Relapse Sucks Continued

Relapse Feels Horrible here is a great solution for the remorse. It’s one little assignment that is tried and true…if we can just pick up a pencil and paper to do it!!! Relapse brings up a lot of guilt and shame which sucks, however it is the perfect time to get some serious baggage off of our heart.

AFTER WE WRITE OUR FEAR LIST with our short explanation of “what happened and how it made me feel” WE ASK GOD TO REMOVE ALL THE FEARS AND CHARACTER DEFECTS WE HAVE CONFIDED IN OUR HIGHER POWER. We share our fear list with an empathetic listener who will relate to us and NOT INVALIDATE OUR VALID EXPRESSION of fears. Women are usually more empathic than men.

Building self-esteem happens when we take one right action at a time. First thing, write core feelings. Write the self-loathing and the feelings of utter worthlessness which addicts feel after a relapse.
Example: I feel like a failure, I hate myself for the things I have done to me and others (children especially). Write the fears associated with thoughts like: I let down my fellows, what will they think of me now? I want people to like me but now they will know I am a failure. Write all the society fears associated with relapse. Write the shame of re-entering the rooms after a relapse and what that does to your reputation and how it makes us feel.
Our head will tell us this exercise is just making matters worse. Our head will say “why should I re-play this bullshit? It just causes pain?” But this exercise SHOULD feel yucky, really yucky! That is how you know your doing it right from your heart.
It goes against our very nature to hide away and repress feelings of inferiority. Then cover it all up with a bow of character defects and blame everyone else. Well that does have it’s uses but it will never get me well. And the feelings I hide will come out sideways eventually at those I love most. So if we are going to feel like shit anyway we may as well feel like crap on our way to getting better than feel like crap on our way to getting sicker. Your choice.
GET TO THE CORE FEELINGS THAT MOST EVERY RELAPSER FEELS UNLESS THEY ARE A SOCIOPATH or can’t get honest. These admissions of feelings and fears WILL cut the ego to the quick! These core human emotions, when addressed & processed will set the addict free from anxiety if done thoroughly and regularly.Next write all the fears about security. I lost my house I am scared shitless, I am ashamed I now live in a trailer. Write: I maxed out my credit cards, how will I ever pay it back? My life sucks now financially, all that money I spent, regret, regrets regret! I am afraid I will be homeless! Don’t just write it like your balancing your check book or something, no! Write an expression of emotion straight from the core of your heart words that would embarrass you thoroughly if anyone read them.

On a Fourth Step let’s face it folks; if we only write what we are comfortable sharing with others we won’t get a damn thing out of the step work. Write the stuff that you want hidden, write the stuff that makes you squirm at the thought of anybody seeing it! Write the stuff that you have hidden for years!There is a reason that we talk about the three fear groups. Sex, society and security are mankind’s main concern, not just the addicts concerns.

When we get into fear 99% of the time it’s about losing our security in one or more of these areas. Therefore it makes sense to write these fears like it instructs us to in the fourth step Big book.After we have expressed our feelings on paper and have listed our fears we re-visit our third step. We remember that God has our back in all these areas and we ask him or her or it to remove all the fears we listed.

Next we confess our fears and feelings in a meeting or to our sponsor. We do the fifth step on the worst of these fears and they will lose power over us!It’s easy for other people to tell us to “get over it”. But that’s easier said than done, we can’t take our heart out and put it in the dishwasher with the dirty dishes. Sure some things we can just shrug off but other feelings need a little work to help us process and get out.

The people who say “get over it” are often the ones who repress so many emotions that they are one heart-beat from a break-down. We came to AA to learn how to deal with our emotions not how to shut them down and get sicker. Always pray before any step-work so your recovery gets the supernatural kick-start that it needs.

AFTER WE WRITE OUR FEAR LIST with our short explanation of “what happened and how it made me feel” WE ASK GOD TO REMOVE ALL THE FEARS AND CHARACTER DEFECTS WE HAVE CONFIDED IN OUR HIGHER POWER. We share our fear list with an empathetic listener who will relate to us and NOT INVALIDATE OUR VALID EXPRESSION of fears. Women are usually more empathic than men.

From Recovering to Recovered

When is it Okay for an Addict to Move from “Recovering” into “Recovered”?

If we believe we are emotionally and spiritually healed and have done much work on ourselves in those areas with God’s help, and do not want to drink. We may be “recovered”  for real.  To thine own self be true.

This is the Foreword to the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous as it appeared in the first printing of the first edition in 1939

“WE, OF Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. To show other alcoholics PRECISELY HOW WE HAVE RECOVERED is the main purpose of this book. For them, we hope these pages will prove so convincing that no further authentication will be necessary.”

If you go to Alcoholics Anonymous or any of the twelve step meetings you will notice it’s actually tabu to say your “better”, “well” or even “healed” no matter how much work or how long you have been in the program.  Addicts give off the oppressive concept of “once an addict always an addict.”  Some members insinuate in meetings that as soon as an addict believes he is better he is on the hard cold road to relapse and surely delusional.
Fact is many addicts truly do stay in recovery and sick the rest of their days. They never really do the healing work that has been discovered by the few.

What if we were to clear up the core issues of why we really drank, drugged, and committed self abuse? What if we could change the way we see ourselves and understand why we are/were so sick? Would we no longer be alcoholics? The first question every addict asks in response is, “would I then be able to drink responsibly?” The thing is if we are healed in our hearts and minds of addictive patterns we would no longer want to drink or drug responsibly or otherwise. The reason to be numb would be moot.
Which of the twelve steps so highly regarded and respected around the world quotes the rule; “once an addict always an addict”.   Where is it written in the literature “you will never be better and if you say you are you’re surely in relapse mode”.  Well I can’t find it in the steps or in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  As a matter of fact I found evidence very much to the contrary of these rampant belief systems directly from the lips of Bill Wilson himself.

I found this article online and I couldn’t have put it better myself..well maybe a little.  Written by Bill F

In direct contradiction to the Big Book, New Agers tell us we’ll “never recover,” “always be recovering,” and “never get well.” The message from Bill W. and the first one hundred recovered alcoholics (p. xiii) uses the word “recovered” approximately twenty-three times; “recover,” twenty-eight; and “recovering,” only twice, and then in the context of the newcomer.

We never become cured from the physical allergy. Once we take a drink the phenomenon of craving will be triggered. This is what it means to say “we are not cured from alcoholism” (p. 85). But once we become recovered, the mental obsession to drink is removed. The physical allergy is rather a moot point. We now do not have to take that first drink. Being recovered is conditional. We remain recovered by staying in fit spiritual condition (p. 85).”

Bill F.
Hyattsville, Maryland

 

Adult Children of Alcoholics can be a Place of Healing

If we are willing and honest.

Listen to this testimony from Beth P. of ACOA. From what I can gather there is much more core level work on addiction causes in ACOA than is going on in some sects of A.A. I have never been but after hearing Beth’s testimony I am very interested in going to continue some of the most valuable healing work I have ever done. And that is work on nurturing my own inner man, my inner child. My child and adult have become “one”. But I had to become vulnerable and talk about my fears and hurts, worries, and strifes, wrongs, and rights to get that healing. And all with the Grace of my Higher Power and His Loving guidance.

 

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The Insanity Prayer

Sing this song to the tune of “My favorite things” in The Sound of Music…or Mary Poppins if you like.


“The Insanity Prayer”  Words

Red legged spiders that waddle while walking.
Don’t clip my wings while I’m sitting here talking.
Fudge covered caramels of candy and creams.
Soft quilted dreams of dysfunctional things.

Rough sober drunks with opinions abounding.
Nodding in chairs while on drugs they are drowning.
Fierce, angry housewives with husbands to blame.
Waving a butcher knife, they are insane.

(Chorus)
when your friend slips, when there’s lost dreams.
When you health’s destroyed.
Simply recite the insanity prayer and then you won’t beee________ ah______noid.

Taking Viagra and drinking my prune juice.
Eating through straws wishing I had some vermouth.
Tall tainted hookers are lovely to me.
Little do they know but money they neeeeeed.

(chorus)
When I see, I’m decomposing, when I’m old and crazed.
I simply recite the insanity prayer and then I will be_____-ah-mazed.

 

Deryck Whibley on Alcohol Addiction

Deryck Whibley on Alcohol Addiction From the “People Music”

website (link here)

 

While Sum 41 fans knew frontman Deryck Whibley for his catchy punk-rock anthems and electric live shows, behind the scenes, the singer found himself battling with some serious demons — including a nearly fatal alcohol addiction.

 

Now healthy and happily remarried, the musician — who was married to Avril Lavigne before their 2009 split — opened up to PEOPLE about hitting rock bottom, his journey to sobriety and Sum 41’s new album, 13 Voices, which Whibley and the band will be touring behind through March 2017.  READ MORE HERE

 

How has the whole process of getting out there and performing changed since your recovery?

The Disease Concept is a Rationalization

If you don’t know the true reason for addiction just make up a reason and run with it.  After all, alcoholics are skilled at the art of denial and bullshit.  We fool ourselves first then we fool the world.

Let’s face it recovering alcoholics are commonly desperate for a valid cause to pin their miseries on. Sometimes in the form of co dependency and blame.  Other times in the form of playing up a tragedy that really doesn’t affect us.  We jump at the chance for a valid process of grief…seldom does anyone ever accept and validate our true grief if and when we have the balls and self honesty to find out what that is. Most recovering addicts have pushed their emotions so far away from their heart that they grasp the “disease concept” in order to validate their reason for drinking and drugging. When truth is IT’S ALL EMOTIONAL.  Very few addicts ever adapt more than the “textbook answer (Big Book)” for WHY DID YOU DRINK CORROSIVELY BROTHER?  It’s not our fault we can seldom answer this question with a true to life cause.

 

If you were an addict (yes I said “were”) and have realized that the wonderful childhood you experienced was actually just a pretty picture you painted in your head. If the pack mentality has finally dissipated and you realize your caretakers in the formative years were quite possibly self-esteem sucking vampire-like idiots then…CONGRATULATIONS! About 10% of people in recovery ever realize the true reason for their shame (fear of people), self loathing (self destructive), and drinking (drugging).

#1 the word “shame” is pridefully unpalatable and carries with it a grotesque status-quo.  Shames status quo relies on a thriving state of false pride to keep its existence alive and healthy.  That is, shame in it’s oppressive form.  Symptoms of shame-Isolation, lies, hiding, making up stories, a desire to numb oneself from it’s feeling, inferiority, fear, fear of failure, fear of success, changing one’s appearance drastically, blushing, rapid heartbeat, break into a sweat, freeze, hang your head, slump your shoulders, avoid eye contact, withdraw, even get dizzy or nauseous.

The true reasons for addiction often just get buried. Bill Wilson himself quite publicly both rationalized and intellectualized his own reasons for drinking.  His false-pride and pack-mentality concepts were obviously (by his writings) NEVER thawed from the great ice crevice in his heart where they lay for so long.

Denial is the addicts brightest and shiniest emotional survival skill both before and after recovery.  Spearheaded at the tip of our emotional talents denial saves us from intense realities. The addicts denial; be it stronger than the iceberg that crushed the Titanic.   Lengthier than the plastic scouring our oceans and more blatant to the psychologically learned than the very nose on our face.

YET how do you tell a blind man that the table is red and not dark?  How do you tell an addict that he drank and drugged because of his pain?  And that his pain erupted in the formative years.  And that he himself is not God, nor is he to blame for attempting to numb such a horrific shame induced pain.  One thing sure, THE ADDICT THINKS HE IS SHIT WE MUST FIND THE CORES OF THAT INCLINATION.  NO, NO, HELL NO!  SCREAMS THE RECOVERING ADDICT!  But what is he recovering from?  Not the real cause of his addiction…oh hell no we won’t go close to that turd of darkness.  No in AA the addict recovers from old habits, and if he works really hard he will become aware of his character defects.  If he works the steps HE WILL BUILD SELF ESTEEM BY STEP 12.  He may recover from hurting others by step four, he may quit cussing, quit smoking, and quit drinking and develope a relationship with God….but until he finds the true cause of his pain HOW IN THE NAME OF BILL WILSON HIMSELF WILL HE RECOVERY FROM THE TRUE CAUSE OF HIS DRINKING?

MOST EVERYONE “LET’S UP ON THEIR SPIRITUAL PROGRAM” AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER…OF THIS I AM CERTAIN.  If the emotional is not addressed, when the spiritual lapses the mouse re-lives his pain.  The pain must be addressed to heal.  We gotta feel to heel…really feel.

Isn’t it time we asked ourselves…Why the fuck did I really nearly drank and drug myself to death?….absent the pack mentality.  And absent the status quo of AA that WE DON’T ASK WHY ABOUT SHIT.  Come on don’t ask why?  Fuck knowledge right?  Start with this statement, “children who are raised in a truly decent emotionally nurturing atmosphere don’t generally have a reason to hate themselves, initially”. People raised with Love don’t regularly try to numb an intense hurt in their heart which is so extremely painful they prefer inebriation over any simulation of awareness.  And more importantly once the true reasons surface in their appropriate and natural order….we need to develop ways to get them out that are healthy.

Most addicts wouldn’t know an emotional beat down if it literally hit them in the face. And it’s not their fault…it’s not their fault. But if your tired of being an arms length away from a drink and want true recovery it’s gonna take addressing the true reasons absent the rationalization of “it’s disease.”

Let’s put it this way…WE ADDICTS ARE SO FUCKING GOOD AT SNOWING OUR PEERS AND PEOPLE….WE LITERALLY HAVE CONVINCED OURSELVES AND THE WHOLE WORLD THAT ALCOHOLISM IS SOME OBSCURE DISEASE DRIVEN BY A ROGUE GENE POOL. LOL The medical field kinda believes it and it has become the status quo of addiction topics, rehabs in spite of there not being an ounce of real proof to back it up.

Addicts are emotionally sick because of trauma of one sort or another USUALLY not present in their memory.

Solutions to pain. https://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/emotional-healing/

http://www.darvsmith.com/dox/shame_symptoms.html

“God Is Either All or [He-She-It] Is Nothing”

 

https://recoveryfarmhouse.com

I heard a women at a meeting tonight share this: “When I expressed fear my sponsor told me that God is either everything or He’s nothing.” The sponsor made a typical example of the extreme thinking, closed mindedness and lack of balance addicts often experience. Why do I disagree with the statement? Because: THERE IS A WHOLE LOTTA GOD WHO LIVES BETWEEN “ALL AND NOTHING”.

But the cliche sounds good right? Say it outloud to someone, “by god, God is either all or nothing I say!” Feels kinda powerful in a way to harness the statement. Makes me feel superior for sure. Ya! I think I will carry that “cliche” home and spoon feed it’s ridiculousness and human impossibility to all my own sponsees.

Well if there is one man or just one woman on this earth who is 100% all God at All times we can name them “Jesus” because they WILL be walking on water. Why would this woman’s sponsor tell her such a crock of A.A. jargon-malarkey? What the sponsor most likely meant and should have said is a simple: “turn it over to God.” So why didn’t she say simply “turn it over to God”? Sensationalism is one theory. Maybe she spent her life being ignored and had to exaggerate to an extreme to get anyone to listen to her. And now that’s her MO. She heard the saying at a meeting then used it and felt the power so and it stuck.

But I am here to say THERE IS A WHOLE LOTTA GOD WHO LIVES BETWEEN ALL AND NOTHING. And this is usually where we meet HIm/Her/It. Not in some state of spiritual 100% perfection. Although it’s more likely to meet God at “0%” opposed to “100%” Because at zero we are depleted and see our intense need for God’s help. At 100% God hmmm never been there I don’t know.

You Must have Mistook me for Someone Who Gives a Shit

Truly some people who really do give a shit have no idea or ability to show it in a Loving way.

At least that’s what I am hoping considering the actions of many people in the world today.

We have all heard the sarcastic comment that rolls off the tongues of those who want to make known to us all that they don’t care about us or anyone.  They pretend they cannot be hurt because they are emotionally bullet-proof.   I don’t know about you but I have made peace with the fact, that I am human and like to know I am cared for, liked, and loved.     Thing is, with this awareness of the vulnerable human condition of my own heart comes more unpleasant truths.

After ten years of deep meditation and sobriety I realize it was my sick parents, NO, my very sick parents who set up camp at the core of my self-worth taking  turns with exacerbating and brutal jabs at me as a person.   From conception till now they made known to me my utter worthlessness. Everything about me was wrong in their eyes.  Maybe it was themselves who they saw when they looked at their beautiful baby girl.  Clearly my parents taught me to loath who I am.  They shamed me to the point I hid every aspect of myself.  I hid my pain, my joy, my fears, my love, my excitement because I learned from them that if it came from my heart it was bad and wrong.

Fuck you Dad, fuck you very much!  Not only that they fed me to the wolves at a tender age to be sexually molested by a second cousin whom they knew was a sick bastard.  They hurt me very deeply with their deep dark repetitive, shaming, subliminal messages in my formative years and through life.  And the tricky part, I don’t think they ever realized what they were doing to me.  And most importantly I had no idea I was either neglected or abused in any way.    I didn’t know what emotional neglect and mental abuse looked like coming from a parent.  How could I at that age?  The beatings were spankings and the belittling was discipline all for my own good of course.  When I became an addict I poured all the guilt on myself, I took all the blame for who I was, thank God my eyes finally were opened.  Thank God.

So! In the spirit of “moving-on” I put my own heart’s’ voice first by saying “I am hurting” and put it ahead of the need to forgive others. Because the vital step of forgiveness is nearly worthless if we don’t take care of our own emotional pain first.  I must refrain from calling my feelings character defects.  They are part of who I am.  And I became aware through meditation and staying sober that the “pack-mentality” (they did their best don’t blame mom and dad,bla, bla, bla, defend them to the point of blindness etc.)  defense toward my family was killing me.  And the self condemnation was also killing me.  So I held on to my emotionally traumatic resentment for a good year while working on/processing the severe trauma by neglect that I suffered at the hands of those I clearly mistook for someone who gives a shit.

How do I know I need empathic therapy?

I will stop here to let you know how certain issues that do need addressing rear their ugly heads in recovery.  Are you angry at others allot.  Or just angry?   Depressed?  Anxiety?  Are you suffering from sick relationships?  Hate/Love type relationships or maybe you can’t handle relationships at all.  If after a couple years of 12 step work we still suffer from chronic irritability it may be time to cry, scream, share, talk, out and journal your issues with someone WHO DOES GIVE A SHIT.  Or someone who at least knows how to listen to your feelings and concerns and respond with the following qualities::   Please know empathic healing from deep traumatic wounds cannot happen by having an “our part” pointed out to us or by searching for character flaws.   Healing won’t happen by assuming that re-visiting pains in the quest for healing is always morbid reflection and self pity.  The 12 steps do work in some ways.   And God does heal, sometimes. But in Alcoholics Anonymous people invalidate and minimize trauma feelings that are at the core of most addictions.  Yet they write them off as if all our feelings of hurt are a character flaw that needs repressed.

That attitude is what got me sick to begin with for this a attest I was in recovery for years but now am finally recovered.

Mirroring- To convey understanding by reflecting back what has been expressed or indicated.  (repeating back our words in a way we know we are being heard and understood. Example:  “It sounds like your feeling frustrated because…”

Affirmation- Validating basic human rights and qualities. “It’s normal to feel…”  “I can understand why you would feel…”, “You have the right to be angry”.  “You know what’s right for you.”

Relating- Sharing our own similar experience.  “That happened to me too, I felt so abandoned.”

Caring-  Expressing our own feelings and perceptions to convey caring and support.  Example:  “I admire your strength and courage.”  “I feel sad you went through that.”

Sometimes these four little steps are all the lie between anxiety and peace If we exert the courage to open up to someone who won’t shut us down.  There is a reason some people are easy to talk to.  And on the other hand all some people know how to do in a conversation is seek out a vulnerability and attack.

Not everyone needs spanked by their AA sponsor.  Some people can pick up the Big Book with the help of some guiding prayers and do the most honest and thorough fourth step you have ever seen.  Some people will take it too far because they have been condemning themselves for their entire lives.  Granted few people don’t use the fail-safe of “accusing blame” when they are suffering deeply.  Finding a balance as to when we have been wronged and deeply hurt and those slights that run off us like water on a duck.  Once we build self worth by one esteem-able act at a time we won’t be so easily offended.  But in my case here recently I was wronged repeatedly by a family who I must forgive.  But forgiving is sometimes a process that should begin with self-respect and self Love.  By validating our hurts we can then let them flow out with the tears.

Addicts can only endure so much guilt until we need to shove some off on somebody else.  Make it their fault instead of our own.  Problem is we usually end up condemning those we Love most.

Cocaine Trauma Deliverance

I grew up in the 70s in Tampa. There was Cocaine everywhere. Long story short I became deeply addicted to injecting ether based Cocaine. After a few years and a few overdoses I ended up with the worst paranoia and fear I can imagine. I had one overdose where I died and was brought back with CPR. I literally went to death and hell and a place of bondage that I could not get out of. Thank God I was given CPR it was like clawing my way out of Hell. I did not come back easy. After that I was plagued with anxiety attacks and paralyzed with panic from my experiences with Cocaine and the things I did while using it. I ran, I got as far away from my enablers as I could. I then desperately sought God in any place people worship. I found what I was looking for by His Grace.

My Cocaine and addiction deliverance was like a blessed download from Heaven.

When I was delivered from Heroin and Cocaine addiction the first time around I was clean for years I stayed on a pink cloud (joy, peace, happiness) for at least a year. Prior to that I was plagued with anxiety, and panic attacks, I was a heroin and cocaine junky who had to have a shot of dope to get out of bed in the morning. After one touch from God my thinking and feelings were changed dramatically. I no longer had anxiety or panic attacks. After one touch I like to call a “download” from God in a little Baptist church in the meadow. As windows 8 calls it, by one “refresh” I was set in a direction of service and Love toward mankind. I received a new operating system with my files or memories left intact. My resentments were quelled and my sickness abated. I loved my mother again that in itself was a miracle.

The 12 Steps keep me spiritually and emotionally healthy

Let’s face it folks steps 10, 11, and 12 are the maintenance steps when I meditate I get spiritually fed, I get a disk defrag, a disk cleaning, and vital updates. Why is it different this time clean and sober for me? Granted I had much joy my first round of sobriety, I learned allot, I changed in a huge way morally and I became Loving but God had only begun my overhaul. The first time I was sober I didn’t wholeheartedly believe that I was a good child of God. I believed with my head but my heart deep down was telling me that I was bad and of Satan. I still carried deep shame within my heart from the sexual abuse I suffered as a child and my actions during years of addiction. Deep down I knew I would screw things up again. Why?

There are three things that I did different this time (I got sober this time in 2006) One; this time I worked the steps with a sponsor honestly and thoroughly, everything came out in my fifth step. Two, I got empathic recovery therapy and learned how to continually share my true, illogical and fearful heartfelt inner feelings. People are usually ashamed of their true feelings because nobody (well most people) wants to be vulnerable or be looked upon as different. The thing is everybody except perhaps true sociopaths have illogical fears and deep child-like feelings that they don’t like about themselves. So we cover them up with the mask, distractions and lies. Therapy taught me to vent these feelings so they don’t fester, or turn to rage, and obsession. Thirdly this time I practiced meditation on a regular basis for the first six years I was sober. What this did is open my mind to receive God’s blessings. Meditation improved every aspect of my recovery and most importantly helped heal me both emotionally and spiritually.

When I say “meditation” I don’t mean picking up a book and reading a passage. I am talking about the kind of meditation that takes an hour a day to be still, silent, and open. Meditation when practiced regularly brings a steady flow of continuous spiritual experiences that can move mountains and heal the heart the soul and the mind.

Funny thing…different things have different ways of communicating. Animals have their own way, humans speak to humans verbally, computers have their own language, electricity speaks to the light bulb and it reacts, the light speaks to our atmosphere and it reacts and becomes visual, the sun speaks to the flower, the moon speaks to the Earth, even water speaks to our bodies and we live. Action and reaction but how does man speak to God? Should we use our tongue as if God were a man that has ears…perhaps so but God my friend “looks upon the heart” so it is written. Should we not try seeking God with words straight from our heart and then talk to Him with our minds as well?

Seek and you shall find but seek with your hearts language for it is the language of truth absent of all the editing that our mind thinks should be done. For out of the heart bursts forth the well-springs of life. Eternal Life“

What is logical to the mind is folly to the heart and what is truth to the heart is valid to God.”

Addiction & Recovery

Learning cleaver cliché’s, a new key word AA pirate vocabulary, and the ability to repress resentment and shame will never be the same as the emotional sobriety induced by doing a Higher Power directed, honest, and thorough working of the 12 steps.  However, make no mistake oftentimes it appears to be the same.  The thing is if the inside of the cup doesn’t get washed regularly (4th,10th, 11th steps) the taste will not be so sweet.  Sometimes the taste of life still ain’t so sweet even with having done all the work.  There will always be something that is hard to put into the acceptance basket of the heart.  But the fewer things we try to control the easier our day will be.  Hence….God Grant us the Serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can and wisdom to know the difference.

 

WHY DO HUMANS WANT TO PLAY GOD?  Humans, while human will never be capable of seeing things in an absolute pure light.  Why?  There is a veil of carnality over human beings which pollute the pure view.  Looking through the eyes of Love is the pure view.  Gazing through the throngs of fear is the view marred with all sorts of grasping means for self survival according to false prides dictate.  “Oh yee of little faith!” cries our self exacerbation.  “If only our self-image could be fixed and then re-implanted in our hearts” we think to ourselves, as we quickly look around for another unsuspecting human to tag the label “bad & wrong” on.  Ohhhh if only we ourselves could see us through the eyes of Love.  If even for a moment…we could see us as God sees us, a pure lighted glow of innocence surrounded with an aura of color so soft it could only be spiritual and celestial.

 

When the body dies the veil rips, the cord snaps, and we will see as clearly as we are seen.  We will know as wholly as we are known, then and there will I see you again and I will say, “Ahh we meet again warm heart, loosed from the veil of spiritual darkness we were under for such a short and long time.  Greetings to you my friend, I see you made it to the home of Love that peradventure my heart should have hoped for you long ago.  Yes I should have Loved you then when we were in the place of humanity, where and when it would have meant so much more.”  For had we chose to Love, even through the ominous veil of our carnal haze it would have been a strong testament to who we were.

 

Love itself the power greater than any would have been strengthened within us.

 

Even Death in all its presence would have bent a knee and bowed to serve the Love alive within us and flee for its own survival.  pervert

 

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Emotional Disorder Disclaimer

I am not a physician nor do I have a degree in psychology.  I don’t know much about mental illness and my articles are not written as solutions to mental illness.  My articles are my own solutions to the inability to process my intense feelings.  I have learned how to work on my core issues and to process anger, and hurt when it crops up.  I no longer get depressed.  I am not paralyzed by fear.  My panic attacks are gone partly because of practicing the therapy tools I share online and mainly because of my own Higher Power Jesus and God the Father leading me into these solutions and enlightening and fulfilling me by spiritual experiences.

What I share is what I learned in therapy and helped me so much derived from the un-published works of Randall Mayrovitz, Meridian Behavioral Healthcare.  I am talking about remedies for anxiety, fear, and panic attacks due to repressed emotions which are the driving factors in much alcohol and drug abuse.  The solutions of expression that worked for me may not be for you.  I also talk about a fourth step as a remedy for shame which is also a cause to drink and drug.   We are as sick as our secrets but finding a safe place to initially get out our core trauma is another matter.  I attribute my own sync in recovery to God mapping things out just right. Be cautious who you share your feelings and traumas with.  We need someone who can relate, care, mirror, and understand.   Also some abuse results in such extreme emotional trauma that the door to those memories should stay shut except when under the care of a physician, medication and supervision.  However for me and those I was in therapy with these solutions along with the steps have kept us sane, serene, and sober.  I urge every addict to get group therapy where you can share your trauma and get feedback.  Also considering our family tree and the behaviors of our parents can be very enlightening to understand ourselves.  Ongoing prayer and meditation is priceless to recovery.

Solutions for anxiety, depression, and anger.

WHO IS YOUR HIGHER POWER?

DO YOU KNOW WHO YOUR HIGHER POWER REALLY IS?

Third Step Prayer short version

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 The way of life.  May I do Thy will always!

A DOOR KNOB IS NOT A POWER GREATER THAN YOURSELF THEREFORE IT IS NOT A “HIGHER POWER”

We want to choose a god deserving of our faith not an inanimate object that has less power than the man who installed it into the door.  Why not seek God with our heart in prayer?  Seek and we will find.  Could it be our resentment, pain, and hurt is much too deep to even consider seeking a god whom we feel is the reason we have suffered?   Or is our desire to control all things too strong in us to risk relinquishing control?   Our pain and consequences of active addiction must be more intense than our fear of the unknown and giving up control.  

In Narcotics Anonymous it has been said many times and is a popular belief that we may conjure up and name our own Higher Power.  Also members have said, if we want to use a door knob as a HP we can.   They say a door knob will work just as good as if we had one of the well-documented HP’s.  Perhaps the “Doorknob” is the official-unofficial HP of N.A.  But again, a doorknob is not a power greater than any human.

Many people in N.A. have major prejudices against organized religion. It is understandable that if we expect any group of people to be spiritually perfect or to adhere to all that their religion teaches we will automatically consider them hypocrites and not worthy of our respect when they falter, sin, or make a mistake contrary to their perspective rules of thumb. These preconceived type-sets that run deep in the neuron-pathways of our brain will have to be set aside or we won’t find a sponsor that we feel is fit to be our guide. All addicts have character flaws and do all religious people.

The first mention of “God” in the 12 steps of A.A. is in Step Two.  “We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity”.  When I did step two I believed that my HP “could” restore me to sanity.  However I wasn’t so sure that IT would restore me (if I had ever been sane).  

My own HP is The Father that Jesus spoke of in the days of old.  My other HP is Jesus Himself.  If this pisses you off be sure to put your prejudice on your step four (I did).  Your feelings of resentment are there for a valid reason no doubt.  You were probably wronged by religious people.  However the steps are about releasing the baggage that deep hurt and resentments cause in our heart and soul.  

Anyway personally I also believe there are many other HP’s which could actually be used as a person’s main recovery HP.  And that any of these god’s have the power available to them to keep a person sober when they learn to rely on them.  Christian doctrine would call my beliefs sacrilegious but, oh well.    I didn’t make-up my beliefs concerning Gods.  I learned to seek God and meditated for many years.  I believe that “The Most High God” and creator gave power to many other beings we can call gods.  Gods such as The Moon Goddess, The God of The Sun, and many more to choose from.

