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.

AA LOVE AND TOLERANCE IS OUR CODE

LOVE IS HIGHLY UNDER-RATED IN SOME SECTS OF AA

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

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

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

are to some extent emotionally ill as well as

frequently wrong, and then we approach true tolerance and

see what real love for our fellows actually means.”

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

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

GOD IS LOVE

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

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

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

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

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

 

EMOTIONALLY GROWING UP IN A.A.

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

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

AGREE TO DISAGREE by working the 12 steps.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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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/

“RARELY HAVE WE SEEN A PERSON FAIL…

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

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

 

Make a list of your sobriety hopes and dreams and check it twice!  

It is written in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous that “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path”  If you have the capacity to be honest enough with yourself to admit you have a problem….then you have a good chance of staying sober for a very long time.  The main ingredient of recovery is truth.

If you are willing to take the steps that are suggested by the people in Alcoholics Anonymous that have stayed sober before you for years, then you will not fail.   Regardless of how many times you have sabotaged your own sobriety.

Sit down, make a list of all the good things that you want from your sober life and in 6 months you will realize you have been given and achieved far more than you had hoped for.  This is a common story told among those in AA. 

When I sat in jail in 2006 hoping to spend just one day with my daughter at my favorite beach I was full of fear that I could not stay sober or out of jail long enough to do that.  Nine years later I sit amazed at the accomplishments and blessings that I have experienced by turning my fears and control over to my Higher Power.

Once I realized that the 12 steps are my recipe for staying sober and at peace with myself I knew I had it made.  The reason that I did not fail is I learned to “get out of the problem and into the solution”.  I went to 90 meetings in 90 days at first then for the next four to six years I went to four meetings a week.  I enjoy meetings now it’s not a burden.  I have cleared the wreckage of my past by doing the 12 steps.

Between therapy and the Fifth Step I learned how to express myself from my heart.  I learned to share my fears rather than stuff them down till they make me sick.  I learned that crying is a healthy emotion and a part of life.  I learned that pain is the beginning of healing.  Journaling my feelings is priceless to my emotional health.  And meditation feeds peace and anointed guidance to my very soul.

One day at a time I have earned my degree in sober school.  There is no need for me to pretend that I am alien to progress.  I have made much progress and you can too.  If you are willing to become a student.

My friend I am sure that you are wise in many ways.  BUT, having the wisdom to become teachable again will save you.  The horrible suffering that addiction brings transforms into the willingness and desperation needed to take your leap of faith.  Fear of the unknown can lead to the fulfillment of your deepest heartfelt desires when you get out of the problem and into the solutions.  Do not prejudice yourself against any possible help, rehab, therapy, AA, and religion are all a step in the right direction!

The Human Condition

Third Step Prayer

Great and Wondrous Higher Power

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

Perhaps it is because we alcoholics know what pure and sacred goodness is that we sometimes feel an intense shame for who we are. Is that consciousness humility or is that self-degradation? Our thinking may tell us that even our feelings of shame are lowliness and wrong. However our Higher Power created us imperfect beings to strive and struggle toward righteousness and purity. We while in the flesh will never be perfect. We must let ourselves off the hook. How can we be anything but the children of God as God intended us to be with our struggles and faults?
Our solution to the human condition of an addict is to rely on a Higher Power just like the Third Step Prayer exhibits.

If we start our day from a platform of humility knowing full-well the character patterns in us that were unveiled during our step work then we do have the goodness and awareness enough to ask our Higher Power for help throughout our coming day.

Reliance on God works for us…it is our solution to the human condition we are not alone in our sometimes perilous yet wondrous journey.

