STEP ELEVEN MEDITATION

WARNING! This article contains religious content such as scripture and mention of Christ and other Biblical characters.  Who knew that meditation is spoken of and advocated in the Bible.  But it is.  I do not speak for the whole of AA.  This is my experience with Step Eleven meditation and I want to share how wondrous meditation can be.

In this chapter of “Paradise for the Hellbound” I have attempted to connect biblical content and ideals with step eleven meditation  and the principles set forth in AA.  I have found that AA puts spiritual matters into practical directions that I for one can follow and be healed.

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.net/twelve-steps-of-alcoholics-anonymous/step-ten-eleven-and-twelve/

“MEDITATION”

(for those that want to read the entire book free at this link)  http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.net/bible/paradise-for-the-hellbound/

Step Eleven “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, Praying only for the knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to Carry that out.”
or originally written “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him praying only for the knowledge of His Will for us and the power to carry that out. ”   Amen
“STEP ELEVEN MEDITATION”

“MEDITATION IN CHRIST

The deepest questions of universal mystery posed by the most intelligent people on Earth can rarely be answered by the intellect alone. They are answered spiritually through the heart and soul by seeking God in meditation.

Gen 24:63
“And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide; and he lifted up his eyes, and saw and behold the camels were coming.”

First Timothy 4:14 & 15
“Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.”

Psalms 119:48
“My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments, which I love and I will meditate on your statutes.”

Philippians 4:8
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.”

Psalms 46:10 “Be still, and know that I [am] God.”

Apostle Paul the author of the book of “Philippians” in the letter to the Church at Philippi instructs the people that they should think on good things. The above scriptures show that we should meditate on God’s statutes. However, if your mind is anything like mine was before becoming conditioned by meditation; practicing positive thinking is easier said than done. Distractions, fear, and lack of concentration are the enemies of peaceful meditation. I was unable to stop fearful and critical thoughts even when I prayed for God to “please, guide my thinking”. My thoughts were laced with fears; ongoing dialogues of events that never took place in the real world and critical thoughts toward myself, other people, groups of people who were nothing more than a label placed on people I didn’t know. Well the practice of meditation when done in the way that I will explain can accomplish in us patience, positive thinking, tolerance, and best of all peace of mind.

Meditation and prayer are in my opinion equally important ingredients in building a relationship with Jesus and the Father. Furthermore, these two Higher Powers are not the only Higher Powers that exist. There are many powers living a higher existence than ourselves with whom we can connect. Hold on do not shut the book yet let me explain. I do not mean worship other gods or put them before God I am talking about spirits from whom we can learn and be comforted. Most Christians believe in guardian angels. In this same way, our own personal Spirit Guide can gently guide us. I have discovered by meditation that I have a group of spiritual teachers and helpers who are truly one with God. They helped me by giving me good quiet suggestions when I was unaware that they existed. They still give me good suggestions though now I know they exist.

When I was new at meditating my belief-system required confirmation that the still small voice I heard was not my imagination or a dream. When two of my Spirit Guides told me their names during meditation, I looked the names up and to my amazement both; the words were Hebrew, proper nouns/names that have divine meanings. Spirit Guides do not make my choices for me nor am I controlled by them.

I do not think that every saved believer will have only one purpose in the afterlife, to lounge around with the lion and the lamb. There is more to the afterlife for humans than lounging no doubt. Some spirit-people that have died will be helping the souls still on Earth. The spirit guides I believe were once human and are now in Gods perfect will in a place where that is possible, they are “Just (justified by the blood of Christ) men made perfect”.

Hebrews 12:22
“But ye are come unto mount Sion, (Zion) and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than [that of] Abel.

Jeremiah 1:5
“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

God spoke to Jeremiah and said, He knew him before he was born. I do believe I existed with God before I became human. That is a concept that I myself at one time would have thought was unthinkable. However, God has taught me that we conventional Christians have presumed way too much about God’s world. By the visions God has given me I realize Heaven is much more than the way it is depicted by the limited and Holy Bible. Through meditation, I realize God is neither legalistic nor limited by man’s perceptions. Seeing God’s wondrous creations helps me know that the Heavens must hold so much wonder.