Wikipedia 1,000 Higher Powers to choose from

HOW TO TRULY FIND AND CONNECT WITH YOUR OWN HIGHER POWER

In this article I explain how to really find YOUR higher power by seeking with your heart.  There will be no doubts when God reveals itself to you.  https://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/vengeance-is-mine-sayeth-the-lord/

30 Famous Actors and Actresses Who Have Battled Drug Addiction and Alcoholism

Who says sobriety’s not fun?  (two Cougars and a Tigris!)PTDC0010

From Drugabuse.com

1. Drew Barrymore

Former child star Drew Barrymore’s drug abuse in her teenage years found her controversial fame, including two trips to rehab that motivated her to get back on track with her career.

2. Mary-Kate Olsen

Mary-Kate Olsen“Full House” actress Mary-Kate Olsen suffered with anorexia and a related cocaine addiction that led her to rehab. The Olsen twins have since designed a $55,000 pill-covered handbag.

3. Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay LohanOnce the adorable child star in the original film, The Parent Trap, Lindsay Lohan has since lost control of her life, including cocaine and alcohol abuse, DUI arrests, jail time and multiple stints in rehab.

4. Tila Tequila

tila-tequila2Bisexual reality dating star Tila Tequila is known for her publicity stunts and drug use.

5. Mischa Barton

Mischa Barton“The O.C.” star Mischa Barton has gotten more press for drug use than for acting. Her DUI and marijuana possession have kept her in the spotlight.

 

SEE THE OF THE ARTICLE HERE/FAMOUS PEOPLE’S STRUGGLE & PICTURES AT DRUG ABUSE . COM

“Bring Me the Horizon’s” Oli Sykes Interviews and Video

OLI SYKES: “Bollocks” to addiction’s, political correctness
Click here to SKIP COMMENTARY
I will be candid.  I never heard of this guy or his band “Bring me the Horizon’s”until today however, I like the way he thinks.  And what this title means (Bollocks) in England’s terminology is basically; “Screw addiction’s political correctness”

YES!  A man after my own heart.  He does not see addiction as a disease…for him anyway.  And even better he calls for a  “celebration of depression.”  He isn’t saying that depression is great and we should all band together and pray for more of it.  No, rather he is saying feel your feelings rather than trying to chronically fend them off and repress.  We need no longer fear our feelings but rather let them flow through us.  To do that we must accept them.  I can relate!  This theory is the foundation of healing.  Maybe that is why he doesn’t see addiction as a disease because he realizes YOU CAN HEAL AND MOVE ON.

Picture this, a large Martini glass 6ft tall, green olive, plastic sword, and lots of Vodka and Vermouth.  On the rim is me in a pink tutu, doing a balancing act.   A long balancing pole and 12 meetings a week are the only thing preventing my decent into the poignant liquid by which I would get an instant intoxication followed by a 12 hour ride to the same place I left on my sobriety date ten years ago.   SCREW THE DISEASE CONCEPT sorry folks I am not buying that pig to market.  Granted, disease is a safe concept for the first oh___say 6 or 7 years of healing but after that…if I still need 4 meetings a week then I have not learned to live the program of 12 steps and have barked I mean balked at outside help.  Please allow yourself to cry all the tears you stuffed down all those years of addiction.  Yes I am saying crying for two or three years pretty regularly, share, journal, make a God box  basically allow yourself some emotional diarrhea to heal.  Your heart is not a tough girl.

Oliver Sykes

The Interview on Video SEE HERE from APTV’s Ryan J. Downey

Musician Oli Sykes speaks about his critics- “They want you to say what’s in line with what their experience is like.  They say like, “How dare you say drug addiction is not a disease.”  I am telling you, it’s NOT, that’s what I think.  Addiction is not a disease!”  says Oli Sykes, perturbed that people are offended by his own experience.  He shared how he overcame his addiction to drugs and some people were offended because he believes addiction is NOT a disease.

Band “Bring Me the Horizon’s” Oli Sykes on Depression and Inspiration from Louis C.K.

Oliver says; “People have become so scared just to be alone with their feelings and their thoughts. And I realized that, for me, a massive part in sorting myself out was accepting what I’m feeling and just sort of letting myself experience it.  the whole album’s about the celebration of depression—not saying, ‘Yeah, it’s a good thing to be depressed,’ but that it’s better to accept depression rather than trying to block out the darkness. It’s about accepting it, accepting who you are, and accepting what life is.”

A Non-Theists View of AA

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE ARTICLE “The God of Coincidence.” TAKEN FROM AAagnostica website

According to the AAagnostica website most AAs believe in “a god of coincidence”  because God reveals It’s power in what seem to be coincidences yet AAs believe there are no coincidences.  Therefore when things happen just the way they are supposed to apparently God is working in our lives.

Tom P writes:       “The dominant AA creed I have found in meetings and in the Grapevine is that there is a God who is always with us, watching us, and He sometimes arranges coincidences that have good outcomes, or, if something bad happens, He allows it to happen in order to teach us important lessons, or because it leads to personal growth. ”          Yet, it seems that if members’ wish to belong to the AA club they adopt the dominant AA creed of the “God of Coincidence.” How else can you explain that otherwise intelligent and savvy people would discount the obvious explanation that coincidences are inevitable, and positive coincidences are more likely for those who are drug-free, grateful, willing, and working to overcome their selfishness. Just as members of a church accept the sect’s religious teachings in order to belong, and show this acceptance by professing their faith, members of AA seem to look for positive happenstances in their lives, and attribute them to God in order to (unconsciously of course) cement their feeling that they truly belong with AA      

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Member and Author Tom P calls himself a “non-theist” What is a non-theist?

Theist: God exists.
Nontheist: Prove it.

Seems that the Atheists just want to fit in and be a part of.  But the word “God” in the steps is eating their lunch.  And so they are fighting to start a group or a ‘sect’ of AA that isn’t rittled with mentions of God and The Higher Power.

One quote from AAagnostica site is this the  Definition of “Religion”:  “The biggest lie in human history. It has been responsible for more deaths in more wars than any.”

Tom P also wrote:

“Yet, we also want people to discover and embrace their true selves, and for some of us adopting the God of Coincidence, or labeling anything as a “Higher Power,”would be a self-betrayal. I love AA, it saved my life, and I have no Higher Power.”

Tom P. is a physician who spent twenty years working in mental health. Tom sees no evidence that the universe cares whether the Earth or us homo sapiens are here or not, but he also thinks that AA demonstrates the great good humanity can do when we hold hands, unite and take some responsibility for one another.

Tom also says:

“I wish I did not have to talk-around the Higher Power issue when I am sharing in meetings, to hide a part of myself. But then again, it has not been too hard for me to do. I have had a lifetime of practice.”

From the author:

Thanks to everybody for your positive comments. While I go to AA meetings, I actually feel more at home
and nurtured in Al-Anon. Among other things, there is less crosstalk, less fundamentalism, and a better
adherence to the principle of “take what
you want and leave the rest.” I don’t know if it will work for you, but it works for me.

I admit it still stings a little whenever the God issue comes up in meetings.   I have as much a need to belong as anybody does. One has to be careful, as some AAs will prompt you to just ignore feelings like this. Thankfully, I also have Adult Children of Alcoholics, where I can accept my feelings whatever they are, and get to know my true self.

TP

Comment Next comment Chris G on September 27, 2015 at 4:11 pm said: Mostly there is some parroting of “My HP guides me…” and so on, but I don’t engage.

READ ORIGINAL ARTICLE ‘THE GOD OF COINCIDENCE”

Restless, Irritable, and Discontent

It’s Normal and Common To be Sad In Recovery For No Apparent Reason

Well the common consensus in AA is if your not happy, joyous, and free then it’s your own fault.  Your obviously not working the program right or you would be ecstatic with joy at least most of the time, right?  On the contrary,  many of us are so desperate to allow some of our long repressed grief to escape that we will latch-on to any sorrowful event no matter how far removed from us it really is, just to have something “valid” in the eyes of our fellows to grieve about. Please I need to let out some of this repressed emotional pain!

Someone dies in the program and we don’t even know them much more than a distant hello, but it’s an opportunity for a “valid” expression of grief so we grab onto it with the rest of our home-group who barely knew the guy.  Hey, maybe some of the people really are sad the fellow died…but I kinda doubt it.

WE DO NOT NEED A REASON TO LET OUT OUR PAIN. THERE DOES NOT HAVE TO BE A DEATH OR LOSS FOR US TO FEEL INTENSE EMOTIONAL HURT.  THE ONLY “VALID REASON” WE NEED TO EXPRESS PAIN IS, THERE ARE MANY THINGS WHILE  IN OUR ADDICTION WE SHOULD HAVE CRIED ABOUT AND DIDN’T.  THAT REPRESSED PAIN DOES NOT GO AWAY, IT NEEDS TO BE LET-OUT.  AND IF WE IDENTIFY THE CORE SOURCE OF OUR PAIN DURING THE VENTING AND EXPRESSION, THEN ALL THE BETTER FOR OUR HEALING.

In this human life there are many things to grieve over.  Sickness, disease, loneliness, emotional disorder, loss.  Please be kind to yourself.  If your heart is screaming to cry, we must not turn it to anger and criticism it does not get released or healed that way.    Rather, we have the steps to help us to be restored to emotional balance and peace of mind.

Quality emotional sobriety has many faces and sadness for no apparent reason is one of them.  Your not in recovery if you don’t feel hurt and sad or scared for no apparent reason.    Most of the people telling us we are supposed to be happy all of the time have no idea what emotional balance really looks or feels like.  Crying is a healthy emotion.  Grieving is a healthy emotion and there does not have to be a death for us to feel real grief.  Especially in recovery because many of us didn’t grieve or feel our pain while in addiction.  We stuffed it down and now that we are sober it is surfacing.  We may need to grieve when there is seemingly nothing going on except the fact that we are recovering from an emotional trauma. 

I am validating you now.  It’s OK to grieve when no one has died.  It’s OK to cry when we see no apparent reason.  We should honor our feelings.  Honor our heart when it talks to us.  We do not let our feelings rule over us or paralyze us.  but neither do we continue to ignore, deny, invalidate our own hearts cry.

HOW DO WE GRIEVE?

Healthy grieving will prevent morbid reflection because it gets the pain out.  Morbid reflection is when the negative tape won’t stop playing in our head.  Doing a fourth step on recurring memories works fabulously as does revisiting our Step 3.  “That’s right, God has my back and I am forgiven”.

To grieve, we cry, we write, we share our feelings with someone who WON’T SHUT US DOWN OR INVALIDATE OUR PAIN.  We grieve to the emphatic person who understands and won’t call our grieving a character defect like self-pity. A good cry can release many relaxing endorphin and the vital chemical dopamine.  A good cry can put our brain chemicals back on track.

Our Brain Will Heal

Don’t believe for a minute that your brain can’t be healed and create it’s own endorphin and dopamine.  I have read and heard it said but my experience is that feel good chemicals can go into over-drive in recovery.  Cut down on your smoking for a day or two and then see what happens when you do have say 4 cigarettes a day.  OMG!  Not to mention sex and orgasms are always best in early recovery from my experience.

If you don’t get the 2016 red Ford Mustang that you wanted and are throwing a hissy fit over it, well that would be self-pity.  but if you are feeling deep emotional pain and sorrow yet nothing is going on then write.  The core issues will surface.  Often when an emotional trauma from the past is surfacing we will have a recurring memory attached to the pain.  Normally we cast the thought aside but we should explore the thought instead.  Recurring memories are signalling us to do some work in that area of our past.  Were we wronged?  If it’s a memory from our childhood we should picture ourselves as a child, not as an adult who says “get over it!”  When we picture ourselves as a child then we have more understanding toward our feelings and what we may have gone through at a young age.  Then we can allow ourselves to cry over it.  We were harmed.  We were neglected emotionally.  Our parents most likely had no idea how to emotionally nurture us.  It doesn’t mean they didn’t love us dearly.

We can’t heal while we stay in defensive mode

PLEASE, THERE IS A REASON WE HAVE BEEN TRYING TO NUMB OUR FEELINGS FOR YEARS ON END.  IT DOESN’T MEAN WE ARE BAD OR OUR PARENTS ARE BAD.

If we stay defensive of everything and every one we will never get to our core issues because we will be too busy trying to shoot down any semblance of guilt in us or the adults who raised us.  We cannot see clearly when we are too busy holding walls up around us which are blocking our view of truth.  Truth is our healer.  Truth is our friend.  Unlike our past, in recovery the lie becomes the enemy and truth becomes our protector.  The lie doesn’t protect us it harms us.  Character defects do not protect us from others but rather they shut out Love and Truth which are the magic gifts of recovery.  Truth and Love are spiritual gifts, they are magic.

I used to think that character defects hurt others.  That if I engaged in them it would hurt other people.  But character flaws hurt me first and foremost.

Please self-pity is not the same as valid emotion.  Self-pity is pouting over not getting our way.  I know it is so similar to authentic pain of loss that many AA’s really don’t know the difference.  But if you do the journalling you will quickly find out what is really going on with your heart.  Many times the pen is like magic.  It reveals our reasons for grief and sadness.

Lastly

Being afraid is part of the human condition and that’s why there is a “fear list” (Which most members don’t even include in their fourth step) included in the fourth step, and don’t forget your sexual inventory.  Please don’t believe the steps are only done one time and then the work is over.  A fourth step should be done every time we get a taste of misery, deep emotional pain and resentment.  AA is strong in dealing with our own faults and wrongs.  But many of us have suffered whether at the hand of a loving or a cruel adult.  So if we have no resentment attached to our pain then we write down the even, what happened, and how it made us feel.  We can use an empty chair and imagine our assailant or abuser is in that chair.  Then we tell them how they made us feel.  We can write them a letter that we need not send.  But the letter will relieve us of boxed in feelings toward the person.

After all…its hard for me to imagine a child with a healthy emotional rearing to resort to self-destruction and self-hate and loathing because of their wonderful childhood.  If you don’t know the ‘why’ you became an addict you are missing a large part of what recovery is.

Many times a simple look at our family tree will answer many questions for us.

The question “why” is the beginning of knowledge and knowledge is the primary tool linking us to wisdom.

 

The Four Stages of Early Sobriety

From “The Adventures of Sober Senorita”

 

JOIN IN THE SOBER FUN LADIES!

This is not a “Recovery Farmhouse” original article.  But it’s a very interesting topic for recovery.  Pretty sure you can find the writer’s name somewhere at the link of the sober senority. https://sobersenorita.com/2015/08/20/the-4-stages-of-early-sobriety/

Lately I’ve been receiving a ton of messages and emails from my readers about early sobriety. I realize that many of us contemplate sobriety for months, or even years, before we decide to take the leap and make a change. Before we do, we want to know exactly what it’s going to be like and what’s going to happen when we get sober. I’m sure that’s why a lot of you read my blog in the first place. You want to know – is getting sober possible? Is it enjoyable? What is everyday life going to be like? Well, to briefly answer those questions, early sobriety is different from years of sobriety, as I am quickly learning at 2 years and 3.5 months sober. I think early sobriety can easily be broken down into 4 realistic stages which I will detail for you below…….READ MORE

Trust in God – Sharon’s Story about Crystal Meth Addiction Recovery

More from http://mormonchannel.org/12steps
http://www.mormonchannel.org/12steps   This is the link to all 12 of the videos that the Mormon channel has recently put out.  They are getting allot of attention in the press.  Apparently they are very down to earth real stories of real people, their bottom and their recovery from all different kinds of addiction.

Here’s the link to the really good and helpful video. FOOD FOR THOUGHT AA EMOTIONAL SOBRIETY TOM P

__________________________________________________________

We must never give up hope.  In all things give thanks.  I have been ungrateful for the things I have.  For that I repent, where does that get me other than anger and resentment.  And so once again I accept that God is in charge and I trust, trust, trust, that He, She, It, has my best interests at heart.

WHY PEOPLE RUN FROM A.A.

        

AA IS A PROGRAM OF ATTRACTION RATHER THAN PROMOTION

IF WE WANT TO STAY SOBER WE MUST BE WILLING TO BECOME TEACHABLE

Why would people who need help so badly run from the very program that has helped so many with the same malady? Without the ingredient of ‘desperation’ the alcoholic addict will try anything except giving up and signing over power to a sponsor and A.A.
What would keep me from being teachable?
1. FALSE PRIDE AND SHAME-, False pride tells me that if I don’t know literally EVERYTHING then I am stupid, wrong, and bad. False pride says that only the most brilliant people are qualified to teach me anything. Working the steps and getting a sponsor curtails the lies my psyche is telling me to keep me sick.
2. . TRUST ISSUES Clearly I can’t get a sponsor because everyone is out to get me. The world revolves around my belly button therefore the world wants to know my fifth step and if I get a sponsor, he will sell tickets to the opening night show. “Mickey’s Fifth Step on Parade”. Yikes! However, realize this; there are only so many deadly sins. Seven to be exact. Most people’s step five are pretty much the same…boring sex, wrath, thieving, and the like.
3. FEAR OF COMMITMENT Omg! In my past addiction I made so many appointments that I could not keep. I am now gun-shy of commitment. I use words like ‘maybe’, ‘probably’, ‘most likely’ but never ‘yes I will be there’. Commitment is hard for me because of my past failures to keep them. The good news is now I am so desperate to get sober that I WILL KEEP MY APPOINTMENTS WITH MY SPONSOR NO MATTER WHAT. In addition, by doing that I am walking through the fear and building my self-worth. I am working the good principles and that magically feeds recovery to my soul.
4. FEAR OF BEING CONTROLLED BY OTHERS I used to hand over power to my partners to make them feel good so I could get what I wanted from them. After they made my choices for me (so I would not have to fear the outcome), they would put me on a time clock. Where are you going? What time will you be back? Whom are you going with? etc., etc. After a while, I would snatch back the power I had turned over. My codependent dance partner would then suffer from intense anger and lash out at me as if I had done something terrible. Won’t a sponsor do the same thing? Won’t the same sick dance take place? Fortunately not. Sponsors know we only suggest, we do not control our sponcees. We suggest to them what worked for us. It is my choice whether I do what is suggested therefore I reap the good consequences of my new actions.
5. ‘FEAR OF RELIGION’ . Religion told me that I am bad and going to Hell. I believed it. I was young and innocent yet they told me of a place of suffering and despair. Moreover, since I was bad, spilled my milk, and made an F on my report card they said I would surely be sent to the lowest pit in the underground skyscraper called “Hell”. I cannot bear to be terrorized by religious views anymore. AA must not be religious, we are a spiritual program. Step 11 proves that we are a spiritual not religious program of choice. There is no Hell in our Big Book.
6. THE FEELING I AM GOING TO LOSE SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT TO ME. My addict is scared to death of not having the drugs that worked to suppress my fears and emotional pain for so long. NOW MY DOPE HAS STOPPED WORKING. I have hit a brick wall. I drank and drugged repeatedly so many times I nearly killed myself. Therefore, I walk through the fear and distrust. I muddle though the past betrayal, I walk in the rooms, shrouded in shame and I say with all my heart; I am Mickey and I want to change, I can’t go on like I am, please show and teach me how to recover.

     HERE ARE THE NINTH STEP PROMISES THAT DO COME TRUE WHEN WE WORK THE STEPS HONESTLY AND THOROUGHLY   

   THE NINTH STEP PROMISES

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through.  We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.  We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.  We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.  No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.  That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.  We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.  Self-seeking will slip away.  Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change.  Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.  We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.  We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

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

 

Read a similar article by Martha Lockie)

12 Steps and (the right) Therapy Go Hand In Hand

Thank God for AA and Empathic Therapy

“We are convinced that a spiritual mode of living is a most powerful health restorative. …But this does not mean that we disregard human health measures. … though God has wrought miracles among us, we should never belittle a good doctor or psychiatrist. Their services are indispensable in treating a newcomer and in following his case afterward.” [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, p. 133]

HAVING WRITTEN THAT…..

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Me and a group of recovering addicts/alcoholics had the opportunity to participate in group therapy from a brilliant ground-breaking therapist and writer in the field of “Trauma and Recovery”.   Randall Mayrovitz is employed at Meridian Healthcare, Bridgehouse Rehabilitation Center.  The  therapy took place in 2006, our little group of women are still to this day sober and very much emotionally healed.  And thanks to the 12 step program spiritually fed.  Our commonality besides addiction is we women had suffered from abuse and neglect, of different types and different extents.

Please, we all love AA and still go on the most part.  We believe deeply in the working of the steps.  However, each of us women believe in our heart of hearts that without learning what Randy taught us in group, we would not have made it.  The pain was much too deep to be healed by looking only at “our part” in matters.

Learning our own patterns of dysfunction was a large part of recovery.  But do we shut down the tears of a five year old who is black and blue from the fist of a parent?   Do we send him off with an assignment to write down his part in the abuse?  An abused child now an adult does not grown out of needing comfort, care, and an understanding and loving hand to say,  “I feel your pain, its safe to cry.”   An abused child suffers and until that child is taught a way to heal they will be sick and continue to suffer.  Outside issue you say?  Well in some ways yes.  But also for us it is the issue.  Causes and conditions, the reason we (not all) drank and drugged was to bury feelings we could not bear.  Addiction is a shame based malady with fear at the helm and anger spewing from the rudder.  If addiction were or is solely a spiritual malady then we must all have a demon dwelling in us.  For us spirituality is the remedy but the sickness is very much emotional coupled with a lack of spirituality.  In my opinion.

Randall

EMPATHIC RECOVERY STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

We come together as survivors of painful life experience seeking a place to heal our wounds.  We’ve reached a point in our recovery where interventions aimed at symptomatic relief no longer satisfy us.  We recognize the revolving door of symptom substitution and feel the weight of something deeper.

While our symptoms and circumstances may vary, the end product of our trauma is the same: frozen feelings bottled inside because it was too unsafe to feel.  It was our natural inborn impulse to express these feelings in order to heal and grow.  Their suppression has created a powerful negative energy, driving us to emotional, physical, and spiritual illness and destructive behaviors.

Through each other’s empathic support and understanding, we hope to be able to restore our life flow, the inner force that guides us toward vitality and well being, compelling us to feel our darkest pain in order to recapture our deepest pleasure.  In so doing, we will slowly render unhealthy coping mechanisms useless, giving expression to old and new feelings and healing our wounds one piece at a time.

I will be publishing more from the Empathic Healing Workbooks that we were given at Bridgehouse

The Healing Journey

Embracing The Storm

Empathic Relashionships

“Moving” by Author Nancy Carr

“Moving” by Author Nancy Carr

 

Since I got sober in 2004 I’ve moved 12 times.  Prior to getting sober I had moved over 20 times.  You’d think after you get sober, you stick around for a while as your life isn’t bat shit crazy anymore.  One of the many gifts when you get sober is that you aren’t shoving everything you own into heavy duty garbage bags, tossing out furniture because you’re too lazy to deal with it and leaving a messy dirty apartment in your wake.  I’d like to think that I became a much more organized and methodical mover after I got sober, but no – not really.  I tend to de-clutter more, but now I have more clutter; more books (about recovery), more boxes of step work and journals, and many more tres important spiritual healing things that I must cling to.  Besides the new spiritual library, there are now God Boxes, Coin boxes, AA scrapbooks and boxes of saved “Sobriety Birthday” cards.  I have, however, become much more strategic about my moves as I’m not skipping out on roommates or leases anymore.  I’m a bit more accountable to myself and others now.   My moves actually mean something, they have purpose.  The early sober ones were for nicer and bigger apartments; apartments that had an Ocean view, closer to the local Clubhouse and affordable as my piggy bank had savings since I wasn’t spending all my money on drugs and booze. I was now a real grown up.  Yay for me!

My 4th move in sobriety was the big one.  The cross-country I need to go back to Philly and move in with my sick Mother, find a real job and become reacquainted with the snowy winter wonderland move.  It had been 10 years and I needed to do the right thing.  I needed to be that sober daughter to my mother and siblings and establish a life back home again.  If I wasn’t sober, I’m sure I wouldn’t have left San Diego, as my selfish self would have had a zillion excuses not to move back. So, I sold all my furniture, packed up my Acura sedan and carved out just enough space in the back for Lucy to curl up and slobber out the window with her ears flowing in the wind.  I cried from Encinitas until I reached the Arizona border.   I then heard Elton John on the radio, “Philadelphia Freedom”.  I got it.  Ok.

Lucy and I drove for 5 days taking the southern route and within days of our arrival the Snowmaggedon blizzards of 2010 took over and within 4 days there was over 60 inches of snow.  What had I done? Reality set in and there was no more walking over to Swami’s beach for my evening meditations.  My main respite was that Lucy loved the snow and she could run around all day in it.  I was miserable, broke, cold, and not connected in local AA.  I was homesick for my San Diego scene.  The day after we arrived though I ran to the local clubhouse and did what my San Diego peeps told me to do.  I shared about where I was and how I had just moved home and that I was living with my sick mother.  I didn’t have a job nor was I happy to be home.  The thought of a drink sounded pretty good.  I hadn’t been to a meeting in over a week and my grim reality was setting in.  After the meeting women ran over to me like I was a newcomer and gave me their numbers, told me which meetings to check out and told me to keep coming back.  I was almost 6 years sober and I felt like a newcomer, except I wasn’t in an alcoholic fog, I wasn’t crying or hung over and I wasn’t as vulnerable.  I had some time. I knew the deal.  I felt raw and green.  I spent 3 years in Philly and immersed myself into the Malvern Center Fellowship – I made women friends, I got a sponsor – I reconnected with old friends (who were now sober) and I met my now husband.  Mission Accomplished!  We left Malvern in 2013 and spent a year in Baltimore before moving to the Sunshine State.

 

Our move to Florida was fueled by the we are so done with Winter.  It was my 11th move in sobriety, my 4th move to a new Fellowship.  This move was no different than the other moves, so I had to put myself out there again and tell the Fellowship what was going on with me and open up again to someone new. I was able to get a new sponsor pretty early on and she was exactly what I needed. God put her in my life for a reason and I felt like I knew her for years.  I could tell her anything and everything and not feel judged. She got me and I got her.  That’s how this deal works; you have to keep coming back and realize that it works if you work it.

2015 International Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. has not approved, endorsed, or reviewed this website, nor is it affiliated with it, and the ability to link to A.A.’s site does not imply otherwise.

2015 International Convention
of Alcoholics Anonymous
July 2-5, 2015 – Atlanta, Georgia
The 2015 International Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous will be held July 2 – 5, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia with the theme “80 Years – Happy, Joyous and Free.” A.A. members and guests from around the world will celebrate A.A.’s 80th year with Big Meetings held Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday morning in the Georgia Dome. Other meetings, scheduled or informal, will take place throughout the weekend in the Georgia World Congress Center and local hotels.
Registration will be available on site at the Georgia World Congress Center.
We know you are excited about the 2015 International Convention and eager for information

http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/2015-international-convention-of-alcoholics-anonymous

 

BECOME A DRUG ABUSE COUNSELOR, FIND OUT HOW AT THIS LINK.  http://collegedirectory.org/lp75/index.aspx?ct2=123&source=942859&cid=4281&source3=substanceabuse123lp75&source2=newbetests820&path=ap

 

 

 

 

http://collegedirectory.org/lp75/index.aspx?ct2=123&source=942859&cid=4281&source3=substanceabuse123lp75&source2=newbetests820&path=ap

Jesus is the Cure

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life!”

 

Read “THE DREADED SIN OF FORNICATION” by Laura Edgar

This is one chapter from the book “Paradise for the Hellbound”  Read the first 4 chapters free here.      http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/paradise-hellbound-laura-edgar/             But first read

“THE DREADED SIN OF FORNICATION”

FACING MARRIAGE OR THE DREADED SIN OF FORNICATION

I was delivered by God from heroin and cocaine addiction by receiving prayer in a little Baptist Church from five or so parishioners including the preacher.  At that time my life changed dramatically and so I was born of Spirit or born-again as the expression goes.

Not terribly long after my born again experience which by the way included; water baptism, baptism of the Holy Spirit and I’m sure the baptism of fire (Luke 3:16).  (All the Christian credentials).  I met another Christian I liked very much that was quite an attraction for me.  I was single, young, impressionable, and very much desired to live by the rules.  We dated for a short time.  I believed in sexual abstinence before marriage because that’s how I understood the rule in the Bible.  I believed God wanted me celibate and had gone a year with no romantic relationships (a very strange concept to most people I think).  However I had such strong passionate desire for this man I felt I had better marry him before I commit the dreaded sin of fornicationAfter all God had saved me from drugs and alcohol.  I didn’t realize it at the time but I felt obligated as if now I owed God my obedience.   I felt as if there were strings attached to my deliverance I did not have a pure understanding of God’s grace and Love. I was viewing a spiritual even from a carnal and earthly standpoint

 

I was totally frustrated with abstaining from sex.  Between my unreasonable fear of God and my raging hormones I was about to make a huge mistake.  My solution for my overwhelming frustration and fear was to get married and so I did.  Not long after our union my young and handsome husband began popping Xanax and drinking in excess.  He stopped working and became very much an obnoxious drunk.

 

I have learned the doctrine of marriage from attending various Christian churches.  Some teach that I should have actually submitted to my husband and stay married.  I was attending Narcotics Anonymous and still newly sober.  Some churches will callously dis-fellowship or excommunicate a woman by disciplinary council for divorcing her husband under any circumstances.  Biblical teachings on this subject can be misunderstood resulting in oppressive beliefs and doctrines.  Some church members said I should have persistently prayed for my will to happen in my husband’s life meaning, for God to change him into what I want him to be and now!  I could have wasted away praying for his transformation all the while living a life of servitude to a drunk.   I would have been mourning and grieving daily about my husband.  Me miraculously set free only to put myself back into bondage to an unfulfilled unreasonable expectation.

I recognize my readers may not agree with all I am writing.  Christian divorce is a very sticky subject.  As the preachers declare, “Sin to one may not be sin to another” I have found this to be true.

I married so I could Biblically and lawfully have sexual relations against the advice of my spiritual teachers.  I married hastily not knowing the man well enough or long enough.  Most people are on their best behavior when courting for the first 90 days.

Marriage is many good things but it is confined by intention when thought of as only a solution to sexuality.  I quickly divorced Slim.  I had not considered his well-being when I married him.  I had ignored the glaring red flags I saw in my soon to be husband so I could get what I wanted.  The union was based on selfishness.  I broke the marriage vow and regretted the entire incident.

 

 

Should I have stayed in the marriage and sinned by self-induced oppression?  Or should I have sinned by divorce and breaking a marriage vow?  I deduced that I should not, by God live in my sinful mistake the rest of my life.  The worse sin would have been rejecting my freedom to Love by staying with a man in a graceless institution by my immature ignorance of the higher law of Love.

 

Mathew 5:32

“But I say unto you whosoever put away his wife saving for the cause of fornication causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever marry her that is divorced commit adultery.”

