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December 25 2007

DonInLondon - ‘Day In the Life’ Tea Boy on Christmas Day Food Street

War On Want - Peace In Deed [ Christmas Night Video To The Right ]

How life has changed over the last few years. From a wanting in life to a life in peace, with its ups, with the downs of feelings we can all experience at this time of year. I am not lonely, and have not felt that awful loneliness in company where we feel low because we recall Christmas past and good times or sad times.

Christmas is a pivotal time for many people. To recollect the good of the year and also many years often where life has been less pleasant for whatever reason. I look back tonight at a good day, where I made tea for lots of people at a meeting in Flood St, the all day Christmas meeting of my fellowship, AA, Alcoholics Anonymous.

Feelings

We all have them and so often suppressed till we burst on the right occasion and lay waste often as what we have stored up for a lifetime often comes out under the influence of that truth drug, alcohol.

Truth

Often at this festive season we can let rip a plethora of what we feel and actually much of it is completely out of proportion to how it was when these feelings were set in stone. The truth often is, they are far bigger or exaggerated by many years or months or days of silence, loosed as that elixir of trouble is taken and then we end up in chaos. Not so this years fro me or others in my family. We have all been benefiting from expression and feeling more in the moment rather than store up happiness we anticipate or worse things going wrong as everything is unleashed.

Today [ Christmas Eve Video To the Right ]

With tea making this morning and happy chats with people arriving for the 11:00 chair all was tranquil even though we were up against the clock and having enough boiling water to make copious cups of coffees and teas. A two handed event, and I had the pleasure of attractive company in the depths of the basement where the kitchen is. Water made steam and then we had fancy hats, cowboy hats, bright red and with flashing signs. Not quite my style? Anything goes and the more festive we were dressed, the more festive people were.

And when doing some ’service’ there is never time to get upstairs to hear the meeting, or really get stuck in. So I went back later and felt a part of from just another fellow in the room hearing, listening to my stories of Christmas past, and of course, Christmas present.

Christmas Present

The best of this present Christmas is a head clear, not filled with old times other than what the old times were like and how it is today. Today has been tranquil, in good company for lunch with my sister and my Mum. And tomorrow its Boxing Day Lunch with everyone in near family as my Brother and his family come to London for ice skating at the tower of London, then lunch at my Sister’s house.

Indeed the best Christmas Present is to be present to be with family and have my feelings expressed in ways I understand and everyone understands. No emotions locked away, no anger waiting to be let loose and no resentments about my life and my living.

War on Want - Wanting to be Right and at War with Myself

So true at war in my head for many years, resenting my lot and not knowing what to do, an exile in my own life. I need not find those times again. So confusing back then, wondering if all I had achieved had been for nothing.

At war with memories, sadness and self hate. Those years of feeling less than, abandoned by partners, and then abandoned by me. I don’t feel I made life easy for myself or for others. I felt alone, and unloved. No wonder when we have lost our senses and found addiction has us in its grip..

Peace In Deed

Indeed peace today, a long day in the end. With much of the night awake and not able to find any way to be comfortable with chronic pains in my extremities, you might think I was in misery. Not so! Somehow today I just accept there will nights when the pain is severe and let time go by and do as I may to find rest.

And peace as I woke with just enough time to collect my thoughts and head off for meetings, lunch, a snooze this afternoon. And another meeting tonight.

Peace in company as isolation can lead to unpleasant memories which are unfair for me and for those I loved in my journey to now. I recollect with fondness most everyone who I have had good times and sad times. My feelings feel right having expressed over and over till time heals and we make sense of everything if we are fortunate to follow the path of truth.

Denials And Filters

I had plenty of those in the past, and looking back I can accept my part in life, and how others have been too. Everyone tries their best and often misunderstanding is in how we ever got into some relationships and scrapes along the way. With a clear head and truth would life be better? Of course and still we know we cannot choose often those we love and care for. And now I see much of the difference in how to live to good conscience and good honest relationships however they develop.

