AA LOVE AND TOLERANCE IS OUR CODE

LOVE IS HIGHLY UNDER-RATED IN SOME SECTS OF AA

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

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

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

are to some extent emotionally ill as well as

frequently wrong, and then we approach true tolerance and

see what real love for our fellows actually means.”

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

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

GOD IS LOVE

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

THE TWELVE STEPS OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become

unmanageable.

  1. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to

sanity.

  1. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  1. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  2. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature

of our wrongs.

  1. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  2. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  3. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make

amends to them all.

  1. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do

so would injure them or others.

  1. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly

admitted it.

  1. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with

God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us

and the power to carry that out.

  1. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to

carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our

affairs.

Copyright  1952, 1953, 1981 by Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing

(now known as Alcoholics Anonymous World Services,

MOMENT OF CLARITY

MOMENT OF CLARITY

­­In A.A. we survivors of lives of addiction have many things in common.  The program works because we can relate to one another.  When we share our story and our feelings it creates a common bond.  When we let down the protective walls that surround us we open the door to love and friendship 

One of our common experiences is what we call “a moment of clarity”.  Something happens in our mind that wakes us up to realize we need help.      

The thing is we alcoholics/addicts usually spend allot of time in denial of just how bad our addiction really is.  Without the survival skill of denial the guilt and shame would destroy us.  To have some semblance of peace in our corrupted lives we lie to ourselves on a regular basis.  We blame everybody and everything around us that we can for the state of our affairs.  I could write an entire paper on denial, as a matter of fact I already have but that’s irrelevant.

The moment of clarity is what happens in our mind when that long-term denial drops off our brain and we see the whole truth about ourselves and the shape we are in.  We see suddenly and inexplicitly those we have harmed and the money we have spent.  In the moment of clarity truth roles over us like a freight train.

My moment of clarity happened about ten days after I was thrown in the clinker for possession of a crack pipe and who knows what else.  They threw me in isolation for three days and then put me with the rest of the girl in population.

LOCKED UP

I am one of those people that had a low bottom.  I had been in the woods smoking crack I don’t remember how long.  I finally left the woods to go home.  I got stopped in fanning Springs I wasn’t even driving a car.  I hid a crack pipe in my hair there was no time to throw it away.  The guards left me in a little cell that happened to have a chair with a tiny ledge all around the bottom of it.  I disposed of the pipe there. 

They send me to Levy County Jail because of a warrant.  After nine days of severe withdrawal from Methadone, cigarettes, crack, and Xanax I looked at myself in the steel mirror.  My teeth were rotting out from the crack, I had lost so much weight so fast that my skin was hanging off me unnaturally.  I felt suck a severe remorse for the way I neglected my daughter that I almost died right there.  But I had my moment of clarity.  That clarity stayed with me.  The 12 steps are designed for people like me.

 

After two years of probation I went back in that jail with the friends I met in A.A.  We brought meetings in twice a month.  You just don’t know what a feeling a joy and accomplishment I had doing that 12 step service work.  By the perpetual grace of Gody sobriety date is April, 15 2006 according to the sobriety calculator I have 3,318 days sober one day at a time.

9 years 1 month 1 day

Time span:

474 weeks

3318 days

9.08 years

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/2/sobriety-calculator/

Do you know when your moment of clarity was?

By Anonymous

 

EMOTIONALLY GROWING UP IN A.A.

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

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

AGREE TO DISAGREE by working the 12 steps.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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RECOVERING SOBER WRITERS WANTED

Tell your sober story.  “What it was like,(addiction) what happened (got sober), and what it’s like now. (recovery as you experience it)”

WRITERS WANTED To post recovery oriented articles on Recovery Farmhouse no professional experience needed.

Basic editing skills preferred.  Please put your article through an editing process best you can. Your writing does not have to be perfect just from the heart.  Writing for Recovery Farmhouse is a little more that just sharing your experience strength and hope.  You are allowed to have an opinion and state it.  However open-mindedness to other people’s views and acceptance for same is a definite plus.  Poetry is accepted too.  Please e-mail me at edgarlaura826@yahoo.com with your articles.
writers wanted

 

 

WRECKAGE OF THE PAST

Wreckage of the Past

Growing up emotionally

Clearing the wreckage of the past means growing up emotionally.  “INDECISION”    Page 86 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Step Eleven “In thinking about our day we may face indecision.  We may not be able to determine which course to take.  Here we ask God for inspiration, and intuitive thought or decision.  We relax and take it easy.  We don’t struggle.  We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while.

