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December 6 2007

DonInLondon - ‘Day In the Life’ Alcoholics Anonymous Saves Lives

AA Saves Lives?

Not only AA is the truth. There are many ways to make life work in recovery. I simply chose AA because it suited me. It provided a network of people just staying sober a day at a time.

AA- Open Forum Meetings

Meetings are open to anyone who has a desire to stop drinking in Alcoholics Anonymous. When I got to AA meetings in my first attempts to make life work from an insanity of addiction, I did not understand what AA can do, and cannot do.

Alcoholics Anonymous

Can keep me in a safe place where people are learning how to live without drink. And sometimes other addictions too, as we who drink often feel obsessive about many elements of daily life.

Can provide me with tools to keep sober on a daily basis. The tools are not so clear in early days of going to AA meetings, simply because we are well and truly confused by life.

Can show me a healthier way to live. The experience of other addicts and alcoholics helped me, and still always helps me make sense of daily life.

Meetings help me hear true stories of recovery and being in recovery, how to get stronger and more in tune with sober living in the day. Dealing with life as it happens whether its good or bad. I am learning to live reality and not some form of half life with drink.

I get hopeful about the days, and remain as hopeful as reality offers. When there is nothing much to hope for, meetings are a safe place to let go my burdens and sadness about the hard parts of life.
Alcoholics Anonymous Cannot!

AA cannot fix me, make me learn, pass a test and then be cured of the insanity of drinking myself to an early and unfortunate death. AA can help me stay sober if I work at living, stop waiting for it to happen, just get on and work at life.

AA cannot make the world brighter for me. I can learn to live more happily and also know the difference between happy real living and sad realities we all have in ordinary living. AA provides support to keep me sober to deal with all aspects of living normal and not getting drunk to hide away and let myself fall back into addiction. I have to work recovery and not expect it to work without effort.

AA cannot cure my clinical depression, I need outside fellowship professional medical help. AA cannot endorse fellows who think they are doctors or psychologists, unless they are of course. Rule of thumb, always get medical support in early days of understanding what alcoholism is and if we are alcoholic or addicts. No one else’s opinion matters about our own situation, we need admit and accept our lot, and then find out what next from professional sources about physical and emotional states AA cannot determine.

AA does not endorse anyone trying to push outlandish or useless or downright unhelpful suggestions which make a person unable to think or feel for themselves.

AA is not there to tell anyone what to do, merely suggests ways to keep sober which have worked for a long time for many people.

AA cannot make you sober. AA cannot take the pain out of life, AA cannot make life easier.

AA can give you the best shot at living in recovery. And as far as other forms of "treatment" may help, you decide!

In AA?

We get our choices back, keep to a path of recovery, gain freedom of choice.

Alcoholics Anonymous

Is there to help us with our sobriety so we can make life work on a daily basis. You choose how to make life work with a set of principles and traditions, which if followed can offer a straightforward way of living, having happiness and sadness as life is, real and not in denials or filters.

How Does AA Work?

By you working to save your life. You work it and it works for you. All recovery requires we admit and accept our addictions, and then work out to behave. Fellowship provides constant support and back up if you want it.

How Do Other Programmes Work?

Same way mostly, but are constrained by money and lack of people, and a constant message of learning how to live more each day and live as best we can with what and who we are.




6th December 2006

Do Life and Live Life

Blimey for me to be saying this after spending goodness knows how long trying to study life and its doings, you might find that a bit of a rich statement.

Yet we really do need to live life to get its meaning and get where we are going. That’s not some anarchic view, we need some guidance and some knowledge of how, but there is nothing like practice. Some of us practice to great good, and we end up well off by most people’s standards. That is on the surface!

Material and Intellectual Success

If you judge yourself by your material and intellectual success, in my book you are maybe part of the way there to study and live the other part of life, the part which means most actually.

Emotional, Physical and Spiritual Well Being

Now what on earth am I going on about. Emotional, being well in our heads and not driven bonkers by living with or without people. Physical, making the most of keeping our health and strength with great care, but not in some mad dash to health. Spiritual in the sense of being present in this one moment of now and not dogged by history or about the next moment or day.

Spiritual

You know there is much to be said for understanding the spiritual path. And what I can let you know is my understanding of spiritual. Spiritual is simply being alive and present just now, living the moment, in the moment, experiencing just this one moment as it becomes another and another. All these guru’s and people who dress up and make themselves experts really have this one moment thing in common.

There are plenty of spiritual terrorists out there ready to convert you to something or other but plain old spiritual as simple and unrelenting, experiencing reality as it is without delusions and mostly frustrations from history and mucked up by wants for the future. It is simply making the most of right now.

Now how hard is that? Well being fifty and not as young and youthful, I have maybe slowed down to the present moment, so I have an edge on many younger than me, who are stilled wondering how to get to fifty and beyond. I have news! When you get to fifty, you will know life is passing by unless we experience it as it happens. Its not dreams its not history and memory, its just right now!