Learning Always All Over Again

Be gentle with everyone, be respectful, be as truthful as can be, as we are often led to delude ourselves because there is something missing in our lives. When in fact there is nothing missing at all. Life is just how it may be. Seems a fatalistic approach? Not so because in truth we can find our path and love along the way.

Peace In Deed

If we truly keep to the path of truth, then we learn as we go, what works and does not work. And much of life lived present, needs face to face contact so we may know people we encounter. What we see is what people share. I have found on many occasions that truth can be shared selectively, and this leads to breakdowns in communication.

Feelings Never Lie - We Do

Compromise on our feelings and we lose ourselves in imagination and sometimes fantasies which if they came true would be wonderful. Patience teaches me, I need be careful always with my feelings and especially others feelings or we get into difficult territory, where truth is lost as want pushes us to misunderstandings and eventually discord.

Harmony in Acceptance

There is harmony when we can accept how life is, how people are, either with us or far away. Acceptance also for those we have loved and love still who are no longer in our lives. We can love and still miss them with deepest sense of loss any human can experience. Love is eternal.

New Love - New times Love Always

We humans are complicated, we love and can continue to love people outside our lives, and find new love and new come into our living. How these matters and affairs happen is not always easy. And we might do well to keep safe and make our way in our company and our outlook with truth.

Honest Open and Willing

When we are honest we start well, when we keep to openness, we hear truth and share as we may. We need be willing when the time is right to continue and move along as life offers. Every sentiment and every feeling builds and makes us more complete as our life journey unfolds.

Choices

We all have choices, and sometimes we find harmony and sometimes we are best to keep moving along as our feelings inform us of where we are today.

Solitude

In solitude tonight, having been in the best of company with family, and more family tomorrow, I have peace, just for today. In fellowship I have friends all special and all making this one day as best it can be, as joy and sorrow affords.

We all work hard and endeavour. Let it be.




Daily Reflections December 25 2007

AT PEACE WITH LIFE

Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities. "How can I best serve Thee - Thy will

(not mine) be done."

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 85

I read this passage each morning, to start off my day, because it is a continual reminder to "practice these principles in all

my affairs." When I keep God's will at the forefront of my mind, I am able to do what I should be doing, and that puts me at

peace with life, with myself and with God.

Twenty-Four Hours A Day

A.A. Thought For The Day

Many alcoholics will be saying today: "This is a good Christmas for me." They will be looking back over the past Christmases

which were not like this one. They will be thanking God for their sobriety and their new found life. They will be thinking about

how their lives have changed when they came into A.A. They will be thinking that perhaps God let them live through all
the hazards of their drinking careers, when they were perhaps often close to death, in order that they may be used by Him in the

great work of A.A. Is this a happy Christmas for me?

Meditation For The Day

The kingdom of heaven is also for the lowly, the sinners, the repentant. "And they presented unto him gifts--gold, frankincense,

and myrrh." Bring your gifts of gold--your money and material possessions. Bring your frankincense--the consecration of your

life to a worthy cause. Bring your myrrh--your sympathy and understanding and help. Lay them all at the feet of God and let Him

have full use of them.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be truly thankful on this Christmas day.
I pray that I may bring my gifts and lay them on the altar.

As Bill Sees It

ASPECTS OF SPIRITUALITY, p. 287

"Among A.A.'s there is still a vast amount of mix-up respecting what is material and what is spiritual. I prefer to believe that

it is all a matter of motive. If we use our worldly possessions too selfishly, then we are materialists. But if we share these

possessions in helpfulness to others, then the material aids the spiritual."

"The idea keeps persisting that the instincts are primarily bad and are the roadblocks before which all spirituality falters. I

believe that the difference between good and evil is not the difference between spiritual and instinctual man; it is the

difference between proper and improper use of the instinctual. Recognition and right channelling of the instinctual are the

essence of achieving wholeness."

