The Man who Hides his heart away behind a mask sickens his own soul
Children are not born hating themselves. They are taught they are wrong at a young age by propaganda that produces self loathing. From that point on we commence to fixing what we feel is wrong, OUR OWN HEART’S VOICE, and the “ME” our truth and our identity. This perception of “I am wrong I am different” is by design.
Sounds like a rationalization, to say, “programmed for addiction” but it’s a truth and realization. Sounds as if it were said by a struggling addict who hasn’t been sober long that we must quickly discount and recite, “some are sicker than others”.
read on and watch the video below to see how programming occurs in humans. It wasn’t until over seven years sober that I realized what formed my personality toward addiction. It wasn’t until more than eleven years sober that I realized the emotional indoctrination that happens to all public school students including our parents.
Why Are Addicts in so Much Emotional Pain?
Why do addicts seem to have a proclivity towards self destruction?
Why are addicts so inclined to blame others for their own choices?
And the biggie, why do our sponsors teach us to not ask “why”?
Answer number one: THE PROBLEM
I was in so much pain that I needed to numb myself due to a life-time of hiding away my true identity. By hiding intense feelings and thoughts away my pain lived inside me till I finally was taught how to let it all out.
Self Esteem is tied to step four along with Fear. Low self worth breeds fear of people. Page 65 of the Big Book verify’s this.
Is blame a character defect or an emotional survival skill? How about it’s both?
Blame rears its ugly head in ways that may surprise many in the realm of recovery. Blame, accusation, and just plain critical fault finding is an unhealthy survival skill for those of us who learned how to live through a life of addiction without snuffing ourselves out because of guilt.
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.
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.”
(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.
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 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 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.
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
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.
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.’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We in recovery would do well to learn how to agree to disagree. Showing respect to those whose views are different than our own is part of emotional sobriety (translation-Maturity). We learn at business meetings and at the poles that voting and having varied opinions must be understood. We should not run from all controversial topics as if they were poison and CENSOR them as if they were blasphemous. Controversy is not bad and personal choices and opinions have NOTHING TO DO WITH THE TENTH TRADITION. “A.A. has no opinion on outside issues.” Tradition Ten is about A.A. AS A WHOLE IN THE PUBLIC AND POLITICAL ARENAS.
EXAMPLE of a breach of Tradition Ten would be…
>[I am the chairman for the NEW LIFE GROUP in Gainesville, Florida representing Alcoholics Anonymous in an official capacity and I make a statement to reporters of the Tampa Tribune that Alcoholics Anonymous officially has voted to NOT support The Governor of Florida in his next election because he endorses Narcotics Anonymous (and we hate them right? Or is it just NA who hates AA? off-topic sorry) That would be a Tenth Tradition breach.
If we don’t learn to stand for something in our recovery then we are still hiding behind a passive and fearful blanket of irresponsibility. Do we vote? Do we teach our children the principles that we ourselves have chosen in spite of many people’s opposing beliefs? There is NOTHING wrong with standing for something and discussing it…that is not a Tenth Tradition issue so next time you witness a respectful discussion of two people’s opposing views…don’t quote the Tenth Tradition as if it had something to do with it.
Here is a quote from the Tenth Tradition in the Twelve and Twelve. Understanding what the Tenth Tradition is really referring too is vastly overlooked in A.A.
“TRADITION TEN OF A.A.”>“Let us reemphasize that this reluctance to fight one another or anybody else is not counted (motives?) as some special virtue which makes us feel superior to other people. Nor does it mean that the members of alcoholics Anonymous, now restored as citizens of the world, are going to back away from their individual responsibilities to act as they see the right upon issues of our time. But when it comes to A.A. as a whole, that’s quite a different matter. In this respect we do not enter into public controversy, because we know our society will perish if it does.” Bill W.
“Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.” Chapter 5 How It Works from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. I remember hearing these words for the first time in an A.A. meeting and thinking to myself, “God I hope that’s true.” I wanted so badly to get and stay clean and sober. My life had been torturous. I had hit a bottom that was so emotionally painful and mentally taxing that I understand completely why people kill themselves. I also understand why the suicide statistics among sober addicts is very high as well. Since that first day I have been sober nearly ten years. I am at peace with myself more so now than in my entire life. I am so blessed. I believe that when we make and effort to do the right thing and we work the steps…that God is in our corner. Everything just clicked for me yet at times I forget how good God has been to me and I start whine go Him that I want more. Bottom line, God gives me what I need. Peace of mind is priceless in my book and between therapy and the 12 steps
There is such a thing as God rolling out the red carpet of sobriety. I also believe there is suchc a ,v
Sure you would think once someone can get and stay sober there problems are over they will automatically be “happy joyous and free” just like the A.A cliche’ says. Unfortunately depression, bi-polar disorder, high anxiety, mental illness, and obsessive compulsive disorder are all common among sober alcoholics.
How depressing you say…and it is BUT, the good news is we can adjust to a sober life and we can even overcome high anxiety. Plus there are medications that help the mental illness if we stay sober and take it regularly. Instead many addicts go through a phase of thinking they don’t need their bi-polar meds. And that the meds are having a negative effect on them.
The steps work to help every disorder I mentioned above not just to keeps us sober. If we can just take a step of faith and get a sponsor, go to 90 meetings in 90 days. Immerse ourselves in A.A. and connect with the people. Ask questions and share in meetings. Find some friendly members and tell them how you feel. When we are scared we should share that we are scared. It takes off the emotional load.
We need to have a therapist that will help us learn how to let our emotions flow. We need to make friends who have let down their walls and are not afraid to be honest about their feelings. We need to let ourselves cry after all we have been through hell in our addiction.
The Big Book reads that many of us suffer from gave emotional dis
NOW IS THE BEST TIME TO START YOUR RECOVERY FROM ADDICTIONS AND EMOTIONAL DISORDER!
Make a list of your sobriety hopes and dreams and check it twice!
It is written in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous that “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path” If you have the capacity to be honest enough with yourself to admit you have a problem….then you have a good chance of staying sober for a very long time. The main ingredient of recovery is truth.
If you are willing to take the steps that are suggested by the people in Alcoholics Anonymous that have stayed sober before you for years, then you will not fail. Regardless of how many times you have sabotaged your own sobriety.
Sit down, make a list of all the good things that you want from your sober life and in 6 months you will realize you have been given and achieved far more than you had hoped for. This is a common story told among those in AA.
When I sat in jail in 2006 hoping to spend just one day with my daughter at my favorite beach I was full of fear that I could not stay sober or out of jail long enough to do that. Nine years later I sit amazed at the accomplishments and blessings that I have experienced by turning my fears and control over to my Higher Power.
Once I realized that the 12 steps are my recipe for staying sober and at peace with myself I knew I had it made. The reason that I did not fail is I learned to “get out of the problem and into the solution”. I went to 90 meetings in 90 days at first then for the next four to six years I went to four meetings a week. I enjoy meetings now it’s not a burden. I have cleared the wreckage of my past by doing the 12 steps.
Between therapy and the Fifth Step I learned how to express myself from my heart. I learned to share my fears rather than stuff them down till they make me sick. I learned that crying is a healthy emotion and a part of life. I learned that pain is the beginning of healing. Journaling my feelings is priceless to my emotional health. And meditation feeds peace and anointed guidance to my very soul.
One day at a time I have earned my degree in sober school. There is no need for me to pretend that I am alien to progress. I have made much progress and you can too. If you are willing to become a student.
My friend I am sure that you are wise in many ways. BUT, having the wisdom to become teachable again will save you. The horrible suffering that addiction brings transforms into the willingness and desperation needed to take your leap of faith. Fear of the unknown can lead to the fulfillment of your deepest heartfelt desires when you get out of the problem and into the solutions. Do not prejudice yourself against any possible help, rehab, therapy, AA, and religion are all a step in the right direction!
If you seek a full recovery from addiction A.A. Works for some people, therapy works for others, and spirituality works for yet others. Combine all three and you up your chances of staying sober by at least 30%. But be sure to choose an empathic, caring type therapist, you will need it to balance out the intolerance of many A.A. sponsors and members. And furthermore I recommend a Spirit-filled church (holy roller type). Dry and Spirit-less churches that don’t really believe in the gifts of the Spirit such as prophecy, healings, miracles, deliverances, and open-praise aren’t usually as effective in the miracle department. Make certain that your church at least believes in the power of the blood of Jesus and the laying on of hands for healing and deliverance. Yes again the holy rollers. Truly every spiritual experience I have had of high magnitude has been where people praise God openly. Not to say a spiritual experience cannot happen to you at home alone. I have also seen that happen. It’s just way more likely to happen at a tent revival than in the bathroom at home. And then there’s the spiritual awakening and a psychic change. If you work the 12 steps out of the 12 and 12 and big books honestly and thoroughly several times you may just get the psychic change needed to stay sober.
Thank you “Elmer” for your insight on emotional tools which you shared at the Triangle Club to help the guys your worked with get well.
