THE SOLUTIONS FOR DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY

WHAT CAN I DO TO OVERCOME DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY?

Click here to read SOLUTIONS

HURT PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE….YES BUT

Hurt people usually hurt themselves first and foremost by their limited ability to accept new people, new places, and new things.

What do we do if we are so hurt from our addict driven past and horrific childhood that we are unable to Love and accept others?  And why is it that a lack of acceptance and the alcoholic go hand in hand?  Our parents didn’t teach us healthy emotional coping skills or we would not reach for such destructive emotional survival skills like the drink and drug.  The thing is as long as our using (drug abuse) and blame-based coping skills worked to keep us reasonably numb & feeling shame-free we had no reason to stop using them….right? 

Why is it that the serenity prayer is an addicts most valuable coping skill known far and wide?  The Big Book reads that a lack of power was our dilemma.  Meaning when we feel we are not in control within and without we buck, we freak.  We lack acceptance when we are sick and suffering on such a grand scale that we block new, different people and ideas out of our lives.  We can’t cope with any kind of change…it’s too scarey.  But again Why? (Oh I’m not supposed to know the answers to any “why’s”? that’s first 90 days sober AA jargon.  If we are going to really be healed of our underlying emotional issues we must allow ourselves to seek & find some knowledge.)

Blame, criticism, and looking for the wrong and the bad in other people and their ideas is the most wide-spread destructive emotional coping skill on the face of the Earth used by addicts and normies alike.  AS LONG AS I CAN PUT A “BAD” LABEL ON SOMEONE TODAY MAYBE I WON’T HAVE TO SEE THE PAIN LIVING INSIDE ME.  IF I CAN JUST BE “RIGHT” AND FEEL THAT I AM “BETTER THAN OTHERS” THEN I WON’T HAVE TO SEE THE SICKNESS THAT LIVES IN MY SOUL.

I need to ask myself some questions…how long have I been sober and why am I still having anxiety attacks and suffering from intense rage and depression?  Why am I having repeated migraines?  Why have I pushed all the people I love out of my life?  Why am I still isolating and beating myself up?  Have I left something out of my program? Could my prejudices toward religion and therapy be hindering my healing? What can I do to really overcome depression and anxiety?

The serenity prayer and twelve step work are two grand survival skills for us.  When we share our story of what it was like what happened and what it is like now, if sincere & heart-felt processes out a little bit of our pain and sickness bit by bit.   Telling our story builds self-worth and confidence.  However it also feeds our ego and can be a deflection from our own emotional wounds.  Step 12 and chairing meetings are mere band-aids covering a wound that needs far more healing and medicine.  We need a deep and searching moral inventory we need to address our underlying issues or the infection in our soul will just keep hurting us and those around us.  The symptoms that are screaming at me are depression and anxiety.

SO WHAT THEN?  WHAT ARE THE SOLUTIONS TO DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY AND HOW DO I APPLY THEM IN MY LIFE?  Know this solutions will go against the grain of the disease and make us feel very uncomfortable.  PLEASE KNOW THERE IS NO WRONG FEELING, ONLY WRONG ACTIONS.  EVERY FEELING IS BECAUSE OF A REASON, AN EXPERIENCE, A REACTION TO AN EVENT THEREFORE WE SHOULD NEVER SAY…I SHOULD NOT FEEL THAT WAY.  YOUR HEART IS THE PLACE THAT FEELINGS COME FROM AND YOUR HEART DOES NOT LIE.  WE WILL NO LONGER BE ASHAMED OF WHO AND WHY WE ARE OR HOW WE ARE.  BUT WE CAN LEARN TO OVERCOME AND WORK THROUGH NEGATIVE FEELINGS RATHER THAN ALLOWING OUR FEARS AND FEELINGS TO PARALYZE US.

SOLUTION 1
Well firstly I need to work the steps more thoroughly starting with my spirituality and lack thereof.  I need to seek God with every fiber of my heart and being.  Ask my Higher Power to guide my step-work and my actions.  God answers the heart, every testimony of spiritual experience I have ever heard or had began with an intense seeking of God with one’s heart, mind and very depth of soul.  Please, shallow prayers reap shallow rewards.  Then I keep seeking, I go to churches, tent revivals, Unity God-self type temples,  Mausks, Catholic church.  Any place that people congregate to find and become closer to God, that is where I need to seek Him/It/Her, not just AA.  People are not on their knees praying in meetings, people are not crying out at the alter for healing in meetings.  If I am not willing to take this action to seek my Higher Power then I must not be depressed enough or maybe I have just gotten comfortable in my depression.  Depression is anger without enthusiasm to that I can attest.

SOLUTION 2

Therapy, I need to open up my deepest and most vulnerable self to me and a therapist.  I need to share my fears that I am ashamed of, I need to share my feelings that I think are wrong, stupid, weak and I am ashamed of.  I need to share my shame and guilt.  Not just in my journal but also out loud to a human or in group.  I need to let down my emotional protection in a safe place and tell people who I really am.  The child within needs to be heard.  If I was abused I need to talk about it.  If I was neglected and rejected and need to share it.  If I was sexually abused or abused others sexually I need to share it.  First write it down that makes saying it outloud much easier.  My deepest darkest shames need to be exposed to the light.  I need to get real about who I resent.  I need to put myself and God (most likely) on my resentment list.  My fourth step should have “The cause” or what happened to start the resent ment and delve into what my fears are behind the resent me.  Do I think I am unlovable, ugly, stupid, not good enough, that the person who accused me is right?  There is always an insecurity and fear of some sort crouching behind the hate for mankind.  I need to get at my own insecurities and express them on paper and then out-loud.  I need to accept my weaker-self and make myself vulnerable to others.  This isn’t part of the fourth and fifth steps it’s part of a honest and thorough fourth and fifth step.  Notice the “(fear)” and “(self-esteem)” that was written in the fourth step grid in the Big Book?  What I am explaining to you…the shame the feeling of not good enough that is what’s meant by self esteem and fear in  that fourth step grid.  If we can’t address this stuff we most likely will not heal from depression and anxiety.

SOLUTION 3

STEP 12, I need to allow the steps to work in my life.  I need to open up and say what’s really going on with me in meeting.  If I am depressed I need to share it, If I am happy I need to share it, if I am angry I need to share it, I should confess all my resentments not leaving out organizations and groups of people.  People with certain appearances.  And the big one I need to write down and confess anything I am ashamed of and am keeping secret.  I should work these 12 steps in an orderly fashion with a sponsor that will not shut me down.  I should attend step-study-meetings.  I should regularly go to jails or institutions of some type to tell my story of what it was like, what happened and what it is like now.  I should do a very thorough step 6 & 7.  Out of the problem into the solution.  Every day I should shower, put on my shoes and do at least TWO things towards my recovery.  I should clean my house and do my dishes.  I should get sober phone contacts and call people.  If I have an emotional upheaval and think I have been wronged I call someone and talk about it.  And of coarse if I want to drink or drug I confess it in a meeting and or call someone.

SOLUTION 4

I keep doing what works, I don’t stop, I don’t slow down.  I am relentless.  Four meetings a week, Church of some sort (meetings are not church) one day a week.  

SOLUTION 5

I learn and practice real meditation.  I lay down, I get quiet, and I do a mantra by trying repeatedly over and over to concentrate on only one thought.   When my mind drifts I reel it back in and concentrate on only the mantra.  I picture each sentence in my mind.  If my mantra is the Lord’s Prayer I picture each line, I see my father in heaven I think about his/her sacred name.  I picture his kingdom-coming etc. etc.  I practice meditation daily for at least a half hour a day.  I begin my meditation with a prayer.  I can use crystals or props, candles, and incense I make it a ritual.  My mind will wonder but eventually I will train my mind to stay on one thought.   After practicing for quite some time my mind will naturally empty…and I will hear God.  I will be more patient, self-aware, more tolerant, more likely to think things through rather than being sporadic and impatient.  Sometimes in the beginning it’s necessary to just moan during meditation.  When trying to lye till and quiet because of the negative energy living inside it’s hard to be still.  I remember feeling like there was an alien inside of me trying to get out so I moaned like I was taught to do to release that energy.  Then I can better concentrate on the mantra and meditate.

SOLUTION 6

GUTERAL SOUNDS

Release guttural sounds from your body on a regular basis in private in your car, alone at home.  Guttural sounds come straight from core and underlying issues of the emotions and the soul.  Moaning, Screaming, shrieking, and sound that needs to come out.  Try it, it will feel weird and insane but it works to get out the very energy that is causing the depression and anxiety.  Do it for years as long as needed.  It releases the poison from our bowels that we have stored there by pushing down our anger and hurt until it makes us sick.

SOLUTIONS 7

Diet, exercise, and nature.  These are self explanatory stick to natural foods as much as possible and to to the beach or just take walks in the woods but get outside and exercise.  Get fresh air daily, drink lots of water.  Eat lots of fruits and veggies.  Sometings exercise alone relieve a huge part of our anxiety.

 

And remember “OUT OF THE PROBLEM INTO THE SOLUTION”

Don’t stay I the problem spinning around.

REMEMBER NOTHING CHANGES IF NOTHING CHANGES.

IS ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS GOOD OR BAD?

Firstly I want to state that without Alcoholics Anonymous and my Higher Power I would probably be dead or worse.

However I believe it is very important to find our identity outside of AA once we are sober for several years.   We become strong due to working the 12 steps and being active in the workings of step 12 service work.  Step 12 makes us confident and helps us  develop coping skills and reach a level of emotional sobriety (maturity).

When I stepped away from AA myself due to a case of AA burnout I wondered who the heck I was. It scared me, I thought do I have an identity without of AA?  The steps and Big book I believe are good and ordained of God.  The 12 steps and the perfect directions for staying sober and to experience a psychic change and a spiritual awakening.  HOWEVER as we have learned from the history of the Bible good things are easily twisted and misconstrued by sick men. My conclusion is that: AA is a good program but sick men seek out many devices and can produce a counterfeit for every good AA directive.

IS THE ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS PROGRAM GOOD OR BAD?

We cannot really label Alcoholics Anonymous good or bad as a whole because there are so many members, sponsors, sponsee’s and various representatives who all have their own methods and ideals of what AA is and how it actually works.

 

You may ask two former members of AA about the program and get two totally different views.  There are many articles online that call AA a cult and a worthless and depraved organization.  Ex-members state that they were taken advantage of, abused, and lied to.  While other members will attest that without AA they would be dead or worse.  These members swear that the program transformed them from a destructive, and violent addict into a productive, spiritual member of society.  And neither of the two testimonies would be untrue.

 

But what are the facts concerning the “program” of AA?  The twelve steps and the Big Book if viewed and understood rightly will induce a miracle if not several miracles in a person’s life IF that person is honest and willing to work the steps, get a good sponsor and reach out to God with their heart.  The program on paper is the perfect way to not only get clean and sober but also to become a moral and decent human being. So its really a matter of choice whether the program actually works for a person or doesn’t work.  

 

So why so many negative testimonies about AA?  Remember human beings can turn any good into a bad.  For every good and righteous directive in the Big Book there is twisted and misunderstood counterfeit version. 

 

Example; Step 10 “Continued to taker personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”  Confession is good for the soul no doubt but if we confess too often and to the wrong person our humility may turn into not only gossip but also a demeaning and self-degrading process that beats down our self-esteem rather than building it up.  Our confidant may even put themselves in a place of authority and power over us using our confessed wrongs against us with an oppressive thumb.  We must have a trustworthy person to confess and admit our wrongs to then be done with it.   We should be allowed to move on into our  new sober life and leave the wreckage in the past where it belongs.

 STEP FOUR

Good ideas can be mis-construed.   Hate-driven  interpretations of the Bible show us that.  If a man holds bitterness in his heart that bitterness will seek a way to express itself, whether passive or aggressive or both hate searches for an outlet while the psyche knowing right from wrong seeks subconsciously for a justified way to express that hate.

AA needs two types of personas to make it function…the newcomer and the sponsor or, the teacher and the student.  Not every teacher in AA has the humility to remain a student as well after years of sobriety.  False pride wants badly to know-it-all.  Bottom line just because a newcomer is sick and suffering and has no idea how to work the program of AA that is no reason to treat a man disrespectfully.  

 If something feels very wrong then it probably is.  We should take our common sense with us into our 12 step program and read the Big Book thoroughly for ourselves rather than having someone interpret it for us.  We should share in meetings about our progress so we can get useful feedback.  A sponsor should never try to make our decisions and choices for us but rather sponsors should make suggestions and guide us through the steps and various options.  The program works but we must work it ourselves thoroughly and honestly.

 

A Vision of Jesus

The vision of Jesus

 

I had a vision while wide awake sitting in church.  I went to another place to another realm.  I appeared as a child about six years old.

I was wearing a white dress with a blue sash.  The dress looked like dresses little girls wore back in the sixties all cotton with a full, fluffy skirt.  Jesus was there with me He was young beautiful and had long brown hair.  His Spirit was so loving and comforting he cared for me and I could feel it in a strong way.  He swung me around in circles by my arms.  We laughed and played.  Even though I appeared as a child just how Jesus sees me, I was still adult as I am now.  We had fun and then He picked me up and held me to His bosom.  I asked him fearfully, Jesus will you save me from the dangerous evil that I wanted to ignore but evidently wants me dead.

As we looked at each other that moment a dark entity began beating a path towards me, Jesus held up His hand and commanded that the evil being depart in haste.  He showed He was so much more powerful than that dark mass.  Jesus promised; “I will save you from the dark side.”  I was relieved but still had another confession and request of which I was ashamed.  He still held me close in His arms.  I told Jesus it is I that I fear the most, will you save me from myself.  I asked Him this even though I was scared to admit my true nature to this sacred son of God and reveal that I was such a sinful soul.  He was so sweet and pure, so comforting and protective He was my own personal daddy and savior.  He said to me “Laura, because you have asked I will save you even from yourself.”  What a wonderful blessing to know such a loving God and to know I am saved already…it is done.

 

Hebrews 7:25

“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. or NIV Therefore he is able to save completely [fn] those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”

 

I had the following vision for the purpose of enlightenment.  The vision was a reminder of the dark addiction from which I was delivered.  “The creature” in the story is the embodiment of the allurement of prescription medications.  The drugs kept me spiritually blind and emotionally stunted and most significantly kept me from doing God’s work.

 

WILL YOU TRUST ME NOW?

 

During meditation, I saw a face.  The image was scraggly and ugly.  I could not tell if it was a woman or a man, it looked like a supernatural mixture of both.  The appearing of the creature exposed its evil demeanor of ill intent.  Its face looked familiar somehow yet I could not remember from where.  The genderless being spoke to me, “will you trust me now?  Why would I trust such a vile monster-like phantom?  Somehow, I knew the creature had wronged me in the past.  I remembered taking her in repeatedly only to be cut by the knife of her wrath.  She made me bleed precious life from my soul and live with eyes closed.  She caused self worth to flow out like blood.  She took my truthful heart and caused me to bring to my breast lies.  She steadily presented illusion to my soul and by my own hand, I spooned them in.  I knew her well; she has no respect or value for me.  What could she offer me now to tempt me?  She offers me up some misery and to my own shame; by misery I am drawn.  “Name your poison” she shrieks!  “With this brew my love, I satisfy your lust for control and pleasure!  Take the power you so deserve my pet!”  Her words are seductive and delicious to the part of my heart that is afraid and empty.

 

Does this story leave me without a choice?  Must I fall victim to allurement’s fervent need to destroy my soul?  A white ray begins to shine through the gray matter of my self-doubt.  I was enlightened by what the light shown.  I remember the reasons I ripped this horrid, evil vessel from my life.  I remembered the lies the creature told me.  I recalled the effects of consuming her tantalizing poison.  The light ray that saved me this day from possible enslavement by the hateful bloodsucker was the light of Love that God gives by grace.

On this day, the light saved my soul.  My prayers have been many, I have made my spiritual deposits into the bank of my soul, and I have seen the dividends pay-off.

 

Ephesians 2:8&9

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast”.

 

This was not one of my beautiful meditations nevertheless; it was a very important reminder.

HOW IT WORKS

hEIL A.A.

HOW IT WORKS

skip to “How It Works”- here “HOW IT WORKS” From pg. 58-60 Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

PAGE 62 OF THE BIG BOOK OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS READS:  “So our troubles we think, are basically of our own making.  They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn’t think so.  Above everything we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness.”

Skipping down further  we read…”First of all we had to quit playing God it didn’t work.  Next we decided that here after in this drama of life, God was going to be our director.  He is the Principal ; we are His agents.  He is the Father and we are His children.”  Skipping down again to page 63:  When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts of remarkable things followed.”

Wow that’s a big piece of humble pie to swallow      and it’s valuable and true information except for one thing.  Addicts are usually totally without emotional balance.  Especially when using we tend to blame everyone around us for our predicaments and the way we feel.   If you tell us “our problems are of our own making” we will either turn on the guilt, shame, condemnation, and punishment toward ourselves or we reject the idea entirely.

There are two types of addicts, those who have been beating themselves up their entire lives and those who have been beating everyone around them up their entire lives.  Seriously we must stop the punishment in spite of our accepting responsibility for where we are at in life and how we feel about ourselves, others, and our Higher Power.

The expert psychiatrists and psychologists who study alcoholism and addictions agree that addiction is not only a disease but is also a [shame based disease].   Once we accept responsibility for ourselves we must move straight-away into our step work and most importantly into our Fourth and Fifth Steps.  Taking action and continuing to take action will alleviate the shame and guilt that we try so hard to pretend doesn’t exist.  We prefer to stay in denial about our shame and fear because we perceive it as weak, bad, and wrong.  But mostly we see our guilt as weakness.  And more importantly our perceptions dictate that all eyes are on us therefore we must put on a strong and confident mask for our peers to see.

Remember one of the most prominent Ninth Step promises is “fear of people will leave us”.  However, we fear not so much “people” but think about it, rather, we fear what people think of us.  Certainly Bill W. and the rest of the early founders should have re-worded that promise in my opinion.

Our fellows will make fun of us if we admit that we feel and think of ourselves as “lesser than” our peers.  Right?  That’s one reason people won’t do a thorough fourth step, false-pride sneaks in and tells us we mustn’t reveal our true selves lest others despise us and see that we are weak, wrong, and bad.

THE SOLUTION?  WE TAKE ACTION AND WORK THE STEPS HONESTLY AND THOROUGHLY IN SPITE OF OUR FEELINGS AND FEARS.  WE MUST UNDERSTAND THAT WE ARE NOT EVER GOING TO GET BETTER IF WE LET OUR FEELINGS RULE US.  WE DO THE STEPS ACCORDING TO FAITH AND HOPE.  WE ACT OUT OF FAITH AND HOPE SO THESE PRINCIPLES GROW STRONGER WITHIN US.  AND WE DO THE “NEXT RIGHT THING” (see in pop up)
Open a popup window  AGAIN, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN UNTIL IT BECOMES A WAY OF LIFE AND WE REALIZE WE HAVE BEEN TRANSFORMED.

“OUT OF THE PROBLEM INTO THE SOLUTION”.  SELF ABUSE VERBALLY OR OTHERWISE IS NOT CONSTRUCTIVE NOR IS ADVERTISING OUR SHORTCOMINGS A FORM OF HUMILITY.

Page 58 Big Book A.A. “How It Works”
Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it-then you are ready to take certain steps.

At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that we deal with alcohol-cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power-that One is God. May you find Him now!

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.
(c) That God could and would if He were sought.

 

 

“IN ALL OUR AFFAIRS” 12 STEPS

 

To all our readers, Recovery Farmhouse introduces Author and recovering alcoholic Russ K. of Tampa.  Here are two very interesting articles about good change that he would like to share with you.   Thanks,- Recovery Farmhouse.  I am including an interview of him that I got off

Becca’s Inspirational Book Blog thank you Becca.

Back to the Basics of a Spiritual Life

skip to article “In All Our Affairs”- here
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Back to the Basics of a Spiritual Life Awakened Living, A Practical Guide to the Spiritual Life by Russell Kyle

 

Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 1.43.11 PMAs a new year approaches, I’d like to suggestAwakened Living, A Practical Guide to the Spiritual Life by Russell Kyle to help you take steps toward a life filled with more peace and joy.

He agrees with many other philosophers that “the world is what you think it is,” so his first recommended practice is to take responsibility for your life and recognize the true cause of your experiences. He offers 15 additional practices, then finishes with 365 short readings for morning meditation or daily contemplation.

For positive change in your life, Kyle recommends a simple reliance on the “Highest Intelligence and Power governing all,” and recommends building a relationship with this higher power, without pushing specific religious beliefs. He recommends thinking about God, then talking to God, until the prayer experience moves from your head to your heart.

Kyle also recommends meditation, saying “you can achieve most anything” with just this practice alone, done consistently. He offers pointers for meditating and a Guided Meditation you can read or record and listen to. Practicing his daily meditations will bring you into the present and help you “let go and let God.”

He also makes a case for using positive affirmations, giving of yourself selflessly, surrounding yourself with good, and being humble, forgiving and flexible.

Here, Russell Kyle answers my questions:

Author Russell Kyle

BECCA: What hope or message do you wish to offer others with your book?

RUSS: The message I’m hoping to convey with this book is the absolute availability for anyone to develop a spiritually connected life. That beyond the mystical and illusionary is an authentic spiritual way of living and being, available to anyone. My hope is that it may lead those who have always been drawn to the idea of living a spiritual life to living that life. By making easily available to them some of the actions they can take to make this desire real and very much alive. These practices are practices that I know work.

This book doesn’t claim perfect teachings but instead points the way to where what one seeks may be found through practice. Practices directly affecting one’s heart, mind and body. Anyone with a bit of willingness for a positive change, along with an open mind, can grow and learn much from these age-old, and new, practices. The hope I would like to pass on is that good change can happen for anyone. That they may soon see that no matter what they’ve been through, what they’ve done, or even where they now stand, what really truly matters most is only the direction they are headed. And with one small step, one moment, one practice, this new direction can begin. Yet beyond my personal hopes, beyond my personal intended message, is my ultimate purpose: to play my part in any way I can in accelerating the awakening happening right now on our planet.

BECCA: Did any specific personal experience lead you to write this book?

RUSS: Yes, absolutely. My journey toward light began from the darkest of darkness. Due to years of sexual abuse, introduced to heavy drugs at a very young age by my abuser, I quickly became a full-blown drug addict and alcoholic. Parents divorcing and father dying, all this between the ages of 12 and 15. My course was set toward disaster. And I followed. Living on the street. Losing all of my family and friends. Attempts at suicide. Jail and everything else that comes with this lifestyle. I had no place else to go but 6-feet under, or up. Yet up seemed impossible, no matter what was said, who said it or when they said it, I was doomed and I knew it. Though, by some grace of Goodness, I one day stumbled into a group of spiritual people, recovered from many of these vices themselves. They offered a spiritual, non-religious way of life that I latched onto. They pretty much told me what I needed, but explained that finding it was solely up to me. What I needed was a spiritual awakening. And so my journey began… exploring different religions, spiritual practices, traveling and discovering. Practicing and experiencing. The more I awakened, the more I was freed from my past.

