AA Is Getting a Bad Rap

 

Recovery Farmhouse thanks our most recent guest, published (“Last Call” a Memoir) writer Nancy Carr for sharing her stories and articles with us.   You can find Nancy’s book available in the left sidebar.

AA is getting a bad rap lately by Nancy Carr

I’m hoping I can change that rap.  Over the last few months AA has been in the media and not in a good way.  When I saw Gabrielle Glaser this past March on CNN discussing her most recent article in the Guardian, “The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous”, I was super irritated.  Who the heck was she to eschew a “way of life” for millions of alcoholics and addicts in recovery from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body?   I don’t know why she felt it was her duty to take on the AA organization as a whole and discount what an amazing social movement and Recovery Fellowship it actually is.  This Fellowship helps people and saves lives.  Period.  If it’s used properly of course.  I should further state what AA is not: 

It’s not a speed dating venue, it’s not a place to go meet your new neighbor, it’s not a place to go looking for drugs, it’s not a place to further your career and reach your sales quota, and it’s also not a place to find a babysitter. 

AA is a place to get and stay sober.  More on that later. 

Back to Gabby and her irrational AA article.  I’m so grateful that Jesse Singal wrote a counter piece entitled, “Why Alcoholics Anonymous works”.  He went on to say, “Glaser’s central claim that there’s no rigorous scientific evidence that AA and other 12-step programs work is wrong.  Glaser is simply ignoring a decade’s worth of science.”   Further on in his piece, Jesse gets input from an addiction specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, “No, that’s not true,” said Dr. John Kelly.  When Glaser’s argument was run by him, he countered, “There’s quite a bit of evidence now, actually, that’s shown that AA works.”  Further Kelly said, “In recent years, researchers have begun ramping up rigorous research on what are known as “12-step facilitation” programs, which are “clinical interventions designed to link people with AA.” 

Well, thank goodness Dr. John Kelly and Jess Singal were around to back up some of Glaser’s BS.  According to an 2010 article in Wired by Brendan Koerner, “the 200-word instruction set has since become the cornerstone of addiction treatment in this country, where an estimated 23 million people grapple with severe alcohol or drug abuse—more than twice the number of Americans afflicted with cancer.  Some 1.2 million people belong to one of AA’s 55,000 meeting groups in the US, while countless others embark on the steps at one of the nation’s 11,000 professional treatment centers. Anyone who seeks help in curbing a drug or alcohol problem is bound to encounter Wilson’s system on the road to recovery.”  Brendan’s article further goes on and list the pros and cons of AA and why it works for some and not for others, but the basis of his article was that it works, if you work it and if you want it.  It’s also not the only method to get sober, it just happens to be the method that worked for me and one that I truly believe in.  So of course I’m going to be an advocate and supporter of the 12 step program.   

However, the most disturbing piece I saw recently was about the new documentary the 13thStep. 

I had heard about this film through the recovery community and didn’t want to give it more than a second thought until I read Amy Dresner’s article on the The Fix.  Amy who has been in and out of recovery for the past 20 years (currently she has over 2 years now in AA) wrote a review about Monica Richardson’s documentary,  The 13th Step, a film about predators in AA.    Amy goes on to write, “This film interviews a slew of women who have been sexually abused by men in AA, as well as the family members of women, like Karla Brada, who have been murdered by AA members. Brada met Eric Allen Earl in AA. He had nowhere to go so she took him in and was dead by his hands four months later.   After the fact, her family dug into his history and discovered he had 22 years of criminal activity including eight restraining orders and a stunning 52 court-orders to AA. Brada’s family are suing AA for wrongful death.” Additionally she wrote about Julie, “Julie knew a guy in the rooms of AA for three years and he invited her over for coffee at his home, only to slip a date rape drug in her tea and assault her.   When Julie complained to her sponsor about the incident, she was met with “Well, what was your part?”   I was less than thrilled when I read this and even more so as to who the hell Julie’s sponsor was? But that’s not the point here.  The point is that AA may not be the healthiest environment to walk into, but not all of AA is an evil breeding ground for criminals and predators.  I’d like to see the documentary that focuses on the real recovery of AA and how it does help alcoholics and addicts regain their lives back. How families are mended back together, how marriages are saved, how parents learn to be parents again and how sober citizens finally can get a chance at a true and sober life.  Where is that documentary?

I highly recommend reading Amy’s piece, and as disturbing as it was, it really annoyed the crap out of me.  Not Amy’s piece, but the content of the documentary.  I’m actually sad that AA isn’t a safe place for a newcomer, or anyone ignorant to the 12 step environment, to get sober.  I get that AA has these sick freaky dudes and we are not a group of healthy folk, Well Peoples’ Anonymous it is not. 

When I found out, in my first 30 days of recovery, what 13 stepping was – I was shocked.  I couldn’t believe that men, who seemed to be so nice and supportive towards me, wanted to take advantage of my vulnerability and ignorance.  I was a shell of a person when I walked into the rooms, so to have my sponsor tell me what 13 stepping was, I was just mortified.  I had this old dude who kept asking me out for coffee and I was so naïve as I didn’t know how to say No.  My sponsor told me to tell him “No way” and to blame it on her.  Verbatim, she told me to say, “My sponsor said there is no reason for you and me to have coffee outside the rooms, so no thanks”   I was so relieved that I didn’t have to be rude to him.  I was actually worried as I didn’t want to hurt his feelings!  Crazy talk!  Same thing could be said for the “hugging” that goes on at meetings now a days.  I’m not a hugger if I don’t know you.  Just because I met you at an AA meeting, doesn’t mean we are friends and we can hug.  What is with that? Dudes just think that women are open game to hugging if you say “Hello” to them at a meeting.  I’ve come a long way since my early sobriety and figured out early on who was “safe” in the rooms and who wasn’t. 

Amy goes on in her piece to say that AA is a breeding ground for predators and sick people, which makes complete sense.  AA alone is not a remedy for our disease and what ails us.  It’s not a cure all for everyone and most people in the Fellowship, like myself, need to seek outside help for other issues.  The 12 steps, sponsorship, meetings, service, and the Fellowship are all fine and dandy, but they don’t work for everyone.  It’s true that most people who come into AA are not just addicted to alcohol – they can be dual diagnosis; either drug dependent, mental disorders, eating disorders, sex addictions, adult children of alcoholics and other co-dependency issues are wide and varied.   AA is a place for sick people just trying to get better and if everyone who came to AA had a genuine desire to get sober and do what is suggested, I’m sure we wouldn’t have all these predators and sickies trying to get one over on us. 

I myself was 13 stepped by a sponsor.  Not in a sexual way, but in a manipulative and deceitful way.  She was very well respected in my Fellowship, well regarded as an AA pillar to many.  She sponsored a lot of women, she was asked to speak frequently at speaker meetings, she held a women’s meeting out of her home, she had a good rap and she ran a really great program.  She was the deal.  I wanted what she had.  BAM!  She was a fraud. 

I started noticing some holes in her story, “from the podium” and started asking some questions about this and that and soon after so did a few other folks and lo and behold, it turned out that most of her story was a lie and she had also been embezzling money from one of her customers.  Soon the local authorities were on to her and she was sent to an out of state prison for a few years.  So, yeah, there was a bad apple in the bunch, but it didn’t deter me from wanting to be in AA. Nor did it make me flee AA and join another sober Fellowship.  I saw this person for what she was, a con artist.  I thought to myself, “Wow, what a great place to come if you want to take advantage of people.” 

I’m not one to say that AA is the only way to recovery as there are other programs out there, SMART, SOS, WFS, Celebrate Recovery, spiritual advisors, meditation, yoga and white knuckling abstinence.  What I am saying – and this is just my rant and my belief, is that AA has worked for me unequivocally.  It works if I work it.  It’s a program that has helped shaped me to be a better human being.  It has also helped millions of other people and it’s a place where people come back to.  It’s a place where we will welcome you back whether or not you relapsed for 2 days or 2 years – we just want to help you. At least the majority of people I know in AA do.  The majority of people in AA are good, honest, helpful and caring individuals.  It’s the 13 steppers, 2 steppers and bottom feeders who aren’t there for their sobriety.  They are there for themselves and what they can get out of you.   They are the folks you need to stay away from.  They are the bad apples of the bunch and my advice to anyone would be to trust their gut.  Guys with the guys and women with the women – at least for the first year until you have some sober time.  The unsaid rule of “don’t date in your first year thing” was a great yard stick for me.  I started dating right after my year and let’s just say I was able to start working on Step 6 pretty easily after that.  I should also out myself a bit here and say that my now husband and I started dating when I had a few years and he had 9 months.  So, yeah, I guess anyone could say that I was a 13 stepper!  In my own defense, we had a very communicative, open and loving relationship where we both kept to our own programs.  This is also not to say we haven’t had our ups and downs in our marriage, because we have, but at least we have a unified belief together that AA is where we want to recover and that we feel lucky that we get to walk this journey of recovery together as we both want to live a sober and full life. 

At the end of the day, I have to believe in the foundation of the program and how Bill W. wanted it to be, “an easy program for complicated people”, and “Rule 62, just don’t take ourselves too damn seriously.”

Posted by Nancy Carr at 5:58 AM No comments:

 

MOMENT OF CLARITY

MOMENT OF CLARITY

­­In A.A. we survivors of lives of addiction have many things in common.  The program works because we can relate to one another.  When we share our story and our feelings it creates a common bond.  When we let down the protective walls that surround us we open the door to love and friendship 

One of our common experiences is what we call “a moment of clarity”.  Something happens in our mind that wakes us up to realize we need help.      

The thing is we alcoholics/addicts usually spend allot of time in denial of just how bad our addiction really is.  Without the survival skill of denial the guilt and shame would destroy us.  To have some semblance of peace in our corrupted lives we lie to ourselves on a regular basis.  We blame everybody and everything around us that we can for the state of our affairs.  I could write an entire paper on denial, as a matter of fact I already have but that’s irrelevant.

The moment of clarity is what happens in our mind when that long-term denial drops off our brain and we see the whole truth about ourselves and the shape we are in.  We see suddenly and inexplicitly those we have harmed and the money we have spent.  In the moment of clarity truth roles over us like a freight train.

My moment of clarity happened about ten days after I was thrown in the clinker for possession of a crack pipe and who knows what else.  They threw me in isolation for three days and then put me with the rest of the girl in population.

LOCKED UP

I am one of those people that had a low bottom.  I had been in the woods smoking crack I don’t remember how long.  I finally left the woods to go home.  I got stopped in fanning Springs I wasn’t even driving a car.  I hid a crack pipe in my hair there was no time to throw it away.  The guards left me in a little cell that happened to have a chair with a tiny ledge all around the bottom of it.  I disposed of the pipe there. 

They send me to Levy County Jail because of a warrant.  After nine days of severe withdrawal from Methadone, cigarettes, crack, and Xanax I looked at myself in the steel mirror.  My teeth were rotting out from the crack, I had lost so much weight so fast that my skin was hanging off me unnaturally.  I felt suck a severe remorse for the way I neglected my daughter that I almost died right there.  But I had my moment of clarity.  That clarity stayed with me.  The 12 steps are designed for people like me.

 

After two years of probation I went back in that jail with the friends I met in A.A.  We brought meetings in twice a month.  You just don’t know what a feeling a joy and accomplishment I had doing that 12 step service work.  By the perpetual grace of Gody sobriety date is April, 15 2006 according to the sobriety calculator I have 3,318 days sober one day at a time.

9 years 1 month 1 day

Time span:

474 weeks

3318 days

9.08 years

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/2/sobriety-calculator/

Do you know when your moment of clarity was?

By Anonymous

 

SOBRIETY CALCULATOR

How many days do you have sober?    Simply  enter your sobriety date and click “submit”.  Let the sobriety calculator do the rest.   It will calculate your sobriety date into total days, weeks,  months and more.

Congratulations on your sobriety and clean-time!

 

Ninth Step Promises

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.

We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.

We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.

We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.

No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.

That feeling of uselessness and self pity will disappear.

We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.

Self-seeking will slip away.

Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.

Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.

We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.

We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

3rd ed. Big Book pg. 83 & 84

EMOTIONALLY GROWING UP IN A.A.

STEP FOUR, STEP 12, AND SELF-WORTH.  AGREE TO DISAGREE BY GAINING SELF-WORTH, GAIN SELF WORTH BY WORKING THE STEPS

Having a different opinion than my fellows is ok.  Expressing varied views and opinions is good.  Debate is good and necessary for the progress of A.A. AND OUR NATION.  We have elections in every aspect of A,A, except regular meetings.  We learn to agree to disagree because it is the mature and emotionally sober thing to do. Even in a facebook A.A. group varying outlooks and opinions are part of healthy social expression.  DISRESPECT AND PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE INSULTS ARE A WHOLE OTHER MATTER.  Time to learn which is which if we don’t already know.  And if we don’t know how to disagree with a fellow without running away no doubt it’s because of a valid reason stemming from our past.  We shouldn’t be hard on ourselves or others if we  or they are in the process of growing up emotionally.

AGREE TO DISAGREE by working the 12 steps.

Without “agree to disagree” there would be no Alcoholics Anonymous or any of the other 12 step programs.  Without agree to disagree anything that involves political decision making and voting would be chaos.  Firstly humans always will and always have had varied opinions and viewpoints on topics.  When we have business meetings in A.A. whether it be in our home group, inter-group or at area assembly there are important matters at hand and decisions to be made.  Sometimes the outcome of these votes will effect A.A. as a whole.  These votes are not about “me” as an individual.  The votes and varied opinions though they may differ than my own choices or viewpoints do not mean that I am bad, wrong, ugly or any other negative adjective for having different viewpoints than my peers.  Sounds a little crazy when you say it outload but this issue is why fights break out over minor disagreements people perceive that if someone has another opinion than theirs that they are belittled somehow.  The thing is if a man has low self-worth then he takes many things personally as an insult about himself.  Low self-esteem always has its feelers out looking to protect itself against perceived insults.  Low self-esteem is always in “defense” mode.  It hones in on comments or actions that have nothing at all to do with itself and perceives them as if they are putting him down and expressly meant to insult him.  Let’s face it low self-worth thinks that the world revolves around its belly button. 

What are the solutions to low self-worth?  Notice in the fourth step grid on page 65 http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbook_chapt5.pdf  in the “effects my” column of the fourth step.  After every resentment “pride” and “self-esteem” are at the core of every resentment.  It’s not that the resentment gave me low self-worth it’s that low self-worth is the prime breeding ground for resentments because it puts us on the defensive.  So typically if I have low self-worth then the chances of me being able to engage in a peaceful disagreement such as a business meeting vote and debate or an election of some sort are slim. With addiction we continually go against our ingrained conscience and each blow against our conscience is a blow against our self-worth.   

And if we were raised in a home where every disagreement or varying viewpoint ended in a violent fight it’s no wonder we are squeamish around any hint of varying opinion. 

So what then do we leave all the important elections, crucial debates and decision making to those who understand peaceful debate and didn’t grow up in a violent home where agree to disagree was never exhibited?  HELL NO!  We learn, we grow we find out how to achieve the self-worth needed to NOT take every comment personally!  Image how nice it would feel to not get emotionally triggered every time we try to socialize?  So, we do a painful and honest fourth step.  We do a candid fifth step and share with someone who shows respect and empathy not some “beat you down” sponsor who hasn’t gained any self-worth themselves. 

We do 12 step service work until we are blue in the face!  We take meetings into jails and institutions even if we feel like our anxiety is going to kill us!  We stifle our expression of pen and tongue unless we are speaking with respect.  We journal until we are blue in the face because getting out our fearful feelings WILL RELIEVE OUR ANXIETY.    We get a same sexed sponsor and gain a support group who will show us respect, and if they don’t respect us then we respectfully tell them, …no we “ask” them not to do it again because we consider their action toward us disrespectful.  We remember that we can’t make anybody do or think anything, if they don’t show us respect we WALK AWAY and find friends that will show us respect by choice.  We will find that once we start to work the steps and engage in steps 10 through 12 on a regular basis we won’t have to command and defend because people will automatically show us respect.  Even fulfilling our part of probation is an emotional growth experience.  Doing a couple years’ probation in early sobriety will most likely benefit us in many ways.  Once we have worked the steps and put the things on our fourth step that we were most ashamed of, those things we did that we NEVER WANTED ANYBODY TO EVER FIND OUT these are the things that need to be on that list the most.  If we can’t be honest with our steps we won’t gain the self-esteem needed to agree to disagree.

We do these thing even though they are new and scare the hell out of us emotionally.  We do not hesitate to make a “fear list” even though we may have a year or two sober because there is no shame in being afraid.  The people that hide their fears are the one’s that suffer the most emotionally.  Being afraid is part of the human condition and if we are newly sober SOMETHING IS WRONG IF WE ARE NOT AFRAID.  So after we write down all our fears pertaining to loss of our loved one’s loss of our social status and loss of our security we have a talk with our higher power and ask for some “faith” and to learn how to better trust that Higher Power.  If we have a resentment that won’t let up we pray for that person to receive all the blessings that we wish for.  And we do the work that 75% of the people in A.A. are too far into denial to see that they need to do as well.  And every time we catch ourselves looking for the differences instead of the similarities in a meeting we pray for help with that because relating to others in A.A. is one of the ways we get well.  Just some solutions.

 

 

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Step Two of Alcoholics Anonymous

 

Sanity step two and relationships

STEP TWO

Heavenly Father, I know in my heart that only You can restore me to sanity. I humbly ask that You remove all twisted thought and addictive behavior from me this day. Heal my spirit and restore in me a clear mind.

Overcoming Fear the human condition from which all addictions spring

“Let no man condemn himself; for it is by self-condemnation that we set ourselves above God who is our only True & Righteous Judge.  For it is He & He alone who possesses a capacity for the unconditional Grace and Love which mankind’s collective soul so desperately needs to survive the deceptive throngs that encompass death and the grave?”

It is written that the fear of death is the mother of all fears and from it springs all manner of worry, fear, and anxiety and so we engage the great struggle to defeat these feelings. 

We can quickly destroy all our loving relationships due to natural knee-jerk reactions that fend off fear and the feelings that fear creates.  Some deadly knee-jerk solutions are blame, criticisms, hate, playing the victim or the oppressor anything that relates to putting down and condemning others to make ourselves feel better if even just for a short while.  There is no shortage of people to condemn including ourselves.  In the meantime we lose what our hearts really need and crave…to Love and to be Loved, to comfort and to be comforted, to understand and to be understood, to follow our conscience and to live guilt-free.

John 14:27
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

They say that the most common phrase in the Bible is “fear not”.  Some say it is written in the Bible 365 times once for each day of the year.  Staying in faith and trusting in God is easier said than done.  Things happen that strike fear in us, fear of loss, fear of losing control of a situation, fear of sickness and death, fear that people will not like us or will desert and abandon us.  It is said in the rooms of AA that people most commonly have fears associated with these three things.  Sex, Society, and Security.

Firstly we often fear losing our partners, boyfriends, and husbands.  Second we fear losing our “status” in our society of peers.  Thirdly we fear losing our homes, jobs, money, and car.  The feelings that fear produces is at the core of addiction and codependency so we must find solutions to gnawing and torturous feelings.

