Addicts, Alcoholics and Manipulation

THE FINE ART OF “MANIPULATION”

Most humans are skilled in the art of emotional manipulation even if we are unaware of it.  Thing is, we have learned controlling people works better through dishonest means rather than the honest approach.  Unfortunately that makes for sick relationships and a loss of Love.  And let’s face it AA and NA are full of dysfunctional relationships.  Unfortunately sick guidance is rampant in AA but it’s still one of the best ways to get sober.  That is, if you also seek God and get some empathic therapy along with it.  And absolutely read the Big Book for yourself and go to step study and same sex meetings.

One reason we do the 12 steps is so we can become aware of our character patterns both healthy and unhealthy.  Oftentimes active addicts have enablers who help us get our much desired dope and money.  We may feel reliant on enablers for something.  Therefore we often feel we must handle our enablers in a way they will react and behave as we want them to.  We are skilled in the art of getting a desired reaction from our “foe” per-say.

Continue reading “Addicts, Alcoholics and Manipulation”

“Bring Me the Horizon’s” Oli Sykes Interviews and Video

OLI SYKES: “Bollocks” to addiction’s, political correctness
Click here to SKIP COMMENTARY
I will be candid.  I never heard of this guy or his band “Bring me the Horizon’s”until today however, I like the way he thinks.  And what this title means (Bollocks) in England’s terminology is basically; “Screw addiction’s political correctness”

YES!  A man after my own heart.  He does not see addiction as a disease…for him anyway.  And even better he calls for a  “celebration of depression.”  He isn’t saying that depression is great and we should all band together and pray for more of it.  No, rather he is saying feel your feelings rather than trying to chronically fend them off and repress.  We need no longer fear our feelings but rather let them flow through us.  To do that we must accept them.  I can relate!  This theory is the foundation of healing.  Maybe that is why he doesn’t see addiction as a disease because he realizes YOU CAN HEAL AND MOVE ON.

Picture this, a large Martini glass 6ft tall, green olive, plastic sword, and lots of Vodka and Vermouth.  On the rim is me in a pink tutu, doing a balancing act.   A long balancing pole and 12 meetings a week are the only thing preventing my decent into the poignant liquid by which I would get an instant intoxication followed by a 12 hour ride to the same place I left on my sobriety date ten years ago.   SCREW THE DISEASE CONCEPT sorry folks I am not buying that pig to market.  Granted, disease is a safe concept for the first oh___say 6 or 7 years of healing but after that…if I still need 4 meetings a week then I have not learned to live the program of 12 steps and have barked I mean balked at outside help.  Please allow yourself to cry all the tears you stuffed down all those years of addiction.  Yes I am saying crying for two or three years pretty regularly, share, journal, make a God box  basically allow yourself some emotional diarrhea to heal.  Your heart is not a tough girl.

Oliver Sykes

The Interview on Video SEE HERE from APTV’s Ryan J. Downey

Musician Oli Sykes speaks about his critics- “They want you to say what’s in line with what their experience is like.  They say like, “How dare you say drug addiction is not a disease.”  I am telling you, it’s NOT, that’s what I think.  Addiction is not a disease!”  says Oli Sykes, perturbed that people are offended by his own experience.  He shared how he overcame his addiction to drugs and some people were offended because he believes addiction is NOT a disease.

Band “Bring Me the Horizon’s” Oli Sykes on Depression and Inspiration from Louis C.K.

Oliver says; “People have become so scared just to be alone with their feelings and their thoughts. And I realized that, for me, a massive part in sorting myself out was accepting what I’m feeling and just sort of letting myself experience it.  the whole album’s about the celebration of depression—not saying, ‘Yeah, it’s a good thing to be depressed,’ but that it’s better to accept depression rather than trying to block out the darkness. It’s about accepting it, accepting who you are, and accepting what life is.”

THE DAY THE SILENCE ENDS

 

It’s Time.

On October 4, 2015 in Washington, DC more than 600 organizations from around the world will gather in a show of solidarity and collective force. Together we can help the 22 million Americans with addiction, stand up for the 23 million more in recovery, and urgently act to save the 350 lives lost each day. The free event will feature live musical performances from Joe Walsh, Steven Tyler, Sheryl Crow, The Fray, Jason Isbell, Aloe Blacc, John Rzeznik and more!

https://www.facingaddiction.org/https://twitter.com/FacingAddiction?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

A Non-Theists View of AA

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE ARTICLE “The God of Coincidence.” TAKEN FROM AAagnostica website

According to the AAagnostica website most AAs believe in “a god of coincidence”  because God reveals It’s power in what seem to be coincidences yet AAs believe there are no coincidences.  Therefore when things happen just the way they are supposed to apparently God is working in our lives.

Tom P writes:       “The dominant AA creed I have found in meetings and in the Grapevine is that there is a God who is always with us, watching us, and He sometimes arranges coincidences that have good outcomes, or, if something bad happens, He allows it to happen in order to teach us important lessons, or because it leads to personal growth. ”          Yet, it seems that if members’ wish to belong to the AA club they adopt the dominant AA creed of the “God of Coincidence.” How else can you explain that otherwise intelligent and savvy people would discount the obvious explanation that coincidences are inevitable, and positive coincidences are more likely for those who are drug-free, grateful, willing, and working to overcome their selfishness. Just as members of a church accept the sect’s religious teachings in order to belong, and show this acceptance by professing their faith, members of AA seem to look for positive happenstances in their lives, and attribute them to God in order to (unconsciously of course) cement their feeling that they truly belong with AA      

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Member and Author Tom P calls himself a “non-theist” What is a non-theist?

Theist: God exists.
Nontheist: Prove it.

Seems that the Atheists just want to fit in and be a part of.  But the word “God” in the steps is eating their lunch.  And so they are fighting to start a group or a ‘sect’ of AA that isn’t rittled with mentions of God and The Higher Power.

One quote from AAagnostica site is this the  Definition of “Religion”:  “The biggest lie in human history. It has been responsible for more deaths in more wars than any.”

Tom P also wrote:

“Yet, we also want people to discover and embrace their true selves, and for some of us adopting the God of Coincidence, or labeling anything as a “Higher Power,”would be a self-betrayal. I love AA, it saved my life, and I have no Higher Power.”

Tom P. is a physician who spent twenty years working in mental health. Tom sees no evidence that the universe cares whether the Earth or us homo sapiens are here or not, but he also thinks that AA demonstrates the great good humanity can do when we hold hands, unite and take some responsibility for one another.

Tom also says:

“I wish I did not have to talk-around the Higher Power issue when I am sharing in meetings, to hide a part of myself. But then again, it has not been too hard for me to do. I have had a lifetime of practice.”

From the author:

Thanks to everybody for your positive comments. While I go to AA meetings, I actually feel more at home
and nurtured in Al-Anon. Among other things, there is less crosstalk, less fundamentalism, and a better
adherence to the principle of “take what
you want and leave the rest.” I don’t know if it will work for you, but it works for me.

I admit it still stings a little whenever the God issue comes up in meetings.   I have as much a need to belong as anybody does. One has to be careful, as some AAs will prompt you to just ignore feelings like this. Thankfully, I also have Adult Children of Alcoholics, where I can accept my feelings whatever they are, and get to know my true self.

TP

Comment Next comment Chris G on September 27, 2015 at 4:11 pm said: Mostly there is some parroting of “My HP guides me…” and so on, but I don’t engage.

READ ORIGINAL ARTICLE ‘THE GOD OF COINCIDENCE”

THANK GOD FOR THE PROGRAM OF A.A.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly…all of it.  Please don’t white wash A.A.  If Alcoholics Anonymous was perfect I would not fit in.

THANK GOD FOR THE PROGRAM OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS!

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

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

The 12 steps are still ordained of God and set down as a solution for the sick and suffering. In spite of the fact that Bill W. spent countless years suffering from depression and engaging in infidelity.  THE PROGRAM WORKS AND IT HAS SAVED Mine AND COUNTLESS LIVES.
The question that I personally had to ask myself as I stumbled into the rooms was “What do I need and can I get it here”. That answer was yes these people obviously knew and know how to stay sober and I desperately needed that.

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

I had a knack for speaking and I could present the steps like a pro. In AA you can learn and practice public speaking in front of hundreds of listeners free of charge.  I loved it!  I didn’t come to AA looking for perfection I came looking for a solution to my self destructive life patterns.

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

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

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

We AAers have that in common with the church folks.  Best if you are trying to stay sober to go to church, AA, AND THERAPY.  Go in spite of the imperfections that are part of the human condition.

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

THANK YOU ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS AND GOD

WHY AN A.A. MEMBER RESENTS THE HELL OUT OF A.A.

This is not an anti A.A. website, please randomly read any article and you will see that.  However XXX Anonymous is a friend of RFH and we have allowed her to vent in an article.  If you have some helpful feedback please post it at the bottom of the article.

AN AA MEMBER WRITES “WHY I RESENT THE HELL OUT OF A.A.”

 

My name is XXX Anonymous and I am an alcoholic.  I have struggled to stay sober for years.  I have tried and tried beating myself up all along the way.  Once I got ten years sober from an intense born-again spiritual experience in a church.  Well I am still born-again and love Christ but I have relapsed 8 times since that experience.  I am not trying to compare which is better church or AA because I have learned that 2 good things are 2 good things.  They don’t cancel each other out and they are not in a race or competition.  I also learned that the 3 things people use to stay sober are spirituality in what-ever way we can get it, therapy, and AA.  I do know that health issues can keep a person sober and “relationships” sometimes work.

Resentment

I got sober this time on April 18, 2015.  I know for a fact that I have exactly 100 days sober or 3 months 9 days sober, or  0.27 years sober due to the sobriety calculator on this site.  Big deal!  I do hate myself for not having more clean time!!!!  Well this is what happened.

BETRAYAL
I got a sponsor who helped me so much that I had nearly a year sober.  I brought her to my house and introduced her to my family and husband.  Come to find out she has a lesser secondary addiction called “SEX ADDICTION“.  Which okay  I don’t judge her for that but It really hurt me that my sponsor betrayed me like that.   I did fire her and get a new one.
Condemnation from my fellows

So I worked through the betrayal and then my doctor who knows I am an addict put me on a medication for pain.  I had a bad accident and the pain was causing me to stay in bed.  When I told one or two of my friends in the program about it they told others and then the whole group knew. (another betrayal)   If that wasn’t bad enough a women confronted me when I picked up my medallion.   She said “your not sober your on the prescription drug bla bla bla”.  I had no idea that drug addicts are known to abuse the drug my doctor put me on.

FAKE PEOPLE

I get tired of so many people in meetings pretending that their lives are the picture of serenity.  They never have any problems or struggles or emotional issues.  They get sober and then all is well and perfect.  That’s not the way that it is for me.  And I don’t believe it is for them either.  I know normal people who have day to day struggles.  I know alcoholics that have day to day struggles why do they think they have to portray a perfect life?  That makes me feel lesser than.  It makes me feel like something is wrong with me.   And I feel like the way that I work the 12 step program must be wrong because I do have difficulties and temptations and sad days and stress and anxiety.  Yes I have good days too and lots of them sober but I didn’t join AA so I could be a social icon who everyone wishes they were because I am perfect.  ridiculous that’s why I appreciate Recovery Farmhouse because it portrays real life recovery not some fake bullshit perfect life.  Work the steps once then its happy joyous and free all the time, right?

I SOMETIMES GET RESENTMENTS SO I GOT AN “F” ON MY RECOVERY TEST/REPORT CARD

Really?  The AA club I go to acts like if you ever get a resentment then you failed your test in recovery, you got an ‘F’ on your sobriety report card.  But really in real life everybody gets pissed off at people and has to pray for them until the resentment is finally gone.  So why do so many members want to make AA a place where you can’t be honest about short-comings or you will be dis-fellowshiped or labelled as spiritually un-fit?

That’s it.  These are the reasons I resent AA at the moment.  My sponsor says you can’t get recovery while you look down your nose at it.  She says pray for everyone and do a fourth step to figure out why I am mad at myself and God.

I WON’T LET THESE THINGS PUSH ME OUT OF A.A.

I still go to meetings.  I won’t stop because it’s the best thing I can do to stay sober and work the steps.  I keep  meeting new people so eventually maybe I will find people who don’t portray perfection and the perfect life.  Because in A,A. seems there are two types of people.  Perfect people, and totally worthless people.  Right now you see my problem?  These people don’t know the definition of balance.

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

I want to thank Laura Edgar for publish this article on her website.  She said that all aspects of A.A. are allowed on this website and no one will be excluded as long as they are in alignment with the “singleness of purpose” declaration which is “the only requirement for membership IS a desire to stop drinking.”  And to “carry the message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”  Thank God that Bill and Bob knew better than to make a bunch of membership requirements.  They were the right men for the job weren’t they,

By XXX Anonymous

 

Restless, Irritable, and Discontent

It’s Normal and Common To be Sad In Recovery For No Apparent Reason

Well the common consensus in AA is if your not happy, joyous, and free then it’s your own fault.  Your obviously not working the program right or you would be ecstatic with joy at least most of the time, right?  On the contrary,  many of us are so desperate to allow some of our long repressed grief to escape that we will latch-on to any sorrowful event no matter how far removed from us it really is, just to have something “valid” in the eyes of our fellows to grieve about. Please I need to let out some of this repressed emotional pain!

Someone dies in the program and we don’t even know them much more than a distant hello, but it’s an opportunity for a “valid” expression of grief so we grab onto it with the rest of our home-group who barely knew the guy.  Hey, maybe some of the people really are sad the fellow died…but I kinda doubt it.

WE DO NOT NEED A REASON TO LET OUT OUR PAIN. THERE DOES NOT HAVE TO BE A DEATH OR LOSS FOR US TO FEEL INTENSE EMOTIONAL HURT.  THE ONLY “VALID REASON” WE NEED TO EXPRESS PAIN IS, THERE ARE MANY THINGS WHILE  IN OUR ADDICTION WE SHOULD HAVE CRIED ABOUT AND DIDN’T.  THAT REPRESSED PAIN DOES NOT GO AWAY, IT NEEDS TO BE LET-OUT.  AND IF WE IDENTIFY THE CORE SOURCE OF OUR PAIN DURING THE VENTING AND EXPRESSION, THEN ALL THE BETTER FOR OUR HEALING.

In this human life there are many things to grieve over.  Sickness, disease, loneliness, emotional disorder, loss.  Please be kind to yourself.  If your heart is screaming to cry, we must not turn it to anger and criticism it does not get released or healed that way.    Rather, we have the steps to help us to be restored to emotional balance and peace of mind.

Quality emotional sobriety has many faces and sadness for no apparent reason is one of them.  Your not in recovery if you don’t feel hurt and sad or scared for no apparent reason.    Most of the people telling us we are supposed to be happy all of the time have no idea what emotional balance really looks or feels like.  Crying is a healthy emotion.  Grieving is a healthy emotion and there does not have to be a death for us to feel real grief.  Especially in recovery because many of us didn’t grieve or feel our pain while in addiction.  We stuffed it down and now that we are sober it is surfacing.  We may need to grieve when there is seemingly nothing going on except the fact that we are recovering from an emotional trauma. 

I am validating you now.  It’s OK to grieve when no one has died.  It’s OK to cry when we see no apparent reason.  We should honor our feelings.  Honor our heart when it talks to us.  We do not let our feelings rule over us or paralyze us.  but neither do we continue to ignore, deny, invalidate our own hearts cry.

HOW DO WE GRIEVE?

Healthy grieving will prevent morbid reflection because it gets the pain out.  Morbid reflection is when the negative tape won’t stop playing in our head.  Doing a fourth step on recurring memories works fabulously as does revisiting our Step 3.  “That’s right, God has my back and I am forgiven”.

To grieve, we cry, we write, we share our feelings with someone who WON’T SHUT US DOWN OR INVALIDATE OUR PAIN.  We grieve to the emphatic person who understands and won’t call our grieving a character defect like self-pity. A good cry can release many relaxing endorphin and the vital chemical dopamine.  A good cry can put our brain chemicals back on track.

Our Brain Will Heal

Don’t believe for a minute that your brain can’t be healed and create it’s own endorphin and dopamine.  I have read and heard it said but my experience is that feel good chemicals can go into over-drive in recovery.  Cut down on your smoking for a day or two and then see what happens when you do have say 4 cigarettes a day.  OMG!  Not to mention sex and orgasms are always best in early recovery from my experience.