Why was it so hard to make any decision when I was newly sober?  One huge reason is because I was afraid of the outcome of my own choices.  My decision could turn out bad or wrong and then I would be bad and wrong.  And why not, I made so many wrong choices in life I was used to the badgering and consequences of my selfish actions.  Obviously the “bad” and “wrong” label was stamped on me at an early age therefore it is at the core of my “fear of people” issues. 

One of my valuable (old behavior) survival skills when drinking and drugging was to let others make my choices for me.  When I hand over power to someone by asking them…”what should I do” I am offering them ego-feeding material.  Furthermore if the decision turns out “wrong” I can quickly blame that person for the outcome.  This is why a sponsor should always answer objectively when a sponcee tries to hand over their power of choice by responding with “it is your decision but we can go over your options and I can suggest to you what may be the best choice.”

Why does the Ninth Step promise us that “fear of people will leave us” and how does it leave us?  Between our connection with God and our customary twelve step work our confidence and self-esteem are rebuilt and we no longer fear making personal choices.  We need no longer fear “bad” outcomes because life is a journey, we are only human and we have been created to make mistakes and to rely on a Higher Power.  We are and will never be perfect while human.  When we make right choices and do the next right thing we receive positive consequences which are confidence and true pride the good kind.

When I hand over power to a person it is a manipulation skill that keeps them coming back.  It feels good to rule over someone and make their choices for them.  However when that kind of power is snatched back…ouch!  The person feels empty and lacking and usually they don’t react well.  How do I snatch power back?   By going against the advice given or just pushing the adviser right out of the picture all together by walking away.

It also says on page 88 that “faith without works is dead.”  Therefore we should be sure to have some Step Twelve action going on even if it’s not in the capacity of AA.  Not everyone fits into AA’s traditional version of the twelfth step, by chairing meetings, becoming an officer & active in business meetings, making coffee, speaking in institutions, speaker meetings, joining the activities committee etc. there are many ways to share the message outside of AA that will work to give the same good effect. 

“Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principals in all our affairs”.

However if we choose to not do traditional twelfth step work we may be in danger of missing out on valuable personal growth, maturity, self-esteem, confidence, and emotional sobriety that happens when we do the things underlined above.

Learning to take responsibility for our actions and building confidence takes work.  Fear of people will leave us IF we work the steps.  One thing sure if we don’t put ourselves in uncomfortable and vulnerable positions by working step 12 we will not gain the confidence that no longer fears people and makes independent choices. 

STEP 12:  Courage & willingness means doing the next right thing when I just want to go home and hide in my bed.  It means telling my story at detox when I am nervous as a cat.  It means chairing a meeting when my hands shake, courage is making coffee when I fear that everyone at the meeting will tell me it tastes horrible, courage is doing a fifth step when every fiber of my being says “keep it secret”,  courage is asking someone to sponsor me when I am afraid of being told “no”, it is sharing my secrets when I fear betrayal, it means making a friend when I fear I will just be abandoned again, it means putting pen to paper when I feel like it will all be a waste of my time.   Without these kinds of courageous actions and the willingness that goes against our core fears we might not grow in the miraculous and amazing ways that are promised in Step Nine “fear of people will leave us”, furthermore we may not stay sober at all.

THE SAME MAN WILL DRINK AGAIN.

 

SPONSORSHIP & A LUST FOR POWER & CONTROL

SPONSORSHIP

SELF-ESTEEM

THE 12 TRADITIONS

TRADITION 2

“For out group purpose there is but one ultimate authority-a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience.  Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern., 

 

Sponsorship & a lust for power & control can go hand in hand if we are not carefully self-aware.  Sin is an uncomfortable word for many addicts probably because of being judged harshly by religious people in our past.  After all, power over others can be very seductive and addicting.  We need to be very careful and stay mindful of this when we sponsor newcomers.  Being an authority in a church has its own sinful temptations, and pitfalls such as the obsession to control others.  