I have a friend in pain today and fucked off with Spiritual

I don’t blame my friend for their feelings if I were caught in their madness of alcohol, and whatever else to change their feeling for this moment, I might join them in their mad spree. After appealing to God for help and providence, they got involved as they wished for romance, and they asked to be made whole. As they measured their true value and connection in just one of many elements of life, they found when it failed to heal them, they had every reason to fuck everything up with booze, their Achilles heel as it were. But actually they are using their fix for romance as much as their desire to be whole somehow and by whatever means.

The hole inside us

Yes there can be a great big gap we try fill with all manner of things, money, romance, booze drugs you name it we can fill up or horror and lonely outlook with something. Why not fill the gap with something which will never go away? Or have we travelled too far along the desires and attractions which make our feeling of the gap ever bigger and wider? That the dark fears and depressions of loss and grief cannot be filled with something for goodness sake? Why do we want to feel whole and complete. What makes us gorge on life and all the good and bad things? It is when we don’t feel right about ourselves is my best guess. When we never feel at one with ourselves and our environment.

Mental Capacities

I do know from my own life span the deep holes experienced by me, what we can all have. I know without reservation that I have clinical depressions where the dark and desolate times roam along and nothing ever feels right. That desolate and dark, and the insomnia that strikes me can hold me deep down and make me start to fear there will be no let up in the blackness that surrounds.

And for me I cannot blot out that desolation with any amount of booze or addictive behaviour, it would kill me stone dead quick if I did. I can help find my "normal" with a lot of help from my friends and with the right medical support. But whatever I do I know depression comes back as it will. What I need do is make sure there is no deepening by making oblivion my saviour in this world of now!

Oblivion

Yes indeed my favourite place where life is as near dead as living can be. From working to exhaustion and living all the dreams I burned out every element of my inner being just getting by in the life I felt I must live. And in all of this madness I never realised what was truly going on till I stopped and broke long enough to find what was left. And there actually is more than I ever felt possible, there is life after oblivion and several brushes with death.

Spiritual

Yes spiritual, this notion of being one with oneself, in the moment of now and able to experience without delusions, from drugs or drink or infatuations and obsessions! And in the truth of spiritual is the calamity of sadness and the abundance of joy. For indeed if we are truly spiritual we experience them both.

Elysium Fields and Heaven

The place of relentless bliss some may delude themselves when they feel that spiritual connection. It is not of course, nor is heaven ever likely to be as we might imagine. For relentless bliss to be experienced we need experience its opposite too, relentless hell…

And in our Spiritual Naiveté

We might hope for the removal of all the pain of life. Well in my humble opinion we need as much pain as bliss. Without one we have no measure of the other. So if we are spiritual we head on with life, as life is our reality, lived on life’s terms.

Madness and Delusions

As many a priest might offer and the salvation of humanity, we meet our maker and face some final judgement. I doubt its that simple or if were meant so, we would have ready access to all there is to know. We need not confuse our spiritual selves, by layering on religions and personal talismans of faith.

Faith

I have faith in humans, the more that we are, if one head goes wonky, then another can help. And as in our fellowship, the meaning of our higher power comes in for much confrontational debate. We are all equipped with conscience, and more than one in truth and honesty, makes for better answers to all our problems today. When we are alone we are driven mad by no way to relate, when we join in a fellowship to get back our true state, we advance yet again and on the true spiritual path of living.

Old notions and fairytales don’t get people well, the touch of human kindness helps and most often succeeds. Don’t confuse your true spiritual self in some faith and religion which makes you different in some way, join in with spiritual which makes you the equal of anyone and anyone equal to you.

So for Me Today

On the emotional I am fairly level and can be thrown off centre with ease, my own ease that is, and experience clinical depressions as they will be about forever, and that is my lot. Right now the depression is less than for many a long time and has been ok for some short while, it is sometimes so thin to drop back, it hurts, today was ok. On the physical, with three things to contend with, I am doing all is suggested, nearly not completely, ok for today. On the spiritual where I may find I am able to experience this moments with magnificent sadness and extraordinary joy, I may report I am somewhere in the middle with neither a high or a low. And as to my equality with all mankind, I feel ok, no bigger or smaller just for today.

With an intellect and some way to go to find my next living, I might be circumspect, for indeed I may be least well off than at any other time in my adult life. Using the measures of intellect and material wealth will not keep me well or afford me salvation in this one moment of now.

Sceptics

I have been one many a time and for many a year about the true meaning of life and the relationships we have with faith and our spiritual connections to our lives. As I ponder and reflect right now, with my limited outlook today, I am doing ok as best I might with what I have. I will endeavour as always to move along with care for me and all I meet, in the moment of now and now and now..

Smiles is it so hard to be part of humanity? It can be, has been, might be, we all will see eventually. Right now, I am alone, I am one with myself. Singular and with fellowship, as life has taught me, one day at a time.