When we are well grounded in our Higher Power by exercising regular prayer, meditation, meetings, and service work we not only receive fulfillment by that charity but we also have less reason to fear because our faith has been exercised and strengthened by regular communing with God. We must get our [daily bread], our spiritual feeding to continue trusting God and to repel fear.

When we pray and meditate yet find that our lives and minds are still full of discord, animosity, worrying, anxiety, and stress then there is more we can do.

“Out of the problem into the solution!”  We write down our fears in a list, we look it over and realize we lack trust in our Higher Power.  We then courageously ask God to help us to trust Him/Her/It and if our religion requires we repent.  We remember our second step and the insanity that God has delivered us from.  Sometimes the insanity of a second step returns if we are not active with living these steps.  We remember that beating ourselves up is counterproductive and not a solution to anything.  We revisit our Third step and remember that we have put our life and will into Gods caring hands so everything will be ok if we do our part.  Have we done a formal and thorough fourth step if so; do we have any new active resentment?  If so, we do a proper fourth step and ask ourselves what our fear is behind the resentment.  Have we completed our amends by either apologizing or giving back what we have stolen?  We do not gravel or expect any certain reaction from the persons with whom we make amends.  We can’t make them feel better by amends but we will feel better by it no matter their response.  If we still resent anyone we have worked a fourth step on we pray blessings upon them daily until we forget about it and the resentment is gone.

By these steps which include God we learn to Love ourselves and others.  By these steps we replace our old survival skills of blame and all its cohorts with healthy and loving coping skills based in truth, honesty, righteousness, Love and compassion.  We replace character defects with good character.  In this text on a day by day basis I will explain the why’s and how’s of working the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous which can apply to any addiction including the addictions called drama, self-hate, and co-da.

During the first year of my recovery I had the opportunity to be in an addictions therapy group.  During therapy I learned that there is no wrong feeling and that I must believe this in order to accept myself.  For when I label my feelings “wrong” or “bad” I label myself and my own God given heart wrong and bad.  Terms like; “I shouldn’t feel this way” or “but there’s nothing to be afraid of” are no longer in my vocabulary because there is always a valid reason for the way I/we feel.  Even if that reason comes from years prior or is physiological there is always but always a valid reason for the way our hearts feel. 

We are not bad or wrong ever by the way we feel.  Usually if our emotions get “stuck” in us and we hurt and fear seemingly endlessly it is because no one has taught us how to process our feelings.  They certainly didn’t teach it in school even though teaching a healthy emotional process should have been at the top of the curriculum.  Actions and reactions are the only things that can ever be wrong or bad.  I have found solutions to the feelings that I don’t like and have learned that some feelings just take time to walk through and that I need not let them paralyze me anymore.   I have learned that feelings are “right” and appropriate yet sometimes unpleasant such as grieving a death or fear of a situation that’s new and different.  In this book along with the 12 steps I will teach emotional processes to help let go of anger, rage, hurt, disgust, and the rest of the fear based emotions that we feel.  I will share with you what has worked for me during my eight years of recovery from my two devastating bottoms which did include incomprehensible demoralization like the Big Book addresses.

Dating and Sex in Sobriety

NO RELATIONSHIPS BEFORE A YEAR SOBER..SO THEY SAY IN AA.  the suggestion has much merit but there are exceptions to the rule.

We can quickly destroy all our loving relationships due to natural knee-jerk reactions that fend off fear and the feelings that fear creates.  Some deadly knee-jerk solutions are blame, criticisms, hate, playing the victim or the oppressor anything that relates to putting down and condemning others to make ourselves feel better if even just for a short while.  There is no shortage of people to condemn including ourselves.  In the meantime we lose what our hearts really need and crave…to Love and to be Loved, to comfort and to be comforted, to understand and to be understood, to follow our conscience and to live guilt-free.

If you want to read  what Alcoholics Anonymous’ take on dating and sex is read page 69 from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Also here’s the link to the Narcotics Anonymous literature on the topic.

http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbook_chapt5.pdf

http://www.nawol.org/2012_ch16%20RELATIONSHIPS.htm

There are some awesome suggestions in both texts.  I feel obligated and inspired to write my own experience on the topic as an A.A. member since 2006.  My sobriety date is 04-15-06.  My name is Lori E. and I am a recovering drunk, heroin addict, crack-head, and co-dependent.  Given all of the things that I have recovered from including cigarettes I needed more than just A,A, to get better.

However without A.A. I doubt I would still be sane and sober.  I am the Chairman of the New Life Group in Gainesville, Florida.  I have done my share of taking meetings into the very jail I got sober in and the institution that taught me emotional healing.  Bridge House at Meridian Health Care.  http://mbhci.org/treatment-services/residential-inpatient-services/   saved my life and it cost me about $4 a day for 28 days if memory serves.  I do know at the time of my stay the government was footing  most of the bill.  They allow A.A. to bring meetings into inpatient on a regular basis including women meetings which at this phase of my sobriety are my favorite. Women open up on issues that are so pertinent to their healing that would otherwise be taboo in mixed meetings.  I remember they told us that only one out of the 30 patients in our group would still be sober after a year.  We proved them wrong due tothe excellent psychological therapy that we received from psychologists working there at that time.   There is a group of 5 or 6 of us who are pushing the 10 year mark of sobriety.  “Trauma in recovery” was the name of the therapy group.  And we had a “women’s issues” group also.   Out of the two therapists who saved our lives and taught us how to emotionally process (live with feelings) one has passed away and the other still works there.

SOBER RELATIONSHIPS and codependency

Three of the women that I got sober with including myself have been in long term healthy relationships that began during the first year of our sobriety in 2006.  Two of us are with men that have at least 7 more years sober than ourselves and we met these men in the program.  Technically that makes those two men 13th steppers but we can laugh about that now.   Thank god for the 13th step!  13th stepping is when a member with say a year or more sober preys upon a new and vulnerable member.  Technically this can be a very bad thing so I won’t make light of it without explanation.  I believe if we are over the age of 18 we are responsible for our choices and that includes when we are newly sober.

We women in my outpatient therapy group were dating early on but we took every action and choice that we made regarding our new relationships into the group for feedback and guidance.  We all spent at least a year in that therapy group 2 to 3 nights a week.   Since we had a support group we were not technically as vulnerable as your typical and newly sober woman.  Without that group I would not be in a mature and happy relationship today.  But it took allot of work on myself to change.  So two of us found our men in A.A. and the third women a total miracle because she found her husband in Bridge House.   Hers was what we call a re-hab relationship.  Re-hab relationships rarely last.  Usually what happens is the two people leave rehab and use drugs together.  Next they betray one another and the relationship ends in a total train wreck.  That’s the odds.

Even our wise counselor at Bridge House told us that from what he had seen people who get into relationships in their first year always relapse.  I remember in group one day Dr. Rand Maryowitz told us that he had never seen a relationship work that had started in the first year of sobriety.  Us women looked at each other reading one another’s minds we thought, “there is no way we are ending this relationship!  It feels too good.”  And it was good, the trick for me was to survive the crash of the fairy tale expectations which was one of my patterns of co-dependency.

I wanted to RUN AND BLAME

so many times when my feelings would get hurt and I felt he had wronged me.  That was me a runner and a blamer.  I was the victim.  Each time I felt that way I would call my new friends from group instead of running.  I would then realize one of two things, either my new partner had not wronged me at all or he had unknowingly done so and I just needed to communicate with him on an honest level and let him know how I felt and why I felt I was wronged.  Not so I could be “right” but so we could get to know each other and learn what one another considers disrespectful.  If you are with a partner that is willing to work with you and communicate at a core and honest level then you have a chance of gaining a life-long mate.  Soul mates     THE FACES OF LOVE

RULE NUMBER ONE- STOP BLAMING MY PARTNER FOR MY OWN FEELINGS AND MY  OWN CHOICES.

RULE NUMBER TWO- TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR EVERYTHING IN MY OWN LIFE.  INCLUDING MY PAIN AND INSECURITIES

RULE THREE-LEARN WHAT TO DO WITH THE INTENSE FEELINGS THAT WON’T GO AWAY.

I had spent my whole life blaming others for my shit.  It took a strong support group, a good counselor, and A.A (the twelve steps to be precise) for me to make the transition into self-responsibility.   Here are some of the articles that talk about the solutions to relationship sabotage.  I really had no idea what a healthy relationship was until I got sober and allowed myself to be emotionally vulnerable and teachable.

The thing is we get hurt and betrayed then we put up walls that protect us from that happening again.  But unfortunately the instinctual walls of a sick addict push love out and bring fear in.  I had to learn how to be okay with me.  I had to let myself off the hook for all the mistakes of the past and make amends where I could.  I had to invite God into all the areas of my life that I had been shielding Him from.  Without a Higher Power the healing process does not have the supernatural punch needed for an emotional make-over.  Therapy, 12 steps and God.  Three ingredients to a super dooper recovery!  I know many people in A.A. have given up of intimate relationships.  Many times when they do give up then, finally they find their soul mate.  A partner cannot fix us.  They cannot process our feelings for us or build our needed self-esteem only we can do that by doing the next right thing.  And continuing to do the next right thing.  Here are some articles about relationships and what it takes to be a partner.

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/2/sexual-inventory-pg-69-big-book/

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/2/the-power-of-choice-clearing-the-wreckage-of-the-past/

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/2/relationships-alcoholics-anonymous/

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/2/sexual-inventory/

 

 

 

FORGIVENESS and STEP FOUR

krishna-christ

 

FORGIVENESS

Most religions teach forgiveness.  Forgiveness is a part of self-Love because when we forgive we receive peace of mind and healing on an emotional and spiritual level.  But, is it easier to forgive a stranger or a family member?  Don’t we tend to allow family members much more leniency where our boundaries are concerned?

I recently had an argument with some family members.  We argued back and forth and one of them un-friended me…temporarily that is.  However when my nephews new wife entered the picture and began verbally attacking me suddenly I realized that I had totally forgiven the members of my family and now despised this strange women that my nephew had recently married.  I found myself hoping for their speedy divorce so everyone would see what a bitch and traitor she is

Yes it’s a good thing that I so easily forgave my family but it’s just as important to forgive strangers.   I thought to myself; “screw that bitch who does she think she is?  She doesn’t deserve my forgiveness!”   However,  my unforgivness or “resentment” toward her is not hurting her at all.  On the contrary it’s actually hurting me.  Resentments are poison that live inside out bodies until they make us physically sick.  Furthermore a resentment can morph into full blown hate.  And then into wrath where we are lashing out and spewing evil words from our mouth.

Jesus said “It’s not what enters the body that pollutes it but rather what comes out of the body that defiles it.”  http://www.blueletterbible.org/bible.cfm?b=Mat&c=15  They say in A.A. a resentment is like eating poison and waiting for the other person to die.  And really every resentment stems from a lack of love for one’s self.  (Big Book page 417)         http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbook_personalstories_partII.pdf

Acceptance
A
nd acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.
When I am disturbed,
It is because I find some person, place, thing, situation —
Some fact of my life — unacceptable to me,
And I can find no serenity until I accept
That person, place, thing, or situation
As being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.
Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.
Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober;
Unless I accept life completely on life’s terms,
I cannot be happy.
I need to concentrate not so much
On what needs to be changed in the world
As on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”

Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition p. 417 If I am angry at others it is something in me that is ill-at-ease that is sparking that anger.  I know this.  Please, I do not mean that anger is a “wrong” and “bad” emotion.  It is a valid feeling that is part of the human condition.  If I am angry there is a reason behind it if I can just get to it and understand it so I can let it go.

I have found that for myself most of my anger stems from my unreasonable and even slightly irrational desire to be perfect in my own eyes.  If I say I want to be God it soundS ridiculous however, that is the core character flaw of most addicts and alcoholics in recovery.  It is where controlism springs from and lord knows there are a boat-load of control freaks in A.A.

Ok but how do I go about forgiving someone I hate or am disgusted with?  Journalling what happened and how it made me feel in regard to my resentment is very helpful as well and is part of the letting go process.  Being as concise as possible when describing ny feelings is very important.  Words like “I felt weird” or “uncomfortable”, “uneasy”, are not direct terms.  If I felt insecure or afraid or the fear of loss, or hateful, angry lesser than or ashamed I should write it down.

 

STEP FOUR

Remember feelings of shame, fear, and insecurities do not have to be logical to be valid and real.  If we shrug off every intense feeling because it is illogical to our intellect or originated in our past then we are still repressing emotions and they will eventually come out sideways usually at those we love most.

Firstly the most  handy and simple solution is to pray for those we resent.  Again, they teach this in A.A. and it’s also in the Bible    Start by praying every day for the person we resent.  If that doesn’t work then write out a formal fourth step to get to the bottom of what it is that we are really afraid of regarding the resentment.  There is ALWAYS fear at the core of every resentment whether (Big Book step fourhttp://www.stepsfoundation.com/Assets/Documents/4thStepForm.pdf

I want to stop right here and interject one of the most important parts of the forgiveness process.  In spite of what A.A. teaches about “my part” and EVERYTHING SURROUNDING A RESENTMENT BEING “MY FAULT”, the truth is there are abusers and very mean people out there who have not and will not hesitate to abuse small children in unthinkable ways.  When we have been wronged it’s important that we don’t blame ourselves for not knowing how to let the pain and violence that was inflicted on us as children or adults, go.  People can tell us all day long to forgive and “let it go” but if we don’t know how to let it go their instructions do us no good.  Furthermore if I was abused as a child, as many addicts were it is clearly not my fault.  Many of us tend to blame ourselves and beat ourselves up for things we didn’t have “a part” in.  Granted if we hate our abuser then that is “our part” and we need to let that go by working the 12 steps.

It is apparent in A,A. that there are two types of people.  Those who are much too hard on themselves and are hyper-aware of most of their character defect patterns.  And those who remain in deep denial of their shortcomings and are incapable of recognizing their faults on their own.  These types do well with a sponsor that will not hesitate to point out their shortcomings for them.  As long as the light bulb goes off when their sponsor points out their patterns they can then work a successful fourth and fifth step….with their sponsors help.  The hyper-aware types don’t need a sponsor to further point out defects they have already beat themselves up for for far too long.   These types need a more empathic and nurturing type of sponsor, caring, compassionate, understanding.  Both types are being nurtured in their own ways.  What one man considers “disrespect” another man considers that same thing “love”.  To each his own.

Making a Fear List is documented in the Big Book as part of the fourth step, of which many people overlook.  Learning to identify the fear that lives behind our intense feelings is part of the life changing self awareness that comes to us when we work the 12 steps.  However these fears live in us at a core, or root childlike level.  Most people are ashamed of their core fears and rarely want to admit them to themselves much less to others in a fifth step.  “The truth shall set us free”.  If we address these core fears and share them their burden will be lifted from us along with the shame of who we are.

So many times we hear in A.A. “I don’t care what people think about me.”  When in all reality if we don’t care what our fellows think of us then we are bordering on sociopath.  It is completely natural to care what our fellows think of us and to fear what people will think of us as well.  Fear of what people think of us should most likely be on our fear list.  Ninth Step Promise “fear of people will leave us”, but not if we don’t do the work.  We label this flavor of fear “society”.

The next big fear is “security”.  who doesn’t fear losing their car or home once in a while.  Specially if we live from week to week or moth to mon financially.

The third primary fear of loss is labelled “sex”.  Fear of losing our sexual partner is a big on.  So many character defects can be triggered by these fears of loss.  Jealously, envy, greed, worry, lying, cheating, and stealing are all motivated by fear of not having enough money  or enough control over our significant others.  Where are they at?  What time will they be home?  Who were they talking to?  Why were they out all night?

So we right down our fears and then we go one step further…Below the surface, why am I really afraid of losing my significant other?  Two things 1. I am not trusting my Higher Power and 2. I have self-esteem issues, I don’t think I am good enough.  If I were totally confident in myself and in God I would not fear losing the three S’s, sex, society, and security.  99 times out of 100 if I am disturbed it is because I am afraid of losing and I am not trusting God.  So what’s the solution?

I repent of my lack of faith, trust, and I ask my Higher Power to forgive me and help me to trust Him, It, Her.  Also working steps 10 through 12 on a regular basis will increase my self esteem and bring me closer to God through prayer and meditation

The 12 steps work.  they were developed for addicts, thing is most people that work the steps do it at a very superficial level.  Few people will admit that they fear and have self-esteem issues.  Obviously is I have low self-esteem it will make me very ashamed and uncomfortable to broach the topic in a candid way.

 

SOBRIETY TOOLS

TOOLS TO STAY CLEAN AND SOBER

THE SAME THINGS I DID TO STAY SOBER NINE YEARS AGO I DO TO KEEP ME SOBER TODAY.  TEMPTATION STRIKES AT NINE YEARS SOBER!  DOES THAT MEAN MY SOBRIETY IS NOT QUALITY SOBRIETY?  

I used to love to drink the frothy brown head on the top of a cold Amber Bock or Dark Heineken beer.  I preferred my beer nearly frozen.  I would chug down the first one till I remember getting a warm fuzzy feeling in the pit of my stomach.  Then I felt the alcohol coarse through my veins almost like a shot of heroin straight into my blood stream.  I would sit around with my friends connecting on a level that made me feel brotherhood and a sense of belonging.  I had found my place in life and it took alcohol to get me there.  

So when I walked to my neighbor’s house yesterday to pick up my little dog I was a bit taken by the ice cold cooler full of Amber Bock and the fellowship that I found.  At nine years sober I must admit my mind went to a place where I asked myself, “Can I safely drink?  After all I am a different person now.”  When they kindly offered me a beer I laughed and told them that I quit nine years prior and that drinking got me in trouble.  They laughed and said, “We thought that was the whole reason TO drink….to get in trouble that is”.  I kindly laughed-back enjoying the prospect of being enabled by alcohol to do the things that my pesky conscience wouldn’t allow.  And is that the “why” behind the wealthy man’s reason to drink as well as the poor man’s?  Who knows?  All I could remember were the good times and that’s ok temporarily that is.   I did have some good memories of drinking and met some wonderful people.

The counselors at Bridge house Rehab gave us a little sobriety tool called “play it through”.  This tool, if you really do want to be free from the miseries drinking brings, works.  It works for me and it works for those I got sober with back in 2006 who are still around.   

My brain’s travelling neurons then took an abrupt turn into an exit ramp and caught my pain-staking-ly built sobriety bridge.  By doing the “next right thing” and by God’s grace I have built a bridge over the carved out and well used roads in my brain labelled “This way to Hell”.  After nine years of recovery my minds neurons have learned to travel on the well-lit highways or “neural-pathways” of sobriety.  And what did I find on my well lit road leading me away from the Hell that I have had enough of?  You guessed it, I found awareness.   I recovered the memories of the hangovers, the regrets, the wrongs I committed, and my destructive actions.   I found memories of throwing up, of waking up so thirsty from a black-out that was so deep it could only have been induced by poisoning my brain.  I remembered crashing my vehicles, and the regret of sleeping with countless men just so I could feel I had some value.  I remembered the jails.   I remembered my moral compass and self-esteem being crushed even further into the dirt.  I remembered doing the things that a hurt child of God does while just trying to make sense of a young life filled with betrayal, evil, hurt and pain.  And so I knew then as I sat on my neighbor’s porch that drinking was not my choice, not today and hopefully never again.

