In These Scary Times We May Be Tempted to Use Pills or Liquor or Sex or Turmoil As A Coping Reaction
Or we might lash out at those we love most. We must apologize of such knee jerk reactions to fear.
Or we might lash out at those we love most. We must apologize of such knee jerk reactions to fear.
Most Christians will be left behind by reason of their heart condition. The same thing that needs to happen to get real/truthful with God needs to happen to stay sober.
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!
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.
Big Book page 45
WE THE MEMBERS…AT LEAST THE MAJORITY OF MEMBERS THAT I HAVE HEARD SHARE IN THE ROOMS TEND TO DISLIKE HAVING THEIR MORALITY POLICED OR EVEN QUESTIONED.
Big Book page 45
“Well, that’s exactly what this book is about. Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem. That means we have written a book which we believe to be spiritual as well as moral. And it means, of course, that we are going to talk about God. Here difficulty arises with agnostics.”
Self Esteem is tied to step four along with Fear. Low self worth breeds fear of people. Page 65 of the Big Book verify’s this.
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.
Imagine Your in a Relationship for 10 Years
Poll of the Week
Imagine you are in a relationship for 10 years and all is going well.
There is romance, trust and love between you both. Then all the
sudden you meet someone new and you cannot get them off your
mind. There is an unstoppable attraction that is driving you nuts.
Hammock Buddha hails from Japan and he just posed that question
in the polls. The reaction has been nothing short of extraordinary so
please visit the link above to login and kindly share your thoughts!
Find the answers to this question here…click now….
“We do not want to be the arbiter of anyones sex conduct” pg 69 Big Book. (a*r*b*i*t*e*r-a person who settles a dispute or has ultimate authority in a matter.)
“We do not want to be the arbiter of anyones sex conduct”, so it states in the Big Book and rightly so! Translation: Unless someone asks for advice don’t give it. We thank you for that clarification Bill Wilson. BUT a big BUT! It just so happens that sex is a hot topic in and out of the rooms and “not being an arbiter” doesn’t mean we can’t read and talk about what sober sex is all about. In accordance with the 12 Steps of AA (the good and righteous principles) we should live by truth, respect, humility, faith, hope, Love, charity and more,
BUT WHAT ARE THE PRINCIPLES? (click here for complete principles of AA)
Core Spiritual Principles of the Program: Willingness, Open-mindedness, Honesty
AA’s Code: Love and Tolerance of Others
Gratitude, Acceptance, Love, Honesty, Tolerance, Unselfishness, Strength, Serenity, Giving, Fortitude, Faith, Brotherhood, Service, Understanding, Courage, Wisdom, Humility, self-forgetting, compassion, Love, kindness, persistence, faith, hope, wisdom, harmony, willingness, fair minded, Good Judgment, Courage, Humility, Sincerity, Forthright, Generous, Prudence, Serenity, Patience, long-suffering, Admission of Defeat.
Ok these are all wonderfully spiritual qualities. And theses virtues are what Step 12 service work is all about…except, from what I have learned we don’t do step 12 service work to help others as much as we do it to help ourselves. We do step 12 to keep us sober, another “rightly so”. If we don’t take care of our sobriety first then we are no good to anyone and certainly no good in a lasting intimate relationship if we go full blown addict again.
Get to know this person way before you even think about having sex with them. Do not say I love you, do not move in with them, do not get engaged, do not profess we are soul mates until at least absolute bare minimum of 90 days. He/She could turn out to be a psycho maniac controlling hostage taker. Or he could be the 13th step king of the club and as soon as you sleep with him he intends to mark you off as a conquered foe. He has no intention of seeing you again after you comply. After you make the choice to give your precious body once…he will move on to the next conquest. And that is his prerogative and your choice.
We are building our self-esteem presently not looking to tear it down. To this sportsman you are just his secondary addiction. There’s one like him in every AA Group and it doesn’t mean that you are a victim. We make our choices and if we choose to sleep with a man of this caliber we are an adult and it is our choice. WE ARE NOT VICTIMS when he kicks us to the curb.