As we come into this life, so shall we go, where is not my concern or in my power to know, let us hope for some providence and nature? And go with the flow.

December 6th 2005

Its ok to be not ok?

I don't feel ok today, and the feeling won't go away for a while. Being made to be a labyrinth of intellect is not a goal for me. Or being obliged to be other than myself makes me feel sad. I choose to be me. And being me will no doubt cause me grief from time to time.

When we look at our living we seem to have complex needs and wants. We seem to be full of experiences and we have our thinking and feeling guiding us most of the time. We have others fundamentals working for us. We have control, we have our inclusion in society and we have love and affection.

The amount of control we exercise or the amount of control we let others exercise on our behalf varies in different social contexts. We take control when we feel its appropriate and we let others control if they are better suited to it. For example a pilot of a plane we are glad to give control, rather than us do it inexpertly. And so on for all sorts of complicated reasons we take it, control, or give it up. Our reasons are as complicated as we are human beings! Inclusion in all aspects of life feels like a fundamental and wanted part of our sociability. We like to be included in those things which are of interest, and those things we value. Our need for inclusion, or wanted inclusion is as complicated as we can make it! Our need for exclusion from many interactive situations can be equally complicated, and often it is complicated by elaborate social patterns we all find mind blowing guilt ridden contrivances we would all be better without.

And so to love. Love, as different and complicated as there are people on the planet. Be sure what type of love you are currently 'in'. We need some love and we express some love, and we don't quite ever get the formula right no matter how we try, UNLESS we keep a dialogue going. We need to know when our love is wanted, shared, mutual or exclusive, not wanted, not mutual and not there at all! We all make thinking, intellectual errors about love, when our love arrangements are fucked up. As life shows us if we are open and honest, is love and affection connections are haphazard in the beginning, and made more complicated by our society and learning. How we ever fall in

love is quite a challenge. UNLESS we observe our nature and our experience... Even then we find we can fall in love with people who are unable to love us back. Its a fucked up nature thing!

We also get our control, inclusion and love needs and wants down to a pattern we find comfortable. Our feelings respond to our patterns. Our patterns might be right for us, but wrong for most everyone else on the planet... No how can that be? As we become more alert to our preferences we find these patterns in others and with luck we find friends and lovers.

We can use all sorts of devices to find things out. We can use astrology, we can use our social groups and connections, and we can use all manner of fine personality profiling techniques. And we can find they are completely useless, unless there is a shared spark to get human chemistry going. Over the years we find predictability is easy with our personal rule of thumb.. Or we just get more picky? Either way we grow close or apart or to a place of mutual understanding. Or we just get mad and fling everything at "them" because our requirements do not comport with reality.

In the end our most reliable senses are our feelings. We either have them or not. And when we have, a miracle if they are shared and something sparks. When we have them and others don't, we let go as quick as we can, for our experience of changing people will find there is no change in the people, just a diminishing amount of the sparks we may have seen in the

beginning. When we let feelings be, grow and evolve we learn most and enrich our emotional well being. When we let feelings be, especially when others feel differently, we learn to let go and enrich ours and others well being. We let go control and we let go inclusion, we don't fight or diminish our fellows. And especially we don't throw manipulations at people who are unprepared or not equipped. And especially we don't diminish others with intellect or prejudice unworthy of any other human being. We let go and let good conscience be our guide...

And if we are really able to accept how things are, how life really is, we move with a light step and with great care for our friends' family and society. We live with control, inclusion, love and affection as we can to our pattern, free of device and contraptions made from self will... to the real happenstance and miracle of life, its equal and truly masters of intensity! So it is perfectly ok not be ok. It is perfectly ok to feel everything we humans are apt to feel. And the truth is there is no intellectual holiday long enough to keep ourselves in denial, unless the journey out is too hard to start...


December 6th 2004

Sober

Sober, what a state of mind, marked by temperance, moderation, or seriousness. Sometimes subdued in tone or colour, showing no excessive or extreme qualities of fancy, emotion, or prejudice. Is that sober?

Being extremely human, my natural instincts driven to excess, I guess some of the above is defining my current condition.

I am sober six months this day. That is my desire to stop drinking was taken sanely without drive or persuasion from any other source but me. I stopped my alcoholic drinking and have not touched a drop since.

In all my adult life I cannot recollect a more challenging moment, or an easier moment to make a decision.

A return to natural ways, a desire to complete my journey in this world without hindrance. A journey to understand me and my life. And a journey sharing and growing.

Sober is happy and offers contentment. Sober enables truly felt emotions, excitement and joy. For I can truly be intoxicated with life on life's terms in sobriety.

Every giddy moment, every nuance of love, every second of every day I shall be grateful with the best of freedoms. The freedom to experience the day as it is and was intended.

I'll drink to that.... perish that thought...!

-/-




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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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