If you don’t get the 2016 red Ford Mustang that you wanted and are throwing a hissy fit over it, well that would be self-pity.  but if you are feeling deep emotional pain and sorrow yet nothing is going on then write.  The core issues will surface.  Often when an emotional trauma from the past is surfacing we will have a recurring memory attached to the pain.  Normally we cast the thought aside but we should explore the thought instead.  Recurring memories are signalling us to do some work in that area of our past.  Were we wronged?  If it’s a memory from our childhood we should picture ourselves as a child, not as an adult who says “get over it!”  When we picture ourselves as a child then we have more understanding toward our feelings and what we may have gone through at a young age.  Then we can allow ourselves to cry over it.  We were harmed.  We were neglected emotionally.  Our parents most likely had no idea how to emotionally nurture us.  It doesn’t mean they didn’t love us dearly.

We can’t heal while we stay in defensive mode

PLEASE, THERE IS A REASON WE HAVE BEEN TRYING TO NUMB OUR FEELINGS FOR YEARS ON END.  IT DOESN’T MEAN WE ARE BAD OR OUR PARENTS ARE BAD.

If we stay defensive of everything and every one we will never get to our core issues because we will be too busy trying to shoot down any semblance of guilt in us or the adults who raised us.  We cannot see clearly when we are too busy holding walls up around us which are blocking our view of truth.  Truth is our healer.  Truth is our friend.  Unlike our past, in recovery the lie becomes the enemy and truth becomes our protector.  The lie doesn’t protect us it harms us.  Character defects do not protect us from others but rather they shut out Love and Truth which are the magic gifts of recovery.  Truth and Love are spiritual gifts, they are magic.

I used to think that character defects hurt others.  That if I engaged in them it would hurt other people.  But character flaws hurt me first and foremost.

Please self-pity is not the same as valid emotion.  Self-pity is pouting over not getting our way.  I know it is so similar to authentic pain of loss that many AA’s really don’t know the difference.  But if you do the journalling you will quickly find out what is really going on with your heart.  Many times the pen is like magic.  It reveals our reasons for grief and sadness.

Lastly

Being afraid is part of the human condition and that’s why there is a “fear list” (Which most members don’t even include in their fourth step) included in the fourth step, and don’t forget your sexual inventory.  Please don’t believe the steps are only done one time and then the work is over.  A fourth step should be done every time we get a taste of misery, deep emotional pain and resentment.  AA is strong in dealing with our own faults and wrongs.  But many of us have suffered whether at the hand of a loving or a cruel adult.  So if we have no resentment attached to our pain then we write down the even, what happened, and how it made us feel.  We can use an empty chair and imagine our assailant or abuser is in that chair.  Then we tell them how they made us feel.  We can write them a letter that we need not send.  But the letter will relieve us of boxed in feelings toward the person.

After all…its hard for me to imagine a child with a healthy emotional rearing to resort to self-destruction and self-hate and loathing because of their wonderful childhood.  If you don’t know the ‘why’ you became an addict you are missing a large part of what recovery is.

Many times a simple look at our family tree will answer many questions for us.

The question “why” is the beginning of knowledge and knowledge is the primary tool linking us to wisdom.

 

Is AA Really Spiritual NOT Religious

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

– Aldous Huxley

http://aaagnostica.org/2012/05/27/the-courts-aa-and-religion/?subscribe=success#blog_subscription-2

While our pre-conceived notions are ripped to shreds by Linda R’s factual, and informative article we may take solace in the truth that our rock, AA IS A SPIRITUAL PROGRAM.   This, in spite of the high courts multiple rulings that AA is in fact a religious program.   “Spirituality” is not a contradiction of religion.  And religion does not mean non-spiritual and bad.   One thing for certain, in A.A. we choose, seek, and find our own Higher Power.  Whether it’s by our sponsor introducing God to us or by receiving a revelation and white light experience through prayer and meditation or we simply reconnect with the God of our parents we still make a choice of who our Higher Power is.   Our AA belief system is very different from dogmatic religion in that way.

However, the question has arisen in some of the highest courts of our nation whether or not A.A. is religious.  And it has come up for good reason, the separation of church and state.  Parolees do not want to be forced into a religious AA program  against their constitutional rights.  This separation of church and state is a fundamental aspect of US law, known as the Establishment Clause, and is explicated in the first amendment to the US Constitution, which states

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

By Linda R.

Inside AA, one hears members frequently repeat the well-known phrase “AA is spiritual, not religious.” AA takes pride in saying it’s not religious. But what do outsiders, such as the court systems, think about AA’s claim?

In the ten year period between 1996 and 2007, five high-level US courts — three federal circuit courts and two state supreme courts – did take a long and hard look at AA’s claim. Each of these cases involved a person who was being forced to participate in AA meetings, either as a condition of their parole or probation, or while actually incarcerated. These cases reached the highest level of judiciary scrutiny — only one level below the US Supreme Court — because they involved the critical issue of separation of Church and State. This separation is a fundamental aspect of US law, known as the Establishment Clause, and is explicated in the first amendment to the US Constitution, which states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

The parolees, probationers and inmates in each of these cases claimed that the State was using its power to force them to participate in a religious activity. They claimed that AA meetings were religious. Thus, their required attendance was a violation of the Establishment Clause, which requires governmental neutrality with respect to religion and a wall of separation between Church and State.

read more from “aaagnostica.org” by Linda R.

The Four Stages of Early Sobriety

From “The Adventures of Sober Senorita”

 

JOIN IN THE SOBER FUN LADIES!

This is not a “Recovery Farmhouse” original article.  But it’s a very interesting topic for recovery.  Pretty sure you can find the writer’s name somewhere at the link of the sober senority. https://sobersenorita.com/2015/08/20/the-4-stages-of-early-sobriety/

Lately I’ve been receiving a ton of messages and emails from my readers about early sobriety. I realize that many of us contemplate sobriety for months, or even years, before we decide to take the leap and make a change. Before we do, we want to know exactly what it’s going to be like and what’s going to happen when we get sober. I’m sure that’s why a lot of you read my blog in the first place. You want to know – is getting sober possible? Is it enjoyable? What is everyday life going to be like? Well, to briefly answer those questions, early sobriety is different from years of sobriety, as I am quickly learning at 2 years and 3.5 months sober. I think early sobriety can easily be broken down into 4 realistic stages which I will detail for you below…….READ MORE

Trust in God – Sharon’s Story about Crystal Meth Addiction Recovery

More from http://mormonchannel.org/12steps
http://www.mormonchannel.org/12steps   This is the link to all 12 of the videos that the Mormon channel has recently put out.  They are getting allot of attention in the press.  Apparently they are very down to earth real stories of real people, their bottom and their recovery from all different kinds of addiction.

Here’s the link to the really good and helpful video. FOOD FOR THOUGHT AA EMOTIONAL SOBRIETY TOM P

__________________________________________________________

We must never give up hope.  In all things give thanks.  I have been ungrateful for the things I have.  For that I repent, where does that get me other than anger and resentment.  And so once again I accept that God is in charge and I trust, trust, trust, that He, She, It, has my best interests at heart.

Frank Duffy’s Poem “DEPRESSION”

See more of Franks poems here:  FRANK DUFFY’S POEMS

DEPRESSION

I woke up with my friend depression
I went to see my therapist for a skull session
He asked me do you have any aggression
I told him aggression is not my only obsession
Without a profession its easy to get caught in any obsession
So when I am feeling blue I try to be happy and think of you
But my old friend depression is very sly
Sometimes it wont even let me try
But I am not giving up, I will not die
I will keep on going I am going to try
There is always hope if I don’t give in
As long as I don’t pick up booze and dope!
I will not die, so my old friend depression
Why do you even try

WHY PEOPLE RUN FROM A.A.

        

AA IS A PROGRAM OF ATTRACTION RATHER THAN PROMOTION

IF WE WANT TO STAY SOBER WE MUST BE WILLING TO BECOME TEACHABLE

Why would people who need help so badly run from the very program that has helped so many with the same malady? Without the ingredient of ‘desperation’ the alcoholic addict will try anything except giving up and signing over power to a sponsor and A.A.
What would keep me from being teachable?
1. FALSE PRIDE AND SHAME-, False pride tells me that if I don’t know literally EVERYTHING then I am stupid, wrong, and bad. False pride says that only the most brilliant people are qualified to teach me anything. Working the steps and getting a sponsor curtails the lies my psyche is telling me to keep me sick.
2. . TRUST ISSUES Clearly I can’t get a sponsor because everyone is out to get me. The world revolves around my belly button therefore the world wants to know my fifth step and if I get a sponsor, he will sell tickets to the opening night show. “Mickey’s Fifth Step on Parade”. Yikes! However, realize this; there are only so many deadly sins. Seven to be exact. Most people’s step five are pretty much the same…boring sex, wrath, thieving, and the like.
3. FEAR OF COMMITMENT Omg! In my past addiction I made so many appointments that I could not keep. I am now gun-shy of commitment. I use words like ‘maybe’, ‘probably’, ‘most likely’ but never ‘yes I will be there’. Commitment is hard for me because of my past failures to keep them. The good news is now I am so desperate to get sober that I WILL KEEP MY APPOINTMENTS WITH MY SPONSOR NO MATTER WHAT. In addition, by doing that I am walking through the fear and building my self-worth. I am working the good principles and that magically feeds recovery to my soul.
4. FEAR OF BEING CONTROLLED BY OTHERS I used to hand over power to my partners to make them feel good so I could get what I wanted from them. After they made my choices for me (so I would not have to fear the outcome), they would put me on a time clock. Where are you going? What time will you be back? Whom are you going with? etc., etc. After a while, I would snatch back the power I had turned over. My codependent dance partner would then suffer from intense anger and lash out at me as if I had done something terrible. Won’t a sponsor do the same thing? Won’t the same sick dance take place? Fortunately not. Sponsors know we only suggest, we do not control our sponcees. We suggest to them what worked for us. It is my choice whether I do what is suggested therefore I reap the good consequences of my new actions.
5. ‘FEAR OF RELIGION’ . Religion told me that I am bad and going to Hell. I believed it. I was young and innocent yet they told me of a place of suffering and despair. Moreover, since I was bad, spilled my milk, and made an F on my report card they said I would surely be sent to the lowest pit in the underground skyscraper called “Hell”. I cannot bear to be terrorized by religious views anymore. AA must not be religious, we are a spiritual program. Step 11 proves that we are a spiritual not religious program of choice. There is no Hell in our Big Book.
6. THE FEELING I AM GOING TO LOSE SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT TO ME. My addict is scared to death of not having the drugs that worked to suppress my fears and emotional pain for so long. NOW MY DOPE HAS STOPPED WORKING. I have hit a brick wall. I drank and drugged repeatedly so many times I nearly killed myself. Therefore, I walk through the fear and distrust. I muddle though the past betrayal, I walk in the rooms, shrouded in shame and I say with all my heart; I am Mickey and I want to change, I can’t go on like I am, please show and teach me how to recover.

     HERE ARE THE NINTH STEP PROMISES THAT DO COME TRUE WHEN WE WORK THE STEPS HONESTLY AND THOROUGHLY   

   THE NINTH STEP PROMISES

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through.  We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.  We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.  We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.  No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.  That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.  We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.  Self-seeking will slip away.  Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change.  Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.  We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.  We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

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

 

Read a similar article by Martha Lockie)

Tom B “Emotional Sobriety”

Tom B video on Emotional Sobriety and Recovery from Alcoholism
Published on May 28, 2013
Awesome share by one of the best AA speakers, Tom B. This is perhaps the BEST talk on the topic of “emotional sobriety” I have ever heard! MUST LISTEN! :) From the book Alcoholics Anonymous: “In spite of the great increase in the size and span of this Fellowship, at its core it remains simple and personal. Each day, somewhere in the world, recovery begins when one alcoholic talks with another alcoholic, sharing experience, strength, and hope.”

Here’s the link to the really good and helpful video. Tom B AA Video

12 Steps and (the right) Therapy Go Hand In Hand

Thank God for AA and Empathic Therapy

“We are convinced that a spiritual mode of living is a most powerful health restorative. …But this does not mean that we disregard human health measures. … though God has wrought miracles among us, we should never belittle a good doctor or psychiatrist. Their services are indispensable in treating a newcomer and in following his case afterward.” [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, p. 133]

HAVING WRITTEN THAT…..

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Me and a group of recovering addicts/alcoholics had the opportunity to participate in group therapy from a brilliant ground-breaking therapist and writer in the field of “Trauma and Recovery”.   Randall Mayrovitz is employed at Meridian Healthcare, Bridgehouse Rehabilitation Center.  The  therapy took place in 2006, our little group of women are still to this day sober and very much emotionally healed.  And thanks to the 12 step program spiritually fed.  Our commonality besides addiction is we women had suffered from abuse and neglect, of different types and different extents.

Please, we all love AA and still go on the most part.  We believe deeply in the working of the steps.  However, each of us women believe in our heart of hearts that without learning what Randy taught us in group, we would not have made it.  The pain was much too deep to be healed by looking only at “our part” in matters.

Learning our own patterns of dysfunction was a large part of recovery.  But do we shut down the tears of a five year old who is black and blue from the fist of a parent?   Do we send him off with an assignment to write down his part in the abuse?  An abused child now an adult does not grown out of needing comfort, care, and an understanding and loving hand to say,  “I feel your pain, its safe to cry.”   An abused child suffers and until that child is taught a way to heal they will be sick and continue to suffer.  Outside issue you say?  Well in some ways yes.  But also for us it is the issue.  Causes and conditions, the reason we (not all) drank and drugged was to bury feelings we could not bear.  Addiction is a shame based malady with fear at the helm and anger spewing from the rudder.  If addiction were or is solely a spiritual malady then we must all have a demon dwelling in us.  For us spirituality is the remedy but the sickness is very much emotional coupled with a lack of spirituality.  In my opinion.

Randall

EMPATHIC RECOVERY STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

We come together as survivors of painful life experience seeking a place to heal our wounds.  We’ve reached a point in our recovery where interventions aimed at symptomatic relief no longer satisfy us.  We recognize the revolving door of symptom substitution and feel the weight of something deeper.

While our symptoms and circumstances may vary, the end product of our trauma is the same: frozen feelings bottled inside because it was too unsafe to feel.  It was our natural inborn impulse to express these feelings in order to heal and grow.  Their suppression has created a powerful negative energy, driving us to emotional, physical, and spiritual illness and destructive behaviors.

Through each other’s empathic support and understanding, we hope to be able to restore our life flow, the inner force that guides us toward vitality and well being, compelling us to feel our darkest pain in order to recapture our deepest pleasure.  In so doing, we will slowly render unhealthy coping mechanisms useless, giving expression to old and new feelings and healing our wounds one piece at a time.

I will be publishing more from the Empathic Healing Workbooks that we were given at Bridgehouse

The Healing Journey

Embracing The Storm

Empathic Relashionships

A.A. SOBRIETY TOOLS

Start by including God in your recovery, pray pray pray.  Give thanks and ask for guidance and help.

If I can’t stay sober long enough to go to a meetings then go to detox and rehab for a minimum of 30 days.

90 meetings in 90 days to jump-start my recovery.

Do a daily meditation reading in the morning

End your day with prayer and thanks

Get a sponsor keep asking till someone says yes.

Do at least one thing every day for my recovery.

Take the cotton out of my ears and put it in my mouth to become teachable.

Work the 12 steps with a sponsor out of the 12 and 12 book but start with prayer.

Read the Big Book and go to step study meetings

God to gender meetings

Start chairing meetings at 30 days sober.

Call someone in recovery every day and tell them how I am doing

Go to the jails and tell my story

Go to detox and rehab and tell my story.

Call my sponsor

Get a support group going on-you can acquire one by going to rehab and joining group discussion therapy.  Or reaching out in AA and getting phone numbers.   Keep calling people till they answer.

Go over in meditation all the good things you are doing for your recovery.

start a meeting

go to a business meeting and vote

Join a committee and be a group representative of some sort.

Be kind to yourself, no more speaking unkindly to yourself or self criticisms.  You are doing the best you can with what you have been given.  Do a family tree and you will realize you have been hard on yourself.

Keep it simple

Play it through (before you do drink remember where it will take you all the way till the next days hangover, regret and remorse.)

Join a AA Facebook group

 

Sober Relationships (part 2) A Man’s Perspective

Relationships and Early Recovery by Fred Hundt

 

When I came into recovery, carried into the Psych Ward for my threats against myself and others, I felt as alone as I’d ever been in my life.  My girlfriend was done with me, I’d alienated most of my friends and my main relationship problem was that I didn’t have any.  I had to face the fact that, for the first time in my life, no one was going to “rescue” me.  I had to face my addiction and my demons and I needed to accept help honestly rather than manipulating people and situations.

