Early recovery is great when there’s a pink cloud following us everywhere we go. We are so relieved to have escaped our living Hell that we just beam at the thought of the fresh day that lies ahead of us. As the years move on and “life on life’s terms” sets in…not so much beaming happening eh? The daily chores like work, raising children, grocery shopping, house cleaning and laundry sink in as our gratitude spills out with the laundry soap. Ouch! And what about this whole aging thing? Another Ouch!
We in the program have two really great ways of escaping the pitfalls of relapse that threatens us. Relapse usually starts by losing our zeal for meetings and daily life then losing our gratitude. Next we experience emotional suffering and then perceive the drink and drug as a solution to depression and anxiety. Unfortunately this is the common progression of the classic addict thought processes and memory. Have no worry have no fear! Our solution for the mundane is in steps eleven and twelve.
Meditation puts our thinking on a higher plane. We start with a simple prayer, we pray for the knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out and we ask God to help us meditate. Next, we sit quietly seeking our Higher Power by repeating a mantra over and over. By this seemingly non-productive action we train our mind to shut out the chaos and fear the world and our own psyche offers us. Once we establish the ability to concentrate on one thought clearing our mind of all thoughts is the next natural step.
Once our mind has moved into the space that owns no fear, our mind is empty. We then are able to hear our Higher Power clearly while we absorb our God’s Spirit and enjoy His or Her or its healing power of mind, body and soul. When practicing this regularly we are in a position to do our service work with a supernatural kick. We have a fierce gratitude for life, we don’t forget where we came from and we work hard on keeping our side of the street clean and guilt free. By meditation we gain patience and tolerance toward ourselves, others and even the fearful and struggling relapsers. By chairing a meeting, speaking at jails and institutions or just working with a sponcee one on one we are reminded of our own progress and that classic addict memory that gets us in so much trouble is transformed to sanity. We no longer have the addict mind, we are free!
 Let me clarify I am not disrespecting those of us who have relapsed, most all of us have relapsed, if we resent relapsers it is usually because we resent ourselves. I have observed in the rooms people in recovery often become intolerant of those who have gone back out.
DEPRESSION IS ANGER WITHOUT ENTHUSIASM
TAKE OFF THE MASK
|Humans generally learn by default to put on a hard emotionally protective shell so others will not see their vulnerabilities and they won’t get hurt. However oftentimes that hard shell tends to offend others before they can actually see what is going on with us. In other words; when we are hurt we may seem just angry or mad at someone who really has nothing to do with the reason we are feeling unrest. Hurt and fear by default turn to anger in most alcoholics because it is a safer emotion to portray to our fellows than an emotion that appears weak, like “hurt”. Some say depression is anger without enthusiasm with hurt at the core. We alcoholics tend to have trust issues and we are often not willing to show our real emotions to anybody. We fear for our survival in this world that we see as cruel and unsafe! This my friend is the core reason so many fear and run from doing a fourth and fifth step.So what do we do? Do we continue repressing every hurt and pain till the emotional agony takes us down? No never! Not if we are to heal and actually be able to say “Hi, I am Lori, I am an alcoholic addict in recovery.” Not if we want a psychic change…we must find someone we are willing to trust with our feelings, our shame, and our fears. We need, yes need someone in the program who will relate to us and have compassion, someone whom we can cry to.We must for survival sake do a thorough Fourth and Fifth Step to get out the skeletons of our past that are eating at the very fiber of our being and hindering our relationships!
We must make our step work personal by writing and sharing our Fifth Step in the “I” context. We should state our feelings and events with honest emotion.
IT IS THE THING WE ARE MOST ASHAMED OF THAT SHOULD BE AT THE TOP OF OUR LIST. A shallow and non-revealing Fifth Step with our most shameful events omitted will not help us near enough. No, not if we are to recover our joy and obtain the miraculous psychic change needed to not only stay sober but to stay sane enough that we do not choose suicide over sobriety like countless addicts and alcoholics have.
We are dying out there and we must take serious action for our true survival…”It is better to save our ass than save our face.” “Pride comes before a fall oh how deep that fall can be.” Hope is the answer, hold on to the hope that we really can get better with God at the helm of our step work.
What should I do today to start the process of working the steps?
NINETY MEETINGS IN NINETY DAYS
THE TOOLS OF AA AND NA COME FROM THE 12 STEPS AND OTHER ASPECTS OF THE PROGRAM LIKE FELLOWSHIP, SPONSORSHIP, AND OTHER CONSTRUCTIVE SUGGESTIONS EVEN CLICHES LIKE “OUT OF THE PROBLEM INTO THE SOLUTIONS” HELP KEEP US SOBER.
Tools are an important part of recovery. Working the steps formally and implementing them in our lives as needed are two different things. If we get a resentment that we are unable to let go of first we pat ourselves on the back for admitting it….we don’t punish ourselves for being human. Then we can sit down and work a fourth step grid on the issue. What happened and how did it make us feel? We write the events down on paper. At the core of EVERY resentment is fear. Identifying what we are afraid of is usually not logical…it is a feeling and does not have to be logical to be valid. We write down our fears.
Are we afraid of losing something associated with the “three S’s” [Sex, Society, and Security] 99% of the time fear of loss is at the core of our resentment. We revisit the third step and put our fears in our Higher Powers hands. We ask God to remove our fears, We admit that we are lacking at some level; faith and trust in our Higher Power or we wouldn’t have fears. We discuss our lack of faith with God and ask for help. We pray for the person whom we have the resentment against for a week or as long as it takes to get them out of our head.
These tools are common solutions to our emotional disorder. We are not hard on ourselves because we know we are making progress and we just showed ourselves the Love it takes to heal!
Emotional sobriety means learning how to take responsibility for our own feelings and actions.