THANK GOD FOR THE PROGRAM OF A.A.

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

THANK GOD FOR THE PROGRAM OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THANK YOU ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS AND GOD

Sober Relationships (part 2) A Man’s Perspective

Relationships and Early Recovery by Fred Hundt

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

SOBRIETY CALCULATOR

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

Congratulations on your sobriety and clean-time!

 

Ninth Step Promises

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

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

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

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

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

That feeling of uselessness and self pity will disappear.

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

Self-seeking will slip away.

Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.

Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.

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

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

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

3rd ed. Big Book pg. 83 & 84

THANK GOD FOR ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

THANK GOD FOR ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

THANK YOU ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS AND GOD.

 

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

THANK YOU ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS AND GOD.

 

REFLECTIONS OF CHRISTMAS PAST

A STORY OF SUPERNATURAL DELIGHT

REFLECTIONS OF CHRISTMAS PAST

By Laura Edgar

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

HOPE

DEPTHS

 

 

“Hope”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resentment Is The Number One Offender

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A 4th Step Resentment Prayer:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is Resentment the Number One Offender?

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Ecclesiastes 7:2-4

 

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

 

Sorrow is better than laughter,

For by a sad countenance the heart is made better.

 

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

 

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

STEP ELEVEN
STEP ELEVEN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPIRITUALLY FIT

“SPIRITUALLY FIT”

Does being “spiritually fit” mean that everything is wonderful in my life and I won’t feel any unpleasant or even horrible feelings? Does being spiritually fit mean that I will never make a mistake? Does being S.Fit mean that the 12 step lock-combination is flawless and perfection is what I have attained. Whoa! This kind of idealism will lead me to misery because every time I don’t feel good I will beat myself up for not being spiritually fit and hide my true feelings from my fellows until they consume me. . Perfectionism! I no longer suffer from the ideals of perfection. Perfection is something I will never attain while I am human. I revisit my step three. Thats right I am relying on a Higher Power because I AM fallible. Spiritual growth is sometimes painful I will need to cry while spiritually fit.

Sobriety is like….peeling an onion, my past feelings, regrets, shames, trauma will come up best I don’t ignore deep feelings especially in the first three to five years of sobriety these are the “heavy emotional processing” years. T The first five years shit just comes up, tears we didn’t cry, screams we should have let out, shame we needed to confess, guilts we buried so deep we thought they were gone, loss we could not bear to feel, abandonment and betrayals by those we trusted. Yep it all comes up, sorry.

The good news is A Higher Power can lessen the pain even remove it but never all of it…not that I have seen. Journalling is priceless for the emotions. If I am doing my fourth step correctly it should be a very emotional time of tears, regrets, shames, grief, realizations about myself and my survival patterns (steps 6&7.) The work ain’t easy but it works. I have worked the steps once a year for the first six years anyway. I am probably due to do it again.

The imprints of the past no longer have a hold over my actions. I need not destroy myself because of the way I feel. I can change the way I feel today by taking actions.

I don’t want to leave out the Joy, fulfillment, enlightenment, the laughs and the awareness of Gods Grace and wonderment that sobriety offers.  Sobriety rocks!

Disclaimer: There is always a possibility that you do not fall under the addict norm and don’t need to do the step work at all. Maybe its only the traumatized that need to do step work.  If a pink cloud never leaves why do the steps? I wouldn’t.

 

pic found at-http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/bits-and-pieces/images/1814875/title/tears-wallpaper Thankyou!

Encouragement, Hope, and the gift of desperation

STEP ONE

THE GIFT OF DESPERATION

HOPE

Back when I was drinking and drugging I went through the pains of withdrawal so many times.  I went through so many sleepless nights of misery I cannot count.  I went through so many fights, betrayals, fears, and neglects and abuses to me and by me both.Now I am older, eight years ago I ran out of gas you could say, I was just done with that life.
I sat in one of my first AA meetings scared to death and shaking filled up with so many issues that I had never faced about me.  I honestly had no idea who I was.  I had developed emotional survival skills that were killing me now it was time to learn who I am and a new set of healthy coping skills.I held the gift of desperation in my heart and the open-mindedness of humble and sacred Hope sparkling like a diamond among a dense darkness.
That Hope had to be carefully nurtured or it would be buried alive by darkness and fear of the future.
The people in AA said things like, “This minute are you ok do you have what you need?”  And I did. They told me “It’s completely natural to be afraid its ok”.  They said “If I weren’t afraid something [was] wrong”.  They said “Go to two or even more meetings a day if you need to”. They told me to “Express your fears because we are as sick as our secrets”…so I journaled.