 

In early sobriety I heard the AA maxim of not getting into a new relationship for at least a year.  I didn’t understand it then, but listened to my sponsor’s advice to take things slowly, earning my way back into my girlfriend’s life with my behaviors, not promises.  He also warned me against turning meeting camaraderie with women in the program into anything more. 

 

Looking back, I’m grateful for the AA approach and my sponsor’s “Easy Does It” advice.  In early sobriety I needed to build a relationship with me.  I’d been avoiding myself through alcohol for years.  I had to learn to face myself, spend time with myself and, eventually, even begin to like myself.  I also needed to build a close working relationship with my Higher Power.  I learned to talk to my HP through daily prayer, to connect through meditation and to listen to the quiet voice of Spirit within.  Building those two relationships was a full time job…I couldn’t have given them the attention they needed if I had been involved in a romantic relationship.

 

I watch newcomers in the rooms get involved in relationships and I see the roller coaster rides they take.  I remember that in my early sobriety I needed less drama, not more.  I’d had plenty of it in my last few drinking years.  I needed the calm and quiet of those months to learn about serenity and how to achieve and maintain it in my life.

 

Part of what I realized about myself in early recovery is that I was a “taker,” not a “giver.”  As much as I tried to wrap my behavior in noble motives, I had always looked at relationships entirely from the point of view of what I could get from them.  I always expected that the “next” woman would save me, would make things all right.  When that didn’t happen, I pulled away.  I usually didn’t even have the courage to break up.  I would just make myself emotionally unavailable until she broke up with me.  That allowed me to play the victim or the martyr.  I didn’t know how to have an honest relationship!  If I had pursued a new relationship in early recovery, I’m certain that I would have defaulted back to my old behavior.  Falling back in the part of my life would have risked relapse, too.

 

Over months (and years) of sobriety, parts of the program began to sink in.  I began to learn humility and thought of myself less.  I began to focus on how I could serve others without expecting anything in return.  I learned that I could be honest with my Higher Power and with the people in my life.  Today I have a wonderful relationship with the woman who had “written me off” that night I went to the Psych Ward.  I’m grateful each day for the opportunity to serve her and for the simple joy it brings me.  I can’t give anyone else relationship advice, but can share that the AA program has worked for me in this and all areas of my life.

WHAT IS AFFIRMATIVE CONSENT?

NEW SEXUAL LAWS ON THE HORIZON!

Bottom line- the law makes light of a brutal crime and patronizes rape victims!

For students only

I recently encountered some info about an up-and-coming sex law. It is aimed at college students and administrative policies at colleges starting in California.    If the bill is passed, colleges must use the legislature’s definition of consent in their sexual assault policies or risk losing state funding for student financial aid.

WHAT IS AFFIRMATIVE CONSENT?

“The legislation, which was introduced as a direct response to the current sexual assault crisis on college campuses, defines consent as an “affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity” every step of the way.”

   Quote from affirmativeconsent.com Affirmative consent’ means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.

What ‘Affirmative Consent’ Actually Means

 A proposed bill in California that would require college students to obtain explicit consent before proceeding with a sexual encounter is sparking controversy over whether that standard can actually work in practice. The legislation, which was introduced as a direct response to the current sexual assault crisis on college campuses, defines consent as an “affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity” every step of the way. There are some concerns that’s much too broad.

 The Affirmative Consent Standard

 The Affirmative Consent Standard states that the person who initiates sexual contact must receive a VERBAL YES (affirmative consent) from the other person before engaging in any sexual activity — and that consent must be ongoing throughout the sexual encounter.

  “No Means No” Isn’t enough. We Need Affirmative Consent Laws to Curb Sexual Assault. “

End of the pro affirmative consent viewpoints

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 What Recovery Farmhouse thinks of this potential Campus Law

I think Cathy Young hit the nail on the head when she said: “this approach to sexual safety is absolutely out of touch with reality.”  I ask,  what will we do carry a tape recorder during our sex or a video to prove that we got the YES YES AND YES from our adult sexual partner so we don’t get charged with rape.

Consensual sex is not the problem what these people (at affirmativeconsent.com) are essentially trying to do is fix something that’s not broken and profit from it a-long the way.  They are totally side-stepping any real solution to forced sex.  Even worse they are making lite and emotionally minimizing  a literally deadly and serious topic as if it were some kind of fun game toy.

I overheard John Chauncey the brain storm so called “activist” behind the idea up close and personal on July 13th, 2015.  He wasn’t ashamed to say aloud so the whole room could hear that the reason he started his activist movement is mainly because he wants to be a millionaire.   Which hey, I want to be a millionaire too but I am not hiding behind some do-gooder facade that I can’t relate to at all.  Yep he wants the money and he is using the law, legislation and his new website to do just that.    He is riding on the backs of real rape victims as if he can relate to their horrible plight trivializing and insulting what deadly violent rape is really about.

Check out the t-shirts and condom kits for sale on his site.  He is not a rape victim, his hearts clearly not in the cause and if it were, I think his approach would be much different.

Just a couple possible scenarios, this pending law could be so easily manipulated to be used by the disgruntled and rejected girl-friends or the girl who willingly had sex, gets pregnant then has to prove to daddy she was raped.  No problem her sex partner didn’t bring his tape recorder with him, you got him by the gonies.   Subsequently she can very easily ruin not only her baby-daddy’s education but his up and coming career as well  thanks to this handy new law.  This is one of those rules that will be used against the innocent rather than the guilty.

This legislative ideal is immature even by recovering addicts standards and we usually have stunted our emotional maturity from the point we started our using.

The up side?

For an addict to communicate with their sexual partner is an emotional plus in the growth category.  We encourage our newcomers in AA to mutually define their relationships and to keep communication open in all relationship categories.  However, once hormones are flaring body language is more than enough.  Understanding when a man or women wants to be with us is simple body language 101 come on law-makers.  There are no clearer words than a women who pulls you closer or pushes you away.    The problem is rarely if ever truly this: “I misunderstood her body language my dad taught me that no means yes.”  Right!  Clearly even the lowest IQ can feel and understand well sexual rejection, no words are needed for that.  Even two adults who speak different languages can communicate and understand well what they are saying to each other during romance.  No dialect is needed much less a tape recorder and over-communication.

Rejection hurts and it penetrates us all the way to our soul.  We often carry it around for life.   So how is it these people think that it’s a lack of communication that is the cause of the campus rape crisis?  Really?  Oh gee judge I raped her because I mis-understood her, seriously?  Ok granted there are those that would use this defense in court but is there anyone that would believe it?  So why on earth do they see communication as a solution to rape?

The only students that would abide by this campus law would never rape a women anyway.  Its like invoking a law to announce at the bank entrance that no potential bank robbers will be permitted to carry weapons beyond the door.  And then making each law abiding citizen sign an affidavit at the door that they won’t bring weapons in.

Discipline is the only thing that a rapist understands.  Fear of being locked up and losing it all, a rapist understands that.  Security and strictly enforced rape laws will work.  This mamby-pamby affirmative consent rule will most likely end up being the most ridiculous and made-fun-of legislation since the laws forbidding Bingo games to last more than 5 hours, or the law in N. Carolina against selling one’s eyeballs.  Yep there’s one in every crowd.

http://thefederalist.com/2014/10/06/women-risk-losing-discretion-in-push-for-affirmative-consent/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/06/23/you-are-a-rapist-yes-you/

http://cognoscenti.wbur.org/2014/09/15/campus-rape-college-sex-wendy-kaminer

SOBER SEX

SEX IN EARLY RECOVERY

(link to Big Book page 68-71 sexual inventory)
“BIG BOOK SEXUAL INVENTORY PAGE 69” (see in pop up)
Open a popup window

“We do not want to be the arbiter of anyones sex conduct” pg 69 Big Book.   (a*r*b*i*t*e*r-a person who settles a dispute or has ultimate authority in a matter.)

“We do not want to be the arbiter of anyones sex conduct”, so it states in the Big Book and rightly so!   Translation:  Unless someone asks for advice don’t give it.   We thank you for that clarification Bill Wilson.  BUT a big BUT!  It just so happens that  sex is a hot topic in and out of the rooms and “not being an arbiter”  doesn’t mean we can’t read and talk about what sober sex is all about.   In accordance with the 12 Steps of AA (the good and righteous principles) we  should live by truth, respect, humility, faith, hope, Love, charity and more,

BUT WHAT ARE THE PRINCIPLES? (click here for complete principles of AA)

Core Spiritual Principles of the Program:  Willingness, Open-mindedness, Honesty

AA’s Code:  Love and Tolerance of Others

Gratitude, Acceptance, Love, Honesty, Tolerance, Unselfishness, Strength, Serenity, Giving, Fortitude, Faith, Brotherhood, Service, Understanding, Courage, Wisdom, Humility, self-forgetting,  compassion, Love, kindness,  persistence, faith, hope, wisdom, harmony, willingness, fair minded, Good Judgment, Courage, Humility, Sincerity, Forthright, Generous, Prudence, Serenity, Patience, long-suffering, Admission of Defeat.

Sober Sex

Ok these are all wonderfully spiritual qualities.  And theses virtues are what Step 12 service work is all about…except, from what I have learned we don’t  do step 12 service work to help others as much as we do it to help ourselves.   We do step 12 to keep us sober, another “rightly so”.  If we don’t take care of our sobriety first then we are no good to anyone and certainly no good in a lasting intimate relationship  if we go full blown addict again.

Rule #1 Get to know a potential partner

Get to know this person way before you even think about having sex with them.  Do not say I love you, do not move in with them, do not get engaged, do not profess we are soul mates until at least absolute bare minimum of 90 days.  He/She could turn out to be a psycho maniac controlling hostage taker.  Or he could be the 13th step king of the club and as soon as you sleep with him he intends to mark you off as a conquered foe.   He has no intention of seeing you again after you comply.  After you make the choice to give your precious body once…he will move on to the next conquest.  And that is his prerogative and your choice.

We are building our self-esteem presently not looking to tear it down.    To this sportsman you are just his secondary addiction.  There’s one like him in every AA Group and it doesn’t mean that you are a victim.  We make our choices and if we choose to sleep with a man of this caliber we are an adult and it is our choice.  WE ARE NOT VICTIMS when he kicks us to the curb.

These type serial sex junkies are not a good choice for us even if all we want is sexual satisfaction because they don’t respect anyone that will sleep with them that makes the encounter kinda dysfunctional.

And lets not be too hard on him ladies.  He is scared to death of commitment and he is also afraid if you get to know him too well you won’t like him much.  Rejection is tough and it scars us all.  The survival skills we have developed tend to look kinda mean and selfish but all they really are underneath is hurt.

So get to know the person you are attracted to.  Find out if they are someone who is kind.  find out if you have anything in common.  Talk about everything and anything.  Does he believe in God like I do?  What is his past like?  Find out how he treats his X.  The healthiest X’s neither hate each other nor do they still sleep with each other, they have moved on and forgiven one another.

Jumping into relationship commitments such as moving in and saying I love you before the first 90 day probationary period is typical people-addiction behavior.  Again if we “need” a relationship then we are not ready for one.

GET TESTED

Rule #2 If you want to sleep with me you will have to get tested and show me the results on paper.  If you can’t resist sex in the mean-time absolutely use a condom especially if you haven’t gotten your own results in yet.  You could be committing murder.

DEFINE YOUR RELATIONSHIP

Rule #3 Walk through the Fear-Show Self-Respect and mutual respect.  The fear of rejection is big in early recovery.     Actually not just early recovery it’s a prime characteristic of alcoholics.   But to stick with the principles we must communicate our desires to our new or potential sex partner.  Again we should not be needy, if we are needy we are not ready to date.  These days sex kills so monogamy and sexual commitment are things that are not so far fetched even on the first date.

It feels awkward but, ARE YOU COMFORTABLE SLEEPING WITH A MAN (or woman) WHO  INTENDS TO SLEEP  AROUND WHILE HE/SHE SLEEPS WITH YOU AS WELL?  My support group asked me that question when I started dating in my first year.  I surprised myself with a big HELL NO!  Sexual commitment is not marriage, it’s not going steady and it’s not a way to control someone or take them hostage. It doesn’t mean I love you.   A sexual monogamous commitment with a partner in this day and age is for safety and mutual respect and consideration.  It means that while we two are dating if he or I decide we want to sleep with other people we will have enough respect for each other to tell the other partner before we sleep around.

Remember it takes assertiveness to be candid and reveal who we are with complete truthfulness.  Doing this the first time will be hard because of the fear of rejection.  Having a support group is so important to back you up on doing the right thing until you get used to standing on your own two feet in a place of principled morality and Loving respect for yourself and others.

Even Oprah talks about “defining our relationship” its not just a recovery thing.

Work Your AA Program First

GO HOME AT NIGHT, AND KEEP GOING HOME AND GO HOME NO MATTER HOW BAD WE MAY WANT TO FALL INTO SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE WE ARE building a new and sober life.  We are finding out who we really are.  And we are also re-creating who we are.  It’s best if we can live alone to grow spiritually for a year or so before we commit to sharing our life with someone else.

The window to recovery is open for you now.  Now is your time.  It will be easier now than it will every be.  Get to a meeting and meet some new friends.

Life will be good!

SOON TO COME “A MANS PERSPECTIVE ON EARLY RECOVERY AND SOBER SEX”

I am currently looking for a sober man 4 years plus to write this article to the men new to recovery.

 

 

 

 

 

On Buprenorphine in Recovery?

(Buprenorphine facts are taken from physician desk reference and the Suboxone.com website and the pamphlet that Subutex/Suboxone distributes.   And other various research reference sites online. )

FINGER POINTING AND FALSE COMPARISONS

It has come to my attention that the belief systems running through NA and even AA are that if your on any kind of pain drug from your doctor or even a rehabilitation maintenance type drug such as buprenorphine then your “not clean & sober”.  What I want to do here today is take a fair and balanced look at this issue and define what sobriety or clean and sober really is.  I also want to take a look at each of a few drugs and point out the differences in how they do affect a person trying to rehabilitate from an abusive and addicted lifestyle.

What is the cure?

Firstly and foremost I want to say, and this trumps anything following that I have written.  You have to feel if you want to heal.  Therefore in recovery we must be able to do the steps with our entire emotions invested in the process for it to work.  When we stop drinking and drugging there is a natural process of emotions in us that surface in perfect order.  Stuff comes up from the past that we have ignored or stuffed down  and repressed by using drugs and ignoring our emotions.  If we are still numbing ourselves out we won’t be able to heal 100% by addressing our underlying issues and processing those issues.

ALCOHOL AND DRUGS ARE BUT A SYMPTOM OF AN UNDERLYING ISSUE OR SICKNESS

Emotional disorder- is the inability to process our feelings.  We, I tend to stuff down and put into denial my intense feelings of FEAR in the form hurt, anger, betrayal, abandonment, rejection, and the big one inferiority.

First I want to point out that addiction is due to underlying causes such as emotional and mental disorders.  Some people think the disease is in our  DNA and hereditary they may be right.   But I believe it’s a learned behavior and the sex, drugs, gambling, food, alcohol are a solution to our deep fear, anxiety, and depression.   The drugs eventually stop working and our cure becomes lethal to us.  If we were emotionally balanced we wouldn’t need the steps the program or even God until our death…then we better have a relationship built with a Higher Power that can deliver us from death because we are all headed that way dope or no dope.

PEOPLE GET INJURED, SICK AND NEED PAIN MEDICINES FROM THE DOCTOR

We can be so sick or injured that if we don’t take our medicine our quality of life will be way worse than if we don’t. We mustn’t judge others for taking pain meds.   Come what may some day karma may tap us on the shoulder with some excruciating and chronic pain from a sudden injury.  To thine own self be true.  We are not martyrs.

I think if a man does have to take pain meds he has a better chance at recovery if it’s later rather than sooner.  Once you have six years under your belt sober I personally believe we don’t think with an addict mind anymore therefore we have a much better chance at following the doctors orders in sobriety.

 

WHAT IS CLEAN & SOBER?

Step One “We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol (drugs) and our lives had become unmanageable.”

If there is an absence of un-manageability then ones life is manageable.  If there is an absence of powerlessness then there is no issue…is there?  Just like a gun can be used for a good purpose to protect our families they can also be used to murder and mame.  A product in and of itself is not evil it is mans use of that product which defines weather it is good or evil.  Even Heroin, morphine and cocaine  are used for good purposes in hospital settings.  And don’t think hospitals don’t use Cocaine I had jaw surgery and know better.  They put cocaine on a long q-tip and went from nasal to throat cleaning it out.