 

What does this scripture really mean?  It is saying God’s law is higher than man’s law is it not.  Even if the woman in the scripture was legally divorced, she still commits adultery states Jesus.  The Judge signed the divorce decree, put his state seal on it and yet in Gods eye she is still obligated to her first husband.  God’s law prevails.  His law deems the divorce occurred for the wrong reasons, only infidelity it declares will allow such a separation and freedom to unite with another person.

 

My question is this; are your beliefs in traditional marriage so lawfully bound that there is no allowance for grace?  Does forgiveness stop when we consider the laws of marriage?  I do not think that is what Jesus really meant.  Mathew 15:1-9 talks about the scribes and Pharisees who asked Jesus

 

“Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders?”  Jesus answered: “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of tradition”

 

In my ignorance and fear of breaking traditional biblical law, I abandoned and breached the higher law of Love.  I placed my fear of the law first and married with selfish motives in my heart.  The act of sin to one may not be sin to another because of the motives of one’s heart.  Certainly, the act of marriage in of itself is not a sin but I believe it may be a sin depending on our heart.

 

Suppose I help someone because of the kindness of my heart and Love.  Later I help someone again this time I’m doing it because they have something I want and I’m trying to manipulate them into giving it to me, I covet and lie to get what I want.  Two of the same deed one sin, one Love.  Indubitably, a big chocolate cake is not sinful but to the obese man it could be the tool of his self-destructive demise.  In his heart, he lusts for it putting it before God, man and himself.  The cake rules him it is his god.  What about TV do I put it before my family and God?  The same rule applies, what is in my heart?

 

Hebrews 4:12

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of thoughts and intents of the heart.”

 

 

 

Mathew 15:8

“These people draw near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”

 

Mathew 5:8

“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”

Romans 10:10

“For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.”

We have biblically established that what is in our hearts is the bottom line with God unto life and salvation.  Given this knowledge,

I would like to be capable of placing with my hand what goes in and what comes out of my heart thank you!  More self-sufficiency, Please!

Self-sufficiency does not jive with the realm of The Spirit.  Let’s examine the fornication issue a little further.  Suppose on the flip side I meet that special man of God.  A man of God, meaning he lives by the golden rule.  This is the man I have been praying for, the man I want for my life partner.

We make a promise of fidelity to each other and keep it.  We embark on a long loving relationship free of guilt and shame.  We consider each other before ourselves often.

We do not legally marry or vow a vow because we are unsure of what tomorrow may bring and we have both been married before.  Would I be living in sin?  Would I be fornicating?  I think not.  Our motives are pure and within the boundaries of Gods higher law of Love.

Some men asked God this question,

Mathew 22:36-40

“Teacher which is the greatest commandment in the law?  Jesus said to him “You shall

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.

This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it,

Love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments hang all the
Law and the Prophets.”

 

My point liberally spoken as it may be is if the motive in my heart is pure and my actions Loving, traditional do’s and don’ts are not relevant.  Moreover, this child of God is not bound by their meticulous and complicated tuition.  Some may call these traditions religious bondage.  Fornication as I understand it is committing a wrong act done out of twisted immoral motivation, selfish in nature and hurtful to people.  Love cannot fornicate, only God can see my heart and yours.  Setting moral boundaries for me and identifying what is and what is not sin for me is one crucial ingredient of my spiritual maturity.  No one else can decide how I abide in good conscience toward God except me.

 

A proverb written by a friend of mine reads, “Of guilt I can’t relieve you though you’re sorry and I believe you.”  So often, when we go against our own beliefs and convictions (otherwise known as apostasy) we seek justification and approval from others.  These confirmations give us temporary relief from inner guilt but do not cleanse our soul.  Justification distracts us from our guilt and turns it to blame.  Blame being a much easier emotion for our egos to handle.  However, our hearts suffer the loss.  Unchecked guilt usually results in self-hatred and snowballs into various sin.  A little guilt can spin into more wrong action and create a downward spiral toward Hell.

 

Another spiritual succubus is un-forgiveness.  Un-forgiveness also lives in our hearts and minds causing negative action due to negative feelings.  I believe if we could see spiritual entities, these emotions such as guilt, hatred, blame etc. would appear as black clouds going down into the pit of our stomachs (like the graphic illustrations of disease in the movie “The Green Mile”) and if unchecked, fill our bodies to the brim resulting in feelings that are unbearable.  These feelings often spill over in a bad way.  These individual sins should be checked daily and confessed to God and man.

 

The bottom line of my message to you is illustrated here so perfectly in First Corinthians.

 

First Corinthians 6:12-15

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.  Meats for the belly and the belly for meats but God shall destroy both it and them.  Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord and the Lord for the body.”

AMEN

 


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

 

How Do I Know God Really Loves Me?

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/important-disclaimer/

If it don’t apply let it fly…

How Do I Know God Really Loves Me?

The only way for us to know that God Loves us…really know in our heart and soul is for God to show and tell us personally in whatever way we can really believe.  People can tell me all day long that Jesus Loves me but unless Jesus introduces himself to me and shows me that He Loves me I won’t take anyone’s word for it past my own wishful thinking.

The Spiritual Awakening

One of the most common reasons for people to run around telling others “Jesus Loves You” is because they themselves have truly been touched by God and are inspired to share or they have some kind of ulterior motive.    Not all of them are delusional or doing it just for some financial gain.  Many, many people have had spiritual experiences and spiritual awakenings which have changed their lives dramatically for the better.   The question is how can I get a spiritual experience that will show me that God Loves me personally.   And how do I find a Higher Power that will help me to stay sober.  How can I attain the spiritual experience that will heal me both emotionally and physically?  How can I receive a touch from the almighty God that will deliver me from anxiety and panic attacks?

Sound self-centered?  Well we humans are self-centered by nature and that’s one reason why our race has survived.  It’s OK to love ourselves enough to seek out salvation from death and relief from pain.

The 12 Steps

In Step three of AA it is suggested that we attain a higher power and start building a relationship with a God of our understanding.

Step Three

  1. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

There are two things that will stop a person from getting and staying sober.  One is shame in relation to people and two is shame in relation to God.  Shame wants to isolate us, shame wants to always be alone.  Unhealthy emotions were taught and hatched in us addicts at ages one through five the formative years.   Addiction is but a symptom of core emotional issues.  Unhealthy emotions are an inability to process and let out our intense feelings.  We bottle feelings up until they make us sick and we verbally attack the ones we love because of the pain inside of us.

So whats the solution?  Seeking God is the solution.  Because if we seek and continue to seek we will find our own God.  Men no matter how hard they try will never ever be able to connect us with their God.  Believe me they will try and some will pretend that they can connect us to God.  The first ingredient that urges us to seek God is usually desperation.  Usually men have to become desperate before they will seek God by prayer with their whole heart.  We should pray and meditate on a regular basis to find God.

Seek A Higher Power Where Other Humans Have Found God

Be willing to go out into the world to places where people openly praise and worship God.  Go to the alter and confess to God and man those things of which you feel guilt.  Doing a fourth step should include writing down the things we ourselves feel shame and guilt for.   If we don’t write down the things we vehemently want no one to ever know our heart will not be cleansed and our step-work will not be a liberating act of truth.    “The truth will set us free.”

Oh sure we can write most of the stuff down and hide our worst offenses and it will be better than nothing that is for sure.  But to get the kind of relief that promotes a psychic change and relief from anxiety and depression we need to tell it all.  And not just tell but express our feelings emotionally from wrongs we have suffered and wrongs we have done.  We need to do some crying and even some screaming in our car, some beating the bed to find relief.  What I am talking about is crying and screaming over things we should have been allowed to scream and cry over long ago.  Or maybe we didn’t know that crying is a healthy emotion and we stifled our tears on many occasion.  Maybe we were told it’s weak to cry and we are ashamed and apology when we cry.

The 12 Steps

Step four is about resentments right?  Next step Five and Six are about finding “our part” in our list of resentments.  “My part” means, where was I wrong.  When I look at my wrongs I should feel guilty about them if I have the normal human make-up.   We should be uncomfortable confessing our guilt and shame for our confession to give us an emotional relief.  The Catholics have a good thing called a confessional.  Other religions have alter calls where people confess to one another and receive prayer.  In the 12 step program we confess to whoever we choose to listen to our fourth step at least in this part of the country that’s how it is done.

Some AA groups don’t believe in putting guilt and shame on their fourth step.  Either their false pride will not permit it or they have no guilt which would make them sociopath.   Or their guilt is buried so far inside of them it will take an act of God to bring it to the surface.  We should be patient and pray for those who feel they have committed no wrongs.  In the Big Book it says that “some are incapable of being honest with themselves, they are not at fault”.  That doesn’t mean we have to live with a person who abuses us, that would be unhealthy on our part.

Perfectionism

Some times our emotions are so twisted up we feel guilt over things that are not wrong and we don’t feel guilt over horrible things we have done.  If we feel guilt we should express our deep feelings even if people tell us we did not wrong.  The intensity of our feelings  should be our guide to which emotions get shared and processed.  Perfectionism is much like guilt.  When we expect ourselves to be perfect and feel bad about making a mistake that could be ego and pride pushing us to be perfect which is something we will never be.  Beating ourselves up for mistakes and for being human falls under our list of shortcomings.

Beating our own ass for being human is just another form of playing God.  We have no right to condemn us or others apparently our creator wanted us to be imperfect, who are we to argue with that? And at the same time we should work to improve.

Doing the 12 steps is a blueprint for living clean and sober.  It’s also a blueprint for living guilt free.  However Bill and the gang missed the part about learning how to express deep emotional pain.  Guttural sounds and groans are another way to get pain out.  Some emotional pain is too strong for even tears.   In some countries it is not a shame for a man or a woman to express deep emotion there are less suicides there I am sure.  With the blue print of the fourth step we can figure out what it is we are feeling so much pain over. That is if we take our step eleven seriously.

 

 

How To Get Sober

SOBRIETY

I AM LORI E AND I AM A RECOVERING ALCOHOLIC

How To Get Sober

Typically, those who have experienced what they are teaching to others are better teachers than those who have not and are merely teaching out of the book per-say. We in AA don’t use the word “teacher” because there are too many emotional issues attached to the word for addicts.   Sponsors are teachers and we teach our sponsees how to live sober. That’s one of the most important jobs a teacher can have.   If I had not been successful at staying sober for over nine years myself this article would be less authentic.   I came from a life of deep dark heroin, cocaine, methadone,  Xanax, alcohol and nicotine addiction.  This article is heartfelt and I am mustering up some compassion for those still suffering from addiction so I don’t become too far removed from where I have come from.

Simply put…Before I could get sober I had to hit bottom.   My bottom was crack dens and then jail.   But jail was a step up from where I had been.  First step to sobriety was prayer.  I prayed and prayed some more.  I have not stopped.

Then I did almost everything the people in AA and rehab suggested I do.  I did get into a relationship with a guy who had seven years sober at the time.  We are still sober today…but he is a rare find, hence the prayer.  He is a gift straight from God.
90 Meetings in 90 Days is a very important suggestion for many reasons like to establish new sober friendships.  To create new patterns, habits.  To learn the twelve steps and traditions.  To get a sponsor.  To work the 12 steps.  Begin doing Twelve Step work like chairing meetings which builds new new worth.  To build tolerance and patience.  For gratitude to see people worse off than me.  To share my own experience, strength, and hope which adds to my gratitude and self worth by remembering how far I have come.  For accountability which has a big part in keeping me sober in the beginning.  Basically 90 meetings in 90 days resets our brain and jump-starts our recovery.  People newly sober are like sponges.  To a point we absorb recovery sitting in repetitive meetings.

Next I sought God with my heart and at churches. I sought a spiritual connection in places where people seek God.

CONNECT WITH THE WOMEN AND GET THERAPY

Next I did group recovery therapy with other women in rehab and a brilliant psychologist.   Rehab and AA authorities teach newcomers to stay away from romance and relationships for an entire year, including sex.  However if you are a person capable of independently working your own 12 step program and not falling into a codependent life-style which pulls you away from working hard at recovery, then perhaps you won’t trade your sobriety-in for the closeness of a man or woman’s affection as so many newly sober people do.   I promise you no matter how much my partner (a man) was there for me we just were not able to relate to each other at a core level like me and the women relate.

My life-partner gave me excellent suggestions but when it came to the core level emotional processes that needed to take place for me to heal it had to be the women who listened, cared, and empathized in the way I needed.     My soul so badly needed to finally be validated and realize I was not chronically different and I dod not have to be ashamed any more.     I saw myself as a child and realized my own innocence.  I did not have to condemn myself anymore.  My sisters and I are one.   This connection phenomena is crucial to healing.

I disliked women didn’t trust them and thought I was protecting myself by not opening up to them.  I had to let my walls down and tell people that I was afraid. Tell them that I was ashamed.  Me the tough girl is a women who has a heart that wants to be loved and a ‘part-of’. My Higher Power gave me the connections I needed.  I found a safe place with my new women friends.

My boyfriend on the other hand…he makes me laugh.  Laughter is so important when your getting sober.  It releases the feel-good endorphins we all need so badly.

WORK THE 12 STEPS

I worked the 12 step of Alcoholic Anonymous. The first time I did the steps was in rehab and my fourth step was all blame and anger. I was furious at everyone, I hated myself. The second time I did them I wrote a fifty page fourth step on all my resentments, and thing I resented myself for and was ashamed of. I did writing on each one to get my pent up feelings out. Trust me the men will say it’s all wrong to do it that way, well most men. But for us women it’s a life saver. Some people stay in deep denial over their resentments and short comings. While others beat themselves to a pulp over their mistakes. All I know is the truth will set us free but we need to speak that truth to a sponsor. I needed a sponsor that would not shut me down and invalidate my feelings and thoughts. I had that all my life. It was my fifth step therefore all I needed was an empathetic listener so I could get it all out.

“CALL YOU ON YOUR SHIT” SPONSOR

I have heard many times those that need a kick you in the ass sponsor who “calls you on your shit”. If someone is still in deep denial over their-part of event of the past I can see where that could snap a person out of it. You know if that’s the kind of sponsor you need. That does not mean that you are worse than those that need the more mellow empathic sponsors. It just depends on your personality.

My Brain needed washing

If I would have had the call you on your shit sponsor I would have fired her from the get go. I consider certain things disrespectful that others may not. Such as name-calling and spewing out authoritative orders in a public place to show they are inn charge and superior. I am an addict not a dog. Don’t order me around like one. I can’t control the behavior of other people but I can walk away. Respect is the first vital component in a successful relationship. Respect from a sponsor and anyone for that matter is something I have found in sobriety. They say “We teach people how to treat us.” And we should know a person by who they show us they are not by who they tell us they are.” There is no perfect sponsor and we wouldn’t relate to one if there were. But through prayer we can get the sponsor that is perfect for us.

Next more prayer, more meditation and on that note…lots of nature. The ocean, the beach, the springs, the river. Buy a raft and go float. Get lots of sunshine and lots and lots of water. Personally I drank allot of grape juice not sure why but I believe your own body will tell you what it needs. Easy on the coffee at least the impure coffee with additives and fake creamer. Easy on the sugar but fake sugar is worse. Lots more nature. Meditate with crystals. Put one on your forehead, close your eyes and try to concentrate on one sing thought or prayer. After you do that long enough you will clear your mind. This step 11 exerciser with give you patience and insight, it will promote enlightenment.
Lastly Step 12 Service Work

I started chairing meetings at sixty days sober. I took commitments for service work such as bringing meetings into work release. Bringing meetings into the jails and the rehab center. I was hot and heavy into service work for the first five years I was sober. I kinda slacked off since then but still participate just not as much. Service work is where my self-esteem and confidence where molded. The benefits of service are immense. And there is no telling what it has done for my karma.

That’s it in a nutshell. AA builds lives.

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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Step Two of Alcoholics Anonymous

 

Sanity step two and relationships

STEP TWO

Heavenly Father, I know in my heart that only You can restore me to sanity. I humbly ask that You remove all twisted thought and addictive behavior from me this day. Heal my spirit and restore in me a clear mind.

Overcoming Fear the human condition from which all addictions spring

“Let no man condemn himself; for it is by self-condemnation that we set ourselves above God who is our only True & Righteous Judge.  For it is He & He alone who possesses a capacity for the unconditional Grace and Love which mankind’s collective soul so desperately needs to survive the deceptive throngs that encompass death and the grave?”

It is written that the fear of death is the mother of all fears and from it springs all manner of worry, fear, and anxiety and so we engage the great struggle to defeat these feelings. 

We can quickly destroy all our loving relationships due to natural knee-jerk reactions that fend off fear and the feelings that fear creates.  Some deadly knee-jerk solutions are blame, criticisms, hate, playing the victim or the oppressor anything that relates to putting down and condemning others to make ourselves feel better if even just for a short while.  There is no shortage of people to condemn including ourselves.  In the meantime we lose what our hearts really need and crave…to Love and to be Loved, to comfort and to be comforted, to understand and to be understood, to follow our conscience and to live guilt-free.

John 14:27
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

They say that the most common phrase in the Bible is “fear not”.  Some say it is written in the Bible 365 times once for each day of the year.  Staying in faith and trusting in God is easier said than done.  Things happen that strike fear in us, fear of loss, fear of losing control of a situation, fear of sickness and death, fear that people will not like us or will desert and abandon us.  It is said in the rooms of AA that people most commonly have fears associated with these three things.  Sex, Society, and Security.

Firstly we often fear losing our partners, boyfriends, and husbands.  Second we fear losing our “status” in our society of peers.  Thirdly we fear losing our homes, jobs, money, and car.  The feelings that fear produces is at the core of addiction and codependency so we must find solutions to gnawing and torturous feelings.

When we are well grounded in our Higher Power by exercising regular prayer, meditation, meetings, and service work we not only receive fulfillment by that charity but we also have less reason to fear because our faith has been exercised and strengthened by regular communing with God. We must get our [daily bread], our spiritual feeding to continue trusting God and to repel fear.

When we pray and meditate yet find that our lives and minds are still full of discord, animosity, worrying, anxiety, and stress then there is more we can do.

“Out of the problem into the solution!”  We write down our fears in a list, we look it over and realize we lack trust in our Higher Power.  We then courageously ask God to help us to trust Him/Her/It and if our religion requires we repent.  We remember our second step and the insanity that God has delivered us from.  Sometimes the insanity of a second step returns if we are not active with living these steps.  We remember that beating ourselves up is counterproductive and not a solution to anything.  We revisit our Third step and remember that we have put our life and will into Gods caring hands so everything will be ok if we do our part.  Have we done a formal and thorough fourth step if so; do we have any new active resentment?  If so, we do a proper fourth step and ask ourselves what our fear is behind the resentment.  Have we completed our amends by either apologizing or giving back what we have stolen?  We do not gravel or expect any certain reaction from the persons with whom we make amends.  We can’t make them feel better by amends but we will feel better by it no matter their response.  If we still resent anyone we have worked a fourth step on we pray blessings upon them daily until we forget about it and the resentment is gone.

By these steps which include God we learn to Love ourselves and others.  By these steps we replace our old survival skills of blame and all its cohorts with healthy and loving coping skills based in truth, honesty, righteousness, Love and compassion.  We replace character defects with good character.  In this text on a day by day basis I will explain the why’s and how’s of working the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous which can apply to any addiction including the addictions called drama, self-hate, and co-da.

During the first year of my recovery I had the opportunity to be in an addictions therapy group.  During therapy I learned that there is no wrong feeling and that I must believe this in order to accept myself.  For when I label my feelings “wrong” or “bad” I label myself and my own God given heart wrong and bad.  Terms like; “I shouldn’t feel this way” or “but there’s nothing to be afraid of” are no longer in my vocabulary because there is always a valid reason for the way I/we feel.  Even if that reason comes from years prior or is physiological there is always but always a valid reason for the way our hearts feel. 

We are not bad or wrong ever by the way we feel.  Usually if our emotions get “stuck” in us and we hurt and fear seemingly endlessly it is because no one has taught us how to process our feelings.  They certainly didn’t teach it in school even though teaching a healthy emotional process should have been at the top of the curriculum.  Actions and reactions are the only things that can ever be wrong or bad.  I have found solutions to the feelings that I don’t like and have learned that some feelings just take time to walk through and that I need not let them paralyze me anymore.   I have learned that feelings are “right” and appropriate yet sometimes unpleasant such as grieving a death or fear of a situation that’s new and different.  In this book along with the 12 steps I will teach emotional processes to help let go of anger, rage, hurt, disgust, and the rest of the fear based emotions that we feel.  I will share with you what has worked for me during my eight years of recovery from my two devastating bottoms which did include incomprehensible demoralization like the Big Book addresses.

Banning and Censorship in Narcotics Anonymous

“Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly. “~Albert Einstein

There are many emotionally mature people in N.A. AND A.A. this article is not talking about them.  The actual by-the-book program of N.A. AND A.A. are good and do work.

Many Narcotics Anonymous Groups commonly ban and censor the words Alcoholics Anonymous from their groups.  If you say it they will oftentimes kick you out of the group.  If you use the word “sober” instead of the word “clean” they quickly censor your writings and delete your experiences.  Narcotics Anonymous is staunch about not even mentioning A,A. in groups, meetings, or even in the smoking area.

As a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and a student of human behavior I find their censorship quite interesting and ironic at the least.    For certain without A,A. Narcotics Anonymous and all it’s  copycat (from A.A.) Facebook groups  would not exist.  Narcotics Anonymous has adapted the twelve steps and traditions from Alcoholics Anonymous.  Yes they changed a few key words in the N.A. Text but on the most part their text is from the Big Book.  Often leaders of the Facebook N.A. Groups (which notably are not Narcotics Anonymous or approved by them)  become irate if you don’t abide by their changes in your  fashion of conversation or choice of words.  Censorship is nothing short of intense prejudice and a unequivocal denial of their own generational roots.

There are people that attend both programs.  These people have discovered the benefits of both programs.  Most addicts are also alcoholics and most alcoholics are also addicts.

My observation of common addict behavior around these NA Facebook groups has shown me that addicts tend to see things very black and white.   However a more accurate depiction is that some addicts (not all) live in a realm of  limited original thought and high razor wire walls that hover around their thinking and reasoning.  It seems that oftentimes Facebook NA group members believe all things are either good or bad and nothing in between.  Furthermore they don’t believe in neutralities or vaiables.  So that means that if NA is labelled a good program then AA has to be labelled a bad one.  There can only be one road to recovery and it has to be their road.  If a man shares in group that he got sober another way or clean another way and does not need meetings then the N.A member will have to reason out that this person isn’t a real addict in spite of the persons own experience and life events.  The member is stuck in a mindset that is he needs meetings to stay clean then so must every other addict on the face of the earth.

Therapy and therapists are deemed “bad”.  Church and religion are “bad”.            Because if they were deemed good then N.A. would have to be check-marked “bad”.  And if N.A. were bad then the emotionally immature member himself would also be bad because that’s their program, they feel responsible for the whole of NA somehow.  The immature and fearful addict suffers from very low self-worth.

So my theory is that because of a deep dark doubt of the addicts own self worth any different ideals other than their own is interpreted as a direct hit against their beliefs.               Censorship is a desperate act by the fearful and the prejudicially closed-minded.

                   Censorship reflects society’s lack of confidence in itself.  It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.  ~Potter Stewart                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Please give me just one valid reason why there needs to be censorship in Narcotics Anonymous Groups…there is no reason except a desperate thrashing attempt to validate themselves by crushing other peoples expression .  This is sad…no one taught them how to achieve emotional sobriety.

****************************************************************

http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_tradition10.pdf

Tradition Ten is not meant to be a vault that locks out one’s personality and views.

Have you ever sat in an A.A. or N.A. meeting and heard someone quote the Tenth Tradition just because someone had the guts to express an opinion on a contraversial topic?   As if it is wrong to have views , religious stances, political opinions and moral beliefs?

These group members delete and hint of controversy or opinion on deep and interesting topics.  They are sadly operating under the belief system that it’s spiritual and mature to censor all opposing views when they surface between people.

Haven’t they ever been to a AA or NA business meetings which makes our programs tick.  Controversy is the root of political growth and our existence.  Discussions of alternating views is a must among grown ups to move forward.  Stifling all controversy also stifles emotional maturity.  Learning communication skills is a priority in recovery and stating ones’ opinion aids in personal growth.  Hiding from controversy is the right of every man and women however controlling other people’s controversy is just that, immature and vastly controlling.

Do not censor my freedom of speech in the name of emotional maturity and spirituality.  Your maturity is actually an act of playing God.  You have brought your sickness into your recovery program and called it good.  Censorship by any other name is still censorship/

Tradition Ten

“AA has no opinion on outside issues hence the AA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.” 

Have you even been in a private Facebook group where people are discussing matters of interest and someone quotes the Tenth Tradition as if we AAers are not allowed to have or express  an individual opinion in a private group?

What does The Tenth Tradition really mean?  Does it mean that I shouldn’t have an opinion on anything except what shirt to put on?  Does it mean that I cannot agree to disagree with my fellows in a business meeting vote?  Does it mean that I am not allowed to state my opinion in a meeting or a group on Facebook?

PLEASE!  We don’t get sober and do all the 12 step  work  to rebuild our personalities and lives just so we can be opion-less!  Having no opinion on anything is not how AA got formed and built.  The founders had to mull over many choices and argued and got resentments in the process. 

Shrugging away from stating my own personal opinions could be nothing more than fear-based running from responsibilities.

If I am one of the one’s quoting the Tenth tradition in meetings I better read it first so I understand just what I am quoting and what it means.

AA AS A WHOLE HAS NO OPINION ON OUTSIDE, YES OUTSIDE ISSUES! 

Here is a quote from the Tenth Tradition in the Twelve and Twelve.

“Let us reemphasize that this reluctance to fight one another or anybody else is not counted (motives?) as some special virtue which makes us feel superior to other people.  Nor does it mean that the members of alcoholics Anonymous, now restored as citizens of the world, are going to back away from their individual responsibilities to act as they see the right upon issues of our time.  BUT WHEN IT COMES TO AA AS A WHOLE, THAT’S QUITE A DIFFERENT MATTER.  IN THIS RESPECT WE DO NOT ENTER INTO PUBLIC CONTROVERSY, BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT OUR SOCIETY WILL PERISH IF IT DOES.” 

Tradition ten twelve & twelve page 177

Am I saying that we should argue all the time and not “cease fighting”?   No, struggling wears us down and can cause emotional hangovers.  Disrespectful actions will boomerang back at me and hurt me.  However having my own belief system is a healthy stance and a sign of emotional sobriety.  Running from choices could be is a sign of low self-esteem.  What I am saying is that I have an opinion and should express it and even debate it sometimes which has nothing to do with the Tenth Tradition and A.A. as a whole having a public opinion in a political light.

Rarely Have We Seen A Person Fail…

http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbook_chapt5.pdf

“Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.”  Chapter 5 How It Works from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  I remember hearing these words for the first time in an A.A. meeting and thinking to myself, “God I hope that’s true.”  I wanted so badly to get and stay clean and sober.  My life had been torturous.  I had hit a bottom that was so emotionally painful and mentally taxing that I understand completely why people kill themselves.  I also understand why the suicide statistics among sober addicts is very high as well.  Since that first day I have been sober nearly ten years.  I am at peace with myself more so now than in my entire life.  I am so blessed.  I believe that when we make and effort to do the right thing and we work the steps…that God is in our corner.  Everything just clicked for me yet at times I forget how good God has been to me and  I start whine go Him that I want more.  Bottom line, God gives me what I need.  Peace of mind is priceless in my book and between therapy and the 12 steps

There is such a thing as God rolling out the red carpet of sobriety.  I also believe there is suchc a ,v

Sure you would think once someone can get and stay sober there problems are over they will automatically be “happy joyous and free” just like the A.A cliche’ says.  Unfortunately depression, bi-polar disorder, high anxiety, mental illness, and obsessive compulsive disorder are all common among sober alcoholics.

How depressing you say…and it is BUT, the good news is we can adjust to a sober life and we can even overcome high anxiety.  Plus there are medications that help the mental illness if we stay sober and take it regularly.  Instead many addicts go through a phase of thinking they don’t need their bi-polar meds.  And that the meds are having a negative effect on them.

The steps work to help every disorder I mentioned above not just to keeps us sober.  If we can just take a step of faith and get a sponsor, go to 90 meetings in 90 days.  Immerse ourselves in A.A. and connect with the people.  Ask questions and share in meetings.  Find some friendly members and tell them how you feel.  When we are scared we should share that we are scared.  It takes off the emotional load.

We need to have a therapist that will help us learn how to let our emotions flow.  We need to make friends who have let down their walls and are not afraid to be honest about their feelings.  We need to let ourselves cry after all we have been through hell in our addiction.

The Big Book reads that many of us suffer from gave emotional dis

LEAVING AA

WHAT PEOPLE HATE AND LIKE ABOUT A.A.

Truly once a man realizes that he has the power of choice and is responsible for all his decisions and actions he can no longer blame others for his own misery he now knows he alone has the ultimate power which is…TO TURN, WALK AWAY AND NOT LOOK BACK. HE HAS THAT RIGHT.  If he hangs around for abuse that’s on him.

http://www.orange-papers.org/

http://leavingaa.com/why-i-left-aa-stories/#comment-123785

Leaving A.A. is a popular topic on the web.

These two links are to anti-12 step websites.  These are created by disgruntled ex-A.A. and N.A. members.  the Orange Papers site has allot of statistics true and balanced.  The “leaving AA” site is more just a bitch session by people who either have been hurt by people in A.A or they are trying hard to rationalize their own inability to stay sober, you be the judge.  Lord knows I know how guilt can wear on a person struggling to stay sober.  If it keeps them feeling sane without really hurting anyone it’s ok I reckon, let them bitch and criticize with each other.   They have a common bond at least.

I like to give a fair and balanced opinion about anything.  Leave it to alcoholics and addicts to have to label things either all bad or all good.  Addicts are notorious for wanting to put the “bad and wrong” label on anything they can.  (myself included at times)  However lets face it there are not many things in this world that are all bad or all good, in fact it is a rarity.  Even a good thing can be overdone until it becomes bad.  But when it comes to inanimate objects they are not usually bad in and of themselves.  It’s the people that abuse and make inanimate objects bad.

However when it comes to people it is our actions that can be bad or good.  To label a person all bad or all good again will usually be inaccurate.  Granted there are some evil people out there who are bad but they even do some good things now and again right.  But me as a person…well I am neither bad nor good I am just human.  The 12 step programs meaning the 12 steps in their proper form ARE ABSOLUTELY GOOD.   Who could possibly refute that except maybe someone who hates the “Higher Power” concept or resents God.  A person who doesn’t understand the true and good 12 steps could easily call them bad.