SO IS MY SOBRIETY QUALITY?  I DIDN’T DRINK, I USED THE TOOLS, I DIDN’T DISRESPECT OR JUDGE MY DRINKING NEIGHBORS, I AM NOT ASHAMED OF WHO I AM AND MY THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS.  QUALITY SOBRIETY HAS MANY FACES INCLUDING A FACE OF PAIN.  BUT THROUGH IT ALL IT HAS A FACE THAT HAS EYES TO SEE PAST THE EVIL INTO THE GOOD.  YOU BE THE JUDGE.

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TRADITION TEN

TRADITION TEN 

TRADITION 10

We in recovery would do well to learn how to agree to disagree. Showing respect to those whose views are different than our own is part of emotional sobriety (translation-Maturity). We learn at business meetings and at the poles that voting and having varied opinions must be understood.  We should not run from all controversial topics as if they were poison and CENSOR them as if they were blasphemous. Controversy is not bad and personal choices and opinions have NOTHING TO DO WITH THE TENTH TRADITION.   “A.A. has no opinion on outside issues.”  Tradition Ten is about A.A. AS A WHOLE IN THE PUBLIC AND POLITICAL ARENAS.

EXAMPLE of a breach of Tradition Ten would be…

>[I am the chairman for the NEW LIFE GROUP in Gainesville, Florida representing Alcoholics Anonymous in an official capacity and I make a statement to reporters of the Tampa Tribune that Alcoholics Anonymous officially has voted to NOT support The Governor of Florida in his next election because he endorses Narcotics Anonymous (and we hate them right?  Or is it just NA who hates AA?  off-topic sorry) That would be a Tenth Tradition breach.

If we don’t learn to stand for something in our recovery then we are still hiding behind a passive and fearful blanket of irresponsibility. Do we vote? Do we teach our children the principles that we ourselves have chosen in spite of many people’s opposing beliefs? There is NOTHING wrong with standing for something and discussing it…that is not a Tenth Tradition issue so next time you witness a respectful discussion of two people’s opposing views…don’t quote the Tenth Tradition as if it had something to do with it.

Here is a quote from the Tenth Tradition in the Twelve and Twelve.  Understanding what the Tenth Tradition is really referring too is vastly overlooked in A.A.

“TRADITION TEN OF A.A.”>“Let us reemphasize that this reluctance to fight one another or anybody else is not counted (motives?) as some special virtue which makes us feel superior to other people.  Nor does it mean that the members of alcoholics Anonymous, now restored as citizens of the world, are going to back away from their individual responsibilities to act as they see the right upon issues of our time.  But when it comes to A.A. as a whole, that’s quite a different matter.  In this respect we do not enter into public controversy, because we know our society will perish if it does.”  Bill W.

 

Banning and Censorship in Narcotics Anonymous

“Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly. “~Albert Einstein

There are many emotionally mature people in N.A. AND A.A. this article is not talking about them.  The actual by-the-book program of N.A. AND A.A. are good and do work.

Many Narcotics Anonymous Groups commonly ban and censor the words Alcoholics Anonymous from their groups.  If you say it they will oftentimes kick you out of the group.  If you use the word “sober” instead of the word “clean” they quickly censor your writings and delete your experiences.  Narcotics Anonymous is staunch about not even mentioning A,A. in groups, meetings, or even in the smoking area.

As a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and a student of human behavior I find their censorship quite interesting and ironic at the least.    For certain without A,A. Narcotics Anonymous and all it’s  copycat (from A.A.) Facebook groups  would not exist.  Narcotics Anonymous has adapted the twelve steps and traditions from Alcoholics Anonymous.  Yes they changed a few key words in the N.A. Text but on the most part their text is from the Big Book.  Often leaders of the Facebook N.A. Groups (which notably are not Narcotics Anonymous or approved by them)  become irate if you don’t abide by their changes in your  fashion of conversation or choice of words.  Censorship is nothing short of intense prejudice and a unequivocal denial of their own generational roots.

There are people that attend both programs.  These people have discovered the benefits of both programs.  Most addicts are also alcoholics and most alcoholics are also addicts.

My observation of common addict behavior around these NA Facebook groups has shown me that addicts tend to see things very black and white.   However a more accurate depiction is that some addicts (not all) live in a realm of  limited original thought and high razor wire walls that hover around their thinking and reasoning.  It seems that oftentimes Facebook NA group members believe all things are either good or bad and nothing in between.  Furthermore they don’t believe in neutralities or vaiables.  So that means that if NA is labelled a good program then AA has to be labelled a bad one.  There can only be one road to recovery and it has to be their road.  If a man shares in group that he got sober another way or clean another way and does not need meetings then the N.A member will have to reason out that this person isn’t a real addict in spite of the persons own experience and life events.  The member is stuck in a mindset that is he needs meetings to stay clean then so must every other addict on the face of the earth.

Therapy and therapists are deemed “bad”.  Church and religion are “bad”.            Because if they were deemed good then N.A. would have to be check-marked “bad”.  And if N.A. were bad then the emotionally immature member himself would also be bad because that’s their program, they feel responsible for the whole of NA somehow.  The immature and fearful addict suffers from very low self-worth.

So my theory is that because of a deep dark doubt of the addicts own self worth any different ideals other than their own is interpreted as a direct hit against their beliefs.               Censorship is a desperate act by the fearful and the prejudicially closed-minded.

                   Censorship reflects society’s lack of confidence in itself.  It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.  ~Potter Stewart                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Please give me just one valid reason why there needs to be censorship in Narcotics Anonymous Groups…there is no reason except a desperate thrashing attempt to validate themselves by crushing other peoples expression .  This is sad…no one taught them how to achieve emotional sobriety.

****************************************************************

http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_tradition10.pdf

Tradition Ten is not meant to be a vault that locks out one’s personality and views.

Have you ever sat in an A.A. or N.A. meeting and heard someone quote the Tenth Tradition just because someone had the guts to express an opinion on a contraversial topic?   As if it is wrong to have views , religious stances, political opinions and moral beliefs?

These group members delete and hint of controversy or opinion on deep and interesting topics.  They are sadly operating under the belief system that it’s spiritual and mature to censor all opposing views when they surface between people.

Haven’t they ever been to a AA or NA business meetings which makes our programs tick.  Controversy is the root of political growth and our existence.  Discussions of alternating views is a must among grown ups to move forward.  Stifling all controversy also stifles emotional maturity.  Learning communication skills is a priority in recovery and stating ones’ opinion aids in personal growth.  Hiding from controversy is the right of every man and women however controlling other people’s controversy is just that, immature and vastly controlling.

Do not censor my freedom of speech in the name of emotional maturity and spirituality.  Your maturity is actually an act of playing God.  You have brought your sickness into your recovery program and called it good.  Censorship by any other name is still censorship/

Tradition Ten

“AA has no opinion on outside issues hence the AA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.” 

Have you even been in a private Facebook group where people are discussing matters of interest and someone quotes the Tenth Tradition as if we AAers are not allowed to have or express  an individual opinion in a private group?

What does The Tenth Tradition really mean?  Does it mean that I shouldn’t have an opinion on anything except what shirt to put on?  Does it mean that I cannot agree to disagree with my fellows in a business meeting vote?  Does it mean that I am not allowed to state my opinion in a meeting or a group on Facebook?

PLEASE!  We don’t get sober and do all the 12 step  work  to rebuild our personalities and lives just so we can be opion-less!  Having no opinion on anything is not how AA got formed and built.  The founders had to mull over many choices and argued and got resentments in the process. 

Shrugging away from stating my own personal opinions could be nothing more than fear-based running from responsibilities.

If I am one of the one’s quoting the Tenth tradition in meetings I better read it first so I understand just what I am quoting and what it means.

AA AS A WHOLE HAS NO OPINION ON OUTSIDE, YES OUTSIDE ISSUES! 

Here is a quote from the Tenth Tradition in the Twelve and Twelve.

“Let us reemphasize that this reluctance to fight one another or anybody else is not counted (motives?) as some special virtue which makes us feel superior to other people.  Nor does it mean that the members of alcoholics Anonymous, now restored as citizens of the world, are going to back away from their individual responsibilities to act as they see the right upon issues of our time.  BUT WHEN IT COMES TO AA AS A WHOLE, THAT’S QUITE A DIFFERENT MATTER.  IN THIS RESPECT WE DO NOT ENTER INTO PUBLIC CONTROVERSY, BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT OUR SOCIETY WILL PERISH IF IT DOES.” 

Tradition ten twelve & twelve page 177

Am I saying that we should argue all the time and not “cease fighting”?   No, struggling wears us down and can cause emotional hangovers.  Disrespectful actions will boomerang back at me and hurt me.  However having my own belief system is a healthy stance and a sign of emotional sobriety.  Running from choices could be is a sign of low self-esteem.  What I am saying is that I have an opinion and should express it and even debate it sometimes which has nothing to do with the Tenth Tradition and A.A. as a whole having a public opinion in a political light.

Rarely Have We Seen A Person Fail…

http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbook_chapt5.pdf

“Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.”  Chapter 5 How It Works from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  I remember hearing these words for the first time in an A.A. meeting and thinking to myself, “God I hope that’s true.”  I wanted so badly to get and stay clean and sober.  My life had been torturous.  I had hit a bottom that was so emotionally painful and mentally taxing that I understand completely why people kill themselves.  I also understand why the suicide statistics among sober addicts is very high as well.  Since that first day I have been sober nearly ten years.  I am at peace with myself more so now than in my entire life.  I am so blessed.  I believe that when we make and effort to do the right thing and we work the steps…that God is in our corner.  Everything just clicked for me yet at times I forget how good God has been to me and  I start whine go Him that I want more.  Bottom line, God gives me what I need.  Peace of mind is priceless in my book and between therapy and the 12 steps

There is such a thing as God rolling out the red carpet of sobriety.  I also believe there is suchc a ,v

Sure you would think once someone can get and stay sober there problems are over they will automatically be “happy joyous and free” just like the A.A cliche’ says.  Unfortunately depression, bi-polar disorder, high anxiety, mental illness, and obsessive compulsive disorder are all common among sober alcoholics.

How depressing you say…and it is BUT, the good news is we can adjust to a sober life and we can even overcome high anxiety.  Plus there are medications that help the mental illness if we stay sober and take it regularly.  Instead many addicts go through a phase of thinking they don’t need their bi-polar meds.  And that the meds are having a negative effect on them.

The steps work to help every disorder I mentioned above not just to keeps us sober.  If we can just take a step of faith and get a sponsor, go to 90 meetings in 90 days.  Immerse ourselves in A.A. and connect with the people.  Ask questions and share in meetings.  Find some friendly members and tell them how you feel.  When we are scared we should share that we are scared.  It takes off the emotional load.

We need to have a therapist that will help us learn how to let our emotions flow.  We need to make friends who have let down their walls and are not afraid to be honest about their feelings.  We need to let ourselves cry after all we have been through hell in our addiction.

The Big Book reads that many of us suffer from gave emotional dis

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LEAVING AA

WHAT PEOPLE HATE AND LIKE ABOUT A.A.

Truly once a man realizes that he has the power of choice and is responsible for all his decisions and actions he can no longer blame others for his own misery he now knows he alone has the ultimate power which is…TO TURN, WALK AWAY AND NOT LOOK BACK. HE HAS THAT RIGHT.  If he hangs around for abuse that’s on him.

http://www.orange-papers.org/

http://leavingaa.com/why-i-left-aa-stories/#comment-123785

Leaving A.A. is a popular topic on the web.

These two links are to anti-12 step websites.  These are created by disgruntled ex-A.A. and N.A. members.  the Orange Papers site has allot of statistics true and balanced.  The “leaving AA” site is more just a bitch session by people who either have been hurt by people in A.A or they are trying hard to rationalize their own inability to stay sober, you be the judge.  Lord knows I know how guilt can wear on a person struggling to stay sober.  If it keeps them feeling sane without really hurting anyone it’s ok I reckon, let them bitch and criticize with each other.   They have a common bond at least.

I like to give a fair and balanced opinion about anything.  Leave it to alcoholics and addicts to have to label things either all bad or all good.  Addicts are notorious for wanting to put the “bad and wrong” label on anything they can.  (myself included at times)  However lets face it there are not many things in this world that are all bad or all good, in fact it is a rarity.  Even a good thing can be overdone until it becomes bad.  But when it comes to inanimate objects they are not usually bad in and of themselves.  It’s the people that abuse and make inanimate objects bad.

However when it comes to people it is our actions that can be bad or good.  To label a person all bad or all good again will usually be inaccurate.  Granted there are some evil people out there who are bad but they even do some good things now and again right.  But me as a person…well I am neither bad nor good I am just human.  The 12 step programs meaning the 12 steps in their proper form ARE ABSOLUTELY GOOD.   Who could possibly refute that except maybe someone who hates the “Higher Power” concept or resents God.  A person who doesn’t understand the true and good 12 steps could easily call them bad.

From what I have read some people end up with oppressive and controlling sponsors in A.A. I don’t doubt that a bit.  I have been a member of A.A. for ten years…this time.  I have met the sick and controlling people.  I have seen the closed-mindedness, the liars and the sick perverted sex offenders.  But I have also seen and felt the love.  I have experienced the magic.  And I have fallen head over heals in love with AA for a time.  But that white-washed view of AA had to tumble down from its pedestal.  White-washing anything as all good is simply inaccurate.  Pink clouds end but it did serve it’s purpose for me to begin my sober life.

What these sites (above links) comments say about A.A. is probably true on the most part.  But what they are not saying is that they need to label A.A. bad because to them there is no such thing as something being both good and bad.  IT MUST BE ONE OR THE OTHER THEY SCREAM!

So does A.A. really work?  Well it appears that only 5% of newcomers will pick up a 1 year medallion and only 1.17% will pick up a 10 year medallion and 0.15% will pick up a 20 year medallion.  Now that doesn’t mean that there are not allot of people that stay sober due to A.A. yet leave A.A. for one reason or another.    I know some people who have learned the 12 steps and how to live them. They have people in their lives that they confide in and they are close to God… they don’t NEED the meetings when they have the program.  Maybe others no longer need to sit in A.A. meetings absorbing the sick vibes of all those emotionally handicapped people who frankly don’t open up enough in meetings to get better.  And with good reason.   Quite possibly they would get shut down and criticized if they shared their hurts, fears, and worries the way that they should be encouraged to.  Often members mistake the healthy need to vent about hurts and fears or process core issues by labeling that kind of emotional outpouring “character defect” and “self-pity”

If members could express core issues they would heal.  If people would get real in the rooms more often and tell the sick and suffering addict that they understand and have felt that way too then the program would be much more effective.  But instead some members sit like vultures in meetings waiting for someone to criticize.   Emotionally abusive members use the A.A. cliche’s as if they were weapons to stab the un-knowledgeable newcomers with.   Newcomers suffer while some members make it a fault-finding meeting rather than looking for the similarities and relating.

I have often wondered why is it some people want to make people feel better while others exist to make people feel inferior, degraded and wrong.  If I were hurt by an A,A cliche’ that a member wielded at me as a newcomer, would I then wield that same cliche’ later when my self confidence returns?  Wouldn’t I assess that the statement was hurtful to me therefore I would find another way to express a similar thought?  However I do see people using the same tools that hurt them to hurt other people.  It’s not surprising that many people just get tired of A.A.

Granted A.A is the perfect platform for a minister or counselor to catapult his career.  Some groups will allow any member with 30 days sobriety to take meetings into jails and institutions.  These people could have audience to hundreds of people in no time while they share their story and their own interpretation of what the 12 steps are and how to work them.  Right or wrong if they are offering hope to the hopeless it’s good.  Service work is a wonderful thing if it’s done with kindness.  It does not take brash, and mean cliche’s to share the program of A.A.

Why are so many members so defensive when it comes to their 12 step program?  That’s simple besides the fact that AA often produces miraculous results in one’s life, therefore gratitude and vigilant guardianship is common. But also in the addicts ego things are either good or bad (no diversity or grey area) so if someone points out one wrong thing with their A.A it means the entire program is bad, which in turn in the perception of an insecure addict makes themselves bad.  An insecure man with low self-worth is defensive because he feels he needs to be to make himself look better…and if his program looks bad he looks bad.

Feeling we need to defend A.A. is akin to thinking we have to defend God Himself who clearly doesn’t need us for It’s defense, It is the almighty It needs no defending because no one can bring it down.  Both God and A.A.  I think the only one that could truly bring down the 12 steps and their programs would be He who established it to begin with (and I don’t mean Bill W. I mean God Itself, Himself, Herself. (Choose your own descriptive word.)

 

RECOVERY FROM ADDICTIONS

NOW IS THE BEST TIME TO START YOUR RECOVERY FROM ADDICTIONS AND EMOTIONAL DISORDER!

 

Make a list of your sobriety hopes and dreams and check it twice!  

It is written in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous that “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path”  If you have the capacity to be honest enough with yourself to admit you have a problem….then you have a good chance of staying sober for a very long time.  The main ingredient of recovery is truth.

If you are willing to take the steps that are suggested by the people in Alcoholics Anonymous that have stayed sober before you for years, then you will not fail.   Regardless of how many times you have sabotaged your own sobriety.

Sit down, make a list of all the good things that you want from your sober life and in 6 months you will realize you have been given and achieved far more than you had hoped for.  This is a common story told among those in AA. 

When I sat in jail in 2006 hoping to spend just one day with my daughter at my favorite beach I was full of fear that I could not stay sober or out of jail long enough to do that.  Nine years later I sit amazed at the accomplishments and blessings that I have experienced by turning my fears and control over to my Higher Power.

Once I realized that the 12 steps are my recipe for staying sober and at peace with myself I knew I had it made.  The reason that I did not fail is I learned to “get out of the problem and into the solution”.  I went to 90 meetings in 90 days at first then for the next four to six years I went to four meetings a week.  I enjoy meetings now it’s not a burden.  I have cleared the wreckage of my past by doing the 12 steps.

Between therapy and the Fifth Step I learned how to express myself from my heart.  I learned to share my fears rather than stuff them down till they make me sick.  I learned that crying is a healthy emotion and a part of life.  I learned that pain is the beginning of healing.  Journaling my feelings is priceless to my emotional health.  And meditation feeds peace and anointed guidance to my very soul.

One day at a time I have earned my degree in sober school.  There is no need for me to pretend that I am alien to progress.  I have made much progress and you can too.  If you are willing to become a student.

My friend I am sure that you are wise in many ways.  BUT, having the wisdom to become teachable again will save you.  The horrible suffering that addiction brings transforms into the willingness and desperation needed to take your leap of faith.  Fear of the unknown can lead to the fulfillment of your deepest heartfelt desires when you get out of the problem and into the solutions.  Do not prejudice yourself against any possible help, rehab, therapy, AA, and religion are all a step in the right direction!