In Gainesville ******ics Anonymous Program some of us have a certain tradition. I am not talking about the 12 traditions right now. I am talking about an exercise that we do in accordance with the fifth step. This tradition keeps us SANE, AND SOBER. This tradition keeps shame at bay which is the number one reason people leave the program…shame. Yes “resentment is the number one offender but it is not the #1 reason people that have the program working for them yet choose to leave. Ok yes they leave because they drank or wanted to drink and then the shame sets back in.
The Gainesville tradition that I am referring to is that we share in our meeting “WHAT HAPPENED AND HOW IT MADE US FEEL.” We have learned that keeping secrets about our INTENSE feelings will kill us. We have learned that all the repressed emotions in the world will not change who we are. We have learned how to come to terms with who we are and to accept that. But not only accept..WE SHARE NOT ONLY “WHAT HAPPENED” BUT “HOW IT MADE US FEEL”
This is the magic children. This is the one thing that 12 step programs around the world are missing. THERE IS NO WRONG FEELING ONLY WRONG ACTIONS. If we label our feelings “wrong” we are labelling ourselves wrong. Every feeling that we have is for a valid reason and is valid. Granted we don’t share all of our feelings nor do we allow our feelings to rule over us. However, we do respect and honor our feelings, they are valid. No we don’t run around having to express every small felling we have. There is a time to say “feelings aren’t facts” and simply ignore them. But there are on the other hand feelings that are eating our lunch that need to come out… Otherwise we may slip into our old behavior of projecting and blaming others for the way we feel. So we put our intense and nagging emotions into the middle of the meeting room so they get absorbed and carried away by the Spirit of the program. This my friend is one of the most important solutions I have. It is just as important as not holding resentments. Similar article “Men in Recovery”
By Adam J. Pearson. Recovery Farmhouse Thanks you Adam Pearson for your courageous bravery which you have exhibited by addressing a topic most people run from. The topic of shame is one that should be addressed by each of our hearts. Until we examine our shame we cannot claim to know ourselves. If we say we have no shame we have not examined ourselves any further than ego and false pride will allow. We will not be ashamed of being ashamed!…..The Farmhouse.
The Wisdom of Eamonn Perkins
Eamonn Perkins is a wise, humble and tremendously compassionate teacher from Ireland who spends much of his time working with addicts and prisoners. He’s so low-key that, as of this writing, he doesn’t even have a website. In a 2014 interview, Eamann said something brilliantly concise and and equally incisive:
“If you truly knew me, you wouldn’t like me,” that’s the mantra of human existence. “
I love this line. It’s so simple and so profound. It’s one of those ideas that is so powerful that it momentarily stuns us into silence. Words like these hit home somewhere deep within us and resonate with something in the darknessthat wants to be seen, a hidden truth that yearns to come to light. I couldn’t agree more with the truth of the statement, especially in our current global situation in which we have so much information and yet paradoxically feel so lost, are so socially connected and yet so lonely, and are so encouraged to puff up our egos and yet so inwardly drowning in a sea of shame.
And if shame–the intensely painful feeling that we are in some way flawed or not good enough and are, therefore, unworthy of love, belonging and connection–is the cause of our drowning, then it’s no surprise that we’re all desperately searching for a lifeline out of it.
“If you truly knew me, you wouldn’t like me” is the secret belief, the shameful idea, the “mantra of human existence.”
When we believe this story, we meet each other from a place of fear and put up fronts and facades. We operate from a feeling of inadequacy and hide out of reflex. We refuse to let ourselves really show up and be seen out of the fear of being judged or rejected. And very slowly and very quietly, this message, which is the voice of shame within us, begins to stifle life. Without understanding, we watch it happen, wishing we had the words to describe what is going on and the tools to handle it.
As if paralyzed, we watch shame crush our free expression. The fear at its core blocks our creativity and replaces honesty with self-defensive lies. It makes us scramble for escapes and distractions to avoid the excruciating pain that is fundamental to shame. And while saying that we would never want to be anything but authentic, we find ourselves so afraid to be real and not belong that we choose to be inauthentic in order to fit in.
Shame is Widespread
Lady Godiva statue by John Thomas (1813 – 1862), Maidstone Museum, Kent, England.
This pattern is so common and yet so unspoken. “The less you talk about shame, the more you have it,” says the brilliant and inspiring shame researcher Brene Brown in her renowned TED talk, “The Power of Vulnerability.” “The only people who don’t have it” she continues, “also have no capacity for human empathy or connection.”
Shame is incredibly universal. I’ve seen it in the students I’ve taught. I’ve seen it in the men and women I’ve known. I’ve seen it in my friends. I’ve seen it expressed in the media on TV. And I’ve seen it in myself. For 25 years of my life, shame stifled and held me down like a heavy and unspoken weight. I feel for, and with, all of those who struggle with shame because I get them. Shame varies in the details from person to person, but its core is always the same.
This is one reason why I’m open about shame, because I’ve struggled with it, because so many people do, and because shame grows in silence and “cannot survive being spoken” (Brown, 2013). When I do openly talk to people about shame, I tend to hear the same thing over and over again: “I thought it was just me…” Oh yeah. I know that feeling. Shame is tremendously effective at making us feel like we’re the only ones who feel it, when the truth is that it comes up in nearly all of us.
Shame Itself is Fear, Our Prison and the Key to Freedom
Facing shame can sometimes feel terrifying because shame itself is fear, the fear of not being enough and being unworthy, unlovable, and rejected as a result. The basic truth, as I see it, though, is this: if we want to flourish, if we want to be boldly authentic, if we want to truly love and be loved, if we want to transcend fear, if we want to cultivate kindness and forgiveness, if we want to find peace, then we need to face shame rather than deny, repress, and project it. We need to meet it in an intelligent and self-compassionate way that works.
And that’s why I spend so much time and so many words writing about shame. Because it’s the substance out of which we forged the bars of our internal prison. And it’s also the key to our liberation.
Resources on Shame and Cultivating Shame-Resilience
If anything I said above resonates, rings true, or sounds familiar to what you or people you know have felt, here are some resources that I’ve found helpful that will give you some powerful insights into shame and shame-resilience.
Above all, I’d recommend reading the amazing book “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way we Live, Love, Parent and Lead” by the shame-researcher and brilliantly compassionate and inspiring Brene Brown. This book literally changed my life. It gave me words for feelings I had felt for years and had never been able to express. It cast light on powerful shadows. And it empowered me with useful tools. I’ve read it 3 times. It’s that good. It literally changed my life.
In addition, here’s a wonderful Positive Psychology article on Brene Brown’s “Shame-Resilience Theory” if you’re into a more psychology-oriented academic approach.
If you want some down-to-Earth distillations of the core principles from Brene’s book as I’ve applied them in my life, here are a few articles that I’ve written on the subjects of shame and how to empower ourselves with resilience against it. These articles are grounded, not in hypothetical theories, but in both solid research and in my own experience and practice. My general rule is that I only write about tools I’ve actually used and found helpful in my own life. If I haven’t used it and found it to work, I don’t write about it.
However, you don’t have to take my word for it. Let your own experience be the laboratory and the judge. I’m right there in the arena with you, facing the same issues. We’re in this together and we’re never alone, even though shame can make us feel that way. There are useful strategies that work to empower us to work with these things and the purpose of my writing is to share them.
Here’s a brief guide and orienting overview to my writings on the subject:
“Silencing the Praise: Why Seeking Approval Fails to Fill Our Inner Void” introduces shame and identifies it as the name of the void we feel within us, the void that says we are “not good enough” and are thus unworthy of love and belonging. It then explains why approval-seeking fails to fill the void of shame because shame invalidates approval even when we do receive it. We are not hopeless, however; at the end of the article, I introduce a few healthy alternatives and powerful strategies to meet shame with resilience and compassion.
“The Heart of the Void: Finding the Assumptions at the Heart of Shame” breaks shame down into two key components: a feeling part and a thinking part. The feeling part involves the painful emotions at the heart of shame (e.g. fear, anxiety, inadequacy) and the thinking part involves the core assumptionsabout ourselves that are at the root of the feelings. This article specifically explains how to discover these assumptions and then how to reality-check andtransform them once we find them. This practice is a powerful tool for our shame-resilience arsenal.
“Finding the Calm Within the Storm: Shame-Resilience in Practice” breaks down Brene Brown’s powerful shame-resilience method into clear steps and gives a real-world example of how I applied it to one shame story in my own life. I’ve seen tons of articles about the method online, but very few concrete examples of how we apply it in our own inner experience. This article was written in an attempt to fill that void and also to practice “the courage to be vulnerable” that Brene Brown champions.
“Forgive and Be Free: The Liberating Power of Forgiveness”offers a useful practice for compassionately addressing the feeling part of shame throughforgiveness. Forgiveness was a subject that I took for granted for a long time because I didn’t realize how powerfully liberating and empowering it truly is. However, it was a key part of the shame puzzle for me.