Heroin; some scientists proclaim is a much better pain killer than Morphine however due to the prejudices and stigmas attached to it they use Morphine instead.  If one labels an inanimate object “evil” just because someones use of it makes it evil that is called a prejudice.  We can be prejudiced in our minds over any people, places, and things.

If I am addicted to pornography then the computer is my evil catalyst where-as if a scientist posts the cure for cancer on his science blog and it is used around the world then the computer is a wonderful tool that saves lives.  These examples tend to apply to anything.  Chocolate cake at a 5 year olds birthday party is something he will enjoy and look back on all his life.  How his mother nurtured him emotionally with her positive attention.  And yet to the obese man a chocolate cake is the evil which can kill him.  Sugar is actually poison which WILL kill him.

Pot or Marijuana to some people is their evil.  They abuse it relentlessly.  Others do not.  Hear me OTHERS DO NOT.  Just because someone can’t take narcotics without abusing them doesn’t mean they can’t smoke pot responsibly.  Pot is a drug that can be used reasonably in recovery in my opinion as long as you are not smoking it abusively and soberly work the 12 step program with a sponsor.  Go to meetings 90 and 90 and all the other stuff suggested.

HYPOTHETICAL:  MARIJUANA

Say Johnny smokes some weed at night and then he goes during the day to meetings and works the steps.  He is also seeking God with his heart and getting group therapy.  He doesn’t smoke pot during or before his recovery appointments.  He has stopped crack smoking and every other hard drink and drug he was doing.  Please don’t tell Johnny he is not sober he is doing great and so much better than he was.  He is a father to his children he is home at night.  And don’t forget he has been on dope pretty much all his life.  Having a cushion to keep his rage in check till he can work through his emotional issues is a plus.  Don’t ask Johnny to go on anti-depressants just so he can be legal.  Pot works for Johnny and is soon to be legal where he lives.   Do you think that smoking cigarettes is a healthy recovery thing to do?  Yet cigarettes are accepted among NA and AA members and don’t cancel out your recovery.  Why would pot cancel -out your recovery if Nicotine doesn’t?  Why would we judge Johnny as “not sober”, he doesn’t smoke cigarettes which are a drug also.  Cigarettes are an unfair status-quo in the rooms.  Cigarettes will kill you quick and are far more harmful than Marijuana if it’s smoked occasionally and not abusively.  Most cigarette smokers smoke way too much but yet they are considered sober.  And they are sober just not perfectly sterilized sober.  Bill Wilson our co-founder of A.A. died from cigarette addiction as a matter of fact in the form of He died from emphysema and pneumonia.  Why am a telling you this?  To point out that even the best of the best have secondary addictions.  For me it’s the internet and food.  None of us are truly qualified to harshly judge others.

BUPRENORPHINE (SUBOXONE, SUBUTEX)

I have know people that used buprenorphine when they started recovery and weaned down and people who have had to start med well into their tenth or more year.  Firstly if your on Suboxone which is buprenorphine and Naloxone combined don’t bother shooting it.  The Naloxone is only effective for relatively 20 minutes just long enough to block your rush and initial effects.  When the Naloxone wears off your drug works the way it is supposed to so as to reduce pain or cravings.  Secondly they have developed both Suboxone and Subutex (both buprenorphine) with a ceiling…if you take more than 3 pills don’t expect to feel the fourth one BUT you can still OD on them.   you just won’t get any higher than if you took 3. YOU CAN NOT GET ANY HIGHER ONCE YOU HAVE HIT THE BUPRENORPHINE CEILING.

Thirdly don’t expect Buprenorphine to get you high like an opiate the scientists have developed this PARTIAL OPIATE AGONIST so it won’t have the effects of a full blown agonist or “NARCOTIC”.  Put simply the chemical Buprenorphine does go to your opiate receptors. However, picture your receptors with a closed door in front of them.  When you take an opiate the door swings wide open and your receptors are drenched with the effects.  With partial opiate agonists such as Tramadol or Bubrenorpine the door to your receptors only opens half-way so the receptors only get half as sedated.

METHADONE

Methadone works to keep Heroin addicts off the street, keeps them from having to steal and rob to get heroin however it is very strong and will stop the natural process of healing and recovery.  So if methadone is used in the beginning of recovery it should be a temporary thing to ween off of eventually.  Then it can be considered progress.

ALCOHOL

Alcohol is a drug.  If you can sit down and drink 2 or even 3 drinks and stop every time.  If drinking doesn’t make you want to use crack or shoot dope etc. then your obviously not an alcoholic.  Personally I don’t know nor do any of the people I have asked know one dope fiend who is not also an alcoholic.
So as a rule if you want recovery you will have to stop drinking.

Bottom line we do the best we can.  If we are working the 12 step program and our lives are manageable then we are clean and sober if we have not picked up our drug of choice and abused it basically.

“NOT ONE ALCOHOLIC OR ADDICT WORKS A PERFECTLY STERILE PROGRAM WITH NO VICES”

Whether it be food, sex, sick relationships, gambling, cigarettes, weed, non-narcotic pills, wrath, violence, serial killing, wife beating, every addict in recovery tends to fall back on some vice or another.  We all humans commit sin of some sort.  We are human and I think we were created imperfect.  Perfectionism will beat us down if we don’t get it in check.  We will never be perfect and it is futile to struggle with ourselves relentlessly in a cycle of guilt and self-floggings that originated in our first addiction.  When we get into that cycle we go to a meeting.  “MOVE A MUSCLE CHANGE A THOUGHT”.   WE MUSTN’T JUDGE OUR OWN INSIDES BY OTHER PEOPLES OUTSIDES OUR FELLOWS ARE SELDOM TRANSPARENT.

 

 

Daily Meditation By Fred Hundt

Good Morning, Fillae Blusterers. I don’t know about you, but I have one of those brains which is constantly talking to me. It wants to analyze every situation I encounter, inventing reasons why each thing happens and how it is all part of a plan to hurt me (or, more precisely, my ego). It parses the speech of everyone around me, inventing motives for their words and fanciful backstories filled with sinister purposes. It loves to re-tell stories from my past, pointing out the errors I made and inviting me to feel badly all over again.

One of the most amazing things I’ve learned on my journey in recovery and spirituality is this…I can tell my brain to EFF OFF! I’m not a slave to all of the ego-driven thoughts and messages it creates. I can choose to accept certain messages (“Turn right at the next corner to avoid traffic”) and let go of others (“Here’s an opportunity to get even with someone”).

Even better, I’m learning that I can give my brain direction. I can order it to use its pattern-recognizing powers to see how all of the beautiful little things occurring around me reveal the presence of a Divine Spirit. I can guide it to look for the good in each person I meet. It can watch for opportunities for me to help others, serving joyfully. And, I can tell it to take a break from time to time, letting me just be, quiet and peaceful, right here right now.

___________________________________________–by Fred Hundt

STEP ELEVEN MEDITATION

WARNING! This article contains religious content such as scripture and mention of Christ and other Biblical characters.  Who knew that meditation is spoken of and advocated in the Bible.  But it is.  I do not speak for the whole of AA.  This is my experience with Step Eleven meditation and I want to share how wondrous meditation can be.

In this chapter of “Paradise for the Hellbound” I have attempted to connect biblical content and ideals with step eleven meditation  and the principles set forth in AA.  I have found that AA puts spiritual matters into practical directions that I for one can follow and be healed.

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.net/twelve-steps-of-alcoholics-anonymous/step-ten-eleven-and-twelve/

“MEDITATION”

(for those that want to read the entire book free at this link)  http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.net/bible/paradise-for-the-hellbound/

Step Eleven “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, Praying only for the knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to Carry that out.”
or originally written “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him praying only for the knowledge of His Will for us and the power to carry that out. ”   Amen
“STEP ELEVEN MEDITATION”

“MEDITATION IN CHRIST

The deepest questions of universal mystery posed by the most intelligent people on Earth can rarely be answered by the intellect alone. They are answered spiritually through the heart and soul by seeking God in meditation.

Gen 24:63
“And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide; and he lifted up his eyes, and saw and behold the camels were coming.”

First Timothy 4:14 & 15
“Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.”

Psalms 119:48
“My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments, which I love and I will meditate on your statutes.”

Philippians 4:8
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.”

Psalms 46:10 “Be still, and know that I [am] God.”

Apostle Paul the author of the book of “Philippians” in the letter to the Church at Philippi instructs the people that they should think on good things. The above scriptures show that we should meditate on God’s statutes. However, if your mind is anything like mine was before becoming conditioned by meditation; practicing positive thinking is easier said than done. Distractions, fear, and lack of concentration are the enemies of peaceful meditation. I was unable to stop fearful and critical thoughts even when I prayed for God to “please, guide my thinking”. My thoughts were laced with fears; ongoing dialogues of events that never took place in the real world and critical thoughts toward myself, other people, groups of people who were nothing more than a label placed on people I didn’t know. Well the practice of meditation when done in the way that I will explain can accomplish in us patience, positive thinking, tolerance, and best of all peace of mind.

Meditation and prayer are in my opinion equally important ingredients in building a relationship with Jesus and the Father. Furthermore, these two Higher Powers are not the only Higher Powers that exist. There are many powers living a higher existence than ourselves with whom we can connect. Hold on do not shut the book yet let me explain. I do not mean worship other gods or put them before God I am talking about spirits from whom we can learn and be comforted. Most Christians believe in guardian angels. In this same way, our own personal Spirit Guide can gently guide us. I have discovered by meditation that I have a group of spiritual teachers and helpers who are truly one with God. They helped me by giving me good quiet suggestions when I was unaware that they existed. They still give me good suggestions though now I know they exist.

When I was new at meditating my belief-system required confirmation that the still small voice I heard was not my imagination or a dream. When two of my Spirit Guides told me their names during meditation, I looked the names up and to my amazement both; the words were Hebrew, proper nouns/names that have divine meanings. Spirit Guides do not make my choices for me nor am I controlled by them.

I do not think that every saved believer will have only one purpose in the afterlife, to lounge around with the lion and the lamb. There is more to the afterlife for humans than lounging no doubt. Some spirit-people that have died will be helping the souls still on Earth. The spirit guides I believe were once human and are now in Gods perfect will in a place where that is possible, they are “Just (justified by the blood of Christ) men made perfect”.

Hebrews 12:22
“But ye are come unto mount Sion, (Zion) and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than [that of] Abel.

Jeremiah 1:5
“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

God spoke to Jeremiah and said, He knew him before he was born. I do believe I existed with God before I became human. That is a concept that I myself at one time would have thought was unthinkable. However, God has taught me that we conventional Christians have presumed way too much about God’s world. By the visions God has given me I realize Heaven is much more than the way it is depicted by the limited and Holy Bible. Through meditation, I realize God is neither legalistic nor limited by man’s perceptions. Seeing God’s wondrous creations helps me know that the Heavens must hold so much wonder.

I do wonder why pretty much across the board Christian religion defines transcendental meditation as evil and an invitation to Satan and his demons to enter. Personally, I believe it takes debauchery or a harmful or hateful act for Satan to enter a human. If we seek God and transcend this reality into a beautiful place that refreshes us how can that be wrong? Howdy, neighbor I just picked up a diabolical evil entity while innocently seeking Jesus with my heart and mind so now I will torture and kill you! Really? What kind of Love would God be showing us if we could be invaded and possessed so easily? I will not apologize for the inability of some folks to understand the truths I have found. Seek to understand rather than to be understood. Those who condemn meditation do not know how beneficial it can be when done in Christ.

 

Just for a moment image that there are other good and supernatural beings other than Gods immediate family.  Take into consideration all the diversity of the creatures on Earth. Our little Earth houses man, beast, insects, sea creatures, air creatures, dirt creatures, and so on. Now change the channel and envision God’s realm where it really is “all good”. How many types of beings do you see? Heaven and God are much vaster than our little Earth. It’s okay to jump out of the box that contains God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit, demons, angels, Prophets and Apostles spirits. If we list God as one entity, we are viewing the totality of the spirit world as having only two types of Spirits and of course Hell having Satan and his demons that is two more. That completes our list, four types of supernatural beings acceptable to Christian believers. In all God’s realms of magic and wondrous mystery, communication with any spirit other than God has to be evil. Furthermore, we had better curb our thoughts about angels because we could slip very easily into putting them before God. Why does the church plant such fear into the minds of Christians? Why is the topic of the supernatural so limited in the church? The origin of such limits comes from viewing reality by what we see with our mortal eyes rather than our spiritual eye.

An anonymous author wrote the epistle (letter) titled “Hebrews” primarily to the Hebrews or Israelites of that time that had converted from Judaism to Christianity. Remember, we will receive the most value from scripture when we apply the message to ourselves but it is interesting to know to whom it was originally written. The author was writing to those who by accepting Christ as their savior have come unto mount Sion, which as we read earlier represents the “new covenant” moreover we have come unto “spirits of just men made perfect.” Once again and rightly so I have my own understanding of this scripture. The perfect spirits that now accompany us are former human beings who share our Living God they know the struggles we humans have to endure.

John the Revelator in The Book of Revelation shows one scriptural example of blessed communication with supernatural beings. St. John wrote the book of Revelation while communicating with an angel. St. John heard Gods voice as well. There are many examples of angelic communications in The Bible. Therefore, I see no more harm in receiving guidance from a Spirit Guide than harm in God providing an angel to save my life or transfer information to mankind. Angels are often defined as “ministering spirits” nevertheless, in most churches that I have attended a spiritual experience involving a guide that is spirit other than God Himself or angelic beings is frowned upon if not forbidden entirely and labeled [of the Devil].

Admittedly, when I first started my journey of meditation I feared Satan and evil. After all my mother taught me that when it comes to the supernatural Satan has far more power than God does. I did not want to open myself up to demons so I invoked the blood of Jesus for protection before each meditation for a long time. At this point in my walk with God I no longer, fear what is out there in meditation. I am in Gods care so I do not feel the need to invoke the blood of Jesus every time I meditate my protection holds fast, I am always protected by Jesus He has shown me this by the “Vision of Jesus” I wrote about in the “Visions” chapter.

Building a relationship takes time and care. Yes, prayer is vital in a relationship with God. Have you ever been in a relationship that the other person does all the talking and you do not have one opportunity to speak? Have you ever tried to talk to a person that just will not listen or let you finish a sentence? It is annoying is it not? Preachers tell us often how important prayer is and how spirituality is about a relationship with Christ but most explain very little if any about how to listen to God. Meditation is about listening to God and training our mind.

When practiced, meditation takes us to a sacred place where we meet God. Meditation is a place where we learn. It is a place to experience new visions, brilliant colors, and magnificent beauty, which cannot be put into human terms. Sometimes during a session, we may receive a renewing of the mind or some much-needed comfort. Maybe it is direction and guidance that we need. Sometimes we have no idea what it is we need until after we receive it during meditation. The bottom line is Meditation is a time to receive and you are worth it; you are a child of God. Often times we cry for our answers and blessings from God yet we do not take the time to slow down and receive what God has for us.

Our meditation is as personal as our prayers and it is as unique as we are. I have meditated while floating on the ocean, floating on the river, lying in the yard, sitting Indian style on the grass, lying inside on the bed, meditation during stretching exercises, and I am experienced enough to meditate while in the dentist chair or riding in the car with my family. I recall one time I was lying in the sun meditating and enjoying my peaceful pleasure. When I came back to earthly reality, I was so hot and starting to get sunburn. It amazed me that during my session I did not even feel the hot sun on my skin. I am in complete control of my faculties during these times I am not in a trance and I stop when I choose to. My Meditation has also become a coping skill that helps me calm down when I am stressed. The benefits are amazing! When I seek, I find and what is waiting to be found during meditation in Christ will surely be an awesome jewel.

The “Songs of Solomon” is a book in the Holy Bible that most theologians believe represents the relationship between The Holy Church and Christ. When I say “Holy Church”, I mean the true believers, Gods children I do not mean a certain denomination or religion. The book abbreviated as “Songs” has a double meaning Christ and the church or man to woman. Either interpretation is a beautiful read. The book of “Songs” has been highly criticized because of its amorous language yet its right to a place in the Bible has been defended by many saintly souls in all ages. “The Church” refers to Christ as her “Beloved” whom she seeks diligently to find and Loves fondly. The sharpened and stirring expressions of “The Church toward Jesus are those of passionate desire and sensuality. Jesus said, “I am the Rose of Sharon and the Lilly of the Valley.” (Songs of Solomon 2:1) These flowers are sweet our closeness with Jesus can be sweet as well.