Usurping authority over others, and the elation we humans often get when we are allowed to manage another person’s life is often downright luscious to our flesh.   The desire to play God is the exact reason why our early founders of Alcoholics Anonymous set up the 12 traditions the way they did.  Bill W.  and the rest of the early members knew that power corrupts and that if addicts got a taste of power it would be all she wrote for AA.  

Greed and the lust for money are right up there with the hunger for control and authority.  It is written in the Bible that; “The Love of money is the root of much evil.”  This scripture gets mis-quoted probably more than any.   It’s the “Love “of money rather than the Love of God which turns our insides into a den of thieves and makes us sick.   One solution for these greedy & selfish fear based character flaws are to realize that we aren’t trusting God when we struggle for more, more, more and simple giving. 

To combat greed we give away something that we absolutely do not want to give away like a hundred dollar bill or something we covet.  Giving away what we covet takes sins power and smashes it into smithereens.  It also frees us from our own fears that drive us to selfishness.    Giving away something we value or covet will curtail possibly even cure our greed.  Giving away that which we don’t want that bad anyway won’t work in the same way. 

It’s a spiritual law that is obvious to the spiritually minded furthermore Jesus spoke about this Karmic law  in the New Testament when a ruler asked Him how or what he needed to do to have eternal life.  The man was very rich and Jesus suggested to him that he give all his material possessions away and follow Him. (Luke 18:22)  I believe the ruler walked away saddened by the instructions unable to carry the directions out.  

We also need to firstly not hand over our power by asking others to make our decisions or take on our responsibilities and second we should never tell our sponcee’s what they must do.  Our sponcee’s are sick and they oftentimes will want to turn over their power of choice to someone of authority like a sponsor.  No doubt if we start making their choices for them at some point the power they gave us will get snatched back and we will be left wondering why we feel like crap.  Not to mention when the choices we have made for them don’t turn out well we will become their beast of blame.  Best we help them by going over their options, possibilities, and then they can make an educated choice and reap their own consequences called self-esteem and confidence.

Are our animals simply pets or are they Ordained & Anointed Ministers?

 SPIRITUAL PETS?

RECOVERY

PROVIDENCE

Are our pets ordained by God sent directly to us from heaven?  Perhaps they are reincarnated x-humans who are doing penance.  Perhaps we ourselves have a ministerial calling of sorts and our pets are one of our allotted spiritual tools to help keep our attitude and spirits positive.  Maybe our little fury friends signed a heavenly contract with us when we where in heaven still Spirit to encourage us to keep on keep-in’ on.We should be sure to remember that these creatures are capable of Loving unconditionally like few others can.  This in itself begs the question; are they actually higher spiritual beings than we assume.Twelve step work deploys us in a direction of helping and encouraging the still suffering alcoholic and addict.   However, we need a dose of love and encouragement ourselves if we are to continue comforting others with a positive attitude and so our little dogs get us up and out on walks through the paths of the Earths natural beauty.Our pets jump on our bellies in the morning with their dogie or kittie smile just to wake us up to start the brand new day.   They make us smile.  

It has been proven by psychological studies that people with animals live longer.  When we pet our little friend they pull affection out of us which magically returns to us in a good way.

Giving is always better than receiving even if we cannot understand how, perhaps when we pet our little begging animal it is an act of giving and our spiritual Karma is refreshed and renewed.And so the great mysteries of spirituality should never ever be boxed into carnal ideals.  Meaning all of the above is very possible

 

 

 

 

What is “The Will of God”?

What is the will of God?

STEP ELEVEN

EMOTIONAL SOBRIETY

will of god 2

WHAT IS THE WILL OF GOD?

“Thy will be done” that’s a tough order in the mind of a control hungry addict!  That’s a tough order for any human for that matter unless they are thoroughly convinced that God’s will, will feel better than their own.  And what’s more, what is God’s will anyway and where does it fit into the steps?  Well most of us are familiar with the Eleventh Step prayer that is all about God’s will and our own self-centered dysfunction.