From what I have read some people end up with oppressive and controlling sponsors in A.A. I don’t doubt that a bit.  I have been a member of A.A. for ten years…this time.  I have met the sick and controlling people.  I have seen the closed-mindedness, the liars and the sick perverted sex offenders.  But I have also seen and felt the love.  I have experienced the magic.  And I have fallen head over heals in love with AA for a time.  But that white-washed view of AA had to tumble down from its pedestal.  White-washing anything as all good is simply inaccurate.  Pink clouds end but it did serve it’s purpose for me to begin my sober life.

What these sites (above links) comments say about A.A. is probably true on the most part.  But what they are not saying is that they need to label A.A. bad because to them there is no such thing as something being both good and bad.  IT MUST BE ONE OR THE OTHER THEY SCREAM!

So does A.A. really work?  Well it appears that only 5% of newcomers will pick up a 1 year medallion and only 1.17% will pick up a 10 year medallion and 0.15% will pick up a 20 year medallion.  Now that doesn’t mean that there are not allot of people that stay sober due to A.A. yet leave A.A. for one reason or another.    I know some people who have learned the 12 steps and how to live them. They have people in their lives that they confide in and they are close to God… they don’t NEED the meetings when they have the program.  Maybe others no longer need to sit in A.A. meetings absorbing the sick vibes of all those emotionally handicapped people who frankly don’t open up enough in meetings to get better.  And with good reason.   Quite possibly they would get shut down and criticized if they shared their hurts, fears, and worries the way that they should be encouraged to.  Often members mistake the healthy need to vent about hurts and fears or process core issues by labeling that kind of emotional outpouring “character defect” and “self-pity”

If members could express core issues they would heal.  If people would get real in the rooms more often and tell the sick and suffering addict that they understand and have felt that way too then the program would be much more effective.  But instead some members sit like vultures in meetings waiting for someone to criticize.   Emotionally abusive members use the A.A. cliche’s as if they were weapons to stab the un-knowledgeable newcomers with.   Newcomers suffer while some members make it a fault-finding meeting rather than looking for the similarities and relating.

I have often wondered why is it some people want to make people feel better while others exist to make people feel inferior, degraded and wrong.  If I were hurt by an A,A cliche’ that a member wielded at me as a newcomer, would I then wield that same cliche’ later when my self confidence returns?  Wouldn’t I assess that the statement was hurtful to me therefore I would find another way to express a similar thought?  However I do see people using the same tools that hurt them to hurt other people.  It’s not surprising that many people just get tired of A.A.

Granted A.A is the perfect platform for a minister or counselor to catapult his career.  Some groups will allow any member with 30 days sobriety to take meetings into jails and institutions.  These people could have audience to hundreds of people in no time while they share their story and their own interpretation of what the 12 steps are and how to work them.  Right or wrong if they are offering hope to the hopeless it’s good.  Service work is a wonderful thing if it’s done with kindness.  It does not take brash, and mean cliche’s to share the program of A.A.

Why are so many members so defensive when it comes to their 12 step program?  That’s simple besides the fact that AA often produces miraculous results in one’s life, therefore gratitude and vigilant guardianship is common. But also in the addicts ego things are either good or bad (no diversity or grey area) so if someone points out one wrong thing with their A.A it means the entire program is bad, which in turn in the perception of an insecure addict makes themselves bad.  An insecure man with low self-worth is defensive because he feels he needs to be to make himself look better…and if his program looks bad he looks bad.

Feeling we need to defend A.A. is akin to thinking we have to defend God Himself who clearly doesn’t need us for It’s defense, It is the almighty It needs no defending because no one can bring it down.  Both God and A.A.  I think the only one that could truly bring down the 12 steps and their programs would be He who established it to begin with (and I don’t mean Bill W. I mean God Itself, Himself, Herself. (Choose your own descriptive word.)

 

HOW DO I GET CLEAN & SOBER?

If you seek a full recovery from addiction A.A. Works for some people, therapy works for others, and spirituality works for yet others.  Combine all three and you have a chance.

THERAPY

Be sure to choose a therapist who knows how to show empathy not one who just sits there like a bump on a log writing words you can’t see.   I say this because addicts suffer from low self-worth and we already feel like we are being judged. An addict will rarely open up fully to a person unless he feels he will not be judged.  When it comes to therapy for addicts it’s best to have a therapist who has recovered from addiction himself.   And if you can’t find a recovered addiction therapist then group therapy could work because of the feedback and relating.

AA sponsors are there to take you through the 12 steps not to delve into your emotional healing.  The statistics of suicide among recovering addicts is high.  I am basing this on the fact that I know several who have killed themselves while in A.A.  I accredit the suicide rate to the fact that so many recovering addicts don’t get the right therapy.  And they don’t address their true core issues.  The things that we are ashamed of are the things that haunt us.  Past issues live inside us and take on a life of their own.  Past issues make us sick, angry, and trying to fend the pain off causes character defects.

CHURCH

I recommend a Spirit-filled church (holy roller type).  Dry and Spirit-less churches whose members really believe in the gifts of the Spirit don’t have allot of spiritual power.    Make certain that your church at least believes in the power of the blood of Jesus and the laying on of hands for healing and deliverance.   Truly every spiritual experience I have had of high magnitude has been in or around a church where people praise God openly.   Miracles can happen anywhere but it’s more likely to find a miracle at a tent revival than in the bathroom at home.

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

There are many non-addicts in church who will not relate to what your feeling when going through a struggle with addiction.   Non-addicts are not privy to the practical solutions that you will learn at A.A.  By the same token many A.A. people don’t know what a complete deliverance from addiction by a spiritual experience is either.  And really isn’t that what actually took place in Bill Wilson’s life the co-founder and author of The Big Book and most of it’s literature?  That spiritual white light experience of his is what prompted the idea for the 12 steps.  So really why not seek both a miracle and sobriety from working the steps?  Why not use both solutions?

The 12 steps are not therapy they address our shortcomings and the need for confession and repentance. (step 4 & 5) You won’t hear it worded repentance and confession in AA confession is called a fifth step.

Every addicted women I have met WAS SEXUALLY MOLESTED at some point in their child hood and most were repeatedly molested.   Unfortunately the 12 steps don’t and step-work don’t provide a way for  true “victims” to acquire a healing.  If we hold a grudge toward our assailant then the steps do give place to addressing our resentments.  But simply jotting down the event in a one sentence format and then searching for our own guilt in the experience and what we did wrong WILL NOT HELP US HEAL FROM ABUSE.

Maybe that’s where Bill Wilson just missed the boat on his own emotional healing.  There should have been a step that addresses the pain of the true victims of abuse.  “Victims” are real and not some made up psychological crutch or bad habit.  Yes we need to get past being a victim and the idea can be used as a way to control people.  “Oh poor me give me attention that sort of thing.  In AA they call abuse an “outside issue”.  It’s understandable they are not equipped to handle deep emotional trauma issues.  But in my opinion those issues are why people become addicts.  So the 12 steps alone will only be enough if God touches you and heals you.

That’s it bottom line without God the steps won’t work and without giving rebellious addicts a way to seek God that is acceptable to them they will not recover that’s why the church shouldn’t judge AA and AA shouldn’t judge the church but they do and often.

The steps and Big Book do not tell us how to get an emotional healing from abuse.  And even if you don’t remember being abused, or emotionally neglected it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.  Many addicts don’t know what emotional neglect looks or feels like.  They will say they had a fine childhood, “my parents did the best they knew how”.  And they did , except;  why then are we alcoholic?  Emotionally balanced people don’t seek to numb themselves out on a regular basis to the point of self-destruction.  Emotional abuse by a parent can be just as devastating as sexual abuse or violent beatings.   Most addicts subconsciously grow up thinking they are bad and wrong.  Therapy will help us figure out why.  I think if Bill Wilson would have had a better therapist he could have felt free enough to let out some of the feelings that were causing him so much depression.

Bill W.’s depression is well documented. Instead of looking at “our part” on our fourth step concerning  childhood abuse (which by the way, could only be that we held a natural resentment toward our assailant for years and that we are full of false guilt over the event.  We do not grow out of trauma, it will live inside us until we give it a healthy door out.  What we actually need to do is find a way to go back to the events that traumatized us and express the way we feel about it from our hearts core.  Crying, weeping, screaming, moaning, and guttural sounds will do the trick.  But also talking it out with a caring listener who can relate to the pain it caused us.  This can heal us.  In AA they will shut you down quick over expressing past trauma and insist that you forgive or just “get over it!” before you are even able to express your pain.  We usually are unable to forgive until the emotions are properly expressed.  If you get hit in the face you scream ouch then cry! Then you can work on forgiving after the OUCH and tears are out.

JAILS AND INSTITUTIONS

What about rehabilitation centers?
Getting thrown in jail and rehab can be a good thing initially to get sober.  Sometimes we have got to be locked up for the first 90 days or so because otherwise we will not be able to get through the physical withdrawal.  Plus rehab centers teach many things about sobriety.  Having a detox center to help with the withdraw is good.  My theory is get all the help you can!  If your dead from a drug overdose having a house and job won’t do you any  good anyway right?

HOW TO REALLY GET SOBER?

THERE IS NO PERFECT SPONSOR, NO PERFECT REHAB CENTER NO PERFECT DETOX NO PERFECT COUNSELOR, NO PERFECT PROGRAM AND NO PERFECT CHURCH , PREACHER OR THERAPIST.  However, all these imperfect things combined can lead to your imperfect recovery.

A FULL RECOVERY

Yes you can recover.  AA works.  “THESE SICK PEOPLE ARE KEEPING ME WELL”  how ironic.    Those sick people , and they are will teach you how to get and stay sober but you won’t find many that believe in employing all three spirituality, therapy, and the 12 steps.  But that’s what worked for me.  After several years of all three you won’t need meetings anymore, why would you?  Meetings are not the program the 12 steps are the program.  Fellowship though, is a must in the beginning to establish sober relationships with people.  Also it’s suggested we go to 90 meetings in 90 days if at all possible to jump start recovery.  You won’t hear in AA that you will fully recover and no longer need meetings even if it is written in the big book.  Look it up , the word “recovered” is all over the Big Book.

The following are some quotes from the Big Book about being “recovered”.

“I will always be recovering, never recovered.”  This statement is not aligned with the teachings of the Big Book we do recover!

 

 Title Page: “ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS. The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism” (I totally agree with him on this one we absolutely do recover, at least I have.)

 

Page 20, paragraph 2: “Doubtless you are curious to discover how and why, in face of expert opinion to the contrary, we have recovered from a hopeless condition of mind and body.  (here, here!)

 

Foreword to the First Edition: “We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.”

 

Page 29, paragraph 2: “Further on, clear-cut directions are given showing how we recovered.”

 

Page 132, paragraph 3: “We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others.”

 ____________________________________________________________________________

NEXT ARTICLE:

WHAT PEOPLE HATE AND LIKE ABOUT A.A.

http://www.orange-papers.org/

http://leavingaa.com/why-i-left-aa-stories/#comment-123785

These two links are anti-12 step websites.  It appears that the sites were created by disgruntled ex-A.A. and N.A. members.  The Orange Papers site has allot of statistics true and balanced.  The “leaving AA” site is more just a bitch session by people who either have been hurt by people in A.A or they are trying hard to rationalize their own inability to stay sober, you be the judge.  Lord knows I know how guilt can wear on a person struggling to stay sober.  If their blaming keeps them feeling sane without really hurting anyone it’s ok I reckon, let them bitch and criticize as one.   They have a common bond at least.

I like to give a fair and balanced opinion about anything.  Leave it to alcoholics and addicts to have to label things either all bad or all good.  Addicts are notorious for wanting to put the “bad and wrong” label on anything they can.  (myself included at times)  However lets face it there are not many things in this world that are all bad or all good, in fact it is a rarity.  Even a good thing can be overdone until it becomes bad.  But when it comes to inanimate objects they are not usually bad on their own.  It’s the people that are wrong for using an object like a gun or knife for evil purposes.

From what I have read some people end up with oppressive and controlling sponsors in A.A. I don’t doubt that a bit.  I have been a member of A.A. for ten years…this time.  I have met the sick and controlling people.  I have seen the closed-mindedness, the liars and the sick perverted sex offenders by the droves.  As a matter of fact I think child molesters and alcoholism go hand in hand.

What these sites comments say about A.A. is probably true on the most part.  But what they are not saying is that they need to label A.A. bad because to them there is no such thing as something being both good and bad.  IT MUST BE ONE OR THE OTHER THEY SCREAM!

So does A.A. really work?  Well it appears that only 5% of newcomers will pick up a 1 year medallion and only 1.17% will pick up a 10 year medallion and 0.15% will pick up a 20 year medallion.  Now that doesn’t mean that there are not allot of people that stay sober due to A.A. yet leave A.A. for one reason or another.    I know some people who have learned the 12 steps and how to live them. They have people in their lives that they confide in and they are close to God… they don’t NEED the meetings when they have the program.  Maybe others no longer need to sit in A.A. meetings absorbing the sick vibes of all those emotionally handicapped people who frankly don’t open up enough in meetings to get better.  And with good reason.   They would no doubt get shut down and criticized if they actually shared their hurts, fears, and worries the way that they should be encouraged to.

If they could vent they would heal.  If people would get real in the rooms and tell the sick and suffering addict that they understand and have felt that way too then the program would be much more effective.  But instead people sit like vultures in meetings waiting for someone to criticize.  Members use the A.A. cliche’s as if they were weapons to stab the unknowledgable newcomers with.   Newcomers suffer while members make it a fault-finding meeting rather than looking for the similarities and relating.

I have often wondered why is it some people want to make people feel better and other people want to make people feel inferior.  If I were hurt by an A,A cliche’ that a member wielded at me as a newcomer, would I then wield that same cliche’ later?  Wouldn’t I access that the statement was hurtful therefore I would find another way to express a similar thought?  However I do see people using the same tools that hurt them to hurt other people.  It’s not surprising that many people just get tired of A.A.

Granted A.A is the perfect platform for a minister or counselor to catapult his career.  Some groups will allow any member with 30 days sobriety to take meetings into jails and institutions.  These people could have audience to hundreds of people in no time while they share their story and their own interpretation of what the 12 steps really are and how to work them.  Right or wrong if they are offering hope to the hopeless it good.  Service work is a wonderful thing if it’s done with kindness.  It does not take brash, and mean cliche’s to share the program of A.A.

Why are so many members so defensive when it comes to their 12 step program?  That’s simple in the addict mind things are either good or bad so if someone points out one wrong thing with their A.A then that means that the entire program is bad, which in turn in the perception of the insecure addict makes themselves bad as well because they are a member.  An insecure man with low self-worth is defensive because he feels he needs to be to make himself look better…and if his program looks bad he looks bad.

Feeling we need to defend A.A. is akin to thinking we have to defend God Himself who clearly doesn’t need us for It’s defense, It is the almighty It needs no defending because no one can bring it down.  Both God and A.A.  I think the only one that could truly bring down the 12 steps and their programs would be He who established it to begin with (and I don’t mean Bill W. I mean God Itself, Himself, Herself. (Choose your own descriptive word.)

Why Am I An Addict?

AA “I WON’T CO-SIGN YOUR BULLSHIT!”

THERAPY VS PROGRAM?

“How it works” Chapter in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous states that even people with “grave emotional disorders” can get and stay sober.  What is “grave emotional disorder” and how can I really heal from it and stay sober to boot? 

I won’t co-sign your bullshit!  Scream the A.A. sponsors to the detriment of their heartsick fellows! There is a great need in AA to understand the difference between co-signing bull shit and showing Love by exerting understanding, compassion, and care.  We don’t have to give our sponsees the beat-down that is not what the program is about.  Nowhere in the Big Book do the writers suggest brutality and badgering as 12 step service work.

There is a great need to understand the difference between self-pity and the expression of valid feelings such as anger, and hurt. Human feelings that result from an abusive past need expressed for us to stay or get sane.

The words, “I know how you feel, you have a right to feel your pain, grieve and to process your hurt…even if, the feelings derive from years prior” are words that can heal a heart.Most addicts have stuffed down tears for years that desperately needed to be cried for us to attain emotional balance and healing. Usually when we get clean & sober all our un-cried tears come to the surface and scream to get out. We then ask ourselves: “What’s wrong with me, why am I so depressed, nothing bad is going on right now? Next our sponsors quickly tell us to “get over it and write a gratitude list” as they watch us slam the door in the face of AA.

Gratitude lists work great for those stomping their feet because things are not going their way (self-pity). However when it comes to the horrible feelings of grief that result from abuse, abandonment, neglect and other childhood trauma all our sponsors suggestion does is add to our low self-image and push us out the doors.

The most common “grave emotional disorder” that addicts in the rooms suffer from is the inability to process deep hurts and trauma inflicted as children & sometimes through adulthood. We have turned our hurt to anger and continually search for a scape-goat to blame for our intolerable feelings. Our hurts have morphed into anger because “grief”, unless short lived and a result of the death of a loved one is unacceptable in our society. When we experience any other cause of emotional pain except what’s socially acceptable we are often told to just “GET OVER IT!” So driven by shame we bone-up, pretend we are tuff-girls and boys, file our feelings under the “wrong and weak” category in our hearts and make ourselves sick till we have no other solution except to numb that which we have labeled “Invalid feelings”.

Is it no wonder that when one of us relapses so many seem to be so devastated by it…even when we scarcely know the person who went back out? We are desperate to let out some of our grief in a way that is acceptable to our fellows. We all step up our meetings and talk about our pain and loss when it usually has nothing to do with the guy who just relapsed who we have never invited to our home by the way.

The need for validation of our deep hurt is huge and necessary for healing. It’s hard for us in recovery to see when we are stuffing down a pain that really needs to be expressed. Few of us were taught by example or in school that it’s ok to scream and cry feelings out, or that crying is a part of emotional health.

Grave emotional disorders are not healed by just writing down [our part] and transferring all the blame from one scape goat to the next; [ourselves]. Please don’t hear what I am not saying…we addicts have boatloads of character defects that we need to work on however, not all grave emotional disorder is solved by doing a guilt based fourth step. Furthermore, if Bill W. would have had a course in empathic healing and were taught that his feelings are valid and how to emotionally process them he may not have spent at least 12 years sober and depressed trying so many therapies and pharmaceutical remedies.

Typically Bill was too hard on himself. There comes a time when we must pause from blaming ourselves for where we are at emotionally if we are to find answers and heal. There comes a time when we should realize that we were dealt a mistaken hand where our understanding of emotions is concerned and the steps don’t fix everything.

THERE IS NO WRONG FEELING once we establish this we won’t be quite so quick to deny and shut them down. For anyone to label our feelings wrong is to label us wrong as a person because our feelings are our heart.  “Wrong”  is an action word.   What we do with out deep feelings like, blaming others for them or acting out in rage and  violence this can be labelled “wrong”.   It’s what happens after the feeling that is right or wrong.

When we learn how to let feelings flow through us instead of getting stuck in us, then we are on our way to being emotionally balanced. There are many ways to accomplish a flow of emotions.

Taking responsibility for ourselves includes learning how to process hurt, anger, guilt, remorse, disgust, fear, and pain. Labeling feelings wrong, staying in denial about them till they come out in the form of rage and blame is not emotional sobriety. How will anybody in recovery ever stop blaming others for their feelings if they have not allowed themselves to learn what to do with deep feelings to get them out?

Have you ever asked why there is so much finger-pointing going on in AA or the world for that matter? And why is it that so few alcoholics and addicts in recovery find healthy and loving long term relationships? We can’t make our significant others’ responsible for our feelings and show them Love at the same time. So many alcoholics just settle for the fact that they will never be able to have a successful relationship if they are to stay sober. Ouch!

Lastly have you ever heard anyone in meetings pit therapy against the program as if there were a war between the two? How about pitting religion against the program or pitting religion against therapy (that’s a common one in the church). The fact is these all three are good they are not at war at all.  

Every person I know that shows quality sobriety; meaning they are mature enough to not play the blame game and they show Love are those that have used a combination of therapy,  a 12 step program and seek spirituality.   All three are good and all three work if we are willing, open-minded, and honest enough to not practice contempt prior to investigation on any of them.

Therapy vs. program or therapy enhances program?

 

Laura Edgar

STEP FOUR ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

IF STEP FOUR IS NOT FREAKING YOU OUT YOUR PROABLY NOT DOING IT RIGHT.

Humans generally learn by default to put on a hard emotionally protective shell so others will not see their vulnerabilities and they won’t get hurt.  However oftentimes that hard shell tends to offend or trigger others emotionally before they can actually see what is going on with the person.  In other words; when we are hurt we may seem just angry or mad at someone who really has nothing to do with the reason we are actually feeling unrest.  Hurt and fear by default turn to anger in most alcoholics because it is a safer emotion to portray to our fellows than an emotion that appears weak.  Some say depression is anger without enthusiasm with hurt at the core.  We alcoholics tend to have trust issues and we are not willing to show our real emotions to anybody.  We fear for our survival in this world that we see as cruel and unsafe!  This my friends is the core reason so many fear and run from doing a fourth and fifth step.So what do we do?  Do we continue repressing every hurt and pain of betrayal unto infinity till it takes us down?  No never!  Not if we are to heal and actually be able to say “Hi, I am Lori, I am an alcoholic addict in recovery.”  Not if we want a redeeming psychic change…we must find someone we are willing to trust with our feelings, our shame, and our fears.  We need, yes need someone in the program who will relate to us and have compassion, someone whom we can cry to.

We must for survival sake do a thorough Fourth and a thorough Fifth Step to get out the skeletons of our past that are eating our emotions and our relationships alive! 

We must make our step work personal by writing and sharing our Fifth Step in the “I” context.  We should state our feelings and events with honest emotion.

IT IS THE THING WE ARE MOST ASHAMED OF THAT SHOULD BE AT THE TOP OF OUR LIST.  A shallow and non-revealing Fifth Step with our most shameful events omitted will not help us.  No, not if we are to recover our joy and obtain the miraculous psychic change needed to not only stay sober but stay sane enough that we do not choose suicide over sobriety like countless addicts and alcoholics have.

We are dying out there and we must take serious action for our true survival…”It is better to save our ass than save our face.”  “Pride comes before a fall oh how deep that fall can be.”  Hope is the answer, hold on to the hope that we really can get better with God at the helm of our step work.

What should I do today to start the process of working the steps? 

RESPONSIBILITY PLEDGE

This is the responsibility pledge quoted at some A.A. meetings at the closing right after the prayer.  Some people do object to it because Alcoholics Anonymous is a free program.  Recovery is shared by members because they themselves want to stay sober.  Step Twelve states in so many words that we must “give it away to keep it”.  And service work gets us out of our own heads.  Yes step twelve keeps us sober and it has many more virtuous benefits when worked thoroughly and honestly.  Going to jails and institutions to share just what I did to get and stay sober is a self-esteem building exercise.  Jesus said “It is better to give than to receive” and He was right.  When I share what A.A. had done for me it gives others hope that they too can have a life that is peaceful and productive.  I must admit I had to be desperate for change to actually work the steps, but when I did I received the psychic change that was needed for me to become happy and usefully whole.

IF IT DON’T APPLY LET IT FLY!

 

 

“I am responsible. When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA always to be there. And for that I am responsible”.

 

 

 

SOBRIETY

 

SOBRIETY is not an impossible dream!

 

Jim Neighbors sang it best…WE CAN DO IT!  It’s NOT impossible to get and stay sober.  

But why not get some help with the job?   When I attempted to get sober I knew nothing about living sober.  So I went to sober school.    It was my choice to go to A.A.  It was my choice to stay sober. I didn’t know I had a choice but I found out different.  We all have a choice it’s just that the lies in our heads want us to believe different.  We have a choice whether or not to drink today.  

When you are your own worst enemy it’s a good idea to invoke an army of fellows and facts to war against the self-defeating lies that your own head creates.     Maybe you are not as sick as I was, I lived most of my life in a haze of drug addiction.  The 12 Steps,  group therapy, and seeking God are how I have stayed sober by the Grace of God for nearly 10 years.

Choose your favorite 12 step program and get a home group.   Go to a meeting every day and then ask someone to be your sponsor.  Ask the person that you relate to most.  If they say “no” ask someone else that you relate to when they share in a 12 step meeting.  Next work the 12 steps.  Open-up in meetings no matter how scared you are and tell people how you feel and where you are at psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.

 

Buy a Twelve and Twelve and a Big Book and make sure that you are grasping each step as you do it.    This website has the Big Book available for 99 cents.  (First 164 pages, which is all you need).  Make sure at some point that you get some outside help.  There are many people in A.A. that are prejudiced against therapy.  However our literature (A.A.) states that alcohol is just a symptom of a deeper sickness. 

If we don’t deal with our core issues we will not recover at a core level.  And then when we have no-one left to blame for the way we feel, we might be alone and suicidal.  It’s best to open up to at least one person and tell them the worst things we have ever done.  Make a fear list, write down core fears of loss and insecurities.  If you don’t have any then your not human.  It’s because of fear, childhood neglect, abuse and insecurities  that most people self-medicate.  Therefore it’s important to get to the cause of our addiction.  Shame and false pride will fight you  on this.  There are a million and one reasons not to revisit the past to clear up childhood traumas but that’s where the answers to our underlying issues can be found and released most likely.  

 

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions from A.A. World Services $5.99 only.  BUY NOW!  Don’t take everyone else’s word for what the book says, read it for yourself.

 

Recovery Farmhouse has sought out the cheapest available price and we add no additional fees to the price of this book purchased from A.A. World Services.  We are merely helping to support A.A. as a whole by supplying this link.  This book is sold by World Services, Inc.

The God Hole

I will no longer tolerate separation from my God.

There is a place in my spirit where I do feel my perpetual shame deriving from guilt nevertheless, I present my heart before my God.  A strong place within me cries out, “I will not tolerate separation from my creator by hiding and protecting parts of my soul and being that I am ashamed of in hopes that I can then win God’s acceptance.  Embracing the attitude of desperation toward God in spite of my apprehension awards me complete acceptance of “me” and of how God created me.

A Parent Growing Up With An Addict

Hi this is Lori E administrator, web-tech, writer and designer of Recovery Farmhouse.   I am also known as Laura of Akron in some parts of this website (psychic readings) and other various social sites……. and I am a recovered alcoholic.    I can say recovered because I haven’t picked up a drink, a hit of crack or a shot of heroin in nearly 10 years.

I want to introduce Bill C my father.  Here is an article I thank him for writing.  Please feel free to comment.

 

I was asked by the creator of this web-site to write something

that the readers might find interesting. My first reaction was,

yes but I needed to think about what to write.

Years ago my reaction would have been different. What

the flip do I know about AA? What do I know about a Big Blue

Book? And about that dance, the 12 step? I had heard about

the 2 step and the 4 step, but I sure didn’t know about the

12 step dance. Well, my daughter corrected me on that.

She said it has nothing to do with dancing. Dad it is a 12

step program that helps people stop drinking.

Before my daughter was introduced to AA she tried a

lot of drinks and pills to make her happy. All it was doing

was causing her parents pain.

We spent sleepless nights wondering where she was.

I am sure some of you reading  this can relate to what parents

went through worrying about you.

She got into some trouble while driving, lost her license

and had to go through what they call the revolving door.

Paying fines and reporting to a probation officer.

After the mess was cleared up she finally decided to get

sober. I don’t know if the addict knows what parents go

through while all this is going on. Yes we go through hell.

It is ironic that Laura of Akron was born in the same

city that 2 young men founded AA.

I would like to end this writing with a poem by an

amateur poet.

The addict and the parent

The addict says I’ll take this pill,

And then an alcoholic drink.

Then the parent holds her up,

While she throws up in the sink.

The addict says I’ll take more pills,

They will make me feel swell.

The parent says here we go again,

She’s putting us through hell.

The addict says I need a drink,

To get me through the day.

The parent says she traded her VCR,

We got her for her birthday.

But all of that is in the past,

No more beer or wine.

Yes we have our daughter back,

And she is doing just fine.

If this writing has helped one person,

In some special way.

Then it makes it all worthwhile,

You have made my day.

. . . By Bill C.  Laura of Akron is my daughter.

 

 

 

 

A Parent Growing Up With An Addict

Hi this is Lori E administrator, web-tech, writer and designer of Recovery Farmhouse.   I am also known as Laura of Akron in some parts of this website (psychic readings) and other various social sites……. and I am a recovered alcoholic.    I can say recovered because I haven’t picked up a drink, a hit of crack or a shot of heroin in nearly 10 years.

I want to introduce Bill C my father.  Here is an article I thank him for writing.  Please feel free to comment.

 

I was asked by the creator of this web-site to write something

that the readers might find interesting. My first reaction was,

yes but I needed to think about what to write.

Years ago my reaction would have been different. What

the flip do I know about AA? What do I know about a Big Blue

Book? And about that dance, the 12 step? I had heard about

the 2 step and the 4 step, but I sure didn’t know about the

12 step dance. Well, my daughter corrected me on that.

She said it has nothing to do with dancing. Dad it is a 12

step program that helps people stop drinking.

Before my daughter was introduced to AA she tried a

lot of drinks and pills to make her happy. All it was doing

was causing her parents pain.

We spent sleepless nights wondering where she was.

I am sure some of you reading  this can relate to what parents

went through worrying about you.

She got into some trouble while driving, lost her license

and had to go through what they call the revolving door.

Paying fines and reporting to a probation officer.

After the mess was cleared up she finally decided to get

sober. I don’t know if the addict knows what parents go

through while all this is going on. Yes we go through hell.

It is ironic that Laura of Akron was born in the same

city that 2 young men founded AA.

I would like to end this writing with a poem by an

amateur poet.

The addict and the parent

The addict says I’ll take this pill,

And then an alcoholic drink.

Then the parent holds her up,

While she throws up in the sink.

The addict says I’ll take more pills,

They will make me feel swell.

The parent says here we go again,

She’s putting us through hell.

The addict says I need a drink,

To get me through the day.

The parent says she traded her VCR,

We got her for her birthday.

But all of that is in the past,

No more beer or wine.

Yes we have our daughter back,

And she is doing just fine.

If this writing has helped one person,

In some special way.

Then it makes it all worthwhile,

You have made my day.

. . . By Bill C.  Laura of Akron is my daughter.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE SCROLL OVER “GUEST WRITERS” IN THE WEBSITES TOP MENU AND CLICK ON THIS ARTICLE “A PARENT GROWING UP WITH AN ADDICT” IT WILL HAVE A COMMENT BLOCK AT THE END OF THE ARTICLE.  WHEREAS THE VERSION IN E-MAIL LINK DOES NOT.

 

 

 

Gainesville 12 Step AA & NA Programs

Thank you “Elmer” for your insight on emotional tools which you shared at the Triangle Club to help the guys your worked with get well.

