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,

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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LOST DREAMS

 

LOST DREAMS 

 

Dreams just like goals are very important to have and to keep.  To work toward a goal is fulfilling.  To have hope and dreams is spiritual because “hope” itself is one of the spiritual gifts from the creator of spirituality itself (hope, faith, Love 3 greatest gifts).    Having goals and fulfilling them is vital to our self-worth.  Our very life depends on having goals to attain and accomplishing tasks and feats.  When mankind retires from his work often times him /her just dies partly because of feeling worthless.  If a man feels they have no purpose or worth they may lay down and die.

 

So what happens when a dream fails, crashes, is lost and unattainable for reasons beyond our control?  Well, partly, we should have a mourning period.  Yes!  By-god, our dreams and our feeling are of great value and valid!  Don’t allow others to tell you to “get over it” before your heart has grieved the loss of an important, & purposeful dream.  We lean heavily on our goals and hopes for the future.  So, when that hope is impossible and just won’t work we should grieve for a time.  The amount of time to grieve any loss varies however, we don’t move into “acceptance” of a loss until it has been mourned, grieved, and properly processed through various methods of emotional processing.

 So to process the loss we cry, we beat the pillow, we talk about what happened and how it made us feel, we write about our feelings connected to the loss and we pray to our Higher Power to help us accept the loss and move on.  If someone invalidates our feelings we simply ignore their ignorance.  (We can journal about it later.)  Repressed emotions are the number one cause of depression, anxiety, and feelings of worthlessness.  We need one person in our lives we tell anything to whom will not invalidate us or try to fix us, someone who will listen, mirror our feelings (understand & relate) and show care.  If we have intense feelings attached to any situation then we should process that situation to get it out of us and move on.  Otherwise it will turn to resentment, wrath, anger, and then depression.  Depression is anger without enthusiasm. 

And then after we have processed and mourned, we put on our shoes, we get up and we walk, we stretch, we breathe, and we develop a new dream to take the place of the old one.

We don’t beat ourselves up for the loss.  We don’t call it or us a failure.  We don’t ever call ourselves ugly names or say we were stupid for having our lost dream to begin with.  Alternatively, we take inventory of all that we learned along the way of our lost dream.  If we do the inventory we find that we gained valuable lessons because of our previous dream.  We realize that our next dream and goal will be all the better because of our prior goal.  What we learned along the way is priceless.  We remember that it’s how we react to life’s disappointments that defines our character.  Nevertheless pretending to be ok with a loss instantly will only bring more displaced anger.  In recovery we have learned that all our feelings are valid no matter how ridiculous it seems to our psychological reasoning.  We must not let our minds tell our hearts how to feel.  THERE IS NO WRONG FEELING ONLY WRONG ACTIONS.  We no longer repress our intense feelings

Our new dream and goal gives us greater purpose.  We have focus again!  We have gratitude in our hearts now because of the opportunities that our Higher Power has provided us. 

In the real world our dreams come crashing down in the real world we learn to mourn and then we get up and we build new dreams.  My Love this is the essence of “Hope” one of the three greatest spiritual gifts…now you see why.

Gainesville 12 Step AA & NA Programs

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

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

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

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

repressed feelings

 

THE SOLUTIONS FOR DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY

WHAT CAN I DO TO OVERCOME DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY?

Click here to read SOLUTIONS

HURT PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE….YES BUT

Hurt people usually hurt themselves first and foremost by their limited ability to accept new people, new places, and new things.

What do we do if we are so hurt from our addict driven past and horrific childhood that we are unable to Love and accept others?  And why is it that a lack of acceptance and the alcoholic go hand in hand?  Our parents didn’t teach us healthy emotional coping skills or we would not reach for such destructive emotional survival skills like the drink and drug.  The thing is as long as our using (drug abuse) and blame-based coping skills worked to keep us reasonably numb & feeling shame-free we had no reason to stop using them….right? 

Why is it that the serenity prayer is an addicts most valuable coping skill known far and wide?  The Big Book reads that a lack of power was our dilemma.  Meaning when we feel we are not in control within and without we buck, we freak.  We lack acceptance when we are sick and suffering on such a grand scale that we block new, different people and ideas out of our lives.  We can’t cope with any kind of change…it’s too scarey.  But again Why? (Oh I’m not supposed to know the answers to any “why’s”? that’s first 90 days sober AA jargon.  If we are going to really be healed of our underlying emotional issues we must allow ourselves to seek & find some knowledge.)

Blame, criticism, and looking for the wrong and the bad in other people and their ideas is the most wide-spread destructive emotional coping skill on the face of the Earth used by addicts and normies alike.  AS LONG AS I CAN PUT A “BAD” LABEL ON SOMEONE TODAY MAYBE I WON’T HAVE TO SEE THE PAIN LIVING INSIDE ME.  IF I CAN JUST BE “RIGHT” AND FEEL THAT I AM “BETTER THAN OTHERS” THEN I WON’T HAVE TO SEE THE SICKNESS THAT LIVES IN MY SOUL.