And lets not be too hard on him ladies. He is scared to death of commitment and he is also afraid if you get to know him too well you won’t like him much. Rejection is tough and it scars us all. The survival skills we have developed tend to look kinda mean and selfish but all they really are underneath is hurt.
So get to know the person you are attracted to. Find out if they are someone who is kind. find out if you have anything in common. Talk about everything and anything. Does he believe in God like I do? What is his past like? Find out how he treats his X. The healthiest X’s neither hate each other nor do they still sleep with each other, they have moved on and forgiven one another.
Jumping into relationship commitments such as moving in and saying I love you before the first 90 day probationary period is typical people-addiction behavior. Again if we “need” a relationship then we are not ready for one.
Rule #2 If you want to sleep with me you will have to get tested and show me the results on paper. If you can’t resist sex in the mean-time absolutely use a condom especially if you haven’t gotten your own results in yet. You could be committing murder.
Rule #3 Walk through the Fear-Show Self-Respect and mutual respect. The fear of rejection is big in early recovery. Actually not just early recovery it’s a prime characteristic of alcoholics. But to stick with the principles we must communicate our desires to our new or potential sex partner. Again we should not be needy, if we are needy we are not ready to date. These days sex kills so monogamy and sexual commitment are things that are not so far fetched even on the first date.
It feels awkward but, ARE YOU COMFORTABLE SLEEPING WITH A MAN (or woman) WHO INTENDS TO SLEEP AROUND WHILE HE/SHE SLEEPS WITH YOU AS WELL? My support group asked me that question when I started dating in my first year. I surprised myself with a big HELL NO! Sexual commitment is not marriage, it’s not going steady and it’s not a way to control someone or take them hostage. It doesn’t mean I love you. A sexual monogamous commitment with a partner in this day and age is for safety and mutual respect and consideration. It means that while we two are dating if he or I decide we want to sleep with other people we will have enough respect for each other to tell the other partner before we sleep around.
Remember it takes assertiveness to be candid and reveal who we are with complete truthfulness. Doing this the first time will be hard because of the fear of rejection. Having a support group is so important to back you up on doing the right thing until you get used to standing on your own two feet in a place of principled morality and Loving respect for yourself and others.
Even Oprah talks about “defining our relationship” its not just a recovery thing.
GO HOME AT NIGHT, AND KEEP GOING HOME AND GO HOME NO MATTER HOW BAD WE MAY WANT TO FALL INTO SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE WE ARE building a new and sober life. We are finding out who we really are. And we are also re-creating who we are. It’s best if we can live alone to grow spiritually for a year or so before we commit to sharing our life with someone else.
The window to recovery is open for you now. Now is your time. It will be easier now than it will every be. Get to a meeting and meet some new friends.
Life will be good!
(Buprenorphine facts are taken from physician desk reference and the Suboxone.com website and the pamphlet that Subutex/Suboxone distributes. And other various research reference sites online. )
It has come to my attention that the belief systems running through NA and even AA are that if your on any kind of pain drug from your doctor or even a rehabilitation maintenance type drug such as buprenorphine then your “not clean & sober”. What I want to do here today is take a fair and balanced look at this issue and define what sobriety or clean and sober really is. I also want to take a look at each of a few drugs and point out the differences in how they do affect a person trying to rehabilitate from an abusive and addicted lifestyle.
Firstly and foremost I want to say, and this trumps anything following that I have written. You have to feel if you want to heal. Therefore in recovery we must be able to do the steps with our entire emotions invested in the process for it to work. When we stop drinking and drugging there is a natural process of emotions in us that surface in perfect order. Stuff comes up from the past that we have ignored or stuffed down and repressed by using drugs and ignoring our emotions. If we are still numbing ourselves out we won’t be able to heal 100% by addressing our underlying issues and processing those issues.
Emotional disorder- is the inability to process our feelings. We, I tend to stuff down and put into denial my intense feelings of FEAR in the form hurt, anger, betrayal, abandonment, rejection, and the big one inferiority.
