About Me

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I have recovered from the disease of Alcoholism. I believe there is only one person really,.. everybody. And that peace of mind is everything. -So treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself, because your neighbor IS yourself. I think most of recovery is what I would call common sense, but that learning to be ordinary is a true gift very few people acquire. My ambition is to accept everything unflinchingly, with compassion, and therefore be intrinsically comfortable in my own skin, no matter what. I am comfortable being uncomfortable and am willing to go to any lengths to improve my life. I believe the Big Book was divinely inspired, and is extraordinarily powerful. Unfortunately AA's best kept secret a lot of the time. (In my opinion). I just try to do what works, no matter what it is.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Alternative Xmas Plan No1. Invite a newcomer to join you for Xmas dinner

Just an idea, if you are making a xmas dinner and have room for one more at home...

Look around now for new people to ask.
Look especially for the ones who have the GREATEST DIFFICULTY with their family. Or who are the most disturbed by being around their family.
Or the person with the least amount of family members left.

What I'm saying is don't just pick people you 'like', try to look for the person 'most in need', and start there. Prioritize!
Some are in GREATER NEED OF INCLUSION than others! Be mindful of differing circumstances and try to pitch at the best choice. The most 'worthy' case.
Or alternatively, the person who you think WOULD BENEFIT THE MOST from being included at your dinner. The more you think they would progress, the higher they are on your 'rating'.

Here's a clue
If they like you they tend to respond better. So someone that likes you is a better choice than someone who clearly doesn't like you.
If they are very cynical about other people's motives, something like this could completely change the way they view the world, or aa. So that's quite a significant change.
Someone who is CONVINCED that they are 'rejection material' would be REALLY affected by an invitation like this. The effect on them could be quite profound.
Someone whose family are all dead. This would blow them away.
Someone with a very disturbed and violent family background. This would be a VERY powerful insight for them as to what it COULD be like in a healthier environment.
A woman who has lost custody of her children since last xmas and so will be having the first xmas alone.
A woman who is having her first xmas as a widow.
A mother who is having her first xmas after losing a child.
Etc etc. I think you get the drift here. The idea is to think of how this might HELP them, and try to pick the person/people you think will have the MOST affect on. The MORE they benefit from this act, the more 'good karma points' you will earn!! (well that's how I see it anyway)

Use common sense please! Don't bite off more than you can chew!
It's just one idea. I've got loads of alternative xmas plans, but I just thought I'd start with this one. Don't think this is the ONLY thing you can do different. It isn't!


Meg Moran said...

what a wonderful way to remember the true meaning of the season, AND help us keep what we have by giving it away. We can be a beneficial presence in someone's life.

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

Thanks! Ah yes. 'The milk of human kindness' goes a LONG way...
Costs nothing too!

Anonymous said...

How can doing something for your own ends "earn good karma points" be a spiritual action? Is this not really just about thinking about yourself and using someone who is suffering as a tool by which to do it. I don't buy this at all.

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

well firstly and most importantly, YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO. secondly, it is a valid query and i can see how it is possible to 'view' this interpretation as a 'selish act'. i am aware that there are MILLIONS of alternative views, and i do not always have the time or energy to explain my reasoning or experience FULLY, as my time is not unlimited. you raise a relevant and logical query and i may attempt to explain my reasoning regarding that aspect in another post. if i can find the time! A BIG part of the reasoning is the principle of NON DUALITY, which I havent yet got round to posting about. in short form, it is the INTRINSIC BELIEF that THERE IS NO SEPERATION. although most 'elaborated' in the buddhist tradition, there are similar 'truths' in other tradtions. Are you angry with me? Or angry with this idea? Just curious. you are not required to answer that question! Only because I detect a degree of hostility or an 'adversarial quality' to the TONE in which you phrase your argument. thats all..

Anonymous said...