Slowly my self-confidence rose by working step 12 chairing meetings regularly. I was a sponge that absorbed every recovery tool I could.
Through it all I prayed fervently for God’s help and guidance. My Higher Power does not always do things the way I think He/She/It should.  However that little bit of Hope that was there in the beginning is stronger now.  The darkness that surrounded it is commanded to stay back.

I still must nurture that Hope unto the end.  I choose today to endure to the end no matter how scary life looks. I get up I put one foot in front of the other and I go on unto the end of my days.  So I live on and keep that darkness at bay through faith, Love & Hope.  Fear would have me take my end into my own hands but be reassured things always, always, get better if we endure and hold on to Hope and Faith.

Meditation: There is one thing true that will end a man before his time that is the fear of the future and a lack of trust in a Higher Power that does Love Him.  Surely if I choose Love how much more will a God of my own understanding of Love save me from the throngs of death and suffering in this natural life and lead me unto a better eternity.

Two Rights Don’t Make A Wrong

 

FAULT FINDING IS THE COUNTERFEIT FOR SELF-ESTEEM AND A TRUE FEELING OF SELF-WORTH.  Fault finding will replace self-esteem for a while until  we can do the next right thing long enough to actually build some.

Why is it that we see on all recovery websites and AA, NA chat rooms people are always looking for someone or something to pin the label “BAD” or “WRONG” on? It just never fails, and why?

Anyone who has worked the steps thoroughly and honestly knows that their most common character defect or carnal survival skill has been “BLAME” in the past.  

BLAME comes in many forms such as: attack, accusation, criticism, gossip,resentment,self-pity, and hate, even righteous indignation. These all reek of blame. The state of “blame” is a state of denial. Even if our blame is in the form of righteous indignation it is still a state of denial. When we blame others we are denying the real core reason for our yucky feelings.

We in recovery must learn the hard hard lesson of not only taking responsibility for our own feelings by owning them but also finding healthy and harmless ways of processing those feelings such as;
hitting with a plastic bat, punching bag, punching a pillow, writing, the [fuck you] letter that we never send, screaming, crying, sharing with an empathic listener, moaning, groaning, and other guttural sounds all promote release of emotions from the gut and relief. If we want to heal we have to feel not blame.

All of these method of processing feelings are usually looked down upon by others and considered crazy or weak.  Therefore it is best we exercise them while we are alone in a private place.  Beating ourselves up is not a healthy way to deal with our feelings.  Our hearts are innocent and need to be listened to by us without judgement.

We take our feelings and we write them down; “I feel hate or resentment toward Betty.”  Behind every resentment is fear.  When we find our core fear and ask God to remove it we find peace.

“I am afraid of losing my partner because I feel like I am not good enough I feel like Betty is better than me so I hate her” Wow! Was that so damn hard? Its ok to admit being afraid and feeling [less than] when we have solutions for that state of being.

Remember feelings do not have to be logical.  The fourth step work is an ongoing tool that should not be thrown by the wayside after accomplishing it one time.  Doing the fourth step should be a way of life in addressing every one of the blame characteristics listed above.  Humans fear they are not good enough especially if they were relentlessly taught that in youth. 

We can feel yucky without blaming anyone for it. Feeling bad does not mean we are weak it means we are human.

 

FLAVORS OF BLAME: attack, accusation, criticism, gossip,resentment ,self-pity, and hate, even righteous indignation are all by-products of blame. Addiction is a disease of denial which travels through the psyche in many ways. Denial or the lack of knowing how to take responsibility for our own feelings and blaming others for our feelings is the number one cause of failed relationships among addicts. The refusal to own our own feelings walks hand in hand with resentment. But don’t be too hard on us, no-one taught us how to process deep dark feelings. Addicts have a huge capacity for emotional pain in turn when we heal we have a huge capacity for understanding and Love. Once we learn how to own and honor our feelings, process them in a healthy way there is no limit to what we can accomplish for Love.

Who knew crying is a healthy emotion, privately screaming is a potent way to release anger. (not at someone) Writing a “fuck you” letter that we never send is an awesome way to release intense feelings of hate. Confessing shortcomings in meetings in a general way is a awesome solution for that defect.

We have the tools, we CAN stay sober and find Love, fellowship, and a psychic change.