Sensuality: Stimulated, sharpened, pleasing, dazzling, being heightened enhanced appealing, delightful, luxurious, fine arousing, stirring, and moving.

“Songs” portrays the kind of sensuality that owns no lust. Jesus refers to the church, his bride as “my sister my spouse” which is written from a spiritual standpoint not an incestuous one. Shame-based notions of lustful sex are what disturb some interpreters of the book of Songs.

Songs of Solomon 4:9 through 4:12
“Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, [my] spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck. How fair is thy love, my sister, [my] spouse! How much better is thy love than wine! And the smell of thine ointments than all spices! Thy lips, O [my] spouse, drop [as] the honeycomb: honey and milk [are] under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments [is] like the smell of Lebanon. A garden enclosed [is] my sister, [my] spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.”

Jesus explains in Mathew who his brothers and sisters are.

Mathew 12:50
“For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Those are the words of Jesus.

Songs 5:2
“I sleep, but my heart waketh: [it is] the voice of my beloved that knocketh, [saying], Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, [and] my locks with the drops of the night.”

During meditation, we can experience this kind of intimacy with Christ. We may learn and understand how beautiful it feels to be the sister or brother of Jesus. The scripture reads “Open to me” that is what we do during meditation we expose all of our heart and thoughts to Jesus. Understanding Jesus as a brother and a spouse and inviting him in with the passion and intimacy we would a desired lover will bring fulfillment beyond that of a natural love. Does it make sense that we should desire and take pleasure in Christ even more than a natural lover? Meditate until you get to a peaceful closeness with God.

In my Thompson Chain Reference Bible it is written that only the “mature spiritual mind can interpret the book of Songs.” When we work through our issues of guilt and shame about sexuality that have been instilled from our parents or abuse or sin we are free to enjoy an intimacy with Christ without fear and shame. If we are diligent about seeking God He will put the people in our lives that can help us process and overcome our embedded shame issues. As I have said before Shame is the single most powerful enemy of a relationship with God.

Psalms 4:4 “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.”

Tears are an expression of feelings that words cannot cradle they are truth. Our minds distort and misconstrue what our own heart speaks. The ego abides in the mind and says our heart makes no sense. My intricate thought misunderstands and so changes my soul’s truth to fit what fear dictates. The mind such a great capacity for reason and yet our hearts truth alludes our sometimes enlightened mind. Void of the courage to set out toward the quest to know ourselves we transform truth into an egotistical rational of words. How may we listen to our own heart? Meditation will help us do just that.

Can your heart understand by faith that what the eye sees is of least importance? Mankind is as grass, temporal. My heart needs help to know that the things I cannot see with the eyes are the greatest most powerful keys to the abundant life.

Psalms 119:48
“My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments, which I love and I will meditate on your statutes.”
New King James Version

THE CARDINAL SIN OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

WHAT IS THE CARDINAL SIN OF AA?

The “cardinal sin of AA” it is to take a man’s vulnerabilities and use them against him.  The other cardinal sin of AA is to gossip about what we have heard shared in meetings and to rub it in and make snide sarcastic remarks about what our fellows revealed about themselves in the meeting.  While we hide and wear a mask over our own faults and character defects.

Pointing the finger at other people is how people with low self worth see themselves as “better than”.  But they do it at the expense of those who are trying to heal by being honest and allowing themselves to become vulnerable with sponsors or in meetings so they can get better.  This is something the evil and condemning heart can and will never do..that is make themselves transparent.

The program works, but does it work because we have found a place where people can tell us how bad and wrong we are for being addicts?  Do we get sober because we are beaten into submission?  Do we overcome drugs by being criticized and downtrodden?  Heck No!  RATHER IT WORKS BECAUSE OF THE EMPATHY , UNDERSTANDING AND RELATING THAT WE SHOW ONE ANOTHER.  It works because of the similarities we see in one another.  Criticism is not a healing agent.  We don’t find peace when someone identifies all of our character defects and does a reverse fourth and fifth step on us.  If criticism were able to keep us sober and heal our emotional woes we would have been delivered from addiction a long time ago when those close to us began their verbal attacks.  But don’t tell your Nazi-like inventory-taking dry drunk sponsor that.  

Nowhere in the Big Book does it instruct our sponsors to point out our character flaws for us.  Even the word “personal inventory” tells the tale of SELF-EXAMINATION.  Sure our sponsors can guide and ask us the right questions to aid us in realizing our flaws. 

So then what is the healing agent of AA?  I believe it is the show of caring, relating, identifying, mirroring, and firstly listening and understanding each other’s plight and how we feel.  Empathy is the emotional salve that shows us the Love our heart craves.  Empathy is a caring way of identifying the similarities between us and our fellows.  But not just that, empathy then mirrors in a caring way to let us know  that it has been through the same pains as we have. 

I have been to so many meetings and recovery groups where a person shows the courage to share their heart with the group only to be reprimanded by sometimes as many as 50% of the  group.   Seems many people just want to tell the topic sharer just how bad, wrong and different they are from other alcoholics as if scolding the alcoholic will help.   God forbid if you relapse or have a desire to drink, some people will act like you have committed a cardinal sin.   And yet, that’s the very reason we have sought out AA to begin with.

AA members that really want to stay sober should walk into their group or meeting looking for the similarities in our fellows rather than the differences.   We should be ready to tell the suffering addict that they are not alone.  When a man makes himself vulnerable by sharing his weakness our job is to let him know that we are the same  as him.  And then we tell the sharer and the whole group just how we have overcome that same weakness.  What tools have we learned and used to change?   That is what we share.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 As for the real “cardinal sin of AA” it is to take a man’s vulnerabilities and use them against him.  The other cardinal sin of AA is to gossip about what we have heard shared in meetings and to rub it in and make snide sarcastic remarks about what our fellows revealed about themselves in the meeting.  While we hide and wear a mask over our own faults and character defects.

“Moving” by Author Nancy Carr

“Moving” by Author Nancy Carr

 

Since I got sober in 2004 I’ve moved 12 times.  Prior to getting sober I had moved over 20 times.  You’d think after you get sober, you stick around for a while as your life isn’t bat shit crazy anymore.  One of the many gifts when you get sober is that you aren’t shoving everything you own into heavy duty garbage bags, tossing out furniture because you’re too lazy to deal with it and leaving a messy dirty apartment in your wake.  I’d like to think that I became a much more organized and methodical mover after I got sober, but no – not really.  I tend to de-clutter more, but now I have more clutter; more books (about recovery), more boxes of step work and journals, and many more tres important spiritual healing things that I must cling to.  Besides the new spiritual library, there are now God Boxes, Coin boxes, AA scrapbooks and boxes of saved “Sobriety Birthday” cards.  I have, however, become much more strategic about my moves as I’m not skipping out on roommates or leases anymore.  I’m a bit more accountable to myself and others now.   My moves actually mean something, they have purpose.  The early sober ones were for nicer and bigger apartments; apartments that had an Ocean view, closer to the local Clubhouse and affordable as my piggy bank had savings since I wasn’t spending all my money on drugs and booze. I was now a real grown up.  Yay for me!

My 4th move in sobriety was the big one.  The cross-country I need to go back to Philly and move in with my sick Mother, find a real job and become reacquainted with the snowy winter wonderland move.  It had been 10 years and I needed to do the right thing.  I needed to be that sober daughter to my mother and siblings and establish a life back home again.  If I wasn’t sober, I’m sure I wouldn’t have left San Diego, as my selfish self would have had a zillion excuses not to move back. So, I sold all my furniture, packed up my Acura sedan and carved out just enough space in the back for Lucy to curl up and slobber out the window with her ears flowing in the wind.  I cried from Encinitas until I reached the Arizona border.   I then heard Elton John on the radio, “Philadelphia Freedom”.  I got it.  Ok.

Lucy and I drove for 5 days taking the southern route and within days of our arrival the Snowmaggedon blizzards of 2010 took over and within 4 days there was over 60 inches of snow.  What had I done? Reality set in and there was no more walking over to Swami’s beach for my evening meditations.  My main respite was that Lucy loved the snow and she could run around all day in it.  I was miserable, broke, cold, and not connected in local AA.  I was homesick for my San Diego scene.  The day after we arrived though I ran to the local clubhouse and did what my San Diego peeps told me to do.  I shared about where I was and how I had just moved home and that I was living with my sick mother.  I didn’t have a job nor was I happy to be home.  The thought of a drink sounded pretty good.  I hadn’t been to a meeting in over a week and my grim reality was setting in.  After the meeting women ran over to me like I was a newcomer and gave me their numbers, told me which meetings to check out and told me to keep coming back.  I was almost 6 years sober and I felt like a newcomer, except I wasn’t in an alcoholic fog, I wasn’t crying or hung over and I wasn’t as vulnerable.  I had some time. I knew the deal.  I felt raw and green.  I spent 3 years in Philly and immersed myself into the Malvern Center Fellowship – I made women friends, I got a sponsor – I reconnected with old friends (who were now sober) and I met my now husband.  Mission Accomplished!  We left Malvern in 2013 and spent a year in Baltimore before moving to the Sunshine State.

 

Our move to Florida was fueled by the we are so done with Winter.  It was my 11th move in sobriety, my 4th move to a new Fellowship.  This move was no different than the other moves, so I had to put myself out there again and tell the Fellowship what was going on with me and open up again to someone new. I was able to get a new sponsor pretty early on and she was exactly what I needed. God put her in my life for a reason and I felt like I knew her for years.  I could tell her anything and everything and not feel judged. She got me and I got her.  That’s how this deal works; you have to keep coming back and realize that it works if you work it.

Hope

 Hope is the beginning of Faith when that which we hope for comes to fruition

Why do I have a voice in my head that kicks my ass?  This is why I don’t need a “call you on you shit sponsor”!  I kick my own ass and far too often especially lately…ouch!  I tried to do some new website work in areas that I am learning.  I crashed my site and oh how that freaks me out!  RFH is back up she was only down for an hour or so.  However whenever that happens I get the feeling that it’s the end of the world and I make it all my fault.  Granted it usually is due to an action I take but the actions are to better the site in the long run.  Running a website is much more difficult than one might think…oh the things I have learned,,, so much!  But in the scheme of it all I still know so little.  Every time I crash my site I learn much more about how to make Recovery Farmhouse a better website. 

And so enough about my challenges.  I want to talk about “hope” and how vitally important it is to our life’s outlook and our perspective on the future.  Hope will cure depression, hope will keep us sane, hope helps our attitude it says to us; “everything is going to be ok Lori, your Higher Power has you in his loving hands.  You are the apple of his eye and not only that you are doing the will of your father.”  Hope tells us the things we need to hear.  Hope isn’t just a mental thought it comes from deep within our heart and spreads to our mind and all through our bodies.  Hope can keep a man alive in dismal conditions.  Hope can bring health to our bones.  Hope is listed in the Bible among the “greatest spiritual gifts” it’s more than a positive attitude it is absolute magic.

Hope is the beginning of faith it is the first deposit of the spiritual gift called faith.  Faith when it is full blown CAN move mountains.  I was thinking about the scripture that I learned as a little girl

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” 

Ever lasting life!  This is a hope scripture IF we get it deep down within our heart.  We humans are facing death…every day we face death.  We have no idea when we are born how to grow up emotionally healthy and our parents don’t know how to nurture our vulnerable emotions.  Ofentimes parents try and Love us but still we suffer emotional and spiritual neglect.

We must take time to do Step Eleven and strengthen our faith by meditation.  We must allow hope to grow in us and turn into strong and courageous faith.  I have lots of articles on how to balance ones emotions and recover from emotional disorder so I won’t go into it in this article as well.  This article is focused on higher things.  There is only one gift that is greater than hope and faith and that of coarse is Love.

Better translated into “charity” a giving love a mature and caring love that would fight to make someone else safe and warm.  The Bible says it better than I:

 

1 Corinthians 13

New International Version

 

1If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,b but do not have love, I gain nothing.

 

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.

 

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

 

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

The word of God will feed your soul.  And if your heart deeply agrees with what you read you will move mountains!  You are the vessel of God.  You are a clay pot that holds a wonderful gift of diamond inside your earthly vessel.  Do not underestimate your worth.  Your loving actions will echo in eternity.  Follow your heart and do God’s will.  Do not side with the accuser.  We have no right to judge ever ourselves…we should treat ourselves with kindness and Love just like we would a little child so innocent and pure.  That I believe is how God sees us.

Amen

Security Tip

Security Tip from Recovery Farmhouse.  When you receive ads or any links in your e-mail it’s best if you don’t click on them.  Developers can add a link to your page and make it say anything for instance; “Free Money click here” but you don’t know what the real link address really is EXCEPT:  There is one thing that those hackers can’t change.

When you scroll over the link look below at the  bottom of your page in the left hand corner it will tell you the real link address.  Everyone see all those symbols at letters at the bottom of the page but we seldom pay attention to their exact phrases.  Now when someone sends you an email link you can just scroll over it and see where it will really take you.  Or you can read it and then look it up in the “Who is” and find out if the website is black listed for spam or malware.  Blessings to all Lori E.

Emotional Healing

Therapeutic Healing

I let all my secrets out of the bag with my first sponsor who is now passed away.  She was a counselor at Bridge House who by no coincidence helped me and several other women learn how to heal from grave emotional disorder and addictions. 

We are all still sober today that was in 2006.  I remember one of the counselors was talking to me.  I was sharing my horrific past with him and all the tie I told him of my tragedies I had a twisted smile on my face which was helping me to NOT FEEL the emotion attached to the stories.  It was my safety net I would not feel my past!  He looked at me and said “Lori what you are telling me is traumatic and yet you are smiling”.  At that moment all of my feelings connected back to my body.  I was no longer cold as stone separated from my real life.  When I finally allowed my feelings to re-attach themselves to me I was able to start processing my past.  Things that I should have cried and wailed over but didn’t were making me sick.  Prior to that I had gone to a woman’s meeting where all the woman cried and felt their pain.  I was stone cold, I walked out of that women s group and told my soon to be sponsor/counselor that ‘I had no business in that women s group

BECAUSE I HAD NO EMOTIONAL PAIN” and at the time I really believed it, that was how deep in emotional denial I was.  But my feelings buried and festering were coming out sideways in hate, resentment, and self-loathing.  I was buried alive in guilt and shame.  I used to turn red with shame regularly.  I was so deep in shame that I had a cancerous tumor grow in my leg till finally it was surgically removed in 2000.  My counselor told me that people that take out their pain on others by yelling at them and attacking verbally and wrathful people have heart attacks and people that repress their emotions and bury their pain get cancer..  That was me.  Since then I have learned how to let it all out.  I spent years processing by crying, screaming in my car (not at people like I mentioned) When I wailed and moaned guttural sounds little by little the grave emotions left my body.  We were taught to do that in therapy.  the first time I heard one of the girls do the guttural sounds it made me very uncomfortable.  I felt shocked that it was somehow wrong and she was absolutely insane.  But she had been in group longer than me and showed me how to save my life emotionally.  Moaning hurts no one. It’s a natural process when we get sober that the past resurfaces in us from deep in our bowels.  We ask ourselves “what’s wrong with me why do I feel like I lost my best friend yet nothing bad has happened?”  I was told that I need to cry about the intense events in the past that I never allowed myself to feel.

Doing a through fourth step accompanied with daily prayer and step eleven meditation goes hand in hand with therapy and therapeutic exercises.  I didn’t make this stuff up it was given to me as solutions to anxiety attack, panic attacks, fear and shame

2015 International Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. has not approved, endorsed, or reviewed this website, nor is it affiliated with it, and the ability to link to A.A.’s site does not imply otherwise.

2015 International Convention
of Alcoholics Anonymous
July 2-5, 2015 – Atlanta, Georgia
The 2015 International Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous will be held July 2 – 5, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia with the theme “80 Years – Happy, Joyous and Free.” A.A. members and guests from around the world will celebrate A.A.’s 80th year with Big Meetings held Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday morning in the Georgia Dome. Other meetings, scheduled or informal, will take place throughout the weekend in the Georgia World Congress Center and local hotels.
Registration will be available on site at the Georgia World Congress Center.
We know you are excited about the 2015 International Convention and eager for information

http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/2015-international-convention-of-alcoholics-anonymous

 

BECOME A DRUG ABUSE COUNSELOR, FIND OUT HOW AT THIS LINK.  http://collegedirectory.org/lp75/index.aspx?ct2=123&source=942859&cid=4281&source3=substanceabuse123lp75&source2=newbetests820&path=ap

 

 

 

 

http://collegedirectory.org/lp75/index.aspx?ct2=123&source=942859&cid=4281&source3=substanceabuse123lp75&source2=newbetests820&path=ap

Websites Do Collect your Failed Passwords as common practice

Websites Do Collect your Failed Passwords for security purposes and as common practice.

