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December 12 2007

DonInLondon - ‘Day In the Life’ So little Time I need Slow Down

Yesterday was a good day for me. I got to two meetings of AA, one in Hinde Street [AA Central London] and then on to Kensington ‘Shy Sharers’ in the evening. And both all about experience strength and hope.

The good of meetings and going regularly is about solid recovery and making life possible in the day and as we are, in recovery.

No cure!

The is no cure in my opinion for an addict. We know as we get older and somewhat wiser, that we can be laid low all over again so easily if we forget and feel we have taken control over some elements of living, mainly when we feel we have cracked that particular ailment of addiction.

Temptation

Temptation reigns supreme and there is not much else to say or is there? If we feel we can control something which took our choices to live away from us, there is always a sneaking suspicion that we can have the odd drink. Bitter experience for has been that whenever I felt I was in control, drinking went straight back to times of old and made me very sad indeed.

Oblivion these Days

I don’t want oblivion, I need a calmer life and enjoyable as life can be without filters and denials and sneaky behaviour!

Obsession of Self

Less so for me, and even now I know having had a good assessment from my psychiatrist that recovery is a daily practice.

Below for today I have included the readings from the internet which help keep so many people sober as they share their experience strength and hope with each other. More anon….

December 12 Daily Reflections

A COMMON SOLUTION

The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action. This is the great news this book carries to those who suffer from alcoholism.

AA, Big Book p. 17

The most far-reaching Twelfth Step work was the publication of our Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous. Few can equal that book for carrying the message. My idea is to get out of myself and simply do what I can. Even if I haven't been asked to sponsor and my phone rarely rings, I am still able to do Twelfth Step work. I get involved in "brotherly and harmonious action." At meetings I show up early to greet people and to help set up, and to share my experience, strength and hope. I also do what I can with service work. My Higher Power gives me exactly what He wants me to do at any given point in my recovery and, if I let Him, my willingness will bring Twelfth Step work automatically.

Twenty-Four Hours A Day

A.A. Thought For The Day

Clergymen speak of the spiritual fellowship of the church. This is much closer to the A.A. way than mere group therapy. Such a fellowship is based on a common belief in God and a common effort to live a spiritual life. We try to do this in A.A. We also try to get down to the real problems in each others' lives. We try to open up to each other. We have a real desire to be of service to each other. We try to go deep down into the personal lives of our members. Do I appreciate the deep personal fellowship of A.A.?

As Bill Sees It

People Of Faith, p. 300

We who have travelled a path through agnosticism or atheism beg you to lay aside prejudice, even against organized religion. We have learned that, whatever the human frailties of various faiths may be, those faiths have given purpose and direction to millions. People of faith have a rational idea of what life is all about.

Actually, we used to have no reasonable conception whatever. We used to amuse ourselves by cynically dissecting spiritual beliefs and practices, when we might have seen that many spiritually-minded persons of all races, colours, and creeds were demonstrating a degree of stability, happiness, and usefulness that we should have sought for ourselves.

Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 49




12th December 2006

Step One to Modern Living

Odd tonight being brought all the way back to the beginning over the fellowship programme of Alcoholics Anonymous and very appropriate for me. Actually there is a lot of hard work involved to be able to qualify to be a Fellow of our Fellowship, we might include in our qualifications the letters, FAA, Fellow of Alcoholics Anonymous. As it’s the last real qualification I have, I am somewhat proud in an honest sense these days to have been around long in recovery to feel good about quitting and being a recovering person rather than a practicing person.

To join AA, we have to be able to drink alcohol till we cannot stop usually and that takes a lot of practice over quite a time. It requires a lot of dedication to completely lose control of our drinking and then find we have no off button. Some like me take years to reach that place of tolerance where we cannot live with it, and cannot live without it. We have to experience all the rock bottoms of life we may before something inside us stops denial and makes us truly aware our lives have turned to crap. We may like me have been hospitalised, been visited by a Priest in the early hours in emergency rooms and been ready to meet our maker, for we have reached the very end of living at all and have no care left to live or die. We are lost and feel death is a practical relief to our torment.