In Gainesville  ******ics Anonymous Program  some of us have a certain tradition.  I am not talking about the 12 traditions right now.  I am talking about an exercise that we do in accordance with the fifth step.  This tradition keeps us SANE, AND SOBER.  This tradition keeps shame at bay which is the number one reason people leave the program…shame.   Yes “resentment is the number one offender but it is not the #1 reason people that have the program working for them yet choose to leave.  Ok yes they leave because they drank or wanted to drink and then the shame sets back in.

The Gainesville tradition that I am referring to is that we share in our meeting “WHAT HAPPENED AND HOW IT MADE US FEEL.”  We have learned that keeping secrets about our INTENSE feelings will kill us.  We have learned that all the repressed emotions in the world will not change who we are.  We have learned how to come to terms with who we are and to accept that.  But not only accept..WE SHARE NOT ONLY “WHAT HAPPENED” BUT “HOW IT MADE US FEEL”

This is the magic children.  This is the one thing that 12 step programs around the world are missing.  THERE IS NO WRONG FEELING ONLY WRONG ACTIONS.  If we label our feelings “wrong” we are labelling ourselves wrong.  Every feeling that we have is for a valid reason and is valid.   Granted we don’t share all of our feelings nor do we allow our feelings to rule over us.  However, we do respect and honor our feelings, they are valid.   No we don’t run around having to express every small felling we have.  There is a time to say “feelings aren’t facts” and simply ignore them.  But there are on the other hand feelings that are eating our lunch that need to come out…  Otherwise we may slip into our old behavior of projecting and blaming others for the way we feel.  So we put our intense and nagging emotions into the middle of the meeting room so they get absorbed and carried away by the Spirit of the program.  This my friend is one of the most important solutions I have.  It is just as important as not holding resentments.   Similar article “Men in Recovery”

repressed feelings

 

WHAT TO EXPECT AT ALCOHOLICS & NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS MEETINGS

If you have never gone to an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meeting, it can be a little scary at first.  You don’t know what to expect because it is a new experience. You may have heard a lot of negative things about meetings from other using addicts. Some people are court ordered to go to meetings and may feel negatively about them because they resent being forced to go. Remember that everyone in AA and NA had to walk into their first meeting at some point so you are not alone in feeling scared. People who go to meetings regularly are aware of this and often try to be very welcoming when they see someone new enter a meeting.

Where Do Meetings Occur and How Do I Find One?

 

Many meetings take place in church basements, treatment facilities, hospitals and recovery clubs. You can find a list of meetings online at the Alcoholics Anonymous website and the Narcotics Anonymous website. In addition, most counties have a drug and alcohol commission to help people in their county locate treatment. You can find the number for your local drug and alcohol commission in your phone book or online. They often have local meeting lists available in their offices. Any local treatment facilities would probably provide you with a free local list of meetings too.

Once you find your first meeting, you will be able to get a list of other meetings there. The meeting list will let you know the name of the meetings, time and place of the meetings and what kind of meetings are available in your area. The best way to find good meetings is to ask people in recovery who go to meetings. They can help you find the kind of meeting you want to go to. For example, there are meetings just for people who are new to AA and NA.

What Are the Different Types of Meetings?

  • Discussion meetings – These meetings usually are focused on a particular topic or two or  three topics which can be chosen by the chairperson of the meeting or the group itself. Group members take turns talking one at a time about the topic that is chosen.
  • Speaker meetings – These meetings have a speaker who is a member of AA or NA. The speaker tells their story of alcoholism/addiction and how they found recovery. These meetings can be very inspiring because you can learn that you are not alone and recovery is possible.
  • Beginner meetings – These meetings are for people who are new to AA/NA and want to learn more about the program.
  • 12 Step and 12 Tradition study – These meetings help you to learn more about the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions. Members usually read a chapter from the book and then discuss it.
  • Big Book or Basic Text meetings – These meetings are about studying the Big Book which is the main text of AA and the Basic Text which is the main book of NA.
  • Men’s and women’s meetings – These meetings are specifically designed for either men or women. These are great meetings to meet more members of your own gender, which is important for finding a sponsor.
  • Candlelight meetings – These meetings often take place in the evening and are lit by candles. It can be a different and fun change from regular meetings.
  • Open meetings – These meetings are open to anyone. Family and friends of addicts can attend as well as addiction professionals who want to learn more about the program of AA/NA.
  • Closed meetings – These meetings are only for people who have an alcohol or drug problem.

What Happens During the Meeting?

<p>The Beginning of the Meeting</p>

Some meetings vary the order of the format, some are more formal or more laid back but the following is generally what happens at most meetings.

Opening the Meeting

The chairperson of the meeting will open the meeting usually by pounding on the table and announcing the meeting is starting. Everyone who isn’t already seated takes a seat. Seating is sometimes in a circle or around a square or rectangle table. However, large meetings can have seats throughout the room. People are often chatting before the meeting but they get quiet when the meeting starts.

The Serenity Prayer

The chairperson asks everyone to help him/her begin the meeting with the Serenity Prayer. Don’t worry if you don’t know it. You will learn it in time. Only the first four lines of the Serenity Prayer are spoken.

This is the Serenity Prayer:

  • God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Readings

The chairperson will ask for the readings. Somewhere in the meeting room will be a table of free pamphlets and books for purchase. You can find a booklet there which includes all the readings. The chairperson will either ask people to do the readings before the meeting starts or sometimes they are placed around the room and anyone sitting by one can choose to read.

You never have to read if you feel uncomfortable with it. If you see a reading at the seat you chose, you can ask someone else to read it or move to another seat. Even if you are asked, no one will be offended if you say you would rather not read.

The readings are either read from the person’s seat or sometimes from a podium. Before each person reads, they announce their name and that they are an alcoholic or addict. It is customary to say you are an alcoholic at AA meetings and an addict at NA meetings. However, you can say you are an alcoholic and an addict or cross-addicted. The readings can vary somewhat from meeting to meeting and are a little different at AA and NA meetings but they both read the 12 steps and 12 Traditions. NA changes “alcohol” to “addiction” in their readings.

Announcements

There may be a time during the meeting for announcements, which may include anniversary meetings, new meetings, meetings needing home group members or other business related to AA or NA. The group may be asked if they have any announcements related to AA or NA.

Introductions

The chairperson will ask if there is anyone from out of town or new to the meeting. The chairperson may say “this is not to embarrass you but to help us get to know you better.” If you are a newcomer or haven’t been to this particular meeting before, feel free to stand up, say your name and that you are new. Everyone will welcome you and tell you to “keep coming back.”

Talking about Cravings

There will also be a point during the meeting when the chairperson will ask if anyone feels like drinking/using. Some people will announce themselves (name and I’m an alcoholic/addict) and admit that they are feeling like drinking or using drugs. We call this “telling on yourself.” People often do this because talking about cravings helps you to not follow through and actually drink or use drugs.

Talking about it also lets group members know you may need more support. They may come up and offer their phone numbers to someone in need. Or pass around paper for people to write down their phone numbers for a newcomer. The chairperson also may say that if you didn’t feel comfortable talking about it with the group, get with someone after the meeting to talk.

Don’t be afraid to approach someone after the meeting and tell them you feel like drinking or using drugs and need more help. The squeaky wheel gets the oil. You have to speak up and ask for additional help to get it.

Clean Time

What is clean time and why is it important?

AA/NA meetings celebrate clean time at every meeting by giving out coins or keychains. There are different colors for different months and years of sober or clean time. The first coin/keychain is for “24 hours sober/clean or the desire to start a new way of life.”

Anyone can get this coin/keychain. If you are a newcomer, I recommend getting your first coin/keychain. You can expect lots of applause, people welcoming you, telling you to “keep coming back,” shaking your hand or hugging you. This will help you feel welcome and at home in the meetings. It is also meant to help you realize that you have made great progress just by attending a meeting.

The purpose of clean time is not to make people feel that some members have more seniority but to let everyone know that recovery is possible. It is meant to inspire newcomers and let people know that you can reach multiple years of clean time. Some meetings ask anyone with more than a year clean to stand up. This is also to show that recovery is attainable.

The Middle of the Meeting 

The middle of the meeting varies whether it is a discussion meeting, a book meeting or a speaker meeting.

  • For discussion meetings, some go around the room to give everyone a chance to speak. You can introduce yourself and say “I pass.”  No one will make you share.  People introduce themselves by saying “I’m (Your Name) and I’m an alcoholic/addict” or a variation of this.
  • At other meetings, anyone can choose to speak after the meeting is opened to discussion. Each person usually speaks for about 3 to 5 minutes so everyone has a chance to speak. When someone finishes speaking, they may say, “with that I pass.”  Members respond with “thank you” or “thank you for sharing.” There is no crosstalk during the meeting. One person speaks at a time.
  • Book or 12 Step/12 Tradition meetings read from the chosen book or read a Step/Tradition and may discuss the reading at the end.
  • Speaker meetings have a speaker who tells their story of alcoholism or addiction and how they found recovery.

The End of the Meeting

Most meetings close with members forming a circle and reciting The Lord’s Prayer or the Serenity Prayer. AA meetings usually join hands and say the Lord’s Prayer while NA meetings put their arms around each other and say the Serenity Prayer.

<p>Some Tips for Meetings</p>

  • The meeting will usually begin exactly on time.
  • Cross talk is not acceptable.
  • You can be asked to leave if you disrupt the meeting with cross talk, cell phones, inappropriate behavior, etc.
  • Please turn your cell phone off during the meeting.
  • It is acceptable to bring children to most meetings but you may need to bring something for them to do. If they are not quiet, you may want to remove them from the meeting so as to not disrupt the meeting. Some meetings have child care available during the meeting so ask around if you need to bring your children. You may be able to find a group member who will watch them so you can get the most out of the meeting.
  • AA members usually shake hands more often while NA members hug more.
  • Most meetings are non-smoking but may have a section for smokers.
  • Try to come early and stay late to meetings when you can. What happens before and after the meeting can be as important as the meeting itself. This is a time to socialize, get support, help others, get phone numbers or find a sponsor

 

Guest Post “Shame” The Prison and The Key

By Adam J. Pearson.    Recovery Farmhouse Thanks you Adam Pearson for your courageous bravery which you have exhibited by addressing a topic most people run from.  The topic of shame is one that should be addressed by each of our hearts.  Until we examine our shame we cannot claim to know ourselves.  If we say we have no shame we have not examined ourselves any further than ego and false pride will allow.  We will not be ashamed of being ashamed!…..The Farmhouse.

xx bars keys

The Wisdom of Eamonn Perkins

Eamonn Perkins is a wise, humble and tremendously compassionate teacher from Ireland who spends much of his time working with addicts and prisoners. He’s so low-key that, as of this writing, he doesn’t even have a website. In a 2014 interview, Eamann said something brilliantly concise and and equally incisive:

“If you truly knew me, you wouldn’t like me,” that’s the mantra of human existence. “

I love this line. It’s so simple and so profound. It’s one of those ideas that is so powerful that it momentarily stuns us into silence. Words like these hit home somewhere deep within us and resonate with something in the darkness that wants to be seen, a hidden truth that yearns to come to light. I couldn’t agree more with the truth of the statement, especially in our current global situation in which we have so much information and yet paradoxically feel so lost, are so socially connected and yet so lonely, and are so encouraged to puff up our egos and yet so inwardly drowning in a sea of shame.

And if shamethe intensely painful feeling that we are in some way flawed or not good enough and are, therefore, unworthy of love, belonging and connection–is the cause of our drowning, then it’s no surprise that we’re all desperately searching for a lifeline out of it.

If you truly knew me, you wouldn’t like me” is the secret belief, the shameful idea, the “mantra of human existence.”

When we believe this story, we meet each other from a place of fear and put up fronts and facades. We operate from a feeling of inadequacy and hide out of reflex. We refuse to let ourselves really show up and be seen out of the fear of being judged or rejected. And very slowly and very quietly, this message, which is the voice of shame within us, begins to stifle life. Without understanding, we watch it happen, wishing we had the words to describe what is going on and the tools to handle it.

As if paralyzed, we watch shame crush our free expression. The fear at its core blocks our creativity and replaces honesty with self-defensive lies. It makes us scramble for escapes and distractions to avoid the excruciating pain that is fundamental to shame. And while saying that we would never want to be anything but authentic, we find ourselves so afraid to be real and not belong that we choose to be inauthentic in order to fit in.

Shame is Widespread

Lady Godiva statue by John Thomas (1813 – 1862), Maidstone Museum, Kent, England.

Maidstone_012
Lady Godiva statue by John Thomas (1813 – 1862), Maidstone Museum, Kent, England.

 

shame 2

This pattern is so common and yet so unspoken. “The less you talk about shame, the more you have it,” says the brilliant and inspiring shame researcher Brene Brown in her renowned TED talk, “The Power of Vulnerability.” “The only people who don’t have it” she continues, “also have no capacity for human empathy or connection.”

Shame is incredibly universal. I’ve seen it in the students I’ve taught. I’ve seen it in the men and women I’ve known. I’ve seen it in my friends. I’ve seen it expressed in the media on TV.  And I’ve seen it in myself. For 25 years of my life, shame stifled and held me down like a heavy and unspoken weight. I feel for, and with, all of those who struggle with shame because I get them. Shame varies in the details from person to person, but its core is always the same.

This is one reason why I’m open about shame, because I’ve struggled with it, because so many people do, and because shame grows in silence and “cannot survive being spoken” (Brown, 2013). When I do openly talk to people about shame, I tend to hear the same thing over and over again: “I thought it was just me…” Oh yeah. I know that feeling. Shame is tremendously effective at making us feel like we’re the only ones who feel it, when the truth is that it comes up in nearly all of us.

xx shame

Shame Itself is Fear, Our Prison and the Key to Freedom

Facing shame can sometimes feel terrifying because shame itself is fear, the fear of not being enough and being unworthy, unlovable, and rejected as a result. The basic truth, as I see it, though, is this: if we want to flourish, if we want to be boldly authentic, if we want to truly love and be loved, if we want to transcend fear, if we want to cultivate kindness and forgiveness, if we want to find peace, then we need to face shame rather than deny, repress, and project it. We need to meet it in an intelligent and self-compassionate way that works.

And that’s why I spend so much time and so many words writing about shame. Because it’s the substance out of which we forged the bars of our internal prison. And it’s also the key to our liberation.

***

spring 2014 Anna Maria 105
“The Flower hugs the Stem” We embrace our ugly parts

 

Resources on Shame and Cultivating Shame-Resilience

If anything I said above resonates, rings true, or sounds familiar to what you or people you know have felt, here are some resources that I’ve found helpful that will give you some powerful insights into shame and shame-resilience.

  • Above all, I’d recommend reading the amazing book “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way we Live, Love, Parent and Lead” by the shame-researcher and brilliantly compassionate and inspiring Brene Brown. This book literally changed my life. It gave me words for feelings I had felt for years and had never been able to express. It cast light on powerful shadows. And it empowered me with useful tools. I’ve read it 3 times. It’s that good. It literally changed my life.
  • In addition, here’s a wonderful Positive Psychology article on Brene Brown’s “Shame-Resilience Theory” if you’re into a more psychology-oriented academic approach.

If you want some down-to-Earth distillations of the core principles from Brene’s book as I’ve applied them in my life, here are a few articles that I’ve written on the subjects of shame and how to empower ourselves with resilience against it. These articles are grounded, not in hypothetical theories, but in both solid research and in my own experience and practice. My general rule is that I only write about tools I’ve actually used and found helpful in my own life. If I haven’t used it and found it to work, I don’t write about it.

However, you don’t have to take my word for it. Let your own experience be the laboratory and the judge. I’m right there in the arena with you, facing the same issues. We’re in this together and we’re never alone, even though shame can make us feel that way. There are useful strategies that work to empower us to work with these things and the purpose of my writing is to share them.

eemoo 069
“The Odd Tree”Is Not Ashamed of being different Photo by Laura Edgar

 

 

Here’s a brief guide and orienting overview to my writings on the subject:

  • “Silencing the Praise: Why Seeking Approval Fails to Fill Our Inner Void” introduces shame and identifies it as the name of the void we feel within us, the void that says we are “not good enough” and are thus unworthy of love and belonging. It then explains why approval-seeking fails to fill the void of shame because shame invalidates approval even when we do receive it. We are not hopeless, however; at the end of the article, I introduce a few healthy alternatives and powerful strategies to meet shame with resilience and compassion.
  • “The Heart of the Void: Finding the Assumptions at the Heart of Shame”  breaks shame down into two key components: a feeling part and a thinking part. The feeling part involves the painful emotions at the heart of shame (e.g. fear, anxiety, inadequacy) and the thinking part involves the core assumptionsabout ourselves that are at the root of the feelings. This article specifically explains how to discover these assumptions and then how to reality-check andtransform them once we find them. This practice is a powerful tool for our shame-resilience arsenal.
  • “Finding the Calm Within the Storm: Shame-Resilience in Practice” breaks down Brene Brown’s powerful shame-resilience method into clear steps and gives a real-world example of how I applied it to one shame story in my own life. I’ve seen tons of articles about the method online, but very few concrete examples of how we apply it in our own inner experience. This article was written in an attempt to fill that void and also to practice “the courage to be vulnerable” that Brene Brown champions.
  • “Forgive and Be Free: The Liberating Power of Forgiveness” offers a useful practice for compassionately addressing the feeling part of shame throughforgiveness. Forgiveness was a subject that I took for granted for a long time because I didn’t realize how powerfully liberating and empowering it truly is. However, it was a key part of the shame puzzle for me.
  • “Release the Past to Free the Present: Another Meaning of Forgiveness” expands on the previous article to explain how forgiveness helps us lovingly liberate our present from the stranglehold of the past. Since shame is powerfully rooted in our past thoughts, perceptions, and experiences, forgiveness thus is a powerfully compassionate practice for skillfully handling shame. This article explains how this works.
  • Shame sometimes expresses itself as catastrophizing or obsessive worst-case scenario thinking“Catastrophizing: How to Handle Worst-Case Scenario Thinking” explores the fascinating dynamics of catastrophizing. It also offers a powerful way to handle catastrophic thinking so that it ceases to drive us towards unintentional self-sabotage and drag us out of the joy of being present.

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Related

The Heart of the Void: Finding the Assumptions At the Core of ShameIn “agony”

Finding the Calm Within the Storm: Shame-Resilience in PracticeWith 8 comments

Silencing the Praise: Why Seeking Approval Fails to Fill Our Inner VoidIn “affect”

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6 thoughts on “The Prison and the Key: Why I Write About Shame”

  1. Pingback: Silencing the Praise: Why Seeking Approval Fails to Fill Our Inner Void | Words from the Wind
  2. Pingback: Finding the Calm Within the Storm: Shame-Resilience in Practice | Words from the Wind
  3. Pingback: The Heart of the Void: Finding the Assumptions At the Core of Shame | Words from the Wind
  4. Lisa Kahale

February 3, 2015 at 5:58 am

Dissolving shame is like dissolving a poison that is killing, one drop at a time. In its place… space, air and welcoming of life. That’s what happened for me, finally.
Keep writing about this, Adam, it’s needed.

Reply

February 3, 2015 at 6:17 am

Well said, Lisa. I totally relate. Thank you for sharing.

Reply

Pingback: Shadow Integration: The Complete Shadow Work Process in Four Steps | Words from the Wind

AM I A “RECOVERED” ALCOHOLIC?

CHANGE 2

Recovery gospel according to Lori E

AM I RECOVERED AND SANE?  OR AM I AN ALCOHOLIC DESTINED TO ALWAYS BE INSANE?  THE 12 STEP PROGRAMS WORK…..TO A CERTAIN EXTENT.

Ok I just re-read the following and I think its a little harsh.  So… Disclaimer-I have been jealous and will be again at some point. I am human.  Getting jealous does derive from fear however ALL HUMANS GET FEAR OCCASIONALLY OR OFTEN.  

Big “GET OVER IT!”  To the alcoholics and addicts who are stuck in the mind-set that, their way of recovery is the ONLY way to recover.   People get sober with and without AA.  Believe it the addict mind in many instances becomes jealous over “their way” of recovery.  Even to the point of hoping that the person who got sober on their own or in church will quickly relapse to prove his point.

Addicts become jealous over “their Higher Power” and “their 12 step program”.   Lets face it codependency which thrives on jealousy runs rampant through the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Understandable if you take into consideration that jealousy stems from fear of loss and that Alcoholics tend to be emotionally immature (sometimes).

But open your minds my fellows!  There are many ways to recover that works and many times those same ways don’t work.   It just depends on several different factors.

Here are the three main ways that people are known to drastically change for the better.

 

 

1. Therapy has helped millions change: therapy only works if you have the right empathic therapist and if you have the courage to face yourself. To allow yourself to be vulnerable by facing your insecurities and your deepest feelings. Therapy only works if you are willing to re-live your most traumatic childhood and adult events, face them, and express your feelings in regard to them on an honest emotional level. The core level.
 
2. The 12 Steps: only work if we are willing to get honest about feelings and past events. They only work if we are willing to humble ourselves and become vulnerable & teachable. They only work if we truly seek out a Higher Power and involve Him/Her/it in the process of working steps 1 through 12.
 
3. Religion: Finding God only works if we seek with our heart and our mind. My experience dictates that “repentance” is one of the main keys to becoming spiritually empowered. At the same time without the balance of empathic understanding from relating with those like us and a degree of realization that we were victims as well as wrong, shame will tend to rein in our psyches. This lingering shame will inevitably throw us back into emotional and psychological denial of our weaknesses & faults. Religion has helped millions change, don’t underestimate its power just because it didn’t help YOU change. However there must be a logic based psychic balance that shows us we are not ALL BAD. Some religions oppress but God dwells where people seek and praise God. Your chances of having a spiritual experience at all are GREATLY INCREASED IF you surround yourself with people that are openly praising God.
 
Oftentimes the religious people don’t have a way to expel certain shame and guilt or to get in touch with the child in them who was abandoned, abused, neglected, and rejected. The common barrier to healing from past wounds is by reasoning out that “you can’t change the past why go there?” YOU CAN CHANGE THE PAST! By changing our perception of the past we change the past. How do we change a perception? Go back, relive, journal, share, be vulnerable. With therapy and the 12 steps these three long-term actions together are an absolute recipe for not only sobriety but also A COMPLETE RECOVERY as possible

 

But this is not the whole topic today.

Today the topic is; “am I recovered or not?”

 

This is the thing….the big book reads that bill w. And the group “recovered” from a hopeless state of mind. Being recovered is mentioned through-out the big book.   If a person has five years sober and realizes that they no longer have the alcoholic mind…and they have recovered. There is one sure way to know for themselves if they really have recovered.

 

The still insane, sick alcoholic will reason out…I have recovered so… I am no longer an alcoholic.  Now I can drink responsibly.   Now, this time it will be different!”   And for a time they may actually be able to drink responsibly.   However with the progression and insanity that alcohol produces and their past behaviors this luxury won’t last long.   On the flip side:  for the recovered alcoholic who truly is recovered, whose sanity has returned and have had a psychic change; their thought process works differently.  These types realize they no longer have the alcoholic mind and reason out that in spite of that and because of that they do not want to drink again…ever.   No matter what.   So if one is truly recovered they will know that because of the allergy to alcohol they will never be able to drink like a normal person.   They also realize that they are no longer an alcoholic in spite of a few addict-like tendencies and lesser addictions such as over-eating, internet addiction, cigarette addiction, sex addiction, anger or rage addiction, the addiction to being “not alright” even. 

Perhaps all three solutions are only needed for those that have been abused and neglected.  However i question any alcoholic’s self-awareness if they state they have no “core issues”.  Why would anyone try to destroy himself by drinking alcoholically and try to numb out feelings and awareness by poisoning oneself yet claim not to have any childhood issues or core level shame?

 

IS ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS GOOD OR BAD?

Firstly I want to state that without Alcoholics Anonymous and my Higher Power I would probably be dead or worse.

However I believe it is very important to find our identity outside of AA once we are sober for several years.   We become strong due to working the 12 steps and being active in the workings of step 12 service work.  Step 12 makes us confident and helps us  develop coping skills and reach a level of emotional sobriety (maturity).

When I stepped away from AA myself due to a case of AA burnout I wondered who the heck I was. It scared me, I thought do I have an identity without of AA?  The steps and Big book I believe are good and ordained of God.  The 12 steps and the perfect directions for staying sober and to experience a psychic change and a spiritual awakening.  HOWEVER as we have learned from the history of the Bible good things are easily twisted and misconstrued by sick men. My conclusion is that: AA is a good program but sick men seek out many devices and can produce a counterfeit for every good AA directive.

IS THE ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS PROGRAM GOOD OR BAD?

We cannot really label Alcoholics Anonymous good or bad as a whole because there are so many members, sponsors, sponsee’s and various representatives who all have their own methods and ideals of what AA is and how it actually works.

 

You may ask two former members of AA about the program and get two totally different views.  There are many articles online that call AA a cult and a worthless and depraved organization.  Ex-members state that they were taken advantage of, abused, and lied to.  While other members will attest that without AA they would be dead or worse.  These members swear that the program transformed them from a destructive, and violent addict into a productive, spiritual member of society.  And neither of the two testimonies would be untrue.

 

But what are the facts concerning the “program” of AA?  The twelve steps and the Big Book if viewed and understood rightly will induce a miracle if not several miracles in a person’s life IF that person is honest and willing to work the steps, get a good sponsor and reach out to God with their heart.  The program on paper is the perfect way to not only get clean and sober but also to become a moral and decent human being. So its really a matter of choice whether the program actually works for a person or doesn’t work.  

 

So why so many negative testimonies about AA?  Remember human beings can turn any good into a bad.  For every good and righteous directive in the Big Book there is twisted and misunderstood counterfeit version. 

 

Example; Step 10 “Continued to taker personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”  Confession is good for the soul no doubt but if we confess too often and to the wrong person our humility may turn into not only gossip but also a demeaning and self-degrading process that beats down our self-esteem rather than building it up.  Our confidant may even put themselves in a place of authority and power over us using our confessed wrongs against us with an oppressive thumb.  We must have a trustworthy person to confess and admit our wrongs to then be done with it.   We should be allowed to move on into our  new sober life and leave the wreckage in the past where it belongs.

 STEP FOUR

Good ideas can be mis-construed.   Hate-driven  interpretations of the Bible show us that.  If a man holds bitterness in his heart that bitterness will seek a way to express itself, whether passive or aggressive or both hate searches for an outlet while the psyche knowing right from wrong seeks subconsciously for a justified way to express that hate.

AA needs two types of personas to make it function…the newcomer and the sponsor or, the teacher and the student.  Not every teacher in AA has the humility to remain a student as well after years of sobriety.  False pride wants badly to know-it-all.  Bottom line just because a newcomer is sick and suffering and has no idea how to work the program of AA that is no reason to treat a man disrespectfully.  

 If something feels very wrong then it probably is.  We should take our common sense with us into our 12 step program and read the Big Book thoroughly for ourselves rather than having someone interpret it for us.  We should share in meetings about our progress so we can get useful feedback.  A sponsor should never try to make our decisions and choices for us but rather sponsors should make suggestions and guide us through the steps and various options.  The program works but we must work it ourselves thoroughly and honestly.

 

A Vision of Jesus

The vision of Jesus

 

I had a vision while wide awake sitting in church.  I went to another place to another realm.  I appeared as a child about six years old.

I was wearing a white dress with a blue sash.  The dress looked like dresses little girls wore back in the sixties all cotton with a full, fluffy skirt.  Jesus was there with me He was young beautiful and had long brown hair.  His Spirit was so loving and comforting he cared for me and I could feel it in a strong way.  He swung me around in circles by my arms.  We laughed and played.  Even though I appeared as a child just how Jesus sees me, I was still adult as I am now.  We had fun and then He picked me up and held me to His bosom.  I asked him fearfully, Jesus will you save me from the dangerous evil that I wanted to ignore but evidently wants me dead.

As we looked at each other that moment a dark entity began beating a path towards me, Jesus held up His hand and commanded that the evil being depart in haste.  He showed He was so much more powerful than that dark mass.  Jesus promised; “I will save you from the dark side.”  I was relieved but still had another confession and request of which I was ashamed.  He still held me close in His arms.  I told Jesus it is I that I fear the most, will you save me from myself.  I asked Him this even though I was scared to admit my true nature to this sacred son of God and reveal that I was such a sinful soul.  He was so sweet and pure, so comforting and protective He was my own personal daddy and savior.  He said to me “Laura, because you have asked I will save you even from yourself.”  What a wonderful blessing to know such a loving God and to know I am saved already…it is done.

 

Hebrews 7:25

“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. or NIV Therefore he is able to save completely [fn] those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”

 

I had the following vision for the purpose of enlightenment.  The vision was a reminder of the dark addiction from which I was delivered.  “The creature” in the story is the embodiment of the allurement of prescription medications.  The drugs kept me spiritually blind and emotionally stunted and most significantly kept me from doing God’s work.

 

WILL YOU TRUST ME NOW?

 

During meditation, I saw a face.  The image was scraggly and ugly.  I could not tell if it was a woman or a man, it looked like a supernatural mixture of both.  The appearing of the creature exposed its evil demeanor of ill intent.  Its face looked familiar somehow yet I could not remember from where.  The genderless being spoke to me, “will you trust me now?  Why would I trust such a vile monster-like phantom?  Somehow, I knew the creature had wronged me in the past.  I remembered taking her in repeatedly only to be cut by the knife of her wrath.  She made me bleed precious life from my soul and live with eyes closed.  She caused self worth to flow out like blood.  She took my truthful heart and caused me to bring to my breast lies.  She steadily presented illusion to my soul and by my own hand, I spooned them in.  I knew her well; she has no respect or value for me.  What could she offer me now to tempt me?  She offers me up some misery and to my own shame; by misery I am drawn.  “Name your poison” she shrieks!  “With this brew my love, I satisfy your lust for control and pleasure!  Take the power you so deserve my pet!”  Her words are seductive and delicious to the part of my heart that is afraid and empty.

 

Does this story leave me without a choice?  Must I fall victim to allurement’s fervent need to destroy my soul?  A white ray begins to shine through the gray matter of my self-doubt.  I was enlightened by what the light shown.  I remember the reasons I ripped this horrid, evil vessel from my life.  I remembered the lies the creature told me.  I recalled the effects of consuming her tantalizing poison.  The light ray that saved me this day from possible enslavement by the hateful bloodsucker was the light of Love that God gives by grace.

On this day, the light saved my soul.  My prayers have been many, I have made my spiritual deposits into the bank of my soul, and I have seen the dividends pay-off.

 

Ephesians 2:8&9

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast”.

 

This was not one of my beautiful meditations nevertheless; it was a very important reminder.

HOW IT WORKS

hEIL A.A.