But just because someone owns a website doesn’t make them trustworthy.

There is a good reason to NOT make your passwords the same on all your accounts.  As a website owner I have learned that it’s common practice for security plug-ins to collect “wrong passwords”.  Have you ever forgotten your password and so you punch in all the passwords you have used since the dawn of man to try and guess the right one.  Well I have.  Until recently that is.   When I was filling out the options boxes for my websites security plugin I was shocked when it asked me if I wanted to collect failed passwords on all  my subscribers.  I was surprised at first because of the implications.

Obviously the failed passwords could be used for unsavory reasons that you could just imagine.  The reasons that security companies legitimately collect failed passwords  is so they know when to trigger the brute force attack safety features to protect our websites. If the failed passwords are one of your old passwords or the phrase is off by just a digit or two then the security feature knows that it’s you and not a bot meaning, a cyber-bot trying to attack your website.

But if one was to collect those passwords and attach them to your accounts it would be an easy way to rob a person of all their hard earned income.

Brute force attacks are when a hacker sends a bot to try to log in to the administrative end of the website.   The bot will try password after password until the system is exhausted of it’s resources and the hacker can easily enter.   Once the hacker can log in under the “admin” user name then the hacker can go deep into the database and hide files that leave an open door for them to enter any time by a simple log in or sneaky back-door.  Then they can collect all of your subscribers passwords and failed passwords for themselves.  Or they can put any other action into motion to exploit your website and it’s e-mails.

Cyber attacks really piss me off!  I was recently attacked by brute force.  The only thing that stopped the hits on my login was a pluging called “force field”.  Limit login attempts was no help.  I even blocked the IP address and still no help.  It was like the bot attached itself to my login and it wasn’t gonna stop till it found my password.

If you do start a WordPress free website make sure you don’t leave your user-name as the default “admin”.  that’s what they try first.  And second don’t make it “adm1n” that’s the second most common user name for WordPress sites.  Both of these are a security risk.

So change your passwords often and use hi security phrases not words from the dictionary.  Make each account a different phrase and keep them tucked away somewhere safe.

What is Spirituality?

WHAT IS SPIRITUALITY?

Clean time does not define a person.   Actions define a person.  How we treat ourselves and others defines weather we are spiritual or not.  Don’t hear what I am not saying please.  Sobriety is number one because if we are not sober that equals jails, institutions, and death.  What I mean is the amount of clean time I have does not automatically make me  a good person.  The lack of clean time does not automatically make me a low-life.  Preconceived notions in this arena is nothing short of bias and prejudice.  That’s like judging a book by it’s cover.

In the rooms of AA it is pretty much common to consider the title “spiritual” as the most coveted and esteemed of all titles on the list of good character.   But really who is qualified to define what a spiritual person acts like and how do we know who they are and if they really are the most spiritual among us.

Are we really qualified to call a man “spiritual”.   Are not we all spiritual and carnal beings at different times?   It’s not fair to label anybody good or bad unless we have spent allot of time with them. Good people do bad things and bad people do good things we humans cannot look upon a mans heart. People wear masks in AA.

Spend a couple weeks with a person at their home then decide who is spiritual and who isn’t. Just a reminder there is no perfect sponsor. The sponsor we want is the one that will take us through the steps and knows how to stay sober.  They may scream at their kids or commit adultery but that’s not our business.

When we date for the first 90 days people are on their best behavior. My ex-husband is one of the meanest men I know, he is verbally abusive and a killer BUT he managed to be prince charming for at least 9 months before I had our daughter and then he began the abuse.

So I can say this, when I did meditation every day I was much more spiritually connected than I am now.  But I still love God and seek Him in my life.  I still do service work (not as much) I am a human and there is an ebb and flow to my life.  Change is constant.  My life partner who I have lived with for nearly 10 years is a good man.   He lives by the golden rule and I have yet to see him act abusive or disrespectful.  But you won’t see him in church and He calls his  God by another name than mine.  Nevertheless I do consider him spiritual at this time.  That could change.  Also I am not 100% sure of my judgement about him because I cannot see what is in his heart.  True actions do speak louder than words

Here is a post from a girl in one of the groups I share in.  “I had a dream last night that Narcan worked on people who had overdosed months or even years ago and all these people I love were alive again. I woke up and cried all morning.’

 

 

THE DREADED SIN OF FORNICATION

From the book by Laura Edgar “Paradise For The Hellbound” the chapter titled “THE DREADED SIN OF FORNICATION”

If you want to read the entire book click this link:

https://paradiseforthehellbound/ Read book free

If you are a recovering Catholic or a baby Christian or even a seasoned Christian struggling with the sex issue because of certain scriptures that are in the Bible read this chapter it may set your mind at ease and your soul at rest.  Guilt sucks and why on earth would a God give us a sex drive and then say “don’t use it!”?  Here are some thoughts on the topic.  Read the book for free.  There are four more chapters here http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/paradise-hellbound-laura-edgar/  If you want to read the entire book just e-mail me at recoveryfarmhouse@hushmail.com Make sure you add the word “PARADISE” in the subject space of your e-mail.

FACING MARRIAGE OR THE DREADED SIN OF FORNICATION

I was delivered by God from heroin and cocaine addiction by receiving prayer in a little Baptist Church from five or so parishioners including the preacher.  At that time my life changed dramatically and so I was born of Spirit or born-again as the expression goes.

Not terribly long after my born again experience which by the way included; water baptism, baptism of the Holy Spirit and I’m sure the baptism of fire (Luke 3:16).  (All the Christian credentials).  I met a Christian Man that I liked very much he was quite an attraction for me.  I was single, young, impressionable, and very much desired to live by the rules.  We dated for a short time.  I believed in sexual abstinence before marriage because that’s how I understood the rule in the Bible.  I believed God wanted me celibate and I had gone a year with no romantic relationships (a very strange concept to most people I think).  However I had such strong passionate desire for this man I felt I had better marry him before I commit the dreaded sin of fornicationAfter all God had saved me from drugs and alcohol.  I didn’t realize it at the time but I felt obligated as if now I owed God my obedience.   I felt as if there were strings attached to my deliverance I did not have a pure understanding of God’s grace and Love.   I was viewing a spiritual event (my white light experience)  from a carnal and earthly standpoint

 

I was totally frustrated with abstaining from sex.  Between my unreasonable fear of God and my raging hormones I was about to make a huge mistake.  My solution for my overwhelming frustration and fear was to get married and so I did.  Not long after our union my young and handsome husband began popping Xanax and drinking in excess.  He stopped working and became very much an obnoxious drunk.

 

I have learned the doctrine of marriage from attending various Christian churches.  Some teach that I should have actually submitted to my husband and stayed married.  I was attending Narcotics Anonymous and still newly sober.  Some churches will callously dis-fellowship or excommunicate a woman by disciplinary council for divorcing her husband under any circumstance.  Biblical teachings on this subject can be misunderstood resulting in oppressive beliefs and doctrines.  Some church members said I should have persistently prayed for my will to happen in my husband’s life meaning, for God to change him into what I wanted him to be and now!  I could have wasted away praying for his transformation all the while living a life of servitude to a drunk who was incapable of supplying me with the sex I married him for anyway!  How ironic!   I would have been mourning and grieving daily about my husband.  Me miraculously set free from addictions only to put myself back into bondage to an unfulfilled unreasonable expectation.

I recognize my readers may not agree with all I am writing.  Christian divorce is a very sticky subject.  As my preacher at the time declared, “Sin to one may not be sin to another” I have found this to be true.

I married so I could Biblically and lawfully have sexual relations against the advice of my spiritual teachers.  I married hastily not knowing the man well enough or long enough.  Most people are on their best behavior when courting for the first 90 days.  He certainly had me fooled.  Not that he wasn’t a good man it was that his relapse into alcoholism changed him dramatically.

Marriage is many good things but it is confined by intention when thought of as only a solution to sexuality. My motives where wrong.

I quickly divorced Slim.  I had not considered his well-being when I married him.  I had ignored the glaring red flags I saw in my soon to be husband so I could get what I wanted.  The union was based on selfishness.  I broke the marriage vow and regretted the entire incident.

 

 

Should I have stayed in the marriage and sinned by self-induced oppression?  Or should I have sinned by divorce and breaking a marriage vow?  I deduced that I should not, by God live in my sinful mistake the rest of my life.  The worse sin would have been rejecting my freedom to Love by staying with a man in a graceless institution by my immature ignorance of the higher law of Love.

 

Mathew 5:32

“But I say unto you whosoever put away his wife saving for the cause of fornication causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever marry her that is divorced commit adultery.”

 

What does this scripture really mean?  It is saying God’s law is higher than man’s law is it not.  Even if the woman in the scripture was legally divorced, she still commits adultery states Jesus.  The Judge signed the divorce decree, put his state seal on it and yet in Gods eye she is still obligated to her first husband.  God’s law prevails.  His law deems the divorce occurred for the wrong reasons, only infidelity it declares will allow such a separation and freedom to unite with another person.

 

My question is this; are your beliefs in traditional marriage so lawfully bound that there is no allowance for grace?  Does forgiveness stop when we consider the laws of marriage?  I do not think that is what Jesus really meant.  Mathew 15:1-9 talks about the scribes and Pharisees who asked Jesus

 

“Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders?”  Jesus answered: “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of tradition”

 

In my ignorance and fear of breaking traditional biblical law, I abandoned and breached the higher law of Love.  I placed my fear of the law first and married with selfish motives in my heart.  The act of sin to one may not be sin to another because of the motives of one’s heart.  Certainly, the act of marriage in of itself is not a sin but I believe it may be a sin depending on our heart.

 

Suppose I help someone because of the kindness of my heart and Love.  Later I help someone again this time I’m doing it because they have something I want and I’m trying to manipulate them into giving it to me, I covet and lie to get what I want.  Two of the same deed one sin, one Love.  Indubitably, a big chocolate cake is not sinful but to the obese man it could be the tool of his self-destructive demise.  In his heart, he lusts for it putting it before God, man and himself.  The cake rules him it is his god.  What about TV do I put it before my family and God?  The same rule applies, what is in my heart?

 

Hebrews 4:12

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of thoughts and intents of the heart.”

 

 

 

Mathew 15:8

“These people draw near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”

 

Mathew 5:8

“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”

Romans 10:10

“For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.”

We have biblically established that what is in our hearts is the bottom line with God unto life and salvation.  Given this knowledge,

I would like to be capable of placing with my hand what goes in and what comes out of my heart thank you!  More self-sufficiency, Please!

Self-sufficiency does not jive with the realm of The Spirit.  Let’s examine the fornication issue a little further.  Suppose on the flip side I meet that special man of God.  A man of God, meaning he lives by the golden rule.  This is the man I have been praying for, the man I want for my life partner.

We make a promise of fidelity to each other and keep it.  We embark on a long loving relationship free of guilt and shame.  We consider each other before ourselves often.

We do not legally marry or vow a vow because we are unsure of what tomorrow may bring and we have both been married before.  Would I be living in sin?  Would I be fornicating?  I think not.  Our motives are pure and within the boundaries of Gods higher law of Love.

Some men asked God this question,

Mathew 22:36-40

“Teacher which is the greatest commandment in the law?  Jesus said to him “You shall

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.

This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it,

Love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments hang all the
Law and the Prophets.”

 

My point liberally spoken as it may be is if the motive in my heart is pure and my actions Loving, traditional do’s and don’ts are not relevant.  Moreover, this child of God is not bound by religions meticulous and complicated traditions.  Some may call these traditions religious bondage.  Fornication as I understand it is committing a wrong act done out of twisted immoral motivation, selfish in nature and hurtful to people.  Love cannot fornicate, only God can see my heart and yours.  Setting moral boundaries for me and identifying what is and what is not sin for me is one crucial ingredient of my spiritual maturity.  No one else can decide how I abide in good conscience toward God except me.

 

A proverb written by a friend of mine reads, “Of guilt I can’t relieve you though you’re sorry and I believe you.”  So often, when we go against our own beliefs and convictions (otherwise known as apostasy) we seek justification and approval from others.  These confirmations give us temporary relief from inner guilt but do not cleanse our soul.  Justification distracts us from our guilt and turns it to blame.  Blame is a much easier emotion for our egos to handle.  However, our hearts suffer the loss.  Unchecked guilt usually results in self-hatred and snowballs into various sins.  A little guilt can spin into more wrong action and create a downward spiral toward a living Hell.

 

Another spiritual succubus is un-forgiveness.  Un-forgiveness also lives in our hearts and minds causing negative action due to negative feelings.  I believe if we could see spiritual entities, these emotions such as guilt, hatred, blame etc. would appear as black clouds going down into the pit of our stomachs (like the graphic illustrations of disease in the movie “The Green Mile”) and if unchecked, fill our bodies to the brim resulting in feelings that are unbearable.  These feelings often spill over in a bad way.  These individual sins should be checked daily and confessed to God and man.

 

The bottom line of my message to you is illustrated here so perfectly in First Corinthians.

 

First Corinthians 6:12-15

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.  Meats for the belly and the belly for meats but God shall destroy both it and them.  Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord and the Lord for the body.”

AMEN

 

 

Jesus is the Cure

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life!”

 

Read “THE DREADED SIN OF FORNICATION” by Laura Edgar

This is one chapter from the book “Paradise for the Hellbound”  Read the first 4 chapters free here.      http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/paradise-hellbound-laura-edgar/             But first read

“THE DREADED SIN OF FORNICATION”

FACING MARRIAGE OR THE DREADED SIN OF FORNICATION

I was delivered by God from heroin and cocaine addiction by receiving prayer in a little Baptist Church from five or so parishioners including the preacher.  At that time my life changed dramatically and so I was born of Spirit or born-again as the expression goes.

Not terribly long after my born again experience which by the way included; water baptism, baptism of the Holy Spirit and I’m sure the baptism of fire (Luke 3:16).  (All the Christian credentials).  I met another Christian I liked very much that was quite an attraction for me.  I was single, young, impressionable, and very much desired to live by the rules.  We dated for a short time.  I believed in sexual abstinence before marriage because that’s how I understood the rule in the Bible.  I believed God wanted me celibate and had gone a year with no romantic relationships (a very strange concept to most people I think).  However I had such strong passionate desire for this man I felt I had better marry him before I commit the dreaded sin of fornicationAfter all God had saved me from drugs and alcohol.  I didn’t realize it at the time but I felt obligated as if now I owed God my obedience.   I felt as if there were strings attached to my deliverance I did not have a pure understanding of God’s grace and Love. I was viewing a spiritual even from a carnal and earthly standpoint

 

I was totally frustrated with abstaining from sex.  Between my unreasonable fear of God and my raging hormones I was about to make a huge mistake.  My solution for my overwhelming frustration and fear was to get married and so I did.  Not long after our union my young and handsome husband began popping Xanax and drinking in excess.  He stopped working and became very much an obnoxious drunk.

 

I have learned the doctrine of marriage from attending various Christian churches.  Some teach that I should have actually submitted to my husband and stay married.  I was attending Narcotics Anonymous and still newly sober.  Some churches will callously dis-fellowship or excommunicate a woman by disciplinary council for divorcing her husband under any circumstances.  Biblical teachings on this subject can be misunderstood resulting in oppressive beliefs and doctrines.  Some church members said I should have persistently prayed for my will to happen in my husband’s life meaning, for God to change him into what I want him to be and now!  I could have wasted away praying for his transformation all the while living a life of servitude to a drunk.   I would have been mourning and grieving daily about my husband.  Me miraculously set free only to put myself back into bondage to an unfulfilled unreasonable expectation.

I recognize my readers may not agree with all I am writing.  Christian divorce is a very sticky subject.  As the preachers declare, “Sin to one may not be sin to another” I have found this to be true.

I married so I could Biblically and lawfully have sexual relations against the advice of my spiritual teachers.  I married hastily not knowing the man well enough or long enough.  Most people are on their best behavior when courting for the first 90 days.

Marriage is many good things but it is confined by intention when thought of as only a solution to sexuality.  I quickly divorced Slim.  I had not considered his well-being when I married him.  I had ignored the glaring red flags I saw in my soon to be husband so I could get what I wanted.  The union was based on selfishness.  I broke the marriage vow and regretted the entire incident.