Our first step to learning if we live at all is an understanding we have become powerless over alcohol, that life has become unmanageable and we have come to an end of our living if we continue to drink. If we make it through to some moment of clarity, in my case one simple moment where I realised life could get no worse and either death or some intervention might do something, that was my near ending. Even realising and asking for help, its not enough for us to stop, we need help and we ask if we are lucky and someone or somebody tries to help. It took a long time for me to hear anything and was resigned to an end, and wished for it. I was truly lost to living at all.

On my journey to the inevitable end of my drinking days, events certainly helped speed me on my way to hell and the offer of the last rights, "extreme unction" as Roman Catholics call it. It was a mistake on my hospital admission sheets somehow I had been recorded as a Roman Catholic, and actually no so luck, as I am C of E. And in some gleeful madness I did point this out and the Priest suggested I need not be so fussy at a time like this. It got that bad. And I was that mad, insanely depressed and welcoming any end to where drink made me stupid and had little effect, as much as I needed it, my body rejected it. Poisoned completely, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Toxic and done in. It was a while in hospital and then back out, and then another horrid period where drink was rejected and accepted and I was lost all over again. I had no way to stop on my own.

I went into a detox unit and then on to rehab, and along the way I found the fellowship of AA. All those times in utter madness, driven to drink and no way to stop myself. Until I got with a bunch of people who had found a way through to be sober just one day at a time.

By the time I had got there, it was over thirty years of drinking, and in hindsight there was little or no time when drink was ever out of the picture. Speeding me to destruction, death, loss of partner as she went when I was hurting, and then plunging myself completely into work.

Working to exhaustion, year after year, and drinking to fill the gaps and the lonely years where I had no love for myself or for any other. And work and career and a string of affairs, made no dent in my emptiness or my self torment, for indeed I just lived to work and worked to drink. Oblivion always made me forget. Forget, well only with unconscious conscience did I ever live and get on. And found substitutes to drink and other things to fix my life. Health, exercise, dating, more and more consuming of anything and everything, until I blew out. I broke myself on my hard rocks and my hard knocks, and was lost. Drink the ultimate indulgence when there is no love of self and others, will capture and kill all sentiment when we are hooked.
There was a breakdown some years before the end of my game with drink. And had I ever had time to heal, maybe I would never have made my way into an ism so destructive and so acceptable till it takes us over and enslaves us completely.
For me though, it was the breakdown and what followed and the dislocation involved, where my living was gone and I was flattened and unable to cope. A nervous breakdown just sped me along, and I could find no love for me, although there was plenty around. I was lost and abandoned myself to drink.
From glorious times, to the worst of times, to great success and to utter failure. The speed of my decline some years later is not astonishing or different from a thousand stories I have heard in these years of recovery and where madness abounds.
This first step, the absolute knowledge that addiction is a disease of the mind and body, and cheats us of any spiritual development, to be in the here and now. Well I was truly emptied of my humanity for me, yet would help anyone and anybody who needed some support. The worst being as I found my way to rock bottom, I knew more ways to fix others lives, when I had no process to fix my own. For I never realised the nature of my ailments along the way. From breakdown to clinical depression, to years and years of torments and denials, brave faces, and brave acts all done to no avail. It was a complete and bitter ending of a way of life lost to life at all.
In a way I must thank anyone and everyone who speeded up my torments to this horrid conclusion. It helped me become a living wreckage, and still to be alive. And with only two thirds of the average life lived, I found AA, and recovery made all the difference to me.
Years of positive self talk, self denial, self rewarding, self obsession, self, self, self. Till there was no one left inside of course, except memories and twisted thinking and feeling. All cracked and shattered into that million pieces we may have heard. You might expect a counsellor to know better but we are as dim as any other when it comes to our own stuff, we don’t have a clue. We have the intellect and the fear, and because we are taught to be brave, we go on forever down the wrong track, and end up in hell.
Fear requires bravery, bravery requires fear, and we are taught from our earliest days to put on a brave face when times are grim. And even the best of us all break one day, as brave faces are never able to shake off their fears. Faith in humanity, faith and courage can be found, when we get rid of our ego’s and brave faces we wear. We need to be restored to enough sanity to make a difference and get a little wisdom and insight to be able to live again. But that’s jumping ahead of our meeting tonight.