I do wonder why pretty much across the board Christian religion defines transcendental meditation as evil and an invitation to Satan and his demons to enter. Personally, I believe it takes debauchery or a harmful or hateful act for Satan to enter a human. If we seek God and transcend this reality into a beautiful place that refreshes us how can that be wrong? Howdy, neighbor I just picked up a diabolical evil entity while innocently seeking Jesus with my heart and mind so now I will torture and kill you! Really? What kind of Love would God be showing us if we could be invaded and possessed so easily? I will not apologize for the inability of some folks to understand the truths I have found. Seek to understand rather than to be understood. Those who condemn meditation do not know how beneficial it can be when done in Christ.

 

Just for a moment image that there are other good and supernatural beings other than Gods immediate family.  Take into consideration all the diversity of the creatures on Earth. Our little Earth houses man, beast, insects, sea creatures, air creatures, dirt creatures, and so on. Now change the channel and envision God’s realm where it really is “all good”. How many types of beings do you see? Heaven and God are much vaster than our little Earth. It’s okay to jump out of the box that contains God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit, demons, angels, Prophets and Apostles spirits. If we list God as one entity, we are viewing the totality of the spirit world as having only two types of Spirits and of course Hell having Satan and his demons that is two more. That completes our list, four types of supernatural beings acceptable to Christian believers. In all God’s realms of magic and wondrous mystery, communication with any spirit other than God has to be evil. Furthermore, we had better curb our thoughts about angels because we could slip very easily into putting them before God. Why does the church plant such fear into the minds of Christians? Why is the topic of the supernatural so limited in the church? The origin of such limits comes from viewing reality by what we see with our mortal eyes rather than our spiritual eye.

An anonymous author wrote the epistle (letter) titled “Hebrews” primarily to the Hebrews or Israelites of that time that had converted from Judaism to Christianity. Remember, we will receive the most value from scripture when we apply the message to ourselves but it is interesting to know to whom it was originally written. The author was writing to those who by accepting Christ as their savior have come unto mount Sion, which as we read earlier represents the “new covenant” moreover we have come unto “spirits of just men made perfect.” Once again and rightly so I have my own understanding of this scripture. The perfect spirits that now accompany us are former human beings who share our Living God they know the struggles we humans have to endure.

John the Revelator in The Book of Revelation shows one scriptural example of blessed communication with supernatural beings. St. John wrote the book of Revelation while communicating with an angel. St. John heard Gods voice as well. There are many examples of angelic communications in The Bible. Therefore, I see no more harm in receiving guidance from a Spirit Guide than harm in God providing an angel to save my life or transfer information to mankind. Angels are often defined as “ministering spirits” nevertheless, in most churches that I have attended a spiritual experience involving a guide that is spirit other than God Himself or angelic beings is frowned upon if not forbidden entirely and labeled [of the Devil].

Admittedly, when I first started my journey of meditation I feared Satan and evil. After all my mother taught me that when it comes to the supernatural Satan has far more power than God does. I did not want to open myself up to demons so I invoked the blood of Jesus for protection before each meditation for a long time. At this point in my walk with God I no longer, fear what is out there in meditation. I am in Gods care so I do not feel the need to invoke the blood of Jesus every time I meditate my protection holds fast, I am always protected by Jesus He has shown me this by the “Vision of Jesus” I wrote about in the “Visions” chapter.

Building a relationship takes time and care. Yes, prayer is vital in a relationship with God. Have you ever been in a relationship that the other person does all the talking and you do not have one opportunity to speak? Have you ever tried to talk to a person that just will not listen or let you finish a sentence? It is annoying is it not? Preachers tell us often how important prayer is and how spirituality is about a relationship with Christ but most explain very little if any about how to listen to God. Meditation is about listening to God and training our mind.

When practiced, meditation takes us to a sacred place where we meet God. Meditation is a place where we learn. It is a place to experience new visions, brilliant colors, and magnificent beauty, which cannot be put into human terms. Sometimes during a session, we may receive a renewing of the mind or some much-needed comfort. Maybe it is direction and guidance that we need. Sometimes we have no idea what it is we need until after we receive it during meditation. The bottom line is Meditation is a time to receive and you are worth it; you are a child of God. Often times we cry for our answers and blessings from God yet we do not take the time to slow down and receive what God has for us.

Our meditation is as personal as our prayers and it is as unique as we are. I have meditated while floating on the ocean, floating on the river, lying in the yard, sitting Indian style on the grass, lying inside on the bed, meditation during stretching exercises, and I am experienced enough to meditate while in the dentist chair or riding in the car with my family. I recall one time I was lying in the sun meditating and enjoying my peaceful pleasure. When I came back to earthly reality, I was so hot and starting to get sunburn. It amazed me that during my session I did not even feel the hot sun on my skin. I am in complete control of my faculties during these times I am not in a trance and I stop when I choose to. My Meditation has also become a coping skill that helps me calm down when I am stressed. The benefits are amazing! When I seek, I find and what is waiting to be found during meditation in Christ will surely be an awesome jewel.