It wasn’t long before I began realizing the Universe was leading me to share this message of personal transformation. I cleaned up, sobered up, never to use or drink again. I’ve come to terms with my abuse and forgiven. Freeing myself. All through the power work of spiritual practices. I found that my learning accelerated as I taught and so today, as a student and a teacher, I grow spiritually and enjoy a life beyond what once were my wildest dreams. Am I traveling from place to place in my private jet, millions in the market, family all behaving, no problems, perfect health, perfect everything? No. But I’m coming to accept life on life’s terms. To see the purpose and meaning behind events, those we may label as good as well as those many label bad. Coming to see how this acceptance actually begins to transform not just one’s vison of the world but actual life circumstances and events. In turn, getting what one wants by first accepting things as they come. Living in this world of spiritual paradoxes, exciting, fulfilling and ever expanding. Today I live a deep and meaningful life. Full of purpose and full of unlimited possibilities.

One of the most exciting things about it for me, is that it too, in the very same way, is available to you, to anyone. I know today that the next best thing to having a spiritual awakening is to play a part in the awakening of another. Because of this, and a deep urging desire and love, I have put the basics of my beginning practice in a book for others.

BECCA: Can you explain what you mean by “having an open mind on our understanding of God?”

RUSS: It simply means to continue to explore beyond whatever knowledge, understanding or experience you may have of God. Even if you don’t believe in God, there is an understanding or idea that you are not believing in. For non-believers, I feel this is something still worth exploring. What do you have to lose? So you find out you were right… or not. Either way. The journey, the seeking, is good for the mind and heart. It’s worth the journey. We each have our own concept of the Divine. The only problem with having an idea of how something is, is that we limit it from being more. Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once said, “When you label me you negate me.” Meaning, when you describe me, you limit me. For example, if I tell you my God is green, then I am also saying God is not red, not yellow, not pink, not orange, and not all the colors ad infinitum. So, as we grow, as our awareness expands and we begin to have some strong ideas on how things are, let us keep in mind that these ideas can limit further understanding. I find that once I experience an ‘ah hah!’ moment, a break into a higher awareness of some sort, it’s best to simply acknowledge it, and then let it go. Not grab, cling and clasp to it. For if I wish to grow spiritually, I must continue to let go of my concepts and understanding, making room for new ones.

The idea is to break our attachment to words and ideas. We easily get hung up on words. For many, the word God itself doesn’t bring up good feelings. As soon as it is used a wall goes up and we shut ourselves off. Like a trigger of sorts. We already have our idea of what the word means, what is probably going to be said and many times have also quickly formed a judgment of the one using the word. All predetermined by the concept we’ve attached to the word. Often this happens without our even knowing it. We never get past the word. We never give ourselves the opportunity to see what this thing is behind the word. There is an old Zen saying, “Truth has nothing to do with words. Truth can be likened to the bright moon in the sky. Words, in this case, can be likened to a finger. The finger can point to the moon’s location. However, the finger is not the moon. To look at the moon, it is necessary to gaze beyond the finger, right?” Right! So we can easily see that we must look beyond our current understanding to really see what we are attempting to see.

Many may be fine with their understanding. It’s working for them. I encourage anyone to work with what is best for them. But to continue to awaken, the confinement by concepts must be broken, and continually broken. Be open-minded: Remain teachable, a student, always willing to honestly consider new points of view and ideas, always willing to change one’s own mind.

BECCA: You recommend both prayer and meditation – how do you differentiate the purpose of each?

RUSS: I’ve heard it said that prayer is talking to God, meditation is listening. I like this but for many it’s become much more, and in many ways very different. It is my experience that the benefits of both prayer and meditation are ultimately much the same. They are a reserved moment to focus on, and connect with, your source of Good. Prayer focuses on a way of building concepts and ideas by word or thought. Placing intentions out into the universe in which the universe will respond. Meditation, for myself, is a way I connect more by not trying. To surrender. To heighten my sense of all parts of my being with all parts in which that being rests. To put the thinking mind on hold and see what else shows up. Even this description is limited as to the unlimited potential of mediation. Like most spiritual concepts and practices we carry, they share similarities, yet the experiences and uses are unique to each. One fact though that most can agree on, most who have tried prayer and meditation enough, is that it works. It works in maintaining, reinforcing and better developing our connection with our deeper selves and the world around us. They heighten our sense of something Wiser at work beneath all things. They raise our awareness to the coincidences and synchronicities. They open our eyes to the awareness of our part in this magical dance of this universe.

BECCA: Is there a time to pray, and a time to meditate?

RUSS: That is probably best left up to each person and what works best for them. The combination of prayer and meditation is a powerful recipe. Some may already view prayer and meditation as the same, again it’s a personal interpretation. Spending time studying other’s views on meditation and prayer has given me a better understanding of the many ways in which to connect with, and sense, ourselves and our connection to our multi-leveled environment. To better connect with the Divine if you will. So I tend to use prayer and meditation both in combination as well as separate as the situation or mood sees fit. I find prayer is quickly accessed and used throughout the day, when riding in my car or walking in the mall, these times meditation might not always be most accessible. Though walking meditations are great for enhancing a mindful state, I usually find sitting quiet most useful during meditation. Again, these are practices you will cultivate as your path forward sees fit. The only requirement is to begin.

BECCA: What would you say is the best way to pray?

RUSS: In my Chapter, ‘Practice Prayer’, I list some specific suggestions on prayer. But ultimately I feel it is a personal experience and practice. What I would tell someone new to prayer, is to just begin. It will develop from there as best fits your needs. Don’t get too caught up in ‘what’ you are praying to. Focus more on the content of your prayer, what or who you are praying for. I’ve found that positive prayer is most effective. Pray in affirmations. For example, “Thank you for the abundance flowing into my life right now,” “Thank you for healing my body,” “I pray for this person, and give thanks for the blessings unfolding upon her right now.” Again, these are examples of some ways to pray. The deeper a prayer life becomes, the more natural it will become.

Take a prayer walk outside, observing and being mindful of your environment, saying to yourself, praying, “Thank you for that flower,” “How beautiful is the sky,” “Thank you for my legs to walk upon, air to breathe and eyes to see.” Prayer which includes appreciation and gratitude tames the mind and opens the heart. It raises the one praying to a higher state. A state in which we see more, experience more and connect deeper. With practice, prayer can become a state of being, a connection we stay plugged into throughout the day.

BECCA: What suggestions do you have for other first-time writers who feel they have an important message to share?

Get it out there. Take care not to get hung up on how others may criticize or judge your message. We have little control on how people take what we say. If something is urging you to get it out there, just do it. As far as how; the only way I know to truly carry a message is through personal demonstration or testimony from those who have been there. For non-fiction writers, simply stick to the truth and how this truth may be demonstrated or has been demonstrated. If you feel a message is important, then you probably have some connection to it already, emotionally, mentally or physically. Whatever your connection, let this be your doorway of bringing it to life, to putting it on paper. What can speak louder than that? As author Wayne Dyer once said, “Don’t die with your music still in you.”

Awakened Living, A Practical Guide to the Spiritual Life by Russell Kyle is available now. To contact Russ with your own questions or comments, email him at AwakenedLivingGuide@gmail.com or connect with Russ at  https://twitter.com/RussellLKyle orhttps://www.facebook.com/LessonsExperiencesOfTheSpiritualPath.

Namaste!
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets, Balance Your Chakras – Balance Your Life, and The Chakra Energy Diet

www.theChakras.org

Practice these principles in all of our affairs.  

What does this mean? I’m learning the answer to this every day. It is in the practice that I make progress.

The principles, by my understanding, are the guidelines for living that I learn by following the directions in the 12 steps. The better I get at applying the steps to my real life situations the more I see the principles at work. The principles, as I see it, aren’t really something that can be listed or simply explained, we come to know them by personal experience, by action.

Some of the applicable to life ideas I’m picking up through my practice of this program I’d like to share with you. Of course I’m always learning and some of my understanding of these ideas may have even yet changed since I’ve written them down, but as of now this is some of what I’ve learned, and use.

Step one is teaching me the importance of acceptance. To accept is to not complain, or wish otherwise to be, it is to be content with what is by understanding that it is what it is already. No amount of anything can change that. All that can, and should be, changed is my perspective on what is. As with any change I must first accept where I am. In order to move ahead I have to first approach the starting line, accepting things first as they are sets me in the position for any desired change, but I must accept where I am first. I remind myself often, that things are as there are, so why waste energy wishing otherwise, for they already are. It wasn’t until I fully accepted that I was an Alcoholic that then I could begin seeing the problem of which I had been hoping to change.

It is important to understand that accepting isn’t settling for less, it is putting us in a position for more, able and available to change the things we can and accept the things we can’t.

 

By these actions I’m learning the benefits of honest self-examination, a willingness to rectify my wrongs, the actions to do so, and the joy this brings as freedom and content. I’m being introduced to ways of better connecting to the source of my Good, ways to find new ways and the gift of many opportunities to share and teach these ways to others.

Self-examination has taught me to keep the finger pointed at myself. It is I that is the cause of all in my life, and so the choice to make any changes rests with me too, right here, within my reach. In finding the problem I am introduced to the solution…one of many of the spiritual paradoxes I continue to discover.

I now too have a better understanding of the daily reprieve talked about in the book.  It’s been shown, not just told but shown, to me the necessary actions I must take daily to keep this gift of new life, continued self-examination, amends as they arise, meditation, prayer, open mindedness, honesty and helping others.

I’m experiencing the truth that self-sacrifice is the greatest method of self-help. Yep, another strange paradox, so it would seem. This single way of living, giving of myself, is the best gift I can give myself.  As a servant I am filling the highest position in the AA spiritual community. It is the most prosperous of all trades and lifting of all actions.

Today I live on circulating spirituality, kept in motion by steps 10, 11 and 12.  Step 10 keeps me cleared out for the process, an open channel. Step 11 draws in the necessary power, understanding and peace needed for my daily emotional sobriety. Step 12 is the process by which I give back, on which I allow that same goodness brought in to then flow out. By this I keep my spiritual circulatory system flowing and healthy. By this process I keep the good in my life circulating as well. By this I continually let go of the old making room for the new.

Today I also do my best to focus on the new person. During meetings, if there is a new person, I sit through that meeting thinking ‘what is this new person hearing, how are they hearing it?’ I know, because I was there once. I do this for two reasons. One is to keep my thinking new, as open as the new person. By this I hear things fresh and open. Second I do this so as to know if my group if fulfilling their primary purpose, carrying the message to the new person. It gives me a good idea of how I would want to be approached after a meeting like the one we just had, why? Because right after the meeting I will be fulfilling my personal responsibility and approaching that person to do or say what I can to help. So I keep my attention on the new person and it helps us both. Today I know that when my intentions are on helping, I in return receive in unlimited ways as well. But to receive something for myself falls short in reasons why I have the desire to help, it is deeper. I think it is like this for all of us AAs. Because I have been there, and out of genuine compassion I feel the need to comfort those hurting in that same way that I once did. This compassion along with the excitement of a solution that I know works, I jump at any opportunity to serve AA and the newcomer. I’ve found that here the rewards seem greatest too.

I love the program that saved my life and that has given me back to my family. I do my best to keep the balance between my family and my meetings. When drinking I withdrew from my family life, recovery should not do the same; as the book states on page 129 “The spiritual life that does not include its family obligations is not so spiritual after all.” I know when I need to get to a meeting, and I don’t hesitate to go. I also know when I need to be home with my family and I won’t hesitate to stay. The key is being honest with myself. Early on in recovery I had to just follow directions, my honesty and intuition couldn’t yet be trusted as a good guide. I just did the 90 meetings in 90 days as I was told, and then attended four or five times a week after that for the next year. Today my inner guide, because of my sincere work on the steps is a bit clearer, just a bit though I must say, I have much more to go. I’m finding that the spiritual principles of AA work when applied to anything at home; being a parent, husband, friend, good neighbor and son.

 

 

When in the workplace ‘principles before personalities’ is my lifeline many times. I’m learning to love and tolerate my fellow man, also realizing that they too might just be tolerating me. I’ve found here seems to be one of the best places full of opportunities to help others, whether I’m helping by prayer, by action or simply by good example. When going through my day in a conscious state of self-examination I learn much about myself, where I am, what I like about me and where I need improvement.

The journey of this life is never boring. When working the program the change in my life is so exciting that why would I want anything else. I don’t fear that change today either for I trust my Higher Power that all is happening for Good reason. Even my mistakes, when turned over to my Higher Power are like coal made into diamonds. In fact that is what this whole thing is all about, turning our past to good use and enjoying today as is.

Today a can say, with truth and understanding, that I am a grateful recovering alcoholic. I remind myself each morning with a note on my desk, ‘to count my blessings’ and that each day is a gift, each moment, each person that comes along, and mostly the wonderful program that is saving my life, the program of AA.

Remember my fellow AAs that AA points the way, we take the steps and it is our responsibility to carry the message, in word and in action. I’m doing my best at my part, one day at a time.

Russ K.

Tampa, FL

 

Back to the Basics of a Spiritual Life

Back to the Basics of a Spiritual Life Awakened Living, A Practical Guide to the Spiritual Life by Russell Kyle

REFLECTIONS OF CHRISTMAS PAST

A STORY OF SUPERNATURAL DELIGHT

REFLECTIONS OF CHRISTMAS PAST

By Laura Edgar

I arrived home Christmas Eve and looked under the tree.  To my astonishment, illuminated beneath the branches were five mysterious gifts labeled “To you from God”.  I was excited!  I knew no human could have put them there, for no one had been allowed entry into my high security, impenetrable home.  I believed for certain the gifts had to have been miraculously placed.  The tiny gifts were beautifully wrapped in gold and silver.  They sparkled with a kind of magic that screamed of snowy moonlit mountains and supernatural life.  I slid the dead bolt and opened my front door to see if there might be evidence of who deliverer these gifts.  I saw nothing save the snowy ground and starlit night.   I turned back toward the gifts and picked up the first.  It glowed with a beautiful pink hue.  As I opened the perfect package, in it appeared an iridescent perfectly shaped pearl.  Smoothly and swiftly a soft cloud traveled from the package to me and engulfed me in a sea of Love that I have never felt before or since.  I thanked God and gazed upon the remaining four gifts.

 

I opened the second gift, which appeared as a great multifaceted diamond, like no other I have beheld!  As I held it to my chest and felt its power enter my heart, it was clear to me that this gift was the faith that could move mountains.  My breath was taken away from me in astounding awe!  More precious than any earthly gifts, I knew I had received God’s best for me in these two enchanting presents.

 

Three more, I thought as I kneeled to pick up the third.  Before I ever exposed this precious ruby to light I felt at peace.  I set my eyes upon it as a laser-like beam struck me in my eyes and blinded me for a time, yet I had no fear, for abounding peace had found me and taken me in as a mother would her naked child needing warmth.  I was without words to express my gratitude toward God.  I then realized I had been talking to him with my heart, and He heard.  I sat and drank a cup of warm tea as I considered the next two gifts.

 

I noticed that one of the packages appeared larger than the others.  I opened it next. Emerging from the box was a tiny fairy.  As she appeared attired in a flowing, shear white dress, her hands where extended to me in greeting.  “I am Grace“, she said.  “It is lovely to meet you”.  She said no more, however I knew what had happened.  Suddenly like a drowning man sees his life flash before him I saw all the times that she had interceded in my life’s near tragedies.  I saw how God’s grace carried me through the past and would always, always carry me through the future.  This was now to me a reality.  I wept as tears of gratitude streamed down my cheeks.

 

I began to open my final gift with great anticipation teamed with exhilaration.  This time a male looking fairy tore his way through the remaining paper.  How odd I thought, this one didn’t look like a heavenly being, he seemed discontent and foreboding.  “What have you for me?” I asked this miserable little winged chap, dressed in sloppy garb with unkempt hair.  “Certainly you shall see!” he spoke abruptly.  I bent down to pick him up and he slapped me with a firm little hand.  Oh dear!  I suddenly felt ugly and didn’t like myself.   As I looked around, I was no longer aware of any beauty!  All the precious gifts seemed dim and faint.  Even my expensive Christmas decorations were unsatisfying and bleak.  “What have you done to me you troll!”  I felt extreme contempt for this miserable being that I now saw as an impish little beast.  Surely this could not have been a gift from my God.  I concluded that he must have come from the other side.  Then I shrieked “Of Satan you must be!”  “Oh no, you will see the light again!” he uttered, “By me you will see the light!  You will thank God for me one day!  No one appreciates me” he said.  “No one realizes my worth.  I will rest now!”  “But who are you?” I screamed!  “I am your guilt” he said.  “I cloud your vision and suppress your Love.  I turn your heart toward resentment and shame.  Some will do anything to distract themselves from my cloud.  Others I turn in another direction when they meet me.  They are the truly blessed.  They know just how to return me to God.”  Return him to God, I pondered?  Was this a mystery?  Some never figure out how to return him to God?  I realized just at that moment that I had an urgent task to accomplish.  I went straight to a friend and told her about things I was ashamed of from my past, though I wanted to hide them away.  I knew that in order to have my precious gifts unclouded I must confess these hidden mistakes.  Then I spoke to God of my regret of those misdeeds.  As I prayed for forgiveness and gave thanks, I offered Him this powerful little being of turmoil and darkness to be returned without a glitch.  These simple actions returned my sight.  The beauty of my awesome gifts was again visible.  As the little creature spun away he yelled “You see!  I am the gift that is only a gift if you return me to God”.

 

RECOVERING SOBER WRITERS WANTED

Tell your sober story.  “What it was like,(addiction) what happened (got sober), and what it’s like now. (recovery as you experience it)”

WRITERS WANTED To post recovery oriented articles on Recovery Farmhouse no professional experience needed.

Basic editing skills preferred.  Please put your article through an editing process best you can. Your writing does not have to be perfect just from the heart.  Writing for Recovery Farmhouse is a little more that just sharing your experience strength and hope.  You are allowed to have an opinion and state it.  However open-mindedness to other people’s views and acceptance for same is a definite plus.  Poetry is accepted too.  Please e-mail me at edgarlaura826@yahoo.com with your articles.
writers wanted

 

 

SEXUAL INVENTORY

You can find the directions to do your “sexual inventory” on none other than  page 69 in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  HURRAY for great coincidences.    My personal favorite Bill W. wrote: “WE DO NOT WANT TO BE THE ARBITER OF ANYONE’S SEX CONDUCT. An arbiter is a person who settles a dispute or has ultimate authority in a matter) OF ANYONE’S SEX CONDUCT.”

Firstly  I try to remember that not everyone’s moral compass is set on the same settings as mine.  As long as no law is being broken and no one is getting  (badly) hurt then like Bill W says; other people’s sex conduct.

The Fourth Step Sexual Inventory only works when I apply it to myself.  So what kind of things  do I needs to write down?  God gave mankind a great gift called the “conscience” and that is what I will use along with prayer.  The things in my past that I feel guilty for and ashamed of these things need to come out into the open, out of my mind they will then lose power over me.  First I put them to paper then I confess them aloud in my fifth step.

WHY?!!!!!  WHY DREDGE UP THE PAST, BURYING IT SEEMS LIKE A BETTER IDEA.  Yes so it seems, however experience teaches us that confession is good for the soul.   Furthermore the intense emotions that we try to hide WILL come out sideways.  Things like wrath, blame, emotional struggles, and intense anger derive from the feelings that we bury.  These emotions need to be expressed and then let go.        It takes either a miracle or some emotional work to clear the wreckage of the past is to face it and come to terms with it.  The Fourth Step runs more people out of the rooms than anything else.  I have had countless women make it through steps one, two, and three, only to bolt at the prospect of confessing their deep dark secrets.

The good news is that on page 69 there are a group of questions to guide us through the sexual inventory.  Also if we pray before we start the work IT WILL give it the supernatural kick we need.  We are striving for a psychic change.  “The same man will drink again” therefore we must do the work that is outlined in the twelve steps.

And most importantly remember, its all been said and done before.  There are only seven deadly sins and there are  only so many sexually perverse things we can engage in.  Usually the sponcee is the only one affected by his own actions.  When we confess our shortcomings we most likely will feel relieved but we most certainly will improve our emotional healthy by it.

OUR E-MAIL IS UP AND RUNNING

HELLO FROM RECOVERY FARMHOUSE

I HOPE YOU ARE DOING WELL!  MY NAME IS LORI E AND I AM AN ALCOHOLIC.

I just wanted to thank everybody who reads my articles and has subscribed to the posts.  I had no idea but our e-mail system was down for quite some time.  It is working again and you will receive weekly posts or whenever I write new ones sometimes more sometimes less often.  Please I invite your feedback and any suggestions you have to improve our website and my writing.

Welcome back everyone lol!  There is a simple unsubscribe at the bottom right of the new e-mail delivery page.  If you unsubscribe you will still be registered with us.

Thanks again here’s to growing old sober!  Lori E.

RELATIONSHIPS IN ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

IS IT LOVE OR IS IT FEAR?

RELATIONSHIPS IN AA, SOBER IN ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS AND LOVE & INTIMACY

How can I tell if I am acting out of fear or if I am really acting out of Love?  When it comes to relationships so many times we throw around the words, “I love you” for the wrong reasons.  We may say the words to make someone feel needed or Loved which in itself is a kind manipulation.  We may say it to make someone feel obligated to us as if being loved has a price tag on it.  Or we may say it because we have been hurt by someone and we want them to feel extra guilty…”how could you leave me for another woman I love you!”

Often-times drug addicts have to learn how to manipulate people to ensure that their using needs will be met.  To make sure that I would have the drugs I needed I had several enablers on a line.  Enablers tend to have their own underlying reasons to enable us but that’s a whole other matter.    So in my mind the numerous “sugar daddy’s” that I had on the line had the following reasons to want me around.  They wanted to be seen with a young and beautiful woman, “hood ornament” per-say.  They wanted sex, of course that’s the most common one.  They just wanted affection and to feel loved.  They wanted to feel important and needed.  They wanted to feel masculine, sensual, strong, and beautiful or maybe they just wanted to feel.  And I was there to accommodate and fend off their insecurities.

Armed with this knowledge I would tell them what I thought they wanted to hear and much of that was the “I love you”.  So I lied I cheated, I manipulated and said I love you because of fear.  I was afraid if I didn’t say and do these things I wouldn’t get what I needed to stay well and wanted to feel good.