Have A Wonderful Evening

From Recovery Farmhouse We hope you have a fantastic night.  Enjoy it you deserve it!  Know that you are of great value to those around you.  And thank you all for your interest in

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/2/how-do-i-get-clean-sober/

Here is a link and an excerpt to our latest post.

HOW DO I GET CLEAN & SOBER?

If you seek a full recovery from addiction A.A. Works for some people, therapy works for others, and spirituality works for yet others.  Combine all three and you up your chances of staying sober by at least 30%.  But be sure to choose an empathic, caring type therapist, you will need it to balance out the intolerance of many A.A. sponsors and members.  And furthermore I recommend a Spirit-filled church (holy roller type).  Dry and Spirit-less churches that don’t really believe in the gifts of the Spirit such as prophecy, healings, miracles, deliverances, and open-praise aren’t usually as effective in the miracle department.  Make certain that your church at least believes in the power of the blood of Jesus and the laying on of hands for healing and deliverance.  Yes again the holy rollers.  Truly every spiritual experience I have had of high magnitude has been where people praise God openly.  Not to say a spiritual experience cannot happen to you at home alone.  I have also seen that happen.  It’s just way more likely to happen at a tent revival than in the bathroom at home.  And then there’s the spiritual awakening and a psychic change.  If you work the 12 steps out of the 12 and 12 and big books honestly and thoroughly several times you may just get the psychic change needed to stay sober.

HOW DO I GET CLEAN & SOBER?

If you seek a full recovery from addiction A.A. Works for some people, therapy works for others, and spirituality works for yet others.  Combine all three and you have a chance.

THERAPY

Be sure to choose a therapist who knows how to show empathy not one who just sits there like a bump on a log writing words you can’t see.   I say this because addicts suffer from low self-worth and we already feel like we are being judged. An addict will rarely open up fully to a person unless he feels he will not be judged.  When it comes to therapy for addicts it’s best to have a therapist who has recovered from addiction himself.   And if you can’t find a recovered addiction therapist then group therapy could work because of the feedback and relating.

AA sponsors are there to take you through the 12 steps not to delve into your emotional healing.  The statistics of suicide among recovering addicts is high.  I am basing this on the fact that I know several who have killed themselves while in A.A.  I accredit the suicide rate to the fact that so many recovering addicts don’t get the right therapy.  And they don’t address their true core issues.  The things that we are ashamed of are the things that haunt us.  Past issues live inside us and take on a life of their own.  Past issues make us sick, angry, and trying to fend the pain off causes character defects.

CHURCH

I recommend a Spirit-filled church (holy roller type).  Dry and Spirit-less churches whose members really believe in the gifts of the Spirit don’t have allot of spiritual power.    Make certain that your church at least believes in the power of the blood of Jesus and the laying on of hands for healing and deliverance.   Truly every spiritual experience I have had of high magnitude has been in or around a church where people praise God openly.   Miracles can happen anywhere but it’s more likely to find a miracle at a tent revival than in the bathroom at home.

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

There are many non-addicts in church who will not relate to what your feeling when going through a struggle with addiction.   Non-addicts are not privy to the practical solutions that you will learn at A.A.  By the same token many A.A. people don’t know what a complete deliverance from addiction by a spiritual experience is either.  And really isn’t that what actually took place in Bill Wilson’s life the co-founder and author of The Big Book and most of it’s literature?  That spiritual white light experience of his is what prompted the idea for the 12 steps.  So really why not seek both a miracle and sobriety from working the steps?  Why not use both solutions?

The 12 steps are not therapy they address our shortcomings and the need for confession and repentance. (step 4 & 5) You won’t hear it worded repentance and confession in AA confession is called a fifth step.

Every addicted women I have met WAS SEXUALLY MOLESTED at some point in their child hood and most were repeatedly molested.   Unfortunately the 12 steps don’t and step-work don’t provide a way for  true “victims” to acquire a healing.  If we hold a grudge toward our assailant then the steps do give place to addressing our resentments.  But simply jotting down the event in a one sentence format and then searching for our own guilt in the experience and what we did wrong WILL NOT HELP US HEAL FROM ABUSE.

Maybe that’s where Bill Wilson just missed the boat on his own emotional healing.  There should have been a step that addresses the pain of the true victims of abuse.  “Victims” are real and not some made up psychological crutch or bad habit.  Yes we need to get past being a victim and the idea can be used as a way to control people.  “Oh poor me give me attention that sort of thing.  In AA they call abuse an “outside issue”.  It’s understandable they are not equipped to handle deep emotional trauma issues.  But in my opinion those issues are why people become addicts.  So the 12 steps alone will only be enough if God touches you and heals you.

That’s it bottom line without God the steps won’t work and without giving rebellious addicts a way to seek God that is acceptable to them they will not recover that’s why the church shouldn’t judge AA and AA shouldn’t judge the church but they do and often.

The steps and Big Book do not tell us how to get an emotional healing from abuse.  And even if you don’t remember being abused, or emotionally neglected it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.  Many addicts don’t know what emotional neglect looks or feels like.  They will say they had a fine childhood, “my parents did the best they knew how”.  And they did , except;  why then are we alcoholic?  Emotionally balanced people don’t seek to numb themselves out on a regular basis to the point of self-destruction.  Emotional abuse by a parent can be just as devastating as sexual abuse or violent beatings.   Most addicts subconsciously grow up thinking they are bad and wrong.  Therapy will help us figure out why.  I think if Bill Wilson would have had a better therapist he could have felt free enough to let out some of the feelings that were causing him so much depression.

Bill W.’s depression is well documented. Instead of looking at “our part” on our fourth step concerning  childhood abuse (which by the way, could only be that we held a natural resentment toward our assailant for years and that we are full of false guilt over the event.  We do not grow out of trauma, it will live inside us until we give it a healthy door out.  What we actually need to do is find a way to go back to the events that traumatized us and express the way we feel about it from our hearts core.  Crying, weeping, screaming, moaning, and guttural sounds will do the trick.  But also talking it out with a caring listener who can relate to the pain it caused us.  This can heal us.  In AA they will shut you down quick over expressing past trauma and insist that you forgive or just “get over it!” before you are even able to express your pain.  We usually are unable to forgive until the emotions are properly expressed.  If you get hit in the face you scream ouch then cry! Then you can work on forgiving after the OUCH and tears are out.

JAILS AND INSTITUTIONS

What about rehabilitation centers?
Getting thrown in jail and rehab can be a good thing initially to get sober.  Sometimes we have got to be locked up for the first 90 days or so because otherwise we will not be able to get through the physical withdrawal.  Plus rehab centers teach many things about sobriety.  Having a detox center to help with the withdraw is good.  My theory is get all the help you can!  If your dead from a drug overdose having a house and job won’t do you any  good anyway right?

HOW TO REALLY GET SOBER?

THERE IS NO PERFECT SPONSOR, NO PERFECT REHAB CENTER NO PERFECT DETOX NO PERFECT COUNSELOR, NO PERFECT PROGRAM AND NO PERFECT CHURCH , PREACHER OR THERAPIST.  However, all these imperfect things combined can lead to your imperfect recovery.

A FULL RECOVERY

Yes you can recover.  AA works.  “THESE SICK PEOPLE ARE KEEPING ME WELL”  how ironic.    Those sick people , and they are will teach you how to get and stay sober but you won’t find many that believe in employing all three spirituality, therapy, and the 12 steps.  But that’s what worked for me.  After several years of all three you won’t need meetings anymore, why would you?  Meetings are not the program the 12 steps are the program.  Fellowship though, is a must in the beginning to establish sober relationships with people.  Also it’s suggested we go to 90 meetings in 90 days if at all possible to jump start recovery.  You won’t hear in AA that you will fully recover and no longer need meetings even if it is written in the big book.  Look it up , the word “recovered” is all over the Big Book.

The following are some quotes from the Big Book about being “recovered”.

“I will always be recovering, never recovered.”  This statement is not aligned with the teachings of the Big Book we do recover!

 

 Title Page: “ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS. The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism” (I totally agree with him on this one we absolutely do recover, at least I have.)

 

Page 20, paragraph 2: “Doubtless you are curious to discover how and why, in face of expert opinion to the contrary, we have recovered from a hopeless condition of mind and body.  (here, here!)

 

Foreword to the First Edition: “We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.”

 

Page 29, paragraph 2: “Further on, clear-cut directions are given showing how we recovered.”

 

Page 132, paragraph 3: “We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others.”

 ____________________________________________________________________________

NEXT ARTICLE:

WHAT PEOPLE HATE AND LIKE ABOUT A.A.

http://www.orange-papers.org/

http://leavingaa.com/why-i-left-aa-stories/#comment-123785

These two links are anti-12 step websites.  It appears that the sites were created by disgruntled ex-A.A. and N.A. members.  The Orange Papers site has allot of statistics true and balanced.  The “leaving AA” site is more just a bitch session by people who either have been hurt by people in A.A or they are trying hard to rationalize their own inability to stay sober, you be the judge.  Lord knows I know how guilt can wear on a person struggling to stay sober.  If their blaming keeps them feeling sane without really hurting anyone it’s ok I reckon, let them bitch and criticize as one.   They have a common bond at least.

I like to give a fair and balanced opinion about anything.  Leave it to alcoholics and addicts to have to label things either all bad or all good.  Addicts are notorious for wanting to put the “bad and wrong” label on anything they can.  (myself included at times)  However lets face it there are not many things in this world that are all bad or all good, in fact it is a rarity.  Even a good thing can be overdone until it becomes bad.  But when it comes to inanimate objects they are not usually bad on their own.  It’s the people that are wrong for using an object like a gun or knife for evil purposes.

From what I have read some people end up with oppressive and controlling sponsors in A.A. I don’t doubt that a bit.  I have been a member of A.A. for ten years…this time.  I have met the sick and controlling people.  I have seen the closed-mindedness, the liars and the sick perverted sex offenders by the droves.  As a matter of fact I think child molesters and alcoholism go hand in hand.

What these sites comments say about A.A. is probably true on the most part.  But what they are not saying is that they need to label A.A. bad because to them there is no such thing as something being both good and bad.  IT MUST BE ONE OR THE OTHER THEY SCREAM!

So does A.A. really work?  Well it appears that only 5% of newcomers will pick up a 1 year medallion and only 1.17% will pick up a 10 year medallion and 0.15% will pick up a 20 year medallion.  Now that doesn’t mean that there are not allot of people that stay sober due to A.A. yet leave A.A. for one reason or another.    I know some people who have learned the 12 steps and how to live them. They have people in their lives that they confide in and they are close to God… they don’t NEED the meetings when they have the program.  Maybe others no longer need to sit in A.A. meetings absorbing the sick vibes of all those emotionally handicapped people who frankly don’t open up enough in meetings to get better.  And with good reason.   They would no doubt get shut down and criticized if they actually shared their hurts, fears, and worries the way that they should be encouraged to.

If they could vent they would heal.  If people would get real in the rooms and tell the sick and suffering addict that they understand and have felt that way too then the program would be much more effective.  But instead people sit like vultures in meetings waiting for someone to criticize.  Members use the A.A. cliche’s as if they were weapons to stab the unknowledgable newcomers with.   Newcomers suffer while members make it a fault-finding meeting rather than looking for the similarities and relating.

I have often wondered why is it some people want to make people feel better and other people want to make people feel inferior.  If I were hurt by an A,A cliche’ that a member wielded at me as a newcomer, would I then wield that same cliche’ later?  Wouldn’t I access that the statement was hurtful therefore I would find another way to express a similar thought?  However I do see people using the same tools that hurt them to hurt other people.  It’s not surprising that many people just get tired of A.A.

Granted A.A is the perfect platform for a minister or counselor to catapult his career.  Some groups will allow any member with 30 days sobriety to take meetings into jails and institutions.  These people could have audience to hundreds of people in no time while they share their story and their own interpretation of what the 12 steps really are and how to work them.  Right or wrong if they are offering hope to the hopeless it good.  Service work is a wonderful thing if it’s done with kindness.  It does not take brash, and mean cliche’s to share the program of A.A.

Why are so many members so defensive when it comes to their 12 step program?  That’s simple in the addict mind things are either good or bad so if someone points out one wrong thing with their A.A then that means that the entire program is bad, which in turn in the perception of the insecure addict makes themselves bad as well because they are a member.  An insecure man with low self-worth is defensive because he feels he needs to be to make himself look better…and if his program looks bad he looks bad.

Feeling we need to defend A.A. is akin to thinking we have to defend God Himself who clearly doesn’t need us for It’s defense, It is the almighty It needs no defending because no one can bring it down.  Both God and A.A.  I think the only one that could truly bring down the 12 steps and their programs would be He who established it to begin with (and I don’t mean Bill W. I mean God Itself, Himself, Herself. (Choose your own descriptive word.)

Why Am I An Addict?

AA “I WON’T CO-SIGN YOUR BULLSHIT!”

THERAPY VS PROGRAM?

“How it works” Chapter in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous states that even people with “grave emotional disorders” can get and stay sober.  What is “grave emotional disorder” and how can I really heal from it and stay sober to boot? 

I won’t co-sign your bullshit!  Scream the A.A. sponsors to the detriment of their heartsick fellows! There is a great need in AA to understand the difference between co-signing bull shit and showing Love by exerting understanding, compassion, and care.  We don’t have to give our sponsees the beat-down that is not what the program is about.  Nowhere in the Big Book do the writers suggest brutality and badgering as 12 step service work.

There is a great need to understand the difference between self-pity and the expression of valid feelings such as anger, and hurt. Human feelings that result from an abusive past need expressed for us to stay or get sane.

The words, “I know how you feel, you have a right to feel your pain, grieve and to process your hurt…even if, the feelings derive from years prior” are words that can heal a heart.Most addicts have stuffed down tears for years that desperately needed to be cried for us to attain emotional balance and healing. Usually when we get clean & sober all our un-cried tears come to the surface and scream to get out. We then ask ourselves: “What’s wrong with me, why am I so depressed, nothing bad is going on right now? Next our sponsors quickly tell us to “get over it and write a gratitude list” as they watch us slam the door in the face of AA.

Gratitude lists work great for those stomping their feet because things are not going their way (self-pity). However when it comes to the horrible feelings of grief that result from abuse, abandonment, neglect and other childhood trauma all our sponsors suggestion does is add to our low self-image and push us out the doors.

The most common “grave emotional disorder” that addicts in the rooms suffer from is the inability to process deep hurts and trauma inflicted as children & sometimes through adulthood. We have turned our hurt to anger and continually search for a scape-goat to blame for our intolerable feelings. Our hurts have morphed into anger because “grief”, unless short lived and a result of the death of a loved one is unacceptable in our society. When we experience any other cause of emotional pain except what’s socially acceptable we are often told to just “GET OVER IT!” So driven by shame we bone-up, pretend we are tuff-girls and boys, file our feelings under the “wrong and weak” category in our hearts and make ourselves sick till we have no other solution except to numb that which we have labeled “Invalid feelings”.

Is it no wonder that when one of us relapses so many seem to be so devastated by it…even when we scarcely know the person who went back out? We are desperate to let out some of our grief in a way that is acceptable to our fellows. We all step up our meetings and talk about our pain and loss when it usually has nothing to do with the guy who just relapsed who we have never invited to our home by the way.

The need for validation of our deep hurt is huge and necessary for healing. It’s hard for us in recovery to see when we are stuffing down a pain that really needs to be expressed. Few of us were taught by example or in school that it’s ok to scream and cry feelings out, or that crying is a part of emotional health.

Grave emotional disorders are not healed by just writing down [our part] and transferring all the blame from one scape goat to the next; [ourselves]. Please don’t hear what I am not saying…we addicts have boatloads of character defects that we need to work on however, not all grave emotional disorder is solved by doing a guilt based fourth step. Furthermore, if Bill W. would have had a course in empathic healing and were taught that his feelings are valid and how to emotionally process them he may not have spent at least 12 years sober and depressed trying so many therapies and pharmaceutical remedies.

Typically Bill was too hard on himself. There comes a time when we must pause from blaming ourselves for where we are at emotionally if we are to find answers and heal. There comes a time when we should realize that we were dealt a mistaken hand where our understanding of emotions is concerned and the steps don’t fix everything.

THERE IS NO WRONG FEELING once we establish this we won’t be quite so quick to deny and shut them down. For anyone to label our feelings wrong is to label us wrong as a person because our feelings are our heart.  “Wrong”  is an action word.   What we do with out deep feelings like, blaming others for them or acting out in rage and  violence this can be labelled “wrong”.   It’s what happens after the feeling that is right or wrong.

When we learn how to let feelings flow through us instead of getting stuck in us, then we are on our way to being emotionally balanced. There are many ways to accomplish a flow of emotions.

Taking responsibility for ourselves includes learning how to process hurt, anger, guilt, remorse, disgust, fear, and pain. Labeling feelings wrong, staying in denial about them till they come out in the form of rage and blame is not emotional sobriety. How will anybody in recovery ever stop blaming others for their feelings if they have not allowed themselves to learn what to do with deep feelings to get them out?

Have you ever asked why there is so much finger-pointing going on in AA or the world for that matter? And why is it that so few alcoholics and addicts in recovery find healthy and loving long term relationships? We can’t make our significant others’ responsible for our feelings and show them Love at the same time. So many alcoholics just settle for the fact that they will never be able to have a successful relationship if they are to stay sober. Ouch!

Lastly have you ever heard anyone in meetings pit therapy against the program as if there were a war between the two? How about pitting religion against the program or pitting religion against therapy (that’s a common one in the church). The fact is these all three are good they are not at war at all.  

Every person I know that shows quality sobriety; meaning they are mature enough to not play the blame game and they show Love are those that have used a combination of therapy,  a 12 step program and seek spirituality.   All three are good and all three work if we are willing, open-minded, and honest enough to not practice contempt prior to investigation on any of them.

Therapy vs. program or therapy enhances program?

 

Laura Edgar

STEP FOUR ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

IF STEP FOUR IS NOT FREAKING YOU OUT YOUR PROABLY NOT DOING IT RIGHT.

Humans generally learn by default to put on a hard emotionally protective shell so others will not see their vulnerabilities and they won’t get hurt.  However oftentimes that hard shell tends to offend or trigger others emotionally before they can actually see what is going on with the person.  In other words; when we are hurt we may seem just angry or mad at someone who really has nothing to do with the reason we are actually feeling unrest.  Hurt and fear by default turn to anger in most alcoholics because it is a safer emotion to portray to our fellows than an emotion that appears weak.  Some say depression is anger without enthusiasm with hurt at the core.  We alcoholics tend to have trust issues and we are not willing to show our real emotions to anybody.  We fear for our survival in this world that we see as cruel and unsafe!  This my friends is the core reason so many fear and run from doing a fourth and fifth step.So what do we do?  Do we continue repressing every hurt and pain of betrayal unto infinity till it takes us down?  No never!  Not if we are to heal and actually be able to say “Hi, I am Lori, I am an alcoholic addict in recovery.”  Not if we want a redeeming psychic change…we must find someone we are willing to trust with our feelings, our shame, and our fears.  We need, yes need someone in the program who will relate to us and have compassion, someone whom we can cry to.

We must for survival sake do a thorough Fourth and a thorough Fifth Step to get out the skeletons of our past that are eating our emotions and our relationships alive! 