“Release the Past to Free the Present: Another Meaning of Forgiveness” expands on the previous article to explain how forgiveness helps us lovingly liberate our present from the stranglehold of the past. Since shame is powerfully rooted in our past thoughts, perceptions, and experiences, forgiveness thus is a powerfully compassionate practice for skillfully handling shame. This article explains how this works.
Shame sometimes expresses itself as catastrophizing or obsessive worst-case scenario thinking. “Catastrophizing: How to Handle Worst-Case Scenario Thinking” explores the fascinating dynamics of catastrophizing. It also offers a powerful way to handle catastrophic thinking so that it ceases to drive us towards unintentional self-sabotage and drag us out of the joy of being present.
Dissolving shame is like dissolving a poison that is killing, one drop at a time. In its place… space, air and welcoming of life. That’s what happened for me, finally.
Keep writing about this, Adam, it’s needed.
QUALITY SOBRIETY HAS MANY FACES AND THE FACE OF PAINFUL EXPRESSION EXHIBITS TRUTH. I AM NOT AFRAID TO LET YOU SEE MY TEARS THEY ARE A MANIFESTATION OF THE NINTH STEP PROMISE THAT “FEAR OF PEOPLE” WILL LEAVE US.
The face of recovery that shows no pain or tears is a misrepresentation of one’s true self and a deep deception to us all.
The face of recovery that shows no pain or tears is a misrepresentation of one’s true self and a deep deception to us all.
AM I RECOVERED AND SANE? OR AM I AN ALCOHOLIC DESTINED TO ALWAYS BE INSANE? THE 12 STEP PROGRAMS WORK…..TO A CERTAIN EXTENT.
Ok I just re-read the following and I think its a little harsh. So… Disclaimer-I have been jealous and will be again at some point. I am human. Getting jealous does derive from fear however ALL HUMANS GET FEAR OCCASIONALLY OR OFTEN.
Big “GET OVER IT!” To the alcoholics and addicts who are stuck in the mind-set that, their way of recovery is the ONLY way to recover. People get sober with and without AA. Believe it the addict mind in many instances becomes jealous over “their way” of recovery. Even to the point of hoping that the person who got sober on their own or in church will quickly relapse to prove his point.
Addicts become jealous over “their Higher Power” and “their 12 step program”. Lets face it codependency which thrives on jealousy runs rampant through the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. Understandable if you take into consideration that jealousy stems from fear of loss and that Alcoholics tend to be emotionally immature (sometimes).
But open your minds my fellows! There are many ways to recover that works and many times those same ways don’t work. It just depends on several different factors.
Here are the three main ways that people are known to drastically change for the better.
1. Therapy has helped millions change: therapy only works if you have the right empathic therapist and if you have the courage to face yourself. To allow yourself to be vulnerable by facing your insecurities and your deepest feelings. Therapy only works if you are willing to re-live your most traumatic childhood and adult events, face them, and express your feelings in regard to them on an honest emotional level. The core level.
2. The 12 Steps: only work if we are willing to get honest about feelings and past events. They only work if we are willing to humble ourselves and become vulnerable & teachable. They only work if we truly seek out a Higher Power and involve Him/Her/it in the process of working steps 1 through 12.
3. Religion: Finding God only works if we seek with our heart and our mind. My experience dictates that “repentance” is one of the main keys to becoming spiritually empowered. At the same time without the balance of empathic understanding from relating with those like us and a degree of realization that we were victims as well as wrong, shame will tend to rein in our psyches. This lingering shame will inevitably throw us back into emotional and psychological denial of our weaknesses & faults. Religion has helped millions change, don’t underestimate its power just because it didn’t help YOU change. However there must be a logic based psychic balance that shows us we are not ALL BAD. Some religions oppress but God dwells where people seek and praise God. Your chances of having a spiritual experience at all are GREATLY INCREASED IF you surround yourself with people that are openly praising God.
Oftentimes the religious people don’t have a way to expel certain shame and guilt or to get in touch with the child in them who was abandoned, abused, neglected, and rejected. The common barrier to healing from past wounds is by reasoning out that “you can’t change the past why go there?” YOU CAN CHANGE THE PAST! By changing our perception of the past we change the past. How do we change a perception? Go back, relive, journal, share, be vulnerable. With therapy and the 12 steps these three long-term actions together are an absolute recipe for not only sobriety but also A COMPLETE RECOVERY as possible
But this is not the whole topic today.
Today the topic is; “am I recovered or not?”
This is the thing….the big book reads that bill w. And the group “recovered” from a hopeless state of mind. Being recovered is mentioned through-out the big book. If a person has five years sober and realizes that they no longer have the alcoholic mind…and they have recovered. There is one sure way to know for themselves if they really have recovered.
The still insane, sick alcoholic will reason out…I have recovered so… I am no longer an alcoholic. Now I can drink responsibly. Now, this time it will be different!” And for a time they may actually be able to drink responsibly. However with the progression and insanity that alcohol produces and their past behaviors this luxury won’t last long. On the flip side: for the recovered alcoholic who truly is recovered, whose sanity has returned and have had a psychic change; their thought process works differently. These types realize they no longer have the alcoholic mind and reason out that in spite of that and because of that they do not want to drink again…ever. No matter what. So if one is truly recovered they will know that because of the allergy to alcohol they will never be able to drink like a normal person. They also realize that they are no longer an alcoholic in spite of a few addict-like tendencies and lesser addictions such as over-eating, internet addiction, cigarette addiction, sex addiction, anger or rage addiction, the addiction to being “not alright” even.
Perhaps all three solutions are only needed for those that have been abused and neglected. However i question any alcoholic’s self-awareness if they state they have no “core issues”. Why would anyone try to destroy himself by drinking alcoholically and try to numb out feelings and awareness by poisoning oneself yet claim not to have any childhood issues or core level shame?
Firstly I want to state that without Alcoholics Anonymous and my Higher Power I would probably be dead or worse.
However I believe it is very important to find our identity outside of AA once we are sober for several years. We become strong due to working the 12 steps and being active in the workings of step 12 service work. Step 12 makes us confident and helps us develop coping skills and reach a level of emotional sobriety (maturity).
When I stepped away from AA myself due to a case of AA burnout I wondered who the heck I was. It scared me, I thought do I have an identity without of AA? The steps and Big book I believe are good and ordained of God. The 12 steps and the perfect directions for staying sober and to experience a psychic change and a spiritual awakening. HOWEVER as we have learned from the history of the Bible good things are easily twisted and misconstrued by sick men. My conclusion is that: AA is a good program but sick men seek out many devices and can produce a counterfeit for every good AA directive.
IS THE ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS PROGRAM GOOD OR BAD?
We cannot really label Alcoholics Anonymous good or bad as a whole because there are so many members, sponsors, sponsee’s and various representatives who all have their own methods and ideals of what AA is and how it actually works.
You may ask two former members of AA about the program and get two totally different views. There are many articles online that call AA a cult and a worthless and depraved organization. Ex-members state that they were taken advantage of, abused, and lied to. While other members will attest that without AA they would be dead or worse. These members swear that the program transformed them from a destructive, and violent addict into a productive, spiritual member of society. And neither of the two testimonies would be untrue.
But what are the facts concerning the “program” of AA? The twelve steps and the Big Book if viewed and understood rightly will induce a miracle if not several miracles in a person’s life IF that person is honest and willing to work the steps, get a good sponsor and reach out to God with their heart. The program on paper is the perfect way to not only get clean and sober but also to become a moral and decent human being. So its really a matter of choice whether the program actually works for a person or doesn’t work.
So why so many negative testimonies about AA? Remember human beings can turn any good into a bad. For every good and righteous directive in the Big Book there is twisted and misunderstood counterfeit version.
Example; Step 10 “Continued to taker personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.” Confession is good for the soul no doubt but if we confess too often and to the wrong person our humility may turn into not only gossip but also a demeaning and self-degrading process that beats down our self-esteem rather than building it up. Our confidant may even put themselves in a place of authority and power over us using our confessed wrongs against us with an oppressive thumb. We must have a trustworthy person to confess and admit our wrongs to then be done with it. We should be allowed to move on into our new sober life and leave the wreckage in the past where it belongs.
Good ideas can be mis-construed. Hate-driven interpretations of the Bible show us that. If a man holds bitterness in his heart that bitterness will seek a way to express itself, whether passive or aggressive or both hate searches for an outlet while the psyche knowing right from wrong seeks subconsciously for a justified way to express that hate.
AA needs two types of personas to make it function…the newcomer and the sponsor or, the teacher and the student. Not every teacher in AA has the humility to remain a student as well after years of sobriety. False pride wants badly to know-it-all. Bottom line just because a newcomer is sick and suffering and has no idea how to work the program of AA that is no reason to treat a man disrespectfully.