1. LETTER, 1958
2. LETTER, 1954



25th December 2006

Close Encounters & Brief Encounter

Its my Christmas message. And indeed it is my third sober Christmas day in a row! I have had other sober Christmas days but they are so few and far between I wonder if they count. Indeed as we are regular in our drinking habits we might ask ourselves when were we ever not pickled in booze?

For me it is another milestone, where I can go to a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous and be myself, hear some words of wisdom, or just friendly kind words in fellowship. Well it is good to know I may do these things now and feel totally at home.

My family are part of my recovery story. They all know my issues with alcohol, and they know very well I could not stop drinking, whatever they said, suggested or just plain pleaded, I could not stop.

My family were always there for me as best they could, dealing with an insane me, driven mad by everything I mention in the last post. Exhausted by life, broken down, addicted to alcohol, full of fear, ego, self pity and as many resentments one can hold in a head about ourselves. I had long before stopped resenting the world I knew I was an addict, albeit ‘just’ alcohol, and it had me on my knees.

My last drinking Christmas, was four Christmas days back. I was so ill, I managed a brief encounter with my Mum, and I was so ill, I could hardly eat anything. And what my poor Mum must have thought. She must have wondered what next. And truthfully it hurts me to remind myself of that Christmas, so lonely, so tearful, full of rage and self hate, and then beaten to yet another rock bottom. I was on my way out literally. It would have taken little more to do me in. After so many trips to hospital, some many attempts to stop self harm and no way on this earth I felt, could stop the inevitable. And then I did stop.

Not alone but with help, detox, rehab, hate and rage were made my friends as rehab seemed to do the opposite of what I went there for. And looking back it only served one purpose, to get me to Alcoholics anonymous. Looking back I have no fond memories of rehab as some others do, I found it a place of incompetence and lacklustre acceptance that they were happy to live up to the statistics, that only one in three may make it after rehab. Well truly with their level of incompetence I know why. And it was partly down to me too. I accepted all they said on face value, and did as I was told. And they connived to break me down, when I was already broken. They need not have done what they did to me and countless others, yet they did, and they knew no better way. I do and its called AA.

Having had the rant, I am pleased to say the rehab, its being closed down or has closed already, I am glad. As a charity, it had nothing professional to recommend it, as a rehab unit it lacked process or capacities to help a person change attitude and behaviour in clear ways. The rehab and relied on Prayer and AA, and their notion of breaking people down, and then stupidly believing they could rebuild people sufficiently. Arrogant tossers all of them, and blatantly in acceptance of people dying or leaving, rather than understanding why and what they could do about it. Good that they are closing, and good I need not remind myself, other than the odd moment like now. AA saved me from them and their rehab, AA saves me daily and so after this small rant, now to today.

Christmas Eve at Flood Street sharpened my way of dealing with the twelve days of Christmas. And this is just from the first meeting of the day. I am writing ahead of time and may be at another meeting tonight, Christmas Eve, to complete this Christmas day post.

Like the Queen I am just preparing early just in case the internet is completely saturated as people go online around the Christian World to chat and email their friends.

Flood St - How can I cope with a sober Christmas?

This was the topic and I was listening with both ears and carefully. As I have few sober ones to recollect, and many I cannot recall because they have truly faded in the mists of time. Apart from one or two, with the love back then of my life, they were as special and beautiful as can be. Happy memories now. And truly I wish her the very best of Christmas and a very full new year with love and harmony and peace. You know who you are Ms B, and you deserve every good wish and much love, as do I. I am lagging behind in the lover stakes as sobriety has had to be my prime concern. Smiles actually I am not lagging behind and there is no need to compare anything, I am happy to love as love happens and that is destiny, not written or predictable, just made from good choices from hereon in.