The “Songs of Solomon” is a book in the Holy Bible that most theologians believe represents the relationship between The Holy Church and Christ. When I say “Holy Church”, I mean the true believers, Gods children I do not mean a certain denomination or religion. The book abbreviated as “Songs” has a double meaning Christ and the church or man to woman. Either interpretation is a beautiful read. The book of “Songs” has been highly criticized because of its amorous language yet its right to a place in the Bible has been defended by many saintly souls in all ages. “The Church” refers to Christ as her “Beloved” whom she seeks diligently to find and Loves fondly. The sharpened and stirring expressions of “The Church toward Jesus are those of passionate desire and sensuality. Jesus said, “I am the Rose of Sharon and the Lilly of the Valley.” (Songs of Solomon 2:1) These flowers are sweet our closeness with Jesus can be sweet as well.

Sensuality: Stimulated, sharpened, pleasing, dazzling, being heightened enhanced appealing, delightful, luxurious, fine arousing, stirring, and moving.

“Songs” portrays the kind of sensuality that owns no lust. Jesus refers to the church, his bride as “my sister my spouse” which is written from a spiritual standpoint not an incestuous one. Shame-based notions of lustful sex are what disturb some interpreters of the book of Songs.

Songs of Solomon 4:9 through 4:12
“Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, [my] spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck. How fair is thy love, my sister, [my] spouse! How much better is thy love than wine! And the smell of thine ointments than all spices! Thy lips, O [my] spouse, drop [as] the honeycomb: honey and milk [are] under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments [is] like the smell of Lebanon. A garden enclosed [is] my sister, [my] spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.”

Jesus explains in Mathew who his brothers and sisters are.

Mathew 12:50
“For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Those are the words of Jesus.

Songs 5:2
“I sleep, but my heart waketh: [it is] the voice of my beloved that knocketh, [saying], Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, [and] my locks with the drops of the night.”

During meditation, we can experience this kind of intimacy with Christ. We may learn and understand how beautiful it feels to be the sister or brother of Jesus. The scripture reads “Open to me” that is what we do during meditation we expose all of our heart and thoughts to Jesus. Understanding Jesus as a brother and a spouse and inviting him in with the passion and intimacy we would a desired lover will bring fulfillment beyond that of a natural love. Does it make sense that we should desire and take pleasure in Christ even more than a natural lover? Meditate until you get to a peaceful closeness with God.

In my Thompson Chain Reference Bible it is written that only the “mature spiritual mind can interpret the book of Songs.” When we work through our issues of guilt and shame about sexuality that have been instilled from our parents or abuse or sin we are free to enjoy an intimacy with Christ without fear and shame. If we are diligent about seeking God He will put the people in our lives that can help us process and overcome our embedded shame issues. As I have said before Shame is the single most powerful enemy of a relationship with God.

Psalms 4:4 “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.”

Tears are an expression of feelings that words cannot cradle they are truth. Our minds distort and misconstrue what our own heart speaks. The ego abides in the mind and says our heart makes no sense. My intricate thought misunderstands and so changes my soul’s truth to fit what fear dictates. The mind such a great capacity for reason and yet our hearts truth alludes our sometimes enlightened mind. Void of the courage to set out toward the quest to know ourselves we transform truth into an egotistical rational of words. How may we listen to our own heart? Meditation will help us do just that.

Can your heart understand by faith that what the eye sees is of least importance? Mankind is as grass, temporal. My heart needs help to know that the things I cannot see with the eyes are the greatest most powerful keys to the abundant life.

Psalms 119:48
“My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments, which I love and I will meditate on your statutes.”
New King James Version

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,

How To Get Sober

SOBRIETY

I AM LORI E AND I AM A RECOVERING ALCOHOLIC

How To Get Sober

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

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

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

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

CONNECT WITH THE WOMEN AND GET THERAPY

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

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

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

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

WORK THE 12 STEPS

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

“CALL YOU ON YOUR SHIT” SPONSOR

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

My Brain needed washing

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

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

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

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

EMOTIONALLY GROWING UP IN A.A.