First I want to point out that addiction is due to underlying causes such as emotional and mental disorders. Some people think the disease is in our DNA and hereditary they may be right. But I believe it’s a learned behavior and the sex, drugs, gambling, food, alcohol are a solution to our deep fear, anxiety, and depression. The drugs eventually stop working and our cure becomes lethal to us. If we were emotionally balanced we wouldn’t need the steps the program or even God until our death…then we better have a relationship built with a Higher Power that can deliver us from death because we are all headed that way dope or no dope.
We can be so sick or injured that if we don’t take our medicine our quality of life will be way worse than if we don’t. We mustn’t judge others for taking pain meds. Come what may some day karma may tap us on the shoulder with some excruciating and chronic pain from a sudden injury. To thine own self be true. We are not martyrs.
I think if a man does have to take pain meds he has a better chance at recovery if it’s later rather than sooner. Once you have six years under your belt sober I personally believe we don’t think with an addict mind anymore therefore we have a much better chance at following the doctors orders in sobriety.
Step One “We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol (drugs) and our lives had become unmanageable.”
If there is an absence of un-manageability then ones life is manageable. If there is an absence of powerlessness then there is no issue…is there? Just like a gun can be used for a good purpose to protect our families they can also be used to murder and mame. A product in and of itself is not evil it is mans use of that product which defines weather it is good or evil. Even Heroin, morphine and cocaine are used for good purposes in hospital settings. And don’t think hospitals don’t use Cocaine I had jaw surgery and know better. They put cocaine on a long q-tip and went from nasal to throat cleaning it out.
Heroin; some scientists proclaim is a much better pain killer than Morphine however due to the prejudices and stigmas attached to it they use Morphine instead. If one labels an inanimate object “evil” just because someones use of it makes it evil that is called a prejudice. We can be prejudiced in our minds over any people, places, and things.
If I am addicted to pornography then the computer is my evil catalyst where-as if a scientist posts the cure for cancer on his science blog and it is used around the world then the computer is a wonderful tool that saves lives. These examples tend to apply to anything. Chocolate cake at a 5 year olds birthday party is something he will enjoy and look back on all his life. How his mother nurtured him emotionally with her positive attention. And yet to the obese man a chocolate cake is the evil which can kill him. Sugar is actually poison which WILL kill him.
Pot or Marijuana to some people is their evil. They abuse it relentlessly. Others do not. Hear me OTHERS DO NOT. Just because someone can’t take narcotics without abusing them doesn’t mean they can’t smoke pot responsibly. Pot is a drug that can be used reasonably in recovery in my opinion as long as you are not smoking it abusively and soberly work the 12 step program with a sponsor. Go to meetings 90 and 90 and all the other stuff suggested.
Say Johnny smokes some weed at night and then he goes during the day to meetings and works the steps. He is also seeking God with his heart and getting group therapy. He doesn’t smoke pot during or before his recovery appointments. He has stopped crack smoking and every other hard drink and drug he was doing. Please don’t tell Johnny he is not sober he is doing great and so much better than he was. He is a father to his children he is home at night. And don’t forget he has been on dope pretty much all his life. Having a cushion to keep his rage in check till he can work through his emotional issues is a plus. Don’t ask Johnny to go on anti-depressants just so he can be legal. Pot works for Johnny and is soon to be legal where he lives. Do you think that smoking cigarettes is a healthy recovery thing to do? Yet cigarettes are accepted among NA and AA members and don’t cancel out your recovery. Why would pot cancel -out your recovery if Nicotine doesn’t? Why would we judge Johnny as “not sober”, he doesn’t smoke cigarettes which are a drug also. Cigarettes are an unfair status-quo in the rooms. Cigarettes will kill you quick and are far more harmful than Marijuana if it’s smoked occasionally and not abusively. Most cigarette smokers smoke way too much but yet they are considered sober. And they are sober just not perfectly sterilized sober. Bill Wilson our co-founder of A.A. died from cigarette addiction as a matter of fact in the form of He died from emphysema and pneumonia. Why am a telling you this? To point out that even the best of the best have secondary addictions. For me it’s the internet and food. None of us are truly qualified to harshly judge others.