If something feels very wrong then it probably is. We should take our common sense with us into our 12 step program and read the Big Book thoroughly for ourselves rather than having someone interpret it for us. We should share in meetings about our progress so we can get useful feedback. A sponsor should never try to make our decisions and choices for us but rather sponsors should make suggestions and guide us through the steps and various options. The program works but we must work it ourselves thoroughly and honestly.
RELATIONSHIPS IN AA, SOBER IN ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS AND LOVE & INTIMACY
How can I tell if I am acting out of fear or if I am really acting out of Love? When it comes to relationships so many times we throw around the words, “I love you” for the wrong reasons. We may say the words to make someone feel needed or Loved which in itself is a kind manipulation. We may say it to make someone feel obligated to us as if being loved has a price tag on it. Or we may say it because we have been hurt by someone and we want them to feel extra guilty…”how could you leave me for another woman I love you!”
Often-times drug addicts have to learn how to manipulate people to ensure that their using needs will be met. To make sure that I would have the drugs I needed I had several enablers on a line. Enablers tend to have their own underlying reasons to enable us but that’s a whole other matter. So in my mind the numerous “sugar daddy’s” that I had on the line had the following reasons to want me around. They wanted to be seen with a young and beautiful woman, “hood ornament” per-say. They wanted sex, of course that’s the most common one. They just wanted affection and to feel loved. They wanted to feel important and needed. They wanted to feel masculine, sensual, strong, and beautiful or maybe they just wanted to feel. And I was there to accommodate and fend off their insecurities.
Armed with this knowledge I would tell them what I thought they wanted to hear and much of that was the “I love you”. So I lied I cheated, I manipulated and said I love you because of fear. I was afraid if I didn’t say and do these things I wouldn’t get what I needed to stay well and wanted to feel good.
But what about regular intimate romantic relationships that aren’t cursed with drug addict motives? Do we still act out of fear and say the “I love you” for the wrong reasons? HELL YES it happens all the time! The primary reason is control and fear of loss. Oftentimes people in relationships tend to act out because they are afraid of losing…especially addicts who no longer have their drink and drug. Now the sober addict has a person that they begin to obsess on and become way too dependent on emotionally and perhaps financially. The “I love you” becomes a staunch obligation to the partner rather than a giving and affectionate tid-bit of verbal yummy. Lol!
So if our partner interacts with other friends do we find ourselves feeling threatened subconsciously and then react by using sex to get then under control? Or maybe we find a reason why the partner shouldn’t be with their friends like…it’s dangerous, I am worried about you. Or when they come home do we throw a fit about how worried we were about them because “WE LOVE THEM”.
We can use this thermometer Love is charitable, it is giving, Love does not attack verbally but fear does. Love does not try to play god, but fear does. Love would never tell another adult how to live.
If we are concerned about a Loved one then we share our concerns in a respectful manner such as sharing our fears for that person by speaking in the “I” context. NO “YOU’S” you this you that tends to be an attack. For instance if my partner is hanging out with his old using friends I could say. “Wow you must be stronger than me if I were hanging out with my old using friends I would relapse for sure.”
One of the oldest control games in the world is limiting freedom for one’s own well-being for one’s own good. All people deserve to have peace and freedom. Once we are adults our mommies don’t control us any longer. The law and our employers are the only authorities that we endure. Each man has the right to make his own mistakes. Each man has the right to have peace in his home. Sponsorship means we suggest and we ask questions we don’t make our sponcee’s decisions for them that is enabling as well.
We should treat our life-partners or significant others like friends giving them the same respect and freedom we would give a good friend.
Yesterday I felt horrible and I wasn’t sure why. I kept having a bad re-occurring memory of me at a very young age feeling rejected and even loathed by my father. I wrote about the memory and shared my feelings with my close confidants in AA. I felt a huge relief after I shared my core insecurities of inadequacy and worthlessness. But there was more…there was something else going on with me yesterday and in the past few weeks. I have been working toward some business goals and things were looking pretty darn good where finances are concerned. Then suddenly out of nowhere I had some pretty big set-backs occur that threw me for a loop.
I have had expectations; high expectations that my websites and business were on their way up! When everything took a turn down hill at one time I was shocked. I did not expect the setback at all. I beat myself up for not using the money I had been making in a more responsible way. Somehow I really didn’t expect my E-bay sales to slow down either. I realized this morning that I had lost hope. I felt like my efforts were stupid…like “what did I think I was doing expecting my financial life to be above average or even average for that matter Who did I think I was.” “Did you forget young lady that you are a piece of shit and don’t deserve money”. “You have lived from week to week all of your life and it is not going to change because your Higher Power will see to that!” “Give up hope for the good life Laura because you don’t deserve it, who do you think you are!” This is what my head said at a very, very deep subconscious level mind you. And that is what my feelings dictated so I laid down in hopelessness losing the warm reassuring vision of a bright future and concentrated on fear of the future instead. YIKES!
Please keep in mind when you are reading this and maybe judging me as totally wretched. The logical mind in humans says one thing while feelings and emotions can speak quite another thing. And just because my logical mind knew I really had nothing to worry about because God always takes care of me. I still experience the insecurities. False pride will not allow a man to confess his weakness. Without confession negativity multiplies. Fearing what other people may think of me if I do admit weakness means that I feel inferior to others anyway and am ashamed of who I am.
False comparisons are just that…they are false. I should not compare my insides to other people’s outsides as they say in AA. People wear masks and to a certain extent masks are necessary. We don’t usually “unless we are writers” need to advertise our struggles and weakness to more than one or two close confidants. However in the name of compassion and sharing so other people will not feel so inferior themselves we should let them know what is going on inside of us and that we are not perfect by any means. I share to let other people know what works for me emotionally, spiritually, and mental health-wise.
“Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us” so says the Ninth step promises in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. But what I was going through was a definite financial insecurity….I needed to put my future….and my thoughts into the Loving hands of God. I have a Third Step God box that me and some ladies in AA all sat down and made for ourselves. It is stuffed full of fears that have passed.
And so I had not lost my spiritual gift called hope I had just misplaced it per-say. I experience deep and wrathful anger during that period at which time I prayed deeply that I wouldn’t hurt anyone by my words.
I learned a valuable lesson as I sat I said to myself and God, “I can see why some people do not seek God and reject Him all together. My feelings of anger were so deep that I could only do what I knew was right and true from my experience. Because in the moment of my rage I hated everyone including God and myself. That hate made me realize that I have judged many a man without walking in their shoes or feeling how they feel or going through what they had been through to get to the place for which I looked down on them.
ISN’T IT STRANGE THAT IN THE DEPTHS OF MY EMOTIONALLY NEGATIVE AND UNKIND PLACES WHERE MY SOUL SLIPS AGAINST MY OWN WILL. IT IS THERE THAT I AM HUMBLED AND FIND MY MOST VALUABLE SPIRITUAL LIFE LESSONS.
It says in the Big Book that resentment is the number one offender. That means it will get us drunk or high before any other emotion. And sure, I get that.
RESOURCES FOR PANIC ATTACKS AND ANXIETY DISORDER
I woke up angry as hell today! I went to check on a recent order I had made online. I couldn’t get into my account. I have had several problems with ordering from a certain online store so I was very aggressive with my tone when I called them. “I just want my fabric!” I realized I was wrong about the way I spoke to her so I sent her an email apology. Seems she locked me out of my account by making my email address invalid. Ouch! I never wanted to hack a system so bad in my life to get back into my account. I am angry as hell and don’t like the way that feels. I realize I have been feeling allot of anger recently.
My new and healthy emotional process works like this; I don’t shut down my emotions because that leads to anxiety and depression. But rather I ask myself why do I feel so much anger toward myself lately? Why have I felt self-destructive even? I give thanks to my Higher Power several times out loud as a defense against hate.(it works) I take a look at all the good and positive things that I have been doing lately. Sometimes flashback feelings of self-hate just happen. There are times when I regress back to my childhood my sister criticizing me my mother ignoring me and my dad invalidating my identity.
WAIT A MINUTE! WHY AM I WORKING ON SELF-RESENTMENT ISSUES WHEN IT’S EVERYONE ELSE THAT I RESENT BECAUSE THEY ARE SO WRONG AND BAD? My emotions are the fault of everyone else right? Wrong! They can’t process or fix me emotionally…all they can do is give my ego a temporary fix. They can’t build my self-esteem or give me inner peace. If I often resent other people it directly reflects the way I feel about myself deep deep down within my heart. Resentments toward others are always about me. Alternatively if someone wrongs me it is appropriate to get hurt or angry by and at them. But this is different than an on-going resentment because I am able to let the anger go, anger is a healthy emotion when it flows through us rather than getting stuck and festering.