But what about regular intimate romantic relationships that aren’t cursed with drug addict motives?  Do we still act out of fear and say the “I love you” for the wrong reasons?  HELL YES it happens all the time!  The primary reason is control and fear of loss.  Oftentimes people in relationships tend to act out because they are afraid of losing…especially addicts who no longer have their drink and drug.  Now the sober addict has a person that they begin to obsess on and become way too dependent on emotionally and perhaps financially.  The “I love you” becomes a staunch obligation to the partner rather than a giving and affectionate tid-bit of verbal yummy.  Lol!

So if our partner interacts with other friends do we find ourselves feeling threatened subconsciously and then react by using sex to get then under control?  Or maybe we find a reason why the partner shouldn’t be with their friends like…it’s dangerous, I am worried about you.  Or when they come home do we throw a fit about how worried we were about them because “WE LOVE THEM”.

We can use this thermometer Love is charitable, it is giving, Love does not attack verbally but fear does.  Love does not try to play god, but fear does.  Love would never tell another adult how to live.

If we are concerned about a Loved one then we share our concerns in a respectful manner such as sharing our fears for that person by speaking in the “I” context.  NO “YOU’S” you this you that tends to be an attack.  For instance if my partner is hanging out with his old using friends I could say.  “Wow you must be stronger than me if I were hanging out with my old using friends I would relapse for sure.”

One of the oldest control games in the world is limiting freedom for one’s own well-being for one’s own good.  All people deserve to have peace and freedom.  Once we are adults our mommies don’t control us any longer.  The law and our employers are the only authorities that we endure.  Each man has the right to make his own mistakes.  Each man has the right to have peace in his home.  Sponsorship means we suggest and we ask questions we don’t make our sponcee’s decisions for them that is enabling as well.

We should treat our life-partners or significant others like friends giving them the same respect and freedom we would give a good friend.

 

 

RELATIONSHIPS IN ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

IS IT LOVE OR IS IT FEAR?

(for those who don’t know what RULE 62 is it means, “don’t take yourself so seriously.”

RELATIONSHIPS IN AA, SOBER IN ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS AND LOVE & INTIMACY

How can I tell if I am acting out of fear or if I am really acting out of Love?  When it comes to relationships so many times we throw around the words, “I love you” for the wrong reasons.  We may say the words to make someone feel needed or Loved which in itself is a kind manipulation.  We may say it to make someone feel obligated to us as if being loved has a price tag on it.  Or we may say it because we have been hurt by someone and we want them to feel extra guilty…”how could you leave me for another woman I love you!”

Often-times drug addicts have to learn how to manipulate people to ensure that their using needs will be met.  To make sure that I would have the drugs I needed I had several enablers on a line.  Enablers tend to have their own underlying reasons to enable us but that’s a whole other matter.    So in my mind the numerous “sugar daddy’s” that I had on the line had the following reasons to want me around.  They wanted to be seen with a young and beautiful woman, “hood ornament” per-say.  They wanted sex, of course that’s the most common one.  They just wanted affection and to feel loved.  They wanted to feel important and needed.  They wanted to feel masculine, sensual, strong, and beautiful or maybe they just wanted to feel.  And I was there to accommodate and fend off their insecurities.

Armed with this knowledge I would tell them what I thought they wanted to hear and much of that was the “I love you”.  So I lied I cheated, I manipulated and said I love you because of fear.  I was afraid if I didn’t say and do these things I wouldn’t get what I needed to stay well and wanted to feel good.

But what about regular intimate romantic relationships that aren’t cursed with drug addict motives?  Do we still act out of fear and say the “I love you” for the wrong reasons?  HELL YES it happens all the time!  The primary reason is control and fear of loss.  Oftentimes people in relationships tend to act out because they are afraid of losing…especially addicts who no longer have their drink and drug.  Now the sober addict has a person that they begin to obsess on and become way too dependent on emotionally and perhaps financially.  The “I love you” becomes a staunch obligation to the partner rather than a giving and affectionate tid-bit of verbal yummy.  Lol!

So if our partner interacts with other friends do we find ourselves feeling threatened subconsciously and then react by using sex to get then under control?  Or maybe we find a reason why the partner shouldn’t be with their friends like…it’s dangerous, I am worried about you.  Or when they come home do we throw a fit about how worried we were about them because “WE LOVE THEM”.

We can use this thermometer Love is charitable, it is giving, Love does not attack verbally but fear does.  Love does not try to play god, but fear does.  Love would never tell another adult how to live.

If we are concerned about a Loved one then we share our concerns in a respectful manner such as sharing our fears for that person by speaking in the “I” context.  NO “YOU’S” you this you that tends to be an attack.  For instance if my partner is hanging out with his old using friends I could say.  “Wow you must be stronger than me if I were hanging out with my old using friends I would relapse for sure.”

One of the oldest control games in the world is limiting freedom for one’s own well-being for one’s own good.  All people deserve to have peace and freedom.  Once we are adults our mommies don’t control us any longer.  The law and our employers are the only authorities that we endure.  Each man has the right to make his own mistakes.  Each man has the right to have peace in his home.  Sponsorship means we suggest and we ask questions we don’t make our sponcee’s decisions for them that is enabling as well.

We should treat our life-partners or significant others like friends giving them the same respect and freedom we would give a good friend.

 

 

Nurture Our Inner Child

How do we nurture our inner child?

Do not underestimate the value of writing and it’s affect on our emotions.  Writing has helped me heal.

There is a small child in each of us, innocent, full of wonder, with feelings that are hopeful and fragile. The heart of a child longs for the most powerful gift to humanity, which is LOVE. When we Love one another by our deeds we feed our inner child. We mustn’t repress our innocence and label it “weak”.   Our intellect may reason out to do just that. The Love we show one another now is an opportunity for immortality, our Love echoes in eternity!

Lori E

Sobriety Year Seven

SEVEN YEARS SOBER, ALCOHOL WAS BUT A SYMPTOM OF A DEEPER SICKNESS

 

I ran into a lady a Wal-Mart, she invited me to church.  I gave her a brief summary of what God has done for me in the last nine years.  I told her I have stayed sober nine years.  She looked at me amazed and said, “Wow!  That must be hard, it’s hard to stay sober.”  I thought to myself about the last years in sobriety and how easy it has been to stay sober anymore.   I thought to myself this life of mine is the closest this former drunk has ever been to a “normal life”.  I told “June” (is her name), I said, “June it was hard, very, very hard to get sober and the first four years where absolutely filled with processing my core issues. 

 I worked very hard to clear up the wreckage of the past and root out the underlying causes of my addiction.  Not to mention the twelve steps were and are my guide through my sober journey.  In the twelve steps lies the magical jump-start that made all my healing and psychic change possible.  That magic is my Higher Power.  I relentlessly worked step eleven meditation daily for years.  I connected with God, I met my Spirit Guides and I became strengthened to the point of a new self-confidence and awareness of who I really am.  I let little Laura out of the closet and she isn’t so bad after all.                                                                      

My underlying cause was “emotional disorder”    Not to mention I was ate up with shame.  Until I went to AA and had one full year of recovery based therapy I had no idea what to do with feelings.  Feelings used to scare the shit out of me to put it bluntly.

Why does the addict work so hard to change the way he/she feels?  How is it that the new re-habs are advertising that they have the “cure” for addiction when we are taught in the big book that we will always be alcoholics?  Is it possible that Bill Wilson was wrong?  We are taught to keep an open mind and to never limit God and His power.   Maybe Bill Wilson just never did find the courage and where-with-all to return to his childhood traumas and scream and cry them out as that small child.  Letting the hurts out rather than holding them in and allowing them to rule over out action and emotional responses is the sickness.  Letting hurt out is the process that leads to our healing but not everyone can make themselves so vulnerable.  Crying is a healthy emotion and should not be repressed.

If the underlying cause is healed by God and we are taught how to express our feelings in a healthy way, then it becomes very easy to stay sober. Is it a cure?  Well that’s a matter of semantics.

NEVER-THE-LESS I AM SOBER BY THE GRACE OF GOD WHO PICKED ME UP OFF THE STREET WHERE I WAS DEAD TO THE LIGHT AND HE OPENED MY EYES AND HEALED

THE TOOLS TO STAY SOBER IN ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

Staying Sober, The Same Things I did to stay sober nine years ago I do to keep me sober today.

Is anyone having a hard time staying sober today, we in Alcoholics Anonymous ask?

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?  

List of Sobriety Tools link

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.

12 STEP PRAYERS

ALCOHOLICS PRAYERS 

THIRD STEP PRAYER, ELEVENTH STEP PRAYER, SEVENTH STEP PRAYER, ST. FRANCIS PRAYER, SERENITY PRAYER SHORT VERSION & LONG VERSION, LORDS PRAYER, 23 PSALM 1-6

https://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/ninth-step-promises-of-alcoholics-anonymous/

AA prayers

Third Step Prayer short version

God, I offer myself to Thee—to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.  Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.  Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and The way of life.  May I do Thy will always!

 

 

 

Seventh Step Prayer

My Creator,  I am now willing that you should have all of me, good & bad.  I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you & my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here to do Your bidding.

 

Eleventh Step Prayer

Lord, make me a channel of thy peace–that where there is hatred, I may bring love–that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness–that where there is discord, I may bring harmony–that where there is error, I may bring truth–that where there is doubt, I may bring faith–that where there is despair, I may bring hope–that where there are shadows, I may bring light–that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.  Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted–to understand, than to be understood–to love, than to be loved.  For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.  It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.  It is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.

 

Serenity Prayer Short Version

GOD, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,  Courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  Living ONE DAY AT A TIME; Enjoying one moment at a time;  Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.  Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it. Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;  That I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. 

 

St Francis Prayer

Lord, make me a channel of thy peace, that where there is hatred, I may bring love; that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness; that where there is discord, I may bring harmony; that where there is error, I may bring truth; that where there is doubt, I may bring faith; that where there is despair, I may bring hope; that where there are shadows, I may bring light that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.

Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted; to understand, than to be understood; to love, than to be loved.  For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.  It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.

It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.

 

 

 The Serenity Prayer

 

 

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.

 

Living one day at a time;

Enjoying one moment at a time;

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

Taking, as He did, this sinful world

As it is, not as I would have it;

Trusting that He will make all things right

If I surrender to His Will;

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life

And supremely happy with Him

Forever and ever in the next.

Amen.

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THE LORD’S PRAYER

Our Father who are’t in heaven hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses.  As we forgive those who trespass against us.  Lead us not into temptation.  But deliver us from evil.  For, Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory for ever and ever

Amen

 

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.
Amen.
__________________________________________

Twenty-Third Psalm

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff–they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

— Psalms 23: 1-6

Read more: http://www.lords-prayer-words.com/lord_traditional_king_james.html#ixzz3vBh6QQpA

____________________________________________________________________

Children’s Bedtime Prayer


Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep:
May God guard me through the night
And wake me with the morning light.
Amen.

________________________________________________________________

Third Step Prayers

The following prayer is the third step prayer found in the Big Book and used by Bill W.:
God, I offer myself to Thee To build with me & to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.  Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy love & Thy way of life.
May I do Thy will always.

 

However, there are numerous third steps prayers used as part of the program of recovery, including those used by Dr. Bob and Clarence S.  There are also third step prayers for each religion or faith.  While the ones on this site show a sampling of these prayers, it is by no means exhaustive.

Here is a list of the third step prayers I have encountered over the years: Dr. Bob, Clarence S., NA, Native American, Christian, Buddhist, Wiccan, Eastern Orthodox, Jewish, Baha’i, Universalist, Catholic, Set Aside Prayer, Before Getting Out of Bed. Again, this is by no means a complete list, it is just an example of the different types of third step prayers used today.

Native American 3rd Step Prayer

(short version)
Great Spirit,
whose voice I hear in the wind,
whose breath gives life to the world,
Hear me.
I come to you as one of your many children,
I am small & weak,
I need your strength & wisdom.
May I walk in beauty.
And how my life is unmanageable.
I need to learn & remember that
I have an incurable illness & that
bstinence is the only way to deal with it.

Long Version

Oh Great Spirit whose voice in the winds I hear,
And whose breath gives life to all the world-
Hear me.
Before you I come
One of your many children.
I am small & weak.
Your strength & wisdom I need.
Let me walk in beauty & make my eyes ever behold the sunset.
Make my heart respect all You have made,
& my ears sharp to hear Your voice.
Make me wise that I may know all You have taught my people,
The lessons You have hidden in every rock.
I seek strength, not to be superior to my brother,
but to fight my greatest enemy – myself.
Make me ready to stand before You with clean & straight eyes,
So when life fades as the fading sunset,
may my spirit stand before You without shame.
Mitakuye Oyasin

Third Step Prayer (Alcoholics Anonymous)

God, I offer myself to Thee
To build with me & to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them may bear witness
to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy love & Thy way of life.
May I do Thy will always!

3rd Step Prayer

Take my will & my life,
Guide me in my recovery,
Show me how to live.

3rd Step Prayer (Jewish)

Grant me inner peace…, Let my body be completely subordinate to my soul & have no other will or desire but to follow the desire of the holy soul, which is to do Your will.
Let peace reign between my soul & my body. Let my body be sanctified & purified until it becomes united with the holy soul & I carry out all Your commandments & do everything You want of me, body & soul, willingly & with great joy.

Let my body & soul unite in love & peace to do Your will sincerely, until I attain complete inner harmony & am ready to order my prayer before You perfectly. Let my prayer rise before You like the incense & perfect sacrifices offered by those who are whole & perfect.

3rd Step Prayer (Dr. Bob)

Dear God, I’m sorry about the mess I’ve made of my life. I want to turn away from all the wrong things I’ve ever done and all the wrong things I’ve ever been. Please forgive me for it all. I know You have the power to change my life and can turn me into a winner. Thank You, God for getting my attention long enough to interest me in trying it Your way. God, please take over the management of my life and everything about me. I am making this conscious decision to turn my will and my life over to Your care and am asking You to please take over all parts of my life. Please, God, move into my heart. However You do it is Your business, but make Yourself real inside me and fill my awful emptiness. Fill me with your love and Holy Spirit and make me know Your will for me. And now, God, help Yourself to me and keep on doing it. I’m not sure I want You to, but do it anyhow. I rejoice that I am now a part of Your people, that my uncertainty is gone forever, and that You now have control of my will and my life. Thank You and I praise Your name. Amen.

Third Step Prayer (Clarence S.)

Lord, I ask that you guide and direct me, and that I have decided to turn my life and will over to you. To serve You and to dedicate my life to You. I thank you Lord, I believe that if I ask this in prayer, I shall receive what I have asked for. Thank you God. Amen.

Third Step Prayer, Life With Hope

Higher Power,
I have tried to control the uncontrollable for far too long.
I acknowledge that my life is unmanageable.
I ask for your care and guidance.
Grant me honesty, courage, humility, and serenity,
to face that which keeps me from you and others.
I give this life to you to do with as you will.

EASTERN ORTHODOX

O Lord, grant me to greet the coming day in peace, help me in all things to rely upon your holy will. In every hour of the day reveal your will to me. Bless my dealings with all who surround me. Teach me to treat all that comes to throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that your will governs all. In all my deeds and words, guide my thoughts and feelings. In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by you. Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring. Direct my will, teach me to pray. And you, yourself, pray in me. Amen.

Christian Prayer

Dear Lord JESUS, I thank You for this day.
I thank You for my being able to see and to hear this morning.
I’m blessed because You are a forgiving God and an understanding God.
You have done so much for me and You keep on blessing me.
Forgive me this day for everything I have done, said or thought

that was not pleasing to you.
I ask now for Your forgiveness.
Please keep me safe from all danger and harm.
Help me to start this day with a new attitude and plenty of gratitude.
Let me make the best of each and every day to clear my mind

so that I can hear from You.
Please broaden my mind that I can accept all things.
Let me not whine and whimper over things I have no control over.
Let me continue to see through God’s eyes and see his people with love.
And when I sin, let me repent, and confess with my mouth my wrongdoing, and receive the forgiveness of God.
And when this world closes in on me, let me remember Jesus’ example –
to slip away and find a quiet place to pray.
It’s the best response when I’m pushed beyond my limits.
I know that when I can’t pray, You listen to my heart.
Continue to use me to do Your will.
Continue to bless me that I may be a blessing to others.
Keep me strong that I may help the weak.
Keep me uplifted that I may have words of encouragement for others.
I pray for those that are lost and can’t find their way.
I pray for those that are misjudged and misunderstood.
I pray for those who don’t know you intimately.
I pray for those that will delete this without sharing it with others.
I pray for those that don’t believe.
But I thank you that I believe.
I believe that God changes people and God changes things.
I pray for all my sisters and brothers.
For each and every family member in their households.
I pray for peace, love and joy in their homes that they are out of debt

and all their needs are met.
I pray that every eye that reads this knows there is no problem, circumstance, or situation greater than God.
Every battle is in Your hands for You to fight.
I pray that these words be received into the hearts of every eye that sees them and every mouth that confesses them willingly.

Wiccan Prayer

I know the Laws of Nature are you, Lady.
Keep me mindful that I step upon Your Body,
with your feet,
that my sorrows are Your sorrows,
and that a healthy priest makes all things sound.
I feel Your breath in the wind, and Your hand in mine.
Keep me sincere.
Give me Your work,
which is to be joyous,
and to tend all things, because all things live, of themselves,
and with Your spirit.Your will through mine, so mote it be.

Buddhist Prayer

With every breath I take today,
I vow to be awake;

And every step I take,
I vow to take with a grateful heart–

So I may see with eyes of love
into the hearts of all I meet,

To ease their burden when I can
And touch them with a smile of peace

I take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha
Until I attain Enlightenment.
By merit accumulations from practicing generosity and the other perfections
May I attain Enlightenment, for the benefit of all sentient beings.

Bahai Prayer

O my God and my Master! I am Thy servant and the son of Thy servant. I have risen from my couch at this dawntide when the Daystar of Thy oneness hath shone forth from the Dayspring of Thy will, and hath shed its radiance upon the whole world, according to what had been ordained in the Books of Thy Decree.
Praise be unto Thee, O my God, that we have wakened to the splendors of the light of Thy knowledge. Send down, then, upon us, O my Lord, what will enable us to dispense with anyone but Thee, and will rid us of all attachment to aught except Thyself. Write down, moreover, for me, and for such as are dear to me, and for my kindred, man and woman alike, the good of this world and the world to come. Keep us safe, then, through Thine unfailing protection, O Thou the Beloved of the entire creation and the Desire of the whole universe, from them whom Thou hast made to be the manifestations of the Evil Whisperer, who whisper in men’s breasts. Potent art Thou to do Thy pleasure. Thou art, verily, the Almighty, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.

Bless Thou, O Lord my God, Him Whom Thou hast set over Thy most excellent Titles, and through Whom Thou hast divided between the godly and the wicked, and graciously aid us to do what Thou lovest and desirest. Bless Thou, moreover, O my God, them Who are Thy Words and Thy Letters, and them who have set their faces towards Thee, and turned unto Thy face, and hearkened to Thy Call. Thou art, truly, the Lord and King of all men, and art potent over all things.
Bahullh

Unitarian Universalist Prayer

I know little of who you are. I know little of your plan. I can understand only specks of your power. I cannot begin to comprehend all of what you are. But this I know. You do not give love, you are love. You do not project beauty, you are beauty. You do not allow hope, you are hope. You do not lend strength, you are strength. All that is good is your gift. All that is bad is the consequence of man s attempt to reject or mold you. The solutions to my problems, my fears, and my shame are all found in you.

All things I wish to be come from my desire to be closer to you. I see you every time I see the light shining through a tree. I see you every time a sunset or mountain vista takes my breath away. I hear you ever time I open myself to the wonder of life. I feel you every time my heart fills with joy and love. I doubt you only when I allow fear, and greed, and selfishness to assume the power to control me. I know that if I allow you in my life I feel peace. When I embrace you I feel love. When I seek you I find strength.
Father, show me the way to serenity so that I may be of help to others. Show me the way to responsibility so that I may give to others.

Mother, show me the path to compassion so that I may comfort others. Show me the path to healing so I may help others heal themselves.

Grandfather, show me the road to wisdom so that I may teach others. Show me the road to strength so that I may carry others until they can carry themselves.

Grandmother, show me how to feel love so that I may love others. Show me forgiveness so that I may forgive myself and others.

God, help me remove the blinders of self-will. Help me see what is true. Teach me so that I can be of service. Free me from fear, from hate, from greed, from discontent so that I may contribute myself to your work. Allow me to see what you would have me do and grant me the strength to follow through. Without you I am empty. With you at my side I am whole.

Thank You.

Catholic Prayer

Father, Help me know Your will through the spiritual wisdom and understanding that comes from the Spirit so I may live a life worthy of You, pleasing You in every way. Help me to bear fruit, to influence others’ lives in every good thing I do. May I constantly be growing in my understanding of who You are and in my awareness of how You work in the world.

Help me offermyself as a living sacrifice, desiring not to live like those who are giving in to the ways of the world but to be totally changed by the renewing of my mind. Then I will be able to know Your willYour good, pleasing, and perfect will.

May I yield my will to Yours and set my hearts on doing Your will. Help me set aside my own desires, seeking only Your will, standing firm and keeping on in Your strength. Help me be strong and not give up no matter what happens filled with joy and thanksgiving.

May I have no other desire than Yours. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Prayer of St. Francis Assisi

Lord, Make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
Where there is discord, harmony.
Where there is error, truth.
Where there is wrong, the spirit of forgiveness.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console.
To be understood as to understand.
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Dear Lord,
So far Ive done all right.
I havent gossiped,
havent lost my temper,
havent been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or overindulgent.
Im really glad about that.
But in a few minutes, God,
Im going to get out of bed,
and from then on,
Im going to need a lot more help.

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.

Living one day at a time
Enjoying one moment at a time.
Accepting hardship as
the pathway to Peace.

Taking as He did,
this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it.

Trusting that He
will make it right;
If I surrender to His will.
That I may be reasonably
happy in this life,
and supremely happy
with Him forever
in the next.

PEACE OF MIND The other greatest gift

“PEACE” The other greatest gift

EVERY COURAGEOUS ACT STARTED FROM A FEARFUL BEGINNING.

I did not know just how valuable Peace of mind was until I found it.  Alternatively….I did not know how valuable Peace of mind really was until I lost it.  Either way there is no doubt in my mind that peace of mind is one of the most wonderful things a person can possess  and that lack of Peace is at the core of the addicts malady.  When one has peace of mind, they are not in a wanton state of craving, obsession, or intense need.  Peace of mind stirs through our being and shoots out from us touching the lives of everyone around us, When we are at-peace we have no need to be mean, or sarcastic, we have no need to belittle our fellows with snide remarks.  We are not in fear because the presence of fear is the absence of peace.  It is said that Love is the greatest spiritual gift and that hope, & faith are next in value.  However, mixed into all three of these greatest spiritual gifts is Peace, which lingers amidst each one of them.  Peace is the by-product of the greatest spiritual gifts.