HOW IT WORKS

skip to “How It Works”- here “HOW IT WORKS” From pg. 58-60 Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

PAGE 62 OF THE BIG BOOK OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS READS:  “So our troubles we think, are basically of our own making.  They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn’t think so.  Above everything we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness.”

Skipping down further  we read…”First of all we had to quit playing God it didn’t work.  Next we decided that here after in this drama of life, God was going to be our director.  He is the Principal ; we are His agents.  He is the Father and we are His children.”  Skipping down again to page 63:  When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts of remarkable things followed.”

Wow that’s a big piece of humble pie to swallow      and it’s valuable and true information except for one thing.  Addicts are usually totally without emotional balance.  Especially when using we tend to blame everyone around us for our predicaments and the way we feel.   If you tell us “our problems are of our own making” we will either turn on the guilt, shame, condemnation, and punishment toward ourselves or we reject the idea entirely.

There are two types of addicts, those who have been beating themselves up their entire lives and those who have been beating everyone around them up their entire lives.  Seriously we must stop the punishment in spite of our accepting responsibility for where we are at in life and how we feel about ourselves, others, and our Higher Power.

The expert psychiatrists and psychologists who study alcoholism and addictions agree that addiction is not only a disease but is also a [shame based disease].   Once we accept responsibility for ourselves we must move straight-away into our step work and most importantly into our Fourth and Fifth Steps.  Taking action and continuing to take action will alleviate the shame and guilt that we try so hard to pretend doesn’t exist.  We prefer to stay in denial about our shame and fear because we perceive it as weak, bad, and wrong.  But mostly we see our guilt as weakness.  And more importantly our perceptions dictate that all eyes are on us therefore we must put on a strong and confident mask for our peers to see.

Remember one of the most prominent Ninth Step promises is “fear of people will leave us”.  However, we fear not so much “people” but think about it, rather, we fear what people think of us.  Certainly Bill W. and the rest of the early founders should have re-worded that promise in my opinion.

Our fellows will make fun of us if we admit that we feel and think of ourselves as “lesser than” our peers.  Right?  That’s one reason people won’t do a thorough fourth step, false-pride sneaks in and tells us we mustn’t reveal our true selves lest others despise us and see that we are weak, wrong, and bad.

THE SOLUTION?  WE TAKE ACTION AND WORK THE STEPS HONESTLY AND THOROUGHLY IN SPITE OF OUR FEELINGS AND FEARS.  WE MUST UNDERSTAND THAT WE ARE NOT EVER GOING TO GET BETTER IF WE LET OUR FEELINGS RULE US.  WE DO THE STEPS ACCORDING TO FAITH AND HOPE.  WE ACT OUT OF FAITH AND HOPE SO THESE PRINCIPLES GROW STRONGER WITHIN US.  AND WE DO THE “NEXT RIGHT THING” (see in pop up)
Open a popup window  AGAIN, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN UNTIL IT BECOMES A WAY OF LIFE AND WE REALIZE WE HAVE BEEN TRANSFORMED.

“OUT OF THE PROBLEM INTO THE SOLUTION”.  SELF ABUSE VERBALLY OR OTHERWISE IS NOT CONSTRUCTIVE NOR IS ADVERTISING OUR SHORTCOMINGS A FORM OF HUMILITY.

Page 58 Big Book A.A. “How It Works”
Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it-then you are ready to take certain steps.

At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that we deal with alcohol-cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power-that One is God. May you find Him now!

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.
(c) That God could and would if He were sought.

 

 

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SEXUAL INVENTORY

You can find the directions to do your “sexual inventory” on none other than  page 69 in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  HURRAY for great coincidences.    My personal favorite Bill W. wrote: “WE DO NOT WANT TO BE THE ARBITER OF ANYONE’S SEX CONDUCT. An arbiter is a person who settles a dispute or has ultimate authority in a matter) OF ANYONE’S SEX CONDUCT.”

Firstly  I try to remember that not everyone’s moral compass is set on the same settings as mine.  As long as no law is being broken and no one is getting  (badly) hurt then like Bill W says; other people’s sex conduct.

The Fourth Step Sexual Inventory only works when I apply it to myself.  So what kind of things  do I needs to write down?  God gave mankind a great gift called the “conscience” and that is what I will use along with prayer.  The things in my past that I feel guilty for and ashamed of these things need to come out into the open, out of my mind they will then lose power over me.  First I put them to paper then I confess them aloud in my fifth step.

WHY?!!!!!  WHY DREDGE UP THE PAST, BURYING IT SEEMS LIKE A BETTER IDEA.  Yes so it seems, however experience teaches us that confession is good for the soul.   Furthermore the intense emotions that we try to hide WILL come out sideways.  Things like wrath, blame, emotional struggles, and intense anger derive from the feelings that we bury.  These emotions need to be expressed and then let go.        It takes either a miracle or some emotional work to clear the wreckage of the past is to face it and come to terms with it.  The Fourth Step runs more people out of the rooms than anything else.  I have had countless women make it through steps one, two, and three, only to bolt at the prospect of confessing their deep dark secrets.

The good news is that on page 69 there are a group of questions to guide us through the sexual inventory.  Also if we pray before we start the work IT WILL give it the supernatural kick we need.  We are striving for a psychic change.  “The same man will drink again” therefore we must do the work that is outlined in the twelve steps.

And most importantly remember, its all been said and done before.  There are only seven deadly sins and there are  only so many sexually perverse things we can engage in.  Usually the sponcee is the only one affected by his own actions.  When we confess our shortcomings we most likely will feel relieved but we most certainly will improve our emotional healthy by it.

OUR E-MAIL IS UP AND RUNNING

HELLO FROM RECOVERY FARMHOUSE

I HOPE YOU ARE DOING WELL!  MY NAME IS LORI E AND I AM AN ALCOHOLIC.

I just wanted to thank everybody who reads my articles and has subscribed to the posts.  I had no idea but our e-mail system was down for quite some time.  It is working again and you will receive weekly posts or whenever I write new ones sometimes more sometimes less often.  Please I invite your feedback and any suggestions you have to improve our website and my writing.

Welcome back everyone lol!  There is a simple unsubscribe at the bottom right of the new e-mail delivery page.  If you unsubscribe you will still be registered with us.

Thanks again here’s to growing old sober!  Lori E.

Nurture Our Inner Child

How do we nurture our inner child?

Do not underestimate the value of writing and it’s affect on our emotions.  Writing has helped me heal.

There is a small child in each of us, innocent, full of wonder, with feelings that are hopeful and fragile. The heart of a child longs for the most powerful gift to humanity, which is LOVE. When we Love one another by our deeds we feed our inner child. We mustn’t repress our innocence and label it “weak”.   Our intellect may reason out to do just that. The Love we show one another now is an opportunity for immortality, our Love echoes in eternity!

Lori E

Sobriety Year Seven

SEVEN YEARS SOBER, ALCOHOL WAS BUT A SYMPTOM OF A DEEPER SICKNESS

 

I ran into a lady a Wal-Mart, she invited me to church.  I gave her a brief summary of what God has done for me in the last nine years.  I told her I have stayed sober nine years.  She looked at me amazed and said, “Wow!  That must be hard, it’s hard to stay sober.”  I thought to myself about the last years in sobriety and how easy it has been to stay sober anymore.   I thought to myself this life of mine is the closest this former drunk has ever been to a “normal life”.  I told “June” (is her name), I said, “June it was hard, very, very hard to get sober and the first four years where absolutely filled with processing my core issues. 

 I worked very hard to clear up the wreckage of the past and root out the underlying causes of my addiction.  Not to mention the twelve steps were and are my guide through my sober journey.  In the twelve steps lies the magical jump-start that made all my healing and psychic change possible.  That magic is my Higher Power.  I relentlessly worked step eleven meditation daily for years.  I connected with God, I met my Spirit Guides and I became strengthened to the point of a new self-confidence and awareness of who I really am.  I let little Laura out of the closet and she isn’t so bad after all.                                                                      

My underlying cause was “emotional disorder”    Not to mention I was ate up with shame.  Until I went to AA and had one full year of recovery based therapy I had no idea what to do with feelings.  Feelings used to scare the shit out of me to put it bluntly.

Why does the addict work so hard to change the way he/she feels?  How is it that the new re-habs are advertising that they have the “cure” for addiction when we are taught in the big book that we will always be alcoholics?  Is it possible that Bill Wilson was wrong?  We are taught to keep an open mind and to never limit God and His power.   Maybe Bill Wilson just never did find the courage and where-with-all to return to his childhood traumas and scream and cry them out as that small child.  Letting the hurts out rather than holding them in and allowing them to rule over out action and emotional responses is the sickness.  Letting hurt out is the process that leads to our healing but not everyone can make themselves so vulnerable.  Crying is a healthy emotion and should not be repressed.

If the underlying cause is healed by God and we are taught how to express our feelings in a healthy way, then it becomes very easy to stay sober. Is it a cure?  Well that’s a matter of semantics.

NEVER-THE-LESS I AM SOBER BY THE GRACE OF GOD WHO PICKED ME UP OFF THE STREET WHERE I WAS DEAD TO THE LIGHT AND HE OPENED MY EYES AND HEALED

PEACE OF MIND The other greatest gift

“PEACE” The other greatest gift

EVERY COURAGEOUS ACT STARTED FROM A FEARFUL BEGINNING.

I did not know just how valuable Peace of mind was until I found it.  Alternatively….I did not know how valuable Peace of mind really was until I lost it.  Either way there is no doubt in my mind that peace of mind is one of the most wonderful things a person can possess  and that lack of Peace is at the core of the addicts malady.  When one has peace of mind, they are not in a wanton state of craving, obsession, or intense need.  Peace of mind stirs through our being and shoots out from us touching the lives of everyone around us, When we are at-peace we have no need to be mean, or sarcastic, we have no need to belittle our fellows with snide remarks.  We are not in fear because the presence of fear is the absence of peace.  It is said that Love is the greatest spiritual gift and that hope, & faith are next in value.  However, mixed into all three of these greatest spiritual gifts is Peace, which lingers amidst each one of them.  Peace is the by-product of the greatest spiritual gifts.

The absence of peace of mind can happen in different degrees.  We can be extremely fearful to the point of anxiety, panic attack, and even complete emotional paralysis, which is the absence of not only faith but of peace as well.  Mankind seeks out many destructive devices to outrun its torturous fears.  Seldom if ever does the fearful and miserable man admit or even realize that he is afraid or that it is fear that tortures him.  For he has been taught that to admit fear would be admitting that he is weak, bad, and not as good as his peers so, much of mankind (not just active addicts) choose denial over truth.   Moreover, we all know what we were taught about those who fear when we were young and impressionable…scaredy-cat, chicken-shit, pussy, pansy, yellow belly, yellow, woosy, and any other negative descriptive word that would shame us for being who we are….human and afraid.  I must remind myself that without fear there would be no courage and that every courageous act started with a fearful beginning.

So it’s ok to be human and afraid but we need to have a way to get out of fear.  We need to forbid fear from taking power over our actions.  We must step out of the box and deploy Love in defense against fear so we can experience that wonderful thing called spiritual peace.  How in the heck do you “deploy Love?”  You might ask.  We deploy Love by looking fear straight in the eye and walking, or taking action in spite of how we feel.  We walk through the fear!  If it is sobriety and reality that is paralyzing us then we get up, put on our shoes, and we go to a meeting.  We work the steps and do a fifth step in spite of our survival instinct which screams “keep your shortcomings a secret!  We deploy Love by doing service work, Step twelve.  We pray to our Higher Power when we feel like we have better things to do.  We write out our Fourth Step because we want to feel and get better.  We put the things on our fourth step list of which we are most ashamed.   Deploying Love does not necessarily feel good at the time but it is what is good for us and will bring us peace.  By the same token Love tears down our character flaws.   Working the Twelve Steps cuts flaws like false pride, self-loathing, lying, sloth, procrastination, lust, wrath, gluttony, envy, and greed to the quick.

Character flaws within us have a life of their own and when we begin working the steps they cry, scream, claw, and scratch at us from the inside.  Our character defect patterns do not want us to change and they will tell us all the good things that we need to do instead of working a program because the bad that we would do won’t work to trick us into not working the steps.  Meaning, our brain will tell us “you need to take you children bowling because you should spend more time with them, or you need to clean the house, or you need to job hunt or you need to work.  Yes all these things are good to do in recovery but if we do not have the foundation of the twelve steps we can easily slip.  Doing ninety meetings in ninety days will expose us to the program enough to get us started with a sponsor and some new sober friends to hang out with.  If we are going to stay sober and do the responsible thing for us and our families we need to do first things first.  All the other “good” things should come after our daily meeting, getting a decent sponsor, one who shows respect and emotional maturity, and working the steps.

 

HOW DO RECOVERING ADDICTS & ALCOHOLICS DEAL WITH MONEY?

MONEY AND THE RECOVERING ADDICT.  FREEDOM FROM COMPULSIVE SPENDING.

How do addicts handle their finances after years of spending money on the wrong things and suffering the regret?  In the past personally I crossed many moral boundaries to make my money and then spent it on drugs instead of paying the bills, buying important things for my family and myself.  Since I now have years of sober time under my belt I do question my occasional compulsive spending, I analyse it and am now sharing it with you.

I remember at the start of my recovery I continued in my willingness to cross moral boundaries to get money a time or two when I needed that money to get to a meeting or put toward my rehab stay.  I had the gift of desperation that is a key in opening the lock of  sobriety.  I don’t save money well I never have.  Neither have my parents, they didn’t teach me good financial planning or skills.  However since I have been sober I do much better with my money, I get my bills paid even though sometimes they are late.  I enjoy shopping but if I know a bill is due I usually pay it first.  I say “usually”.

When it comes to walking in a Wal-mart with a pocket full of money even though all I need is a gallon of milk I will tell myself “I know there’s something I need” just so I can shop.  Shopping is a high for me and if I go to the grocery store hungry I may forget all about my bills temporarily until I get home and wish I hadn’t spent so much money.  I wonder…is it the shopping or the beating myself up that I get more satisfaction from.  Maybe subconsciously the thought of just being good bores me to tears and since I no longer drink and drug because it became too painful I must replace that debauchery with another of a different flavor.  One thing sure if we are busy doing Step 12 we won’t have time for self abuse.

The cycle of guilt is a merry-go-round that does not enjoy being put to rest.  Whether it be illicit sex, stealing, yelling at our loved ones, gossip, over-eating, or greed recovering addicts seem to have a need to keep the merry-go-round of guilt and self-punishment alive.  After all what will we do with out emotions and thoughts if we don’t have some negative aspect of ourselves or others to focus on?

The 12 steps help us to STOP the cycle of guilt and remorse.  Perhaps not completely however,  believe it there are degrees of guilt.  Remorse can be so deep that it becomes intolerable after all where does depression step from if not from a deep nagging dissatisfaction of one’s self?   The program gives us all kinds of new things to focus on and yes new things to criticize and balk at.   Aren’t the very nature of steps 1,4,6,7,8,9, & 10 about asking ourselves “what have I done wrong today and in the past”?  YES THEY ARE however the steps offer us solutions to that guilt so we don’t have to walk around ashamed of who we are.  Without steps two, three, five, eleven and 12 our wonderful recovery program is nothing more than [ more of the same], more insanity and a continued process of self-abasement without the solutions.  At the same time without the self-examination of our shortcomings we cannot clear the wreckage of our past and put our emotions from “disorder” to order,  It is completely understandable why so many people take a peak at AA and then decide it’s not for them.  They see all the negative self-examination and say “It does me no good to dwell on the past there is nothing I can do about it now its gone.”  To an extent they are spot on and that is the best attitude if a person does not have steps 2,3, 5, 11,12.

Ignoring and repressing guilt will only get us so-far.  Unprocessed emotions will come out of us in the form of criticisms, gossip, verbal attacks on other people, and it will turn bitter inside of our bellies and prompt us to jealousy, envy,  and make us sick.  Repressed guilt turns to shame which turns to fear and hate.  We as recovering addicts need the 12 steps like a fish needs water.  We must not give way to homicidal and suicidal thoughts but instead have the courage to do self-examination and admit our wrongs and then tell someone about it.  We must let the cat out of the bag by doing our Fifth Step which is so important for our emotional recovery.  Our relationship with God is so important but we must have at least one confidant that we can tell anything to.    Where there is no sense of accountability personalities digress.

So how does all this fit in with our finances?  We recognize when and if we are using money to continue somehow our cycle of shame and guilt.  If we learn to work the 12 steps properly and  as women focus on our feelings when doing so and honor them by validating and sharing them in our fifth step we can then let the pain go rather than hold onto it like Gollum held on to the ring….his Precious.  We shall put our emotions into a state of “order” rather than sick and depressive “disorder”.   By admitting that we do experience guilt and shame instead of labeling such feelings weak and shameful we can and will simply grow out of them.

SELF LOATHING

Check google pagerank for recoveryfarmhouse.com

PARADISE FOR THE HELLBOUND BY LAURA EDGAR

PARADISE FOR THE HELLBOUND BY LAURA EDGAR

See Link below

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.net/bible/paradise-for-the-hellbound/
HERE IS A LINK TO THE BOOK IN PROGRESS.  VERY FEW EDITS LEFT TO DO.  THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST.

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.net/bible/paradise-for-the-hellbound/

 

 

A.A. HIGHER POWER

God is a spiritual supercomputer I have run the gambit where religion and spirituality are concerned.   

I believe in Christ He is my higher power.  I use the terms “He” and “Him” even though I believe my Higher Powers are Spirit not flesh.  I also believe they could become flesh anytime they want.  I use the “Him” term because I am just so used to it, I do hope it doesn’t put you off. 

Anyway Before I met Christ I had a prayerful relationship with who I call “God the father”.  Christ brought me closer to, God the Father.  I had one drastic life altering white light experience where I was delivered, yes delivered (one of those religious terms unpalatable to many especially to recovering Catholics & addicts) from a life of deep and twisted addition.  I learned allot about God’s Grace and unconditional Love after I turned my back on Him by sinking into a deep dark and long relapse.  I say I learned much about His grace because he again pulled me from the mire and brought me into the program of AA. 

The first time I got sober due to my white light experience I was also involved in NA.  I didn’t work the steps or get a sponsor.  The second time I got sober I pretty much did everything suggested and learned and worked the steps more thoroughly than most woman I know.  (I can say that because I have worked the 12 steps with countless woman and I know to what depth of awareness they worked.  Granted this doesn’t make me better or of more value than any soul just self-aware.  False humility is not one of my defects I won’t hide behind a mask of false bravado pretending to be unaware of my own accomplishments for fear that acknowledging my progress would be vain or defective.  (Pet-peeve sorry) There is a thing called footwork and I have done plenty of it!  I won’t stand by and say I don’t know anything either as I have seen countless both blessed and knowledgeable men do.  That would be dishonest of me wouldn’t it seeing that I KNOW different.

These misguided attitudes are a luxury to those who perhaps fear that if they did acknowledge any goodness in themselves or acknowledge that they achieved (for lack of a better term) an “A” or “B” level of recovery they would quickly be swept away by the false pride that would send them plummeting to their last and final grave & incomprehensible relapse.  Let me point out that one character defect (false humility) will not protect oneself from another character defect (false-pride).  It’s not the little quirkish traditions of local AA lore that get and keep us sober.  And certainly self-degradation won’t keep me close to God or sober for that matter. 

Let me also clarify what humility really is, it is the awareness of one’s own character flaws or patterns.  We acknowledge these patterns not so we can publicly announce them but rather so we may avoid acting them out.  Sitting in a meeting and stating that I am garbage without God and the program implies that God does make junk.  Do I need God to be good and stay on track?  Hell yes!  However no matter how reliant upon my Higher Power I am cutting myself down openly or privately is a form of condemnation, harsh judgment and criticism. 

Ok back on topic…God the supercomputer.  For us Bible believing folks we like to validate ideas by lining them up with the word.  It’s written that “man was made in the image of God.”  The Bible speaks of the “hand of God” and other various body parts such as His eyes, arm, and mind.  Scientists have proven that our human brains are a computer of sorts.  A fleshly computer to be precise.  In deep meditation I have had many visions but most recently I have had visions that make me believe God can download us mere mortals with any program he wishes.  He can change out our hard drive or do a complete recovery on us.  Is it coincidence that when you clean out a computer it is called a “recovery”?   Ok I know what your thinking…Lori’s cheese has finally fallen off the cracker. Lol!

When I was delivered from addiction the first time around I was clean for years I stayed on a pink cloud for at least a year.  Prior to that I was plagued with anxiety, and panic attacks, I was a heroin and cocaine junky who had to have a shot of dope to get out of bed in the morning.  After one touch from God my thinking was changed dramatically.  I no longer had anxiety or panic attacks.  After one download in a little Baptist church in the meadow.  As windows 8 calls it, by one “refresh” I was set in a direction of service and Love toward mankind.  I received a new operating system with my files or memories left intact.  My resentments were quelled and my sickness abated.  I loved my mother again that in itself was a miracle. 

Let’s face it folks steps 10, 11, and 12 are the maintenance steps when I meditate I get spiritually fed, I get a disk defragging, a disk cleaning, and vital updates.  Why is it different this time clean and sober for me?  Granted I had much joy my first round of sobriety, I learned allot, I changed in a huge way morally and I became Loving but God had only begun my overhaul.  The first time I was sober I didn’t wholeheartedly believe that I was a good child of God.  I believed with my head but my heart deep down was telling me that I was bad and of Satan.  I still carried deep shame within my heart from the sexual abuse I suffered as a child and my actions during years of addiction.  Deep down I knew I would screw things up again.  Why? 

There are three things that I did different this time (I got sober this time in 2006) One; this time I worked the steps with a sponsor honestly and thoroughly, everything came out in my fifth step.  Two, I got empathic recovery therapy and learned how to continually share my true, illogical and fearful heartfelt inner feelings.  People are usually ashamed of their true feelings because nobody (well most people) wants to be vulnerable or be looked upon as different.  The thing is everybody except perhaps true sociopaths have illogical fears and deep child-like feelings that they don’t like about themselves.  So we cover them up with the mask, distractions and lies.  Therapy taught me to vent these feelings so they don’t fester, or turn to rage, and obsession.  Thirdly this time I practiced meditation on a regular basis for the first six years I was sober.  What this did is open my mind to receive God’s blessings.  Meditation improved every aspect of my recovery and most importantly helped heal me both emotionally and spiritually.  

When I say “meditation” I don’t mean picking up a book and reading a passage.  I am talking about the kind of meditation that takes an hour a day to be still, silent, and open.  Meditation when practiced regularly brings a steady flow of continuous spiritual experiences that can move mountains and heal the heart the soul and the mind.

Funny thing…different things have different ways of communicating.  Animals have their own way, humans speak to humans verbally, computers have their own language, electricity speaks to the light bulb and it reacts, the light speaks to our atmosphere and it reacts and becomes visual, the sun speaks to the flower, the moon speaks to the Earth, even water speaks to our bodies and we live.  Action and reaction but how does man speak to God?  Should we use our tongue as if God were a man that has ears…perhaps so but God my friend “looks upon the heart” so it is written.  Should we not try seeking God with words straight from our heart and then talk to Him with our minds as well? 

Seek and you shall find but seek with your hearts language for it is the language of truth absent of all the editing that our mind thinks should be done.  For out of the heart bursts forth the well-springs of life.  Eternal Life“  

What is logical to the mind is folly to the heart and what is truth to the heart is valid to God.”   

CHARACTER ASSASINATION

CHARACTER ASSASINATION

The temptation to assassinate the character of he who has done me wrong is huge when I am hurt and fuming with anger.

Hurt people hurt people.

I want to lash out badly but I am responsible for processing my own pain and lashing out is counter productive to my own healing.  A good cry on the other hand sends poison gushing out of my heart along with the tears.  Strange yes but that does not make it less true.  Crying brings emotional order where there has been emotional disorder.

I have the resources to blast my perceived enemy into dust!  However if I were to scream from the hilltops their continued debauchery…sure that just might hurt them.  But it’s me unfortunately that I would really be hurting and its me that I especially do not want to hurt.

Spiritual laws are not earthly laws.  Spiritual laws are magic and silent consequences that occur when I wrong someone but it’s me who receives the inevitable occurring spiritual consequence.  What trumps Karma…not a whole lot.  (Only “Grace” trumps Karma.  To not receive the horrid consequences of my wrongs, that is Grace.)  Spiritual consequences do happen just like emotional, physical, and other earthly consequences.

Once I realized that character flaws and defects hurt me when I am mean to people or wrong them more than anyone else I was not so tempted to act out.  The good part is when I do a good deed or in AA language “the next right thing” I receive the good karma for it.  “We reap what we sew.”  “What comes around goes around”.   “With the yardstick we use to judge others the same will be used to judge us.

SPONSORSHIP AND SPEAKER MEETINGS

When we go to the jails and institutions and share our experience, strength, and hope, we are strengthened.  Oftentimes it helps us more than it helps others.

Do not worry, we may not see anyone getting sober around us as a result of our sponsorship or sharing.  Oftentimes we just don’t know the good we have done for others.  But the bottom line is; we simply are not remembering that we are the one who is still sober and that is the fruit of our labor.  As far as the spiritual Karma of our good works, we will receive ten or a hundred fold in good spiritual blessings for that which we have given from our hearts.  Spiritually it is always “better to give than to receive”.

Sexual Abuse and addiction

Addiction is a symptom of childhood sexual abuse.

Is it just coincidence that every woman I have known in AA and in NA were sexually abused as children?

Why is it that some people commit suicide after being sober for years at a time?  I am sure each person has their own reasons for suicide but what if we work the steps, go to lots of meetings, work with others, and are active in the inner workings of AA but are still depressed and have intense anxiety?  When it comes to deep emotional trauma, sexual abuse, and the mental issues resulting from that trauma unless you have a sponsor who is a therapist as well AA will not be enough to clear the demons eating at you from the inside out.  When we lash out at those we love most in this world there is something inside us that needs attention.   It just means that AA is not equipped to address the emotional issues that a survivor of abuse in recovery will suffer.  Getting sober brings up all the emotional pains and shames that we have been trying to stuff down for so long.  Many people would rather continue stuffing their memories and feelings down and just accept a diagnosis of “anxiety disorder” or “bi-polar” or depressive disorder rather than work on the underlying reason for their addiction.  It’s understandable...feeling the pain that is responsible for our ongoing misery is a horrifying concept.  Most people just want to let sleeping dogs lie.  I think mainly because they don’t realize that if they could delve into their past and really cry, scream, and share about all of their core issues with God’s help they would heal.

Why refuse help when it’s available.  Why refuse to pray when God has helped so many.  Why refuse therapy and procrastinate when empathic therapy has helped so many.  And lastly….why refuse to go to AA and throw ourselves into the program with every bit of gumption we can muster up?  

AA works, therapy and addressing core issues works, God works.  Jesus came for the sinner and the sick.  He is the Higher Power that answered my call.  He came into the world not to condemn the world but rather that the world may be saved

Please don’t end up like one of those bitter old-timers angry because he is tortured inside and can’t bear the thought of either drinking or continuing his life.

True joy comes from God, peace of mind comes from God.  We can work with others till we are blue in the face but what’s inside of us will come out sideways if we don’t express it emotionally and share.

We have a right to be content no matter how low or how many bottoms we have had.  With the three keys of God, AA, and therapy we have a chance.

 

There is nothing wrong with getting outside help.  It does not mean that AA doesn’t work we don’t have to be jealous over AA.  AA won’t get it’s feelings hurt if we get help from religion and therapy.  And believe me by religion I do meant God & The Holy Spirit.  In spite of whatever name you choose to call God if you seek with your heart your heart will receive and find.  It’s not our intellect that needs a healing if it was we could go online and do computer exercises to build our brains up.  If we want to build up our muscles we work out with our muscles.  Active addicts are spiritually sick in their hearts and it is our heart that needs the healing.  I don’t mean our physical heart.  So we seek God, we work the steps, and we go to therapy and open up with our true feelings and our true thoughts.  

 

Disease dis-ease causes and conditions

Is addiction a real disease?

I guess that depends on your definition of the word.

But did the word originate somehow from the word dis-ease.

Not in any language study I can find.

The word disease did not originate from dis ease contrary to popular AA lore. It does however have Greek & Latin origin words with definitions that are complex. These core Latin and Greek words mean suffering, various “opathy’s” disease type categories including psychopath(y) neuropath(y), and feelings, empathy, sympathy and various “pathy’s”.

However like the word dishwasher the “dis” is not a prefix meaning “separated from” as it occurs in the word discomfort and other words like it.

The word disease’s core definition is not dis-ease. Here’s Mirriam Websters def.dis·ease noun \di-ˈzēz\
: an illness that affects a person, animal, or plant : a condition that prevents the body or mind from working normally

: a problem that a person, group, organization, or society has and cannot stop.
I will stop you right there Mirriam by saying there are allot of things that society can’t stop yet we do not define them a disease. That’s a poor definition Mirriam.

SHAME BEGINS AT A VERY YOUNG AGE BUT I WON’T GET INTO THAT.

Addiction is a spiritual malady because of our own moral boundaries that we cross when addicted. These rationals result in deep and embedded shame and guilt which cause the need for further numbing of feelings.

Addicts are experts at denial…it’s an emotional survival skill. Deep denial leads to self delusion meaning we often end up being blind to what’s really going on with us and our emotions.

Addiction is also an emotional sickness because of emotional disorder or an inability to regularly engage in healthy emotional processes like crying or sharing deep feelings pile up in us.

IT IS VITAL TO LEARN HOW TO REACH OUT AND SHARE, TO LEARN HOW TO CRY OR BEAT THE BAG, JOURNAL, SCREAM IN THE CAR (ALL EMOTIONAL OUTLETS) IF WE ARE GOING TO SURVIVE SOBRIETY WITHOUT VIEWING SUICIDE AS A SOLUTION AT SOME POINT OR RELAPSE OR ALIENATE EVERYONE WE LOVE BY BLAMING THEM FOR THE WAY WE FEEL INSIDE.
IT TAKES ENERGY TO PROCESS REPRESSED EMOTIONS. DEPRESSION IS HURT TURNED TO – ANGER WITHOUT ENTHUSIASM.
In my opinion

PS part of the cure is not drinking.

THE SAME MAN WILL DRINK AGAIN & STEP THREE

 

THE SAME MAN WILL DRINK AGAIN…BUT WHAT WILL THE CHANGED MAN DO?  And how do we know that we are really changed?  Initially the first real proof that we have done step three right or with our heart is that we will continue on and do the rest of the steps especially a thorough step four.

“The evidence of the Spirit of God is Love”.  How do we know that our third step prayer has taken hold?  How do we act after our Higher Power gives us the psychic change that will keep us from self-destructing?