I am a worthwhile child of God I tell myself! I refuse to believe the lies my head is telling me of how worthless, and stupid I am. I AM A HUMAN BEING AND HAVE A RIGHT TO BE WHO I AM! I pray for all of those who I resent including myself. Next I get the heck out of the house and see the bright new world because…even though I woke up very angry I refuse to take my shit out on anybody which is a test of my emotional sobriety and…
THIS MY FRIEND COULD BE THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!__________
“God, Please help me to be free of anger and to see that the world and its people have dominated me. Show me that the wrong-doing of others, fancied or real, has the power to actually kill me. Help me to master my resentments by understanding that the people who wrong me were perhaps spiritually sick. Please help me show those I resent the same Tolerance, Pity and Patience that I would cheerfully grant a sick friend.** Help me to see that this is a sick man. Father, please show me how I can be helpful to him and save me from being angry. Lord, help me to avoid retaliation or argument. I know I can’t be helpful to all people, but at least show me how to take a kindly and tolerant view of each and every one. Thy will be done.”(66:2, 66:3, 66:4, 67:0, 67:1)
**Dear God, I have a resentment towards a person that I want to be free of. So, I am asking you to give this person everything I want for myself. Help me to feel compassionate understanding and love for this person. I pray that they will receive everything they need. Thank you God for your help and strength with this resentment. (BB, Freedom from Bondage: 552)
I didn’t get sober to be miserable although at times that’s unavoidable. If I don’t learn to live life on life’s terms and have a peaceful and somewhat loving existence I may end up being one of the MANY suicidal old-timers who kills themselves when they have no-one left to blame for their misery. Unfortunately the suicide rate among alcoholics and addicts in recovery is high.
I have done a first hand survey among sober alcoholics and most people I have interviewed who have over 15 years sober know at least 3-5 people who have committed suicide while in recovery. Myself at 9 years sober know at least 2 and possibly more due to vague explanations of cause of death by authorities and family members of the deceased.
If you think about it you probably have had at least one or two in your own hometown, sober and suicidal.
Please I am not trying to be negative but rather want to express the importance of getting down to underlying causes for addiction rather than continuing to apply band-aids to emotions that require antibiotics. It’s imperative that we learn how to process our emotions in a healthy way so our emotional disorder doesn’t become grave emotional disorder. The way to do that is by getting honest about the way we feel with people who are empathic and won’t shut us down and label it self-pity. Please read my article about solutions to intense negative emotions. At a year sober we ask “what’s wrong with me?”
Things change, ideas change, and I change. I wrote this article today which is my experience with a #1 addiction offender
One thing sure that will put a human-being in defensive character-defect mode is having low self-worth. One thing sure that will cause us to put on a mask of deceit, beat ourselves up psychologically, and fear (not care) what people think of us is if we think we are just not good enough as people. A negative mind-set makes us think everyone else is better than us so therefore subconsciously we reason-out that we had better start some defensive maneuvers to fix the way we are looking at us. And these maneuvers are usually not the kind that really do work to raise our self-worth. Things like anger, criticism, lashing out, looking for the negatives in other people and lesser addictions. That’s how the “ego” usually copes with low self-worth in recovery and along the way we lose any chance of filling our lives with joy, Love, and true self-worth.
Furthermore even if we have worked the steps several times we can still slip back into a low self-worth mindset because we had lived with that thinking for so long before we got sober. Our neural-pathways were set and even though we have built a recovery-bridge of healthy neural-pathways over the sick ones sometimes our thinking falls off the new bridge onto the one below and goes into a path of destructive and negative thought. Not to say we want to drink or drug…no, we no longer see drinking & drugging as a solution to anything. We have worked the steps but God did not render us defect-free nor does he take away our free-will.
So what can we do to boost our self-worth? Step twelve…chair a meeting as the “facilitator” not the controller. A facilitator serves the group not himself. We can share from our heart what God and AA has done for us with newcomers. If we share from our ego or to control others it will not work like sharing the naked and humble truth from our heart of hearts. We can do some work, clean the house, wash the car, get some tasks done that we have procrastinated about finishing for a long time.
We can do some Step Eleven meditation and prayer and be sure to speak to our Higher Power straight from our heart about our issues and give thanks.
Before we pray and meditate to God we should consider if we have left any amends undone. We should get right with our neighbors and then commune with our Higher Power.
We can confess in a meeting (step five) how we feel. We should say that we have been speaking to ourselves in an unkind way and that we have been driven under the common addictive delusion that if we beat our self up enough we will somehow get more good things done when really it’s counterproductive to run ourselves down in our minds. Fifth step confessions like this cut false pride to the quick and leave the destructive ego lying on the floor of the room.
If we are well-off financially then we can give to a charity or one of those guys in the median standing with a “please help” sign. Especially if we usually judge those guys harshly, giving to them in spite of negative feelings toward them will cut the character defect of greed, & harsh judgments to the quick. Furthermore we do not have enough information to fairly judge anyone in such a way as condemnation dictates. We don’t know what people have been through in their lives. They may be planted on the median by God just so people have the chance to give and in turn get blessed (Jesus was clear that it is more blessed to give than receive) (Acts 20:35) or alternatively to judge the homeless guys harshly and in turn be judged. (For whatever yardstick you use to judge your brother it in turn will be used to judge you.) Mt.7.2
Unfortunately allot of money has a way of making us feel secure, empowered, and better than those without it (not always of course) therefore we tend to want more just so we can get more or, keep those nice feelings we get when we increase our holdings. Jesus also said it’s harder for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God than for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle. (Mt.19:24)
Which Feelings Need Addressing & is Step 10 enough? I woke up in the middle of the night with an intense feeling of impending doom. I felt like I was somehow in a position where I had no safety. I felt like I was dangling miles high in the air with no safety net. In my heart and mind I must be putting my well-being in the hands of the wrong thing. It is not uncommon to sub-consciously put our faith into a cigarette or a pill while in recovery from a traumatic addiction. When in that addiction our neuro-pathways had been trained to take the direction where drinking is a solution. Sometimes in recovery our brain takes a wrong turn if you will. All we need do is put our faith back on the right neuro-road where we depend on our spiritual God rather than a person, place, or earthly thing. When I was a very young child I remember having an intense realization that one day I would die. It frightened me because there is no earthly solution for death. It prompted me to seek and connect with my Higher Power.
When I experience impending doom all I have to do is pray and tell my Higher Power how I feel (fear) and remember that He/She/It does have my back and the feeling of fear will leave me. Maybe it was the prospect of death itself that haunted me. Perhaps I had awoken from a nightmare that I don’t remember. Do I need to write a fear list? If the feeling does not let-up by prayer alone then “Yes” back to Step Four!
The fear list is an important part of our on-going maintenance in sobriety. You will find the directions for it in Step Four of the big book. “But that’s Step Four I should be over that!”….So some say. However my experience is in the matter of emotional sobriety and overcoming grave emotional disorder I revisit the fourth step as often as needed and Step Ten is far from enough maintenance to keep my emotions in check.
In Step Ten the book reads that we are pretty much cured of regarding drink & drug as a solution, this is true to any extent. “The problem has been removed, it does not exist for us.” However emotions and emotional sobriety are another matter, if I don’t stay emotionally balanced I will eventually see alcohol as a solution. Absolutely we do “recoil” from alcohol if we work the steps but will we “recoil” from being self-destructive or hurting others? Or will we just switch to another self-destructive habit?
STEP TEN-“Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”
This is a very limited prospect of which is useless without the rest of the 12 steps.
Step ten works good enough for a quick apology or when simple self-acknowledgement of a defect then a little prayer will resolve resentment, shame, guilt or fear but if it doesn’t rectify my deep negative feelings a little more work may be necessary even though I have worked the steps thoroughly. Truly Step Ten is not much of anything without the rest of the 12 Steps actively in place in our lives. Furthermore without prayer and meditation we are usually not spiritually fit enough to take our own inventory anyway.
Do I have any unresolved resentments I ask myself? If so I need to pray for that person and if that doesn’t work I do a step four and five including “my part” and not eliminating “wrongs done to me” and how both of those have made me feel. If it brings up deep feelings I let myself feel them and I cry.
If I have a reoccurring memory of an event in my past and it is attached to an intense feeling; that is when prayer is not usually enough. That does not mean I don’t pray. It just means that there is something in my past that I need to explore with an empathic listener who can hopefully relate to the event. I write down what happened. Have I wronged anyone? Do I feel guilt or shame? Remember our heart does not have to make sense it just needs to express itself, raw, & without editing. I share my feelings with a listener whom will neither shut me down, shame me, nor invalidate me for my feelings.
Staying disconnected from our feelings is an old survival skill that worked. To truly process core feelings we need to connect with them 100% and write, cry, scream, talk, moan, run, or even punch (the bag, pillow) them out.
Let’s face it folks some AA, NA members are in the business of invalidation. These members will always look for the differences instead of the similarities. Furthermore they will look for the “wrong” in anything you propose to them. This may work for some people…but blame is a principle of co-dependency not a principle of healing in recovery.
Do I feel dirty, wrong, and bad? We must not allow our intellect to cloud our fourth step by invalidation. Admitting core feelings like “bad, dirty, wrong, disgusting, or cheap sounds embarrassing but these are the common human feelings that surface after living an addicted life. These deep feelings need to come out or they will make us sick. Let’s face it not only have most of us crossed our own moral boundaries when in addiction but we also have core issues that need addressing from childhood. Oftentimes adults taught us that we were just plain “wrong” and that we don’t even have a right to be who we are and feel how we feel.
