About Me

My photo
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.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Wonderful old timers and dodgy old timers

Good morning. I woke up far too early, so I thought about posting something before I go out. I can't think of anything particularly useful to say at the moment. Perhaps I haven't had enough tea and coffee.

Someone else posted this video which is a clip from the film Amongst White Clouds and I liked it so much I thought I would post the you tube link and mention it here. It's right up my street! I love that kind of stuff. Also I found the whole film is viewable online on http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5902279151658995270#

It's been a bit strange catching up a very tiny bit with some people in AA. Like returning to some dysfunctional family. I confess I am a little disappointed with a few members, but what do you expect? They are alcoholics after all, so one shouldn't be entirely surprised if they make some strange (!) life choices. I don't mean that in a bible-belt kind of way. I mean that in a quite deeply disturbing kind of way.

Well if it tells me anything, it confirms to me that step 11 is mandatory. And that (in my interpretation anyway) all hell breaks loose when members who have been sober a long time do not do step 11. I don't think I have actually met any longtime sober person who doesn't do step 11 who has 'got what I want'. Take heed, as they say. The next time I have free time to sponsor somebody, if I really want to achieve as much as I can in the shortest possible time, I will be looking to sponsor people who have what I call a predisposition towards step 11. But step 11 on its own is worthless as well. Step 11 is only really useful once you have cleaned house adequately using the first nine steps.

Perhaps I am very deluded, but I can honestly say that I'm extraordinarily grateful for the path I have been shown in recovery. There are not nearly enough AA members in my locality who have 'got what I want'. Of course I like them. I can't help liking alcoholics. But my favourite old-timer is still one of the only people that really makes sense to me. He is not around any more. But I am extraordinarily grateful for his example. You have no !!!! idea how lucky ! I was to be able to attend his home group for so many years. I have been !!! extraordinarily lucky in my recovery. I could not have asked for more spectacular AA members to learn from. And when I went on to practice step 11 in earnest by visiting very highly regarded Buddhist practitioners, I also stumbled across some spectacularly inspiring examples. The one I never met in person was Ajahn Chah. But I have been in the presence of his statue which contains some of his relics and it felt like I was in the same room as him. But then people like him are a kind of one-off. Very very unusual human beings in every respect. I tend to believe they are born that way, but who Knows. I'm in no position to tell because of my inability to understand these things.

I'd better get going otherwise I'll be late. But basically I owe my life to the kindness of people who, on the face of it knew me the least, but in reality knew me better than all the other people who I'd spent most of my lifetime with. What I mean it is not be number of conversations you have with somebody that determines how well they know you. It's got nothing to do with that. It's absolutely about their capacity to understand the human condition. If they have that in spades, then it's completely irrelevant how many conversations you have with them. Their capacity to understand is not dependent upon acquiring all the details of your history. They are amazing. I love Those people. Thank God they exist.

What I suppose I mean is that for some reason today I am very conscious of the wonderful human beings I have been lucky enough to learn from in AA and in my step 11 forays. Not only did I meet some amazing people, but I was lucky enough to be willing to learn from their example at the time, which is something I can't say the same about others who were there the time, who have gone down a different road entirely since then. I am completely baffled why some longtime sober people have chosen what I consider to be thoroughly compromised, empty and unsatisfying, and ultimately damaging lives. Who knows. I couldn't stand it myself. It would be unbearable, unless I had the ability to not care, or not feel anything.

It's none of my business, and I'll just have to leave it at that. Instead of focusing on people who haven't 'got what I want', I need to focus on creating the fellowship I crave, which means focusing on finding the people I think I can help the most and investing my mental energies in them, so that in years to come there will be nicer old-timers around than there are at present. Even the dodgiest old-timer has something good to offer if they go through the basics with a newcomer, but I'd like AA to be a better place than that. I have no idea whether or not it will make any difference but there's no harm in trying. That's all I can do.

Anyway, have a ! lovely Sunday. It's gorgeous over here :) Warm and lovely..


Paul Garrigan said...

I enjoyed your post and the video was something I really appreciated. I am not a member of AA, but I did attend meeting for two years during my twenties. I got sober again a few years back and followed a different path; it works for me. I still have a lot of respect for AA and I do find that much of the program is still relevant to my life; in particular step 11. When I’m too caught up in life I suffer, but when I take time to deal with my spiritual health my life becomes a whole lot more manageable. I think a problem that many of addicts can have is we don’t realise how far we have gone off the rails until we find ourselves back on the path again.

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

"I think a problem that many of addicts can have is we don’t realise how far we have gone off the rails until we find ourselves back on the path again."

well yes Paul I can relate to that :) I am always a bit embarrassed to quote u2 lyrics, but I love this one from stuck in a moment..
..I was unconscious, half asleep. the water is warm 'til you discover how deep..
at 2mins 45s on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqFXZMdpMuk

the capacity for deluding ourselves never ever goes away, so for me, that means I have to try my best to pay attention every ! day, because every day I could cause untold damage to my life if I take my eye off the ball. Even if I never drink. 'You snooze, you lose' as they say. And I do not want to squander what I have been given, so I have to TRY my best not to delude myself. Not easy! Being as honest as I can be with myself requires constant effort. But it is worth it!

Anyway, thanks for saying hello, and I wish you every success with your journey. ..with or without the 'Pub with no beer' as I like to call AA :)

Anonymous said...

Hi AIFOB, long time no "see!" I think you're right about step 11-- there are 12 steps for a reason and goosestepping past one is not how AA was designed. That being said, I think step 11 is really difficult. I know in my experience I have cut off contact with my God because of my eating disorder and depression. I can't help but feel betrayed or forgotten by Him.

I hope you have a good day, and I hope to read more of your writing soon!

Wishing you well,

The Turning Point said...

The other day I posted a short reflection I experienced. I summed it up with I need you all(friend and foe) to hold hold up the honest mirror in my face so that I can do self reflection and grow into the person my HP created me to be.
I thank God for His patience with me and for the grace to acknowledge the new-comer in the mirror each morning.
Say a prayer for this 48yr old timer. I'm still wet paint.

Loved the video. PS. group and individual meditation is my daily/weekly fare.


Di-Git said...

thank you for your blog. I work a 12 step program that also works Buddhism into our practice. I am lucky to have found the AA meeting after being away from the program for many years. It has helped keep me sober one day at a time. Alcoholism is a progressive disease as they say in the program, I was out for six years. There are a few monks in our AA group and it is enlightening to listen to their experience strength and hope.

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

Di Git very nice to meet you :) Im not very good at asking others what their jobs are/used to be so I do not know any monks in AA off ht etop of my head, but for all I know, I already know a few! i should ask these things more often :)
Glad you are back after time out, and I am glad you have found a meeting you like. You know, you are welcome to email me or skype me if anything is confusing or ? whatever. Skype name: ifobskype as I am female in case you didnt already know.

and thanks for commenting NOS and TTP :)

Syd said...

I am signing up for teaching sessions at the nearby Dharma Center. I think it will be complementary to Al-Anon teachings.

johno said...

hello y'awl fecker
hope all is well with you

Di-Git said...

Thank you for the lovely Monk post. I enjoyed it's message.