The absence of peace of mind can happen in different degrees.  We can be extremely fearful to the point of anxiety, panic attack, and even complete emotional paralysis, which is the absence of not only faith but of peace as well.  Mankind seeks out many destructive devices to outrun its torturous fears.  Seldom if ever does the fearful and miserable man admit or even realize that he is afraid or that it is fear that tortures him.  For he has been taught that to admit fear would be admitting that he is weak, bad, and not as good as his peers so, much of mankind (not just active addicts) choose denial over truth.   Moreover, we all know what we were taught about those who fear when we were young and impressionable…scaredy-cat, chicken-shit, pussy, pansy, yellow belly, yellow, woosy, and any other negative descriptive word that would shame us for being who we are….human and afraid.  I must remind myself that without fear there would be no courage and that every courageous act started with a fearful beginning.

So it’s ok to be human and afraid but we need to have a way to get out of fear.  We need to forbid fear from taking power over our actions.  We must step out of the box and deploy Love in defense against fear so we can experience that wonderful thing called spiritual peace.  How in the heck do you “deploy Love?”  You might ask.  We deploy Love by looking fear straight in the eye and walking, or taking action in spite of how we feel.  We walk through the fear!  If it is sobriety and reality that is paralyzing us then we get up, put on our shoes, and we go to a meeting.  We work the steps and do a fifth step in spite of our survival instinct which screams “keep your shortcomings a secret!  We deploy Love by doing service work, Step twelve.  We pray to our Higher Power when we feel like we have better things to do.  We write out our Fourth Step because we want to feel and get better.  We put the things on our fourth step list of which we are most ashamed.   Deploying Love does not necessarily feel good at the time but it is what is good for us and will bring us peace.  By the same token Love tears down our character flaws.   Working the Twelve Steps cuts flaws like false pride, self-loathing, lying, sloth, procrastination, lust, wrath, gluttony, envy, and greed to the quick.

Character flaws within us have a life of their own and when we begin working the steps they cry, scream, claw, and scratch at us from the inside.  Our character defect patterns do not want us to change and they will tell us all the good things that we need to do instead of working a program because the bad that we would do won’t work to trick us into not working the steps.  Meaning, our brain will tell us “you need to take you children bowling because you should spend more time with them, or you need to clean the house, or you need to job hunt or you need to work.  Yes all these things are good to do in recovery but if we do not have the foundation of the twelve steps we can easily slip.  Doing ninety meetings in ninety days will expose us to the program enough to get us started with a sponsor and some new sober friends to hang out with.  If we are going to stay sober and do the responsible thing for us and our families we need to do first things first.  All the other “good” things should come after our daily meeting, getting a decent sponsor, one who shows respect and emotional maturity, and working the steps.

 

HOPE

DEPTHS

 

 

“Hope”

Yesterday I felt horrible and I wasn’t sure why.  I kept having a bad re-occurring memory of me at a very young age feeling rejected and even loathed by my father.  I wrote about the memory and shared my feelings with my close confidants in AA.  I felt a huge relief after I shared my core insecurities of inadequacy and worthlessness.  But there was more…there was something else going on with me yesterday and in the past few weeks.  I have been working toward some business goals and things were looking pretty darn good where finances are concerned.  Then suddenly out of nowhere I had some pretty big set-backs occur that threw me for a loop.

I have had expectations; high expectations that my websites and business were on their way up!  When everything took a turn down hill at one time I was shocked.  I did not expect the setback at all.  I beat myself up for not using the money I had been making in a more responsible way.  Somehow I really didn’t expect my E-bay sales to slow down either.  I realized this morning that I had lost hope.  I felt like my efforts were stupid…like “what did I think I was doing expecting my financial life to be above average or even average for that matter  Who did I think I was.”  “Did you forget young lady that you are a piece of shit and don’t deserve money”.  “You have lived from week to week all of your life and it is not going to change because your Higher Power will see to that!”  “Give up hope for the good life Laura because you don’t deserve it, who do you think you are!”  This is what my head said at a very, very deep subconscious level mind you.  And that is what my feelings dictated so I laid down in hopelessness losing the warm reassuring vision of a bright future and concentrated on fear of the future instead.   YIKES!

Please keep in mind when you are reading this and maybe judging me as totally wretched.  The logical mind in humans says one thing while feelings and emotions can speak quite another thing.  And just because my logical mind knew I really had nothing to worry about because God always takes care of me.  I still experience the insecurities.  False pride will not allow a man to confess his weakness.  Without confession negativity multiplies.  Fearing what other people may think of me if I do admit weakness means that I feel inferior to others anyway and am ashamed of who I am.

False comparisons are just that…they are false.  I should not compare my insides to other people’s outsides as they say in AA.  People wear masks and to a certain extent masks are necessary.  We don’t usually “unless we are writers” need to advertise our struggles and weakness to more than one or two close confidants.  However in the name of compassion and sharing so other people will not feel so inferior themselves we should let them know what is going on inside of us and that we are not perfect by any means.   I share to let other people know what works for me emotionally, spiritually, and mental health-wise.

“Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us” so says the Ninth step promises in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  But what I was going through was a definite financial insecurity….I needed to put my future….and my thoughts into the Loving hands of God.  I have a Third Step God box that me and some ladies in AA all sat down and made for ourselves.  It is stuffed full of fears that have passed.

And so I had not lost my spiritual gift called hope I had just misplaced it per-say.  I experience deep and wrathful anger during that period at which time I prayed deeply that I wouldn’t hurt anyone by my words.

I learned a valuable lesson as I sat I said to myself and God, “I can see why some people do not seek God and reject Him all together.  My feelings of anger were so deep that I could only do what I knew was right and true from my experience.  Because in the moment of my rage I hated everyone including God and myself.  That hate made me realize that I have judged many a man without walking in their shoes or feeling how they feel or going through what they had been through to get to the place for which I looked down on them.

ISN’T IT STRANGE THAT IN THE DEPTHS OF MY EMOTIONALLY NEGATIVE AND UNKIND PLACES WHERE MY SOUL SLIPS AGAINST MY OWN WILL.  IT IS THERE THAT I AM HUMBLED AND FIND MY MOST VALUABLE SPIRITUAL LIFE LESSONS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOW DO RECOVERING ADDICTS & ALCOHOLICS DEAL WITH MONEY?

MONEY AND THE RECOVERING ADDICT.  FREEDOM FROM COMPULSIVE SPENDING.

How do addicts handle their finances after years of spending money on the wrong things and suffering the regret?  In the past personally I crossed many moral boundaries to make my money and then spent it on drugs instead of paying the bills, buying important things for my family and myself.  Since I now have years of sober time under my belt I do question my occasional compulsive spending, I analyse it and am now sharing it with you.

I remember at the start of my recovery I continued in my willingness to cross moral boundaries to get money a time or two when I needed that money to get to a meeting or put toward my rehab stay.  I had the gift of desperation that is a key in opening the lock of  sobriety.  I don’t save money well I never have.  Neither have my parents, they didn’t teach me good financial planning or skills.  However since I have been sober I do much better with my money, I get my bills paid even though sometimes they are late.  I enjoy shopping but if I know a bill is due I usually pay it first.  I say “usually”.

When it comes to walking in a Wal-mart with a pocket full of money even though all I need is a gallon of milk I will tell myself “I know there’s something I need” just so I can shop.  Shopping is a high for me and if I go to the grocery store hungry I may forget all about my bills temporarily until I get home and wish I hadn’t spent so much money.  I wonder…is it the shopping or the beating myself up that I get more satisfaction from.  Maybe subconsciously the thought of just being good bores me to tears and since I no longer drink and drug because it became too painful I must replace that debauchery with another of a different flavor.  One thing sure if we are busy doing Step 12 we won’t have time for self abuse.

The cycle of guilt is a merry-go-round that does not enjoy being put to rest.  Whether it be illicit sex, stealing, yelling at our loved ones, gossip, over-eating, or greed recovering addicts seem to have a need to keep the merry-go-round of guilt and self-punishment alive.  After all what will we do with out emotions and thoughts if we don’t have some negative aspect of ourselves or others to focus on?

The 12 steps help us to STOP the cycle of guilt and remorse.  Perhaps not completely however,  believe it there are degrees of guilt.  Remorse can be so deep that it becomes intolerable after all where does depression step from if not from a deep nagging dissatisfaction of one’s self?   The program gives us all kinds of new things to focus on and yes new things to criticize and balk at.   Aren’t the very nature of steps 1,4,6,7,8,9, & 10 about asking ourselves “what have I done wrong today and in the past”?  YES THEY ARE however the steps offer us solutions to that guilt so we don’t have to walk around ashamed of who we are.  Without steps two, three, five, eleven and 12 our wonderful recovery program is nothing more than [ more of the same], more insanity and a continued process of self-abasement without the solutions.  At the same time without the self-examination of our shortcomings we cannot clear the wreckage of our past and put our emotions from “disorder” to order,  It is completely understandable why so many people take a peak at AA and then decide it’s not for them.  They see all the negative self-examination and say “It does me no good to dwell on the past there is nothing I can do about it now its gone.”  To an extent they are spot on and that is the best attitude if a person does not have steps 2,3, 5, 11,12.

Ignoring and repressing guilt will only get us so-far.  Unprocessed emotions will come out of us in the form of criticisms, gossip, verbal attacks on other people, and it will turn bitter inside of our bellies and prompt us to jealousy, envy,  and make us sick.  Repressed guilt turns to shame which turns to fear and hate.  We as recovering addicts need the 12 steps like a fish needs water.  We must not give way to homicidal and suicidal thoughts but instead have the courage to do self-examination and admit our wrongs and then tell someone about it.  We must let the cat out of the bag by doing our Fifth Step which is so important for our emotional recovery.  Our relationship with God is so important but we must have at least one confidant that we can tell anything to.    Where there is no sense of accountability personalities digress.

So how does all this fit in with our finances?  We recognize when and if we are using money to continue somehow our cycle of shame and guilt.  If we learn to work the 12 steps properly and  as women focus on our feelings when doing so and honor them by validating and sharing them in our fifth step we can then let the pain go rather than hold onto it like Gollum held on to the ring….his Precious.  We shall put our emotions into a state of “order” rather than sick and depressive “disorder”.   By admitting that we do experience guilt and shame instead of labeling such feelings weak and shameful we can and will simply grow out of them.

SELF LOATHING

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FROM FOCUS ON GUILT TO FOCUS ON INNOCENCE

FOCUS ON INNOCENCE

Imagine your life as a long-running movie.  Now see it made by two different directors.  The first movie, in the hands of the director is a movie about fear, anger, scarcity, and anxiety.

The other in the hands of a different director is a movie about Love, peace, innocence, abundance, and happiness.

One director is your ego the other is The Holy Spirit and the star of the movie is you.  By Marianne Williamson from  “The Gift of Change”.

I have said it before…if you have made it to a sober place and have crawled out of the pits of hell.  Where you were surrounded by violence, shame, betrayal, guilt, pain, remorse, and condemnation, then a window of opportunity is open for you.

It is no accident that you made it out of hell alive,  The only trouble is early sobriety is scary.  Massive fear crops up for the unknown.  And why not!   We have rarely been clean and sober for more than a day or two in years!

No more heaviness we cry!  No more pain we beg our higher power.  Will God really help us through the mess of baggage we call our lives?

Hell yes He/She/It will!  We are valuable children of God!  We deserve to be happy for a while and have peace.  We have paid our dues in spades by god!

Sit back, quit fighting, soak up the recovery in the rooms of AA.  Soak up the sanity that our counselors offer.  Lie down in detox and take the medicine they give to get you over the first big hump.  Then make your way into rehab where you don’t have to be in charge any more.  You don’t have to have all the answers.  You can be a patient instead of a doctor, be a student instead of teacher.

We are all students and we are all patients from time to time.  Become a student now and it will save your future and bless the family you have possibly violated and neglected at best.

The 12 steps are designed to relieve that very guilt.  AA & NA are designed for the insane addict (as I was) who continues to do the same thing over and over expecting different results.  The steps if we take action and do them will show us how and empower us to see our innocence rather than our guilt.

Breaking Bad, Or, Ending the “What Ifs”

Breaking Bad, Or, Ending the “What Ifs”

by Kayko

What is it about endings anyway? Why are they so difficult, even when they hold the promise of making our lives better? I’m thinking the end of relationships (romantic or otherwise), marriages, jobs, and, of course, addictions. In particular, I’m thinking of relationships and marriages that aren’t working, jobs that are hell to go to day in and day out, habits that are clearly unhealthy, and, ultimately, addictions that are killing us.

Some would posit that change, in and of itself, is the culprit, especially for those of us who are “prone to addiction.” I’ve been told time and again that “we” don’t like “change”—even if it’s for the better. I buy that. A promotion, for example, can be a tremendous source of fear simply because it raises the specter of the unknown and the possibility of failure. I know what to do in my current job; I know what’s expected of me; and I know how to do what I’m supposed to do well. (That, of course, is why you’re offering to promote me, isn’t it?) Even though a promotion may mean a raise in pay as well as status, it also raises the suddenly very real possibility I will fail, that I will not be as good at my next job as I am at my current job, and once I leave my current job, you may never let me come back to it if I fail at the new job. “What if?”

Changing jobs may also hold the promise of getting away from a co-worker or boss who causes us anguish on a daily basis. But what if people at my current job like me because I complain with them about the annoying boss or coworker— our common enemy? What if there’s no one to complain about (not likely) at my next job and no one has a built-in or automatic reason to like me? Worse still, what if I’m promoted and become “the boss” everyone else complains about. What if I become the enemy? “What if?”

Oh, woe is me. Change categorically sucks; even when the odds are in our favor it will be good for us.

Still others would posit that, ultimately, fear of being alone is the major motivator for staying in bad relationships and bad marriages—for failing to end them. I buy that, too. The end of friendships, love affairs, and worst of all, marriages that aren’t working anymore is fraught with misleading emotions.

First, there is that distracting memory of what was once “good.” Even though things haven’t been good for a long, long time; even though the same behaviors are repeated over and over to the same unhappy end; even though we know it’s insane to stay in the present situation, we think “What if …” Maybe tomorrow the old spark that originally united us will return and the relationship will right itself, right? What if we miss thatopportunity, right? Even though that opportunity has been there every day for as long as we can remember, “What if tomorrow …”

And second, even if things don’t change for the better, there is that overwhelming fear that ending the relationship may leave us … alone … forever. Which, of course, is rarely the case. And, even if it is the case, being alone isn’t always or necessarily a “bad” change. Some of us “badly” need to learn how to live well alone so that we can become “livable” partners in our next relationship. I’ve spent some of the healthiest years of my sobriety in relationship solitude. As my one-and-only roommate in sobriety liked to say, “There’s a lot of serenity in being single.”

Endings are difficult, I agree. And there are countless reasons we shy away from making them happen. But I would argue that it’s the “What ifs” more than anything else that prevent us from taking that “first step” toward making the clearly necessary endings happen. It is the “What ifs” that keep us from seeing change and the unknown as an opportunity rather than as a source of paralyzing fear.

Today, whenever I’m seriously contemplating a change in my life—and especially a change that means ending one thing and beginning another—I try to think about the first time I managed to stay sober for an entire week. Bottom line … plain and simple … all other bullshit aside: By the beginning of the fourth day, I felt better than I had felt in YEARS! I broke the bad habit of making myself physically ill by drinking myself into oblivion on a daily basis, and, if nothing else, I felt GOOD. Sure, the first few days were hell—especially in the absence of a program or any support. But I could tell, moment by moment, that I was feeling better. By the seventh day, I actually had HOPE—hope that, rather than running on a treadmill to the gates of insanity or death, my life might actually, one day, improve. Unfortunately, that first time around I didn’t believe I needed support or a “program of recovery” to stay sober, and I ended up drunk shortly afterward. But that’s not the point. The point is that the seed was planted. The point is the memory of that week is probably the single most important reason I have been willing to quiet the “What ifs“ and make other changes in my life since. More important, that memory—that simple source of hope I was given by ending something bad and taking the first step toward change—is probably the biggest reason I’m still alive today.

Resentment Is The Number One Offender

It says in the Big Book that resentment is the number one offender.  That means it will get us drunk or high before any other emotion.  And sure, I get that.

 
RESOURCES FOR PANIC ATTACKS AND ANXIETY DISORDER
I woke up angry as hell today!  I went to check on a recent order I had made online.  I couldn’t get into my account.  I have had several problems with ordering from a certain online store so I was very aggressive with my tone when I called them.  “I just want my fabric!”  I realized I was wrong about the way I spoke to her so I sent her an email apology.  Seems she locked me out of my account by making my email address invalid.  Ouch!  I never wanted to hack a system so bad in my life to get back into my account.  I am angry as hell and don’t like the way that feels.  I realize I have been feeling allot of anger recently.

My new and healthy emotional process works like this; I don’t shut down my emotions because that leads to anxiety and depression. But rather I ask myself why do I feel so much anger toward myself lately?  Why have I felt self-destructive even?  I give thanks to my Higher Power several times out loud as a defense against hate.(it works)  I take a look at all the good and positive things that I have been doing lately.  Sometimes flashback feelings of self-hate just happen.  There are times when I regress back to my childhood my sister criticizing me my mother ignoring me and my dad invalidating my identity.

WAIT A MINUTE!  WHY AM I WORKING ON SELF-RESENTMENT ISSUES WHEN IT’S EVERYONE ELSE THAT I RESENT BECAUSE THEY ARE SO WRONG AND BAD?  My emotions are the fault of everyone else right?  Wrong!  They can’t process or fix me emotionally…all they can do is give my ego a temporary fix.  They can’t build my self-esteem or give me inner peace.  If I often resent other people it directly reflects the way I feel about myself deep deep down within my heart.  Resentments toward others are always about me.  Alternatively if someone wrongs me it is appropriate to get hurt or angry by and at them.  But this is different than an on-going resentment because I am able to let the anger go, anger is a healthy emotion when it flows through us rather than getting stuck and festering.

I am a worthwhile child of God I tell myself!  I refuse to believe the lies my head is telling me of how worthless, and stupid I am.  I AM A HUMAN BEING AND HAVE A RIGHT TO BE WHO I AM!  I pray for all of those who I resent including myself.  Next I get the heck out of the house and see the bright new world because…even though I woke up very angry I refuse to take my shit out on anybody which is a test of my emotional sobriety and…

THIS MY FRIEND COULD BE THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!__________

HERE IS THE “RESENTMENT PRAYER” FROM BB, Freedom from Bondage:  552) THANKS TO http://friendsofbillw.net/twelve_step_prayers

A 4th Step Resentment Prayer:

“God, Please help me to be free of anger and to see that the world and its people have dominated me. Show me that the wrong-doing of others, fancied or real, has the power to actually kill me. Help me to master my resentments by understanding that the people who wrong me were perhaps spiritually sick. Please help me show those I resent the same Tolerance, Pity and Patience that I would cheerfully grant a sick friend.** Help me to see that this is a sick man. Father, please show me how I can be helpful to him and save me from being angry. Lord, help me to avoid retaliation or argument. I know I can’t be helpful to all people, but at least show me how to take a kindly and tolerant view of each and every one. Thy will be done.”(66:2, 66:3, 66:4, 67:0, 67:1)

**Dear God, I have a resentment towards a person that I want to be free of. So, I am asking you to give this person everything I want for myself. Help me to feel compassionate understanding and love for this person. I pray that they will receive everything they need. Thank you God for your help and strength with this resentment.  (BB, Freedom from Bondage:  552)

I didn’t get sober to be miserable although at times that’s unavoidable.  If I don’t learn to live life on life’s terms and have a peaceful and somewhat loving existence I may end up being one of the MANY suicidal old-timers who kills themselves when they have no-one left to blame for their misery.  Unfortunately the suicide rate among alcoholics and addicts in recovery is high.

http://alcoholrehab.com/alcohol-rehab/suicide-in-recovery/

http://www.thenationalcouncil.org/lindas-corner-office/2013/09/suicide-and-addictions-the-neglected-link/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/real-healing/201402/suicide-one-addiction-s-hidden-risks

I have done a first hand survey among sober alcoholics and most people I have interviewed who have over 15 years sober know at least 3-5 people who have committed suicide while in recovery.  Myself at 9 years sober know at least 2 and possibly more due to vague explanations of cause of death by authorities and family members of the deceased.

If you think about it you probably have had at least one or two in your own hometown, sober and suicidal.

Please I am not trying to be negative but rather want to express the importance of getting down to underlying causes for addiction rather than continuing to apply band-aids to emotions that require antibiotics.  It’s imperative that we learn how to process our emotions in a healthy way so our emotional disorder doesn’t become grave emotional disorder.  The way to do that is by getting honest about the way we feel with people who are empathic and won’t shut us down and label it self-pity.  Please read my article about solutions to intense negative emotions. At a year sober we ask “what’s wrong with me?”

Things change, ideas change, and I change.  I wrote this article today which is my experience with a #1 addiction offender

Is Resentment the Number One Offender?

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/2/whats-wrong-with-me/

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/2/grave-emotional-disorder/

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/2/the-carrotsome-old-timers/

IS LAUGHTER AND CELEBRATION ALWAYS A SIGN OF “QUALITY SOBRIETY”?

WHILE SADNESS AND GRIEVING ARE A SIGN OF WORKING A BAD PROGRAM?

 

Depression is often repressed anger that lacks enthusiasm, 12 step action should be taken to fend depression off.  But also a deep emotional process of cries, guttural-outbursts, writing, sharing, moaning, and screaming needs to take place to release the emotional pangs misery that encompass the feelings of the adult who missed out on emotional Love and nurture while growing up.  “

 

Oh wouldn’t it be nice to feel totally secure & happy, with not a fear.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be aware of our own mortality and yet not fear the unknown when it confronts us?    Isn’t the happiest person in recovery synonymous with the most spiritual man in recovery?  But wait…truly any man facing his own reality on this Earth with eyes wide-open should be afraid.  There are entirely too many horrible things that can happen.  There are too many terrible things that WILL HAPPEN…THAT IS, IF WE LIVE LONG ENOUGH TO EXPERIENCE THEM. 

 

Don’t you just love those drug company commercials that relentlessly remind us of the many horrible illnesses that could befall us as we walk into our twilight years?   Struggling as we go to fend off the Alzheimer’s and decomposition?  Or how about the endless ads in the mail once we hit the magic age of 50 for final expense and burial insurance.  Or how about the progressive memory loss and thinning hair line?  Just to name a few…the better we are at “denial” of all this reality the happier we may be.  And isn’t denial dishonest at its core and contrary to every Twelve Step principal we have learned? 