Remember we in recovery usually reach out for some secondary dependencies or lesser addictions when we get sober. You won’t hear it talked about in the rooms much but that’ what we do.
There are two kinds of people in AA those who struggle and admit it and those who struggle and don’t talk about it. We certainly don’t struggle at all times and we do reach a place of peace if we work the steps but we are never finished doing the work while human and alive.
Do not be too hard on yourself for that is a character defect within itself! Come on folks! We are all doing the best we can for right now. From what I have experienced in Narcotics Anonymous the way they sometimes ostracize fellows for secondary addictions it feeds into the sickness of keeping secrets, repressing emotions, and feeds our shame issues. Some groups forbid members to chair meetings if they are on much needed psyche meds or pain meds even non-narcotic meds. Intolerance and a lack of acceptance for others and their personal medicinal status is just that…a lack of understanding and empathy.
In recovery we often struggle with sick relationships (co-dependency), cigarettes, food, sexual promiscuity, anger issues, even your non-narcotic prescription drugs…nevertheless we are doing way better than we were before AA and the 12 steps. Do not think that your recovery is counterfeit if you struggle with one of these? Believe me we all struggle at times. You will find that when one of us overcomes ALL of our little crutches we then become highly judgmental, and our control issues hit their highest peaks. It’s always something! Not a justification just fact. Best we accept ourselves and other as human and remember “OUT OF THE PROBLEM INTO THE SOLUTION”!
Disclaimer: Oftentimes people in recovery from addictions, usually men do not need to ever return to a fourth step after doing it once, they don’t need to talk about their feelings, nor do they need an empathic listener. They are emotionally and spiritually healthy. These type fellows have either had an intense spiritual healing experience or they have gone to therapy for a year or more and worked through their core emotional issues, or have done both.
Alcoholism in itself is traumatic experience to our hearts and minds. My suggestions in the following articles are for those in recovery who have a knowledge of the 12 steps and have had trauma in their past and are in need of an emotional healing from that.
“For out group purpose there is but one ultimate authority-a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.,
Sponsorship & a lust for power & control can go hand in hand if we are not carefully self-aware. Sin is an uncomfortable word for many addicts probably because of being judged harshly by religious people in our past. After all, power over others can be very seductive and addicting. We need to be very careful and stay mindful of this when we sponsor newcomers. Being an authority in a church has its own sinful temptations, and pitfalls such as the obsession to control others.
Usurping authority over others, and the elation we humans often get when we are allowed to manage another person’s life is often downright luscious to our flesh.The desire to play God is the exact reason why our early founders of Alcoholics Anonymous set up the 12 traditions the way they did. Bill W. and the rest of the early members knew that power corrupts and that if addicts got a taste of power it would be all she wrote for AA.
Greed and the lust for money are right up there with the hunger for control and authority. It is written in the Bible that; “The Love of money is the root of much evil.” This scripture gets mis-quoted probably more than any. It’s the “Love “of money rather than the Love of God which turns our insides into a den of thieves and makes us sick.One solution for these greedy & selfish fear based character flaws are to realize that we aren’t trusting God when we struggle for more, more, more and simple giving.
To combat greed we give away something that we absolutely do not want to give away like a hundred dollar bill or something we covet. Giving away what we covet takes sins power and smashes it into smithereens. It also frees us from our own fears that drive us to selfishness. Giving away something we value or covet will curtail possibly even cure our greed. Giving away that which we don’t want that bad anyway won’t work in the same way.
It’s a spiritual law that is obvious to the spiritually minded furthermore Jesus spoke about this Karmic law in the New Testament when a ruler asked Him how or what he needed to do to have eternal life. The man was very rich and Jesus suggested to him that he give all his material possessions away and follow Him. (Luke 18:22) I believe the ruler walked away saddened by the instructions unable to carry the directions out.
We also need to firstly not hand over our power by asking others to make our decisions or take on our responsibilities and second we should never tell our sponcee’s what they must do. Our sponcee’s are sick and they oftentimes will want to turn over their power of choice to someone of authority like a sponsor. No doubt if we start making their choices for them at some point the power they gave us will get snatched back and we will be left wondering why we feel like crap. Not to mention when the choices we have made for them don’t turn out well we will become their beast of blame. Best we help them by going over their options, possibilities, and then they can make an educated choice and reap their own consequences called self-esteem and confidence.
Real Recovery doesn’t always feel or look like quality sobriety
“If anybody knew how I really felt inside they would know that I am not doing well in my recovery. I feel like something is wrong with me. I must be doing something wrong! I am sober but I am depressed, I am sober but I still have anxiety attacks. I mustn’t tell anyone how I feel or they will know I am not really emotionally sober. I don’t have quality recovery how could I if I did I would not feel like this.”Hmm??? Ever hear anybody share the above statements in a meeting? Most likely you answered no. However the above scenarios show the way that many addicts think and feel even though they have worked the steps and regularly work steps ten through twelve.WHY????????????
First let’s define this type of thinking and what it’s connected to in us. Let’s explore the dreaded word, feeling, and thought called “SHAME”. Alcoholism & addiction have been explored and painstakingly researched by many experts who have finally defined addiction as a “shame based disease”.In the Big Book it is written that alcohol is but a symptom of an underlying problem. And that we alcoholics suffer from spiritual and emotional maladies. So what is this underlying malady and how do I fix it? In “How it Works” it is written that some of us suffer from “grave emotional disorders”. It says that those who suffer from these disorders can also get better and stay sober. Well guess what ALL ADDICTS AND ALCOHOLICS SUFFER FROM EMOTIONAL DISORDER in my opinion. It takes some serious open-mindedness and lots of journaling, meetings, therapy, working with a sponsor, prayer and meditation to get in touch with and admit to ourselves our underlying malady of shame.Shame tells us that we are not worthy of a Higher Powers Love. Shame tells us that we don’t deserve anything good. Shame tells us that we are bad, wrong, evil, and that we must keep who we are a secret or we will never have anything we want or need. Starting the day from the platform of shame blocks us off from so many good and spiritual things. It causes us to have to justify and defend ourselves. It causes us to be in defensive mode. It shuts us off from Love. Shame shuts us off from God even in our prayers we block off certain parts of our heart hiding parts of us from our Higher Power in hopes that even He, It, She will Love us if we pretend to be someone we are not.
What’s the solution?
We must first realize that we are human and we will never be perfect as long as we are human so we can never ever approach God as a perfect and totally worthy person. We must quit hiding and keeping secrets from God and man.
We should lay on the bed or floor stretch our arms out as far as we can to our sides focus on God and expose all of our heart to God. We should approach our Higher Power in all honesty and transparency and say; “here I am just as I am, I want a relationship with You I need your help.”
We are our Higher Powers creation and we were created INCOMPLETE that’s why we feel so incomplete. Not because we are bad, wrong, unworthy etc. but because that’s the way we were made. We are only complete & fulfilled when we exercise an ongoing relationship with our creator. Fulfillment, enlightenment, encouragement, comfort, and healing are some of the things we get from opening up to our creator. That’s why the steps work, they show us how to have a spiritual connection with our creator.
WE ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO FEEL GOOD ALL THE TIME
even when working the steps correctly, we were not created that way. It doesn’t mean something is horribly wrong with us.
So, we acknowledge and honor our feelings no matter what they are and we continue on with our daily lives in spite of them. We don’t let our feelings create Kayos in our minds. “THE
NEGATIVE THOUGHTS THAT ATTACH THEMSELVES TO MY FEELINGS ARE NOT FACTS.” FEELINGS themselves ARE FACTS because they are very real to us and come from our hearts experiences. It’s the thoughts that get us in trouble. If we don’t honor our feelings and journal them, talk about them then we are dishonoring and invalidating who we are. Our unhappy feelings come from somewhere real and often times we need to do some crying, some screaming (not at anyone) some beating the bed with our fists to get these intense feelings out in a healthy way so they don’t come out sideways at other people.
Addictions spell emotional trauma and that trauma needs an outlet. Emotional trauma does not have to mean that we were abused as children by adults. Emotional trauma can result from emotional neglect and a lack of nurturing as children. Deep hurts from rejection and abandonment don’t go away just because we are grown. We usually blame other people for the way we feel we are confused because other people trigger intense feelings (from past events) that live in us. Blaming others for the way we feel gives us temporary relief but will never ever help us heal.
All humans have a capacity to be hurt emotionally by others, if we do not have a healthy outlet for hurt it will evolve into anger and continue to live inside us until we connect with it and express it in a healthy non-attacking way.
When deep emotional hurt does not have an outlet it turns to anger which in turn can evolve into rage.
Depression is anger without enthusiasm
it happens when we are just too worn down by our own anger & we haven’t the energy to be angry anymore. We have not processed our anger we have merely changed our focus so the anger evolves into depression.