I have know people that used buprenorphine when they started recovery and weaned down and people who have had to start med well into their tenth or more year. Firstly if your on Suboxone which is buprenorphine and Naloxone combined don’t bother shooting it. The Naloxone is only effective for relatively 20 minutes just long enough to block your rush and initial effects. When the Naloxone wears off your drug works the way it is supposed to so as to reduce pain or cravings. Secondly they have developed both Suboxone and Subutex (both buprenorphine) with a ceiling…if you take more than 3 pills don’t expect to feel the fourth one BUT you can still OD on them. you just won’t get any higher than if you took 3. YOU CAN NOT GET ANY HIGHER ONCE YOU HAVE HIT THE BUPRENORPHINE CEILING.
Thirdly don’t expect Buprenorphine to get you high like an opiate the scientists have developed this PARTIAL OPIATE AGONIST so it won’t have the effects of a full blown agonist or “NARCOTIC”. Put simply the chemical Buprenorphine does go to your opiate receptors. However, picture your receptors with a closed door in front of them. When you take an opiate the door swings wide open and your receptors are drenched with the effects. With partial opiate agonists such as Tramadol or Bubrenorpine the door to your receptors only opens half-way so the receptors only get half as sedated.
Methadone works to keep Heroin addicts off the street, keeps them from having to steal and rob to get heroin however it is very strong and will stop the natural process of healing and recovery. So if methadone is used in the beginning of recovery it should be a temporary thing to ween off of eventually. Then it can be considered progress.
Alcohol is a drug. If you can sit down and drink 2 or even 3 drinks and stop every time. If drinking doesn’t make you want to use crack or shoot dope etc. then your obviously not an alcoholic. Personally I don’t know nor do any of the people I have asked know one dope fiend who is not also an alcoholic.
So as a rule if you want recovery you will have to stop drinking.
Bottom line we do the best we can. If we are working the 12 step program and our lives are manageable then we are clean and sober if we have not picked up our drug of choice and abused it basically.
“NOT ONE ALCOHOLIC OR ADDICT WORKS A PERFECTLY STERILE PROGRAM WITH NO VICES”
Whether it be food, sex, sick relationships, gambling, cigarettes, weed, non-narcotic pills, wrath, violence, serial killing, wife beating, every addict in recovery tends to fall back on some vice or another. We all humans commit sin of some sort. We are human and I think we were created imperfect. Perfectionism will beat us down if we don’t get it in check. We will never be perfect and it is futile to struggle with ourselves relentlessly in a cycle of guilt and self-floggings that originated in our first addiction. When we get into that cycle we go to a meeting. “MOVE A MUSCLE CHANGE A THOUGHT”. WE MUSTN’T JUDGE OUR OWN INSIDES BY OTHER PEOPLES OUTSIDES OUR FELLOWS ARE SELDOM TRANSPARENT.
I let all my secrets out of the bag with my first sponsor who is now passed away. She was a counselor at Bridge House who by no coincidence helped me and several other women learn how to heal from grave emotional disorder and addictions.