 

Nevertheless, however rewarding our pleasant & various distractions from our sickening reality may be these pleasantries may not be in OUR OWN best interest.   Staying in the house of gaiety, celebration, and gratitude may seem like our highest achievement in recovery not to mention how we do enjoy appearing [above it all] to our fellows.   After all doesn’t our happiness prove that we are working the best program out there? 

 

In spite of the world-renowned 12 step solution of teaching us to grab pencil and paper to write down all the things we are so wonderfully thankful for, at the on-set of any signs of ill-at-ease.  Beware this 12 step solution may NOT always be [the-next-right-thing]. 

 

We may be experiencing on-going discontent and irritability for a very important reason.  Our discontent could be our call or the only thing that draws us to our higher power.  Perhaps instead of distracting ourselves from our sadness we should be accepting, owning it, then we should take a much closer look at the reality of our own impending doom as mortals.  This wake-up call per-say could be so we will seek GOD the lasting solution rather than repeated and temporary Band-Aids that we stick on our skin while under the surface we deteriorate along with our soul’s spirituality.

 

King Solomon the wisest man of all time has written a message to us:

 

Ecclesiastes 7:2-4

 

“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.

 

Sorrow is better than laughter,

For by a sad countenance the heart is made better.

 

The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.”

 

Gotta feel to heal and gotta seek God diligently to find.

STEP ELEVEN
STEP ELEVEN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“RARELY HAVE WE SEEN A PERSON FAIL…

WHO HAS THOROUGHLY FOLLOWED OUR PATH.” ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS WORKS!

NOW IS THE BEST TIME TO START YOUR RECOVERY FROM ADDICTIONS AND EMOTIONAL DIS-ORDER!

 

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!

A.A. HIGHER POWER

God is Love. I have run the gambit where religion and spirituality are concerned.   

I believe in Christ He is my higher power.  I use the terms “He” and “Him” even though I believe my Higher Powers are Spirit not flesh.  I also believe they could become flesh anytime they want.  I use the “Him” term because I am just so used to it, I do hope it doesn’t put you off. 

Anyway Before I met Christ I had a prayerful relationship with who I call “God the father”.  Christ brought me closer to, God the Father.  I had one drastic life altering white light experience where I was delivered, yes delivered (one of those religious terms unpalatable to many especially to recovering Catholics & addicts) from a life of deep and twisted addition.  I learned allot about God’s Grace and unconditional Love after I turned my back on Him by sinking into a deep dark and long relapse.  I say I learned much about His grace because he again pulled me from the mire and brought me into the program of AA. 

The first time I got sober due to my white light experience I was also involved in NA.  I didn’t work the steps or get a sponsor.  The second time I got sober I pretty much did everything suggested and learned and worked the steps more thoroughly than most woman I know.  (I can say that because I have worked the 12 steps with countless woman and I know to what depth of awareness they worked.  Granted this doesn’t make me better or of more value than any soul just self-aware.  False humility is not one of my defects I won’t hide behind a mask of false bravado pretending to be unaware of my own accomplishments for fear that acknowledging my progress would be vain or defective.  (Pet-peeve sorry) There is a thing called footwork and I have done plenty of it!  I won’t stand by and say I don’t know anything either as I have seen countless both blessed and knowledgeable men do.  That would be dishonest of me wouldn’t it seeing that I KNOW different.

These misguided attitudes are a luxury to those who perhaps fear that if they did acknowledge any goodness in themselves or acknowledge that they achieved (for lack of a better term) an “A” or “B” level of recovery they would quickly be swept away by the false pride that would send them plummeting to their last and final grave & incomprehensible relapse.  Let me point out that one character defect (false humility) will not protect oneself from another character defect (false-pride).  It’s not the little quirkish traditions of local AA lore that get and keep us sober.  And certainly self-degradation won’t keep me close to God or sober for that matter. 

Let me also clarify what humility really is, it is the awareness of one’s own character flaws or patterns.  We acknowledge these patterns not so we can publicly announce them but rather so we may avoid acting them out.  Sitting in a meeting and stating that I am garbage without God and the program implies that God does make junk.  Do I need God to be good and stay on track?  Hell yes!  However no matter how reliant upon my Higher Power I am cutting myself down openly or privately is a form of condemnation, harsh judgment and criticism. 

Ok back on topic…God the supercomputer.  For us Bible believing folks we like to validate ideas by lining them up with the word.  It’s written that “man was made in the image of God.”  The Bible speaks of the “hand of God” and other various body parts such as His eyes, arm, and mind.  Scientists have proven that our human brains are a computer of sorts.  A fleshly computer to be precise.  In deep meditation I have had many visions but most recently I have had visions that make me believe God can download us mere mortals with any program he wishes.  He can change out our hard drive or do a complete recovery on us.  Is it coincidence that when you clean out a computer it is called a “recovery”?   Ok I know what your thinking…Lori’s cheese has finally fallen off the cracker. Lol!

When I was delivered from addiction the first time around I was clean for years I stayed on a pink cloud for at least a year.  Prior to that I was plagued with anxiety, and panic attacks, I was a heroin and cocaine junky who had to have a shot of dope to get out of bed in the morning.  After one touch from God my thinking was changed dramatically.  I no longer had anxiety or panic attacks.  After one download in a little Baptist church in the meadow.  As windows 8 calls it, by one “refresh” I was set in a direction of service and Love toward mankind.  I received a new operating system with my files or memories left intact.  My resentments were quelled and my sickness abated.  I loved my mother again that in itself was a miracle. 

Let’s face it folks steps 10, 11, and 12 are the maintenance steps when I meditate I get spiritually fed, I get a disk defragging, a disk cleaning, and vital updates.  Why is it different this time clean and sober for me?  Granted I had much joy my first round of sobriety, I learned allot, I changed in a huge way morally and I became Loving but God had only begun my overhaul.  The first time I was sober I didn’t wholeheartedly believe that I was a good child of God.  I believed with my head but my heart deep down was telling me that I was bad and of Satan.  I still carried deep shame within my heart from the sexual abuse I suffered as a child and my actions during years of addiction.  Deep down I knew I would screw things up again.  Why? 

There are three things that I did different this time (I got sober this time in 2006) One; this time I worked the steps with a sponsor honestly and thoroughly, everything came out in my fifth step.  Two, I got empathic recovery therapy and learned how to continually share my true, illogical and fearful heartfelt inner feelings.  People are usually ashamed of their true feelings because nobody (well most people) wants to be vulnerable or be looked upon as different.  The thing is everybody except perhaps true sociopaths have illogical fears and deep child-like feelings that they don’t like about themselves.  So we cover them up with the mask, distractions and lies.  Therapy taught me to vent these feelings so they don’t fester, or turn to rage, and obsession.  Thirdly this time I practiced meditation on a regular basis for the first six years I was sober.  What this did is open my mind to receive God’s blessings.  Meditation improved every aspect of my recovery and most importantly helped heal me both emotionally and spiritually.  

When I say “meditation” I don’t mean picking up a book and reading a passage.  I am talking about the kind of meditation that takes an hour a day to be still, silent, and open.  Meditation when practiced regularly brings a steady flow of continuous spiritual experiences that can move mountains and heal the heart the soul and the mind.

Funny thing…different things have different ways of communicating.  Animals have their own way, humans speak to humans verbally, computers have their own language, electricity speaks to the light bulb and it reacts, the light speaks to our atmosphere and it reacts and becomes visual, the sun speaks to the flower, the moon speaks to the Earth, even water speaks to our bodies and we live.  Action and reaction but how does man speak to God?  Should we use our tongue as if God were a man that has ears…perhaps so but God my friend “looks upon the heart” so it is written.  Should we not try seeking God with words straight from our heart and then talk to Him with our minds as well? 

Seek and you shall find but seek with your hearts language for it is the language of truth absent of all the editing that our mind thinks should be done.  For out of the heart bursts forth the well-springs of life.  Eternal Life“  

What is logical to the mind is folly to the heart and what is truth to the heart is valid to God.”   

CHARACTER ASSASINATION

CHARACTER ASSASINATION

The temptation to assassinate the character of he who has done me wrong is huge when I am hurt and fuming with anger.

Hurt people hurt people.

I want to lash out badly but I am responsible for processing my own pain and lashing out is counter productive to my own healing.  A good cry on the other hand sends poison gushing out of my heart along with the tears.  Strange yes but that does not make it less true.  Crying brings emotional order where there has been emotional disorder.

I have the resources to blast my perceived enemy into dust!  However if I were to scream from the hilltops their continued debauchery…sure that just might hurt them.  But it’s me unfortunately that I would really be hurting and its me that I especially do not want to hurt.

Spiritual laws are not earthly laws.  Spiritual laws are magic and silent consequences that occur when I wrong someone but it’s me who receives the inevitable occurring spiritual consequence.  What trumps Karma…not a whole lot.  (Only “Grace” trumps Karma.  To not receive the horrid consequences of my wrongs, that is Grace.)  Spiritual consequences do happen just like emotional, physical, and other earthly consequences.

Once I realized that character flaws and defects hurt me when I am mean to people or wrong them more than anyone else I was not so tempted to act out.  The good part is when I do a good deed or in AA language “the next right thing” I receive the good karma for it.  “We reap what we sew.”  “What comes around goes around”.   “With the yardstick we use to judge others the same will be used to judge us.

SPONSORSHIP AND SPEAKER MEETINGS

When we go to the jails and institutions and share our experience, strength, and hope, we are strengthened.  Oftentimes it helps us more than it helps others.

Do not worry, we may not see anyone getting sober around us as a result of our sponsorship or sharing.  Oftentimes we just don’t know the good we have done for others.  But the bottom line is; we simply are not remembering that we are the one who is still sober and that is the fruit of our labor.  As far as the spiritual Karma of our good works, we will receive ten or a hundred fold in good spiritual blessings for that which we have given from our hearts.  Spiritually it is always “better to give than to receive”.

Sexual Abuse and addiction

Addiction is a symptom of childhood sexual abuse.

Is it just coincidence that every woman I have known in AA and in NA were sexually abused as children?

Why is it that some people commit suicide after being sober for years at a time?  I am sure each person has their own reasons for suicide but what if we work the steps, go to lots of meetings, work with others, and are active in the inner workings of AA but are still depressed and have intense anxiety?  When it comes to deep emotional trauma, sexual abuse, and the mental issues resulting from that trauma unless you have a sponsor who is a therapist as well AA will not be enough to clear the demons eating at you from the inside out.  When we lash out at those we love most in this world there is something inside us that needs attention.   It just means that AA is not equipped to address the emotional issues that a survivor of abuse in recovery will suffer.  Getting sober brings up all the emotional pains and shames that we have been trying to stuff down for so long.  Many people would rather continue stuffing their memories and feelings down and just accept a diagnosis of “anxiety disorder” or “bi-polar” or depressive disorder rather than work on the underlying reason for their addiction.  It’s understandable...feeling the pain that is responsible for our ongoing misery is a horrifying concept.  Most people just want to let sleeping dogs lie.  I think mainly because they don’t realize that if they could delve into their past and really cry, scream, and share about all of their core issues with God’s help they would heal.

Why refuse help when it’s available.  Why refuse to pray when God has helped so many.  Why refuse therapy and procrastinate when empathic therapy has helped so many.  And lastly….why refuse to go to AA and throw ourselves into the program with every bit of gumption we can muster up?  

AA works, therapy and addressing core issues works, God works.  Jesus came for the sinner and the sick.  He is the Higher Power that answered my call.  He came into the world not to condemn the world but rather that the world may be saved

Please don’t end up like one of those bitter old-timers angry because he is tortured inside and can’t bear the thought of either drinking or continuing his life.

True joy comes from God, peace of mind comes from God.  We can work with others till we are blue in the face but what’s inside of us will come out sideways if we don’t express it emotionally and share.

We have a right to be content no matter how low or how many bottoms we have had.  With the three keys of God, AA, and therapy we have a chance.

 

There is nothing wrong with getting outside help.  It does not mean that AA doesn’t work we don’t have to be jealous over AA.  AA won’t get it’s feelings hurt if we get help from religion and therapy.  And believe me by religion I do meant God & The Holy Spirit.  In spite of whatever name you choose to call God if you seek with your heart your heart will receive and find.  It’s not our intellect that needs a healing if it was we could go online and do computer exercises to build our brains up.  If we want to build up our muscles we work out with our muscles.  Active addicts are spiritually sick in their hearts and it is our heart that needs the healing.  I don’t mean our physical heart.  So we seek God, we work the steps, and we go to therapy and open up with our true feelings and our true thoughts.  

 

Disease dis-ease causes and conditions

Is addiction a real disease?

I guess that depends on your definition of the word.

But did the word originate somehow from the word dis-ease.

Not in any language study I can find.

The word disease did not originate from dis ease contrary to popular AA lore. It does however have Greek & Latin origin words with definitions that are complex. These core Latin and Greek words mean suffering, various “opathy’s” disease type categories including psychopath(y) neuropath(y), and feelings, empathy, sympathy and various “pathy’s”.

However like the word dishwasher the “dis” is not a prefix meaning “separated from” as it occurs in the word discomfort and other words like it.

The word disease’s core definition is not dis-ease. Here’s Mirriam Websters def.dis·ease noun \di-ˈzēz\
: an illness that affects a person, animal, or plant : a condition that prevents the body or mind from working normally

: a problem that a person, group, organization, or society has and cannot stop.
I will stop you right there Mirriam by saying there are allot of things that society can’t stop yet we do not define them a disease. That’s a poor definition Mirriam.

SHAME BEGINS AT A VERY YOUNG AGE BUT I WON’T GET INTO THAT.

Addiction is a spiritual malady because of our own moral boundaries that we cross when addicted. These rationals result in deep and embedded shame and guilt which cause the need for further numbing of feelings.

Addicts are experts at denial…it’s an emotional survival skill. Deep denial leads to self delusion meaning we often end up being blind to what’s really going on with us and our emotions.

Addiction is also an emotional sickness because of emotional disorder or an inability to regularly engage in healthy emotional processes like crying or sharing deep feelings pile up in us.

IT IS VITAL TO LEARN HOW TO REACH OUT AND SHARE, TO LEARN HOW TO CRY OR BEAT THE BAG, JOURNAL, SCREAM IN THE CAR (ALL EMOTIONAL OUTLETS) IF WE ARE GOING TO SURVIVE SOBRIETY WITHOUT VIEWING SUICIDE AS A SOLUTION AT SOME POINT OR RELAPSE OR ALIENATE EVERYONE WE LOVE BY BLAMING THEM FOR THE WAY WE FEEL INSIDE.
IT TAKES ENERGY TO PROCESS REPRESSED EMOTIONS. DEPRESSION IS HURT TURNED TO – ANGER WITHOUT ENTHUSIASM.
In my opinion

PS part of the cure is not drinking.

THE SAME MAN WILL DRINK AGAIN & STEP THREE

 

THE SAME MAN WILL DRINK AGAIN…BUT WHAT WILL THE CHANGED MAN DO?  And how do we know that we are really changed?  Initially the first real proof that we have done step three right or with our heart is that we will continue on and do the rest of the steps especially a thorough step four.

“The evidence of the Spirit of God is Love”.  How do we know that our third step prayer has taken hold?  How do we act after our Higher Power gives us the psychic change that will keep us from self-destructing?

One huge misconception among the church folk and early born-again Christians is that once God has delivered, healed, and made us new we will no longer sin, be unhappy, get depressed or cry.  Even the Bible’s versus imply that we shall “go and sin no more.”  Big mistake to expect perfection and perpetual joy from any human being no matter how intense their white light experience has been.  This view of somehow being born of Spirit and then sinning no more is exactly what drives many baby Christians into shame and isolation.  Oh how those of the church Love to put on their Sunday go to meeting masks and pretend they are sinless, while all the time engaging in the worst flavor of sin called judgments and hypocrisy.  Surely that is what drove many a man away from the church and crawling into the bosom of AA.  Where they find the same God under different labels and precepts…the same God nevertheless.  After-all how can we relate to a room full of perfect lives?  Of course we don’t fit in!

What’s in a label if the heart is in the right place?  “God looks upon the heart.”  Or so it is written.  God jealous?  Really?  I surmise that God, He, She, or It doesn’t mind being called by different names as long as He is called.  “Seek and ye SHALL find.”  Personally I believe that when a heart seeks its God, its God will answer.

Perfection and constant joy are off the table!  Next, what about all those yummy and sweet fluffy scriptures about “Love” in the book of 1st John about if we Love we know we are in Christ but if we hate we are of the devil?  Being “of” or “in” Satan or Christ really just means we have choices and free will to choose with fear or Love.  Yikes…Being Loving all the time is off the table as well I don’t care how deeply you were touched by the Great Spirit of God.  As long as we are in our human flesh we will feel resentment even after we have done a thorough fourth step.  So the changed man knows the solutions for resentment while our old man or addict man stays in the blame.  The changed many does not condemn himself for having a resentment.  He acknowledged it and does what it takes to expel it.

Loving all the time is off the table!  But wait a minute?  What then does happen after a spiritual awakening and intense white light experience or even a mild touch from the Great Spirit?

We will Love ourselves and others a little more.  We will seek out emotionally nurturing solutions to our emotional disorder.  We will care for and help others a little more.  We will no longer view alcohol as a solution to our feelings.  We will reach out for the solutions that we learn in AA instead of sitting in the problem and spinning around.  After absorbing enough meetings, working the twelve steps and establishing enough sober relationships we will have developed a set of coping skills that will steer us through our emotional upheavals without drinking or smoking crack.  We will have a self-awareness called a conscience that we will have learned to listen to (most of the time anyway).  We will have learned that The Twelve Steps are all tools to pick up and use at any time especially when we have a resentment or are bungled up with fear.

The changed man is humble not self-condemning.  That changed man Loves his brother and does not take hostages.  The changed man takes responsibility for his actions rather than blaming others for them.  The changed man cries a little, laughs a little, and continually relies on his Higher Power rather than pretending to be a Higher Power.  The changed man teaches by example rather than emotional punishment and control-ism. 

The changed man knows that he has a choice.

WE DO HAVE A CHOICE OF HOW WE DO OUR STEP ELEVEN AND WHAT FLAVOR THIRD STEP PRAYER WE BELIEVE IN.  HERE ARE SOME OF THE MOST POPULAR THIRD STEP PRAYER VARIATIONS BY VARIOUS FAITHS.  THANK YOU FRIENDS OF BILL W.  http://friendsofbillw.net/third_step_prayers

Third Step Prayers

The following prayer is the third step prayer found in the Big Book and used by Bill W.:
God, I offer myself to Thee To build with me & to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.  Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy love & Thy way of life.
May I do Thy will always.

 

However, there are numerous third steps prayers used as part of the program of recovery, including those used by Dr. Bob and Clarence S.  There are also third step prayers for each religion or faith.  While the ones on this site show a sampling of these prayers, it is by no means exhaustive.

Here is a list of the third step prayers I have encountered over the years: Dr. Bob, Clarence S., NA, Native American, Christian, Buddhist, Wiccan, Eastern Orthodox, Jewish, Baha’i, Universalist, Catholic, Set Aside Prayer, Before Getting Out of Bed. Again, this is by no means a complete list, it is just an example of the different types of third step prayers used today.

Native American 3rd Step Prayer

(short version)
Great Spirit,
whose voice I hear in the wind,
whose breath gives life to the world,
Hear me.
I come to you as one of your many children,
I am small & weak,
I need your strength & wisdom.
May I walk in beauty.
And how my life is unmanageable.
I need to learn & remember that
I have an incurable illness & that
bstinence is the only way to deal with it.

Long Version

Oh Great Spirit whose voice in the winds I hear,
And whose breath gives life to all the world-
Hear me.
Before you I come
One of your many children.
I am small & weak.
Your strength & wisdom I need.
Let me walk in beauty & make my eyes ever behold the sunset.
Make my heart respect all You have made,
& my ears sharp to hear Your voice.
Make me wise that I may know all You have taught my people,
The lessons You have hidden in every rock.
I seek strength, not to be superior to my brother,
but to fight my greatest enemy – myself.
Make me ready to stand before You with clean & straight eyes,
So when life fades as the fading sunset,
may my spirit stand before You without shame.
Mitakuye Oyasin

Third Step Prayer (Alcoholics Anonymous)

God, I offer myself to Thee
To build with me & to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them may bear witness
to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy love & Thy way of life.
May I do Thy will always!

3rd Step Prayer

Take my will & my life,
Guide me in my recovery,
Show me how to live.

3rd Step Prayer (Jewish)

Grant me inner peace…, Let my body be completely subordinate to my soul & have no other will or desire but to follow the desire of the holy soul, which is to do Your will.
Let peace reign between my soul & my body. Let my body be sanctified & purified until it becomes united with the holy soul & I carry out all Your commandments & do everything You want of me, body & soul, willingly & with great joy.

Let my body & soul unite in love & peace to do Your will sincerely, until I attain complete inner harmony & am ready to order my prayer before You perfectly. Let my prayer rise before You like the incense & perfect sacrifices offered by those who are whole & perfect.

3rd Step Prayer (Dr. Bob)

Dear God, I’m sorry about the mess I’ve made of my life. I want to turn away from all the wrong things I’ve ever done and all the wrong things I’ve ever been. Please forgive me for it all. I know You have the power to change my life and can turn me into a winner. Thank You, God for getting my attention long enough to interest me in trying it Your way. God, please take over the management of my life and everything about me. I am making this conscious decision to turn my will and my life over to Your care and am asking You to please take over all parts of my life. Please, God, move into my heart. However You do it is Your business, but make Yourself real inside me and fill my awful emptiness. Fill me with your love and Holy Spirit and make me know Your will for me. And now, God, help Yourself to me and keep on doing it. I’m not sure I want You to, but do it anyhow. I rejoice that I am now a part of Your people, that my uncertainty is gone forever, and that You now have control of my will and my life. Thank You and I praise Your name. Amen.

Third Step Prayer (Clarence S.)

Lord, I ask that you guide and direct me, and that I have decided to turn my life and will over to you. To serve You and to dedicate my life to You. I thank you Lord, I believe that if I ask this in prayer, I shall receive what I have asked for. Thank you God. Amen.

Third Step Prayer, Life With Hope

Higher Power,
I have tried to control the uncontrollable for far too long.
I acknowledge that my life is unmanageable.
I ask for your care and guidance.
Grant me honesty, courage, humility, and serenity,
to face that which keeps me from you and others.
I give this life to you to do with as you will.

EASTERN ORTHODOX

O Lord, grant me to greet the coming day in peace, help me in all things to rely upon your holy will. In every hour of the day reveal your will to me. Bless my dealings with all who surround me. Teach me to treat all that comes to throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that your will governs all. In all my deeds and words, guide my thoughts and feelings. In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by you. Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring. Direct my will, teach me to pray. And you, yourself, pray in me. Amen.

