THE BAFFLING PART OF ADDICTION EXPLAINED. How does an emotional pain morph into spiritual blindness and darkness that would cause a man to self destruct?
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
FOCUS ON INNOCENCE
Imagine your life as a long-running movie. Now see it made by two different directors. The first movie, in the hands of the director is a movie about fear, anger, scarcity, and anxiety.
The other in the hands of a different director is a movie about Love, peace, innocence, abundance, and happiness.
One director is your ego the other is The Holy Spirit and the star of the movie is you. By Marianne Williamson from “The Gift of Change”.
I have said it before…if you have made it to a sober place and have crawled out of the pits of hell. Where you were surrounded by violence, shame, betrayal, guilt, pain, remorse, and condemnation, then a window of opportunity is open for you.
It is no accident that you made it out of hell alive, The only trouble is early sobriety is scary. Massive fear crops up for the unknown. And why not! We have rarely been clean and sober for more than a day or two in years!
No more heaviness we cry! No more pain we beg our higher power. Will God really help us through the mess of baggage we call our lives?
Hell yes He/She/It will! We are valuable children of God! We deserve to be happy for a while and have peace. We have paid our dues in spades by god!
Sit back, quit fighting, soak up the recovery in the rooms of AA. Soak up the sanity that our counselors offer. Lie down in detox and take the medicine they give to get you over the first big hump. Then make your way into rehab where you don’t have to be in charge any more. You don’t have to have all the answers. You can be a patient instead of a doctor, be a student instead of teacher.
We are all students and we are all patients from time to time. Become a student now and it will save your future and bless the family you have possibly violated and neglected at best.
The 12 steps are designed to relieve that very guilt. AA & NA are designed for the insane addict (as I was) who continues to do the same thing over and over expecting different results. The steps if we take action and do them will show us how and empower us to see our innocence rather than our guilt.
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!
How addiction effects our children
Read the poem “Does Baby Know”
I wrote this poem eight years ago when feeling the deep deep pain of hurting the one that I Love the most in this world as most parents do. Especially for us mothers; neglecting our children hits us harder in the guilt department than any of our wreckage . Here is one of my processing poems that helped me get the pain out.
|Does Baby Know?
Baby’s so sweet in her Mickey Mouse clothes
Innocent cuddly wonder if she knows
Most mommies don’t need pills before starting the day
of cooking and work to keep jonesin’ at bay
Baby’s so bright in her eyes does she know
Most mommies don’t shoot dope to get up and go
Sometimes the little girl gets so annoyed
“Mommy wake up and look at these toys!
Don’t run off the road any more cause I’m scared
We could crash and burn, your eyes closed your not there”
Still baby loves mommy the most cause her daddy
Yells all the time she goes with mommy gladly
Daddy is mean frustrated at mom
she won’t do as he says he does not keep calm
Baby’s becoming a young lady now
Ten years have passed by mommies wondering how,
they survived the years before she straightened up
quit shooting her dope and getting fucked up
Baby’s so beautiful in her brand new school clothes
and daddy still yells but baby knows
they both really care and are doing their best
to show that they love her
God’s doing the rest____________________
2-14-2018 UPDATED comment about poem. **My ex-husband has long since been removed from our lives. He was very abusive and the trauma he caused my daughter was devastating. All due to my own ability to leave him back then. She was nine when I got sober and 10 when I stood up to her father and cut him from our lives. She is an adult now. Doing a step nine with here was a freeing experience for both of us and probably saved my own life. Please do the steps on your most intense issues. If you don’t have an understanding sponsor, fire them.
This part was written back when I wrote the poem-****Nearly nine years after I wrote this sad poem my daughter is happy and healthy. She will graduate this year God willing, she is driving her first car and is a beautiful young lady. She has a fighting chance at a good life and shows no signs of addiction praise God! I am there for her which I never would have been able to do had it not been for AA and the 12 steps. Thank you AA and thank you especially to my Higher Power who I am sure made it all happen like a magic red carpet ride of sobriety. Change and healing can happen for anyone who has the willingness to do the work honestly and thoroughly until it becomes a way of life.
What is AA Sponsorship all about?
They say in AA we should meet the new-comer at his or her level not try to drag them up to where we are after accomplishing years of step-work, meetings, and more work. How does sponsorship work? Shall we take advantage of the fact that we have gained some self-confidence and give the newcomer the beat-down so we can build them back up??? Shall we order them around in front of our fellows to make us look good? No, No, and Hell-no! But believe it or not immature and even hostile behavior toward a sponsee happens more in AA sponsorship than it should that’s for sure. We should be patient and tolerant with the newcomer.