I need to ask myself some questions…how long have I been sober and why am I still having anxiety attacks and suffering from intense rage and depression?  Why am I having repeated migraines?  Why have I pushed all the people I love out of my life?  Why am I still isolating and beating myself up?  Have I left something out of my program? Could my prejudices toward religion and therapy be hindering my healing? What can I do to really overcome depression and anxiety?

The serenity prayer and twelve step work are two grand survival skills for us.  When we share our story of what it was like what happened and what it is like now, if sincere & heart-felt processes out a little bit of our pain and sickness bit by bit.   Telling our story builds self-worth and confidence.  However it also feeds our ego and can be a deflection from our own emotional wounds.  Step 12 and chairing meetings are mere band-aids covering a wound that needs far more healing and medicine.  We need a deep and searching moral inventory we need to address our underlying issues or the infection in our soul will just keep hurting us and those around us.  The symptoms that are screaming at me are depression and anxiety.

SO WHAT THEN?  WHAT ARE THE SOLUTIONS TO DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY AND HOW DO I APPLY THEM IN MY LIFE?  Know this solutions will go against the grain of the disease and make us feel very uncomfortable.  PLEASE KNOW THERE IS NO WRONG FEELING, ONLY WRONG ACTIONS.  EVERY FEELING IS BECAUSE OF A REASON, AN EXPERIENCE, A REACTION TO AN EVENT THEREFORE WE SHOULD NEVER SAY…I SHOULD NOT FEEL THAT WAY.  YOUR HEART IS THE PLACE THAT FEELINGS COME FROM AND YOUR HEART DOES NOT LIE.  WE WILL NO LONGER BE ASHAMED OF WHO AND WHY WE ARE OR HOW WE ARE.  BUT WE CAN LEARN TO OVERCOME AND WORK THROUGH NEGATIVE FEELINGS RATHER THAN ALLOWING OUR FEARS AND FEELINGS TO PARALYZE US.

SOLUTION 1
Well firstly I need to work the steps more thoroughly starting with my spirituality and lack thereof.  I need to seek God with every fiber of my heart and being.  Ask my Higher Power to guide my step-work and my actions.  God answers the heart, every testimony of spiritual experience I have ever heard or had began with an intense seeking of God with one’s heart, mind and very depth of soul.  Please, shallow prayers reap shallow rewards.  Then I keep seeking, I go to churches, tent revivals, Unity God-self type temples,  Mausks, Catholic church.  Any place that people congregate to find and become closer to God, that is where I need to seek Him/It/Her, not just AA.  People are not on their knees praying in meetings, people are not crying out at the alter for healing in meetings.  If I am not willing to take this action to seek my Higher Power then I must not be depressed enough or maybe I have just gotten comfortable in my depression.  Depression is anger without enthusiasm to that I can attest.

SOLUTION 2

Therapy, I need to open up my deepest and most vulnerable self to me and a therapist.  I need to share my fears that I am ashamed of, I need to share my feelings that I think are wrong, stupid, weak and I am ashamed of.  I need to share my shame and guilt.  Not just in my journal but also out loud to a human or in group.  I need to let down my emotional protection in a safe place and tell people who I really am.  The child within needs to be heard.  If I was abused I need to talk about it.  If I was neglected and rejected and need to share it.  If I was sexually abused or abused others sexually I need to share it.  First write it down that makes saying it outloud much easier.  My deepest darkest shames need to be exposed to the light.  I need to get real about who I resent.  I need to put myself and God (most likely) on my resentment list.  My fourth step should have “The cause” or what happened to start the resent ment and delve into what my fears are behind the resent me.  Do I think I am unlovable, ugly, stupid, not good enough, that the person who accused me is right?  There is always an insecurity and fear of some sort crouching behind the hate for mankind.  I need to get at my own insecurities and express them on paper and then out-loud.  I need to accept my weaker-self and make myself vulnerable to others.  This isn’t part of the fourth and fifth steps it’s part of a honest and thorough fourth and fifth step.  Notice the “(fear)” and “(self-esteem)” that was written in the fourth step grid in the Big Book?  What I am explaining to you…the shame the feeling of not good enough that is what’s meant by self esteem and fear in  that fourth step grid.  If we can’t address this stuff we most likely will not heal from depression and anxiety.

SOLUTION 3

STEP 12, I need to allow the steps to work in my life.  I need to open up and say what’s really going on with me in meeting.  If I am depressed I need to share it, If I am happy I need to share it, if I am angry I need to share it, I should confess all my resentments not leaving out organizations and groups of people.  People with certain appearances.  And the big one I need to write down and confess anything I am ashamed of and am keeping secret.  I should work these 12 steps in an orderly fashion with a sponsor that will not shut me down.  I should attend step-study-meetings.  I should regularly go to jails or institutions of some type to tell my story of what it was like, what happened and what it is like now.  I should do a very thorough step 6 & 7.  Out of the problem into the solution.  Every day I should shower, put on my shoes and do at least TWO things towards my recovery.  I should clean my house and do my dishes.  I should get sober phone contacts and call people.  If I have an emotional upheaval and think I have been wronged I call someone and talk about it.  And of coarse if I want to drink or drug I confess it in a meeting and or call someone.