ISOLATING

 Life on life’s terms

Sometimes for those of us recovering from the traumas of abuse, abandonment, neglect, and addictions sobriety gets tough.  Life on life’s terms seems to drag us into a rut and the negative thoughts takes hold…Ouch!  Its ok it happens to the best of us.  However we need to remember that staying home in our safe caves watching our favorite programs on TV will eventually compound our negativity if we continue there.  Though it seems cozy and safe do not be deceived, what we really need is to get up, put our shoes on, get some exercise, go to a meeting, go for a swim, a bike ride, bird watching, or any other bright and lively activity we can think of in spite of the way we feel.What daylight and nature does is renew our minds and feeds positive energy into our soul.  Going to meetings gives us food for thought keeping our mind sober.  If we share our experience, strength, and hope in a Loving way it feeds fulfillment to our soul.  We are one with the universe; we become who we think we are.  Being one with creation gives us the power to attract success and joy.  However we must keep our minds on a positive track and sometimes that means getting very real with our Higher Power by praying for more of Its/His/her positive energy to enlighten and refresh our weary bones.  Without a refreshing of our minds now and again things can get very hum drum and mundane and then down right depressing. Be compassionate toward yourself if you are feeling down.  It doesn’t help to be angry and criticize ourselves for feeling the human emotion of sadness.  Remember that will feed the negativity.  Instead be kind get out of the problem by taking action into the solutions that you know work.  Recovery is: to not let our feelings rule us anymore.  We become strong when we pick ourselves up in spite of what our feelings are telling us to do.  Good feelings follow right actions not the other way around.  Sometimes we will start feeling better when we get just a block down the road.Bill Wilson and the authors wrote some great prayer examples on page 86 & 87 of the Big Book under step eleven to start our day.  You are God’s child you are of great value; you are special and have a sacred calling, a mission in life that is to be fulfilled.  God will give you what you need to leave your great and humble mark upon this Earth.  The good works we do for your fellows WILL echo in eternity!  Don’t believe for a minute the lie that tells you otherwise.

                                                      

Taming the Tongue Step Eleven



Taming the tongue

I will not debate with wrath although my own false pride would have me do just that. Wrath knows no logic, rage knows no compassion nor can it be reasoned with….natural anger can be managed with the tools and a little self-honesty. The accuser of the brethren that old crusty angel of lies (the disease) will come alive in me if I allow it. The tongue a small organ yet strong enough to wield the power of life and death, Love and hate in its grasp. A man can conquer ten cities but who can tame the tongue?”

I wrote this a few years ago as a status in another secret group. I find personally that doing step 11 at length instills in me the self-restraint necessary to stand quietly through the manipulation of my mother or other emotional triggers. She throws out the fishing line and hook to bait me into telling her how to live her life or what choices to make and then she never does what I suggest anyway.

I end up with a feeling of struggle and strain in my heart and frustration…inevitably I get an emotional hang-over. Verbal struggles don’t always come in the form of sarcasm, insults, name-calling and lies. . Sometimes my struggles are fears within my own mind or me trying to be the director.

SOLUTION: Step Eleven and self-restraint of keyboard & tongue. It is not my place to tell other adults how they should act or to make their choices for them. If they are not breaking a law or harming someone literally physically then it’s none of my business to control other peoples interactions with one another.

EACH PERSON HAS THE RIGHT TO REACH THEIR OWN LEVEL OF INCOMPETENCE! Each person must learn their own lessons…we are all at different places in our recovery…on different levels even however, we are all of equal value as human souls with hearts that need to Love and be Loved.

Humility or False Humility?

DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS ARE?  Part of self-awareness and recovery from darkness into light is to become aware of the good things about ourselves as well as the negative that we process in the fourth-seventh and tenth steps.

 

It is important to embrace our powers given by our Higher Power.  Without the knowledge of our spiritual gifts and special talents our long-term goals could be a little skewed.  Setting long-term goals and projects that match our abilities is part of healthy recovery.  God has a way of fitting our spiritual gifts to our personality type.

 

In other words He/they whatever label you give your HP grants us gifts we can be enthusiastic about, gifts that motivate us.  Here is a list of spiritual gifts that may help you recognize which ones rise-up within yourself.  True humility does not a base or deny its good qualities.  False humility loves to insult the gifted and blessed of God and call them devoid of any good.

I am a child of The King and he does not make junk.  There is a thing called pride in a job well done.  We do the footwork in this program and when we subconsciously acknowledge our good works our self-esteem grows.  It’s not a lie to acknowledge a job well done.  False pride is born of lies that is how we can tell the difference between good pride/false pride and false humility or true humility.  One is born of truth the other a lie.  Please don’t mistake that I am attacking the act of giving God glory for our recovery, of course that is a good thing as well!  I am talking about self-awareness, personal growth, and building; one right choice at a time a new self-image.  A psychic change if you will.

 

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Gifts of the Spirit snip