We are all still sober today that was in 2006. I remember one of the counselors was talking to me. I was sharing my horrific past with him and all the tie I told him of my tragedies I had a twisted smile on my face which was helping me to NOT FEEL the emotion attached to the stories. It was my safety net I would not feel my past! He looked at me and said “Lori what you are telling me is traumatic and yet you are smiling”. At that moment all of my feelings connected back to my body. I was no longer cold as stone separated from my real life. When I finally allowed my feelings to re-attach themselves to me I was able to start processing my past. Things that I should have cried and wailed over but didn’t were making me sick. Prior to that I had gone to a woman’s meeting where all the woman cried and felt their pain. I was stone cold, I walked out of that women s group and told my soon to be sponsor/counselor that ‘I had no business in that women s group
BECAUSE I HAD NO EMOTIONAL PAIN” and at the time I really believed it, that was how deep in emotional denial I was. But my feelings buried and festering were coming out sideways in hate, resentment, and self-loathing. I was buried alive in guilt and shame. I used to turn red with shame regularly. I was so deep in shame that I had a cancerous tumor grow in my leg till finally it was surgically removed in 2000. My counselor told me that people that take out their pain on others by yelling at them and attacking verbally and wrathful people have heart attacks and people that repress their emotions and bury their pain get cancer.. That was me. Since then I have learned how to let it all out. I spent years processing by crying, screaming in my car (not at people like I mentioned) When I wailed and moaned guttural sounds little by little the grave emotions left my body. We were taught to do that in therapy. the first time I heard one of the girls do the guttural sounds it made me very uncomfortable. I felt shocked that it was somehow wrong and she was absolutely insane. But she had been in group longer than me and showed me how to save my life emotionally. Moaning hurts no one. It’s a natural process when we get sober that the past resurfaces in us from deep in our bowels. We ask ourselves “what’s wrong with me why do I feel like I lost my best friend yet nothing bad has happened?” I was told that I need to cry about the intense events in the past that I never allowed myself to feel.
Doing a through fourth step accompanied with daily prayer and step eleven meditation goes hand in hand with therapy and therapeutic exercises. I didn’t make this stuff up it was given to me as solutions to anxiety attack, panic attacks, fear and shame
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous 567
The terms “spiritual experience” and “spiritual awakening” are used many times in this book which, upon careful reading, shows that the personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism has manifested itself among us in many different forms.
Yet it is true that our first printing gave many readers the impression that these personality changes, or religious experiences, must be in the nature of sudden and spectacular upheavals. Happily for everyone, this conclusion is erroneous.
In the first few chapters a number of sudden revolutionary changes are described. Though it was not our intention to create such an impression, many alcoholics have nevertheless concluded that in order to recover they must acquire an immediate and overwhelming “God-consciousness” followed at once by a vast change in feeling and outlook.
Among our rapidly growing membership of thousands of alcoholics such transformations, though frequent, are by no means the rule. Most of our experiences are what the psychologist William James calls the “educational variety” because they develop slowly over a period of time. Quite often friends of the newcomer are aware of the difference long before he is himself. He finally realizes that he has undergone a profound alteration in his reaction to life; that such a change could hardly have been brought about by himself alone. What often takes place in a few months could hardly be accomplished by years of self-discipline. With few exceptions our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves.
Most of us think this awareness of a Power greater than ourselves is the essence of spiritual experience. Our more religious members call it “God-consciousness.”
Most emphatically we wish to say that any alcoholic capable of honestly facing his problems in the light of our experience can recover, provided he does not close his mind to all spiritual principles. He can only be defeated by an attitude of intolerance or belligerent denial.
We find that no one need have difficulty with the spirituality of the program. WILLINGNESS, HONESTY AND OPEN MINDEDNESS ARE THE ESSENTIALS OF RECOVERY. BUT THESE ARE INDISPENSABLE.
“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance–that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” –HERBERT SPENCER
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
“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.”
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.)
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.
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?
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.
“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.
“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.
RESOURCES FOR PANIC ATTACKS AND ANXIETY DISORDER
I woke up angry as hell today! I went to check on a recent order I had made online. I couldn’t get into my account. I have had several problems with ordering from a certain online store so I was very aggressive with my tone when I called them. “I just want my fabric!” I realized I was wrong about the way I spoke to her so I sent her an email apology. Seems she locked me out of my account by making my email address invalid. Ouch! I never wanted to hack a system so bad in my life to get back into my account. I am angry as hell and don’t like the way that feels. I realize I have been feeling allot of anger recently.
My new and healthy emotional process works like this; I don’t shut down my emotions because that leads to anxiety and depression. But rather I ask myself why do I feel so much anger toward myself lately? Why have I felt self-destructive even? I give thanks to my Higher Power several times out loud as a defense against hate.(it works) I take a look at all the good and positive things that I have been doing lately. Sometimes flashback feelings of self-hate just happen. There are times when I regress back to my childhood my sister criticizing me my mother ignoring me and my dad invalidating my identity.