We must make our step work personal by writing and sharing our Fifth Step in the “I” context.  We should state our feelings and events with honest emotion.

IT IS THE THING WE ARE MOST ASHAMED OF THAT SHOULD BE AT THE TOP OF OUR LIST.  A shallow and non-revealing Fifth Step with our most shameful events omitted will not help us.  No, not if we are to recover our joy and obtain the miraculous psychic change needed to not only stay sober but stay sane enough that we do not choose suicide over sobriety like countless addicts and alcoholics have.

We are dying out there and we must take serious action for our true survival…”It is better to save our ass than save our face.”  “Pride comes before a fall oh how deep that fall can be.”  Hope is the answer, hold on to the hope that we really can get better with God at the helm of our step work.

What should I do today to start the process of working the steps? 

RESPONSIBILITY PLEDGE

This is the responsibility pledge quoted at some A.A. meetings at the closing right after the prayer.  Some people do object to it because Alcoholics Anonymous is a free program.  Recovery is shared by members because they themselves want to stay sober.  Step Twelve states in so many words that we must “give it away to keep it”.  And service work gets us out of our own heads.  Yes step twelve keeps us sober and it has many more virtuous benefits when worked thoroughly and honestly.  Going to jails and institutions to share just what I did to get and stay sober is a self-esteem building exercise.  Jesus said “It is better to give than to receive” and He was right.  When I share what A.A. had done for me it gives others hope that they too can have a life that is peaceful and productive.  I must admit I had to be desperate for change to actually work the steps, but when I did I received the psychic change that was needed for me to become happy and usefully whole.

IF IT DON’T APPLY LET IT FLY!

 

 

“I am responsible. When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA always to be there. And for that I am responsible”.

 

 

 

SOBRIETY

 

SOBRIETY is not an impossible dream!

 

Jim Neighbors sang it best…WE CAN DO IT!  It’s NOT impossible to get and stay sober.  

But why not get some help with the job?   When I attempted to get sober I knew nothing about living sober.  So I went to sober school.    It was my choice to go to A.A.  It was my choice to stay sober. I didn’t know I had a choice but I found out different.  We all have a choice it’s just that the lies in our heads want us to believe different.  We have a choice whether or not to drink today.  

When you are your own worst enemy it’s a good idea to invoke an army of fellows and facts to war against the self-defeating lies that your own head creates.     Maybe you are not as sick as I was, I lived most of my life in a haze of drug addiction.  The 12 Steps,  group therapy, and seeking God are how I have stayed sober by the Grace of God for nearly 10 years.

Choose your favorite 12 step program and get a home group.   Go to a meeting every day and then ask someone to be your sponsor.  Ask the person that you relate to most.  If they say “no” ask someone else that you relate to when they share in a 12 step meeting.  Next work the 12 steps.  Open-up in meetings no matter how scared you are and tell people how you feel and where you are at psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.

 

Buy a Twelve and Twelve and a Big Book and make sure that you are grasping each step as you do it.    This website has the Big Book available for 99 cents.  (First 164 pages, which is all you need).  Make sure at some point that you get some outside help.  There are many people in A.A. that are prejudiced against therapy.  However our literature (A.A.) states that alcohol is just a symptom of a deeper sickness. 

If we don’t deal with our core issues we will not recover at a core level.  And then when we have no-one left to blame for the way we feel, we might be alone and suicidal.  It’s best to open up to at least one person and tell them the worst things we have ever done.  Make a fear list, write down core fears of loss and insecurities.  If you don’t have any then your not human.  It’s because of fear, childhood neglect, abuse and insecurities  that most people self-medicate.  Therefore it’s important to get to the cause of our addiction.  Shame and false pride will fight you  on this.  There are a million and one reasons not to revisit the past to clear up childhood traumas but that’s where the answers to our underlying issues can be found and released most likely.  

 

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions from A.A. World Services $5.99 only.  BUY NOW!  Don’t take everyone else’s word for what the book says, read it for yourself.

 

Recovery Farmhouse has sought out the cheapest available price and we add no additional fees to the price of this book purchased from A.A. World Services.  We are merely helping to support A.A. as a whole by supplying this link.  This book is sold by World Services, Inc.

BILL WILSON’S STRUGGLE WITH DEPRESSION

 BILL WILSON STRUGGLED WITH DEPRESSION; as do many of us alcoholics in and out of recovery.  This doesn’t mean that we are weak or inferior.  All feelings come from a valid place, a place of truth.  That place is our heart and the heart doesn’t lie.  However struggling addicts tend to beat themselves up about their heartfelt feelings.  We were taught to that our hearts were “wrong” at a young age if we shared our feelings to a trusted adult who then informed us;  “you shouldn’t feel that way” or “that’s nothing to be afraid of”.  I think if Bill Wilson could have found a safe place to allow himself to be emotionally vulnerable and to cry and express his fears at a core level he could have gotten out some of the source of his deep and on-going well-documented, self professed depression…as can we.  I say this because journaling core feelings, talking about core fears and allowing my heart to be illogical is a part of self-love. Screaming and crying instead of transforming all my hurt into anger is a solution to depression and anxiety.   After all I believe, sad though it may be that depression is merely “anger without enthusiasm” Alcoholics lean toward self-loathing and usually they don’t even know that they hate themselves.  Read about Bill Wilson in his intimate grapevine writings.

                Bill Wilson’s Fight with Depression     Copied from:  thank-you to:  http://www.a-1associates.com/aa/LETS_ASK_BILL/Fightwithdepression.htm The pamphlet that Bill had published on niacin therapy was a collection of articles by several doctors who had done research in the area. My former sponsor (since moved out of state) had a copy and I believe I saw one at the Akron A.A. Archives, too, if memory serves correctly (always questionable). When searching for information on this, try using “nicotonic acid” and “nicotinamide”; both are forms of niacin and the terms are often used in the research literature. 1912 Sept, at the beginning of the school year at Burr and Burton, Bill W was president of the senior class, star football player, star pitcher and captain of the baseball team and first violin in the school orchestra. (BW-FH 19) Nov 18, Bill W’s schoolmate and “first love” Bertha Bamford, died from hemorrhaging after surgery at the Flower Hospital in NYC.

She was the daughter of the rector of the Manchester, VT Zion Episcopal Church. Bill learned about it at school on the 19th. It began a 3-year episode of depression, which severely affected his performance at school and home. (AACOA 54, PIO 35-36, BW-RT 51-58, NG 12, BW-FH 19-20) 1915 Early, at the start of his second semester at Norwich, Bill W hurt his elbow and insisted on being treated by his mother in Boston. She did not receive him well and immediately sent him back. Bill had panic attacks that he perceived as heart attacks. Every attempt to perform physical exercise caused him to be taken to the college infirmary. After several weeks of being unable to find anything wrong, the doctors sent him home. This time he went to his grandparents in East Dorset, VT. (BW-FH 21-22) Spring, Bill W’s condition worsened in East Dorset but doctors could find nothing physically wrong.

He spent much of the early spring in bed complaining of “sinking spells.” (BW-FH 22) Later, his grandfather, Fayette, motivated him with the prospect of opening an agency to sell automobiles.   Bill’s depression lifted and he began trying to interest people in buying automobiles. He wrote to his mother that he nearly sold an automobile to the Bamfords (the parents of his lost love). (BW-FH 23) 1927 On returning to NY, Bill W and Lois rented a three-room apartment at 38 Livingston St in Brooklyn. Not big enough for Bill’s desires, he enlarged it by renting the apartment next door and knocking out the walls between them. (BW-RT 144, LR 71, PIO 80-81) By the end of 1927, Bill W was so depressed by his behavior and drinking that he signed over to Lois all rights, title and interests of his stockbroker accounts with Baylis and Co. and Tobey and Kirk. (LR 72, PIO 82) 1934 Dec 14, Ebby visited Bill W at Towns Hospital and told him about the Oxford Group principles. After Ebby left, Bill fell into a deep depression (his “deflation at depth”) and had a profound spiritual experience after crying out “If there be a God, will he show himself.” Dr Silkworth later assured Bill he was not crazy and told him to hang on to what he had found. In a lighter vein, Bill and others would later refer to this as his “white flash” or “hot flash” experience. (AABB 13-14, AACOA vii, 13, BW-40 141-148, NG 19-20, NW 23-24, PIO 120-124, GTBT 111, LOH 278-279) 1944 Summer, Bill W began twice-a-week treatment with Dr Tiebout for debilitating episodes of depression. Some AA members were outraged and castigated Bill for “not working the program,” “secretly drinking” and “pill taking.” Bill endured the attacks in silence.

(BW-RT 299, BW-40 166, BW-FH 6, 160-161, 166, PIO 292-303, GTBT 121) 1945 Bill W started seeing psychotherapist, Dr Frances Weeks (a Jungian) once a week on Fridays. He continued to see her until 1949 for his episodes of depression. (BW-FH 166-167, GB 66, PIO 334-335) 1955 After 1955 the depression that had plagued Bill W for so long, lifted and he regained his bright outlook. However, during 1956, his best friend, Mark Whalon, died. (PIO 359, 364) 1956 There is a link between Bill’s LSD and niacin (vitamin B3) experiences: British radio commentator Gerald Heard introduced Bill W to Aldous Huxley and British psychiatrists Humphrey Osmond and Abram Hoffer (the founders of orthomolecular psychiatry). Humphrey and Osmond were working with schizophrenic and alcoholic patients at a Canadian hospital. Bill joined with Heard and Huxley and first took LSD in CA on August 29, 1956. Medically supervised by psychiatrist Sidney Cohen of the LA VA hospital, the LSD experiments occurred well prior to the “hippie era” of the late 1960’s. At the time, LSD was thought to have psychotherapeutic potential (research was also being funded by the National Institutes of Health and National Academy of Sciences). The intent of Osmond and Hoffer was to induce an experience similar to the DTs in hopes that it might shock alcoholics away from alcohol. Among those invited to experiment with LSD (and who accepted) were Nell Wing, Father Ed Dowling, Sam Shoemaker and Lois Wilson. Marty M and other AA members participated in NY (under medical supervision by a psychiatrist from Roosevelt Hospital). Bill had several experiments with LSD up to 1959 (perhaps into the early 1960’s).

The book “Pass It On” (PIO 368-377) reports the full LSD story and notes that there were repercussions within AA over these activities. Lois was a reluctant participant and claimed to have had no response to the chemical. 1966 Hoffer and Osmond did research that later influenced Bill, in December 1966, to enthusiastically embrace a campaign to promote vitamin B3 (niacin) therapy. It also created Traditions issues within the Fellowship and caused a bit of an uproar. The book “Pass It On” (PIO 387-391) has a fairly full discussion. 

Note: In January 1958, Bill wrote a Grapevine article titled “The Next Frontier: Emotional Sobriety” commenting that he had a bad episode of depression after 1955. The article also mentions what he did in response to it. SOURCE REFERENCES: AABB Alcoholics Anonymous, the Big Book, AAWS AACOA AA Comes of Age, AAWS BW-RT Bill W by Robert Thompson (soft cover) BW-FH Bill W by Francis Hartigan (hard cover) BW-40 Bill W My First 40 Years, autobiography (hard cover) GB Getting Better Inside Alcoholics Anonymous by Nan Robertson (soft cover) GTBT Grateful to Have Been There by Nell Wing (soft cover) LOH The Language of the Heart, AA Grapevine Inc LR Lois Remembers, by Lois Wilson NG Not God, by Ernest Kurtz (expanded edition, soft cover) NW New Wine, by Mel B (soft cover) PIO Pass It On, AAWS*************************************************************************
These are two of the most personal accounts of Bill W. life that we have available to us.  Pretty sure Language of the Heart is A.A. approved literature.  You would be surprised what is and isn’t considered “approved.” For instance The Little black meditation book “Twenty-Four Hours a Day” for men that’s so popular is not AA approved literature but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good and helpful.

*Borrowed from:http://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/aug/23/lsd-help-alcoholics-theory LSD could help alcoholics stop drinking, AA founder believed Author reveals Bill Wilson’s acid theory, but his experiments upset other Alcoholics Anonymous membersLSD-acid-tabs Bill Wilson believed LSD had helped him overcome depression and that it could also give alcoholics’ insight to aid their recovery. Most members of Alcoholics Anonymous disagreed. Photograph: AlamyAmelia Hill@byameliahillThursday 23 August 2012 13.37 EDT Last modified on Wednesday 21 May 2014 02.41 EDTShare on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via Email Share on LinkedIn Share on Google+Shares4,902Comments219The co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) believed LSD could be used to cure alcoholics and credited the drug with helping his own recovery from often debilitating depression, according to new research. About 20 years after setting up the Ohio-based sobriety movement in 1935, Bill Wilson came to believe that LSD could help “cynical alcoholics” achieve a “spiritual awakening” and start on the path to recovery. The discovery that Wilson considered using the drug as an aid to recovery for addicts was made by Don Lattin, author of a book to be published in October by the University of California Press, entitled Distilled Spirits. Lattin found letters and documents revealing that Wilson at first struggled with the idea that one drug could be used to overcome addiction to another. LSD, which was first synthesized in 1938, is a non-addictive drug that alters thought processes and can inspire spiritual experiences.

Wilson thought initially the substance could help others understand the alcohol-induced hallucinations experienced by addicts, and that it might terrify drinkers into changing their ways. But after his first acid trip, at the Veterans Administration (VA) hospital in Los Angeles on 29 August 1956, Wilson began to believe it was insight, not terror that could help alcoholics recover. LSD, by mimicking insanity, could help alcoholics achieve a central tenet of the Twelve Step program proposed by AA, he believed. It was a matter of finding “a power greater than ourselves” that “could restore us to sanity”. He warned: “I don’t believe [LSD] has any miraculous property of transforming spiritually and emotionally sick people into healthy ones overnight. It can set up a shining goal on the positive side, after all it is only a temporary ego-reducer.

 But Wilson added: “The vision and insights given by LSD could create a large incentive – at least in a considerable number of people.” Advertising His words were found in a late 50s letter to Father Ed Dowling, a Catholic priest and member of an experimental group he had formed in New York to explore the spiritual potential of LSD. Wilson is known to have taken LSD in supervised experiments in the 1950s with Betty Eisner, an American psychologist known for pioneering use of LSD and other psychedelic drugs as adjuncts to psychotherapy, and Sidney Cohen, a psychiatrist in Los Angeles. Wilson also discussed, in great detail, taking LSD with the author Aldous Huxley, and it is likely, though not proven, that the pair experimented with the drug together. “I am certain that the LSD experiment has helped me very much,” Wilson wrote in a 1957 letter to the science writer and philosopher Gerald Heard. “I find myself with a heightened color perception and an appreciation of beauty almost destroyed by my years of depressions.” In a talk given in 1976, Humphry Osmond, the British psychiatrist who coined the word “psychedelic”, said he told Wilson in 1956 “that [LSD] was good news”. Osmond said: “But [Wilson] was far from pleased with the idea of alcoholics being assailed by some strange chemical. Later on Bill got extremely interested and … he likened his LSD experience to his earlier vision of seeing this chain of drunks around the world, all helping each other.

This caused various scandals in AA. They were very ambivalent about their great founder taking LSD, yet they wouldn’t have existed if he hadn’t been of an adventurous kind of mind.” Lattin also found letters in which Eisner described Wilson’s thoughts when attending the VA hospital in 1956 to take LSD in a controlled experiment with herself, Cohen and Wilson’s wife, Lois. “Alcoholics Anonymous was actually considering using LSD,” Eisner wrote. “Alcoholics get to a point in the [programme] where they need a spiritual experience but not all of them are able to have one.” In a letter to Heard in September 1956, shortly after his first LSD experience, Wilson admitted he was appreciating the drug’s value. “I do feel a residue of assurance and a feeling of enhanced beauty that seems likely to stay by me.” A few months on Wilson was yet more positive about the long-term benefits. “More and more it appears to me that the experience has done a sustained good,” he wrote to Heard on 4 December 1956. “My reactions to things totally, and in particular, have very definitely improved for no other reason that I can see.”

 Lattin said Wilson was “so intrigued by the spiritual potential of LSD” he formed the experimental group that included Dowling, and Eugene Exman, Harper’s religious book editor. Wilson, however, remained sensitive to the controversy of his experiments. In a letter to Cohen, written between 1956 and 1961, he reported hearing gossip about his LSD use in AA circles. He reminded Cohen about “the desirability” of omitting his name “when discussing LSD with AAs”. Cohen reassured Wilson that his LSD trials did not include other active AA members. In 1958 Wilson defended his drug use in a long letter but soon afterwards removed himself from the AA governing body to be free to do his experiments. According to the anonymous author of his official biography, Wilson felt LSD “helped him eliminate many barriers erected by the self, or ego, which stand in the way of one’s direct experiences of the cosmos and of god”. He “thought he might have found something that could make a big difference to the lives of many who still suffered”. But, according to Pass It On, published in 1984 by AA World Services in New York, the movement was totally against his suggestions. “As word of Bill’s activities reached the fellowship there were inevitable repercussions. Most AAs were violently opposed to his experimenting with a mind-altering substance. LSD was then totally unfamiliar, poorly researched, and entirely experimental – and Bill was taking it.”

STEP FOUR

Why is everybody so afraid of the Fourth Step?

 

Doing a fourth step is work.  When many of us get to the rooms of a 12 step program usually we are full of guilt, remorse, shame and fear; the emotions nobody wants to admit or talk about.  We have been programmed from youth not to show weakness or it will be used against us by our fellows.  If we show vulnerability we are made fun of, taken advantage of, cast out, gossiped about or worse.  It’s understandable that we cringe by what is asked of us in a fourth and even worse; Fifth step.

There is a saying that the truth will set us free.  Humans need forgiveness from guilt, we need to be able to walk without a cloud of shame causing us to be hyper-sensitive to our interaction with others.  We need the poison of deep regret to be cleansed from our hearts.  We will never be relieved from guilt by denial or lies.  Trying to ignore a past full of wrong decisions and hurting others will eat us up inside.

If we weigh our options to either bury our guilt and suffer a continuing soul sickness that affects every relationship we have especially the one with ourselves.  Or choose to cleanse our hearts and be set free and open up the opportunity to have truly loving relationships with ourselves and others….hmmm which would we choose.  Do we keep our skeletons hid to save face?

No!  Saving face is a lie and the longer we keep our guilt hidden the sicker we become.  We must write down all the things we are afraid and ashamed of including our deepest darkest secret to have peace and serenity.  We are children of God and we are not alone.  There are only seven deadly sins and most addicts are very familiar with at least a few of them.  All fifth steps have been said and done before.  Our sponsors are usually not shocked by them or even surprised.

The truth is not our enemy…oh contraire’!  The fifth step truths will set us free and start us on our road to happy destiny.  Give yourself a fighting chance my friend!  We must learn to be kind to ourselves by making the steps our way of life.  We will truly be reborn if we are honest.