One huge misconception among the church folk and early born-again Christians is that once God has delivered, healed, and made us new we will no longer sin, be unhappy, get depressed or cry.  Even the Bible’s versus imply that we shall “go and sin no more.”  Big mistake to expect perfection and perpetual joy from any human being no matter how intense their white light experience has been.  This view of somehow being born of Spirit and then sinning no more is exactly what drives many baby Christians into shame and isolation.  Oh how those of the church Love to put on their Sunday go to meeting masks and pretend they are sinless, while all the time engaging in the worst flavor of sin called judgments and hypocrisy.  Surely that is what drove many a man away from the church and crawling into the bosom of AA.  Where they find the same God under different labels and precepts…the same God nevertheless.  After-all how can we relate to a room full of perfect lives?  Of course we don’t fit in!

What’s in a label if the heart is in the right place?  “God looks upon the heart.”  Or so it is written.  God jealous?  Really?  I surmise that God, He, She, or It doesn’t mind being called by different names as long as He is called.  “Seek and ye SHALL find.”  Personally I believe that when a heart seeks its God, its God will answer.

Perfection and constant joy are off the table!  Next, what about all those yummy and sweet fluffy scriptures about “Love” in the book of 1st John about if we Love we know we are in Christ but if we hate we are of the devil?  Being “of” or “in” Satan or Christ really just means we have choices and free will to choose with fear or Love.  Yikes…Being Loving all the time is off the table as well I don’t care how deeply you were touched by the Great Spirit of God.  As long as we are in our human flesh we will feel resentment even after we have done a thorough fourth step.  So the changed man knows the solutions for resentment while our old man or addict man stays in the blame.  The changed many does not condemn himself for having a resentment.  He acknowledged it and does what it takes to expel it.

Loving all the time is off the table!  But wait a minute?  What then does happen after a spiritual awakening and intense white light experience or even a mild touch from the Great Spirit?

We will Love ourselves and others a little more.  We will seek out emotionally nurturing solutions to our emotional disorder.  We will care for and help others a little more.  We will no longer view alcohol as a solution to our feelings.  We will reach out for the solutions that we learn in AA instead of sitting in the problem and spinning around.  After absorbing enough meetings, working the twelve steps and establishing enough sober relationships we will have developed a set of coping skills that will steer us through our emotional upheavals without drinking or smoking crack.  We will have a self-awareness called a conscience that we will have learned to listen to (most of the time anyway).  We will have learned that The Twelve Steps are all tools to pick up and use at any time especially when we have a resentment or are bungled up with fear.

The changed man is humble not self-condemning.  That changed man Loves his brother and does not take hostages.  The changed man takes responsibility for his actions rather than blaming others for them.  The changed man cries a little, laughs a little, and continually relies on his Higher Power rather than pretending to be a Higher Power.  The changed man teaches by example rather than emotional punishment and control-ism. 

The changed man knows that he has a choice.

WE DO HAVE A CHOICE OF HOW WE DO OUR STEP ELEVEN AND WHAT FLAVOR THIRD STEP PRAYER WE BELIEVE IN.  HERE ARE SOME OF THE MOST POPULAR THIRD STEP PRAYER VARIATIONS BY VARIOUS FAITHS.  THANK YOU FRIENDS OF BILL W.  http://friendsofbillw.net/third_step_prayers

Third Step Prayers

The following prayer is the third step prayer found in the Big Book and used by Bill W.:
God, I offer myself to Thee To build with me & 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 & Thy way of life.
May I do Thy will always.

 

However, there are numerous third steps prayers used as part of the program of recovery, including those used by Dr. Bob and Clarence S.  There are also third step prayers for each religion or faith.  While the ones on this site show a sampling of these prayers, it is by no means exhaustive.

Here is a list of the third step prayers I have encountered over the years: Dr. Bob, Clarence S., NA, Native American, Christian, Buddhist, Wiccan, Eastern Orthodox, Jewish, Baha’i, Universalist, Catholic, Set Aside Prayer, Before Getting Out of Bed. Again, this is by no means a complete list, it is just an example of the different types of third step prayers used today.

Native American 3rd Step Prayer

(short version)
Great Spirit,
whose voice I hear in the wind,
whose breath gives life to the world,
Hear me.
I come to you as one of your many children,
I am small & weak,
I need your strength & wisdom.
May I walk in beauty.
And how my life is unmanageable.
I need to learn & remember that
I have an incurable illness & that
bstinence is the only way to deal with it.

Long Version

Oh Great Spirit whose voice in the winds I hear,
And whose breath gives life to all the world-
Hear me.
Before you I come
One of your many children.
I am small & weak.
Your strength & wisdom I need.
Let me walk in beauty & make my eyes ever behold the sunset.
Make my heart respect all You have made,
& my ears sharp to hear Your voice.
Make me wise that I may know all You have taught my people,
The lessons You have hidden in every rock.
I seek strength, not to be superior to my brother,
but to fight my greatest enemy – myself.
Make me ready to stand before You with clean & straight eyes,
So when life fades as the fading sunset,
may my spirit stand before You without shame.
Mitakuye Oyasin

Third Step Prayer (Alcoholics Anonymous)

God, I offer myself to Thee
To build with me & 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 & Thy way of life.
May I do Thy will always!

3rd Step Prayer

Take my will & my life,
Guide me in my recovery,
Show me how to live.

3rd Step Prayer (Jewish)

Grant me inner peace…, Let my body be completely subordinate to my soul & have no other will or desire but to follow the desire of the holy soul, which is to do Your will.
Let peace reign between my soul & my body. Let my body be sanctified & purified until it becomes united with the holy soul & I carry out all Your commandments & do everything You want of me, body & soul, willingly & with great joy.

Let my body & soul unite in love & peace to do Your will sincerely, until I attain complete inner harmony & am ready to order my prayer before You perfectly. Let my prayer rise before You like the incense & perfect sacrifices offered by those who are whole & perfect.

3rd Step Prayer (Dr. Bob)

Dear God, I’m sorry about the mess I’ve made of my life. I want to turn away from all the wrong things I’ve ever done and all the wrong things I’ve ever been. Please forgive me for it all. I know You have the power to change my life and can turn me into a winner. Thank You, God for getting my attention long enough to interest me in trying it Your way. God, please take over the management of my life and everything about me. I am making this conscious decision to turn my will and my life over to Your care and am asking You to please take over all parts of my life. Please, God, move into my heart. However You do it is Your business, but make Yourself real inside me and fill my awful emptiness. Fill me with your love and Holy Spirit and make me know Your will for me. And now, God, help Yourself to me and keep on doing it. I’m not sure I want You to, but do it anyhow. I rejoice that I am now a part of Your people, that my uncertainty is gone forever, and that You now have control of my will and my life. Thank You and I praise Your name. Amen.

Third Step Prayer (Clarence S.)

Lord, I ask that you guide and direct me, and that I have decided to turn my life and will over to you. To serve You and to dedicate my life to You. I thank you Lord, I believe that if I ask this in prayer, I shall receive what I have asked for. Thank you God. Amen.

Third Step Prayer, Life With Hope

Higher Power,
I have tried to control the uncontrollable for far too long.
I acknowledge that my life is unmanageable.
I ask for your care and guidance.
Grant me honesty, courage, humility, and serenity,
to face that which keeps me from you and others.
I give this life to you to do with as you will.

EASTERN ORTHODOX

O Lord, grant me to greet the coming day in peace, help me in all things to rely upon your holy will. In every hour of the day reveal your will to me. Bless my dealings with all who surround me. Teach me to treat all that comes to throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that your will governs all. In all my deeds and words, guide my thoughts and feelings. In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by you. Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring. Direct my will, teach me to pray. And you, yourself, pray in me. Amen.

Christian Prayer

Dear Lord JESUS, I thank You for this day.
I thank You for my being able to see and to hear this morning.
I’m blessed because You are a forgiving God and an understanding God.
You have done so much for me and You keep on blessing me.
Forgive me this day for everything I have done, said or thought

that was not pleasing to you.
I ask now for Your forgiveness.
Please keep me safe from all danger and harm.
Help me to start this day with a new attitude and plenty of gratitude.
Let me make the best of each and every day to clear my mind

so that I can hear from You.
Please broaden my mind that I can accept all things.
Let me not whine and whimper over things I have no control over.
Let me continue to see through God’s eyes and see his people with love.
And when I sin, let me repent, and confess with my mouth my wrongdoing, and receive the forgiveness of God.
And when this world closes in on me, let me remember Jesus’ example –
to slip away and find a quiet place to pray.
It’s the best response when I’m pushed beyond my limits.
I know that when I can’t pray, You listen to my heart.
Continue to use me to do Your will.
Continue to bless me that I may be a blessing to others.
Keep me strong that I may help the weak.
Keep me uplifted that I may have words of encouragement for others.
I pray for those that are lost and can’t find their way.
I pray for those that are misjudged and misunderstood.
I pray for those who don’t know you intimately.
I pray for those that will delete this without sharing it with others.
I pray for those that don’t believe.
But I thank you that I believe.
I believe that God changes people and God changes things.
I pray for all my sisters and brothers.
For each and every family member in their households.
I pray for peace, love and joy in their homes that they are out of debt

and all their needs are met.
I pray that every eye that reads this knows there is no problem, circumstance, or situation greater than God.
Every battle is in Your hands for You to fight.
I pray that these words be received into the hearts of every eye that sees them and every mouth that confesses them willingly.

Wiccan Prayer

I know the Laws of Nature are you, Lady.
Keep me mindful that I step upon Your Body,
with your feet,
that my sorrows are Your sorrows,
and that a healthy priest makes all things sound.
I feel Your breath in the wind, and Your hand in mine.
Keep me sincere.
Give me Your work,
which is to be joyous,
and to tend all things, because all things live, of themselves,
and with Your spirit.Your will through mine, so mote it be.

Buddhist Prayer

With every breath I take today,
I vow to be awake;

And every step I take,
I vow to take with a grateful heart–

So I may see with eyes of love
into the hearts of all I meet,

To ease their burden when I can
And touch them with a smile of peace

I take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha
Until I attain Enlightenment.
By merit accumulations from practicing generosity and the other perfections
May I attain Enlightenment, for the benefit of all sentient beings.

Bahai Prayer

O my God and my Master! I am Thy servant and the son of Thy servant. I have risen from my couch at this dawntide when the Daystar of Thy oneness hath shone forth from the Dayspring of Thy will, and hath shed its radiance upon the whole world, according to what had been ordained in the Books of Thy Decree.
Praise be unto Thee, O my God, that we have wakened to the splendors of the light of Thy knowledge. Send down, then, upon us, O my Lord, what will enable us to dispense with anyone but Thee, and will rid us of all attachment to aught except Thyself. Write down, moreover, for me, and for such as are dear to me, and for my kindred, man and woman alike, the good of this world and the world to come. Keep us safe, then, through Thine unfailing protection, O Thou the Beloved of the entire creation and the Desire of the whole universe, from them whom Thou hast made to be the manifestations of the Evil Whisperer, who whisper in men’s breasts. Potent art Thou to do Thy pleasure. Thou art, verily, the Almighty, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.

Bless Thou, O Lord my God, Him Whom Thou hast set over Thy most excellent Titles, and through Whom Thou hast divided between the godly and the wicked, and graciously aid us to do what Thou lovest and desirest. Bless Thou, moreover, O my God, them Who are Thy Words and Thy Letters, and them who have set their faces towards Thee, and turned unto Thy face, and hearkened to Thy Call. Thou art, truly, the Lord and King of all men, and art potent over all things.
Bahullh

Unitarian Universalist Prayer

I know little of who you are. I know little of your plan. I can understand only specks of your power. I cannot begin to comprehend all of what you are. But this I know. You do not give love, you are love. You do not project beauty, you are beauty. You do not allow hope, you are hope. You do not lend strength, you are strength. All that is good is your gift. All that is bad is the consequence of man s attempt to reject or mold you. The solutions to my problems, my fears, and my shame are all found in you.

All things I wish to be come from my desire to be closer to you. I see you every time I see the light shining through a tree. I see you every time a sunset or mountain vista takes my breath away. I hear you ever time I open myself to the wonder of life. I feel you every time my heart fills with joy and love. I doubt you only when I allow fear, and greed, and selfishness to assume the power to control me. I know that if I allow you in my life I feel peace. When I embrace you I feel love. When I seek you I find strength.
Father, show me the way to serenity so that I may be of help to others. Show me the way to responsibility so that I may give to others.

Mother, show me the path to compassion so that I may comfort others. Show me the path to healing so I may help others heal themselves.

Grandfather, show me the road to wisdom so that I may teach others. Show me the road to strength so that I may carry others until they can carry themselves.

Grandmother, show me how to feel love so that I may love others. Show me forgiveness so that I may forgive myself and others.

God, help me remove the blinders of self-will. Help me see what is true. Teach me so that I can be of service. Free me from fear, from hate, from greed, from discontent so that I may contribute myself to your work. Allow me to see what you would have me do and grant me the strength to follow through. Without you I am empty. With you at my side I am whole.

Thank You.

Catholic Prayer

Father, Help me know Your will through the spiritual wisdom and understanding that comes from the Spirit so I may live a life worthy of You, pleasing You in every way. Help me to bear fruit, to influence others’ lives in every good thing I do. May I constantly be growing in my understanding of who You are and in my awareness of how You work in the world.

Help me offermyself as a living sacrifice, desiring not to live like those who are giving in to the ways of the world but to be totally changed by the renewing of my mind. Then I will be able to know Your willYour good, pleasing, and perfect will.

May I yield my will to Yours and set my hearts on doing Your will. Help me set aside my own desires, seeking only Your will, standing firm and keeping on in Your strength. Help me be strong and not give up no matter what happens filled with joy and thanksgiving.

May I have no other desire than Yours. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Prayer of St. Francis Assisi

Lord, Make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
Where there is discord, harmony.
Where there is error, truth.
Where there is wrong, the spirit of forgiveness.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console.
To be understood as to understand.
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Dear Lord,
So far Ive done all right.
I havent gossiped,
havent lost my temper,
havent been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or overindulgent.
Im really glad about that.
But in a few minutes, God,
Im going to get out of bed,
and from then on,
Im going to need a lot more help.

The Serenity Prayer

God Grant me the Serenity
to accept the things
I cannot change,
the courage to
change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know
the difference.

Living one day at a time
Enjoying one moment at a time.
Accepting hardship as
the pathway to Peace.

Taking as He did,
this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it.

Trusting that He
will make it right;
If I surrender to His will.
That I may be reasonably
happy in this life,
and supremely happy
with Him forever
in the next.

THIS TOO SHALL PASS

This Too Shall Pass

Things get difficult sometimes.  

Disaster is a test of our character.  If we show Love and respect in spite of our troubles we show good character. After we

have been sober for a few years we no longer feed on Kayos.  We no longer need catastrophes, disasters, and general negative distractions as a solution to our inner pain.  When we work the steps honestly and thoroughly we release the guilt & shame that tortures our emotional condition.  When we work step twelve we learn to communicate in a respectful way with others.  We don’t have to keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.  We have learned to love peace

Long story short at two years sober if we have done the work we will prefer peace of mind and the peace of God over problems and upset.  And in our new sober life we live & work to get the things we need to be comfortable.  Unfortunately sometimes disaster occurs even though we are doing all the right things.  Uncomfortable things happen and it strikes fear in our hearts. 

Stuff is beyond our control.  Life happens, life on life’s terms is hard at times.  During difficult time we can usually say “this too shall pass” knowing that negative life changing events are only temporary.

Faith is easier said than done.  Building faith is not easy.  We tell ourselves that God has our back and this disaster will work out for the better.  We hope that somehow our disaster will make life easier in the long run.  We visualize that we will grow emotionally and spiritually from our struggles.

We band together with our loved one’s when disaster strikes.  Taking our stress out on those closest to us must be a thing of the past.  We show understanding and empathy toward our loved ones during their trouble instead of attacking each other.  We grant our partners grace and forgive them if they do project there problems onto us as if we were the cause of their plight.  We must not be driven by fear!  We are there for one another and if we stick together disaster strengthens our bonds.

AA How Addiction Effects Our Children

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____________________

 

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.

 

 

 

 

HOPE IS A PRELUDE TO FAITH

What is “hope”?

Hope is a spiritual gift straight from our Higher Power

What is hope?  Hope says, “everything will be alright” when things may not look so good.   Without a little fear there is no need for hope.  Hope is present when courage is in action.     Hope accommodates peace of mind.   We rest in the hope that God has our back even though we may have some doubts.    When we practice hope regularly “HOPE IS A PRELUDE TO FAITH”.

Undeniably  we addicts have our trust issues.   Fear is as natural as faith.  When faith takes over our fear, hope, & doubts disappear with a dose of new faith and trust in our Higher Power that the unknown really will be OK.  Let’s face it…the future can be a scary thing but hope takes that fear of the unknown and eventually  turns it into faith & trust  mixed with a little desire.

Hope is a spiritual gift grouped with Love and Faith as the greatest gifts.

We must remember to allow hope to live in us because the opposite of Hope is hopelessness which is accompanied by depression and a lack of Love for life.  We Nurture the Hope that we are given so it will transform into a faith that will move mountains.

Step Five of Alcoholics Anonymous (2)

Topics: Fear Not, Step three and Step Five of Alcoholics Anonymous

HELP LINE

Suicide rate statistics among addicts.

“Fear not” is easier said than done. We need to learn the 12 step tools and especially invoke step three to keep fear at bay. There is no shame in revisiting a third step to remind us that God has our back! One of the first things we do when beginning our walk in sober school is identify, seek, and find a Higher Power.  Step five in the Big Book is the magic step that alleviates our guilt & shame but make no mistake, it is not a one-time job!  Unless of coarse your perfect or sociopath.

 

John 14:27
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  “
They say that the most used phrase in the Bible is “fear not”

 

The psychological make-up of an addict

Many of us when we were very small children were often told by parents that we had nothing to be afraid of when we expressed our intense child-like fears. Unfortunately during our forthright expression of true feelings our parents often implied by their lack of empathy and understanding that our fears were not only unfounded but ridiculous and perhaps absurd. These adults knew no better. 

Parents do not usually know that some validation of our feelings along with comfort and logic was necessary for our emotional health. Therefore our intense little feelings were invalidated, we felt “wrong” for being afraid.   After-all our parents knew best how we should feel so our fears must be wrong.  But instead of that making our fears go away it motivated us to hide our fears for shame.  My parents used shame to control me.  They used shame to oppress me and steal my dreams and hopes.

What’s worse once we got to pre and elementary school we found out just what kind of people express their fears openly. We learned about the scaredy-cats, the chicken-shits, the pussies and the yellow-bellies. We learned that people who express any form of fear will be ostracized greatly by their fellows and friends.   We must be bad we must be wrong!

And so we learned to stuff down those big fears into our guts, we learned to act, and we learned to put on the mask of fearlessness.   No-one would call us cry-baby again!  Ever!  We learned, even…to shut off our tears.  Showing any kind of hurt emotional or physical would label us weak.  So we turned our hurts to anger.  Who could blame us…we didn’t want to be labelled by everyone.  Between our parents and our school-mates we were really left with very few people if any in whom we could confide our true feelings so we could let them out. 

Most of us women in addiction were sexually abused as children.  We hid the feelings from that away as well…deep in our bowels lie the pain and hurt of a wounded, neglected, and abused child.  We did not trust that our feelings were right therefore we could not trust our parents to tell them what happened…or maybe our parents are the culprits of the abuse.  Either way we had no adult to confide with about the abuse and the feelings of self-loathing that resulted from it.

AND SO GOES THE STORY OF THE TYPICAL ADDICTS EMOTIONS…expression of feelings was off the table so what would we do with all those feelings inside us that were ready & able to cause an explosion of wrath.  We usually weren’t cruel people we didn’t want to take out our feelings on others so we beat ourselves up for being who we were.

We developed a voice in our head that screamed at us for things we said and did and things we didn’t say and do.  We became our own worst enemy. 

The self-hate, the anxiety, and the depression that we felt had to stop! 

SO WE MEDICATED!  After-all the last thing we would do is confide in someone so they could turn around and use it against us!

Ohhhh how the drugs worked, ohhhh how they made us feel better…for a while anyway!

Robin Williams-an addict in recovery hung himself today.  Why would anyone with all that money, in the program, sober for quite some time want to kill himself?

“Our liquor was but a symptom, so we had to get down to causes and conditions.”

I have a friend who is a therapist and in 12 step recovery.  He loves both programs.  But he has quoted me shocking numbers of addicts/alcoholics in a 12 step program who have committed suicide.  The statistics are staggering.  What you will find behind the statistics is an ability to express and share negative feelings. .  My friend insists that all his sponcees do regular fifth-steps in meetings by telling “WHAT HAPPENED AND HOW IT MADE ME FEEL.” 

FEELINGS ARE NOT AN OUTSIDE ISSUE, THE SOLUTIONS DO NOT LIE IN SHUTTING DOWN OUR FEELINGS AND PRETENDING THEY DON’T EXIST.

“WE ARE AS SICK AS OUR SECRETS”

WE MUST FIND AT LEAST ONE PERSON WE CAN TELL ANYTHING TO.

IN THE U.S. SUICIDE STATISTICS FAR OUTWEIGH OTHER COUNTRIES.

 

The solutions to anxiety and depression are simple but not easy.  You can find them on my website:

HTTPS://WWW.RECOVERYFARMHOUSE.COM

 

AA OLD TIMERS

 AA OLD TIMERS

& A LOOK A STEP 12

 

THE CARROT”

It’s the way of some of the AA old-timers to go to an extreme by denying that their emotions exist.  They confuse emotions such as anger or hurt with character defects.  A feeling is not a defect again I say it comes from our heart which is a place of truth.  Actions are the only things that come under the heading of “character defect” .  These old crotchety types will teach the new-comer that crying is self-pity and that expressing hurt from being wronged under any circumstance no matter how horrific is always a character defect in us

POET & SONGWRITER  JOHN MELLENCAMP          EXCERPT FROM “PINK HOUSES”

 “Oh but ain’t that America, for you and me

 Ain’t that America, we’re something to see baby

Ain’t that America, home of the free, yeah

Little pink houses, for you and me,

oh baby for you and me 

Well there’s people and more people

What do they know, know, know

Go to work in some high rise

And vacation down at the Gulf of Mexico

Ooo yeah”

What do we do after we have processed our painful traumatic pasts, we have a new set of friends in AA, we have let our feelings out, talked about them and the circumstances surrounding our feelings, (make no mistake it is vital we express both our feelings and the circumstances that surround them,) we wrote about same, identified & related with others about same, talked about our shame, and thoroughly worked our steps, we have reconnected with God YET we feel bored.   We feel something needs to be done, its as if the spark is gone from our recovery and all we do is work, work, work!  

So, I tell my partner “Partner” I say, “I am bored and feeling unfulfilled because I must work, work, and work some more!”   He says to me; “partner, set your eyes upon the CARROT” .  He jogs my memory by his suggestion.  I had forgotten how valuable the carrot is for me emotionally and how it improves my attitude.  And so I do just that.  I work, work, work, and keep my thoughts on my up and coming “vacation down at the Gulf of Mexico Oh yea!   I pack my camera, my bathing suit, I buy a $3 raft and I am on my way!  Yaay!!  I have worked and I deserve a rest to reflect, revitalize, and remember how good life really is!

And yes, the next paragraph of the song by the way talks about “the pills that kill” but I shall save that for my next article on that and the choice of taking meds for pain, anti-depressants, psych meds etc. while in recovery.  If I can’t go to the gulf then I will go to the local springs or wherever I can get with nature and be refreshed.  I count my blessings and am filled with gratitude when I get close to God’s natural creations and then I do it all over again. 

Step Twelve work gives me a purpose when I share the solutions at meetings.  AAers need to talk about what is going on with them.  It is not our place to shut anyone down who needs to express their emotional pain. Recovery is about learning what to do with our emotions not pretending we don’t have emotions.  Staying in emotional denial feeds anxiety, fear, and secret-keeping.  We are as sick as our secrets and that includes secret emotions.  

It’s the way of some of the old-timers to go to an extreme by denying that their emotions exist.  They confuse emotions such as anger or hurt with character defects.  A feeling is not a defect again I say it comes from our heart which is a place of truth.  Actions are the only things that come under the heading of “character defect” .  These old crotchety types will teach the new-comer that crying is self-pity and that expressing hurt from being wronged under any circumstance no matter how horrific is always a character defect in us.  

Oftentimes alcoholics have been sexually and emotionally abused as children and have never had the chance to express the pain associated with the abuse.  Getting sober will always bring those deep pains to the surface so we need an outlet.  God gave us tears for a reason and crying is absolutely a part of the healthy emotional process.    We who have learned the remedy for addiction share the solutions for the newcomers pain in meetings and that is a twelfth step action.  

 We gain fulfillment by sharing in meeting however it can get old continually  being around negativity especially when we just want to enjoy life and stay on a positive train of thought.  Nothing wrong with taking a break from meetings when we know how to live the program.  

When we vacation down at the Gulf of Mexico we get to go to out-of-town meetings that are new and different.  That in itself is a positive change. 

And so we use the carrot as one of our survival tools for the good life  in recovery.

A THOUGHT: Yep acceptance is a part of healing. Where there is no acceptance there is denial., However denial is also one of the stages of healing. Denial keeps us alive until we are ready to face past traumas and process or cry them out…or scream…or write…or punch the bag.

 

OLDTIMER SNIP

Step Eleven

STEP ELEVEN AND NATURE

GREAT PLACE TO DO STEP ELEVEN MEDITATION, AT THE BEACH, OR AT A CHURCH THAT HAS A GROTTO.

Step Eleven in the Big Book can be done at a deep level or a very shallow one.  Find a place in nature to sit still and seep your Higher Power with your heart.  Prayer and meditation are so beneficial to anyone trying to stay sober.  Only God can heal a broken heart by His mighty Spirit.  Labels are not important.  God looks upon the heart.

HOW TO MEDITATE   

This is one of the few posts that has copyright laws in place.  It was taken from the the book “PARADISE FOR THE HELLBOUND” BY Laura R. Edgar  You are welcome to copy it but please remember to give credit to the writer.  Thank you

 

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”

 

The places that I go during meditation are a “secret place” where God abides where it is just He (She,It,The I Am) and I.

 

I start by finding a quiet serene place away from distractions.  I light a candle and drink some water sometimes I light incense.  Often I use my favorite precious stones/crystals as listed in Revelation chapter 21:10-21 to aid in my meditation, Jasper stone sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, sardius, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprasus, jacinth, and amethyst.  John the Revelator who wrote the Book of Revelation mentions all these stones as “most precious”.  Sometimes I put a stone on my forehead or my throat.  There are seven spots on the human body believed by many through the ages to be centers of spiritual power or energy power points of my body.  My body is the temple of God and the stones are most precious therefore, I do not accept that using such sacred and natural objects to seek God is evil or witchcraft.  I believe using crystals just makes for a stronger connection to the beyond.  They are tools like many other tools used by man to aid in spiritual exercises.  Such as anointing oil, prayer cloths, crosses, statues, etc.  The goal is to empty my mind so I can hear God’s direction and receive whatever blessings await me supernaturally.

 

Lying down with my crystals on or around me I consider my most recent interactions with people because these thoughts are usually foremost in my mind.  After processing my interactions if need be I clear up any guilt or shame by repentance and plan my amends if merited.  Once I have cleared my conscience I spread my arms and invite Jesus and the Holy Spirit in, I pray for God to help me meditate.  I ask God that I may His will and to bestow upon me the power to do His will.  If I fear Satan or his demons, I pray the protection of the blood of Christ.  I then pray the Lords prayer visualizing every sentence in my mind.  I picture God in Heaven; I picture His kingdom alive in me and on Earth and so on.  When my mind drifts toward worries of this world I reel it back in and start again, each sentence of the Lords Prayer can be visualized.  I picture myself kneeling in front of the throne of God as I pray the Lords prayer.  I may have to reel my mind in several times to get to the end of the mantra.  The key is perseverance to make my mind stay focused on the prayer mantra.

 

I remember when I first started practicing meditation, as I laid still I felt such horrible energy clawing inside me.  Candidly put it felt like I had an alien or demon inside my body.  It was so hard to be still with no chaos or confusion to distract me from my feelings.  I pressed on sometimes I had to moan to release the energy inside my body.  Sometimes memories came up that needed to be resolved or processed.  I use the exercises of writing and sharing when this happens.  Meditation will give you the self-knowledge to clear up emotional issues and clear up your chakras.

 

I practiced meditation like this for quite some time until I was able with God’s help to clear my mind of all clutter and noise quickly and easily.  When my mind became quiet, I began to have visions and travel to beautiful, exciting places.  After a couple years of practice, I travelled to a place during meditation where I met my spirit guides.  My Guides are a group of beings whose purpose is to help me fulfill the will of God in my life.  My Spirit Guides are appointed by God to make my life easier and more fulfilling.  We all have them though most people do not stop and seek long enough to meet them.

 

I practice meditation as often as I want.  It is best for me if I do it on a regular basis.  If I get away from it for a while, it takes time to clear the clutter and noise from my mind to get back to a quiet mind.  When I let up on meditation, I tend to become more worrisome, agitated, and impatient.  I react to people abruptly and have less self-restraint and control.  When I let up on meditation, I may become fearful again.  It is amazing how much it benefits me when I lie on my bed, spread my arms, and show God all of my heart.  Meditation is communing with God.  Meditation is listening to God.  Meditation is seeking God at a higher level.

 

First Corinthians 1:9

“God [is] faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”

 

Remember the only explanation we have of why we were created is to commune with God.  Meaning to glorify Him, to praise him, to cry to Him and to listen and talk to Him.

 

Let Him get to know you at a deeper level.   We will never be free of human nature while we are human.  It is ok that we are not perfect before God.  We can still approach Him dragging our guilt and shame behind us.  I notice many times when I get close to God in this way it provokes crying and then I feel such relief from stress and worry.

 

Meditation starts with being able to focus on one thing, the mantra.  Then the next phase you will notice with your minds eye is the presence of a black space or black energy this is the place of doors, windows and who knows what all.  There is nothing for us in that region of black except the doors God is pleased to let us walk through.  Let your mind travel past the dark into the lighted visions of beauty and Hope.

 

Once you allow yourself to take time and seek God in this way, your astral-travel will come naturally.  Just as a child learns to walk, we can learn to travel with our higher awareness one-step at a time.

 

Supernatural travel starts in the black…  I want to call that black “outer space” but It may be a place of consciousness void of actual physical “space” by our earthly terms however it looks like dark outer space.  I usually see crosses and triangles in the black, which represent my own personal symbols of Christ and religion.  The triangle is about fellowship, unity, and sharing what God has done for me.  You will probably see something similar that has meaning for you in that place.  These shapes are somehow the door which I pass through into other realms.  Focus on your door then allow your mind to move on from there. You will not have to travel through the black darkness to get to the light it is more as if you hit hyper-drive into God’s realm in a split second once you find your personal door.

