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.
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Put two Irons in the fire, meaning work at two different goals who knows which one will pay off.
“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.
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?
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 from our 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. We get them out by expressing them in a healthy way instead of running from them. It is not something that can happen with program. We need confidants and tools.
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. We take meditation and prayer seriously. If we can expose and process all of our deep core fears, regrets, guilts, abuses, neglects, develop and maintain a relationship with God it is very likely we will not want to drink and drug again…ever.
Don’t have any emotional neglect in your past? Meditation and prayer to see these things within our past and within us works to bring them to light. Please know emotionally sick people don’t get that way from having nurturing and fulfilling childhoods. We need group therapy. We need to open up and make us vulnerable.
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…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
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.
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.
firstname.lastname@example.org ——————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, 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.
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;
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 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.
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:
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
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us____sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.
|I believe that when Bill W. wrote “Fear of people will leave us” in The Big Book under the Ninth Step, what he actually meant was, “fear of what people think of us will leave us.”
Alcoholics and addicts when in their addiction and early recovery tend to be nervous around other people. Alcoholics have anxiety attacks, they have the desire to isolate and steer clear of other people often.
All these symptoms show a fear of being around other people. But not because they are afraid of being robbed or attacked. These fearful behaviors stem from our own insecurities and self-loathing. We addicts often simply feel like other people are better than us. We are afraid of being judged by others. We fear getting close to people because they may hurt us emotionally. We don’t want to set ourselves up for another emotional loss so we reject human interaction and relationships all together.
We often feel (subconsciously) that if people get to know us they won’t like us much because… bottom line…after years of going against what our own conscience says to us we don’t like ourselves much so how could anyone else like us…we think. Many times in meetings and around A.A. people will say “I don’t care what people think of me” usually we, say this as a defensive measure to make ourselves look better to others, as if it is weak and socially shameful to care what others think of us.
However, caring what people think of us is an emotionally balanced social human trait. So many recovering addicts and people in general say they don’t care what others think of them, yet their actions prove otherwise. Contrary to what most people in recovery so defensively state, I believe people DO care about what others think and say about them. Of course that healthy caring can be taken to an extreme and turn into fear of what people think of us. That’s where lying, dishonesty, faking this and pretending that come into play. Vanity and false pride are character flaws driven by fear of what people will think of us.
It seems like addicts don’t know it’s OK, NOT WEAK to care and it’s normal socially to want to be liked and admired. Seems some have an inability in their minds to distinguish between fear and healthy concern. Caring is not a bad thing and its human nature to want to dress nice and look good to our fellows.
People generally love to be the best at things, be the smartest, the fastest, and be a winner so they can feel good about themselves and look good to others. Certainly if we were repeatedly taught as children that we are bad and wrong and received little if any parental validation of our feelings and ideas we will carry a low self-identity with us until it is reamed out by either therapy or spirituality. Until that self-image is changed we will be hyper-sensitive to any perceived criticisms. And unfortunately once a self-image is burned to our psyche it can’t be removed easily. Just knowing that our self-image is inaccurate won’t change it.
Personally it does concern me when people dislike me or accuse me but I must put it in perspective. Firstly, I ask myself if the accusation is true. Then I delve into trying to understand the motivation behind the accusation. When I understand the accusers reasoning it helps me accept their views. If their opinion sticks in my craw too long and a resentment grows in me I will pray blessings upon them until I forget about it…works great!
Yes I care what people think! I am not ashamed to admit it. My admission of care does not make me a weak person, actually it shows I am self-assured enough to not fear appearing weak by that admission.
In other words, if someone is overstating the fact that they don’t care what others think of them you can pretty much bet that they’re healthy social caring has morphed into a fearful self-consciousness of what other people think of them.
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.