 

A.A. TRADITION TEN

“HOW DID AA REALLY GROW SO HUGE?  MOSTLY WITH A RESENTMENT AND A COFFEE POT”    (unknown author)

Bill W. wrote in Twelve & Twelve A.A. Tradition Ten____”Disliking the attempt of some to manage a group, half its membership might angrily rush off to form another group more to their liking.  Elders temporarily turned Pharisee, have sulked.  Bitter attacks have been directed against people suspected of mixed motives.  Despite their din, (ruckus) our puny rows (arguments, drama) never did A.A. a particle of harm.  They were just part of parcel (collection of ideas) of learning to work and live together.  Let it be noted, too, that they were almost always concerned with ways to make A.A. more effective, how to do the most good for the most alcoholics.”

I remember when I first got sober I was scared to death to have an opinion on anything or to make any personal choices that would affect other people.  I was afraid to choose what to have for dinner for fear that my dinner guests or family wouldn’t like it.  I had no self-confidence left it was all gone.  I felt I was totally wrong, bad and didn’t want the rest of the world to see that.  I had taken actions against my own heart and loved ones’ for so long that I had beaten myself to a pulp.  To heal from my emotional trauma and spiritual depravity I got lots of addiction based empathic group therapy, and I worked the steps a bunch.  I went to meetings allot and I got a sponsor.  

And for my self-esteem issues I worked the fourth and twelfth step in depth.  I took meetings into jails and institutions for years.  I sponsored new-comers and processed my own underlying causes because…alcohol was just a symptom of my grave emotional disorder, and immaturity.  The most important part of my recovery was my relationship with my Higher Power.  Without the Grace of God my recovery would not have come together like it did with all the solutions within reach.  My God rolled out the red carpet of recovery for me and I walked down that strip of change shaking and fearful. 

I did allot of Eleventh Step meditation which helped me to become open-minded and patient.

I worked hard and long to figure out who I was and to become rebuilt.  Would it serve me now to have no opinion on personal matters or matters of state?  I vote.  I make decisions for my daughter.  I am no longer afraid to have an opinion and rightly so.  I don’t make other people’s choices for them and should never try to.   I vote in my groups A. A. business meetings on matters of The New Life Group, Gainesville, Florida that could affect lots of people.  Our AA group is autonomous, which means we have the power to be self-ruling, self-determining, independent, sovereign, free, un-monitored as does any A.A. Group as long as we don’t break the Twelve Traditions as they are properly set down.  If we were to choose to do away with the big book in all our meetings all together guess what?  We, meaning those who raise their hand for the vote have that power of choice as long as it’s voted on. 

Have you ever sat in an A.A. meeting and heard someone quote the Tenth Tradition? Which is:

“AA has no opinion on outside issues hence the AA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.” 

Or better yet have you even been in a private Facebook group where people are discussing matters of A.A. and their varied ideas, thoughts and opinions and someone quotes the Tenth Tradition as if we AAers are not allowed to have an individual opinion in a private group?

What does The Tenth Tradition really mean?  Does it mean that I shouldn’t have an opinion on anything except what shirt to put on?  Does it mean that I cannot agree to disagree with my fellows in a business meeting vote?  Does it mean that I am not allowed to state my opinion in a meeting or a group on Facebook?

PLEASE!  We don’t get sober and do all the work sited above to rebuild our personalities just so we can be opion-less!  Having no opinion on anything is not how AA got formed and built.  The founders had to mull over many choices and argued and got resentments in the process. 

Shrugging away from stating my own personal opinions could be nothing more than fear-based running from responsibilities.

If I am one of the one’s quoting the Tenth tradition in meetings I better read it first so I understand just what I am quoting and what it means.

AA AS A WHOLE HAS NO OPINION ON OUTSIDE, YES OUTSIDE ISSUES! 

Here is a quote from the Tenth Tradition in the Twelve and Twelve.

“Let us reemphasize that this reluctance to fight one another or anybody else is not counted (motives?) as some special virtue which makes us feel superior to other people.  Nor does it mean that the members of alcoholics Anonymous, now restored as citizens of the world, are going to back away from their individual responsibilities to act as they see the right upon issues of our time.  BUT WHEN IT COMES TO AA AS A WHOLE, THAT’S QUITE A DIFFERENT MATTER.  IN THIS RESPECT WE DO NOT ENTER INTO PUBLIC CONTROVERSY, BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT OUR SOCIETY WILL PERISH IF IT DOES.” 

Tradition ten twelve & twelve page 177

Am I saying that we should argue all the time and not “cease fighting”?   No, struggling wears us down and can cause emotional hangovers.  Disrespectful actions will boomerang back at me and hurt me.  However having my own belief system is a healthy stance and a sign of emotional sobriety.  Running from choices could be is a sign of low self-esteem.  What I am saying is that I have an opinion and should express it and even debate it sometimes which has nothing to do with the Tenth Tradition and A.A. as a whole having a public opinion in a political light.

HOPE & TEARS

HOPE AA

Even though I am crying please do not think I have given up hope.  Feelings are a part of me and should be expressed.  Crying is a healthy emotion.  What hope do I hold inside?  I hope for success in every way.  I want to get ahead in life financially.  I pray to accomplish goals that will provide a nest-egg for me and my partner’s retirement.  I pray that we can afford a new house not because I am greedy or ungrateful but rather because the one we live in is old and decaying. 

I work hard to get ahead and then I see myself fail.  I see some dreams slip away beyond my reach. 

I know what “time” shall make us become, if we live.

So  I regroup my hopes and set my eyes on the eternal, the incorruptible and have faith these hopes WILL come to pass.

Even if I don’t accomplish Earthly or carnal success now, when I die I will be with my creator.  That is a much more spiritual hope.  Salvation is not an achievement.  Eternal life is ours as children of an eternal creator.  Our evolution from birth as a human-aging-death-then we step into our eternal bodies.  

I will then understand the mysteries of our universe, I will then have a deeper and much higher purpose.

Then I will not feel pain, then I will no longer cry, then I will no longer feel the separation from God that has haunted me as long as I can remember.

Being separated from God is my problem

Dying (not suicide mind you) is my ultimate solution

I see now time is very short and so I better Love while I can and that includes loving myself.  I have no right to condemn or spank myself it is non-productive.  Self-punishment will not help me attain my goals.

What is your Hope?  When the carnal dreams are crushed reach for the spiritual dreams called hope.

 

THANK GOD FOR ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

THANK GOD FOR ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

I truly believe that if it were not for AA I would not be sober or sane today.  This is my anniversary month and I want to express how grateful I truly am for the program.   Please, Gainesville AA; gratitude is a state of mind and a feeling not an action.   I will not go “gratituding” (if gratitude were an action word the ing would be correct.)   Today but I will express my gratitude by doing some 12th step service work.  Ok yes one of my pet peeves about Gainesville AA is their PIRATE DICTIONARY by which they feel they can redefine parts of the English language.  Leave it to a bunch of addicts to assert the audacity to refute the scholars and masters of the English language.

 

However I am making a point here.  In spite of all the little errors and cultish beliefs of AA members the program works.  In spite of the fact that my own sponsor has stalked her boyfriend to the gates of insanity.  In spite of the fact that most AAers are working hard on smoking themselves to death with cigarettes, still I salute you.  And in spite of the fact that the majority of members reek of codependency the program still works! 

 

The 12 steps are still ordained of God and set down as a solutions for the sick. In spite of the fact that Bill W. spent countless years suffering from depression and engaging in infidelity THE PROGRAM WORKS AND IT HAS SAVED MY AND COUNTLESS LIVES.T

 

he question that I personally had to ask myself as I stumbled into the rooms was “What do I need and can I get it here”.  That answer was yes these people obviously knew and know how to stay sober and I desperately needed that. 

 

So, I hung in there with that character defect ridden sponsor as she took the time to spoon feed me the solutions I so desperately needed.  And I watched as she kept herself sober by doing so and picked up her own 10 year medallion years ago.  I hung in with years of meetings and worked the 12 steps over and over year in and year out until I knew and worked recovery as a way of life.  I taught others, I made suggestions and I shared in countless meetings, jails and rehabs. 

 

I had a knack for speaking and I could go through the steps like a pro.  I didn’t come to AA looking for perfection I came looking for a solution for myself destructive life patterns.

 

So, now as I approach my tenth year sober without a hit of crack cocaine, or a shot of heroin I still balk at the cultish dogma and I sometimes sneer at the non-empathic beat-downs going on between members.  I look on as my brothers and sisters that I love stay sober and do a little bitching themselves about certain aspects of the program. 

 

One of the most brilliant counselors and longtime members in the program that has helped thousands upon thousands by his knowledge and ability to share wrote a book called “The Lies Told in AA”.  Does that mean that he will walk away from the program because it is now full of perfect people?  HELL NO!

 

We must get out help where we can, where we fit in.  People do get sober in church, I did that myself one time for several years BUT the thing is I never really fit in there like I do in AA.  Church people are very much like program people as a matter of fact church people have that same empty black hole in their soul that they must fill with God to be ok. 

 

We AAers have that in common with the church people.  Best if you’re trying to stay sober to go to both places AND THERAPY.  Go in spite of the imperfections that are part of the human condition.

 

 Go and get your psychic change my friend because you have earned your seat and its empty and waiting for you. So thank you AA , therapy, church and my own Higher Power for saving my life so I can engage in my own character defects, growing old, and the joys of life that sobriety has most definitely brought me.

 

THANK YOU ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS AND GOD.

 

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

 

    THANK GOD FOR THE PROGRAM OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS!I truly believe that if it were not for AA I would not be sober or sane today.  This is my anniversary month and I want to express how grateful I truly am for the program.   Please, Gainesville AA; gratitude is a state of mind and a feeling not an action.   I will not go “gratituding” (if gratitude were an action word the ing would be correct.)   Today but I will express my gratitude by doing some 12th step service work.  Ok yes one of my pet peeves about Gainesville AA is their PIRATE DICTIONARY by which they feel they can redefine parts of the English language.  Leave it to a bunch of addicts to assert the audacity to refute the scholars and masters of the English language.

 

However I am making a point here.  In spite of all the little errors and cultish beliefs of AA members the program works.  In spite of the fact that my own sponsor has stalked her boyfriend to the gates of insanity.  In spite of the fact that most AAers are working hard on smoking themselves to death with cigarettes, still I salute you.  And in spite of the fact that the majority of members reek of codependency the program still works! 

 

The 12 steps are still ordained of God and set down as a solutions for the sick. In spite of the fact that Bill W. spent countless years suffering from depression and engaging in infidelity THE PROGRAM WORKS AND IT HAS SAVED MY AND COUNTLESS LIVES.

 

The question that I personally had to ask myself as I stumbled into the rooms was “What do I need and can I get it here”.  That answer was yes these people obviously knew and know how to stay sober and I desperately needed that. 

 

So, I hung in there with that character defect ridden sponsor as she took the time to spoon feed me the solutions I so desperately needed.  And I watched as she kept herself sober by doing so and picked up her own 10 year medallion years ago.  I hung in with years of meetings and worked the 12 steps over and over year in and year out until I knew and worked recovery as a way of life.  I taught others, I made suggestions and I shared in countless meetings, jails and rehabs. 

 

I had a knack for speaking and I could go through the steps like a pro.  I didn’t come to AA looking for perfection I came looking for a solution for myself destructive life patterns.

 

So, now as I approach my tenth year sober without a hit of crack cocaine, or a shot of heroin I still balk at the cultish dogma and I sometimes sneer at the non-empathic beat-downs going on between members.  I look on as my brothers and sisters that I love stay sober and do a little bitching themselves about certain aspects of the program. 

 

One of the most brilliant counselors and longtime members in the program that has helped thousands upon thousands by his knowledge and ability to share wrote a book called “The Lies Told in AA”.  Does that mean that he will walk away from the program because it is now full of perfect people?  HELL NO!

 

We must get out help where we can, where we fit in.  People do get sober in church, I did that myself one time for several years BUT the thing is I never really fit in there like I do in AA.  Church people are very much like program people as a matter of fact church people have that same empty black hole in their soul that they must fill with God to be ok. 

 

We AAers have that in common with the church people.  Best if you’re trying to stay sober to go to both places AND THERAPY.  Go in spite of the imperfections that are part of the human condition.

 

 Go and get your psychic change my friend because you have earned your seat and its empty and waiting for you. So thank you AA , therapy, church and my own Higher Power for saving my life so I can engage in my own character defects, growing old, and the joys of life that sobriety has most definitely brought me.

 

THANK YOU ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS AND GOD.

 

The God Hole

I will no longer tolerate separation from my God.

There is a place in my spirit where I do feel my perpetual shame deriving from guilt nevertheless, I present my heart before my God.  A strong place within me cries out, “I will not tolerate separation from my creator by hiding and protecting parts of my soul and being that I am ashamed of in hopes that I can then win God’s acceptance.  Embracing the attitude of desperation toward God in spite of my apprehension awards me complete acceptance of “me” and of how God created me.

Another Apology Yikes! “STEP FIVE” AA

Everyone it was a close call.  Recovery Farmhouse nearly bit the dust.  Here e-mails are not going out as of yet.  Her voice has stopped where e-mails are concerned while she steadily collects more and more addresses THANKYOU FOR YOUR INTEREST!

I AM ANNOUNCING THE EMAIL SITUATION WILL SOON BE REMEDIED AND ALL THE POSTS WILL BE GOING OUT IN EMAIL AGAIN.  In the meantime here’s my latest post.

My Confession                                                                              3-26-2015

I want to tell you all how I feel today.  I created “Recovery Farmhouse” the website that I do all my writing on about a year ago.  I just began building websites back then and I had no idea what I was doing.  The only thing I really had going for me was my typing skills, my smarts, and the fact that I had nearly 8 years sober at the time.

I must say that writing…for me has been one key to my own sanity.  I went through rigorous group therapy where I learned how to be myself.  I learned to “say what I mean and mean what I say!”  That’s where healthy relationships begin…with truth.

I worked the steps over and over I did a boatload of eleventh step meditation and prayer.  I did more 12th step service work than most people do.  Jails and institutions where my service area.  I learned to speak from my heart in front of large groups of people who needed to hear exactly “How it works” straight from the horse’s mouth.

PLEASE I am not bragging, on the contrary, what I am doing is qualifying myself to have and run a recovery website.  I invited guest writers, I borrowed articles from other recovery websites.  I downloaded hordes of art work and I learned what maintaining a WordPress hosted website is really about.  I dabbled in coding.  I rubbed elbows with the developers that I highly respect.  I learned the politics behind free internet.WOW!  My partner of nearly 10 years thinks I have a computer addiction going on and he is partially correct.  Although I do all my work on the computer and at home, so yes, I spend long hours sitting and learning, and venting, and building.  I have five and a half websites at the moment.

Where in the hack am I going with all this information?  Well I had to move one of my websites because they outgrew their hosting provisions (actually it was a bug that was eating memory, I fixed it).  In the process of that move I almost lost Recovery Farmhouse and all the hard work and writing that I have done.

Turns out she is in better shape than ever.  I cleaned her up, expelled the spam, and fixed the memory suckers.

I want to confess, I have had dreams of wealth and longings for a bankroll that just hasn’t arrived, as of yet anyhoo-But being able to share my knowledge and feelings with all and any who is interest has been a blessing that far surpasses monetary gain.

I have been angry at God for not providing what I think I deserve while I have overlooked the true blessings that mattered much more spiritually.

So, I repent of my ingratitude and selfishness

.  

WHAT WOULD SATAN DO?

Satan or self?

 What would Satan do….just a little joke joke…remember rule 62 : Don’t take yourself so damn seriously!  But pretty sure Satan would play the blame game and not take responsibility for his own actions.  In AA we learn to own all our actions.  Own it!

Hmmm Alright since we are talking about the voices in our heads.  I choose not to glorify Satan or give him credit or blame for my own consciousness.  How-ever I acknowledge the existence of evil and dark forces whatever name they may be given.

 

Anyhow I personally have a committee sitting on bleachers in my head.  They observe and sometimes criticize my actions.  I will label them “society”.  They are my perceptions of what others think of me and they could be accurate or way off base with their ideas.  They believe that “The world revolves around my belly button” per-say.

 

Here are the rest of the people in my head.  I have a guy (sloth/fear) who lies in bed all the time and wants me to stay paralyzed in bed.  He wants to hide from the light of life.  Get busy dying instead of living.  Its best I resist him he wants to isolate me.

 

Then I have a red-headed woman who is simply “fear and attack” she is very critical of me and others.  Really she just needs to know everything is going to be OK and she does not have to be afraid and react in critical and insecure fear.  She is a part of me I need to accept her to help her heal.

 

These characters are in essence are my core “character defects/flaws”.  They were revealed to me in a vivid dream at about a year sober.  I wrote the dream down; it was a revelation of who I am and who I do not want to be.  They are NOT some enemy rather a part of me in need of healing.  They should be understood, resisted, ignored, and I should be aware they are usually mistaken.  They will push Love out of my life in error by their/my misguided self-destructive solutions of resentment, blame and twisted perception.

 

If I label the committee some evil outer entity then the 12 steps, fear list and sexual inventory are useless in over-coming them.  Only thing I can do with Satan is the third step by which I put him and his demons into the God box or into God’s hands.  The only thing I can do with Satan is resist the temptation he, it, they, and I put in front of me.

 

The steps really do work when I work them!  As for Satan why concern myself with him when I can neither change him nor kill him?  I can only work on my own stuff; Satan will answer to God who gave him the power to tempt me in the first place.  After all doesn’t the Bible say “all things are of God”  2nd Corinthians 5:18.

what would satan do

LOST DREAMS

 

LOST DREAMS 

 

Dreams just like goals are very important to have and to keep.  To work toward a goal is fulfilling.  To have hope and dreams is spiritual because “hope” itself is one of the spiritual gifts from the creator of spirituality itself (hope, faith, Love 3 greatest gifts).    Having goals and fulfilling them is vital to our self-worth.  Our very life depends on having goals to attain and accomplishing tasks and feats.  When mankind retires from his work often times him /her just dies partly because of feeling worthless.  If a man feels they have no purpose or worth they may lay down and die.

 

So what happens when a dream fails, crashes, is lost and unattainable for reasons beyond our control?  Well, partly, we should have a mourning period.  Yes!  By-god, our dreams and our feeling are of great value and valid!  Don’t allow others to tell you to “get over it” before your heart has grieved the loss of an important, & purposeful dream.  We lean heavily on our goals and hopes for the future.  So, when that hope is impossible and just won’t work we should grieve for a time.  The amount of time to grieve any loss varies however, we don’t move into “acceptance” of a loss until it has been mourned, grieved, and properly processed through various methods of emotional processing.

 So to process the loss we cry, we beat the pillow, we talk about what happened and how it made us feel, we write about our feelings connected to the loss and we pray to our Higher Power to help us accept the loss and move on.  If someone invalidates our feelings we simply ignore their ignorance.  (We can journal about it later.)  Repressed emotions are the number one cause of depression, anxiety, and feelings of worthlessness.  We need one person in our lives we tell anything to whom will not invalidate us or try to fix us, someone who will listen, mirror our feelings (understand & relate) and show care.  If we have intense feelings attached to any situation then we should process that situation to get it out of us and move on.  Otherwise it will turn to resentment, wrath, anger, and then depression.  Depression is anger without enthusiasm. 