 

Eleventh Step Prayer of Saint Francis

 

“Lord make me a channel of thy peace — that where there is hatred, I may bring love — that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness — that where there is discord, I may bring harmony — that where there is error, I may bring truth — that where there is doubt, I may bring faith — that where there is despair, I may bring hope — that where there are shadows, I may bring light — that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.

 

Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted — to understand, than to be understood — to love, than to be loved.

 

For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life…

 

AMEN

 

Starting the day with this prayer is a good way to test if Gods will really is better than our own.  Experience is what strengthens faith not just words.  Meaning; we can be told all day long that God’s will is best and halfway believe it but if we pray this prayer and then reap the benefits of fulfillment, enlightenment, some joy and some tears then we know that even though we are sober and OK our hearts and minds are more at peace when we are in the will of our creator.  Test the prayer.

 

If we are seeking an answer to the question “what is the will of God” then the best answer available is “help others and do no harm.”  We are human, we have defects of character and patterns of false pride, ego, and fear.  It is best that we understand it is not our place to tell others what to do and especially not our place to tell others what God’s will is for them.  We may however express suggestions for the benefit of those who have requested them.  We as members of Alcoholics Anonymous should be careful to not play God. 

 

It is said that pure power corrupts, having sponcees and fellows who look up to us should not be an abused power.  When we are careful to not tell other adults what we think they should do or make their choices for them we leave them room to grow emotionally.  Making right choices and reaping the benefits is much of what emotional growth is based in.  Furthermore each man has the right to reach their own level of incompetence.

AA SPONSORSHIP

What is AA Sponsorship all about?  

They say in AA we should meet the new-comer at his or her level not try to drag them up to where we are after accomplishing years of step-work, meetings, and more work.  How does sponsorship work?  Shall we take advantage of the fact that we have gained some self-confidence and give the newcomer the beat-down so we can build them back up??? Shall we order them around in front of our fellows to make us look good?  No, No, and Hell-no! But believe it or not immature and even hostile behavior toward a sponsee happens more in AA sponsorship than it should that’s for sure. We should be patient and tolerant with the newcomer.  

The best way to do that is by relating.  We try to relate to whatever topic is at hand.  If the topic is changing people places and things then we remember back to our early days in AA and how those changes affected us.  We put ourselves in the shoes of the newcomer rather than resenting them for not knowing what we so painstakingly learned.  Then we incorporate our AA knowledge into our experiences of how we learned that knowledge and grew from it.  We qualify ourselves to the newcomer as being worthy to share our AA knowledge because of our alcoholic war stories.

Rather than trying to pull our sponcee up to our level of recovery we are meeting them where they are and the reason that we can help them and ourselves of course is that we can usually relate to just where they are. Newcomers don’t take just anyone’s suggestions unless they can tell that the speaker has been where they have been.  The newcomer needs to know that the people in the rooms have felt the extreme hurtfulness of incomprehensible demoralization.  

We share from our hearts we speak in the “I”  format so as not to offend the newcomer. A man with an extreme inferiority complex due to years of going against his own heart and good sense is easily offended.  The alcoholic spends years defying his own moral compass therefore subconsciously loathes himself.  He starts his day from the platform of low-self-esteem so naturally he reads that opinion into people’s actions and comments toward him.   Little does the alcoholic know that seldom do others look at him the way he looks at himself so he need not be so defensive.

And so we remember when working with our newcomer how we thought that the world revolved around our belly buttons as well.  Or in other words we thought people were much more concerned and aware of our negative actions. We share with the newcomer the things that gave us hope when we came in.  We don’t  treat the newcomer as if he were a lesser person he is not.    All of us are equal from the gutter stained alcoholic to the 20 year sober keynote AA speaker we are just in a different place is all.  In Gods eyes we are all of value.

 We remember the sarcasms and snide remarks that were said to us these things we don’t repeat. There are those in AA who take pleasure in treating the newcomer like they are walking into a high security death-row prison and have to go through an orientation by ruthless inmates.  We do not have to have that mentality.  Without the newcomer many of us  old-timers would scarcely stay sober.  