Christian Prayer

Dear Lord JESUS, I thank You for this day.
I thank You for my being able to see and to hear this morning.
I’m blessed because You are a forgiving God and an understanding God.
You have done so much for me and You keep on blessing me.
Forgive me this day for everything I have done, said or thought

that was not pleasing to you.
I ask now for Your forgiveness.
Please keep me safe from all danger and harm.
Help me to start this day with a new attitude and plenty of gratitude.
Let me make the best of each and every day to clear my mind

so that I can hear from You.
Please broaden my mind that I can accept all things.
Let me not whine and whimper over things I have no control over.
Let me continue to see through God’s eyes and see his people with love.
And when I sin, let me repent, and confess with my mouth my wrongdoing, and receive the forgiveness of God.
And when this world closes in on me, let me remember Jesus’ example –
to slip away and find a quiet place to pray.
It’s the best response when I’m pushed beyond my limits.
I know that when I can’t pray, You listen to my heart.
Continue to use me to do Your will.
Continue to bless me that I may be a blessing to others.
Keep me strong that I may help the weak.
Keep me uplifted that I may have words of encouragement for others.
I pray for those that are lost and can’t find their way.
I pray for those that are misjudged and misunderstood.
I pray for those who don’t know you intimately.
I pray for those that will delete this without sharing it with others.
I pray for those that don’t believe.
But I thank you that I believe.
I believe that God changes people and God changes things.
I pray for all my sisters and brothers.
For each and every family member in their households.
I pray for peace, love and joy in their homes that they are out of debt

and all their needs are met.
I pray that every eye that reads this knows there is no problem, circumstance, or situation greater than God.
Every battle is in Your hands for You to fight.
I pray that these words be received into the hearts of every eye that sees them and every mouth that confesses them willingly.

Wiccan Prayer

I know the Laws of Nature are you, Lady.
Keep me mindful that I step upon Your Body,
with your feet,
that my sorrows are Your sorrows,
and that a healthy priest makes all things sound.
I feel Your breath in the wind, and Your hand in mine.
Keep me sincere.
Give me Your work,
which is to be joyous,
and to tend all things, because all things live, of themselves,
and with Your spirit.Your will through mine, so mote it be.

Buddhist Prayer

With every breath I take today,
I vow to be awake;

And every step I take,
I vow to take with a grateful heart–

So I may see with eyes of love
into the hearts of all I meet,

To ease their burden when I can
And touch them with a smile of peace

I take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha
Until I attain Enlightenment.
By merit accumulations from practicing generosity and the other perfections
May I attain Enlightenment, for the benefit of all sentient beings.

Bahai Prayer

O my God and my Master! I am Thy servant and the son of Thy servant. I have risen from my couch at this dawntide when the Daystar of Thy oneness hath shone forth from the Dayspring of Thy will, and hath shed its radiance upon the whole world, according to what had been ordained in the Books of Thy Decree.
Praise be unto Thee, O my God, that we have wakened to the splendors of the light of Thy knowledge. Send down, then, upon us, O my Lord, what will enable us to dispense with anyone but Thee, and will rid us of all attachment to aught except Thyself. Write down, moreover, for me, and for such as are dear to me, and for my kindred, man and woman alike, the good of this world and the world to come. Keep us safe, then, through Thine unfailing protection, O Thou the Beloved of the entire creation and the Desire of the whole universe, from them whom Thou hast made to be the manifestations of the Evil Whisperer, who whisper in men’s breasts. Potent art Thou to do Thy pleasure. Thou art, verily, the Almighty, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.

Bless Thou, O Lord my God, Him Whom Thou hast set over Thy most excellent Titles, and through Whom Thou hast divided between the godly and the wicked, and graciously aid us to do what Thou lovest and desirest. Bless Thou, moreover, O my God, them Who are Thy Words and Thy Letters, and them who have set their faces towards Thee, and turned unto Thy face, and hearkened to Thy Call. Thou art, truly, the Lord and King of all men, and art potent over all things.
Bahullh

Unitarian Universalist Prayer

I know little of who you are. I know little of your plan. I can understand only specks of your power. I cannot begin to comprehend all of what you are. But this I know. You do not give love, you are love. You do not project beauty, you are beauty. You do not allow hope, you are hope. You do not lend strength, you are strength. All that is good is your gift. All that is bad is the consequence of man s attempt to reject or mold you. The solutions to my problems, my fears, and my shame are all found in you.

All things I wish to be come from my desire to be closer to you. I see you every time I see the light shining through a tree. I see you every time a sunset or mountain vista takes my breath away. I hear you ever time I open myself to the wonder of life. I feel you every time my heart fills with joy and love. I doubt you only when I allow fear, and greed, and selfishness to assume the power to control me. I know that if I allow you in my life I feel peace. When I embrace you I feel love. When I seek you I find strength.
Father, show me the way to serenity so that I may be of help to others. Show me the way to responsibility so that I may give to others.

Mother, show me the path to compassion so that I may comfort others. Show me the path to healing so I may help others heal themselves.

Grandfather, show me the road to wisdom so that I may teach others. Show me the road to strength so that I may carry others until they can carry themselves.

Grandmother, show me how to feel love so that I may love others. Show me forgiveness so that I may forgive myself and others.

God, help me remove the blinders of self-will. Help me see what is true. Teach me so that I can be of service. Free me from fear, from hate, from greed, from discontent so that I may contribute myself to your work. Allow me to see what you would have me do and grant me the strength to follow through. Without you I am empty. With you at my side I am whole.

Thank You.

Catholic Prayer

Father, Help me know Your will through the spiritual wisdom and understanding that comes from the Spirit so I may live a life worthy of You, pleasing You in every way. Help me to bear fruit, to influence others’ lives in every good thing I do. May I constantly be growing in my understanding of who You are and in my awareness of how You work in the world.

Help me offermyself as a living sacrifice, desiring not to live like those who are giving in to the ways of the world but to be totally changed by the renewing of my mind. Then I will be able to know Your willYour good, pleasing, and perfect will.

May I yield my will to Yours and set my hearts on doing Your will. Help me set aside my own desires, seeking only Your will, standing firm and keeping on in Your strength. Help me be strong and not give up no matter what happens filled with joy and thanksgiving.

May I have no other desire than Yours. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Prayer of St. Francis Assisi

Lord, Make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
Where there is discord, harmony.
Where there is error, truth.
Where there is wrong, the spirit of forgiveness.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console.
To be understood as to understand.
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Dear Lord,
So far Ive done all right.
I havent gossiped,
havent lost my temper,
havent been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or overindulgent.
Im really glad about that.
But in a few minutes, God,
Im going to get out of bed,
and from then on,
Im going to need a lot more help.

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.

Living one day at a time
Enjoying one moment at a time.
Accepting hardship as
the pathway to Peace.

Taking as He did,
this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it.

Trusting that He
will make it right;
If I surrender to His will.
That I may be reasonably
happy in this life,
and supremely happy
with Him forever
in the next.

EXPECT DISTRUST YOU HAVE EARNED IT

“EXPECT DISTRUST YOU HAVE EARNED IT”.

So they tell us in rehab and so we know is true, but not only that.  We are also learning to trust  others all over again.

 

Trust is built by one fearless choice at a time, trust in ourselves, trust in others and trust in our Higher Power.
We came from a dark place where trust was very dangerous and led to betrayal.  It’s absolutely natural that we would choose to NOT trust easily or anyone for that matter due to our pasts.  But if we don’t trust we are keeping up emotional walls around our hearts so deep that they are at the level of our soul.  These walls block not only betrayal but true Love.  Being made aware of our trust issues while recovering from addiction gives us the courage to extend baby steps of trust in our fellows & Higher Power.  We experiment with trust and reap the results.

 

It is a perfect beginning when we pray the third step prayer with faith and wait to see what God will do.   Expectations of a perfect life is a set-up for a let-down.  But as we make the right choices we watch how our Higher Power gives us just what we need. 

 

We may feel something like this member when we start building new sober relationships:  “I have chosen to begin trusting a man whom even now I know is only human. I have hope he will not betray this trust I have given. If he did, I would (presumably) have to feel the pain that would be nearly unbearable.   I have made this choice cautiously and initially, fearfully.  

 

She is so right, we do not know what the future holds, and watching people’s patterns of interaction with others gives us audience to how they will also treat us in spite of their self-advertisements.

 

Like the proverb Jesus spoke, if we are faithful in small things we will be trusted with big things.  Regarding others trusting us…we have earned our distrust while living the addict life.  Trust starts small, keeping a friends confidence, following up on commitments etc. They tell us in re-hab, expect distrust; you have earned it. And we surely had.  So we give our trust now cautiously and carefully.  As for our old friends and family…well they may never trust us again we try to understand why.  It is far better to understand than to be understood.  Why?  Because with understanding comes inner peace all we get is a little satisfaction when we are understood.  On the comparison chart peace of mind has spiritual depth satisfaction is shallow and un-spiritual therefore not nearly as beneficial to us.

 

But the most important part of all this recovery-trust stuff is that without trust, “Love” pure and precious is stifled. When our caring for others has been betrayed we pull out our paper and pencil and ask: What did I learn? What is the life lesson? We allow ourselves to cry, we admit we have been hurt that way can trust and Love again this is our new emotional process it is healthy and does not shut out life____________________________________

 

THIS TOO SHALL PASS

This Too Shall Pass

Things get difficult sometimes.  

Disaster is a test of our character.  If we show Love and respect in spite of our troubles we show good character. After we

have been sober for a few years we no longer feed on Kayos.  We no longer need catastrophes, disasters, and general negative distractions as a solution to our inner pain.  When we work the steps honestly and thoroughly we release the guilt & shame that tortures our emotional condition.  When we work step twelve we learn to communicate in a respectful way with others.  We don’t have to keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.  We have learned to love peace

Long story short at two years sober if we have done the work we will prefer peace of mind and the peace of God over problems and upset.  And in our new sober life we live & work to get the things we need to be comfortable.  Unfortunately sometimes disaster occurs even though we are doing all the right things.  Uncomfortable things happen and it strikes fear in our hearts. 

Stuff is beyond our control.  Life happens, life on life’s terms is hard at times.  During difficult time we can usually say “this too shall pass” knowing that negative life changing events are only temporary.

Faith is easier said than done.  Building faith is not easy.  We tell ourselves that God has our back and this disaster will work out for the better.  We hope that somehow our disaster will make life easier in the long run.  We visualize that we will grow emotionally and spiritually from our struggles.

We band together with our loved one’s when disaster strikes.  Taking our stress out on those closest to us must be a thing of the past.  We show understanding and empathy toward our loved ones during their trouble instead of attacking each other.  We grant our partners grace and forgive them if they do project there problems onto us as if we were the cause of their plight.  We must not be driven by fear!  We are there for one another and if we stick together disaster strengthens our bonds.

EMOTIONAL VAMPIRES

Birds of a feather flock together…

So they say.  CHOOSE YOUR COMPANIONS WISELY.

EMOTIONAL VAMPIRES ARE REAL AND THEY ARE RUNNING RAMPANT IN THE ROOMS OF AA!

Two important rules-of-thumb; if they gossip about other people to you then they gossip about you to others.  Number two, “Know people by who they show you they are not by who they tell you they are.”

 What is an “emotional vampire?”  An emotional vampire doesn’t know that they are sucking strength and peace from those around them.  They simply have an inherent ability to push your emotional buttons.  They can trigger in us the emotion of struggle and control accompanied by anger. Intolerance and a general negative excitement of sorts is what they bring out in us.  Or put plainly they easily rile-us-up by their conversation.  

Yes this sounds dangerously close to the “blame-game” however its something different.  Once we are aware that certain people have this effect on us we can avoid them…we don’t invite them into our homes.  Now if everyone pisses us off and we label the whole world, ’emotional vampire’ then we may lack the ability to take responsibility for your own feelings.  Some people are just sand-paper to us.

Other people CAN CHANGE THE COARSE OF OUR LIVES.   I asked my partner “why is it that I seem to absorb the people that I hang around.”  When I spend time with my sister, as neurotic and confused as she is I part her company with a negative attitude and often-times I am critical of her.  Whether we get along with, like, or dislike our neighbors we always take something away from our interaction with them.   Perhaps that is partly one of the spiritual answers to “why” the 12 step programs work.  We as humans need one another to spiritually & emotionally feed, nurture and stimulate us.  We are as one, every man woman and child on this earth is our brother & sister.

 

Ya, ya, ya but where is the wisdom in this well-founded theory that we are all one?  The wisdom is to open our minds and channel-in beneficial information from our positive friends and neighbors.  And to hear with our hearts which direction we should go to find the humans that feed us Love.  Time & chance figure into many aspects of our reality, don’t believe them for a minute when they echo in your ears “THERE ARE NO COINCIDENCES.”   Really?  So if every little thing that happens on the face of this big earth is planned out by the creator then all is “providence.” In which case, we are all robots anyway so we may as well hang up our hats and go to sleep in the back seat of the car…and stay asleep.  NO!  Sorry I don’t buy it.  If the word ‘never’ or ‘always’ is in the sentence its usually inaccurate.  As the great & wise “Preacher” King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes: “Time & chance play a part in everything!”  Amen Solomen!

 “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”

 The kinds of people to avoid are the negative, soul sucking emotional vampires that will never be filled no matter how many victims they suck into their lair.  But really these are just sick people, the complainers, the antagonizers, the creators of Kayos!  Those that will stab us in the back as soon as we get half-way turned around.  These are the ones that although they are a great distraction from our own pain we will have to detox from them once we break away from them.

 We may feel an emotional hangover because of the way that they draw out our own lower, negative nature.  This is not a blame tactic, we are always responsible for our own actions including choosing our company.  In simple English they tempt us to act out in some character defect…usually gossip so we have to work harder when we are around them to keep our side of the street clean.

 BUT WAIT!  Let’s talk about these more Loving less fearful people that seldom engage in kayos and the manufacturing of misery.  When we spend time with these people they encourage us.  We open up to them because we feel comfortable talking to them, they don’t seek to find the wrong in everything we share.   We share our worries and they are understanding and quick to remind us that we are good people.  “Encouragement” is not a four letter word even if it seems that way in certain cultures.    When we walk away from these people we feel strengthened, we feel validated, we ask ourselves why we don’t see these people more often.  As providence has it I believe God puts certain people in our lives so we have half a chance to survive.  IF YOU DON’T HAVE A PERSON IN YOUR LIFE LIKE THIS THEN IT’S TIME TO GET OUT OF THE HOUSE AND GO TO A MEETING.

 

Medications & Recovery

 

THE TOTALLY CONTROVERSIAL TOPIC OF: TAKING MEDS WHILE IN TWELVE STEP RECOVERY.

FINDING THE PERFECT BALANCE THAT LIES SOMEWHERE BETWEEN “MARTYR” & DOPE FIEND.

AA put out a pamphlet on medications & recovery.  In a nutshell it’s easy to anticipate AA’s stance if you have read the Big Book. Listen to your doctor, doctors are good, we members are not physicians etc.  http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/p-11_aamembersMedDrug.pdf  Or rather a group of AA’s members and their stance on taking medications while in recovery.   There are many drug-addict/alcoholics in AA who have medicinal needs whether it me psychological meds or pain meds.  It seems to me that the recovering alcohol-addicts who wrote the AA pamphlet do not have a well-rounded view of doctors and their common practices.  CLEARLY BY MY OWN EXPERIENCE AND THOSE CLOSE TO ME DOCTORS DO NOT ALWAYS HAVE THE PATIENTS WELL BEING AT HEART.  How can they help no promoting drugs that they are getting kick-backs from the drug company for…and it’s completely legal.

The AA pamphlet called, “THE AA MEMBER: MEDICATIONS & OTHER DRUGS” which, mind you is full of good advice, excuse me “suggestions”….well, under certain circumstances  it would be good advice.  Unless of coarse, your doctor is harboring a century old resentment toward his alcoholic & addict parents for instance…not such a good idea to spill your wide-eyed confession out onto the highly toxic floor.   Then there’s the doctor who goes right to treating the symptoms, the hell with healings & causes!   He applies drugs no matter what the ailment in spite of what his (perceived) feeble-minded patient informs him of.  What does a patient know after all?  Uneducated and below his own social status.  This kind of doctor will object to any curtailing of his normal methods of doctoring.  This kind of doc seldom listens to any patient.

Really?  Does everybody just automatically take the doctors prognosis as gospel?  Seems like the people I have heard share in AA on this topic have absolutely no inclination what-so-ever to question a doctor’s advice….I find that odd.   I have repeatedly heard physicians painted as all-knowing saints who should never be questioned by the lowly and  conniving alcoholic.  In my subconscious I am wondering what’s behind that kind of blind faith in any human being.  

And just to stray off topic a bit…assuming that every addict lied and cheated his way into his oh-so-successful addiction is an assumption that reveals the character of he who assumes.  Everybody lies at one time or another, yes.  But not everyone stooped to a standard level of “if they’re mouth is moving they are lying” I came from the school of “honor among thieves”.    But oh_________ how some people love to brag in a packed meeting about their “stealing your dope and then helping you look for it.”     It’s only a fifth step confession by the way if your feeling at least a little guilty about it.   Boasting is a whole other matter folks categorized under the flaw of false-pride.  “false” because it isn’t the good “pride” in a hard worked job well done.  This boasting (hypothetical but common member) is a prideful balloon of ego ready to pop wide open at revealing his next villainous act.   Sorry..back to the meds!

Truly writers of this pamphlet and the Big Book obviously haven’t been watching the commercials that inform us about the many lawsuits over hanus prescription drugs advertised by lawyers everywhere.  Nor are they taking into account the kickbacks that doctors get for prescribing certain harmful and questionable, newly developed drugs.  Don’t get me wrong like I said “good advice” but only under the circumstance that you have a truly good man or woman as a doctor.  What are the odds?

We must as addicts in recovery find our own boundaries where meds are concerned and this is not an easy task it will take time and counsel.  We cannot depend on our doctors in many cases for the best “next right thing” to do.  We must be true to ourselves where meds are concerned and find the perfect balance that lies somewhere between martyr and dope fiend because both are self-destructive.  Martyr being the man who suffers so badly with a physical or emotional ailment that he is continually miserable in sobriety.  Yet he refuses all and any help from the doctor because of his NA counterparts that deem such consumptions a relapse.  At some point we should as people learn to let ourselves off the hook and not be so rigid with ourselves and others.  At the same time we don’t want to become so lax that we are not connected to what fulfills us.

Abstinence from prescriptions is not always best in fact it can be dangerous.  Many if not most people in AA are on anti-depressants.  Anti-depressants will most likely quit working at some point.  Doctors have to continually switch people around from drug to drug, change dosages, and try different combinations.  Whatever works.  And hey I mean that it’s not for me to judge.  Next there’s the pain issue.  If you’re a narcotics addict and pain drugs are your drug of choice best draw the line at surgery.  Especially early on in recovery.  Meaning don’t take them unless you have severe pain.  There are drugs like “Buprenorphine” that are non-narcotic yet very strong.  There is allot of controversy about this drug.  And if you are in Narcotics Anonymous good luck with finding a sponsor who won’t dub you “still using”.  If  this is the case, hey there are lots of addicts in Alcoholics Anonymous, “the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.”  If you are in AA and are not abusing your Buprenorphine then you are sober.  

The addict mind prior to a psychic change better yet a total mental transformation is incapable of thinking like a normal person regarding drugs therefore if you have to have surgery in your first five years or so don’t expect to not hear the voices of obsession in your head when you bring home those Percocet for post-operative pain.  You can take them as directed but most likely they will talk to you in between doses…they did me.  That doesn’t mean I relapsed it meant I was triggered by them.  A thought does not constitute a relapse.  I was going by the book with my meds and doing the right thing while at the same time the addict in me had her voice as well.  Things are not always just one way they can be both.

More about suboxone & methadone.  Well if an addict gets on these drugs early on and uses them temporarily to “adjust” emotionally to sobriety that could be a good thing if there is a gradual and complete reduction.  I have seen these drugs help people transition into sobriety slowly and successfully.  I know some people who started with methadone, switched to suboxone, weened off that  and have been sober a very long time.  They got off both drugs within a year.  Keep in mind that these success stories also include doing allot of step work, getting a sponsor, having therapy, going to many meetings, opening up to people and making new friends in AA.  

If my friends had stayed on those drugs past say a year chances are they would not have worked through their emotional underlying issues…YOU HAVE TO FEEL TO HEAL.  The drugs may work for a while to suppress painful emotions but when they stop working the addict will either honker down, work the 12 steps, get some therapy and start to really recover or they will just go up, up, up, on the dosage until other drugs like cocaine, alcohol etc, start to look like a solution. 

Remember if alcohol is only a symptom of a deeper problem then finding and alleviating that problem is the solution.  Usually that problem is grave emotional disorder.

The important thing is to learn how to live and work the steps often and at least when we need it and to establish an ongoing relationship with a Higher Power.  If drugs interfere with that process or cause unmanageability then that constitutes a slip.  If a psychic change doesn’t take place “the same man will drink again”.  People who get on pain meds which cause no unmanageability have not relapsed…. have they?   Again you have to feel to heal.

My advice no suggestion  (if you’re new to AA the word “advice” is extremely and politically incorrect)…anyway, if you have a serious pain issue say you broke your leg or severed a limb personally I wouldn’t tell the doc at the ER “I am an addict” you’re liable to go home with a bottle of aspirin.  Seriously most doctors are either all in or all out when they hear the word “addict”.  Either they will prescribe when it’s unwarranted or they won’t prescribe when it’s truly needed in spite of the label you are wearing.  

It’s a matter of throwing the dice.   I have had it go both ways.  My pain doctor knows my story and he has asked me lots of questions about recovery life, it interests him.  If I am in pain he works with me he is neither all in or all out he prescribes judging by the symptom and watches me for any evidence of what he calls “deviation” from recovery.  I have also had the opposite happen when I told one new doctor my history and was swiftly treated like I was an inmate in a prison by the meanest jail guard there.  With no logical explanation this doctor cut my seizure medication in half.  Not a good idea it could have killed me.  So prayer and common sense play into it.

Be sure to talk to someone about your medicinal situation if you have guilt feeling get them out.  We addicts oftentimes lay guilt trips on ourselves.  False guilt will eat us alive and there is always someone out there looking to validate how wrong you are.  By the same token there are emotional enablers a plenty.  Finding an emotionally  balanced confidant in any 12 step program is very important.  Addicts tend to swing to either one extreme or the other.  Therapy, the 12 steps, and spirituality WILL bring you emotional balance after a time…and two times.  Thank you so much for reading along.  If you are a writer submit your recovery articles to http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/2/recovering-sober-writers-wanted/

THE PAMPHLET

• No A.A. member should “play doctor”; all

medical advice and treatment should come from a

qualified physician.