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

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

AGREE TO DISAGREE by working the 12 steps.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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HOPE & TEARS

HOPE AA

Even though I am crying please do not think I have given up hope.  Feelings are a part of me and should be expressed.  Crying is a healthy emotion.  What hope do I hold inside?  I hope for success in every way.  I want to get ahead in life financially.  I pray to accomplish goals that will provide a nest-egg for me and my partner’s retirement.  I pray that we can afford a new house not because I am greedy or ungrateful but rather because the one we live in is old and decaying. 

I work hard to get ahead and then I see myself fail.  I see some dreams slip away beyond my reach. 

I know what “time” shall make us become, if we live.

So  I regroup my hopes and set my eyes on the eternal, the incorruptible and have faith these hopes WILL come to pass.

Even if I don’t accomplish Earthly or carnal success now, when I die I will be with my creator.  That is a much more spiritual hope.  Salvation is not an achievement.  Eternal life is ours as children of an eternal creator.  Our evolution from birth as a human-aging-death-then we step into our eternal bodies.  

I will then understand the mysteries of our universe, I will then have a deeper and much higher purpose.

Then I will not feel pain, then I will no longer cry, then I will no longer feel the separation from God that has haunted me as long as I can remember.

Being separated from God is my problem

Dying (not suicide mind you) is my ultimate solution

I see now time is very short and so I better Love while I can and that includes loving myself.  I have no right to condemn or spank myself it is non-productive.  Self-punishment will not help me attain my goals.

What is your Hope?  When the carnal dreams are crushed reach for the spiritual dreams called hope.

 

A Vision of Jesus

The vision of Jesus

 

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

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

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

 

Hebrews 7:25

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

 

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

 

WILL YOU TRUST ME NOW?

 

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

 

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

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

 

Ephesians 2:8&9

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

 

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

IS LAUGHTER AND CELEBRATION ALWAYS A SIGN OF “QUALITY SOBRIETY”?

WHILE SADNESS AND GRIEVING ARE A SIGN OF WORKING A BAD PROGRAM?

 

Depression is often repressed anger that lacks enthusiasm, 12 step action should be taken to fend depression off.  But also a deep emotional process of cries, guttural-outbursts, writing, sharing, moaning, and screaming needs to take place to release the emotional pangs misery that encompass the feelings of the adult who missed out on emotional Love and nurture while growing up.  “

 

Oh wouldn’t it be nice to feel totally secure & happy, with not a fear.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be aware of our own mortality and yet not fear the unknown when it confronts us?    Isn’t the happiest person in recovery synonymous with the most spiritual man in recovery?  But wait…truly any man facing his own reality on this Earth with eyes wide-open should be afraid.  There are entirely too many horrible things that can happen.  There are too many terrible things that WILL HAPPEN…THAT IS, IF WE LIVE LONG ENOUGH TO EXPERIENCE THEM. 

 

Don’t you just love those drug company commercials that relentlessly remind us of the many horrible illnesses that could befall us as we walk into our twilight years?   Struggling as we go to fend off the Alzheimer’s and decomposition?  Or how about the endless ads in the mail once we hit the magic age of 50 for final expense and burial insurance.  Or how about the progressive memory loss and thinning hair line?  Just to name a few…the better we are at “denial” of all this reality the happier we may be.  And isn’t denial dishonest at its core and contrary to every Twelve Step principal we have learned? 

 

Nevertheless, however rewarding our pleasant & various distractions from our sickening reality may be these pleasantries may not be in OUR OWN best interest.   Staying in the house of gaiety, celebration, and gratitude may seem like our highest achievement in recovery not to mention how we do enjoy appearing [above it all] to our fellows.   After all doesn’t our happiness prove that we are working the best program out there? 

 

In spite of the world-renowned 12 step solution of teaching us to grab pencil and paper to write down all the things we are so wonderfully thankful for, at the on-set of any signs of ill-at-ease.  Beware this 12 step solution may NOT always be [the-next-right-thing]. 

 

We may be experiencing on-going discontent and irritability for a very important reason.  Our discontent could be our call or the only thing that draws us to our higher power.  Perhaps instead of distracting ourselves from our sadness we should be accepting, owning it, then we should take a much closer look at the reality of our own impending doom as mortals.  This wake-up call per-say could be so we will seek GOD the lasting solution rather than repeated and temporary Band-Aids that we stick on our skin while under the surface we deteriorate along with our soul’s spirituality.

 

King Solomon the wisest man of all time has written a message to us:

 

Ecclesiastes 7:2-4

 

“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.