Step Twelve hangs on the fact that we have newcomers to work with to keep us involved in a purpose of higher importance.  Newbie you are of high value to us in AA and many people even say you are the most important one in the room. Of coarse that statement would be bullshit because any honest AA-er will admit he regards himself as the most important one i the room. I don’t know maybe there really are some saints out there in the rooms who would put the newcomers sobriety and well-being before his own.  But the way I understand it most of us work with others to keep ourselves sober firstly, the rest is gravy.  

THE RIGHT SPONSOR

AA

GOSSIP

The right sponsor will not be perfect. If we were to find a “perfect sponsor” they would be worthless to us, we don’t need perfection. Alcoholism is a symptom of a deeper issue and the deeper issue needs to be worked on so we can stay sober. This means we need to work the steps. Staying sober is our primary purpose however the steps are devised to address the deeper emotional and spiritual issues in us.

Obviously it doesn’t take fellowship and 12 steps to comprehend “just say no” and “put the plug in the jug”. It does however take 12 steps, fellowship, working with others, and a spiritual connection to remedy an addict’s emotional and spiritual disorder.
We addicts beat ourselves up relentlessly because one day we are saying “tomorrow I won’t drink or use” and the next day we drink and use. What we don’t realize is that our emotional disorder has stolen away our ability to follow through on our choices about using and that if we are to regain our power to follow through we must learn what it is or remember what it is that empowers us spiritually and emotionally.

We need a sponsor who knows how to stay sober and has worked all 12 steps. Mutual respect and honesty are high priority on the list when choosing a sponsor no one deserves being disrespected. Next we need a sponsor who will be dependable and will show up for our meetings or at least have the courtesy to call and cancel if they can’t make it. If our sponsor misses an appointment without calling more than one time we may have to fire them and find one who will show up. Keeping our appointments with our sponsor no matter how loud our inner-voice screams otherwise is imperative if we are to stay sober. A sponsor who does not show for his appointments with a sponsee is acting brutally irresponsible. A sponsee who stands up his sponsor could die or worse. Even if a sponsee shows up and his sponsor doesn’t they have learned a good lesson about that sponsor and unless a valid emergency has occurred should fire them immediately and move on to the next possible right sponsor.
In the program there are sponsors who feel they need to beat down those with less clean-time with criticism, sarcasm and by pointing out your shortcomings for you. There are even those who will turn around and use your confidential fifth step confessions against you. God forbid you choose that type of person for a sponsor but if they do betray you…it will come back on them. All the steps are written for us to apply to ourselves not for us to apply to others by taking their fourth step inventory for them.

A sponsor’s job is to encourage, counsel, guide, teach, share, and teach us to work the steps and how to continually apply the steps in our lives as a way of life. A good sponsor is a good example and does not continually point out our shortcomings. It is part of the growth process for us to take responsibility for our lives by making our own choices and reaping the consequences of our new good choices. A sponsor should never try to make our choices for us that would stifle our emotional growth and give us a beast of burden to blame for our life.
Building confidence and self-esteem is accomplished by making and following through with esteem able choices.

When we addicts get into romantic relationships it feels good and we tend to become emotionally unhealthy with it by either handing over power of choice to our partner or trying to control the other person then we quickly lose interest in sobriety and personal growth. A sponsor/sponsee relationship can get dysfunctional also if we don’t set clear boundaries. Again if a sponsor want to control us rather than suggest to us then we ought to walk away and find another one. We should not character assassinate anyone by gossiping including those who have wronged us.

We all need to vent our strong feelings or they will eat at us but when we vent about a person in AA we need to vent with someone who will not gossip. When we first come to the rooms we won’t know who to trust but it won’t take long to figure that out. KNOW PEOPLE BY WHO THEY SHOW US THEY ARE NOT BY WHO THEY TELL US THEY ARE. Gossip is done by spreading ugly rumors about people to people who we know will tell even more people. Venting on the other hand is when we share our feelings about a situation in confidence with a person we trust. God save the sponsor who does not allow their sponcee any emotional venting of feelings. Some people pretend they no longer have feelings and never get hurt or angry because they are in recovery. Not true! As long as we are human we will have strong feelings. We should not shut our sponsees down by cutting them off unless they are going on too long in the blame game and speaking about other people’s wrong and bad behaviors rather than their own feelings. We must protect ourselves from emotional vampire’s which will suck us dry spiritually if we listen to them bitch long enough.