And then after we have processed and mourned, we put on our shoes, we get up and we walk, we stretch, we breathe, and we develop a new dream to take the place of the old one.

We don’t beat ourselves up for the loss.  We don’t call it or us a failure.  We don’t ever call ourselves ugly names or say we were stupid for having our lost dream to begin with.  Alternatively, we take inventory of all that we learned along the way of our lost dream.  If we do the inventory we find that we gained valuable lessons because of our previous dream.  We realize that our next dream and goal will be all the better because of our prior goal.  What we learned along the way is priceless.  We remember that it’s how we react to life’s disappointments that defines our character.  Nevertheless pretending to be ok with a loss instantly will only bring more displaced anger.  In recovery we have learned that all our feelings are valid no matter how ridiculous it seems to our psychological reasoning.  We must not let our minds tell our hearts how to feel.  THERE IS NO WRONG FEELING ONLY WRONG ACTIONS.  We no longer repress our intense feelings

Our new dream and goal gives us greater purpose.  We have focus again!  We have gratitude in our hearts now because of the opportunities that our Higher Power has provided us. 

In the real world our dreams come crashing down in the real world we learn to mourn and then we get up and we build new dreams.  My Love this is the essence of “Hope” one of the three greatest spiritual gifts…now you see why.

A Parent Growing Up With An Addict

Hi this is Lori E administrator, web-tech, writer and designer of Recovery Farmhouse.   I am also known as Laura of Akron in some parts of this website (psychic readings) and other various social sites……. and I am a recovered alcoholic.    I can say recovered because I haven’t picked up a drink, a hit of crack or a shot of heroin in nearly 10 years.

I want to introduce Bill C my father.  Here is an article I thank him for writing.  Please feel free to comment.

 

I was asked by the creator of this web-site to write something

that the readers might find interesting. My first reaction was,

yes but I needed to think about what to write.

Years ago my reaction would have been different. What

the flip do I know about AA? What do I know about a Big Blue

Book? And about that dance, the 12 step? I had heard about

the 2 step and the 4 step, but I sure didn’t know about the

12 step dance. Well, my daughter corrected me on that.

She said it has nothing to do with dancing. Dad it is a 12

step program that helps people stop drinking.

Before my daughter was introduced to AA she tried a

lot of drinks and pills to make her happy. All it was doing

was causing her parents pain.

We spent sleepless nights wondering where she was.

I am sure some of you reading  this can relate to what parents

went through worrying about you.

She got into some trouble while driving, lost her license

and had to go through what they call the revolving door.

Paying fines and reporting to a probation officer.

After the mess was cleared up she finally decided to get

sober. I don’t know if the addict knows what parents go

through while all this is going on. Yes we go through hell.

It is ironic that Laura of Akron was born in the same

city that 2 young men founded AA.

I would like to end this writing with a poem by an

amateur poet.

The addict and the parent

The addict says I’ll take this pill,

And then an alcoholic drink.

Then the parent holds her up,

While she throws up in the sink.

The addict says I’ll take more pills,

They will make me feel swell.

The parent says here we go again,

She’s putting us through hell.

The addict says I need a drink,

To get me through the day.

The parent says she traded her VCR,

We got her for her birthday.

But all of that is in the past,

No more beer or wine.

Yes we have our daughter back,

And she is doing just fine.

If this writing has helped one person,

In some special way.

Then it makes it all worthwhile,

You have made my day.

. . . By Bill C.  Laura of Akron is my daughter.

 

 

 

 

A Parent Growing Up With An Addict

Hi this is Lori E administrator, web-tech, writer and designer of Recovery Farmhouse.   I am also known as Laura of Akron in some parts of this website (psychic readings) and other various social sites……. and I am a recovered alcoholic.    I can say recovered because I haven’t picked up a drink, a hit of crack or a shot of heroin in nearly 10 years.

I want to introduce Bill C my father.  Here is an article I thank him for writing.  Please feel free to comment.

 

I was asked by the creator of this web-site to write something

that the readers might find interesting. My first reaction was,

yes but I needed to think about what to write.

Years ago my reaction would have been different. What

the flip do I know about AA? What do I know about a Big Blue

Book? And about that dance, the 12 step? I had heard about

the 2 step and the 4 step, but I sure didn’t know about the

12 step dance. Well, my daughter corrected me on that.

She said it has nothing to do with dancing. Dad it is a 12

step program that helps people stop drinking.

Before my daughter was introduced to AA she tried a

lot of drinks and pills to make her happy. All it was doing

was causing her parents pain.

We spent sleepless nights wondering where she was.

I am sure some of you reading  this can relate to what parents

went through worrying about you.

She got into some trouble while driving, lost her license

and had to go through what they call the revolving door.

Paying fines and reporting to a probation officer.

After the mess was cleared up she finally decided to get

sober. I don’t know if the addict knows what parents go

through while all this is going on. Yes we go through hell.

It is ironic that Laura of Akron was born in the same

city that 2 young men founded AA.

I would like to end this writing with a poem by an

amateur poet.

The addict and the parent

The addict says I’ll take this pill,

And then an alcoholic drink.

Then the parent holds her up,

While she throws up in the sink.

The addict says I’ll take more pills,

They will make me feel swell.

The parent says here we go again,

She’s putting us through hell.

The addict says I need a drink,

To get me through the day.

The parent says she traded her VCR,

We got her for her birthday.

But all of that is in the past,

No more beer or wine.

Yes we have our daughter back,

And she is doing just fine.

If this writing has helped one person,

In some special way.

Then it makes it all worthwhile,

You have made my day.

. . . By Bill C.  Laura of Akron is my daughter.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE SCROLL OVER “GUEST WRITERS” IN THE WEBSITES TOP MENU AND CLICK ON THIS ARTICLE “A PARENT GROWING UP WITH AN ADDICT” IT WILL HAVE A COMMENT BLOCK AT THE END OF THE ARTICLE.  WHEREAS THE VERSION IN E-MAIL LINK DOES NOT.

 

 

 

NEAR DEATH

NEAR DEATH

If I knew I would die in the next month or two how would I live my life?  Would I finally be able to let go of the nagging shame that has followed me around since I realized I am bad.  Would the thought of impending death cushion the guilt of a life lived below its true ability.  Or would I drop even deeper into the abyss of shoulda, coulda, woulda?

Would I feel a release emotionally reasoning out that I would finally get the punishment that my soul dictates I should endure?  I ask myself is it really better to be self-aware or would it be just fine to stay in denial of such things as shame and guilt or the feeling of inferiority.

Well I surely question weather this life is a blessing or a curse but I have found it is both.  So many ideals I wish to put in the boxes of either good or bad yet… I say yet most things are either both or neither.  Some things just are.  Like death for instance…

Is death bad?  We certainly see it as such.  But it just is and if it had to be placed in one of these boxes it would be in the “good” box because death enables our soul to move on to the next more aware existence.  If we hinder death we hinder our own progress.  If we hinder death we hinder life itself.

If I was aware of my impending death I think I would get off my butt, get out of this box I call the internet (which I love by the way and may be teetering on computer addiction) and be near both nature and my loved ones.  FAIRIES

Gainesville 12 Step AA & NA Programs

Thank you “Elmer” for your insight on emotional tools which you shared at the Triangle Club to help the guys your worked with get well.

In Gainesville  ******ics Anonymous Program  some of us have a certain tradition.  I am not talking about the 12 traditions right now.  I am talking about an exercise that we do in accordance with the fifth step.  This tradition keeps us SANE, AND SOBER.  This tradition keeps shame at bay which is the number one reason people leave the program…shame.   Yes “resentment is the number one offender but it is not the #1 reason people that have the program working for them yet choose to leave.  Ok yes they leave because they drank or wanted to drink and then the shame sets back in.

The Gainesville tradition that I am referring to is that we share in our meeting “WHAT HAPPENED AND HOW IT MADE US FEEL.”  We have learned that keeping secrets about our INTENSE feelings will kill us.  We have learned that all the repressed emotions in the world will not change who we are.  We have learned how to come to terms with who we are and to accept that.  But not only accept..WE SHARE NOT ONLY “WHAT HAPPENED” BUT “HOW IT MADE US FEEL”

This is the magic children.  This is the one thing that 12 step programs around the world are missing.  THERE IS NO WRONG FEELING ONLY WRONG ACTIONS.  If we label our feelings “wrong” we are labelling ourselves wrong.  Every feeling that we have is for a valid reason and is valid.   Granted we don’t share all of our feelings nor do we allow our feelings to rule over us.  However, we do respect and honor our feelings, they are valid.   No we don’t run around having to express every small felling we have.  There is a time to say “feelings aren’t facts” and simply ignore them.  But there are on the other hand feelings that are eating our lunch that need to come out…  Otherwise we may slip into our old behavior of projecting and blaming others for the way we feel.  So we put our intense and nagging emotions into the middle of the meeting room so they get absorbed and carried away by the Spirit of the program.  This my friend is one of the most important solutions I have.  It is just as important as not holding resentments.   Similar article “Men in Recovery”

repressed feelings

 

SELF-LOATHING to SELF-LOVE -INTRODUCING MY COMMITTEE

_____ And finding my true self.SELF LOATHING 2

WE DON’T HAVE TO HATE OURSELVES ANYMORE….

FLASHBACK FEELINGS -I woke up this morning with the feeling of impending doom.  The feeling that I am bad, that I have done something wrong, that I am not good enough or am good enough and just don’t do what I should. 

The Old Me 

I had a dream the first year I got sober.  (I have been sober nearly 10 years today) this dream in early recovery revealed to me the personalities in my head that drove me to addiction.  In AA we like to call them the “committee”.    These personalities for me are three people.  One is a brassy red headed “bitch” for lack of a more precise term.  She loves to tell me how worthless I am.  She loves to put me down by never ever looking at my accomplishments or my good deeds.  This brassy haired bitch cuts me down at any opportunity.  If she gets her way….I will hate myself utterly.  She will never ever be satisfied with my actions and who I am.  She is the personification of Hate and if I listen to her and forget who she is I will believe her and fall into her awful deception. My self-worth will become skewed.  I must be aware of her at all times and ignore her incessant lies.  Giving myself positive affirmations and seeing myself as a literal child, innocent, good, and spiritual fends her off.  Giving thanks aloud to my higher power silences the bitch.  Taking a walk, going to a meeting, writing my feelings, fears, and thoughts, these all silence her.

 

My second and third personalities who wants to destroy me iare “sloth” and his brother “false pride” The first man lies in bed at all times.  He will not and cannot get out of bed.  Beside his bed are bleachers filled with an audience this audience watches him at all times and he is aware of them.  What this man wants me to do is stay in bed and do nothing like him.  No work no fun no social life no exercise no showers no shopping no eating, especially no cooking to eat right. 

 

Subconsciously fear tells me that if I stay paralyzed then the red-headed bitch can’t tell me my actions are worthless…at least that’s what the man in the bed thinks.  If I do nothing I won’t get an “F” on my report card of life.  If I stay hidden from the world I won’t be a failure.  But that won’t stop the bitch really it only makes her stronger.  If I let fear paralyze me it will cause more fear.  My mind will become more and more negative.  The 12 steps, the program of AA or NA, meditation, therapy, nature, pets, love, dancing, exercise, step five.  These are all solutions that combat fear and negativity.  My words have power I should never speak harshly to myself or others.  It hurts me by giving power to a supernatural negative karma.

 

The male personification also wants me to think that the world revolves around me and that everyone is watching what I do.  He wants me to think that people are judging me harshly, and that I need to perform and wear a mask for the audience in the bleachers.    He tells me that I need to put on a production, a facade rather than actually live my life for me and be honest to people.  He wants me to repress all my feelings and fears and pretend I am some perfect human with a perfect life. The F.I.N.E. syndrome- Fucked up, insecure, neurotic, & emotional.

 

My fourth personality is a little girl.  She is a victim who is afraid.  She doesn’t think that she has any value.  People have abused her and been very mean to her.  People that she trusted have betrayed her.  The little girl has been wronged and told that she is worthless many times over.  She is a direct reflection of my injured heart. 

 

My older sister was very mean and critical of me from the very moment she became threatened and jealous of me at a very young age.  My parents never knew they should validated my feelings and encourage me…I became afraid to confide anything to anyone at a very early age.  They made sure to let me know that if I felt it then “it” was wrong.  I was molested and abused and never ever told anyone, they did not have a role of protector for me whatsoever.  I thought I was bad and it was my fault.  This little girl was the wounded and sick “me” until I healed and learned to process feelings and fears. The other personalities are my survival skills as twisted as they may be.   Emotional processing and communication skills are CRUCIAL for women to maintain healthy emotions. Learn here:  http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/12-steps-and-the-right-therapy-go-hand-in-hand/  

THE FEAR LIST In Step Four

Emotional Healing
Sobriety Tools

How to stay sober

Getting to know our addict is very helpful.  How?   To be aware of the core reasons that we have tried so hard to numb even destroy ourselves is part of the healing process.  We should learn to love all aspects of ourselves and to be understanding as to why we did or do what we do.  We were children when our psyches were formed.  Many of us addicts just didn’t have a chance emotionally.  But we can change our self-image can change.  Think of recovery as not destroying those personalities of our addict but rather we silence them.  They are no longer on the forefront of our personality.  We literally built a new identity in AA.  Now Who am I really?

 

______________________________________________________________________________

 

Next I give you an assignment if you will.  I have discovered who I really am.  And if you are clean and sober you can discover who you really are as well.  Not the addict who would love to surface, not the injured child but rather the pure soul level person who was created by God absent of all the wounds,  flaws and character defects.  After we clear away the wreckage of our past by working the 12 steps and getting therapy who do we find walking in our shoes?  For a time it’s helpful to take on the A.A. persona.  Quoting lots of cliches and only doing A.A. sanctioned activities.  But at some point we are living the program, it’s now time to re-define who we are outside of A.A.  After all walking and talking like an A.A robot is just another form of fear and hiding who we are.  It’s time to embrace our true and innocent selves.  Here are my findings after clearing my own wreckage.  I encourage you to write your own three natures down.  This is an empowering exercise.

 The New Me

MY THREE NATURES

 

The Shaman, the Priestess.  I am connected to my Higher Powers and I hear my Spirit Guides clearly.  I do what is best for me and others.  I know my shortcomings and keep them in check.  I am aware of my core issues and work through them when they come up.  I walk in the Light, Strength and Power of God!  I have visions of past, present and future.  I can look deep into your eyes and see your heart and soul, I am spiritually gifted and use my gifts to heal.

 

I am a sensitive child of God who can be hurt emotionally because today I can feel and that’s good.  I am a human being and God created me with feelings.  I don’t have to claim I don’t care what anybody thinks because that would be a lie.  Wanting people to love me, care about me, and think highly of me are all God given traits they in no way make me weak.  I am a strong and courageous child he above all just wanted to be Loved and be fulfilled by her Higher Power.  I have to cry sometimes to clear out the emotional cobwebs.  I know what the world is I accept it but don’t like some of it.  I side with truth.  I love color and fantasy and the supernatural.  I am open-minded and non-judgmental.

 

My third Nature is a strong and powerful woman who in real life has overcome many obstacles and predators.   The powerful woman is athletic and a fighter if need be.  She is a survivor.  She-I am a writer and seamstress a mother a protector.  I have the power to give and to receive.  I know how to make money and get what I need to keep a roof over me and my Childs head.  I love travel and am comfortable doing anything alone that I do with a partner.  I don’t need anyone in particular.  I do not rely on anyone person I am self-supporting.  When I fail I get back up.  I am a student humble enough to be taught and I am a teacher strong and confident enough to teach.  I can easily speak in front of a room full of people.  I start the day with a knowledge of my character flaws so I don’t have to engage in them.  My Higher Power said (Jesus) The things I do you can do also…and more.

WHAT TO EXPECT AT ALCOHOLICS & NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS MEETINGS

If you have never gone to an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meeting, it can be a little scary at first.  You don’t know what to expect because it is a new experience. You may have heard a lot of negative things about meetings from other using addicts. Some people are court ordered to go to meetings and may feel negatively about them because they resent being forced to go. Remember that everyone in AA and NA had to walk into their first meeting at some point so you are not alone in feeling scared. People who go to meetings regularly are aware of this and often try to be very welcoming when they see someone new enter a meeting.

Where Do Meetings Occur and How Do I Find One?

 

Many meetings take place in church basements, treatment facilities, hospitals and recovery clubs. You can find a list of meetings online at the Alcoholics Anonymous website and the Narcotics Anonymous website. In addition, most counties have a drug and alcohol commission to help people in their county locate treatment. You can find the number for your local drug and alcohol commission in your phone book or online. They often have local meeting lists available in their offices. Any local treatment facilities would probably provide you with a free local list of meetings too.

Once you find your first meeting, you will be able to get a list of other meetings there. The meeting list will let you know the name of the meetings, time and place of the meetings and what kind of meetings are available in your area. The best way to find good meetings is to ask people in recovery who go to meetings. They can help you find the kind of meeting you want to go to. For example, there are meetings just for people who are new to AA and NA.

What Are the Different Types of Meetings?

  • Discussion meetings – These meetings usually are focused on a particular topic or two or  three topics which can be chosen by the chairperson of the meeting or the group itself. Group members take turns talking one at a time about the topic that is chosen.
  • Speaker meetings – These meetings have a speaker who is a member of AA or NA. The speaker tells their story of alcoholism/addiction and how they found recovery. These meetings can be very inspiring because you can learn that you are not alone and recovery is possible.
  • Beginner meetings – These meetings are for people who are new to AA/NA and want to learn more about the program.
  • 12 Step and 12 Tradition study – These meetings help you to learn more about the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions. Members usually read a chapter from the book and then discuss it.
  • Big Book or Basic Text meetings – These meetings are about studying the Big Book which is the main text of AA and the Basic Text which is the main book of NA.
  • Men’s and women’s meetings – These meetings are specifically designed for either men or women. These are great meetings to meet more members of your own gender, which is important for finding a sponsor.
  • Candlelight meetings – These meetings often take place in the evening and are lit by candles. It can be a different and fun change from regular meetings.
  • Open meetings – These meetings are open to anyone. Family and friends of addicts can attend as well as addiction professionals who want to learn more about the program of AA/NA.
  • Closed meetings – These meetings are only for people who have an alcohol or drug problem.

What Happens During the Meeting?

<p>The Beginning of the Meeting</p>

Some meetings vary the order of the format, some are more formal or more laid back but the following is generally what happens at most meetings.

Opening the Meeting

The chairperson of the meeting will open the meeting usually by pounding on the table and announcing the meeting is starting. Everyone who isn’t already seated takes a seat. Seating is sometimes in a circle or around a square or rectangle table. However, large meetings can have seats throughout the room. People are often chatting before the meeting but they get quiet when the meeting starts.

The Serenity Prayer

The chairperson asks everyone to help him/her begin the meeting with the Serenity Prayer. Don’t worry if you don’t know it. You will learn it in time. Only the first four lines of the Serenity Prayer are spoken.