When One Door Closes

TRUSTING GOD IS A PROCESS

STEP THREE

“When one door closes another door opens;

but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed-door, that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” Alexander Graham Bell“When one door closes another one opens” Once we have done our Third Step our lives are in God’s care but we don’t always remember that. After living a life of addiction littered with betrayal and lies suddenly we are challenged to trust that God has our needs covered.

Trusting God is a process usually consisting of walking through uncomfortable and downright scary changes. If we lose our job we end up with a better one, if we lose our spouse by divorce we adjust and realize we are better off in many ways. Even when disaster occurs things can end up better than they were, we could end up with a better house or a better car or a fresh appreciation for what we do have. Suddenly we no longer take for granted our blessings.  When terrifying changes strike we draw closer to God, often times that’s the only reason we draw nigh unto our Creator.

Once we put ourselves in God’s care He, [She or It] has our back. We can now sit back and let worry, manipulation, and grasping fearful behaviors go. God has a way of pulling us close to Him so we don’t stray back into self-destruction.

It takes practice to build trust in God and unfortunately that trust is usually built by trial and tribulation. Just as we have to get to know people before we trust them; it’s hard to admit we also need to get to know our Higher Power and watch Him save our ass a time or two before an unshakable trust is built.

“PLAY IT THROUGH”

PLAY IT THROUGH!

THINK, THINK, THINK!

CLEAN & SOBER

“Play It Through” “Choose Your Battles”

Here are two very good recovery tools taught in rehabs and 12 Step Programs alike. The first one is “Play it through” meaning that before we pick up that desired drink, drug, cake, scratch-off, addictive sexual encounter or harmful relationship we pretend that we get what we want.  

We play it out in our head we drink & drug.  But we don’t stop the movie there.  Since we know ourselves well enough to be in recovery we can play out the harmful consequences of our imaginary actions in our mind like a horrible b movie.

We watch as the phenomena of craving takes over our will. We stand still as we watch our hard earned money dwindle down the drain. We observe as our children cry and scream “I want my mommy!” or “I am hungry”.  We are sickened by the guilt feelings that we know will consume us followed by the sabotage of the self-esteem we worked so hard to build, we watch as it crashes. We stand in horror and shame while our new found friends look at us picking up yet another white key-tag or chip.

Ok now what do we do? That was a horrible gut wrenching movie and we are now grateful we did not drink. Next we move a muscle change a thought. We call someone, we go to a meeting, we work on our ninth step amends and write a letter to our children…not about how we will never hurt them again or never drink again, and we have not earned their trust, YET. But instead we acknowledge our wrongs, we tell them we are so, so, sorry with NO BUTS after it.

We journal the intense feelings that are coming up in us that are the reason we wanted to drink and drug to begin with. We are in recovery, we don’t let anybody tell us we should not feel pain or remorse we have survived Hell and there is no wrong feeling in our hearts because they are from our experience. Actions are the only things that can be labeled right or wrong. We have hurt people we love and we are sick about it. The solutions are in the steps, we need not only the people that will call us on our BS we also need those that will allow us to feel our pain, talk about it, express it well with feeling, then let it go. We need someone we can tell anything to who will listen without judgment.

We are on the road to a new life! We know what drugging will bring us, yes we know it well. However we have no idea what wonderful and exciting blessings sobriety has in store for us. We do not know the future but we do know that we are not going to drink today and we have learned another useful tool.
As for the lesson: “Choose your battles”, we can make a battle out of anything anybody says or does or we can choose to just let it go. We ask ourselves; HOW IMPORTANT IS IT? We then laugh at ourselves because we remember rule #62 which is; “Don’t take yourself so seriously.”

Our recovery life is a journey in which we have way more choices than we thought we did. We are learning that we can choose to not pick up a battle to fight because right now we don’t have time for that bullshit. Instead we are picking up a new life, we are chosen, we have survived hell, we are more important than we know, we have spiritual gifts, it is time to explore those gifts and step in to who we really are!

WE NO LONGER FEAR OUR FEELINGS TO THE POINT THAT WE LET THEM RULE US! WE ARE NOT ALONE.  When we share our fears they lose power over us.  We do not obsess on talking about our fears we merely let them out of the secret place that we have them locked away in.  It is our false pride and ego that fears other people will belittle us if they find out who we really are that puts us in denial about our fears.  We find out by sharing that we are not so different than our fellows.  (See “fear list” in Big Book step four)