Tonight we are taken to our worst nightmare days..

Yes it was a resolute group who listened yet again to another who makes that first connection of the path of recovery and living at all. This powerless knowledge that just one drink will take us back where we started, when we stop as we do and a thousand more will never be enough once we take that first drink. We know as you may find if ever you find your way to our fellowship.

We are quite mad at first, and then we learn some simple truths. About our powerlessness over alcohol, and life is always manageable when we don’t drink, now or ever again. It takes time to clear our minds. And it takes years served drinking to years in sobriety to make sure we know the difference.
Our Chair speaker tonight
Just a few months along, is remarkably aware of where drink took them and where they are now. I realise with some clarity, their story is mine, and as time rolls on I am more clear in my own mind. We learn, we work hard at recovery, it takes every ounce of our willingness and honesty to make our way along.

We hear these stories of recovery over and over again, to remind us of our experience, our strength and our hope, that just this one day, today, we don’t have to drink. Just one day at a time to learn life over and over again, changing to the good. Just be mindful for as we recover and make our normal way, we get every other complaint known to mankind and to medicine. We get the reprieve to manage our one day, and make sense and live to whatever life may hold, to the good or the hard. Just this one day at a time, it is indeed a lifetime long, as we never know what may happen in the future. And all we can do is make good with good conscience on what we became in the past. We face our consequences as we can, soberly, in the moment of now, where we are ever present, in the present moment..

For me Tonight

With some deep reflections on where life has taken me and I have taken my life, I learn all over where it may be and the choices I have. Do no harm, find endeavour to the good, be mindful of everyone, and keep safe with a fellowship where people need join simply if they desire to stop drinking and make life work again. That bridge back to living at all, so hard to find. it’s a good job we work hard for it, and make it our life. Anyone who has faced the abyss and come back, works as hard at living and living, just this one day, and is pleased to endeavour as best can be, merely to be normal, whatever normal may be.

I accept life on life’s terms today, with ailments and complications, with sad days and good days. I wish to make life clearer, open and the best it can be.

We get on and get life as it is, and with whatever we have we let go resentments and follies as we learn how to be as you are as I am, just part of humanity. We live to choices and our conscience, we live as we may, better for this first step on the road to recovery..

December 12th 2005

Powerless Over People Places and Things

Maybe when we are growing up we learn that we are pretty much powerless over most things around us. To an extent we get co operation one way or another. And we do make choices in life. And life is not just happenstance, or is it. Can I command, can I instruct? Can I exert power over another, or many, or none? I suppose the irony is accepting we can have power and control over others, only if they choose to accept it. Power to command and power to instruct... This requires some code of practice I guess. And even then we have no real power. For we are truly quite powerless without some form of collusion somewhere along the line. So being powerless is a good and healthy understanding about life. We have choices to make, which can include some use of power, and best exercised in some sort of framework and understanding.

Futile use of power can be very upsetting. Power used to manipulate, express defiance and undermine is generally unhelpful and short lived. This sort of power requires much effort and usually falls short of what we want to happen. Powerless over people, we are. Powerless over places, well they are as they are unless some act of will changes them, usually and almost always not our power. Powerless over things in general. Again without some form of co-operative process, all remains powerless. And thank goodness for that. Leave much of the world to turn and get on, as we get on with our daily
grind.

When we are moved to exercise some form of control and power, we might be better able through constructive devices, like open dialogue, or rules of engagement, or some form of agreement. Hapless use of power and control is spotted for what it is, contrived and wilful. Usually by any of us who feels their way is best or their way is blocked. And this form of power and control is met usually with little joy or acceptance and most often rejected and ignored.

Best we find what we can use in terms of personal power, use it with consideration and in agreement. Best to put self willed and pressured power to one side, its use is of limited value and ultimately useless to us. I don't often find I look to get my way, or want to have my way. And when I do want it my way, I only get it on my own... its all about choice and outcomes. I avoid my skilful wilful self? Its in me and everyone, egocentric and anger in the making...

December 12th 2004

Inspirations

When you refuse to set boundaries to what is achievable, you can inspire others to believe that they, too, can make things happen.

-/-




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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.

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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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