The whole purpose of your site appears to be about improving your own life. Nothing wrong with that. However, it seems to me to be disingenuous to present it as being about helping others. Example: If your suggestion about inviting someone for christmas lunch is taken a step further the result could be as follows: lonely/vulnerable person thinks that for the first time in their lives someone cares about them. Lonely/vulnerable person later discovers that they were asked because the person inviting them wanted to earn good karma points in efforts to improve their own life. Lonely/vulnerable person feels a little used. Lonely/vulnerable person could then be forgiven for losing altogether what little faith they had in the kindness of strangers.

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

Apologies as this is far too long!

Ah I see. Yes that example helps me understand your point better. You know actually I agree. it IS possible that someone could draw that conclusion. actually your point has helped me identify a 'gap' in my explained reasoning which I have frequently had to explain in person to Sponsees, but never made a note of explaining on this blog. so this is useful feedback. unfortunately it is actually quite difficult to explain as its stems from a number of guiding aa principles. some theoretical (meaning about understanding), and some practical (meaning reliant on ACTION to inform.
Rather than explain all those threads now, suffice to say that in PRACTICE I have not found that to be the case. for instance, if their mindset was brought 'down' a notch or two AS A DIRECT RESULT OF MY ACTIONS, then I would have FAILED in my AA 'instruction' to HELP. so that outcome is not an option. my job is to leave them IN A BETTER CONDITION THAN I FOUND THEM IN. if I FAIL, then I have NOT helped them. Also this guideline helps: 'Feeling without action is SENTIMENTALITY, and action WITHOUT FEELING is an EMPTY GESTURE. Helping others is actually a VERY SOPHISTICATED SKILL in my opinion. and you are right to highlight a potential pitfall that may arise as a direct result of an attempt to help. this is good! this makes you a better candidate for the job of 'helpfulness'.
anyway. its really to long to explain, but IN PRACTICE I HAVE NEVER FOUND THAT TO BE THE CASE. these things need to be done in the RIGHT SPIRIT otherwise the 'external action' is very superficially effective. I make it VERY clear to my Sponsees and other non aa's why I do what I do, and AS LONG AS MY ACTIONS BENEFIT THEIR LIVES IN SOME WAY, they do not have a problem with the fact that my life is indeed enhanced by my INPERFECT ATTEMPTS to be of service. this skill is largely EXPERIENTIAL. like learning to drive, it is a skill which CANNOT BE LEARNED BY USING THE HEAD ALONE. any way, TOO LONG! but I can see that I really ought to explain this whole thing better in another post. but for me, this is an incredibly sophisticated skill, and you are right to point out how EASY it would be to do it BADLY. I will TRY to explain it. but ultimately it is something BEST learned by PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE.
Try it out! Do something for someone else TODAY, and MAKE A POINT of telling the person you are helping that you KNOW that doing this will make you have a better day. don't be nasty in the way you say this as this would be unkind. Try to communicate this to them with a smile. then see how you feel afterwards, and ask them do they mind that you are now going to have a better day because you helped them out. I think you will find that they will not mind. It doesn't need to be something big. it can be something as simple as helping a little old lady reach a tin of beans on a high shelf in the supermarket. Just try out your theory and see if you are indeed correct.
VERY VERY hard to explain in its entirety!!!
if I were to do as you suggest I would get ZERO karma points as my MOTIVE would be SELFISH. I have found the ONLY way to make this work, is to NEVER think of ANY benefit to myself when I do this. Better phrased- I have no ATTACHMENT to the POTENTIAL FUTURE BENEFITS to myself when I do this stuff.
Its actually very difficult to explain this in its entirety I have to say...
oh well. you can't say I didn't try!
I might also add, that when I was new and received kindnesses from other members anxious to practice 'giving it away to keep it', I did not have the experience you describe.
Much of AA's wisdom is grass roots, EXPERIENCE BASED learning. It is not really designed to be used in an abstract or theoretical way. ESPECIALLY the practice of 'working with others'. I really think this 'lesson' is IMPOSSIBLE to learn without practical experience. And good guidance and instruction too.