 

Sorrow is better than laughter,

For by a sad countenance the heart is made better.

 

The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.”

 

Gotta feel to heal and gotta seek God diligently to find.

STEP ELEVEN
STEP ELEVEN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A.A. HIGHER POWER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE SAME MAN WILL DRINK AGAIN & STEP THREE

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The changed man knows that he has a choice.

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

Third Step Prayers

The following prayer is the third step prayer found in the Big Book and used by Bill W.:
God, I offer myself to Thee To build with me & to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.  Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy love & Thy way of life.
May I do Thy will always.

 

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

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

Native American 3rd Step Prayer

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

Long Version

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

Third Step Prayer (Alcoholics Anonymous)

God, I offer myself to Thee
To build with me & to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them may bear witness
to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy love & Thy way of life.
May I do Thy will always!

3rd Step Prayer

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

3rd Step Prayer (Jewish)

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

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

3rd Step Prayer (Dr. Bob)

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

Third Step Prayer (Clarence S.)

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

Third Step Prayer, Life With Hope

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

EASTERN ORTHODOX

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

Christian Prayer

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

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

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

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

Wiccan Prayer

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

Buddhist Prayer

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

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

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

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

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

Bahai Prayer

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

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

Unitarian Universalist Prayer

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank You.

Catholic Prayer

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

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

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

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

Prayer of St. Francis Assisi

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

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

The Serenity Prayer

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

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

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

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

FEELINGS FOLLOW ACTIONS

Step Eleven

THE BIG BOOK

FEELINGS FOLLOW ACTIONS NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!

GOOD FEELINGS FOLLOW RIGHT ACTIONS MORE ACCURATELY PUT.

“On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead.  We consider our plans for the day.  Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives.  Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all Gad gave us brains to use.  Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives. “   This quote is taken from pg. 86 of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Today my mind may be telling me that my life is a disaster and that I am a mess!  I refuse to believe this because today I am taking action for my recovery and my well-being.   Today I will help others & do no harm.  I will exercise, eat right, and go to a meeting.  

Many times before I joined AA and learned how to live and take responsibility for my own actions I used to often say “I don’t feel like it!”  I said this in response to being faced with many responsibilities.  I said it when people asked me to go places, on social outings, to the beach, on a road trip, pretty much in response to anything that would take me out of my isolation and out of the state of sloth. 

I used to think I had to wait until my feelings were right to do the task at hand.    I would get to-it when I felt up to it.  I feared somehow that it would hurt me to take an energetic action.  Somehow I felt I had to nurture the deep emotional pain that was inside of me.  Depression & isolation were my bedfellows.  Not to mention I feared subconsciously the unknown and felt it was a risk to go to new places and do new things.  However what I feared was an illusion.

I have since learned by working the steps and addressing core issues that feelings nine times out of ten, are a result of my actions and I can act my way into good feelings.  Please understand that healthy emotions include a certain amount of grief, hurt, pain, and anger and so-on that should be neither ignored nor shrugged off.   We should not put a mask over our feelings nor should we let them rule us. 

Emotional balance in recovery and understanding when to ignore feelings and when they should be addressed & processed takes time and much work.  In early recovery it’s beneficial to both explore our feelings with a therapist or empathic listener on a regular basis and to spend time doing recovery based activities, laughing and forgetting ourselves and all our self-consciousness.  However we mustn’t swing from one extreme to the other.  Labeling all feelings character defect based is very dangerous but also labeling all feelings a priority at all times is just as dangerous.  Just because our feelings are always valid does not mean we let them paralyze us or always give-in to tears.

Good feelings do follow right and constructive actions.  If I get up in the morning and feel like crap I do not have to make my day follow suit.  I don’t have to create a crappy day.  I must not allow my feelings to rule over me and oppress me.  If my character defect is sloth then the spiritual remedy is to repeatedly take action contrary to sloth such as go for a run or go outside grab the hose and pour cold water over my body and take a walk.  If I clean my house I will feel better about myself.  (Opinion) Sloth is a spirit that attaches itself to humans and tells us immobilizing lies that we hear in our mind.

Sloth is the enemy of recovery as is wrath.  If I am angry I should never, ever take it out on those around me.  Again in early recovery we must learn outlets for anger.  Denial and distraction works for a while but it is not a solution.  The rage I feel inside is MINE I need to own it and then learn the solutions for it.  I have written many articles on the solutions for anger.  Anger is not the defect of character wrath is.