 

 

Should I have stayed in the marriage and sinned by self-induced oppression?  Or should I have sinned by divorce and breaking a marriage vow?  I deduced that I should not, by God live in my sinful mistake the rest of my life.  The worse sin would have been rejecting my freedom to Love by staying with a man in a graceless institution by my immature ignorance of the higher law of Love.

 

Mathew 5:32

“But I say unto you whosoever put away his wife saving for the cause of fornication causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever marry her that is divorced commit adultery.”

 

What does this scripture really mean?  It is saying God’s law is higher than man’s law is it not.  Even if the woman in the scripture was legally divorced, she still commits adultery states Jesus.  The Judge signed the divorce decree, put his state seal on it and yet in Gods eye she is still obligated to her first husband.  God’s law prevails.  His law deems the divorce occurred for the wrong reasons, only infidelity it declares will allow such a separation and freedom to unite with another person.

 

My question is this; are your beliefs in traditional marriage so lawfully bound that there is no allowance for grace?  Does forgiveness stop when we consider the laws of marriage?  I do not think that is what Jesus really meant.  Mathew 15:1-9 talks about the scribes and Pharisees who asked Jesus

 

“Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders?”  Jesus answered: “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of tradition”

 

In my ignorance and fear of breaking traditional biblical law, I abandoned and breached the higher law of Love.  I placed my fear of the law first and married with selfish motives in my heart.  The act of sin to one may not be sin to another because of the motives of one’s heart.  Certainly, the act of marriage in of itself is not a sin but I believe it may be a sin depending on our heart.

 

Suppose I help someone because of the kindness of my heart and Love.  Later I help someone again this time I’m doing it because they have something I want and I’m trying to manipulate them into giving it to me, I covet and lie to get what I want.  Two of the same deed one sin, one Love.  Indubitably, a big chocolate cake is not sinful but to the obese man it could be the tool of his self-destructive demise.  In his heart, he lusts for it putting it before God, man and himself.  The cake rules him it is his god.  What about TV do I put it before my family and God?  The same rule applies, what is in my heart?

 

Hebrews 4:12

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of thoughts and intents of the heart.”

 

 

 

Mathew 15:8

“These people draw near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”

 

Mathew 5:8

“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”

Romans 10:10

“For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.”

We have biblically established that what is in our hearts is the bottom line with God unto life and salvation.  Given this knowledge,

I would like to be capable of placing with my hand what goes in and what comes out of my heart thank you!  More self-sufficiency, Please!

Self-sufficiency does not jive with the realm of The Spirit.  Let’s examine the fornication issue a little further.  Suppose on the flip side I meet that special man of God.  A man of God, meaning he lives by the golden rule.  This is the man I have been praying for, the man I want for my life partner.

We make a promise of fidelity to each other and keep it.  We embark on a long loving relationship free of guilt and shame.  We consider each other before ourselves often.

We do not legally marry or vow a vow because we are unsure of what tomorrow may bring and we have both been married before.  Would I be living in sin?  Would I be fornicating?  I think not.  Our motives are pure and within the boundaries of Gods higher law of Love.

Some men asked God this question,

Mathew 22:36-40

“Teacher which is the greatest commandment in the law?  Jesus said to him “You shall

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.

This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it,

Love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments hang all the
Law and the Prophets.”

 

My point liberally spoken as it may be is if the motive in my heart is pure and my actions Loving, traditional do’s and don’ts are not relevant.  Moreover, this child of God is not bound by their meticulous and complicated tuition.  Some may call these traditions religious bondage.  Fornication as I understand it is committing a wrong act done out of twisted immoral motivation, selfish in nature and hurtful to people.  Love cannot fornicate, only God can see my heart and yours.  Setting moral boundaries for me and identifying what is and what is not sin for me is one crucial ingredient of my spiritual maturity.  No one else can decide how I abide in good conscience toward God except me.

 

A proverb written by a friend of mine reads, “Of guilt I can’t relieve you though you’re sorry and I believe you.”  So often, when we go against our own beliefs and convictions (otherwise known as apostasy) we seek justification and approval from others.  These confirmations give us temporary relief from inner guilt but do not cleanse our soul.  Justification distracts us from our guilt and turns it to blame.  Blame being a much easier emotion for our egos to handle.  However, our hearts suffer the loss.  Unchecked guilt usually results in self-hatred and snowballs into various sin.  A little guilt can spin into more wrong action and create a downward spiral toward Hell.

 

Another spiritual succubus is un-forgiveness.  Un-forgiveness also lives in our hearts and minds causing negative action due to negative feelings.  I believe if we could see spiritual entities, these emotions such as guilt, hatred, blame etc. would appear as black clouds going down into the pit of our stomachs (like the graphic illustrations of disease in the movie “The Green Mile”) and if unchecked, fill our bodies to the brim resulting in feelings that are unbearable.  These feelings often spill over in a bad way.  These individual sins should be checked daily and confessed to God and man.

 

The bottom line of my message to you is illustrated here so perfectly in First Corinthians.

 

First Corinthians 6:12-15

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.  Meats for the belly and the belly for meats but God shall destroy both it and them.  Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord and the Lord for the body.”

AMEN

 


AA LOVE AND TOLERANCE IS OUR CODE

LOVE IS HIGHLY UNDER-RATED IN SOME SECTS OF AA

This article is dedicated to Beth Palmer who by her sharing has the gift to help us see.

I want to begin this post with a quote from the “Twelve and Twelve” I simply love Bill W.s literary expression and agree with most everything he and his fellows wrote.

“Finally, we begin to see that all people, including ourselves,

are to some extent emotionally ill as well as

frequently wrong, and then we approach true tolerance and

see what real love for our fellows actually means.”

I’m sure some AA members will be quick to tell me that Love won’t get anyone sober but I say it will sure as hell heal the underlying and core causes of addiction when applied to the right emotional wounds.  Often times in AA there is a mentality that to get sober we have to be kicked in the ass.  That really does work for some people and I will not discount that a “call you on your shit” sponsor is a valuable commodity.  However I think for the people that have had their asses kicked all their lives and tend to beat themselves up for human error and minor mistakes need a more loving and empathetic approach to their choosing a sponsor and friends in AA. 

Please I don’t mean to imply a sponsor should be a coddling mama figure and emotional enabler who calls my wrongs “rights” and breast feeds me at every turn.  I just mean someone who will not constantly look to label their sponcee “wrong” and “bad”.  Personally I have done that to myself all my life as have my family members to the point of feeling I have no human right to even exist on the earth much less be a valid and important member of society.  No I mean a sponsor who will validate my emotions because they are God given.  And a sponsor who will see the similarities and relate to me which means someone who understands and “gets” me.  That is so important for healthy emotional healing and that is what I found in AA not just from my sponsors but from my friends in AA as well.

GOD IS LOVE

God is Love. When people have had a spiritual experience they walk away feeling loved by God and their faith that God exists is increased greatly.  They walk away from the experience feeling much more loving towards others. That includes loving themselves. I guess that’s why spirituality is a solution to addiction. When I am loving myself I am not abusing drugs or over-taking them. When I am loving myself I eat right, sleep right, fellowship, take myself to the beach or the river.  Generally I have a clear vision of what is good for me and what is not and I follow that criteria. Gaining spirituality through seeking God by prayer or meditation (step eleven) has turned my life on a different path than if I were running on pure self-will.

I wish my self-will were healthier but I have had my own self-will run me into the dirt literally.   I have watched like a by-stander as I have gone against my own moral compass while struggling and fighting for what my self-will demanded and thought it needed. I have hurt those I love and I have taken what little self-worth I had and crushed it in the wine-press by my own apostasy. (Going against what I believe in) Apostasy will crush a man’s self-image quicker than anything that I know of.  Guilt and remorse set in when we do what we know is wrong. Then to cover the feelings of guilt we pour on more rational and false justifications to numb it all out and engage in further drinking and drugging.

There are many other addictions besides drugs and alcohol mark my words. When a man gets sober after many years of using he will seek out a new addiction even if it be the addiction to something considered healthy like working out or work or sex or eating. But all things done in excess are potentially harmful.

So what then?   Are we recovering addicts doomed to always be revelling in one addiction or another?   No absolutely not!  The solution IS Love and steps 10-12 show us how to maintain self-love. Put in simpler terms we make it a habit to pray and meditate at least 30 minutes a day. We exercise our bodies and we eat right. We do some kind of service work and we keep guilt and shame off of our backs by confessing anything that makes us feel guilty and ashamed. When it comes to confession and the fifth step, it works best when we confess to both man and God. Oftentimes our souls will not feel a cleansing relief if we only confess to God because He, She, It is so far removed from us we just don’t feel the accountability provided by a human. The first 5 or 6 years of my own recovery I had plenty to confess and I did so in meetings and in private. Not to mention when we confess in meetings it helps other people relate to us and they realize that they are not so bad or different than other people.

Confessing our shortcomings to a human cuts our false-pride to the quick.   False-pride is a crippling character defect that has caused more debauchery and chaos than imaginable.   False pride ends Loving relationships, it can’t admit when it’s wrong, it shuts down our ability to learn new things (because it knows everything) and it basically and quite literally will kill us by its symptoms if it’s not kept in check.  And so confession and truth are the tools we have to wage war against our false pride. This is another reason why the 12 steps work. The truth will set us free

 

Loving The Unlovable

By Nancy Carr

Author of “Last Call”

Available on Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Last-Call-Nancy-L-Carr-ebook/dp/B00TBWNTGU/ref=as_sl_pc_qf_sp_asin_til?tag=recovefarmho-20&linkCode=w00&linkId=DSIOJ7BRWK3BWSKN&creativeASIN=B00TBWNTGU

Loving the Unlovable

One of the first things I heard when I joined AA was “we will love you until you can learn to love yourself” I didn’t understand what that meant at first, but after getting some sober time it made sense to me. I came into AA broken, a shell of a person. I was morally, spiritually and emotionally bankrupt (another saying we hear in AA). It took a while for me to start feeling likeable, and to start loving myself again. It took even longer for me to be able to offer that love to someone else as I didn’t feel worthy of love when I was newly sober. One of the greatest things about becoming sober has been the ability to love. To fully love, unconditionally and openly. Anytime someone new comes into an AA meeting I get a feeling of overwhelming love for them because I know the fear and hopelessness they feel. We have all felt it. It doesn’t matter if I’m going to befriend this person or even get to know them, what matters is that I have compassion for them and they are a walking mirror of courage. No matter if they are from a park bench or Park Avenue, I understand how they feel.

Unconditional Love

To love someone unconditionally wasn’t something that happened to me overnight. It took time, it took patience and it took understanding. I’m grateful that I can love others in the rooms, as they all teach me something. Sometimes its love and tolerance, sometimes its gratitude – especially if that person keeps relapsing. The relapser teaches me willingness and to never give up. They remind me that I never want to feel the way they are feeling at that moment. It’s a little bit selfish for me to say that, but it’s the truth. Their relapse is keeping it green for me and its making me remember. They are keeping me sober and I’m grateful to them. I can even love that pain in the ass person that shares far longer than he should spewing complete crap and slogans out the ying yang – yup; I gotta love that guy too. Love and Tolerance is our code. Isn’t that what it’s all about? isn’t that what everyone wants in the end, to feel loved? I have learned since I came into AA, over a decade ago, that God puts certain people in my life as my teachers and my biggest examples of who I want to be, and who I don’t want to be.

Last year we moved to Florida, and for me it was my 4th move in sobriety. I’ve moved around a lot, but moving in sobriety is like starting over, it’s like being a newcomer again. This move to Florida was no different and I had to put myself out there and tell the Fellowship what was going on with me and open up again to someone. I was able to get a new sponsor pretty early on and she was exactly what I needed. God put her in my life for a reason and I felt like I knew her for years as I could tell her anything and everything and not feel judged. She got me.

A couple months after I started working with my sponsor, she told me that we needed to come to an Agape Retreat. I had no idea what she was talking about and she told me that it’s kind of a subset of AA and it’s held at O’Leno State Park (near Gainesville) and that we had to go. Since I’m not one to shy away from any weekend getaway, I was on board. I had been to a few AA retreats back in California, (where I got sober), and I was more than happy to check it out. I had never heard of Agape and had no idea what to expect. What I found when we arrived at our first Agape retreat in January were camp cabins with no heat and bunk beds. Mind you it’s Florida, but it was down to the mid 30s at night. Not exactly the Hilton, but it wasn’t about the accommodations as I soon learned, it was about Agape and the posse.

We ended up staying in a cabin with heat and I was about to experience what true unconditional love was. Without sharing too much about the Agape experience, I will just sum it up in a few sentences so you can understand it further. It’s usually 50 people or so, all in recovery; or trying to be, as some may only have a few hours sober, or a few days clean. Most come within a 200 mile radius of Gainesville and some of the posse has been coming to Agape for 20 years, like my sponsor, and some are newbies, like myself. Unbeknownst to me, I quickly realized that everyone is there to get closer to God and to have an amazing spiritual experience with the group, as well as with themselves. The level of raw, honest and “from the gut I need to dump this shit” sharing that occurs at these meetings are intense and there is usually a box of Kleenex making the rounds. Most people in recovery aren’t in recovery for just alcohol; there is usually a drug of choice involved, as well as other outside issues that seep into our DNA. These may include early childhood traumas, eating disorders, abusive relationships, sexual abuse and PTSD issues. It’s not a whoopee party of joy, or ceramic ashtray making – what comes out of these Agape retreats is healing. Extensive healing where you shed a layer of your damaged self and feel a little bit better for it. No one in AA, or Agape, claim to be therapists of any type, but being with a crew of people that have experienced some of the same issues and all want to jump on the Ark to find a better way to live and feel OK seems to be more therapeutic than any medicine or treatment program that is out there. Of course, this is all in my opinion and from my own experience.

When you go online and look up the definition of Agape, this is one of the definitions you will find:
“Agape is love, which is of and from God, whose very nature is love itself. The apostle John affirms this: “God is love.” God does not merely love; He is love itself. Everything God does flows from His love. But it is important to remember that God’s love is not a sappy, sentimental love such as we often hear portrayed. God loves because that is His nature and the expression of His being. He loves the unlovable and the unlovely, not because we deserve to be loved, but because it is His nature to love us, and He must be true to His nature and character.”

Being unlovable and unlovely is what drove me to drink and drug. I never felt like I was enough. So when I go to Agape and hear the unlovable are lovable and that Agape love is forgiving and unconditional – why wouldn’t I want to be with a posse that embraces that. Mind you, I get a decent amount of that love and acceptance from AA, but it’s different at Agape. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve been – but basically, whatever the question, love is the answer.

My husband and I just came back from our second Agape weekend and look forward to attending the next one. I’ve had people ask me, “What is Agape?” and like my sponsor told me, I just tell them, “It’s where the unlovable can feel loved and where the broken can be put back together, one piece at a time”.

Why Do I Beat Myself Up So Much?

Why Do I Beat Myself Up So Much

Why do we alcoholics either tend to be in complete denial about our short comings or we pick up the cat of nine tails and swat our own backs till we bleed.  Lets face it most addicts suffer from self-loathing while they are in their addiction.  And I know for a fact that old habits die hard as a matter of fact they never really die.  We just build healthy bridges over the sick roads of addiction called our brains neural-pathways.    I believe that’s why so many of us relapse, we take one wrong turn and we are back on the road toward self annihilation

Okay that’s totally negative yes but unfortunately it’s true in many cases.  So I have personally set some ideas to memory.  First rule,  I always have a choice.  Nobody takes my free will away from me short of me being kidnapped, beaten and forced to drink which is doubtful to happen.  Next I make a rule that when I start getting into the beat-Lori-up psychological game I get up, put on my shoes and take a walk.  Or I clean the house, or I write an article but I definitely “move a muscle and change a thought”.  Next I must remember that perfectionism is a character flaw of mine and I have no right to play God by saying I should be perfect.  My creator made me with human flaws.  I strive to do good but I must remember and accept that I need to give myself a break cause I am human.

But why do we have the tendency to spank and scream at ourselves psychologically?  In my own case  I surmise from years of deep meditation and spiritually boosted self-awareness that my subconscious believes that if I spank myself when I mess up or don’t do things exactly the way I meant to then the beating will make me do better.  The beating will somehow fix me and correct my human-ness.   Remember our hearts and egos do not have to be logical or make sense to our intellect.  We should not allow our intellect to invalidate our hearts thoughts and what it needs to express by calling it illogical.   Our deep seeded ideals of beating ourselves up as a solution to being human most likely stems from getting spanked and put down by my parents and older sister during the formidable years.