WAIT A MINUTE! WHY AM I WORKING ON SELF-RESENTMENT ISSUES WHEN IT’S EVERYONE ELSE THAT I RESENT BECAUSE THEY ARE SO WRONG AND BAD? My emotions are the fault of everyone else right? Wrong! They can’t process or fix me emotionally…all they can do is give my ego a temporary fix. They can’t build my self-esteem or give me inner peace. If I often resent other people it directly reflects the way I feel about myself deep deep down within my heart. Resentments toward others are always about me. Alternatively if someone wrongs me it is appropriate to get hurt or angry by and at them. But this is different than an on-going resentment because I am able to let the anger go, anger is a healthy emotion when it flows through us rather than getting stuck and festering.
I am a worthwhile child of God I tell myself! I refuse to believe the lies my head is telling me of how worthless, and stupid I am. I AM A HUMAN BEING AND HAVE A RIGHT TO BE WHO I AM! I pray for all of those who I resent including myself. Next I get the heck out of the house and see the bright new world because…even though I woke up very angry I refuse to take my shit out on anybody which is a test of my emotional sobriety and…
THIS MY FRIEND COULD BE THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!__________
HERE IS THE “RESENTMENT PRAYER” FROM BB, Freedom from Bondage: 552) THANKS TO http://friendsofbillw.net/twelve_step_prayers
A 4th Step Resentment Prayer:
“God, Please help me to be free of anger and to see that the world and its people have dominated me. Show me that the wrong-doing of others, fancied or real, has the power to actually kill me. Help me to master my resentments by understanding that the people who wrong me were perhaps spiritually sick. Please help me show those I resent the same Tolerance, Pity and Patience that I would cheerfully grant a sick friend.** Help me to see that this is a sick man. Father, please show me how I can be helpful to him and save me from being angry. Lord, help me to avoid retaliation or argument. I know I can’t be helpful to all people, but at least show me how to take a kindly and tolerant view of each and every one. Thy will be done.”(66:2, 66:3, 66:4, 67:0, 67:1)
**Dear God, I have a resentment towards a person that I want to be free of. So, I am asking you to give this person everything I want for myself. Help me to feel compassionate understanding and love for this person. I pray that they will receive everything they need. Thank you God for your help and strength with this resentment. (BB, Freedom from Bondage: 552)
I didn’t get sober to be miserable although at times that’s unavoidable. If I don’t learn to live life on life’s terms and have a peaceful and somewhat loving existence I may end up being one of the MANY suicidal old-timers who kills themselves when they have no-one left to blame for their misery. Unfortunately the suicide rate among alcoholics and addicts in recovery is high.
I have done a first hand survey among sober alcoholics and most people I have interviewed who have over 15 years sober know at least 3-5 people who have committed suicide while in recovery. Myself at 9 years sober know at least 2 and possibly more due to vague explanations of cause of death by authorities and family members of the deceased.
If you think about it you probably have had at least one or two in your own hometown, sober and suicidal.
Please I am not trying to be negative but rather want to express the importance of getting down to underlying causes for addiction rather than continuing to apply band-aids to emotions that require antibiotics. It’s imperative that we learn how to process our emotions in a healthy way so our emotional disorder doesn’t become grave emotional disorder. The way to do that is by getting honest about the way we feel with people who are empathic and won’t shut us down and label it self-pity. Please read my article about solutions to intense negative emotions. At a year sober we ask “what’s wrong with me?”
Things change, ideas change, and I change. I wrote this article today which is my experience with a #1 addiction offender
God is Love. 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.”
|PSYCHIC OR PSYCHOTIC?
In “How it works” in the Big Book it says that even those of us who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders can stay sober too. I do write much about “emotional disorder” as Bill W. mentioned in “How it Works” and the solutions to that. But today I want to tap into the topic of “mental disorders” which our founders mentioned as well. Furthermore I don’t know if anyone has noticed but bi-polar people make up a huge part of our 12 step programs.