 

Sometimes I fall asleep during meditation that is good I must have needed the rest.


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 THIS MIGHT BE A KAPOK TREE

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 GREAT PLACE TO DO STEP ELEVEN MEDITATION, AT THE BEACH, OR AT A CHURCH THAT HAS A GROTTO.

 

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DSCN3408RecoveryFarmhouse.com all right reserved, “Paradise for the Hellbound” copyright, Laura R. Edgar 2003copyright

 

 

AT A YEAR SOBER WE ASK; WHATS WRONG WITH ME????

STEP THREE….LETTING GO & LETTING GOD

AT A YEAR SOBER WE ASK; WHATS WRONG WITH ME????

 Real Recovery doesn’t always feel or look like quality sobriety

“If anybody knew how I really felt inside they would know that I am not doing well in my recovery. I feel like something is wrong with me. I must be doing something wrong! I am sober but I am depressed, I am sober but I still have anxiety attacks. I mustn’t tell anyone how I feel or they will know I am not really emotionally sober. I don’t have quality recovery how could I if I did I would not feel like this.”Hmm??? Ever hear anybody share the above statements in a meeting? Most likely you answered no. However the above scenarios show the way that many addicts think and feel even though they have worked the steps and regularly work steps ten through twelve.WHY????????????

First let’s define this type of thinking and what it’s connected to in us. Let’s explore the dreaded word, feeling, and thought called “SHAME”. Alcoholism & addiction have been explored and painstakingly researched by many experts who have finally defined addiction as a “shame based disease”.In the Big Book it is written that alcohol is but a symptom of an underlying problem. And that we alcoholics suffer from spiritual and emotional maladies. So what is this underlying malady and how do I fix it? In “How it Works” it is written that some of us suffer from “grave emotional disorders”. It says that those who suffer from these disorders can also get better and stay sober. Well guess what ALL ADDICTS AND ALCOHOLICS SUFFER FROM EMOTIONAL DISORDER in my opinion. It takes some serious open-mindedness and lots of journaling, meetings, therapy, working with a sponsor, prayer and meditation to get in touch with and admit to ourselves our underlying malady of shame.Shame tells us that we are not worthy of a Higher Powers Love. Shame tells us that we don’t deserve anything good. Shame tells us that we are bad, wrong, evil, and that we must keep who we are a secret or we will never have anything we want or need. Starting the day from the platform of shame blocks us off from so many good and spiritual things. It causes us to have to justify and defend ourselves. It causes us to be in defensive mode. It shuts us off from Love. Shame shuts us off from God even in our prayers we block off certain parts of our heart hiding parts of us from our Higher Power in hopes that even He, It, She will Love us if we pretend to be someone we are not.
What’s the solution?

We must first realize that we are human and we will never be perfect as long as we are human so we can never ever approach God as a perfect and totally worthy person. We must quit hiding and keeping secrets from God and man.
ACTION:

We should lay on the bed or floor stretch our arms out as far as we can to our sides focus on God and expose all of our heart to God. We should approach our Higher Power in all honesty and transparency and say; “here I am just as I am, I want a relationship with You I need your help.”

We are our Higher Powers creation and we were created INCOMPLETE that’s why we feel so incomplete. Not because we are bad, wrong, unworthy etc. but because that’s the way we were made. We are only complete & fulfilled when we exercise an ongoing relationship with our creator. Fulfillment, enlightenment, encouragement, comfort, and healing are some of the things we get from opening up to our creator. That’s why the steps work, they show us how to have a spiritual connection with our creator.

WE ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO FEEL GOOD ALL THE TIME
even when working the steps correctly, we were not created that way. It doesn’t mean something is horribly wrong with us.
So, we acknowledge and honor our feelings no matter what they are and we continue on with our daily lives in spite of them. We don’t let our feelings create Kayos in our minds. “THE

NEGATIVE THOUGHTS THAT ATTACH THEMSELVES TO MY FEELINGS ARE NOT FACTS.” FEELINGS themselves ARE FACTS because they are very real to us and come from our hearts experiences. It’s the thoughts that get us in trouble. If we don’t honor our feelings and journal them, talk about them then we are dishonoring and invalidating who we are. Our unhappy feelings come from somewhere real and often times we need to do some crying, some screaming (not at anyone) some beating the bed with our fists to get these intense feelings out in a healthy way so they don’t come out sideways at other people.
Addictions spell emotional trauma and that trauma needs an outlet. Emotional trauma does not have to mean that we were abused as children by adults. Emotional trauma can result from emotional neglect and a lack of nurturing as children. Deep hurts from rejection and abandonment don’t go away just because we are grown. We usually blame other people for the way we feel we are confused because other people trigger intense feelings (from past events) that live in us. Blaming others for the way we feel gives us temporary relief but will never ever help us heal.

All humans have a capacity to be hurt emotionally by others, if we do not have a healthy outlet for hurt it will evolve into anger and continue to live inside us until we connect with it and express it in a healthy non-attacking way.
When deep emotional hurt does not have an outlet it turns to anger which in turn can evolve into rage.

Depression is anger without enthusiasm
it happens when we are just too worn down by our own anger & we haven’t the energy to be angry anymore. We have not processed our anger we have merely changed our focus so the anger evolves into depression.
ACTION: Putting our emotions in order by talking about our feelings with someone who won’t shut us down and will be empathic is healing. Journaling is healing, moaning in guttural sounds to let hurts out is healing. Putting on our shoes and getting out of the house to do 12 step work or meetings is healing. Crying is healing. Screaming when we hurt so bad emotionally that words will not suffice is healing.

WE DO NOT RAMBLE ABOUT HOW BAD OTHER PEOPLE ARE AND WHAT THEY DID TO US UNLESS IT’S ON PAPER. WE ONLY NEED TO SAY IT ONCE OUTLOAD, IN A MEETING AND AGAIN TO OUR SPONSOR OR EMPATHIC LISTENER. It’s the talking about “how it made me feel” that heals us. It made me feel worthless for example or it made me feel dirty etc.
I am talking about healing core issues that are the cause of our relentless effort to numb out our feelings and our life. But let’s face it had we really wanted to be dead we would have gone through with suicide. What we really want is balanced and orderly emotions not lack of emotions.

We woman will die if we don’t talk about the way we feel. Criticizing others, character assassination and living in blame are character defects that we should not confuse with the expression it takes for healthy emotional order.

ACTION: What about anxiety? The fourth step in the Big Book has an exercise called the “fear list”. We write down all our core fears, we explore them.

REMEMBER FEARS COME FROM OUR HEART AND DO NOT HAVE TO BE LOGICAL. Just because our mind knows we don’t have to fear something if our heart fears it we should recognize it and honor it. Furthermore we should not let our shame throw us into the deep river of denial. Our fears need expression if we want to stop the anxiety attacks. So we write all our fears down and consider them. We realize we are not trusting God and that our faith is sometimes little if we are in fear. So rather than sticking our fear in the “denial box” we stick it in the “God Box”. We then ask God to remove our fears and help us to rely on him, it, or her.
Anxiety is intense fear that we have buried rather than expressing it, perhaps it’s a fear associated with trauma. After all who wants to be labelled “chicken shit”, “spiritually unfit” or other judgmental words to label he who has fear? But guess what? Every human on the face of the earth has fear it’s just learning how to express it and taking action in spite of it that turns it into courage or emotional growth. Intense fears need to be expressed and released (not dwelled on) so they don’t live in us and turn into intense anxiety.

THOUGHT PROVOKING QUESTIONS: Why is screaming a natural response to intense fear? Screaming releases boatloads of endorphins and is a solution to fear. Why do some soldiers come back from the war with PTSD and others don’t who have the exact same experiences? Because often times we were taught that our expressions of fear and hurt and anger are wrong, bad, weak, stupid, ugly, disgusting etc. We were taught that our healthy emotional expression was wrong by some adult when we were very young and so we believed them and we became ashamed and shut down our own healthy emotional process.
What’s the solution to emotional disorder? Drinking and drugging of course! Yes I am serious. What happens when drinking and drugging quits working because of the consequences? Find a way to express and process our emotions in a healthy non-attacking, non-hurtful, non-destructive way.

God gave us vocal cords for a reason we can either save our face or save our ass! It’s time to let the emotional child within us out of the box so she, he can have a half way decent recovery.
Disclaimer: I own two supernatural boxes. One is called the “GOD BOX” the other is called the “DENIAL BOX”. I have and do use both.
 

 

 

A Little Apology

cat

To all registered readers of Recovery Farmhouse we want to apologize for a horrible glitch that was in the website.   Due to super-slow load time on header pictures we have discontinued the social “share” buttons for Facebook, Google, etc.  

So sorry you guys had to suffer through such slow loading times YIKES!   Blame it on procrastination we were duck hunting!  We are recovering addicts too and took way too long to straighten it out.  

Anyway, until we can identify a plugin that won’t slow down the system there will not be any “share buttons” on the site.

Thank you readers you are awesome!  We Love you!  Sincerely Recovery Farmhouse.

Is Alcoholics Anonymous a Cult?

AA

BLAME

CULTS

Is AA a cult?  Well that depends on who you ask the question.  One thing for certain about the human race…we get some kind of fulfillment out of stamping a “BAD” label on groups of people, organizations, types of people etc.   We don’t want the karma or negative consequences that harsh judgement could bestow on us so we should definitely be careful about using the word “cult”.    There are lots of articles labeling AA a cult.  But really what are the characteristics of a true cult?

  • An organization that insists on separating you from your friends and family.
  • A group of people that want to control your behavior, the way you look, act by lots of rules and regulations that are invasive and contrary to freedom.
  • A religious group that insists they are the only one’s who know God.   They drill into you that all other spiritual and religious groups are bad, wrong and evil.   And they  insist that they are the “way” to God.  Without them you will be lost and doomed to a fate worse than death.
  • They often claim to be the only prophets on the face of the Earth.
  • They make themselves as God by requiring that you worship them, him.  They require that you give you self wholly to them.  All of you your mind, body, time, and work.  They require that you give all your worldly possessions to them.
  • They ultimately require that you cross your own moral boundaries and good conscience to obey them even unto death or group suicide.  The ultimate sacrifice.
  • A cult usually condemns everyone else they claim to be all-knowing when it comes to who and what is evil.  Their primary purpose is to manipulate you into handing over all your power and choices.

Pretty vicious!  These are evil characteristics at best and clearly just another form of blame by a cults condemnation of all other things religious/spiritual .

Is AA a cult?  No, not by it’s doctrines, which are the 12 steps and 12 traditions absolutely not.   Granted that does not mean that there could never be cultist sects working within AA.  Made up of people that practice AA completely contrary to the 12 steps and traditions, but that goes for any large group within organizations.  Any group of people can go awry.

However, few if any religious organizations have the liberating and non-controlling foundation that AA has by its 12 Tradition.  Nor does any other religion suggest that you seek God and put your own vision and label on God.    AA does not hand us God on a platter served up with a cocktail of legalistic regulations of what HE looks like acts like dresses like, wants us to dress like Nor do they serve a desert of descriptive visuals of the punishment and torture God will smite us with  if we don’t obey all the rules.

Spirituality does not come in a box.  We do not come to know God by other people’s seeking God for us.  We must seek out our Higher Power on our own.  That way when we reach that pie in the sky the great creator of human life will recognize us and know exactly who we are because we prayed, meditated, sought God with our might and even helped a few addicts along the way.

Out of a desperation that only the fear of utter emotional pain, death, suffering and worse can induce.   Yes by this woe we found God and by this woe we learned that Love is an action that we take to receive back that same Love.

(thanks to zzzzzzzzzzzzz for the gorgeous photograph that can be found on “your shot” National Georgraphic.)

 

TO OUR SILENT READERS; THANK YOU!

Administrators, writers, editors, and spiritualists of recoveryfarmhouse.com want to throw you guys a BIG LIP SMACKIN’ thank-you for your interest in our website.  You guys have played a part in keeping us clean and sober and giving us a reason to keep on keepin’ on.  We in recovery are best suited for long term goals that don’t get fulfilled until we have planned the next motivating and energizing life’s mission.   Trudge on my fellows until we meet in that supernatural meeting in the beyond we will trudge on!

cow kiss

 

Solutions to Negativity

Getting clean and sober includes having some days that we feel like crap.  Some ways to reduce negativity are as follows:

1. Go to a meeting

2.  Put on your shoes and take a walk outside.

3.  Go to the park or river or springs or ocean, anywhere that is in nature.

4.  Call a friend.

5.  Clean the house.

6.  Do the dishes.

Remember good feelings follow actions not the other way around.  If we wait till we feel good to do something we are allowing our feelings to rule us rather than us ruling our actions then recieving a good feeling as a result of a right action.

7.  Read positive literature.

8. Start the day with meditation and prayer.  Practice step eleven.

9.  Work the steps again in a formal fashion.  Or just work steps 10, 11, and 12.

10.  Do some service work.

11. Take yourself out to dinner.

12.  Wash your car.

13.  Watch a comedy.

14.  Tell someone how beautiful they are.  Give to charity.

15.  Make a list of all the good things you have done for your recovery lately.

16.  Tell your story at a speaker meeting.

17.  Make a gratitude list.

18.  Give praises aloud to your Higher Power.

19.  Read the Bible, or the Big book.

20.  Do something nice for your children.

Yes all these things require action.  Action is what recovery is built on.  Seek your Higher Power and tell It how awesome It, He, She is.

21. Go to therapy.

22.  Go out to dinner and a movie.

23.  Make amends.

24.  Finish your fourth step.
glass snip 3

Put Two Irons In The Fire

Put two Irons in the fire, meaning work at two different goals who knows which one will pay off.

 

Ecclesiastes 11:6
“Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.”

I Love reading the words of The Preacher in Ecclesiastes. Who knows if it was The Great King Solomon who wrote all of the book. Scholars are uncertain of the books author. It is important when beginning a life of sobriety to set long term goals and to have more than one goal. An idle mind gives us time to obsess on ourselves and grow fear in our minds. When we have hope for the future we do the work and put the outcome in God’s capable hands.

Diligent work is what brings success. Consistency with our projects is also a key to success. The open-mindedness that we learn by working the 12 steps carries into all aspects of our work and our play. Keeping an open mind is akin to creativity and creation is a godly quality.

We should be sure to have at least one creative outlet of music, literature, art, these wonderful creations of God when practiced for entertainment will bring us joy. A consistent work ethic is good but we mustn’t neglect our times of play. Go swimming, barbaque at a park, go to the beach, ride a bike, buy a motorcycle and travel.

And like Solomon (we think) said, put more than one iron in the fire who knows which one will burn hotter. We in recovery tend to work for ourselves and have our own businesses. Perhaps because of our rebellious nature’s when we were out there. Or maybe it’s because we are free thinkers and are good at finding ways to get what we want. Bless God and thank Him/Her/It that we have the ability to work some are unable and suffer for it.

IS THERE A CURE FOR ADDICTION?



Is there a cure for addiction

This marker & pencil drawing was done by the talented Mathew Meeks 5-2013. He is an avid traveler and a man whose spiritual insight exceeds most. Recovery Farmhouse thanks Matt for donating this splendid tapestry of color presenting to us the intricate and celestial psyche called creativity.
This marker & pencil drawing was done by the talented Mathew Meeks 5-2013. He is an avid traveler and a man whose spiritual insight exceeds most. Recovery Farmhouse thanks Matt for donating this splendid tapestry of color presenting to us the intricate and celestial psyche called creativity.

Many times if we are in our addiction we go through a cycle of guilt.  First we take the action of over-doing our drug of choice. Next we either deny hurting ourselves or we deny emotionally hurting those around us.  We must stay in denial otherwise we will experience extreme guilt, remorse, and emotional self-hate.Is it no wonder that we drug abusers and alcoholics stay in denial. Why face what we did the night before if we experience pain from it?
And so, our loved one’s ask us why we do the things we do.  In response and if we are good we quickly turn the tables on them with blame.  Then perhaps we say: “If you were not such an ass-hole I wouldn’t have to numb myself on a daily basis”.  While all along it is what’s inside of us that we must numb and that we are so afraid of.  “Alcohol is but a symptom of a deeper problem” it is written in the Big Book.

So, what if we were to clear up the core issues of why we really drink, drug, and commit self abuse?  What if we could change the way that we see ourselves and understand why we are so sick?  Would we no longer be alcoholics?  The first question every addict asks in response to that question is, “would I then be able to drink responsibly?”  The thing is if we were to be healed in our hearts and minds from addict patterns we would no longer want to drink or drug responsibly we would not want to be numb.  We, if healed would have no reason to drink again would we?

There are recovery programs now that do guarantee a complete deliverance from addiction and many people do not doubt the possibility of that concept.  Furthermore many have been cured of addictions.  Nevertheless in AA and NA alike we have good reason to drive-home the concept of “once an addict always an addict”.

The thing is very few people that get sober actually process their core issues meaning, the core emotional and psychological reasons behind their self-abuse.  Hence, if we believe we are cured and have not done the emotional work and learned to make a new healthy emotional process our way of life we will just pick up the same old behaviors after we are released by out recovery babysitters and teachers.  Not only that a huge part of recovery is to build many new relationships with sober people like us.  If that doesn’t happen the quality of recovery is usually not as strong.  In AA we learn to build relationships that we keep throughout our lives.

Working through core issues is a long process that takes years of painstaking emotional work.  It takes going back to childhood and reliving our most painful times.  Sometimes it takes years to access memories of traumatic childhood events.  Let alone facing these events and actually crying, screaming, writing, sharing, and understanding them.  It is not something that can happen with  program.

When we wake up in the morning sober and feel the fear that used to drive us to drink we now know that they are just feelings. We need no longer drink and drug over them but at the same time if we don’t address the intense and lingering emotions that we do have while sober, we will either commit suicide, have a nervous breakdown, or drink.   The statistics of suicide in sobriety is not pretty.

We make AA a way of life and learn also to be transparent with our feelings. We ARE as sick as our secrets and so we talk about our feelings, fears, cry, scream (releases hoards of endorphins), beat the bed when we are anxious and keep up our spiritual maintenance by doing steps Ten, Eleven and Twelve.   If we can expose and process all of our deep core fears, regrets, guilt’s, abuses, neglects, develop and maintain a relationship with God it is very likely we will not want to drink and drug again…ever.

Learning which of our feelings need addressing and which should just be ignored is a matter of the intensity and occurrence of the feeling.  Ignoring intense feelings by saying “get over it” is a dangerous game of psychological and emotional repression.  Core issues will come up in an orderly fashion when sober.  We should honor our feelings and learn to differentiate between feelings and character defects.  Not all of our emotional pains result from character defects.  Emotions are God given and should be expressed in a healthy way.  Saying “I should not feel like this” is like saying “God created junk”.  Feelings come from our hearts and are always based in fact and come from our experiences.

To recover we must become as little children.  Feel free to use the poster attached to identify and then process emotions.  There is no wrong feeling only wrong actions.


No relationships for a Year!

No relationships for a year…so they say in AA.

 

 

Rehab relationships usually end up in a train wreck.  It’s time we stopped looking at relationships as a way to fix our addict lives.  If we don’t clean up the wreckage of our past we are incapable of being in a truly honest and loving relationship.

Don’t get into a relationship for at least a year when beginning sobriety.  What are the reasons for this ardent suggestion?    The purpose of the suggestion is that we alcoholics tend to get distracted from doing the work that recovery requires if we dive into a relationship that temporarily makes us feel good.  For a time it will be a lovely distraction, we won’t have to look at our lives and the mess we have made of it.   That is until our torturous feelings return or our next bender happens and we blame our actions on our new found mate.

“He hurt me so I had to drink over it”.  We say or, “He betrayed me, he did me wrong!”  That’s the tune most addicts play after the relaitonship surpases the ninety day probationary period when we are both on our best behavior.  One thing sure, addict are great at finding the sickest person in the room to start a relationship with and then they wonder what went wrong.

They say in the room that our “pickers” are broken.  Meaning we pick the most dysfunctional lovers we can find.  We never take the time to get to know them before we hand our lives over to them.  Please make my choices for me so I won’t be responsible for the outcome.  Please take care of my financial burdens.  Please be my comforter instead of a Higher Power who really does have the power to comfort my soul.

Yes the intimacy and reliance and burden of choice making should all be done by us and our Higher Power not some person who talks a good talk yet his/her actions tell a different story.  If we are in a new relationship we most likely will not fervently seek God like we would if we were alone.  The 12 Steps and recovery is all about learning to rely on God.  If we are busy relying on a man or woman for our well-being, security, choices, finances then we are not learning what recovery and living responsibly is about.

Sometimes we come into recovery married already in which case we should not make any major changes in the first year.  Sometimes also early recovery relationships do work if one of the people has a number of years sober and will allow the newcomer to learn and grow on their own.  Furthermore, even re-hab relationships sometimes are a match made in heaven and both parties stay sober.  It does happen.  Remember!  God does not have to go by man’s rules.  Sometimes providence likes to play its little tricks and reminds us that we do not have all the answers.  Every AA [suggested] rule has its exceptions.

 

 

FEAR OF THE FUTURE

FEAR OF THE FUTURE

STEP THREE

MEDITATION

I sat in meditation and prayer and pondered…..Where is the place that fear of the future and fear of the unknown meet with trust, faith, and relief that everything will be okay?

I touched and stirred the waters of Higher Vision the waters revealed her truth. That place is where pain reaches a point we can no longer tolerate it alone.

Then a sacred door to the light opens for us to walk through into understanding and true spirituality. This is the place where we meet God.

 

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.

                                                      

THE POETS PAGE – PLEASE SEND YOUR POEMS TO:

edgarlaura826@yahoo.com ——————mark “POETRY” for E-mail subject.
Send me your poems.  Then just check in the next week or two your poetry will be published on this page.

There’s a secret place in the color of day
where ancient sacred entities play
reveal your face oh blessed king
of light and color and dancing stream
my dreams and visions you catch in the night
how is it this day I see the sight
of the great illusive “dream catcher”

EARTH
Earth, gives and takes.

Sun presents water sparkling bubbles teasing air.

Thick green leaves give life.

Ant sharp sting strike back.

The desert dry hot barren it takes.

Do not test the desert father dear do not tempt snake rattles.

Fang shiny wet death realms unseen.

Earth, experience duality.

Today sacred Earth you are seen.
By Admin

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.

Step Two ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

STEP TWO of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

Sure it’s easy for many to believe that there is a God out there and that He or She is powerful, good, and fully capable of restoring any human to sanity. However believing that God WILL restore us to sanity is another matter especially to a guilt-laced heart and mind. When we are full of the emotions drummed up from the wreckage of our past most will feel like they do not deserve to be restored to sanity. It is common for newly sober addicts to feel unworthy of such miraculous spiritual gifts as sobriety, healing, or white light experiences. Why would God Love me when I feel like I am undeserving of any good thing? How can I accept that I will be given relief from the obsession when I have regularly punished myself with drug and alcohol abuse for so long?

We need not worry about all these natural fears. If God had an addict mind we would all be in serious trouble but He/She/It does not.
The Grace of God is often defined as “undeserved merit”. Meaning, to be bestowed with a gift we do not deserve or earn. God’s Grace need only be accepted by doing the next right thing. We make our decision with strong Hope that it will come to pass and when it does and we are restored to sanity…our faith is strengthened tenfold.
We look around the rooms; we hear the testimonies of how multitudes of addicts and alcoholics have been delivered from addictions by a miraculous psychic change. Can we accept such a wonderful gift or must we go on punishing ourselves for our imperfections in hope that somehow our destructive self-chastisement will turn us good?

The addict mind is a complex one however we do not have to work out all the particulars regarding step Two. Step Two is a spiritual action not a carnal one to be reasoned out. Addictions are spiritual maladies that need spiritual solutions. We don’t need to ask why or how it works we just need to do the work!

The dark and spiritual, cunning, baffling, and powerful malady of addiction calls for a solution that our carnal minds do not understand yet will become so clear to us once we receive our psychic change.

“Blame”

STEP FOUR

12 STEP SOLUTIONS

Is blame a character defect or an emotional survival skill? How about it’s both?
Blame rears its ugly head in ways that may surprise many in the realm of recovery. Blame, accusation, and just plain critical fault finding is an unhealthy survival skill for those of us who learned how to live through a life of addiction without snuffing ourselves out because of guilt.When I neglected my daughter, neglected my health, ripped through my relationships like a title wave I needed a beast of burden per say to take the blame for the destruction that I had caused. Looking at my own baggage and character flaws at that point was too painful. I had no solutions then so why even look? I used blame in all forms to survive the emotional landslide in my heart.Now that I am clean & sober I can honestly look at my flaws because I have solutions for the landslide of emotional guilt and shame that accompanies my self-awareness. It is perfectly normal to want to bury everything that should be on a fourth step. However the emotions connected to that baggage WILL come out sideways (blame) at those we love most and those we don’t love until we get the work done!I am an emotional woman…my first thorough, and painstaking Fourth Step was 50 pages long. By doing it I found myself, it was my beginning of self-love. FEEDBACK WELCOME!

Ninth Step Promises

Ninth Step Promises click

 

The program does work.  Fear of people and what they think of us will leave us.   If we work the steps and do plenty of step twelve service work.  If we bring meetings into jails and institutions, chair meetings, and work on our core issues and underlying causes.  Furthermore if we build a relationship with our Higher Power and  do a thorough fourth step we will get not only a psychic change but also a spiritual experience that will help us to rely on God rather than mankind for what we need emotionally and spiritually.

“Fear  of people will leave us” is a quote from The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  It is written under the “Step Nine”  heading in the “Into Action” chapter and considered one of the “Ninth Step Promises”.

This link is to the Twelve & Twelve Step Nine:

http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_step9.pdf   twelve and twelve step nine

In the Big Book step nine is on page 76  and starts in the middle of the page.  The ninth step promises are on page 83 starting at the bottom of the page.

http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbook_chapt6.pdfNinth Step Promises

 

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THE NINTH STEP PROMISES

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through.  We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.  We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.  We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.  No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.  That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.  We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.  Self-seeking will slip away.  Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change.  Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.  We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.  We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

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

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I believe that when Bill W. wrote “Fear of people will leave us” in The Big Book under the Ninth Step, what he actually meant was, “fear of what people think of us will leave us.”   

Alcoholics and addicts when in their addiction and early recovery tend to be nervous around other people.  Alcoholics have anxiety attacks, they have the desire to isolate and steer clear of other people often. 

All these symptoms show a fear of being around other people.  But not because they are afraid of being robbed or attacked.  These fearful behaviors stem from our own insecurities and self-loathing.  We addicts often simply feel like other people are better than us.  We are afraid of being judged by others.  We fear getting close to people because they may hurt us emotionally.   We don’t want to set ourselves up for another emotional loss so we reject human interaction and relationships all together.  

We often feel (subconsciously) that if people get to know us they won’t like us much because… bottom line…after years of going against what our own conscience says to us we don’t like ourselves much so how could anyone else like us…we think.   Many times in meetings and around A.A. people will say “I don’t care what people think of me” usually we, say this as a defensive measure to make ourselves look better to  others, as if it is weak and socially shameful to care what others think of us.   

However, caring what people think of us is an emotionally balanced social human trait. So many recovering addicts and people in general say they don’t care what others think of them, yet their actions prove otherwise.   Contrary to what most people in recovery so defensively state, I believe people DO care about what others think and say about them.  Of course that healthy caring can be taken to an extreme and turn into fear of what people think of us.  That’s where lying, dishonesty, faking this and pretending that come into play.  Vanity and false pride are character flaws driven by fear of what people will think of us.

 

It seems like addicts don’t know it’s OK, NOT WEAK to care and it’s normal socially to want to be liked and admired.  Seems some have an inability in their minds to distinguish between fear and healthy concern. Caring is not a bad thing and its human nature to want to dress nice and look good to our fellows.

 

People generally love to be the best at things, be the smartest, the fastest, and be a winner so they can feel good about themselves and look good to others.  Certainly if we were repeatedly taught as children that we are bad and wrong and received little if any parental validation of our feelings and ideas we will carry a low self-identity with us until it is reamed out by either therapy or spirituality.  Until that self-image is changed we will be hyper-sensitive to any perceived criticisms.  And unfortunately once a self-image is burned to our psyche it can’t be removed easily.  Just knowing that our self-image is inaccurate won’t change it.

 

Personally it does concern me when people dislike me or accuse me but I must put it in perspective.  Firstly, I ask myself if the accusation is true.  Then I delve into trying to understand the motivation behind the accusation.  When I understand the accusers reasoning it helps me accept their views.  If their opinion sticks in my craw too long and a resentment grows in me I will pray blessings upon them until I forget about it…works great!

 

Yes I care what people think!  I am not ashamed to admit it.  My admission of care does not make me a weak person, actually it shows I am self-assured enough to not fear appearing weak by that admission. 

  In other words, if someone is overstating the fact that they don’t care what others think of them you can pretty much bet that they’re healthy social caring has morphed into a fearful self-consciousness of what other people think of them.

 

THE TOOLS OF AA and NA

THE TOOLS OF AA AND NA COME FROM THE 12 STEPS AND OTHER ASPECTS OF THE PROGRAM LIKE FELLOWSHIP, SPONSORSHIP, AND OTHER CONSTRUCTIVE SUGGESTIONS EVEN CLICHES LIKE “OUT OF THE PROBLEM INTO THE SOLUTIONS” HELP KEEP US SOBER.

Tools are an important part of recovery.  Working the steps formally and implementing them in our lives as needed are two different things.  If we get a resentment that we are unable to let go of first we pat ourselves on the back for admitting it….we don’t punish ourselves for being human.  Then we can sit down and work a fourth step grid on the issue.  What happened and how did it make us feel?  We write the events down on paper.    At the core of EVERY resentment is fear.  Identifying what we are afraid of is usually not logical…it is a feeling and does not have to be logical to be valid.  We write down our fears.

Are we afraid of losing something associated with the “three S’s” [Sex, Society, and Security]  99% of the time fear of loss is at the core of our resentment.   We revisit the third step and put our fears in our Higher Powers hands.  We ask God to remove our fears,  We admit that we are lacking at some level; faith and trust in our Higher Power or we wouldn’t have fears.  We discuss our lack of faith with God and ask for help.  We pray for the person whom we have the resentment against for a week or as long as it takes to get them out of our head.

These tools are common solutions to our emotional disorder.  We are not hard on ourselves because we know we are making progress and we just showed ourselves the Love it takes to heal!

Emotional sobriety means learning how to take responsibility for our own feelings and actions.