Lets face it all childhood punishment really did for me and the women I have talked to about it is breed emotionally sick little children.  And hey yes the adults knew no better but that does not change the fact that I need an outlet for my emotions and I needed to learn new healthy ways to express my feelings.  Repressing emotions is no longer a viable option.  Writing is a top priority for me and the next best thing to sharing with other women or in a meeting.  Many of the men in AA seem to think that if we women write one sentence in a fourth step about our deep and savage feelings it will somehow fix us…right.  And I am only talking about emotional neglect, where abuse is involved there is even more urgency to learn to  emotionally process.  It’s either that or go back or or put a bullet in our mouth which many sober addicts turn to unfortunately.   When I say “savage feelings” I know many of you know exactly what I am talking about.

When I am in step eleven meditation I give myself positive affirmations which also help me remember I am good.

The Women’s Way Through The 12 Steps is a great way to work the steps it also has a workbook.
Thank you for reading along.

How Do I Know God Really Loves Me?

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/important-disclaimer/

If it don’t apply let it fly…

How Do I Know God Really Loves Me?

The only way for us to know that God Loves us…really know in our heart and soul is for God to show and tell us personally in whatever way we can really believe.  People can tell me all day long that Jesus Loves me but unless Jesus introduces himself to me and shows me that He Loves me I won’t take anyone’s word for it past my own wishful thinking.

The Spiritual Awakening

One of the most common reasons for people to run around telling others “Jesus Loves You” is because they themselves have truly been touched by God and are inspired to share or they have some kind of ulterior motive.    Not all of them are delusional or doing it just for some financial gain.  Many, many people have had spiritual experiences and spiritual awakenings which have changed their lives dramatically for the better.   The question is how can I get a spiritual experience that will show me that God Loves me personally.   And how do I find a Higher Power that will help me to stay sober.  How can I attain the spiritual experience that will heal me both emotionally and physically?  How can I receive a touch from the almighty God that will deliver me from anxiety and panic attacks?

Sound self-centered?  Well we humans are self-centered by nature and that’s one reason why our race has survived.  It’s OK to love ourselves enough to seek out salvation from death and relief from pain.

The 12 Steps

In Step three of AA it is suggested that we attain a higher power and start building a relationship with a God of our understanding.

Step Three

  1. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

There are two things that will stop a person from getting and staying sober.  One is shame in relation to people and two is shame in relation to God.  Shame wants to isolate us, shame wants to always be alone.  Unhealthy emotions were taught and hatched in us addicts at ages one through five the formative years.   Addiction is but a symptom of core emotional issues.  Unhealthy emotions are an inability to process and let out our intense feelings.  We bottle feelings up until they make us sick and we verbally attack the ones we love because of the pain inside of us.

So whats the solution?  Seeking God is the solution.  Because if we seek and continue to seek we will find our own God.  Men no matter how hard they try will never ever be able to connect us with their God.  Believe me they will try and some will pretend that they can connect us to God.  The first ingredient that urges us to seek God is usually desperation.  Usually men have to become desperate before they will seek God by prayer with their whole heart.  We should pray and meditate on a regular basis to find God.

Seek A Higher Power Where Other Humans Have Found God

Be willing to go out into the world to places where people openly praise and worship God.  Go to the alter and confess to God and man those things of which you feel guilt.  Doing a fourth step should include writing down the things we ourselves feel shame and guilt for.   If we don’t write down the things we vehemently want no one to ever know our heart will not be cleansed and our step-work will not be a liberating act of truth.    “The truth will set us free.”

Oh sure we can write most of the stuff down and hide our worst offenses and it will be better than nothing that is for sure.  But to get the kind of relief that promotes a psychic change and relief from anxiety and depression we need to tell it all.  And not just tell but express our feelings emotionally from wrongs we have suffered and wrongs we have done.  We need to do some crying and even some screaming in our car, some beating the bed to find relief.  What I am talking about is crying and screaming over things we should have been allowed to scream and cry over long ago.  Or maybe we didn’t know that crying is a healthy emotion and we stifled our tears on many occasion.  Maybe we were told it’s weak to cry and we are ashamed and apology when we cry.

The 12 Steps

Step four is about resentments right?  Next step Five and Six are about finding “our part” in our list of resentments.  “My part” means, where was I wrong.  When I look at my wrongs I should feel guilty about them if I have the normal human make-up.   We should be uncomfortable confessing our guilt and shame for our confession to give us an emotional relief.  The Catholics have a good thing called a confessional.  Other religions have alter calls where people confess to one another and receive prayer.  In the 12 step program we confess to whoever we choose to listen to our fourth step at least in this part of the country that’s how it is done.

Some AA groups don’t believe in putting guilt and shame on their fourth step.  Either their false pride will not permit it or they have no guilt which would make them sociopath.   Or their guilt is buried so far inside of them it will take an act of God to bring it to the surface.  We should be patient and pray for those who feel they have committed no wrongs.  In the Big Book it says that “some are incapable of being honest with themselves, they are not at fault”.  That doesn’t mean we have to live with a person who abuses us, that would be unhealthy on our part.

Perfectionism

Some times our emotions are so twisted up we feel guilt over things that are not wrong and we don’t feel guilt over horrible things we have done.  If we feel guilt we should express our deep feelings even if people tell us we did not wrong.  The intensity of our feelings  should be our guide to which emotions get shared and processed.  Perfectionism is much like guilt.  When we expect ourselves to be perfect and feel bad about making a mistake that could be ego and pride pushing us to be perfect which is something we will never be.  Beating ourselves up for mistakes and for being human falls under our list of shortcomings.

Beating our own ass for being human is just another form of playing God.  We have no right to condemn us or others apparently our creator wanted us to be imperfect, who are we to argue with that? And at the same time we should work to improve.

Doing the 12 steps is a blueprint for living clean and sober.  It’s also a blueprint for living guilt free.  However Bill and the gang missed the part about learning how to express deep emotional pain.  Guttural sounds and groans are another way to get pain out.  Some emotional pain is too strong for even tears.   In some countries it is not a shame for a man or a woman to express deep emotion there are less suicides there I am sure.  With the blue print of the fourth step we can figure out what it is we are feeling so much pain over. That is if we take our step eleven seriously.

 

 

Spiritual Experience

SPIRITUAL AWAKENING

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous 567

The terms “spiritual experience” and “spiritual awakening” are used many times in this book which, upon careful reading, shows that the personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism has manifested itself among us in many different forms.

Yet it is true that our first printing gave many readers the impression that these personality changes, or religious experiences, must be in the nature of sudden and spectacular upheavals. Happily for everyone, this conclusion is erroneous.

In the first few chapters a number of sudden revolutionary changes are described. Though it was not our intention to create such an impression, many alcoholics have nevertheless concluded that in order to recover they must acquire an immediate and overwhelming “God-consciousness” followed at once by a vast change in feeling and outlook.

Among our rapidly growing membership of thousands of alcoholics such transformations, though frequent, are by no means the rule. Most of our experiences are what the psychologist William James calls the “educational variety” because they develop slowly over a period of time. Quite often friends of the newcomer are aware of the difference long before he is himself. He finally realizes that he has undergone a profound alteration in his reaction to life; that such a change could hardly have been brought about by himself alone. What often takes place in a few months could hardly be accomplished by years of self-discipline. With few exceptions our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves.

Most of us think this awareness of a Power greater than ourselves is the essence of spiritual experience. Our more religious members call it “God-consciousness.”

Most emphatically we wish to say that any alcoholic capable of honestly facing his problems in the light of our experience can recover, provided he does not close his mind to all spiritual principles. He can only be defeated by an attitude of intolerance or belligerent denial.

We find that no one need have difficulty with the spirituality of the program. WILLINGNESS, HONESTY AND OPEN MINDEDNESS ARE THE ESSENTIALS OF RECOVERY. BUT THESE ARE INDISPENSABLE.

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance–that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” –HERBERT SPENCER

The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

THE TWELVE STEPS OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become

unmanageable.

  1. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to

sanity.

  1. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  1. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  2. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature

of our wrongs.

  1. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  2. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  3. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make

amends to them all.

  1. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do

so would injure them or others.

  1. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly

admitted it.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

Copyright  1952, 1953, 1981 by Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing

(now known as Alcoholics Anonymous World Services,

How To Get Sober

SOBRIETY

I AM LORI E AND I AM A RECOVERING ALCOHOLIC

How To Get Sober

Typically, those who have experienced what they are teaching to others are better teachers than those who have not and are merely teaching out of the book per-say. We in AA don’t use the word “teacher” because there are too many emotional issues attached to the word for addicts.   Sponsors are teachers and we teach our sponsees how to live sober. That’s one of the most important jobs a teacher can have.   If I had not been successful at staying sober for over nine years myself this article would be less authentic.   I came from a life of deep dark heroin, cocaine, methadone,  Xanax, alcohol and nicotine addiction.  This article is heartfelt and I am mustering up some compassion for those still suffering from addiction so I don’t become too far removed from where I have come from.

Simply put…Before I could get sober I had to hit bottom.   My bottom was crack dens and then jail.   But jail was a step up from where I had been.  First step to sobriety was prayer.  I prayed and prayed some more.  I have not stopped.

Then I did almost everything the people in AA and rehab suggested I do.  I did get into a relationship with a guy who had seven years sober at the time.  We are still sober today…but he is a rare find, hence the prayer.  He is a gift straight from God.
90 Meetings in 90 Days is a very important suggestion for many reasons like to establish new sober friendships.  To create new patterns, habits.  To learn the twelve steps and traditions.  To get a sponsor.  To work the 12 steps.  Begin doing Twelve Step work like chairing meetings which builds new new worth.  To build tolerance and patience.  For gratitude to see people worse off than me.  To share my own experience, strength, and hope which adds to my gratitude and self worth by remembering how far I have come.  For accountability which has a big part in keeping me sober in the beginning.  Basically 90 meetings in 90 days resets our brain and jump-starts our recovery.  People newly sober are like sponges.  To a point we absorb recovery sitting in repetitive meetings.

Next I sought God with my heart and at churches. I sought a spiritual connection in places where people seek God.

CONNECT WITH THE WOMEN AND GET THERAPY

Next I did group recovery therapy with other women in rehab and a brilliant psychologist.   Rehab and AA authorities teach newcomers to stay away from romance and relationships for an entire year, including sex.  However if you are a person capable of independently working your own 12 step program and not falling into a codependent life-style which pulls you away from working hard at recovery, then perhaps you won’t trade your sobriety-in for the closeness of a man or woman’s affection as so many newly sober people do.   I promise you no matter how much my partner (a man) was there for me we just were not able to relate to each other at a core level like me and the women relate.

My life-partner gave me excellent suggestions but when it came to the core level emotional processes that needed to take place for me to heal it had to be the women who listened, cared, and empathized in the way I needed.     My soul so badly needed to finally be validated and realize I was not chronically different and I dod not have to be ashamed any more.     I saw myself as a child and realized my own innocence.  I did not have to condemn myself anymore.  My sisters and I are one.   This connection phenomena is crucial to healing.

I disliked women didn’t trust them and thought I was protecting myself by not opening up to them.  I had to let my walls down and tell people that I was afraid. Tell them that I was ashamed.  Me the tough girl is a women who has a heart that wants to be loved and a ‘part-of’. My Higher Power gave me the connections I needed.  I found a safe place with my new women friends.

My boyfriend on the other hand…he makes me laugh.  Laughter is so important when your getting sober.  It releases the feel-good endorphins we all need so badly.

WORK THE 12 STEPS

I worked the 12 step of Alcoholic Anonymous. The first time I did the steps was in rehab and my fourth step was all blame and anger. I was furious at everyone, I hated myself. The second time I did them I wrote a fifty page fourth step on all my resentments, and thing I resented myself for and was ashamed of. I did writing on each one to get my pent up feelings out. Trust me the men will say it’s all wrong to do it that way, well most men. But for us women it’s a life saver. Some people stay in deep denial over their resentments and short comings. While others beat themselves to a pulp over their mistakes. All I know is the truth will set us free but we need to speak that truth to a sponsor. I needed a sponsor that would not shut me down and invalidate my feelings and thoughts. I had that all my life. It was my fifth step therefore all I needed was an empathetic listener so I could get it all out.

“CALL YOU ON YOUR SHIT” SPONSOR

I have heard many times those that need a kick you in the ass sponsor who “calls you on your shit”. If someone is still in deep denial over their-part of event of the past I can see where that could snap a person out of it. You know if that’s the kind of sponsor you need. That does not mean that you are worse than those that need the more mellow empathic sponsors. It just depends on your personality.

My Brain needed washing

If I would have had the call you on your shit sponsor I would have fired her from the get go. I consider certain things disrespectful that others may not. Such as name-calling and spewing out authoritative orders in a public place to show they are inn charge and superior. I am an addict not a dog. Don’t order me around like one. I can’t control the behavior of other people but I can walk away. Respect is the first vital component in a successful relationship. Respect from a sponsor and anyone for that matter is something I have found in sobriety. They say “We teach people how to treat us.” And we should know a person by who they show us they are not by who they tell us they are.” There is no perfect sponsor and we wouldn’t relate to one if there were. But through prayer we can get the sponsor that is perfect for us.

Next more prayer, more meditation and on that note…lots of nature. The ocean, the beach, the springs, the river. Buy a raft and go float. Get lots of sunshine and lots and lots of water. Personally I drank allot of grape juice not sure why but I believe your own body will tell you what it needs. Easy on the coffee at least the impure coffee with additives and fake creamer. Easy on the sugar but fake sugar is worse. Lots more nature. Meditate with crystals. Put one on your forehead, close your eyes and try to concentrate on one sing thought or prayer. After you do that long enough you will clear your mind. This step 11 exerciser with give you patience and insight, it will promote enlightenment.
Lastly Step 12 Service Work

I started chairing meetings at sixty days sober. I took commitments for service work such as bringing meetings into work release. Bringing meetings into the jails and the rehab center. I was hot and heavy into service work for the first five years I was sober. I kinda slacked off since then but still participate just not as much. Service work is where my self-esteem and confidence where molded. The benefits of service are immense. And there is no telling what it has done for my karma.

That’s it in a nutshell. AA builds lives.

We Can End The Patriot Act!

No More Patriot Act It doesn’t protect Americans rather it gives Big Brother a free rein at not only surveillance of home grown Americans but also gives the Federal Government the right to arrest us with no provocation or valid reason, basically for spitting on the sidewalk.  Please begin or continue your sobriety by doing this next right thing .  It is important and will only take a minute.

I don’t usually touch on political issues on this website however this is urgent.  The vote to end the patriot act is coming this Sunday Memorial Day Weekend.  Please visit this link to put in your vote and  you opinion to your state senator.   Here’s the link and below is a copy of their page.

 https://www.sunsetthepatriotact.com/?ref=fftf&dropoff=1#dropoff

THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT

THING YOU CAN DO.

Our senators and reps are in their home states this week. The most high-impact thing any of us can do is to show up at their offices and deliver this letter. We only have a few days until Sunday. Will you go and deliver this letter to them? While you’re there, take a photo and tweet it to #SunsetthePatriotAct or email: team@fightforthefuture.org.

 

AA Is Getting a Bad Rap

 

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

AA is getting a bad rap lately by Nancy Carr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

MOMENT OF CLARITY

MOMENT OF CLARITY

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

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

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

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

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

LOCKED UP

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

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

 

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

9 years 1 month 1 day

Time span:

474 weeks

3318 days

9.08 years

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

Do you know when your moment of clarity was?

By Anonymous

 

SOBRIETY CALCULATOR

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

Congratulations on your sobriety and clean-time!

 

Ninth Step Promises

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

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

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

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

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

That feeling of uselessness and self pity will disappear.

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

Self-seeking will slip away.

Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.

Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.

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

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

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

3rd ed. Big Book pg. 83 & 84

EMOTIONALLY GROWING UP IN A.A.

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

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

AGREE TO DISAGREE by working the 12 steps.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

[calc id=3037]

Step Two of Alcoholics Anonymous

 

Sanity step two and relationships

STEP TWO

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

Overcoming Fear the human condition from which all addictions spring

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dating and Sex in Sobriety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOBER RELATIONSHIPS and codependency

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

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

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

I wanted to RUN AND BLAME

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

FORGIVENESS and STEP FOUR

krishna-christ

 

FORGIVENESS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

STEP FOUR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

SOBRIETY TOOLS

TOOLS TO STAY CLEAN AND SOBER

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

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

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

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

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

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