Woman especially however need to have a safe place where they can share their feelings about situations and people this is not gossip. To be continued….. I will be doing a segment on communication, relationships and working with others. The next post will be in the next couple of days. Thanks for reading along. If you are a stickler for recognizing my not so great grammar and punctuation please e-mail me at lrkb68@yahoo.com and put “EDITOR” in the subject box. I really could use a reliable editor who doesn’t mind working once in a while for free in the name of the 12th Step. Thanks Lori

Gratitude- EXPERIENCE STRENGTH & HOPE

Gratitude

Complacency

Perfectionism

After we have been sober for a long time if we are not careful to continue putting the steps into action we might forget just how far we have come. We might start believing the negative messages our mind sends us if we only see the things that we have not accomplished. There will ALWAYS be things we wish to accomplished so its not fair to us if we beat ourselves up for not being super-human.  Perfectionism & complacency are destructive habits.

We might start believing the negative messages other people send us. It’s important when doing step eleven or ten to remind ourselves of the good we are still accomplishing. Even if all we have accomplished lately is to feed ourselves properly, raise our children, get the right exercise, prayer, meditation, etc. We need to inventory the good we are doing and if we can’t think of anything we are doing for our healing recovery then we need to consciously take action. We must not give up our hope or our dreams

Its just not possible to do it all so we do what we can with our Higher Powers help. We have seasons of life and some periods are “down time” other times are “up times”. We must experience both yin and yang to keep balance in us and the world. Making a gratitude list can consist of all the wonderful things God has done for us since we got clean and sober. We are children of a creator who Loves us, we are inherently good and deserve good things even if sometimes we don’t realize how good some circumstances will end up being. These ideals are all about building faith, and trust in our Higher Power Our trials do end up being good for us in some way even if its only to build character.

Lastly we lift our hands to the sky and give thanks aloud to the God of our understanding of coarse.

Taming the Tongue Step Eleven



Taming the tongue

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

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

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

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

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

WHY IT WORKS

GOD GRANT ME THE SERENITY TO ACCEPT THE THINGS I CANNOT CHANGE, THE COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS I CAN AND THE WISDOM TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.RARELY HAVE WE SEEN A PERSON FAIL WHO HAS THOROUGHLY FOLLOWED OUR PATH. “BIG BOOK OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS.”

My creator and God is the cornerstone of my spirituality.   I obtained spirituality initially by Step Eleven which is:   “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”    I continue feeding the spiritual part of my being by doing steps Ten through Twelve.   

 

But not just that; I revisit step three oftentimes to remind myself that God has my back.  I revisit step three to remember that everything WILL be ok because I am not running the show God is.  When I consciously did my Step Three I gave my higher power permission to guide me, and to intervene for the sake of my well-being.  

 

I revisit Step Two when I see myself slipping back into insanity usually due to complacency.   When I see the red flag of fear, intolerance, resentments, hatefulness, and grasping’s for food, sex, or anything else to numb my feelings I know I am getting a little crazy.

 

Lastly I keep a good handle on steps four and five because I do….yes on occasion pick up resentment and fear. I have the directions to maintain spirituality by living the steps. That’s “why” not just “how” it works for me.  

 

The 12 Step programs work because the steps are a practice of good character and spirituality while the disease is a practice of character defects.  As we practice the good character by doing the steps our sanity is established. The longer we live the steps…the more ingrained the good character becomes in our brain.  

 

We build sane bridges over the insane neural pathways of the past.  My sobriety has been supplemented with several formal, long, and thorough fourth steps, each year.   In recovery therapy I learn healthy communication, plus techniques to process painful emotions.   Given all these factors and God’s Grace…why it works is not a mystery…. to me anyway.

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

The reason relapse happens is because the neural pathways that were carved out in our brains do not go away. If I do not maintain spirituality there is a possibility my thoughts will spill or drop off the new bridge of healthy thinking that has been built over the old carved out neural paths of the past. However If I remember that I DO HAVE A CHOICE and tell myself that; I have the ability to take the next right step I will be ok.