• Active participation in the A.A. program of

recovery is a major safeguard against alcoholic

• Be completely honest with your doctor and

yourself about the way you take your medicine.

Let your doctor know if you skip doses or take

more medicine than prescribed.

• Explain to your doctor that you no longer

drink alcohol and you are trying a new way of life

in recovery.

• Let your doctor know at once if you have a

desire to take more medicine or if you have side

effects that make you feel worse.

• Be sensitive to warnings about changes in

your behavior when you start a new medication

or when your dose is changed.

• If you feel that your doctor does not

understand your problems, consider making an

appointment with a physician who has experience

in the treatment of alcoholism.

• Give your doctor copies of this pamphlet.

 

 

THE FIFTH STEP

THE FIFTH STEP

LIFE ON LIFE’S TERMS

Because of what life throws us quality sobriety doesn’t always look pretty.  At times the appropriate sober emotional response is to throw down the mask and promptly fall apart.  We must release the poison that negative human emotions can create in our hearts if we are to survive not only sober but sane as well.  Contrary to common belief crying is a healthy emotion that should not be shut down by force of habit.

Psalms 30:5 “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

Pretending we know no sorrow does not exhibit strength it exhibits weakness and fear by forbidding others from seeing who we are and how we truly feel sometimes.  It is not sincere for those in the program to constantly portray that “It’s all good” all the time as if those who are having struggles are inferior for lack of a decent program.

Sharing from our heart during times of struggle is often a huge relief to our fellows because now they know…they are not alone.  By the same principle of honesty the most important thing to share on a fifth step is the deep dark secret we are the most ashamed of.  Shame is an exhausting emotion that cannot stand the light of confession and so it leaves.  Thank God we have a way to emotionally heal.

 

5

 

SELF ESTEEM IS BUILT BY TAKING ESTEEM-ABLE ACTION

SELF ESTEEM IS BUILT BY TAKING ESTEEM-ABLE ACTION

PROBLEM

One thing sure that will put a human-being in defensive character-defect mode is having low self-worth. One thing sure that will cause us to put on a mask of deceit, beat ourselves up psychologically, and fear (not care) what people think of us is if we think we are just not good enough as people. A negative mind-set makes us think everyone else is better than us so therefore subconsciously we reason-out that we had better start some defensive maneuvers to fix the way we are looking at us. And these maneuvers are usually not the kind that really do work to raise our self-worth. Things like anger, criticism, lashing out, looking for the negatives in other people and lesser addictions. That’s how the “ego” usually copes with low self-worth in recovery and along the way we lose any chance of filling our lives with joy, Love, and true self-worth.

Furthermore even if we have worked the steps several times we can still slip back into a low self-worth mindset because we had lived with that thinking for so long before we got sober. Our neural-pathways were set and even though we have built a recovery-bridge of healthy neural-pathways over the sick ones sometimes our thinking falls off the new bridge onto the one below and goes into a path of destructive and negative thought. Not to say we want to drink or drug…no, we no longer see drinking & drugging as a solution to anything. We have worked the steps but God did not render us defect-free nor does he take away our free-will.

SOLUTIONS

So what can we do to boost our self-worth? Step twelve…chair a meeting as the “facilitator” not the controller. A facilitator serves the group not himself. We can share from our heart what God and AA has done for us with newcomers. If we share from our ego or to control others it will not work like sharing the naked and humble truth from our heart of hearts. We can do some work, clean the house, wash the car, get some tasks done that we have procrastinated about finishing for a long time.

We can do some Step Eleven meditation and prayer and be sure to speak to our Higher Power straight from our heart about our issues and give thanks.

Before we pray and meditate to God we should consider if we have left any amends undone. We should get right with our neighbors and then commune with our Higher Power.

We can confess in a meeting (step five) how we feel. We should say that we have been speaking to ourselves in an unkind way and that we have been driven under the common addictive delusion that if we beat our self up enough we will somehow get more good things done when really it’s counterproductive to run ourselves down in our minds. Fifth step confessions like this cut false pride to the quick and leave the destructive ego lying on the floor of the room.

If we are well-off financially then we can give to a charity or one of those guys in the median standing with a “please help” sign. Especially if we usually judge those guys harshly, giving to them in spite of negative feelings toward them will cut the character defect of greed, & harsh judgments to the quick. Furthermore we do not have enough information to fairly judge anyone in such a way as condemnation dictates. We don’t know what people have been through in their lives. They may be planted on the median by God just so people have the chance to give and in turn get blessed (Jesus was clear that it is more blessed to give than receive) (Acts 20:35) or alternatively to judge the homeless guys harshly and in turn be judged. (For whatever yardstick you use to judge your brother it in turn will be used to judge you.) Mt.7.2

Unfortunately allot of money has a way of making us feel secure, empowered, and better than those without it (not always of course) therefore we tend to want more just so we can get more or, keep those nice feelings we get when we increase our holdings. Jesus also said it’s harder for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God than for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle. (Mt.19:24)

OUT OF THE PROBLEM INTO THE SOLUTION!

AA How Addiction Effects Our Children

How addiction effects our children

Read the poem “Does Baby Know”

I wrote this poem eight years ago when feeling the deep deep pain of hurting the one that I Love the most in this world as most parents do.  Especially for us mothers; neglecting our children hits us harder in the guilt department than any of our wreckage .  Here is one of my processing poems that helped me get the pain out.

 

Does Baby Know?

 

Baby’s so sweet in her Mickey Mouse clothes

Innocent cuddly wonder if she knows

Most mommies don’t need pills before starting the day

of cooking and work to keep jonesin’ at bay

 

Baby’s so bright in her eyes does she know

Most mommies don’t shoot dope to get up and go

 

Sometimes the little girl gets so annoyed

“Mommy wake up and look at these toys!

Don’t run off the road any more cause I’m scared

We could crash and burn, your eyes closed your not there”

 

Still baby loves mommy the most cause her daddy

Yells all the time she goes with mommy gladly

Daddy is mean frustrated at mom

she won’t do as he says he does not keep calm

Baby’s becoming a young lady now

 

Ten years have passed by mommies wondering how,

they survived the years before she straightened up

quit shooting her dope and getting fucked up

 

Baby’s so beautiful in her brand new school clothes

and daddy still yells but baby knows

they both really care and are doing their best

to show that they love her

 

God’s doing the rest____________________

2-14-2018 UPDATED comment about poem.  **My ex-husband has long since been removed from our lives.  He was very abusive and the trauma he caused my daughter was devastating.  All due to my own ability to leave him back then.  She was nine when I got sober and 10 when I stood up to her father and cut him from our lives.  She is an adult now.  Doing a step nine with here was a freeing experience for both of us and probably saved my own life.  Please do the steps on your most intense issues.  If you don’t have an understanding sponsor, fire them.

This part was written back when I wrote the poem-****Nearly nine years after I wrote this sad poem my daughter is happy and healthy.  She will graduate this year God willing,  she is driving her first car and is a beautiful young lady.  She has a fighting chance at a good life and shows no signs of addiction praise God!  I am there for her which I never would have been able to do had it not been for AA and the 12 steps.  Thank you AA and thank you especially to my Higher Power who I am sure made it all happen like a magic red carpet ride of sobriety.  Change and healing can happen for anyone who has the willingness to do the work honestly and thoroughly until it becomes a way of life.

 

 

 

 

HOPE IS A PRELUDE TO FAITH

What is “hope”?

Hope is a spiritual gift straight from our Higher Power

What is hope?  Hope says, “everything will be alright” when things may not look so good.   Without a little fear there is no need for hope.  Hope is present when courage is in action.     Hope accommodates peace of mind.   We rest in the hope that God has our back even though we may have some doubts.    When we practice hope regularly “HOPE IS A PRELUDE TO FAITH”.

Undeniably  we addicts have our trust issues.   Fear is as natural as faith.  When faith takes over our fear, hope, & doubts disappear with a dose of new faith and trust in our Higher Power that the unknown really will be OK.  Let’s face it…the future can be a scary thing but hope takes that fear of the unknown and eventually  turns it into faith & trust  mixed with a little desire.

Hope is a spiritual gift grouped with Love and Faith as the greatest gifts.

We must remember to allow hope to live in us because the opposite of Hope is hopelessness which is accompanied by depression and a lack of Love for life.  We Nurture the Hope that we are given so it will transform into a faith that will move mountains.

AA “Get In The Middle Of The Boat”

They say in AA to “Get in the middle of the boat” if you want to get and stay sober.

 

  

Important suggestions for early sobriety.The first thing we should do is put ourselves out there in a meeting.  Introduce ourselves as a newcomer and share our fears, feelings, and any other struggles we are having.  This will attract people to us and make us approachable.  We must get to know people.    Just what and where is the middle of the boat.  Firstly we go to 90 meeting in 90 days that way we will establish some new relationships with sober people…soooo important.  We need to find out who and how people are staying sober. We should join a “home group” for sure, it’s important to feel “a part of”.  After all we have earned our seat in the rooms of AA and NA by our history, we have been in a war with ourselves that has not been easy…it is time to surrender to our hearts call. 

I believe there are spiritual windows in time that make it easier for us to stay sober within a certain starting point…as if it were a spiritual call.  Trying to get sober without that spiritual window things just don’t “click” like they do when the window is open.  Don’t worry you will feel it when it happens.  For instance I got sober and arrested on Good Friday in 2006 which also fell on Easter weekend.    I must say many times people that stay sober for years and years have a sobriety date that is either a holiday or some kind of special date.  Just a little factoid.  People stay sober, the program works regardless of the date in time.  Do not be discouraged.

Secondly after a few months of exposure we should get a sponsor start working the steps.  Also we should make a commitment to one of the activities that AA-ers do like chair a meeting once a week or speak at a jail or institution.  None of these commitments will feel natural. Oh contraire it will feel uncomfortable but you will be growing both emotionally and spiritually because of it.  Taking meetings into detox is the easiest place to begin with to share your experience of how sobriety is for you.  When we see those sick and suffering addicts in detox it works like magic to keep us sober.  It makes us remember all too well what it was like and we realize how far we have come.  We addicts in recovery usually need reminding that we are doing well.

After 6 months of sobriety and a completion of working the 12 steps we should definitely volunteer to sponsor newcomers.  This process happens very quickly.  Don’t worry too much if you are on probation, I have found that probation actually helps build a structured life in the beginning of sobriety and gives us something to focus on odd as that may sound.  Not to mention the drop tests aid in keeping us sober.  Sobriety is not for sissies it is a challenge that we can meet with hope.  One day at a time.

Step Five of Alcoholics Anonymous (2)

Topics: Fear Not, Step three and Step Five of Alcoholics Anonymous

HELP LINE

Suicide rate statistics among addicts.

“Fear not” is easier said than done. We need to learn the 12 step tools and especially invoke step three to keep fear at bay. There is no shame in revisiting a third step to remind us that God has our back! One of the first things we do when beginning our walk in sober school is identify, seek, and find a Higher Power.  Step five in the Big Book is the magic step that alleviates our guilt & shame but make no mistake, it is not a one-time job!  Unless of coarse your perfect or sociopath.

 

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 used phrase in the Bible is “fear not”

 

The psychological make-up of an addict

Many of us when we were very small children were often told by parents that we had nothing to be afraid of when we expressed our intense child-like fears. Unfortunately during our forthright expression of true feelings our parents often implied by their lack of empathy and understanding that our fears were not only unfounded but ridiculous and perhaps absurd. These adults knew no better. 

Parents do not usually know that some validation of our feelings along with comfort and logic was necessary for our emotional health. Therefore our intense little feelings were invalidated, we felt “wrong” for being afraid.   After-all our parents knew best how we should feel so our fears must be wrong.  But instead of that making our fears go away it motivated us to hide our fears for shame.  My parents used shame to control me.  They used shame to oppress me and steal my dreams and hopes.

What’s worse once we got to pre and elementary school we found out just what kind of people express their fears openly. We learned about the scaredy-cats, the chicken-shits, the pussies and the yellow-bellies. We learned that people who express any form of fear will be ostracized greatly by their fellows and friends.   We must be bad we must be wrong!

And so we learned to stuff down those big fears into our guts, we learned to act, and we learned to put on the mask of fearlessness.   No-one would call us cry-baby again!  Ever!  We learned, even…to shut off our tears.  Showing any kind of hurt emotional or physical would label us weak.  So we turned our hurts to anger.  Who could blame us…we didn’t want to be labelled by everyone.  Between our parents and our school-mates we were really left with very few people if any in whom we could confide our true feelings so we could let them out. 

Most of us women in addiction were sexually abused as children.  We hid the feelings from that away as well…deep in our bowels lie the pain and hurt of a wounded, neglected, and abused child.  We did not trust that our feelings were right therefore we could not trust our parents to tell them what happened…or maybe our parents are the culprits of the abuse.  Either way we had no adult to confide with about the abuse and the feelings of self-loathing that resulted from it.

AND SO GOES THE STORY OF THE TYPICAL ADDICTS EMOTIONS…expression of feelings was off the table so what would we do with all those feelings inside us that were ready & able to cause an explosion of wrath.  We usually weren’t cruel people we didn’t want to take out our feelings on others so we beat ourselves up for being who we were.

We developed a voice in our head that screamed at us for things we said and did and things we didn’t say and do.  We became our own worst enemy. 

The self-hate, the anxiety, and the depression that we felt had to stop! 

SO WE MEDICATED!  After-all the last thing we would do is confide in someone so they could turn around and use it against us!

Ohhhh how the drugs worked, ohhhh how they made us feel better…for a while anyway!

Robin Williams-an addict in recovery hung himself today.  Why would anyone with all that money, in the program, sober for quite some time want to kill himself?

“Our liquor was but a symptom, so we had to get down to causes and conditions.”

I have a friend who is a therapist and in 12 step recovery.  He loves both programs.  But he has quoted me shocking numbers of addicts/alcoholics in a 12 step program who have committed suicide.  The statistics are staggering.  What you will find behind the statistics is an ability to express and share negative feelings. .  My friend insists that all his sponcees do regular fifth-steps in meetings by telling “WHAT HAPPENED AND HOW IT MADE ME FEEL.” 

FEELINGS ARE NOT AN OUTSIDE ISSUE, THE SOLUTIONS DO NOT LIE IN SHUTTING DOWN OUR FEELINGS AND PRETENDING THEY DON’T EXIST.

“WE ARE AS SICK AS OUR SECRETS”

WE MUST FIND AT LEAST ONE PERSON WE CAN TELL ANYTHING TO.

IN THE U.S. SUICIDE STATISTICS FAR OUTWEIGH OTHER COUNTRIES.

 

The solutions to anxiety and depression are simple but not easy.  You can find them on my website:

HTTPS://WWW.RECOVERYFARMHOUSE.COM

 

Fear of people will leave us, Ninth Step Promises

STEP ONE OF AA

NINTH STEP PROMISES

“THE FEAR OF PEOPLE WILL LEAVE US”

When I first got sober & clean I was emotionally numb. I had separated myself from my feelings. I was dragging them behind me like a dead rag doll so full of pain, hurt and fear that my ego refused to own.  I rejected my own truths, I white-washed my fears with my shallow tough-girl persona.  I denied every deep and precious pain I ever felt.  I refused to be myself instead I made up a false identity who was socially acceptable in my eyes.  I had to create this other person because my true identity was weak, bad, ugly , and wrong in my eyes.  That’s what I was taught in my formidable years and that’s what I believed.   I laughed when I was nervous. I smiled as I told my new recovery counselor about my near death experiences during addiction.

But wait! Why did I smile when I recalled the tragic events of my life? I refused to feel because feeling is what scared me the most. Sharing my true feelings was a vulnerability I would not chance! Why would I?  Every time I showed my true self I was cut down at the knees.  My vicious older sister made certain of that.  My parents were not evil but they knew nothing about emotional nurturing.  So I laughed at my pain.  But no, WAIT!  To recover I had to make myself vulnerable. I had to tell someone my true feelings and who I was to release the pain that my poor inner child was lugging around behind me…me the ego self, me the tough girl.  I had a bucket full of sick emotional survival skills that took no account of hurting others.  I could blame every failure every wrong and dishonest deed on the beast of burden of my choice.   And usually that meant a boyfriend or a husband.  If I didn’t make my own choices then I wasn’t responsible for the outcome.

When I got sober at first the only feeling I knew was intense fear of facing life and other people without my drugs. I was completely out of touch with my true inner feelings and inner-man. I was walking around in-body with my soul and emotions dragging behind me like carrying a rag-doll by her hair that drags behind me on the floor. I remember telling my counselor after attending a women’s issues group that I didn’t belong in that group. All the women were crying and talking about their pain while I was numb…completely numb and I really thought I had no emotional pain. Little did I know I had a boatload of pain it was just…I had separated myself from it.

I remember one day in therapy telling a horrific story to a counselor about a traumatic event in my life and I held a protective smile on my face subconsciously thinking to myself…”I refuse to feel what I am talking about”. The counselor said to me “Laura why are you smiling?  That is a tragic event you are telling me about.” At that very moment my soul re-connected with my body along with all my baggage and feelings.   The rag-doll and all she carried came crashing down in an epiphany of just how terrible things had really been.

My heart at that moment began to thaw out.  But still, it took months before I was able to cry, really let it out.  I had froze myself up so well when the tears finally came they didn’t stop for, well I think I cried for about two years regularly, every time I was alone in my car.  I didn’t know that crying is a healthy emotion.  I didn’t know that feelings are to be honored and felt and then released.  Denying my feelings and repressing them made me sick and full of wrath.  But finally I was able to cry that poison out of my soul.

Acknowledging my feelings was the first step in my recovery. That was the beginning of my healing from “grave emotional disorder”. Nine years later….I have learned how to become and stay healthy emotionally and it took the 12 steps….a year of therapy…and regular spiritual maintenance.  Coupled with fellowship & meetings to get better.

FEELINGS FOLLOW ACTIONS

Step Eleven

THE BIG BOOK

FEELINGS FOLLOW ACTIONS NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!

GOOD FEELINGS FOLLOW RIGHT ACTIONS MORE ACCURATELY PUT.

“On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead.  We consider our plans for the day.  Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives.  Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all Gad gave us brains to use.  Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives. “   This quote is taken from pg. 86 of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Today my mind may be telling me that my life is a disaster and that I am a mess!  I refuse to believe this because today I am taking action for my recovery and my well-being.   Today I will help others & do no harm.  I will exercise, eat right, and go to a meeting.  

Many times before I joined AA and learned how to live and take responsibility for my own actions I used to often say “I don’t feel like it!”  I said this in response to being faced with many responsibilities.  I said it when people asked me to go places, on social outings, to the beach, on a road trip, pretty much in response to anything that would take me out of my isolation and out of the state of sloth. 

I used to think I had to wait until my feelings were right to do the task at hand.    I would get to-it when I felt up to it.  I feared somehow that it would hurt me to take an energetic action.  Somehow I felt I had to nurture the deep emotional pain that was inside of me.  Depression & isolation were my bedfellows.  Not to mention I feared subconsciously the unknown and felt it was a risk to go to new places and do new things.  However what I feared was an illusion.

I have since learned by working the steps and addressing core issues that feelings nine times out of ten, are a result of my actions and I can act my way into good feelings.  Please understand that healthy emotions include a certain amount of grief, hurt, pain, and anger and so-on that should be neither ignored nor shrugged off.   We should not put a mask over our feelings nor should we let them rule us. 

Emotional balance in recovery and understanding when to ignore feelings and when they should be addressed & processed takes time and much work.  In early recovery it’s beneficial to both explore our feelings with a therapist or empathic listener on a regular basis and to spend time doing recovery based activities, laughing and forgetting ourselves and all our self-consciousness.  However we mustn’t swing from one extreme to the other.  Labeling all feelings character defect based is very dangerous but also labeling all feelings a priority at all times is just as dangerous.  Just because our feelings are always valid does not mean we let them paralyze us or always give-in to tears.

Good feelings do follow right and constructive actions.  If I get up in the morning and feel like crap I do not have to make my day follow suit.  I don’t have to create a crappy day.  I must not allow my feelings to rule over me and oppress me.  If my character defect is sloth then the spiritual remedy is to repeatedly take action contrary to sloth such as go for a run or go outside grab the hose and pour cold water over my body and take a walk.  If I clean my house I will feel better about myself.  (Opinion) Sloth is a spirit that attaches itself to humans and tells us immobilizing lies that we hear in our mind.

Sloth is the enemy of recovery as is wrath.  If I am angry I should never, ever take it out on those around me.  Again in early recovery we must learn outlets for anger.  Denial and distraction works for a while but it is not a solution.  The rage I feel inside is MINE I need to own it and then learn the solutions for it.  I have written many articles on the solutions for anger.  Anger is not the defect of character wrath is.

My message today…..feelings follow actions not the other way around.  You are a beautiful child of a Creator.  God don’t make junk!  No one taught you how to deal with the intense feelings that drove you to drink and drug therefore you are innocent.  You, if you are an alcoholic or addict are a sick person trying to get well not a bad person trying to get good.  In this way its true AA is not a moral program.  However if you continue working on the steps and stay in meetings, work with others and do the maintenance steps of 10, 11, and step 12 you will learn to follow your heart and this will bring you peace and morality both.  All morality really is, is the act of following one’s own heart of which we also call the conscience.   

We in early recovery must first learn what our true heart’s desire is so we may follow it to find peace.  Many of us for survival sake learned to disconnect our hearts truths from both our intellect and our sense of reality through deep denial.  He who learns to follow his own heart and resists perfectionism has found wisdom.

FEELINGS ACTIONS SNIP

WRECKAGE OF THE PAST

Wreckage of the Past

Growing up emotionally

Clearing the wreckage of the past means growing up emotionally.  “INDECISION”    Page 86 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Step Eleven “In thinking about our day we may face indecision.  We may not be able to determine which course to take.  Here we ask God for inspiration, and intuitive thought or decision.  We relax and take it easy.  We don’t struggle.  We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while.

Why was it so hard to make any decision when I was newly sober?  One huge reason is because I was afraid of the outcome of my own choices.  My decision could turn out bad or wrong and then I would be bad and wrong.  And why not, I made so many wrong choices in life I was used to the badgering and consequences of my selfish actions.  Obviously the “bad” and “wrong” label was stamped on me at an early age therefore it is at the core of my “fear of people” issues. 

One of my valuable (old behavior) survival skills when drinking and drugging was to let others make my choices for me.  When I hand over power to someone by asking them…”what should I do” I am offering them ego-feeding material.  Furthermore if the decision turns out “wrong” I can quickly blame that person for the outcome.  This is why a sponsor should always answer objectively when a sponcee tries to hand over their power of choice by responding with “it is your decision but we can go over your options and I can suggest to you what may be the best choice.”