What is schizophrenia? I am not so sure weather our schizophrenic fellows are crazy or have actually tapped into a real dimension that most of us never hear or see. I am not a physician therefore medically I am not equipped to give the whole story concerning mental illness. However, I do know people that can hear my own thoughts and I know this beyond a shadow of a doubt. These psychic friends of mine believe that schizophrenics have the ability to hear into other realms and that is what drives them to drink and worse. . Many times we humans label those who are spiritually gifted as “crazy” and “insane”.
We as humans who depend so highly on what we can see with our eyes cannot connect with higher realms unless we close our eyes and develop our “Third eye” the one that does not optically view things but rather shows us visions by our minds eye.
We start by repeating a mantra so we can learn to focus on just one thing.Once we have practiced that for quite some time it is natural for our mind to move into a state of emptiness. Usually when we hit this phase of meditation a door will be presented to us that will appear as a symbol that we are comfortable with which represents our higher being. For me it is usually crosses and triangles that appear surrounded by blackness and stars.
We are in the care of our Higher Power if we have done our Step Three therefore we need not fear the many different realms that may be dangerous or evil. I always pull out of any places that seem spiritually dangerous to me. Everything we need to seek and find God we already have within us.
MANKIND WILL ALWAYS TRY TO PUT SPIRITUALITY INTO A BOX LABELLED CARNALITY, meaning mankind tends to apply his/her own character defects to his spirituality. But don’t be too hard on us we can’t help it. I am sure you will see some prime examples of this in my own writings, I am not “all spiritual” and my mistakes do not stop me from continuing my writing and fighting the good fight.
If we do our Step Ten regularly and keep our side of the street clean we will be less likely to look for someone to blame and something to control. Not everything as a matter of fact very little is under our control therefore trying to keep things under control is as futile as thinking that we as the chairperson in AA control the meeting. Of this we are but facilitators just as we are only facilitators of our own actions and nothing more. Realizing this takes a huge burden off our shoulders.We sigh with relief because we need not judge anyone as “crazy” including ourselves.
We are not responsible for the human race we are only responsible for “me
|STEP ELEVEN If we don’t communicate with God then how will our faith ever be increased past the initial morsel that is given to us at the dawn of our lives? “Each man is given a measure of faith” so it is written in the Holy Bible.
Some manage to increase their faith when going through trials at which time they pray and ask God for a safe outcome to the adversity they are facing. I am guessing that not everyone reaches out to a Higher Power when facing adversity but apparently many do since the act has a label called “foxhole prayers”. For those of us that do pray, when the outcome does turn out as we requested we are blessed to have our faith increased. And when the outcome does not go our way we just reason out that the answer from God was a “no”.
But surely we can have our faith increased by other means besides foxhole prayers. One way to do that is by meditation as suggested in Step Eleven. Meditation is a quieting of the mind in an effort to seek out and become closer to our Higher Power. Meditation will increase our faith, tolerance, and patience if by nothing more than training ourselves to be still.
It’s 12 step appropriate to start our meditation with a prayer to “improve our conscious contact with God as we understand God praying for the knowledge of His, (Her, It’s) will for us and the power to carry that out. Some people pray to be protected during their meditation. Seems a little strange that we would need protection while embarking on a spiritual exercise to seek our Higher Power (the next right thing) but here’s the reasoning behind it.
It’s a fact that most humans use very little of their brains…10% is the common number. It has been shown by MRI result that those who meditate have light in parts of their brain that those who don’t meditate do not have. So who can say what could happen during meditation in the way of astral-travel, data collection, visions, possible alien encounters, dream-travel and so-on that’s why a little prayer to our Higher Power for protection can’t hurt.
Hypothetically some people have faith enough or a lack thereof that they don’t fear any aspects of meditation therefore have no need to ask for protection. Clarification-total lack of faith in God would dictate that meditation will get us nowhere except to places within our own mind. Or thinking could be that if astral-travel is possible the universe is made up of nothing but pleasant fluffy fairy beings that dance to and fro and that even the word “supernatural” equals Love and goodness so there’s no need for protection prayers.