My message today…..feelings follow actions not the other way around.  You are a beautiful child of a Creator.  God don’t make junk!  No one taught you how to deal with the intense feelings that drove you to drink and drug therefore you are innocent.  You, if you are an alcoholic or addict are a sick person trying to get well not a bad person trying to get good.  In this way its true AA is not a moral program.  However if you continue working on the steps and stay in meetings, work with others and do the maintenance steps of 10, 11, and step 12 you will learn to follow your heart and this will bring you peace and morality both.  All morality really is, is the act of following one’s own heart of which we also call the conscience.   

We in early recovery must first learn what our true heart’s desire is so we may follow it to find peace.  Many of us for survival sake learned to disconnect our hearts truths from both our intellect and our sense of reality through deep denial.  He who learns to follow his own heart and resists perfectionism has found wisdom.

FEELINGS ACTIONS SNIP

PSYCHIC OR PSYCHOTIC?

Grave emotional and mental disorders

Step Eleven

Spiritual Growth

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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.
Step Eleven requires that we quiet our minds to the point of open-ness and a child-like hopefulness that we are going to tap into our own supernatural gifts as well as communicate with our higher power.
Step Eleven teaches us that we need to seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand Him. However initially our understanding of God is marred by our emotional issue laced perceptions and an inability to see and hear with our higher mind.

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.
Our door will appear to us usually surrounded by the Earths outer realm called the “In between” which holds other images we won’t want to focus on. And so we maneuver our mind through the door by focusing on it.
From here we can communicate with our higher power. We can astral travel to other realms or times. We can see visions and even great mysteries will be revealed to us.
DOES THIS MEAN WE ARE CRAZY OR DOES IT MEAN WE ARE GROWING SPIRITUALLY?

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

STEP ELEVEN AND NATURE

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

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

HOW TO MEDITATE   

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

First Corinthians 1:9

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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


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 THIS MIGHT BE A KAPOK TREE

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

 

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

 

 

How do we increase our Faith?

 FAITH

SPIRITUAL GROWTH

step eleven

Increase faith

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.

 

 

 

What is “The Will of God”?

What is the will of God?

STEP ELEVEN

EMOTIONAL SOBRIETY

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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.

“A God Of Your Understanding”

Step Three

“Vengeance Is Mine Sayeth the Lord?”

Seeking a Higher Power

WOW!  What a scary and unsettling phrase that is!   Just where did that idea of God come from anyway?  Well the phrase came out of Romans 12:19.   It is no wonder that it’s so hard for us addicts to accept a God of the Old Testaments ideals?  Naturally with such a violent and vengeful God we don’t have a chance of surviving after this life.   A God such as that will surely repay us for every fourth step offense that we have committed and most likely  throw us straight into Hell no pass-go, right?

Well step three suggests that we find a God of our own understanding.  Many people say that we should at least pick one of the gods that are written of by the wise and spiritual through the ages.  These would be gods such as the Greeks and the Romans worshiped such as The Sun God, The Moon Goddess, The God of the Sea, The God of the Earth, The Goddess of Love.

However rather than choosing a god by our intellect we would do better to seek a god with our own heart and God will find us.  God will answer our hearts call and tell us in our hearts who It/He/She  is.  We ourselves have been called many names by many people could not the one true creator also be called by many names?  The name that we call our God is not nearly as important as the relationship that we build with God.

As for the vengeance of The Father and Creator of the Old Testament?  Well those stories may or may not be true however it may be time for us to add The Father to our fourth step resentment list.

Seek, Find, and Define a Higher Power

SEEK, FIND, & DEFINE A HIGHER POWER…ITS NOT SO HARD

 

 

>It is quite evident that we need to at least consider and define who and what our Higher Power is to effectively work the steps and stay sober.  Oftentimes in the program we are asked by our sponsors to define our Higher Power . Here are several examples of Higher Powers to give us an idea for our own HP if we are in the market.  Of coarse the only way to truly find HP is to seek fervently with our own heart and mind and pray for enlightenment.

HIGHER POWER #1.

Name:  My Higher Power is The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.  His name is Jesus, Jehovah, Yahweh, The Father.  Attributes and personality of my Higher Power: My Higher Power is Love in the charitable sense.  He is all knowing and can be personified only in the “He” or “It”.  He is also my provider, my comforter, my protector.  He is my inner essence which is life.   He is the protector of the innocent.  He is the punisher of the guilty.  He is the creator of the Earth and all mankind.  He is my salvation and the creativity in me. He is kind, Loving and will help me but only if I do certain things.