The best way to do that is by relating. We try to relate to whatever topic is at hand. If the topic is changing people places and things then we remember back to our early days in AA and how those changes affected us. We put ourselves in the shoes of the newcomer rather than resenting them for not knowing what we so painstakingly learned. Then we incorporate our AA knowledge into our experiences of how we learned that knowledge and grew from it. We qualify ourselves to the newcomer as being worthy to share our AA knowledge because of our alcoholic war stories.
Rather than trying to pull our sponcee up to our level of recovery we are meeting them where they are and the reason that we can help them and ourselves of course is that we can usually relate to just where they are. Newcomers don’t take just anyone’s suggestions unless they can tell that the speaker has been where they have been. The newcomer needs to know that the people in the rooms have felt the extreme hurtfulness of incomprehensible demoralization.
We share from our hearts we speak in the “I” format so as not to offend the newcomer. A man with an extreme inferiority complex due to years of going against his own heart and good sense is easily offended. The alcoholic spends years defying his own moral compass therefore subconsciously loathes himself. He starts his day from the platform of low-self-esteem so naturally he reads that opinion into people’s actions and comments toward him. Little does the alcoholic know that seldom do others look at him the way he looks at himself so he need not be so defensive.
And so we remember when working with our newcomer how we thought that the world revolved around our belly buttons as well. Or in other words we thought people were much more concerned and aware of our negative actions. We share with the newcomer the things that gave us hope when we came in. We don’t treat the newcomer as if he were a lesser person he is not. All of us are equal from the gutter stained alcoholic to the 20 year sober keynote AA speaker we are just in a different place is all. In Gods eyes we are all of value.
We remember the sarcasms and snide remarks that were said to us these things we don’t repeat. There are those in AA who take pleasure in treating the newcomer like they are walking into a high security death-row prison and have to go through an orientation by ruthless inmates. We do not have to have that mentality. Without the newcomer many of us old-timers would scarcely stay sober.
Step Twelve hangs on the fact that we have newcomers to work with to keep us involved in a purpose of higher importance. Newbie you are of high value to us in AA and many people even say you are the most important one in the room. Of coarse that statement would be bullshit because any honest AA-er will admit he regards himself as the most important one i the room. I don’t know maybe there really are some saints out there in the rooms who would put the newcomers sobriety and well-being before his own. But the way I understand it most of us work with others to keep ourselves sober firstly, the rest is gravy.
“The Mystery of the Unpredictable Bottom”
No one absolutely no one knows when they or anyone else will hit the emotional bottom that it takes to get sober. Getting clean and sober is no easy task.
However, if we have hit a nasty emotional bottom, it usually causes a deep and lingering fear within us of returning to the horrible drink and drug that planted our guilt. That fear in itself can supply the momentum needed to stay sober long enough to get a sponsor and work the steps. Unfortunately we never know when that bottom will appear. We never know when a loved one will have had enough.
Sometime the fear of going back out hangs onto to us even after years of sobriety. Reason being most of us have relapsed so many times we just don’t trust ourselves. Think about it, even if another man betrays us we never fully trust him again. We do this same thing to ourselves (most of us) by setting out to stay sober over and over and failing miserably. Therefore we tend to feel we are on really shaky ground even after years of sobriety. As a solution for that fear I would tell myself. “Self, it’s not you that is keeping you sober, you are relying on the program now, as long as you work the program, the program works! You will not relapse. I knew it worked because I heard testimony upon testimony of just that in meetings.
Typically with addicts we may feel extremely guilty and remorseful about the the debauchery of the night before and quit for a day or two. But unfortunately again addicts forget so quickly the pain of a hangover or the pain of withdraw symptoms until directly after the next benge.
What the program does if we work it is remind us of the pain we have been through so its not so easy to justify that first drink or first drug. Therefore, the rationalization and memory lapses that are required to get drunk again do not happen as readily.
So many times we addicts get sober then hope and pray our loved ones will follow suit. We think if we just share what worked for us surely they will take the same route. Why wouldn’t they? We think. But very seldom do they follow suit until they finally hit their own pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization.
The more we harp on them to stay sober and preach to them about what worked for us the more it pushes our loved ones away.
So we pray “God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change the courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference.”
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.