Alternatively belief in the supernatural and a faith in God implies that there are evil spiritual beings as well as good and that these evil entities, perhaps demons would do harm to us if they had half a chance. Some Christians for instance believe that deep meditation can open a person up to evil. However given that knowledge a person with a strong faith will know that they are protected and safe during meditation.
Some of us were raised by parents who glorified and gave more credence to the evil and scary supernatural power of Satan than the supernatural and miraculous power of a good and righteous God and so we pray for protection when we endeavor on our supernatural quest to find a deeper connection with God.
What other ways are there to increase our faith besides communication with our Higher Power? We who are in the program of AA and NA are blessed and present to watch those who come in after us broken and afraid. We then see them restored to not only sanity, but to health and happiness in a miraculous way due to the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and its members.
This experience also increases our faith and warms our hearts.
|“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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Depression is anger without enthusiasm
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Does being “spiritually fit” mean that everything is wonderful in my life and I won’t feel any unpleasant or even horrible feelings? Does being spiritually fit mean that I will never make a mistake? Does being S.Fit mean that the 12 step lock-combination is flawless and perfection is what I have attained. Whoa! This kind of idealism will lead me to misery because every time I don’t feel good I will beat myself up for not being spiritually fit and hide my true feelings from my fellows until they consume me. . Perfectionism! I no longer suffer from the ideals of perfection. Perfection is something I will never attain while I am human. I revisit my step three. Thats right I am relying on a Higher Power because I AM fallible. Spiritual growth is sometimes painful I will need to cry while spiritually fit.
Sobriety is like….peeling an onion, my past feelings, regrets, shames, trauma will come up best I don’t ignore deep feelings especially in the first three to five years of sobriety these are the “heavy emotional processing” years. T The first five years shit just comes up, tears we didn’t cry, screams we should have let out, shame we needed to confess, guilts we buried so deep we thought they were gone, loss we could not bear to feel, abandonment and betrayals by those we trusted. Yep it all comes up, sorry.
The good news is A Higher Power can lessen the pain even remove it but never all of it…not that I have seen. Journalling is priceless for the emotions. If I am doing my fourth step correctly it should be a very emotional time of tears, regrets, shames, grief, realizations about myself and my survival patterns (steps 6&7.) The work ain’t easy but it works. I have worked the steps once a year for the first six years anyway. I am probably due to do it again.
The imprints of the past no longer have a hold over my actions. I need not destroy myself because of the way I feel. I can change the way I feel today by taking actions.
I don’t want to leave out the Joy, fulfillment, enlightenment, the laughs and the awareness of Gods Grace and wonderment that sobriety offers. Sobriety rocks!
Disclaimer: There is always a possibility that you do not fall under the addict norm and don’t need to do the step work at all. Maybe its only the traumatized that need to do step work. If a pink cloud never leaves why do the steps? I wouldn’t.
pic found at-http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/bits-and-pieces/images/1814875/title/tears-wallpaper Thankyou!
“When one door closes another door opens;
but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed-door, that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” Alexander Graham Bell“When one door closes another one opens” Once we have done our Third Step our lives are in God’s care but we don’t always remember that. After living a life of addiction littered with betrayal and lies suddenly we are challenged to trust that God has our needs covered.
Trusting God is a process usually consisting of walking through uncomfortable and downright scary changes. If we lose our job we end up with a better one, if we lose our spouse by divorce we adjust and realize we are better off in many ways. Even when disaster occurs things can end up better than they were, we could end up with a better house or a better car or a fresh appreciation for what we do have. Suddenly we no longer take for granted our blessings. When terrifying changes strike we draw closer to God, often times that’s the only reason we draw nigh unto our Creator.
Once we put ourselves in God’s care He, [She or It] has our back. We can now sit back and let worry, manipulation, and grasping fearful behaviors go. God has a way of pulling us close to Him so we don’t stray back into self-destruction.
It takes practice to build trust in God and unfortunately that trust is usually built by trial and tribulation. Just as we have to get to know people before we trust them; it’s hard to admit we also need to get to know our Higher Power and watch Him save our ass a time or two before an unshakable trust is built.
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.