His Love for me is conditional with strings attached. Meaning if I don’t act the way He wants me to He will make me suffer a tortuous and horrible eternity in Hell.  If I make mistakes I will pay by retribution and His vengeance in spite of the circumstances. But if I am truly sorry and repent I won’t be tortured.  It’s my job to point out the sins of other people for their own good so they will be saved.  My religion is the only true religion and if you don’t believe like I do you will go to Hell.

HIGHER POWER #2

1. Jesus died for me He is my savior and was a prophet.  My Higher Powers name is The Great Spirit, and The Father The Great Creator of Heaven and Earth.  My Higher Power is the Most High God however he is accompanied by many gods of a lesser power such as the Moon Goddess, The God & Goddess of the Sea, The Sun God etc.  My Higher Power laughs when humans limit His Power by saying He can’t do certain things and when humans glorify Satan and evil by saying it has more supernatural power on Earth.  My Higher Power is not nearly as hard on me as I am on myself.  His Love for me is immeasurable, my human body could not begin to contain such a power it is beyond human comprehension.

2.  My Higher Power can be personified in either He, She, or It.  He is Spirit therefore is not actually a sexual being of flesh and blood so how I label Him is for my own benefit and does not define It/Him/She.  He Loves me unconditionally and is my savior.  I am His special chosen vessel to Love others that I may glorify Him.  My Higher Power is the giver of life, eternal Love, color, creativity, and will deliver me from death and the grave.  He keeps me sober.

I want my Higher Power to know me before I die and to help me as I live.  I am responsible for living the life He has blessed me with to the best of my ability I am also responsible for building and nurturing a relationship with my HP.  There is a Hell that he sends souls to but it is only because they are much more comfortable in Hell they don’t want to be in Heaven among the light and the angels of mercy.  These souls will enjoy torturing others and inflicting pain on one another just as they do on Earth now but in a far greater capacity.  The world must have balance and Heaven and Hell are part of that balance just not in the way many people imagine.

HIGHER POWER #3

My Higher Power’s name is “The Goddess”

She is the bringer of light and Love.  She helps me with difficulties, she comforts me, she sends me brilliant and glorious dreams and ideas for the daylight hours.  In the night she protects me from harm.  She keeps me sober and clean, she helps me not act out in immature and selfish ways.  She is the Goddess of the addict woman and she has no interest in men they are inferior beings.  When she rises and takes complete power men will serve woman and worship them.

Higher Power #4

My Higher Power is called “Program” It is the personification of the AA program and its principals in a nutshell.  The Bible of my god and my religion is the Big Book of AA and instead of Ten commandments there are 12 suggestions.  All other religious beliefs are wrong except that of AA. Each man gets to seek and find their own Higher Power.  The Great Spirit of AA keeps me sober and as long as I work the program I will be ok with life on life’s terms.  There is no Hell except the one that I have already experienced here on Earth in my addiction.  The Program is the god for the Atheist and the Agnostic alike.  He is non-judgemental and addicts and alcoholics are most important to It.  The AA cliches are sacred guides for life.  My HP is Grace, mercy, and Love.  Christian religion is full of hypocrisy and harsh judgement of which I want no part.

There are also many organized religions Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and many, many others to choose from and study however intellectualizing spirituality is a contradiction of ideals.  We must seek with our hearts and search with our minds both in prayer and study to truly find our HP.

Each of these Higher Powers will work to keep us clean and sober. If we seek with our heart desperately and fervently, if we ask for our God to reveal Himself to us….He will.  We will find a God of our understanding if we seek.  We must nurture our relationship with our HP so he will recognize us and prepare a place for us in the next life weather that place be an immaculate mansion, a comfortable eternal bed or nothingness.

Please feel free to comment and share your own Higher Power with us.  My Higher Power is #2.

 

 

Scientists confirm the eyes really are the window to the soul

The Eyes are the window to the heart
This article was found at “Mail Online”         http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-436932/Scientists-discover-eyes-really-window-soul.html#ixzz2wdLnkgBz

 

Scientists discover that eyes really are ‘the window to the soul’
The eyes really are a window to the soul, according to scientists.
Patterns in the iris can give an indication of whether we are warm and trusting or neurotic and impulsive, research has found.