Much talk of keeping safe, finding meetings to attend even on Christmas day like me. Using the tools of the programme just to have a good day in family or with friends and definitely and if at all possible, not on our own. As we alcoholics know one of our greatest dangers is being alone and digging into our history.

So for me its obvious, even though my family support my new path totally, I am going to a meeting in the morning to see friends and acquaintances if they are about. And then to see my Mum, Sister and her partner, and he is a good companion these days too. Such a change from years gone by when everyone was completely frustrated by my addictions back then. Addiction to pain as much as addiction to chemicals.

How to keep Safe

For me much of the answer is how to keep safe as I do every day. Just turn up for life and know how I am feeling. Feel capable, and well enough to venture out. Check my blood sugars, my mood, and my next best thing to do.

With clinical depression its important to ask myself simple questions to check myself out, and type 1 diabetes is a pernickety regime, although self managed the previous two conditions lead to forgetful and potentially disastrous consequences when everything goes a bit off kilter for me and quickly and often if I am at all unwell. And of course to complete my triumvirate I also deal with that cunning and baffling disorder called alcoholism too. Three’s a crowd they say, I always feel crowded by things to do to keep on track…

How to keep faith and have good Christmas Encounters..

As you know by now this fellowship I have working for me and me working in it, has some clear boundaries and I share our Mission Statement for want of a better description. We read this out at the beginning of any fellowship meeting:

"Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety."

In the second paragraph of the AA mission statement is the key to many things we in AA utilise to make our recovery possible.

First we know we go mad if we drink, second when we are mad all bets on behaviour are lost to time and the day. So we need be sure to keep vigilant and not be tempted. Yet in Early days of recovery even waking up from sleep offers idle thoughts of drink. I don’t have them right now so that’s a good thing.

In that second paragraph, it talks of not wanting any controversy. And in any day we can be wound up by people, places and things. I need remind myself like the AA mission statement, I need not be controversial or engage in anything controversial during Christmas day or any of the 12 days of Christmas, my job is to turn up, be happy and not be wound up by others or things or places. I accept it is better to remain neutral and accept whatever anyone has to say about anything, especially about me and how I used to be. Memory Lane is a hazard for anyone, let it be and let go, as others will remind us about Memory Lane without prompt or understanding.

And the secret to success is to realise that I have no power, or I am powerless over people, places and things. I need not challenge anything at all, what is others reality is theirs and I may have no opinion on their perceptions, let them be reality for I have not got the temperament to argue one way or another these days, except on my choices and movements in the 12 days of Christmas. I choose to not be controversial, and to accept I am powerless over peoples memories and their recollections. What they do is their business and what I do, is simply stay safe. I need not be wound up.

If anyone recollects my poor appearance and misdeeds, and I am sure there are many instances, I can accept them as real in the eyes of others. And if I do recall them, or not, it does not matter, it is better to accept and let opinions be what they are. I have changed and the me that did or did not, well that was another me, and I can own their perceptions and deal honestly, make amends if its practical, and not if its just too painful for them.

In other words let people be, be themselves and I can be myself. I can take anything on the chin, and say with complete assurance I am sorry for how I have been and now try to be me. A me without drink and not driven mad. So as stories unfold as they will, I can accept the day as it is. I need not defend anything and accept everything as it is today, changed and different.

So that simple mission statement allows me to accept powerlessness over the past and past madness, and embrace a new way forward, just a day at a time, and whatever may be said, is as real as recollected, and I can respond with openness and honesty, and a willingness to own my part in and make my amends if I may. At the same time, some history is far from pretty, and inside me I know where I have fallen down. And whatever is said is most likely right in any case. My judgment is not the issue, it is how others might judge between then and now. And I may do the next right thing, whatever it may be, from amends to absenting myself if it all gets too much.

Too Much

It can all be too much and agreements are in place, that if I need go home I may. And its not to hide or make myself scarce, its simply to keep safe and let everyone be able to enjoy these days as they may. Alcohol is not my cup of tea anymore, and it can be for those who are ordinary drinkers.