ACTION: Putting our emotions in order by talking about our feelings with someone who won’t shut us down and will be empathic is healing. Journaling is healing, moaning in guttural sounds to let hurts out is healing. Putting on our shoes and getting out of the house to do 12 step work or meetings is healing. Crying is healing. Screaming when we hurt so bad emotionally that words will not suffice is healing.
WE DO NOT RAMBLE ABOUT HOW BAD OTHER PEOPLE ARE AND WHAT THEY DID TO US UNLESS IT’S ON PAPER. WE ONLY NEED TO SAY IT ONCE OUTLOAD, IN A MEETING AND AGAIN TO OUR SPONSOR OR EMPATHIC LISTENER. It’s the talking about “how it made me feel” that heals us. It made me feel worthless for example or it made me feel dirty etc.
I am talking about healing core issues that are the cause of our relentless effort to numb out our feelings and our life. But let’s face it had we really wanted to be dead we would have gone through with suicide. What we really want is balanced and orderly emotions not lack of emotions.
We woman will die if we don’t talk about the way we feel. Criticizing others, character assassination and living in blame are character defects that we should not confuse with the expression it takes for healthy emotional order.
ACTION: What about anxiety? The fourth step in the Big Book has an exercise called the “fear list”. We write down all our core fears, we explore them.
REMEMBER FEARS COME FROM OUR HEART AND DO NOT HAVE TO BE LOGICAL. Just because our mind knows we don’t have to fear something if our heart fears it we should recognize it and honor it. Furthermore we should not let our shame throw us into the deep river of denial. Our fears need expression if we want to stop the anxiety attacks. So we write all our fears down and consider them. We realize we are not trusting God and that our faith is sometimes little if we are in fear. So rather than sticking our fear in the “denial box” we stick it in the “God Box”. We then ask God to remove our fears and help us to rely on him, it, or her.
Anxiety is intense fear that we have buried rather than expressing it, perhaps it’s a fear associated with trauma. After all who wants to be labelled “chicken shit”, “spiritually unfit” or other judgmental words to label he who has fear? But guess what? Every human on the face of the earth has fear it’s just learning how to express it and taking action in spite of it that turns it into courage or emotional growth. Intense fears need to be expressed and released (not dwelled on) so they don’t live in us and turn into intense anxiety.
THOUGHT PROVOKING QUESTIONS: Why is screaming a natural response to intense fear? Screaming releases boatloads of endorphins and is a solution to fear. Why do some soldiers come back from the war with PTSD and others don’t who have the exact same experiences? Because often times we were taught that our expressions of fear and hurt and anger are wrong, bad, weak, stupid, ugly, disgusting etc. We were taught that our healthy emotional expression was wrong by some adult when we were very young and so we believed them and we became ashamed and shut down our own healthy emotional process.
What’s the solution to emotional disorder? Drinking and drugging of course! Yes I am serious. What happens when drinking and drugging quits working because of the consequences? Find a way to express and process our emotions in a healthy non-attacking, non-hurtful, non-destructive way.
God gave us vocal cords for a reason we can either save our face or save our ass! It’s time to let the emotional child within us out of the box so she, he can have a half way decent recovery.
Disclaimer: I own two supernatural boxes. One is called the “GOD BOX” the other is called the “DENIAL BOX”. I have and do use both.
PSALMS 118:24 “THIS IS THE DAY WHICH THE LORD HATH MADE; WE WILL REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT.”Rejoice, rejoice, and rejoice! The preacher wrote back in the day of the Old Testament. “The Lord has chastened me sore yet I will live!”
“But for the grace of God” is what we say in AA, we prefer to think that it was our own consequences that chastened us sore or rather; stung us so much rather than our Higher Powers punishment.Due to our ingrained thought process of good verses bad we may all too often when met with two circumstantial possibilities feel we must label one of them “bad and “wrong”. Perhaps we seek out “bad” due to our need for deflection from our own self-image.
Is the cup half empty or half full? Well, in recovery we have learned that many times when we pit one option against the other in all truth and actuality both are correct. The illusive third option. Much to our surprise the cup is both half-full and half-empty is it not? This kind of consideration is called open-mindedness. This is a challenge for us in recovery because it requires us to forge out new neuron-pathways in our brain by repeating open-mended thinking over and over until we have built sound and strong bridges over those pathways carved out by a life-time of closed-mined and accusing thoughts.
Is it not the Great Creator that put Karmic law into play? Maybe. Or perhaps Karma comes from the Universe itself by which all living/moving things must abide. Cause and affect. Excluding of course Grace itself. When Grace comes into play our consequences are quelled and we are saved from punishment. Grace continues for us as long as we live and thereafter.
Whichever way you wish to look at consequences and Grace non-the-matter. The good thing is we are alive this day to give thanks that we did not die from those things which we inflicted upon ourselves and are ashamed. We call that Grace. Karma back up, you take a back seat to the wondrous and saving relief that we in recovery and those in the spiritual frame of mind call Grace.
In the Big Book it is written that alcoholism is but a symptom of a deeper spiritual and emotional malady for which the only solution that works is of a spiritual nature (paraphrased). The steps are our spiritual remedy and God is the arbitrator of our saving Grace we believe.
For that Grace and our Higher Power we give thanks and rejoice!
WRATH IS ONE SUBCONSCIOUS WAY OF DEALING WITH UN-EXPRESSED FEARS
Sometimes people are very mean so what do we do? We try to understand and accept that people are often wrong. It is easiest to accept mean people when we keep in mind that they are hurting emotionally possibly very deeply. People are often taught by parents and adults to hold in their tears, to fight back and never express their their fears.
Sometimes when we feel anxiety its highly beneficial to just get up, put on our shoes, walk outside and scream what ever it is we are feeling. A great release will come in us by doing that exercise. When a person is mean to us we can just smile and respond with a kind word. In Proverbs it is written “A kind word turns away wrath.”
Sometimes their is a deep and abiding anger in us, we must not be belittled because we are angry. Anger is not a sin however taking that anger out on others is. Wrath is when we project our own intense anger onto other people, blame them for our feelings and then attack. We must not allow others to belittled us because we are hurt and cry. It is better to cry and let our anger out than to let it fester and turn to rage.
Life is full of laughter and joy, sorrow and pain we are not weak because we have pain nor are we better than anyone else when we are able to laugh. Why were so many of us taught that certain emotions are unacceptable and shameful? I believe that it is usually the people that are in the presence of a person having an emotional upheaval who are uncomfortable and try to shut them down. It is hard to watch our children cry and scream but that is something we should accept rather than shutting them down. We can guide our children to a private place if they need to scream and cry and be empathic with them showing care and understanding rather than labeling their feelings wrong and socially unacceptable.
When we lose a loved one we need to mourn that loss not stuff it down till it turns to anxiety, depression and makes us sick. Why do you thing it is that most serial killers are white males? I have a theory on that and it is directly connected to the fact that we do not allow our white men to express their feelings as children. My God our men have been taught that it’s weak to cry, panzy to have fears and chicken-shit to express themselves. No wonder our men are so emotionally sick. Why is it that some men come back from the war with PTSD and others go through worse events and come back emotionally sound. Crying and expressing feelings when they are most intense is a huge part of healthy emotions. However we live in a world that says: Keep a stiff upper lip, turn your hurt to rage, turn your fears to violence.
Hispanic men express their feelings more easily because their mothers did not condemn them for having feelings and tears. We of the Caucasian race need no longer be ashamed of our feeling nor need we any longer repress them. We can begin by writing them down that lets them out of the box of our mind. Next we can confess them to a trusted understanding person. Then who knows before long we may be proclaiming our human and natural feelings in meetings so other men can find the astounding relief that they are not the only one’s who feel fear, shame, and other insecurities. Please, we are in recovery we no longer have to pretend.
We are as sick as our secrets, the truth will set us free! Yes there are people that take our weaknesses and try to use them against. However once we have talked about our weaknesses they and the people who would like to use them against us no longer hold the power. Anyone who would use a man’s humanity against him is far sicker than the man who is able to share his humanity so others may be healed.
OUR CLICHE’S AID IN SAVING OUR ASSES, BUT WE SHOULD BE CAREFUL HOW WE USE THEM WHEN AIMING THEM AT OUR FELLOWS. WHAT IS THE MOTIVE BEHIND THE CLICHE? MOTIVES ARE RELEVANT. SOME ADDICTS DO KNOW HOW TO TAKE A HELPFUL TOOL AND CAREFULLY TRANSFORM IT INTO AN ARSENAL OF WEAPONS.
I have a razor sharp cliche and it’s aimed at YOU! YIKES! Like “Keep comin’ back”. Everybody in A.A. knows that sometimes it is code for “your an idiot maybe if you come to enough meetings you will grow a brain.” Or how about “some are sicker than others” which is code for “your way sicker than I am buddy!”