Why does the Ninth Step promise us that “fear of people will leave us” and how does it leave us?  Between our connection with God and our customary twelve step work our confidence and self-esteem are rebuilt and we no longer fear making personal choices.  We need no longer fear “bad” outcomes because life is a journey, we are only human and we have been created to make mistakes and to rely on a Higher Power.  We are and will never be perfect while human.  When we make right choices and do the next right thing we receive positive consequences which are confidence and true pride the good kind.

When I hand over power to a person it is a manipulation skill that keeps them coming back.  It feels good to rule over someone and make their choices for them.  However when that kind of power is snatched back…ouch!  The person feels empty and lacking and usually they don’t react well.  How do I snatch power back?   By going against the advice given or just pushing the adviser right out of the picture all together by walking away.

It also says on page 88 that “faith without works is dead.”  Therefore we should be sure to have some Step Twelve action going on even if it’s not in the capacity of AA.  Not everyone fits into AA’s traditional version of the twelfth step, by chairing meetings, becoming an officer & active in business meetings, making coffee, speaking in institutions, speaker meetings, joining the activities committee etc. there are many ways to share the message outside of AA that will work to give the same good effect. 

“Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principals in all our affairs”.

However if we choose to not do traditional twelfth step work we may be in danger of missing out on valuable personal growth, maturity, self-esteem, confidence, and emotional sobriety that happens when we do the things underlined above.

Learning to take responsibility for our actions and building confidence takes work.  Fear of people will leave us IF we work the steps.  One thing sure if we don’t put ourselves in uncomfortable and vulnerable positions by working step 12 we will not gain the confidence that no longer fears people and makes independent choices. 

STEP 12:  Courage & willingness means doing the next right thing when I just want to go home and hide in my bed.  It means telling my story at detox when I am nervous as a cat.  It means chairing a meeting when my hands shake, courage is making coffee when I fear that everyone at the meeting will tell me it tastes horrible, courage is doing a fifth step when every fiber of my being says “keep it secret”,  courage is asking someone to sponsor me when I am afraid of being told “no”, it is sharing my secrets when I fear betrayal, it means making a friend when I fear I will just be abandoned again, it means putting pen to paper when I feel like it will all be a waste of my time.   Without these kinds of courageous actions and the willingness that goes against our core fears we might not grow in the miraculous and amazing ways that are promised in Step Nine “fear of people will leave us”, furthermore we may not stay sober at all.

THE SAME MAN WILL DRINK AGAIN.

 

FOR WOMEN ONLY “Sexual Inventory” pg.69 of the Big Book

Alcoholics Anonymous

Relationships

Step Four SEXUAL INVENTORY AA

 

(This article is based on my experiences in Alcoholics Anonymous for over 10 years. )

Why is it that there are more men getting and staying sober in the program of AA than women? Why is it that we women seem to have more emotional issues that need addressing than men? Partly we just talk about our issues more, men usually repress on a much larger scale. Nevertheless we woman that do stay sober are usually more of the “tomboy” type. The very feminine and highly fragile woman rarely can get through what it takes to stay sober.

Experience teaches that us “ruff” types often  bi-sexual women have a much higher chance statistically of staying sober than do the frail and feminine. (taken from Triangle Club Gainesville, Fl statistics (Triangle club meeting scheduleClearly experience teaches it’s the “alpha” females who stay sober in much greater numbers than the more submissive woman.   However, we must learn to make ourselves vulnerable emotionally rather than protecting ourselves emotionally. “Sobriety ain’t for sissies!” So bone up ladies! You can do it but it’s gonna hurt! The bad news is…we can feel again, the good news is…we can feel again. Yes and we have a boat load of emotional issues and character flaws to give to our Higher Power and to ebb-away at.

Most addict women (who I have met) were sexually abused as children, (every stripper addict I knew when I danced (I took a pole) and the women I have gotten to know in recovery have shared this information with me).   I have silent theories that this commonality is the “why” behind most addictions. The guilt and shame that a young child will place on herself for something she was not equipped to fend off is astounding and life-changing. We addict woman have learned by the age of ten or younger that we can use our sexuality against men (or women) to control them, manipulate them, and force feed them guilt to get whatever we want from them.

In spite of how men have wronged and abused us it is vital that we see “our part” concerning our resentments so we can not only stay sober but more importantly…learn to Love and keep Love close to us and in us. WE DEPLOY LOVE IN DEFENSE OF FEAR.  I am saying Love is of greatest importance in our recovery however we are usually incapable of showing Love or even defining what true spiritual Love is.  Often we are incapable of acting out of Love in a truly giving way when we are deep in our addiction.  Sobriety must be our priority if we are to fully recover.

For those of us who were abused all we really wanted when we allowed the sexual-predators affection and didn’t run to an adult and snitch the assailant out was someone to Love us. We confused physical attention with Love and we thought to get Love we had to drop our moral boundaries. We thought we had to be hurt to get what we needed. Most addict women suffer in dysfunctional relationships, it goes hand in hand with our addiction.

I have heard many stories in AA.  We normally share our story with the group by the time we have 1 year sober.   We share “what it was like, what happened in AA, and what it is like now”.  Some of us even sold our bodies outright for money to get drugs. We were exposed to many disgusting and painful situations. Some that we barely made it out of alive.  It’s no wonder we learned to hate men.  It’s no wonder we learned to hate women!  They were our competition they betrayed our confidence!  Screw woman we thought!  We could manipulate men much easier.  

THE SOLUTIONS

But now we must put our “woman’s issues” on our fourth step.  We will need other women if we are to heal and stay sober.  So we pray for God to put the right woman in our lives so we can experience the “sisterhood of The Spirit”.   Men absolutely are incapable of relating to many aspects of our personalities therefore they are of limited use to us in recovery when working through these core woman’s issues. If we have a chance to get into a woman’s meeting we DO IT! These meetings are much more intimate and women will share things that you absolutely will not hear in a regular meeting, shares that are vital for our healing

We begin to let our abuses out of our bag of secrets. We expose some shameful actions of our past in our fifth step with a sponsor and we expose other secrets in the rooms with the woman. We will find that doing so will put in place the connection that we need to other woman. When we listen in our women’s meeting we train ourselves to LOOK FOR THE SIMILARITIES RATHER THAN THE DIFFERENCES!  We lay down our staunch invisible walls of defense and blame to let healing in.

Finding someone to criticize is an old survival skill that deflects self-guilt. Criticism feeds the ego that which it needs to go-on however, criticism is not what we need now…we need empathy, we need healing and that will never come whilst seeking differences so we can criticize others. We write ourselves a note “seek the similarities don’t criticize!” and we put that in front of us in every meeting we go to until we have trained our brains and have built a bridge over the sick neuron-pathways called addiction. Our brain-bridge is called “survival for the sober”. Building a sober brain-bridge takes work and a supernatural kick so we start by attending ninety meetings in ninety days and we pray for willingness, clarity, guidance, healing, and for our Higher Power to make a way where there seems no way.

We have deep and embedded trust issues that simply must be ignored to an extent so we can get what we need. We may not be able to trust but we will nevertheless choose a sponsor and work the Fifth Step leaving no debauchery uncovered. That which we want to keep secret the most should be at the top of our fourth step. The Truth will set us free.

We put the “blame-game” in the garbage. We are responsible for processing every feeling that comes into our hearts. If we have sex with a person they owe us nothing! It is our choice whether we have sex and unless we tell the person up-front a price for that sex…they owe us nothing.   Not a phone call, not to fix things for us, not to make our choices for us, nor a place to stay they owe us nothing.  If we expect something from a person we are in bed with then we should be up-front about it.  We can propose that if they are screwing other people we will have to leave the relationship. They are adult they can do as they please. They can make promises they won’t keep.  If they don’t respect us then we leave the relationship it is our choice if we stay therefore blame is off the table.  Granted we can command respect but it is us who must draw the line in the sand and walk away when it is crossed.  We cannot make other adults do anything we can only request and suggest.

If we feel we have been wronged we should call a woman and talk it out. If a law has been broken we may call the cops. We often find when we talk things out with another woman, it is our unresolved issues that are haunting us rather than the person we are in bed with in the present. We addicts tend to carry an ink-blotter stamping “guilty” on anyone we are intimate with once the fairy-tale phase of the relationship is over.   Not anymore!  Now we journal, we write “fuck you” letters (do not send) to vent our angers.   We scream alone in our cars if we have to, it helps and releases endorphins.   We beat the pillow, we talk it out with woman but we do not blame anyone anymore for our feelings ever.

Even if we are wronged…can the person process our emotions for us? No! If others had the responsibility of processing and dealing with our feelings then we would be slaves to other people which we are not. We are learning how to take responsibility for our lives and our emotions.   It is not easy, it is not for sissies.   But you recovery sister, can do it because ‘we’ are stronger and capable of a deeper Love than most women can even imagine. Why? Because of the deep pain you have suffered.

Your emotional pain has carved out a deep dark hole in your heart. You will process that hurt and replace it with Love. That is why we women in recovery are more capable of a deeper Love than anyone who has not been through the trauma that we have. Seek God and The Sunlight of The Spirit and you shall be a vessel of joy, Love, and happiness amidst the tears that have gone un-cried for too long.

 

 

PLEASE NO MORE Feelings! & Is Step Ten Enough?

Step 10

Alcoholics Anonymous

“We are as sick as our secrets”

 

Which Feelings Need Addressing & is Step 10 enough?  I woke up in the middle of the night with an intense feeling of impending doom.  I felt like I was somehow in a position where I had no safety.  I felt like I was dangling miles high in the air with no safety net.  In my heart and mind I must be putting my well-being in the hands of the wrong thing.  It is not uncommon to sub-consciously put our faith into a cigarette or a pill while in recovery from a traumatic addiction.  When in that addiction our neuro-pathways had been trained to take the direction where drinking is a solution.  Sometimes in recovery our brain takes a wrong turn if you will.  All we need do is put our faith back on the right neuro-road where we depend on our spiritual God rather than a person, place, or earthly thing. When I was a very young child I remember having an intense realization that one day I would die.  It frightened me because there is no earthly solution for death.  It prompted me to seek and connect with my Higher Power. 

When I experience impending doom all I have to do is pray and tell my Higher Power how I feel (fear) and remember that He/She/It does have my back and the feeling of fear will leave me.  Maybe it was the prospect of death itself that haunted me.  Perhaps I had awoken from a nightmare that I don’t remember.  Do I need to write a fear list?  If the feeling does not let-up by prayer alone then “Yes” back to Step Four! 

The fear list is an important part of our on-going maintenance in sobriety.  You will find the directions for it in Step Four of the big book.  “But that’s Step Four I should be over that!”….So some say.  However my experience is in the matter of emotional sobriety and overcoming grave emotional disorder I revisit the fourth step as often as needed and Step Ten is far from enough maintenance to keep my emotions in check.

In Step Ten the book reads that we are pretty much cured of regarding drink & drug as a solution, this is true to any extent.  “The problem has been removed, it does not exist for us.” However emotions and emotional sobriety are another matter, if I don’t stay emotionally balanced I will eventually see alcohol as a solution.  Absolutely we do “recoil” from alcohol if we work the steps but will we “recoil” from being self-destructive or hurting others?  Or will we just switch to another self-destructive habit?

 

 

STEP TEN-“Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.” 

This is a very limited prospect of which is useless without the rest of the 12 steps. 

Step ten works good enough for a quick apology or when simple self-acknowledgement of a defect then a little prayer will resolve resentment, shame, guilt or fear but if it doesn’t rectify my deep negative feelings a little more work may be necessary even though I have worked the steps thoroughly.  Truly Step Ten is not much of anything without the rest of the 12 Steps actively in place in our lives.  Furthermore without prayer and meditation we are usually not spiritually fit enough to take our own inventory anyway. 

Do I have any unresolved resentments I ask myself?  If so I need to pray for that person and if that doesn’t work I do a step four and five including “my part” and not eliminating “wrongs done to me” and how both of those have made me feel. If it brings up deep feelings I let myself feel them and I cry.

If I have a reoccurring memory of an event in my past and it is attached to an intense feeling; that is when prayer is not usually enough.  That does not mean I don’t pray.  It just means that there is something in my past that I need to explore with an empathic listener who can hopefully relate to the event.  I write down what happened.  Have I wronged anyone?  Do I feel guilt or shame?  Remember our heart does not have to make sense it just needs to express itself, raw, & without editing.  I share my feelings with a listener whom will neither shut me down, shame me, nor invalidate me for my feelings.  

Staying disconnected from our feelings is an old survival skill that worked.  To truly process core feelings we need to connect with them 100% and write, cry, scream, talk, moan, run, or even punch (the bag, pillow) them out.

Let’s face it folks some AA, NA members are in the business of invalidation.  These members will always look for the differences instead of the similarities.  Furthermore they will look for the “wrong” in anything you propose to them.  This may work for some people…but blame is a principle of co-dependency not a principle of healing in recovery.

Do I feel dirty, wrong, and bad?  We must not allow our intellect to cloud our fourth step by invalidation.  Admitting core feelings like “bad, dirty, wrong, disgusting, or cheap sounds embarrassing but these are the common human feelings that surface after living an addicted life.  These deep feelings need to come out or they will make us sick.  Let’s face it not only have most of us crossed our own moral boundaries when in addiction but we also have core issues that need addressing from childhood.  Oftentimes adults taught us that we were just plain “wrong” and that we don’t even have a right to be who we are and feel how we feel. 

Remember we in recovery usually reach out for some secondary dependencies or lesser addictions when we get sober.  You won’t hear it talked about in the rooms much but that’ what we do. 

There are two kinds of people in AA those who struggle and admit it and those who struggle and don’t talk about it.  We certainly don’t struggle at all times and we do reach a place of peace if we work the steps but we are never finished doing the work while human and alive.

Do not be too hard on yourself for that is a character defect within itself! Come on folks!  We are all doing the best we can for right now.  From what I have experienced in Narcotics Anonymous the way they sometimes ostracize fellows for secondary addictions it feeds into the sickness of keeping secrets, repressing emotions, and feeds our shame issues.  Some groups forbid members to chair meetings if they are on much needed psyche meds or pain meds even non-narcotic meds.  Intolerance and a lack of acceptance for others and their personal medicinal status is just that…a lack of understanding and empathy.   

In recovery we often struggle with sick relationships (co-dependency), cigarettes, food, sexual promiscuity, anger issues, even your non-narcotic prescription drugs…nevertheless we are doing way better than we were before AA and the 12 steps.  Do not think that your recovery is counterfeit if you struggle with one of these?  Believe me we all struggle at times.  You will find that when one of us overcomes ALL of our little crutches we then become highly judgmental, and our control issues hit their highest peaks.  It’s always something!  Not a justification just fact.  Best we accept ourselves and other as human and remember “OUT OF THE PROBLEM INTO THE SOLUTION”!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer:  Oftentimes people in recovery from addictions, usually men do not need to ever return to a fourth step after doing it once, they don’t need to talk about their feelings, nor do they need an empathic listener.  They are emotionally and spiritually healthy.  These type fellows have either had an intense spiritual healing experience or they have gone to therapy for a year or more and worked through their core emotional issues, or have done both. 

Alcoholism in itself is traumatic experience to our hearts and minds.  My suggestions in the following articles are for those in recovery who have a knowledge of the 12 steps and have had trauma in their past and are in need of an emotional healing from that. 

AA OLD TIMERS

 AA OLD TIMERS

& A LOOK A STEP 12

 

THE CARROT”

It’s the way of some of the AA old-timers to go to an extreme by denying that their emotions exist.  They confuse emotions such as anger or hurt with character defects.  A feeling is not a defect again I say it comes from our heart which is a place of truth.  Actions are the only things that come under the heading of “character defect” .  These old crotchety types will teach the new-comer that crying is self-pity and that expressing hurt from being wronged under any circumstance no matter how horrific is always a character defect in us

POET & SONGWRITER  JOHN MELLENCAMP          EXCERPT FROM “PINK HOUSES”

 “Oh but ain’t that America, for you and me

 Ain’t that America, we’re something to see baby

Ain’t that America, home of the free, yeah

Little pink houses, for you and me,

oh baby for you and me 

Well there’s people and more people

What do they know, know, know

Go to work in some high rise

And vacation down at the Gulf of Mexico

Ooo yeah”

What do we do after we have processed our painful traumatic pasts, we have a new set of friends in AA, we have let our feelings out, talked about them and the circumstances surrounding our feelings, (make no mistake it is vital we express both our feelings and the circumstances that surround them,) we wrote about same, identified & related with others about same, talked about our shame, and thoroughly worked our steps, we have reconnected with God YET we feel bored.   We feel something needs to be done, its as if the spark is gone from our recovery and all we do is work, work, work!  

So, I tell my partner “Partner” I say, “I am bored and feeling unfulfilled because I must work, work, and work some more!”   He says to me; “partner, set your eyes upon the CARROT” .  He jogs my memory by his suggestion.  I had forgotten how valuable the carrot is for me emotionally and how it improves my attitude.  And so I do just that.  I work, work, work, and keep my thoughts on my up and coming “vacation down at the Gulf of Mexico Oh yea!   I pack my camera, my bathing suit, I buy a $3 raft and I am on my way!  Yaay!!  I have worked and I deserve a rest to reflect, revitalize, and remember how good life really is!

And yes, the next paragraph of the song by the way talks about “the pills that kill” but I shall save that for my next article on that and the choice of taking meds for pain, anti-depressants, psych meds etc. while in recovery.  If I can’t go to the gulf then I will go to the local springs or wherever I can get with nature and be refreshed.  I count my blessings and am filled with gratitude when I get close to God’s natural creations and then I do it all over again. 

Step Twelve work gives me a purpose when I share the solutions at meetings.  AAers need to talk about what is going on with them.  It is not our place to shut anyone down who needs to express their emotional pain. Recovery is about learning what to do with our emotions not pretending we don’t have emotions.  Staying in emotional denial feeds anxiety, fear, and secret-keeping.  We are as sick as our secrets and that includes secret emotions.  

It’s the way of some of the old-timers to go to an extreme by denying that their emotions exist.  They confuse emotions such as anger or hurt with character defects.  A feeling is not a defect again I say it comes from our heart which is a place of truth.  Actions are the only things that come under the heading of “character defect” .  These old crotchety types will teach the new-comer that crying is self-pity and that expressing hurt from being wronged under any circumstance no matter how horrific is always a character defect in us.  

Oftentimes alcoholics have been sexually and emotionally abused as children and have never had the chance to express the pain associated with the abuse.  Getting sober will always bring those deep pains to the surface so we need an outlet.  God gave us tears for a reason and crying is absolutely a part of the healthy emotional process.    We who have learned the remedy for addiction share the solutions for the newcomers pain in meetings and that is a twelfth step action.  

 We gain fulfillment by sharing in meeting however it can get old continually  being around negativity especially when we just want to enjoy life and stay on a positive train of thought.  Nothing wrong with taking a break from meetings when we know how to live the program.  

When we vacation down at the Gulf of Mexico we get to go to out-of-town meetings that are new and different.  That in itself is a positive change. 

And so we use the carrot as one of our survival tools for the good life  in recovery.

A THOUGHT: Yep acceptance is a part of healing. Where there is no acceptance there is denial., However denial is also one of the stages of healing. Denial keeps us alive until we are ready to face past traumas and process or cry them out…or scream…or write…or punch the bag.

 

OLDTIMER SNIP

PSYCHIC OR PSYCHOTIC?

Grave emotional and mental disorders

Step Eleven

Spiritual Growth

DSCN3436

PSYCHIC OR PSYCHOTIC?

In “How it works” in the Big Book it says that even those of us who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders can stay sober too.  I do write much about “emotional disorder” as Bill W. mentioned in “How it Works” and the solutions to that. But today I want to tap into the topic of “mental disorders” which our founders mentioned as well. Furthermore I don’t know if anyone has noticed but bi-polar people make up a huge part of our 12 step programs.

What is schizophrenia? I am not so sure weather our schizophrenic fellows are crazy or have actually tapped into a real dimension that most of us never hear or see. I am not a physician therefore medically I am not equipped to give the whole story concerning mental illness. However, I do know people that can hear my own thoughts and I know this beyond a shadow of a doubt. These psychic friends of mine believe that schizophrenics have the ability to hear into other realms and that is what drives them to drink and worse. . Many times we humans label those who are spiritually gifted as “crazy” and “insane”.

We as humans who depend so highly on what we can see with our eyes cannot connect with higher realms unless we close our eyes and develop our “Third eye” the one that does not optically view things but rather shows us visions by our minds eye.
Step Eleven requires that we quiet our minds to the point of open-ness and a child-like hopefulness that we are going to tap into our own supernatural gifts as well as communicate with our higher power.
Step Eleven teaches us that we need to seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand Him. However initially our understanding of God is marred by our emotional issue laced perceptions and an inability to see and hear with our higher mind.

We start by repeating a mantra so we can learn to focus on just one thing.Once we have practiced that for quite some time it is natural for our mind to move into a state of emptiness. Usually when we hit this phase of meditation a door will be presented to us that will appear as a symbol that we are comfortable with which represents our higher being. For me it is usually crosses and triangles that appear surrounded by blackness and stars.
Our door will appear to us usually surrounded by the Earths outer realm called the “In between” which holds other images we won’t want to focus on. And so we maneuver our mind through the door by focusing on it.
From here we can communicate with our higher power. We can astral travel to other realms or times. We can see visions and even great mysteries will be revealed to us.
DOES THIS MEAN WE ARE CRAZY OR DOES IT MEAN WE ARE GROWING SPIRITUALLY?

We are in the care of our Higher Power if we have done our Step Three therefore we need not fear the many different realms that may be dangerous or evil. I always pull out of any places that seem spiritually dangerous to me. Everything we need to seek and find God we already have within us.

MANKIND WILL ALWAYS TRY TO PUT SPIRITUALITY INTO A BOX LABELLED CARNALITY, meaning mankind tends to apply his/her own character defects to his spirituality. But don’t be too hard on us we can’t help it. I am sure you will see some prime examples of this in my own writings, I am not “all spiritual” and my mistakes do not stop me from continuing my writing and fighting the good fight.

If we do our Step Ten regularly and keep our side of the street clean we will be less likely to look for someone to blame and something to control. Not everything as a matter of fact very little is under our control therefore trying to keep things under control is as futile as thinking that we as the chairperson in AA control the meeting. Of this we are but facilitators just as we are only facilitators of our own actions and nothing more. Realizing this takes a huge burden off our shoulders.We sigh with relief because we need not judge anyone as “crazy” including ourselves.

We are not responsible for the human race we are only responsible for “me