Everyone has a different structure of lines, dots and colours in their iris.
So scientists at Orebro University in Sweden compared the eyes of 428 subjects with their personality traits to see if these structures in the iris reflected their characters.
They focused on patterns in crypts – threads which radiate from the pupil – and contraction furrows – lines curving around the outer edge – which are formed when the pupils dilate.
Their findings showed those with densely packed crypts are more warmhearted, tender, trusting, and likely to sympathise with others. In comparison, those with more contraction furrows were more neurotic, impulsive and likely to give way to cravings.

The researchers argued that eye structure and personality could be linked because the genes responsible for the development of the iris also play a role in shaping part of the frontal lobe of the brain, which influences personality.

They say the findings could one day be used in psychoanalysis and by companies screening candidates for jobs.

The results will be published in the American journal Biological Psychology. ‘Our results suggest people with different iris features tend to develop along different personality lines,’ said Matt Larsson, a behavioural scientist who led the study at Orebro University.’These findings support the notion that people with different iris configurations tend to develop along different trajectories in regards to personality.

Differences in the iris can be used as a biomarker that reflects differences between people.’
The scientists suggested these differences are due to genetic variation, and pointed to the involvement of a gene called PAX6. This gene helps control the formation of the iris in embryos. Previous research has shown that a mutation of it is linked to impulsiveness and poor social skills.

The speed and accuracy with which irises can be mapped means there is growing interest in using photographs of eyes for security as well as research purposes.
The Government is testing the use of digital photographs of the iris on ‘biometric’ passports and identity cards.

Trials of the iris technology have been taking place at Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester airports.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-436932/Scientists-discover-eyes-really-window-soul.html#ixzz2wdLnkgBz
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ISOLATING

 Life on life’s terms

Sometimes for those of us recovering from the traumas of abuse, abandonment, neglect, and addictions sobriety gets tough.  Life on life’s terms seems to drag us into a rut and the negative thoughts takes hold…Ouch!  Its ok it happens to the best of us.  However we need to remember that staying home in our safe caves watching our favorite programs on TV will eventually compound our negativity if we continue there.  Though it seems cozy and safe do not be deceived, what we really need is to get up, put our shoes on, get some exercise, go to a meeting, go for a swim, a bike ride, bird watching, or any other bright and lively activity we can think of in spite of the way we feel.What daylight and nature does is renew our minds and feeds positive energy into our soul.  Going to meetings gives us food for thought keeping our mind sober.  If we share our experience, strength, and hope in a Loving way it feeds fulfillment to our soul.  We are one with the universe; we become who we think we are.  Being one with creation gives us the power to attract success and joy.  However we must keep our minds on a positive track and sometimes that means getting very real with our Higher Power by praying for more of Its/His/her positive energy to enlighten and refresh our weary bones.  Without a refreshing of our minds now and again things can get very hum drum and mundane and then down right depressing. Be compassionate toward yourself if you are feeling down.  It doesn’t help to be angry and criticize ourselves for feeling the human emotion of sadness.  Remember that will feed the negativity.  Instead be kind get out of the problem by taking action into the solutions that you know work.  Recovery is: to not let our feelings rule us anymore.  We become strong when we pick ourselves up in spite of what our feelings are telling us to do.  Good feelings follow right actions not the other way around.  Sometimes we will start feeling better when we get just a block down the road.Bill Wilson and the authors wrote some great prayer examples on page 86 & 87 of the Big Book under step eleven to start our day.  You are God’s child you are of great value; you are special and have a sacred calling, a mission in life that is to be fulfilled.  God will give you what you need to leave your great and humble mark upon this Earth.  The good works we do for your fellows WILL echo in eternity!  Don’t believe for a minute the lie that tells you otherwise.

                                                      

My Heart Speaks

little heart snip

Don’t shut me down

I want to be heard

Write my feelings, my desires

Even though they don’t line up with your mature thoughts

 Don’t call me wrong because I may be afraid

Don’t shut me down or hide me away

As you would a deformed and disfigured child

Kept in the basement so none can see her shame

 Kept out of the light hid away from the sun

Labeled with black covered with night

I want to play I want to laugh

 If you won’t release my hurt and validate me

My joy will be buried under secrets unsaid

Quit sweeping my essence under the bed

 Heart feelings are made to blow through your  soul

Not be stifled and stunted so you feel in control

 I am the core of who you are delight in my moods

Accept your great innocent weakness you mistook as a flaw

That weakness is your strength

It is your depth

Embrace your humanity so your spirit may soar

 Laugh and cry open the door of your heart my Love!

                                               little heart snip