Emotional Sobriety 101
I want to investigate the topic of AA cliches and some common uses for our little sayings. Keeping in mind that if we did not have human weakness, fear, shame, regret, guilt, remorse, joy, happiness, sadness, we would be sociopath.
What is the fine art of killing by AA cliché and who is it that uses such ratchet techniques? Firstly anybody who has been around the rooms for a while knows that we in AA have lots and lots of little helpful sayings that when we apply them to ourselves and put them into action not only do they aid us in our recovery but they can save our lives.
Also, when we are trying to make a helpful point to others in a meeting, giving advice to those who ask for it or telling our story at jails or institutions we quote the cliche to help make our point. These sayings also help the newcomer remember the solutions by adding the little saying to their recovery toolbox to put into action.
Oftentimes it’s easier to remember a catchy phrase and put it to use than to remember the principles and instructional paragraph size readings behind the phrase. Sayings like “Out of the problem into the solution” are priceless to an addict who is spinning around inside their mind and obsessing on a fear. We remember to just get out of the fear by choosing a solution and taking that action.
So what’s killing by cliché? Can such wonderful things as our innocent AA sayings be used in a wrong way? I don’t know can the bible be used in the wrong way? Hell yes and often!
An AA cliché is best used with the RIGHT MOTIVE and the right meaning; right motives behind the cliché are vital . When the alcoholic is still miserable, suffering from low self-worth and has a boat-load of wreckage yet to clean up from their past or present the old survival skills are still in place. They are still hurting, sick and suffering. Lashing out at others sadly brings them relief. Putting other people down is the only relief and form of self-worth they can get right now. They either don’t have the healthy and respectful solutions for emotional pain or they have chosen not to use them. However most of us sober or not do know right from wrong we know that in AA if we blatantly attack someone verbally our fellows will call us on it. The verbal attacker would be ostracized publicly and shamed for being mean and disrespectful. So instead the attacker do a little passive aggressive dance. They seek out emotional vulnerabilities in others such as a newcomer who has the courage to admit they are afraid or an old-timer who has the courage to admit they are going through an emotional time. This is how we get help and feedback. But the emotional butchers hone out addict traits in people with their high powered alcoholic perception and strike with the AA sword lopping off the emotional head of the recipient striking fear in them to never open-up in a meeting again.
Under the guise of “telling the truth” (truth should be tempered with respect and care even gossip is often truth) they cut off the emotional head of their vulnerable fellow by teaching them to never open up in a meeting again. Healthy emotions are indicative of talking about our problems, crying, venting, journaling, processing not stifling, repressing, hiding and denying that our feelings are there, that my friend is how we got sick to begin with. “We are as sick as our secrets.”
Sharing experience strength and hope is done by hearing the topic of the first share person and then asking ourselves can I relate to that, if so how, what solutions worked for me when I went through THAT SAME THING. By sharing that we undergo or have undergone the same personal and emotional struggles, and fears as the original sharer we don’t put them on the defensive or belittle them. We don’t punish them for having trouble staying sober. If we can’t relate to them maybe we are not an alcoholic regardless if we don’t relate then we have no business sharing advice. We don’t punish them for struggles or ignorance, we are not better…we are just perhaps in a better place.
It is by the Grace of God that we are sober when we start sober bashing with clichés we hurt ourselves and others. When we quote an AA cliché we should share what it means to us so the newcomer understands the right use, the loving use for the saying. “Keep it simple stupid” is one perfect example of killing by cliché. These sayings were not made so we can call the alcoholic wrong, stupid and bad and engage in fault-finding and criticisms while we are pretending to be helpful. the cliches should not be used to set ourselves above others by belittling.
“Help others do no harm”. Recovery is not a lesson in how to further harden our hearts and teach others to do the same. Recovery is about staying sober and becoming better people.
Scientists discover that eyes really are ‘the window to the soul’
The eyes really are a window to the soul, according to scientists.
Patterns in the iris can give an indication of whether we are warm and trusting or neurotic and impulsive, research has found.
Everyone has a different structure of lines, dots and colours in their iris.
So scientists at Orebro University in Sweden compared the eyes of 428 subjects with their personality traits to see if these structures in the iris reflected their characters.
They focused on patterns in crypts – threads which radiate from the pupil – and contraction furrows – lines curving around the outer edge – which are formed when the pupils dilate.
Their findings showed those with densely packed crypts are more warmhearted, tender, trusting, and likely to sympathise with others. In comparison, those with more contraction furrows were more neurotic, impulsive and likely to give way to cravings.
The researchers argued that eye structure and personality could be linked because the genes responsible for the development of the iris also play a role in shaping part of the frontal lobe of the brain, which influences personality.
They say the findings could one day be used in psychoanalysis and by companies screening candidates for jobs.
The results will be published in the American journal Biological Psychology. ‘Our results suggest people with different iris features tend to develop along different personality lines,’ said Matt Larsson, a behavioural scientist who led the study at Orebro University.’These findings support the notion that people with different iris configurations tend to develop along different trajectories in regards to personality.
Differences in the iris can be used as a biomarker that reflects differences between people.’
The scientists suggested these differences are due to genetic variation, and pointed to the involvement of a gene called PAX6. This gene helps control the formation of the iris in embryos. Previous research has shown that a mutation of it is linked to impulsiveness and poor social skills.
The speed and accuracy with which irises can be mapped means there is growing interest in using photographs of eyes for security as well as research purposes.
The Government is testing the use of digital photographs of the iris on ‘biometric’ passports and identity cards.
Trials of the iris technology have been taking place at Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester airports.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-436932/Scientists-discover-eyes-really-window-soul.html#ixzz2wdLnkgBz
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The program does work. Fear of people and what they think of us will leave us. If we work the steps and do plenty of step twelve service work. If we bring meetings into jails and institutions, chair meetings, and work on our core issues and underlying causes. Furthermore if we build a relationship with our Higher Power and do a thorough fourth step we will get not only a psychic change but also a spiritual experience that will help us to rely on God rather than mankind for what we need emotionally and spiritually.
“Fear of people will leave us” is a quote from The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. It is written under the “Step Nine” heading in the “Into Action” chapter and considered one of 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.
I believe that when Bill W. wrote “Fear of people will leave us” in The Big Book under the Ninth Step, what he actually meant was, “fear of what people think of us will leave us.”
Alcoholics and addicts when in their addiction and early recovery tend to be nervous around other people. Alcoholics have anxiety attacks, they have the desire to isolate and steer clear of other people often.
All these symptoms show a fear of being around other people. But not because they are afraid of being robbed or attacked. These fearful behaviors stem from our own insecurities and self-loathing. We addicts often simply feel like other people are better than us. We are afraid of being judged by others. We fear getting close to people because they may hurt us emotionally. We don’t want to set ourselves up for another emotional loss so we reject human interaction and relationships all together.
We often feel (subconsciously) that if people get to know us they won’t like us much because… bottom line…after years of going against what our own conscience says to us we don’t like ourselves much so how could anyone else like us…we think. Many times in meetings and around A.A. people will say “I don’t care what people think of me” usually we, say this as a defensive measure to make ourselves look better to others, as if it is weak and socially shameful to care what others think of us.
However, caring what people think of us is an emotionally balanced social human trait. So many recovering addicts and people in general say they don’t care what others think of them, yet their actions prove otherwise. Contrary to what most people in recovery so defensively state, I believe people DO care about what others think and say about them. Of course that healthy caring can be taken to an extreme and turn into fear of what people think of us. That’s where lying, dishonesty, faking this and pretending that come into play. Vanity and false pride are character flaws driven by fear of what people will think of us.
It seems like addicts don’t know it’s OK, NOT WEAK to care and it’s normal socially to want to be liked and admired. Seems some have an inability in their minds to distinguish between fear and healthy concern. Caring is not a bad thing and its human nature to want to dress nice and look good to our fellows.
People generally love to be the best at things, be the smartest, the fastest, and be a winner so they can feel good about themselves and look good to others. Certainly if we were repeatedly taught as children that we are bad and wrong and received little if any parental validation of our feelings and ideas we will carry a low self-identity with us until it is reamed out by either therapy or spirituality. Until that self-image is changed we will be hyper-sensitive to any perceived criticisms. And unfortunately once a self-image is burned to our psyche it can’t be removed easily. Just knowing that our self-image is inaccurate won’t change it.
Personally it does concern me when people dislike me or accuse me but I must put it in perspective. Firstly, I ask myself if the accusation is true. Then I delve into trying to understand the motivation behind the accusation. When I understand the accusers reasoning it helps me accept their views. If their opinion sticks in my craw too long and a resentment grows in me I will pray blessings upon them until I forget about it…works great!
Yes I care what people think! I am not ashamed to admit it. My admission of care does not make me a weak person, actually it shows I am self-assured enough to not fear appearing weak by that admission.
In other words, if someone is overstating the fact that they don’t care what others think of them you can pretty much bet that they’re healthy social caring has morphed into a fearful self-consciousness of what other people think of them.
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?