This is the Serenity Prayer:

  • God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Readings

The chairperson will ask for the readings. Somewhere in the meeting room will be a table of free pamphlets and books for purchase. You can find a booklet there which includes all the readings. The chairperson will either ask people to do the readings before the meeting starts or sometimes they are placed around the room and anyone sitting by one can choose to read.

You never have to read if you feel uncomfortable with it. If you see a reading at the seat you chose, you can ask someone else to read it or move to another seat. Even if you are asked, no one will be offended if you say you would rather not read.

The readings are either read from the person’s seat or sometimes from a podium. Before each person reads, they announce their name and that they are an alcoholic or addict. It is customary to say you are an alcoholic at AA meetings and an addict at NA meetings. However, you can say you are an alcoholic and an addict or cross-addicted. The readings can vary somewhat from meeting to meeting and are a little different at AA and NA meetings but they both read the 12 steps and 12 Traditions. NA changes “alcohol” to “addiction” in their readings.

Announcements

There may be a time during the meeting for announcements, which may include anniversary meetings, new meetings, meetings needing home group members or other business related to AA or NA. The group may be asked if they have any announcements related to AA or NA.

Introductions

The chairperson will ask if there is anyone from out of town or new to the meeting. The chairperson may say “this is not to embarrass you but to help us get to know you better.” If you are a newcomer or haven’t been to this particular meeting before, feel free to stand up, say your name and that you are new. Everyone will welcome you and tell you to “keep coming back.”

Talking about Cravings

There will also be a point during the meeting when the chairperson will ask if anyone feels like drinking/using. Some people will announce themselves (name and I’m an alcoholic/addict) and admit that they are feeling like drinking or using drugs. We call this “telling on yourself.” People often do this because talking about cravings helps you to not follow through and actually drink or use drugs.

Talking about it also lets group members know you may need more support. They may come up and offer their phone numbers to someone in need. Or pass around paper for people to write down their phone numbers for a newcomer. The chairperson also may say that if you didn’t feel comfortable talking about it with the group, get with someone after the meeting to talk.

Don’t be afraid to approach someone after the meeting and tell them you feel like drinking or using drugs and need more help. The squeaky wheel gets the oil. You have to speak up and ask for additional help to get it.

Clean Time

What is clean time and why is it important?

AA/NA meetings celebrate clean time at every meeting by giving out coins or keychains. There are different colors for different months and years of sober or clean time. The first coin/keychain is for “24 hours sober/clean or the desire to start a new way of life.”

Anyone can get this coin/keychain. If you are a newcomer, I recommend getting your first coin/keychain. You can expect lots of applause, people welcoming you, telling you to “keep coming back,” shaking your hand or hugging you. This will help you feel welcome and at home in the meetings. It is also meant to help you realize that you have made great progress just by attending a meeting.

The purpose of clean time is not to make people feel that some members have more seniority but to let everyone know that recovery is possible. It is meant to inspire newcomers and let people know that you can reach multiple years of clean time. Some meetings ask anyone with more than a year clean to stand up. This is also to show that recovery is attainable.

The Middle of the Meeting 

The middle of the meeting varies whether it is a discussion meeting, a book meeting or a speaker meeting.

  • For discussion meetings, some go around the room to give everyone a chance to speak. You can introduce yourself and say “I pass.”  No one will make you share.  People introduce themselves by saying “I’m (Your Name) and I’m an alcoholic/addict” or a variation of this.
  • At other meetings, anyone can choose to speak after the meeting is opened to discussion. Each person usually speaks for about 3 to 5 minutes so everyone has a chance to speak. When someone finishes speaking, they may say, “with that I pass.”  Members respond with “thank you” or “thank you for sharing.” There is no crosstalk during the meeting. One person speaks at a time.
  • Book or 12 Step/12 Tradition meetings read from the chosen book or read a Step/Tradition and may discuss the reading at the end.
  • Speaker meetings have a speaker who tells their story of alcoholism or addiction and how they found recovery.

The End of the Meeting

Most meetings close with members forming a circle and reciting The Lord’s Prayer or the Serenity Prayer. AA meetings usually join hands and say the Lord’s Prayer while NA meetings put their arms around each other and say the Serenity Prayer.

<p>Some Tips for Meetings</p>

  • The meeting will usually begin exactly on time.
  • Cross talk is not acceptable.
  • You can be asked to leave if you disrupt the meeting with cross talk, cell phones, inappropriate behavior, etc.
  • Please turn your cell phone off during the meeting.
  • It is acceptable to bring children to most meetings but you may need to bring something for them to do. If they are not quiet, you may want to remove them from the meeting so as to not disrupt the meeting. Some meetings have child care available during the meeting so ask around if you need to bring your children. You may be able to find a group member who will watch them so you can get the most out of the meeting.
  • AA members usually shake hands more often while NA members hug more.
  • Most meetings are non-smoking but may have a section for smokers.
  • Try to come early and stay late to meetings when you can. What happens before and after the meeting can be as important as the meeting itself. This is a time to socialize, get support, help others, get phone numbers or find a sponsor

 

Guest Post “Shame” The Prison and The Key

By Adam J. Pearson.    Recovery Farmhouse Thanks you Adam Pearson for your courageous bravery which you have exhibited by addressing a topic most people run from.  The topic of shame is one that should be addressed by each of our hearts.  Until we examine our shame we cannot claim to know ourselves.  If we say we have no shame we have not examined ourselves any further than ego and false pride will allow.  We will not be ashamed of being ashamed!…..The Farmhouse.

xx bars keys

The Wisdom of Eamonn Perkins

Eamonn Perkins is a wise, humble and tremendously compassionate teacher from Ireland who spends much of his time working with addicts and prisoners. He’s so low-key that, as of this writing, he doesn’t even have a website. In a 2014 interview, Eamann said something brilliantly concise and and equally incisive:

“If you truly knew me, you wouldn’t like me,” that’s the mantra of human existence. “

I love this line. It’s so simple and so profound. It’s one of those ideas that is so powerful that it momentarily stuns us into silence. Words like these hit home somewhere deep within us and resonate with something in the darkness that wants to be seen, a hidden truth that yearns to come to light. I couldn’t agree more with the truth of the statement, especially in our current global situation in which we have so much information and yet paradoxically feel so lost, are so socially connected and yet so lonely, and are so encouraged to puff up our egos and yet so inwardly drowning in a sea of shame.

And if shamethe intensely painful feeling that we are in some way flawed or not good enough and are, therefore, unworthy of love, belonging and connection–is the cause of our drowning, then it’s no surprise that we’re all desperately searching for a lifeline out of it.

If you truly knew me, you wouldn’t like me” is the secret belief, the shameful idea, the “mantra of human existence.”

When we believe this story, we meet each other from a place of fear and put up fronts and facades. We operate from a feeling of inadequacy and hide out of reflex. We refuse to let ourselves really show up and be seen out of the fear of being judged or rejected. And very slowly and very quietly, this message, which is the voice of shame within us, begins to stifle life. Without understanding, we watch it happen, wishing we had the words to describe what is going on and the tools to handle it.

As if paralyzed, we watch shame crush our free expression. The fear at its core blocks our creativity and replaces honesty with self-defensive lies. It makes us scramble for escapes and distractions to avoid the excruciating pain that is fundamental to shame. And while saying that we would never want to be anything but authentic, we find ourselves so afraid to be real and not belong that we choose to be inauthentic in order to fit in.

Shame is Widespread

Lady Godiva statue by John Thomas (1813 – 1862), Maidstone Museum, Kent, England.

Maidstone_012
Lady Godiva statue by John Thomas (1813 – 1862), Maidstone Museum, Kent, England.

 

shame 2

This pattern is so common and yet so unspoken. “The less you talk about shame, the more you have it,” says the brilliant and inspiring shame researcher Brene Brown in her renowned TED talk, “The Power of Vulnerability.” “The only people who don’t have it” she continues, “also have no capacity for human empathy or connection.”

Shame is incredibly universal. I’ve seen it in the students I’ve taught. I’ve seen it in the men and women I’ve known. I’ve seen it in my friends. I’ve seen it expressed in the media on TV.  And I’ve seen it in myself. For 25 years of my life, shame stifled and held me down like a heavy and unspoken weight. I feel for, and with, all of those who struggle with shame because I get them. Shame varies in the details from person to person, but its core is always the same.

This is one reason why I’m open about shame, because I’ve struggled with it, because so many people do, and because shame grows in silence and “cannot survive being spoken” (Brown, 2013). When I do openly talk to people about shame, I tend to hear the same thing over and over again: “I thought it was just me…” Oh yeah. I know that feeling. Shame is tremendously effective at making us feel like we’re the only ones who feel it, when the truth is that it comes up in nearly all of us.

xx shame

Shame Itself is Fear, Our Prison and the Key to Freedom

Facing shame can sometimes feel terrifying because shame itself is fear, the fear of not being enough and being unworthy, unlovable, and rejected as a result. The basic truth, as I see it, though, is this: if we want to flourish, if we want to be boldly authentic, if we want to truly love and be loved, if we want to transcend fear, if we want to cultivate kindness and forgiveness, if we want to find peace, then we need to face shame rather than deny, repress, and project it. We need to meet it in an intelligent and self-compassionate way that works.

And that’s why I spend so much time and so many words writing about shame. Because it’s the substance out of which we forged the bars of our internal prison. And it’s also the key to our liberation.

***

spring 2014 Anna Maria 105
“The Flower hugs the Stem” We embrace our ugly parts

 

Resources on Shame and Cultivating Shame-Resilience

If anything I said above resonates, rings true, or sounds familiar to what you or people you know have felt, here are some resources that I’ve found helpful that will give you some powerful insights into shame and shame-resilience.

  • Above all, I’d recommend reading the amazing book “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way we Live, Love, Parent and Lead” by the shame-researcher and brilliantly compassionate and inspiring Brene Brown. This book literally changed my life. It gave me words for feelings I had felt for years and had never been able to express. It cast light on powerful shadows. And it empowered me with useful tools. I’ve read it 3 times. It’s that good. It literally changed my life.
  • In addition, here’s a wonderful Positive Psychology article on Brene Brown’s “Shame-Resilience Theory” if you’re into a more psychology-oriented academic approach.

If you want some down-to-Earth distillations of the core principles from Brene’s book as I’ve applied them in my life, here are a few articles that I’ve written on the subjects of shame and how to empower ourselves with resilience against it. These articles are grounded, not in hypothetical theories, but in both solid research and in my own experience and practice. My general rule is that I only write about tools I’ve actually used and found helpful in my own life. If I haven’t used it and found it to work, I don’t write about it.

However, you don’t have to take my word for it. Let your own experience be the laboratory and the judge. I’m right there in the arena with you, facing the same issues. We’re in this together and we’re never alone, even though shame can make us feel that way. There are useful strategies that work to empower us to work with these things and the purpose of my writing is to share them.

eemoo 069
“The Odd Tree”Is Not Ashamed of being different Photo by Laura Edgar

 

 

Here’s a brief guide and orienting overview to my writings on the subject:

  • “Silencing the Praise: Why Seeking Approval Fails to Fill Our Inner Void” introduces shame and identifies it as the name of the void we feel within us, the void that says we are “not good enough” and are thus unworthy of love and belonging. It then explains why approval-seeking fails to fill the void of shame because shame invalidates approval even when we do receive it. We are not hopeless, however; at the end of the article, I introduce a few healthy alternatives and powerful strategies to meet shame with resilience and compassion.
  • “The Heart of the Void: Finding the Assumptions at the Heart of Shame”  breaks shame down into two key components: a feeling part and a thinking part. The feeling part involves the painful emotions at the heart of shame (e.g. fear, anxiety, inadequacy) and the thinking part involves the core assumptionsabout ourselves that are at the root of the feelings. This article specifically explains how to discover these assumptions and then how to reality-check andtransform them once we find them. This practice is a powerful tool for our shame-resilience arsenal.
  • “Finding the Calm Within the Storm: Shame-Resilience in Practice” breaks down Brene Brown’s powerful shame-resilience method into clear steps and gives a real-world example of how I applied it to one shame story in my own life. I’ve seen tons of articles about the method online, but very few concrete examples of how we apply it in our own inner experience. This article was written in an attempt to fill that void and also to practice “the courage to be vulnerable” that Brene Brown champions.
  • “Forgive and Be Free: The Liberating Power of Forgiveness” offers a useful practice for compassionately addressing the feeling part of shame throughforgiveness. Forgiveness was a subject that I took for granted for a long time because I didn’t realize how powerfully liberating and empowering it truly is. However, it was a key part of the shame puzzle for me.
  • “Release the Past to Free the Present: Another Meaning of Forgiveness” expands on the previous article to explain how forgiveness helps us lovingly liberate our present from the stranglehold of the past. Since shame is powerfully rooted in our past thoughts, perceptions, and experiences, forgiveness thus is a powerfully compassionate practice for skillfully handling shame. This article explains how this works.
  • Shame sometimes expresses itself as catastrophizing or obsessive worst-case scenario thinking“Catastrophizing: How to Handle Worst-Case Scenario Thinking” explores the fascinating dynamics of catastrophizing. It also offers a powerful way to handle catastrophic thinking so that it ceases to drive us towards unintentional self-sabotage and drag us out of the joy of being present.

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The Heart of the Void: Finding the Assumptions At the Core of ShameIn “agony”

Finding the Calm Within the Storm: Shame-Resilience in PracticeWith 8 comments

Silencing the Praise: Why Seeking Approval Fails to Fill Our Inner VoidIn “affect”

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6 thoughts on “The Prison and the Key: Why I Write About Shame”

  1. Pingback: Silencing the Praise: Why Seeking Approval Fails to Fill Our Inner Void | Words from the Wind
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  4. Lisa Kahale

February 3, 2015 at 5:58 am

Dissolving shame is like dissolving a poison that is killing, one drop at a time. In its place… space, air and welcoming of life. That’s what happened for me, finally.
Keep writing about this, Adam, it’s needed.

Reply

February 3, 2015 at 6:17 am

Well said, Lisa. I totally relate. Thank you for sharing.

Reply

Pingback: Shadow Integration: The Complete Shadow Work Process in Four Steps | Words from the Wind

QUALITY SOBRIETY

QUALITY SOBRIETY HAS MANY FACES AND THE FACE OF PAINFUL EXPRESSION EXHIBITS TRUTH.   I AM NOT AFRAID TO LET YOU SEE MY TEARS THEY ARE A MANIFESTATION OF THE NINTH STEP PROMISE THAT “FEAR OF PEOPLE” WILL LEAVE US.

The Diff recoveryfarmhouse.com

rfh sick

The face of recovery that shows no pain or tears is a misrepresentation of one’s true self and a deep deception to us all.

The face of recovery that shows no pain or tears is a misrepresentation of one’s true self and a deep deception to us all.

AM I A “RECOVERED” ALCOHOLIC?

CHANGE 2

Recovery gospel according to Lori E

AM I RECOVERED AND SANE?  OR AM I AN ALCOHOLIC DESTINED TO ALWAYS BE INSANE?  THE 12 STEP PROGRAMS WORK…..TO A CERTAIN EXTENT.

Ok I just re-read the following and I think its a little harsh.  So… Disclaimer-I have been jealous and will be again at some point. I am human.  Getting jealous does derive from fear however ALL HUMANS GET FEAR OCCASIONALLY OR OFTEN.  

Big “GET OVER IT!”  To the alcoholics and addicts who are stuck in the mind-set that, their way of recovery is the ONLY way to recover.   People get sober with and without AA.  Believe it the addict mind in many instances becomes jealous over “their way” of recovery.  Even to the point of hoping that the person who got sober on their own or in church will quickly relapse to prove his point.

Addicts become jealous over “their Higher Power” and “their 12 step program”.   Lets face it codependency which thrives on jealousy runs rampant through the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Understandable if you take into consideration that jealousy stems from fear of loss and that Alcoholics tend to be emotionally immature (sometimes).

But open your minds my fellows!  There are many ways to recover that works and many times those same ways don’t work.   It just depends on several different factors.

Here are the three main ways that people are known to drastically change for the better.

 

 

1. Therapy has helped millions change: therapy only works if you have the right empathic therapist and if you have the courage to face yourself. To allow yourself to be vulnerable by facing your insecurities and your deepest feelings. Therapy only works if you are willing to re-live your most traumatic childhood and adult events, face them, and express your feelings in regard to them on an honest emotional level. The core level.
 
2. The 12 Steps: only work if we are willing to get honest about feelings and past events. They only work if we are willing to humble ourselves and become vulnerable & teachable. They only work if we truly seek out a Higher Power and involve Him/Her/it in the process of working steps 1 through 12.
 
3. Religion: Finding God only works if we seek with our heart and our mind. My experience dictates that “repentance” is one of the main keys to becoming spiritually empowered. At the same time without the balance of empathic understanding from relating with those like us and a degree of realization that we were victims as well as wrong, shame will tend to rein in our psyches. This lingering shame will inevitably throw us back into emotional and psychological denial of our weaknesses & faults. Religion has helped millions change, don’t underestimate its power just because it didn’t help YOU change. However there must be a logic based psychic balance that shows us we are not ALL BAD. Some religions oppress but God dwells where people seek and praise God. Your chances of having a spiritual experience at all are GREATLY INCREASED IF you surround yourself with people that are openly praising God.
 
Oftentimes the religious people don’t have a way to expel certain shame and guilt or to get in touch with the child in them who was abandoned, abused, neglected, and rejected. The common barrier to healing from past wounds is by reasoning out that “you can’t change the past why go there?” YOU CAN CHANGE THE PAST! By changing our perception of the past we change the past. How do we change a perception? Go back, relive, journal, share, be vulnerable. With therapy and the 12 steps these three long-term actions together are an absolute recipe for not only sobriety but also A COMPLETE RECOVERY as possible

 

But this is not the whole topic today.

Today the topic is; “am I recovered or not?”

 

This is the thing….the big book reads that bill w. And the group “recovered” from a hopeless state of mind. Being recovered is mentioned through-out the big book.   If a person has five years sober and realizes that they no longer have the alcoholic mind…and they have recovered. There is one sure way to know for themselves if they really have recovered.

 

The still insane, sick alcoholic will reason out…I have recovered so… I am no longer an alcoholic.  Now I can drink responsibly.   Now, this time it will be different!”   And for a time they may actually be able to drink responsibly.   However with the progression and insanity that alcohol produces and their past behaviors this luxury won’t last long.   On the flip side:  for the recovered alcoholic who truly is recovered, whose sanity has returned and have had a psychic change; their thought process works differently.  These types realize they no longer have the alcoholic mind and reason out that in spite of that and because of that they do not want to drink again…ever.   No matter what.   So if one is truly recovered they will know that because of the allergy to alcohol they will never be able to drink like a normal person.   They also realize that they are no longer an alcoholic in spite of a few addict-like tendencies and lesser addictions such as over-eating, internet addiction, cigarette addiction, sex addiction, anger or rage addiction, the addiction to being “not alright” even. 

Perhaps all three solutions are only needed for those that have been abused and neglected.  However i question any alcoholic’s self-awareness if they state they have no “core issues”.  Why would anyone try to destroy himself by drinking alcoholically and try to numb out feelings and awareness by poisoning oneself yet claim not to have any childhood issues or core level shame?