SOLUTION 4

I keep doing what works, I don’t stop, I don’t slow down.  I am relentless.  Four meetings a week, Church of some sort (meetings are not church) one day a week.  

SOLUTION 5

I learn and practice real meditation.  I lay down, I get quiet, and I do a mantra by trying repeatedly over and over to concentrate on only one thought.   When my mind drifts I reel it back in and concentrate on only the mantra.  I picture each sentence in my mind.  If my mantra is the Lord’s Prayer I picture each line, I see my father in heaven I think about his/her sacred name.  I picture his kingdom-coming etc. etc.  I practice meditation daily for at least a half hour a day.  I begin my meditation with a prayer.  I can use crystals or props, candles, and incense I make it a ritual.  My mind will wonder but eventually I will train my mind to stay on one thought.   After practicing for quite some time my mind will naturally empty…and I will hear God.  I will be more patient, self-aware, more tolerant, more likely to think things through rather than being sporadic and impatient.  Sometimes in the beginning it’s necessary to just moan during meditation.  When trying to lye till and quiet because of the negative energy living inside it’s hard to be still.  I remember feeling like there was an alien inside of me trying to get out so I moaned like I was taught to do to release that energy.  Then I can better concentrate on the mantra and meditate.

SOLUTION 6

GUTERAL SOUNDS

Release guttural sounds from your body on a regular basis in private in your car, alone at home.  Guttural sounds come straight from core and underlying issues of the emotions and the soul.  Moaning, Screaming, shrieking, and sound that needs to come out.  Try it, it will feel weird and insane but it works to get out the very energy that is causing the depression and anxiety.  Do it for years as long as needed.  It releases the poison from our bowels that we have stored there by pushing down our anger and hurt until it makes us sick.

SOLUTIONS 7

Diet, exercise, and nature.  These are self explanatory stick to natural foods as much as possible and to to the beach or just take walks in the woods but get outside and exercise.  Get fresh air daily, drink lots of water.  Eat lots of fruits and veggies.  Sometings exercise alone relieve a huge part of our anxiety.

 

And remember “OUT OF THE PROBLEM INTO THE SOLUTION”

Don’t stay I the problem spinning around.

REMEMBER NOTHING CHANGES IF NOTHING CHANGES.

SEXUAL INVENTORY

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOW DO RECOVERING ADDICTS & ALCOHOLICS DEAL WITH MONEY?

MONEY AND THE RECOVERING ADDICT.  FREEDOM FROM COMPULSIVE SPENDING.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SELF LOATHING

Check google pagerank for recoveryfarmhouse.com

STEP FIVE Alcoholics Anonymous (1)

SELF-LOATHING

SOBRIETY SABOTAGE

STEP 5 AA

STEP FIVE-There is a huge difference between the healthy emotional processes of steps 4 & 5 versus struggling for unattainable perfection, failing to live up to it then relentlessly beating ourselves to a pulp in our heart and mind for our guilt.

It is flawed thinking to surmise that somehow if we flog ourselves enough for our perceived imperfection THEN we will be good and acceptable to our Lord and our fellows.    The pure and anointed process God has set down to relieve our guilt by confession (or fifth step as we label it in AA) works famously to relieve self-hate.   The trouble is most self-haters don’t realize that it is themselves that they hate.  Because of our ability to survive emotionally we put blame quickly into action.  Then it becomes the world’s fault that we are miserable.  Oh well….no not “oh well”, this emotional survival process that so many of us humans engage in of blinding our self-awareness is at the core of every sick murderous and violent act against mankind that we can imagine.  Plainly said, blame is at the core of our worlds straying from Love.WE, THE CHILDREN OF A CREATOR ABSOLUTELY DO NOT HAVE THE INALIENABLE RIGHT TO CONDEMN OR PUNISH OURSELVES or anyone else. The decision to punish or not to punish lies in the realm of our Higher Power and the law.   Furthermore it is a common and subconscious illusion that self-abuse will render us pure and perfect…probably rooted in childhood punishments.  Interestingly my spiritual teacher whom was a missionary, a reverend, a grandmother, and a friend once informed me that “there is a counterfeit for every spiritual principal in existence on our Earth”.  Surely our former destructive methods of cleansing ourselves by self-abuse (even when it is done subconsciously) is surely the counterfeit of the pure and enlightening act of confession or “Step Five”.  And if your a religious human who prays often.  Do not be fooled by merely confessing all your wrongs to God and leaving out the “human” angle.  There will be little humility gained by confessing faults only to God.  This keeps false pride and sick secrets snugly in place in our hearts.  Confessing to a human and God are both vital to recovery.

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.

                                                      

Gratitude- EXPERIENCE STRENGTH & HOPE

Gratitude

Complacency

Perfectionism

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

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

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

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