this time, it was merely me as a resource and not me the person. And it cheapened me quite horribly.

When people describe you as a best friend, a best mate, a friend, a good friend, a close friend, and worse a dear friend, we start to get graduations of affinity and closeness. As most people like me are careful with intimacy, we donít need be led up the garden path of friendship by another who cannot give or deliver on their friendship. Maybe we wish we could let others be as they are and still be their friends? Sadly not as friendship is like any other relationship involving two people. It is a two way street, of connection, friendship love and all that might entail. I mean love in the unconditional sense and not with any conditions. And there is the fly in the ointment already, because when we are truly involved with unconditional connections we have our problem right there. There are no needs to be any other way than the way we are. And actually, we accept the other in all their good and their flaws. However when the other is so flawed they cannot even relate honestly, then we are in an area of hurt. Hurt by and hurting. We hurt because we are not significant enough to be worthy of care.

And that is not love, of any kind actually, its superficial and indifference. Its not cherishing and its not bloody well good enough. So I have been hurt again, and truthfully I donít want hurt like that anymore. Yet I know it will come my way, if I let myself be open and willing.

I may choose and be more careful

Yes I can choose and be more careful, set some boundaries and be open and honest and willing. It is the hardest thing though, if like me, I felt I wanted and liked the person concerned in my life. I let down my guard and let them walk all over the place. Even when I felt bad about it, I gave more room, and eventually, this time let them fall into their own traps and I need not blame myself for misunderstanding. This time is was as clear can be, and they did it all the same. I am hurt to an extent, but I donít want to hurt anyone.

Do no Harm

Its one of my principles and forever it seems I end up doing just that as I make clear the harm. And the hurt of course, to my insides, be it from undermining confidence, to undermining some way I feel I might be treated. It makes my ego stir, and I dislike my ego as much as I prefer confidence. Hurt people hurt people, itís a rotten fact we learn to evolve out of, if we have time and inclination.

Do no harm! It can be hard enough when we see that others might be vulnerable, but how else do they learn if people keep on letting them do it?

As a people pleaser all my life

And yes I have been, it has afforded me the greatest of life experiences and worst of life experiences. Yet I know these days like it was said in a film "Iím as mad as hell and I wonít stand for it anymore!" Until the next time of course.

But hopefully not with the same using conniving people as before. Fuck em and go bugger someone elseís time and living. The consequences make me feel loss. But what have I lost? A liar and dishonest person from my living and near circle. I need no cheaters in my life, or I cheat as well, as I flex my principles and let them back in, unless of course they see and admit their part. As this is a donít hold your breath situation I ainít. And at the same time I hope one day they are enlightened and see their part in things. Its not my job to hurt people or do harm, self harm is there in their indifference to others they are indifferent to themselves and donít cherish themselves either.

Its taken me forever to see blame, and that hurt people, hurt people. I never liked it or wanted it in my life again. And it will happen as often as it may. And this life. I might see it sooner with a calm mind and not a mind with vulnerable and needy feelings. I best keep living and learning as they will too, and not at my expense. Its not a tough stance itís a way of living to good conscience in the day we have. And spiritual comes in acceptance and forgiveness as I may learn for myself and them. It is a two way connection and involves more than just one outlook.

I do well to look at me too and see how I may improve and reduce the risks of hurting myself and others, and others hurting me.

Overall

I had a good day today(written last night 4th December), my Mum is celebrating quietly and is in good form for her 75th Birthday. I saw her and wished her well, she was happy and content, I hope it has lasted all day!

My meeting tonight was good, it helped me honour some good feelings and endorsed my understanding of my principles of living, with great care for others I encounter and with great humility too. I am merely human sized and equal to learning how to live another day. I reflect it is unlikely to be as long as I might have believed one time, and accept my consequences as they arise, one day at a timeÖ

December 5th 2005

W.B. Yeats

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

we need be gentle with all our dreams. And in our real world mindful, some dreams remain so and others rarely match our wistful pull. When in acceptance we let go and find freedom in an open world, no debt to honour...

December 5th 2004

Present Choices

If we get involved in fears about the future, we shall miss the chances that the present offers us.

-/-




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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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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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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.




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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.































Don In London
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Progress Not Perfection



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