AA OLD TIMERS
& A LOOK A STEP 12
It’s the way of some of the AA old-timers to go to an extreme by denying that their emotions exist. They confuse emotions such as anger or hurt with character defects. A feeling is not a defect again I say it comes from our heart which is a place of truth. Actions are the only things that come under the heading of “character defect” . These old crotchety types will teach the new-comer that crying is self-pity and that expressing hurt from being wronged under any circumstance no matter how horrific is always a character defect in us
POET & SONGWRITER JOHN MELLENCAMP EXCERPT FROM “PINK HOUSES”
“Oh but ain’t that America, for you and me
Ain’t that America, we’re something to see baby
Ain’t that America, home of the free, yeah
Little pink houses, for you and me,
oh baby for you and me
Well there’s people and more people
What do they know, know, know
Go to work in some high rise
And vacation down at the Gulf of Mexico
What do we do after we have processed our painful traumatic pasts, we have a new set of friends in AA, we have let our feelings out, talked about them and the circumstances surrounding our feelings, (make no mistake it is vital we express both our feelings and the circumstances that surround them,) we wrote about same, identified & related with others about same, talked about our shame, and thoroughly worked our steps, we have reconnected with God YET we feel bored. We feel something needs to be done, its as if the spark is gone from our recovery and all we do is work, work, work!
So, I tell my partner “Partner” I say, “I am bored and feeling unfulfilled because I must work, work, and work some more!” He says to me; “partner, set your eyes upon the CARROT” . He jogs my memory by his suggestion. I had forgotten how valuable the carrot is for me emotionally and how it improves my attitude. And so I do just that. I work, work, work, and keep my thoughts on my up and coming “vacation down at the Gulf of Mexico Oh yea! I pack my camera, my bathing suit, I buy a $3 raft and I am on my way! Yaay!! I have worked and I deserve a rest to reflect, revitalize, and remember how good life really is!
And yes, the next paragraph of the song by the way talks about “the pills that kill” but I shall save that for my next article on that and the choice of taking meds for pain, anti-depressants, psych meds etc. while in recovery. If I can’t go to the gulf then I will go to the local springs or wherever I can get with nature and be refreshed. I count my blessings and am filled with gratitude when I get close to God’s natural creations and then I do it all over again.
Step Twelve work gives me a purpose when I share the solutions at meetings. AAers need to talk about what is going on with them. It is not our place to shut anyone down who needs to express their emotional pain. Recovery is about learning what to do with our emotions not pretending we don’t have emotions. Staying in emotional denial feeds anxiety, fear, and secret-keeping. We are as sick as our secrets and that includes secret emotions.
It’s the way of some of the old-timers to go to an extreme by denying that their emotions exist. They confuse emotions such as anger or hurt with character defects. A feeling is not a defect again I say it comes from our heart which is a place of truth. Actions are the only things that come under the heading of “character defect” . These old crotchety types will teach the new-comer that crying is self-pity and that expressing hurt from being wronged under any circumstance no matter how horrific is always a character defect in us.
Oftentimes alcoholics have been sexually and emotionally abused as children and have never had the chance to express the pain associated with the abuse. Getting sober will always bring those deep pains to the surface so we need an outlet. God gave us tears for a reason and crying is absolutely a part of the healthy emotional process. We who have learned the remedy for addiction share the solutions for the newcomers pain in meetings and that is a twelfth step action.
We gain fulfillment by sharing in meeting however it can get old continually being around negativity especially when we just want to enjoy life and stay on a positive train of thought. Nothing wrong with taking a break from meetings when we know how to live the program.
When we vacation down at the Gulf of Mexico we get to go to out-of-town meetings that are new and different. That in itself is a positive change.
And so we use the carrot as one of our survival tools for the good life in recovery.
A THOUGHT: Yep acceptance is a part of healing. Where there is no acceptance there is denial., However denial is also one of the stages of healing. Denial keeps us alive until we are ready to face past traumas and process or cry them out…or scream…or write…or punch the bag.