Civilians

This is the time of year when some in AA talk of civilians coming out to play in the dangerous ways we in AA did every day. Actually it is a bit smug of those who hold their notion of "civilians." I realise I am the addicted one and not them. And truly I am accepting where my drink took me. I need no more research as someone said in our meeting.

I am glad to be becoming just right sized these days, where civilians spend most of their time. Unlike the recovering ones we are, who need to get back to ordinary living a day at a time, civilians live to the good pretty much all of the time. We alcoholics just merely get back to where the world is spinning.

Above All

I know where I have been and understand the pitfalls which come from brave faces, dealing with fears and stuck with an Ego which makes us so brittle and intemperate, often lost to reason in the past, a bag full of old emotional rubbish we are clearing on a daily basis .

With some courage, from being in fellowship of AA, faith in human beings and good conscience, my world turns to the good and not as it used to, where dark was my friend and isolation made desolate times for me. And in the true nature of courage and faith in good and good conscience, I get to my spiritual part of my recovery a day at a time, in the moment of now, sober and alert, and accepting this world as it is just for today. Warts and all.

Spiritual

The most misunderstood part of life. So easy when we realise it is simply living in the moment of now, with no filters, no denial, experiencing joy and sadness as they come along. We need both the good and bad of living to truly live our spiritual life, as it happens just good for the moment and good for a day.

So where am I now? Close Encounters

I feel I may look forward to the next few days. Be happy as maybe be sad as occurs, and let go the past. With some gentle and careful steps, having no opinion on matters, its to the good. I was reminded of an incident just a few moments over the phone, a "brief encounter" I have little recollection of the events mentioned to me and just said it is most likely all true, and glad I don’t behave like that anymore. As in all matters its progress and not perfection, traffic wardens and lorry wardens taking cars, it can still wind me up when they block roads to chat with their mates and take no account of others on the road, a bit of nonsense and made worse by arrogant lorry impound drivers who don‘t care and treat everyone as they see fit, badly always. And in saying it, writing it, its out of my head. All to the good and good conscience. There will be more each and every day, as life is lived, life on life’s terms. Smiles here and Merry Christmas…

December 25th 2005

Ego and Esteem

hostage to fortune

If we are lucky in life we find there is forgiveness in every event and situation we encounter. For if we are a part of the event and situation and we are human, we usually do our best, and others do their best to their ability and motivation. If we can forgive our part in anything and everything, for we were a part of it because our life took us to that or this moment, then we may understand and forgive our fellows. Unforgiven is not in our gift, and forgiven is due every creature of nature. In this perfect imperfect ever present, present, we hold by a thread of existence. In our state of grace and good conscience, the measure of everyone and everyone immeasurable, there is no judgment day. Mere consequences of living.

A plentiful life without beginning or end is our accomplishment. Acceptance of anything and everything in the moment in our dreams and stormy times, to peaceful infinities firm in recollection and in living moments. Where the metaphysic meets hard science without prejudice holding reality and imagination to the good. Humbled and the equal of every sentient, in awe of life and anchored in the mists of eternity..

December 25th 2004

Tolerance and Love

We might fear what we don't know or understand. We might be set in our ways, seeing just our world. That's when we are less able to get on with new ideas and opportunities. And it takes effort to learn and understand about the new world.

Tolerance is about accepting, having the capacity to value diversity. Love is the core of our being, driving all our emotions. Tolerance and love, enables us to open ourselves, accepting new into our lives.

To learn about anything new and diversity, we need to have flexibility. We need empty spaces in our mind to take on anything new. Closing our minds to new, to the discomfort of learning means we have reached our limits.

We have no limits to love and tolerance, only ghosts which hamper our growth. We may remind ourselves to make way for new beginnings, our anchors in our tempered experience and our appetite for enquiry in the winds of eternity.

-/-




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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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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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