HOPE IS A PRELUDE TO FAITH

What is “hope”?

Hope is a spiritual gift straight from our Higher Power

What is hope?  Hope says, “everything will be alright” when things may not look so good.   Without a little fear there is no need for hope.  Hope is present when courage is in action.     Hope accommodates peace of mind.   We rest in the hope that God has our back even though we may have some doubts.    When we practice hope regularly “HOPE IS A PRELUDE TO FAITH”.

Undeniably  we addicts have our trust issues.   Fear is as natural as faith.  When faith takes over our fear, hope, & doubts disappear with a dose of new faith and trust in our Higher Power that the unknown really will be OK.  Let’s face it…the future can be a scary thing but hope takes that fear of the unknown and eventually  turns it into faith & trust  mixed with a little desire.

Hope is a spiritual gift grouped with Love and Faith as the greatest gifts.

We must remember to allow hope to live in us because the opposite of Hope is hopelessness which is accompanied by depression and a lack of Love for life.  We Nurture the Hope that we are given so it will transform into a faith that will move mountains.

AA “Get In The Middle Of The Boat”

They say in AA to “Get in the middle of the boat” if you want to get and stay sober.

 

  

Important suggestions for early sobriety.The first thing we should do is put ourselves out there in a meeting.  Introduce ourselves as a newcomer and share our fears, feelings, and any other struggles we are having.  This will attract people to us and make us approachable.  We must get to know people.    Just what and where is the middle of the boat.  Firstly we go to 90 meeting in 90 days that way we will establish some new relationships with sober people…soooo important.  We need to find out who and how people are staying sober. We should join a “home group” for sure, it’s important to feel “a part of”.  After all we have earned our seat in the rooms of AA and NA by our history, we have been in a war with ourselves that has not been easy…it is time to surrender to our hearts call. 

I believe there are spiritual windows in time that make it easier for us to stay sober within a certain starting point…as if it were a spiritual call.  Trying to get sober without that spiritual window things just don’t “click” like they do when the window is open.  Don’t worry you will feel it when it happens.  For instance I got sober and arrested on Good Friday in 2006 which also fell on Easter weekend.    I must say many times people that stay sober for years and years have a sobriety date that is either a holiday or some kind of special date.  Just a little factoid.  People stay sober, the program works regardless of the date in time.  Do not be discouraged.

Secondly after a few months of exposure we should get a sponsor start working the steps.  Also we should make a commitment to one of the activities that AA-ers do like chair a meeting once a week or speak at a jail or institution.  None of these commitments will feel natural. Oh contraire it will feel uncomfortable but you will be growing both emotionally and spiritually because of it.  Taking meetings into detox is the easiest place to begin with to share your experience of how sobriety is for you.  When we see those sick and suffering addicts in detox it works like magic to keep us sober.  It makes us remember all too well what it was like and we realize how far we have come.  We addicts in recovery usually need reminding that we are doing well.

After 6 months of sobriety and a completion of working the 12 steps we should definitely volunteer to sponsor newcomers.  This process happens very quickly.  Don’t worry too much if you are on probation, I have found that probation actually helps build a structured life in the beginning of sobriety and gives us something to focus on odd as that may sound.  Not to mention the drop tests aid in keeping us sober.  Sobriety is not for sissies it is a challenge that we can meet with hope.  One day at a time.

Step Five of Alcoholics Anonymous (2)

Topics: Fear Not, Step three and Step Five of Alcoholics Anonymous

HELP LINE

Suicide rate statistics among addicts.

“Fear not” is easier said than done. We need to learn the 12 step tools and especially invoke step three to keep fear at bay. There is no shame in revisiting a third step to remind us that God has our back! One of the first things we do when beginning our walk in sober school is identify, seek, and find a Higher Power.  Step five in the Big Book is the magic step that alleviates our guilt & shame but make no mistake, it is not a one-time job!  Unless of coarse your perfect or sociopath.

 

John 14:27
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  “
They say that the most used phrase in the Bible is “fear not”

 

The psychological make-up of an addict

Many of us when we were very small children were often told by parents that we had nothing to be afraid of when we expressed our intense child-like fears. Unfortunately during our forthright expression of true feelings our parents often implied by their lack of empathy and understanding that our fears were not only unfounded but ridiculous and perhaps absurd. These adults knew no better. 

Parents do not usually know that some validation of our feelings along with comfort and logic was necessary for our emotional health. Therefore our intense little feelings were invalidated, we felt “wrong” for being afraid.   After-all our parents knew best how we should feel so our fears must be wrong.  But instead of that making our fears go away it motivated us to hide our fears for shame.  My parents used shame to control me.  They used shame to oppress me and steal my dreams and hopes.

What’s worse once we got to pre and elementary school we found out just what kind of people express their fears openly. We learned about the scaredy-cats, the chicken-shits, the pussies and the yellow-bellies. We learned that people who express any form of fear will be ostracized greatly by their fellows and friends.   We must be bad we must be wrong!

And so we learned to stuff down those big fears into our guts, we learned to act, and we learned to put on the mask of fearlessness.   No-one would call us cry-baby again!  Ever!  We learned, even…to shut off our tears.  Showing any kind of hurt emotional or physical would label us weak.  So we turned our hurts to anger.  Who could blame us…we didn’t want to be labelled by everyone.  Between our parents and our school-mates we were really left with very few people if any in whom we could confide our true feelings so we could let them out. 

Most of us women in addiction were sexually abused as children.  We hid the feelings from that away as well…deep in our bowels lie the pain and hurt of a wounded, neglected, and abused child.  We did not trust that our feelings were right therefore we could not trust our parents to tell them what happened…or maybe our parents are the culprits of the abuse.  Either way we had no adult to confide with about the abuse and the feelings of self-loathing that resulted from it.

AND SO GOES THE STORY OF THE TYPICAL ADDICTS EMOTIONS…expression of feelings was off the table so what would we do with all those feelings inside us that were ready & able to cause an explosion of wrath.  We usually weren’t cruel people we didn’t want to take out our feelings on others so we beat ourselves up for being who we were.

We developed a voice in our head that screamed at us for things we said and did and things we didn’t say and do.  We became our own worst enemy. 

The self-hate, the anxiety, and the depression that we felt had to stop! 

SO WE MEDICATED!  After-all the last thing we would do is confide in someone so they could turn around and use it against us!

Ohhhh how the drugs worked, ohhhh how they made us feel better…for a while anyway!

Robin Williams-an addict in recovery hung himself today.  Why would anyone with all that money, in the program, sober for quite some time want to kill himself?

“Our liquor was but a symptom, so we had to get down to causes and conditions.”

I have a friend who is a therapist and in 12 step recovery.  He loves both programs.  But he has quoted me shocking numbers of addicts/alcoholics in a 12 step program who have committed suicide.  The statistics are staggering.  What you will find behind the statistics is an ability to express and share negative feelings. .  My friend insists that all his sponcees do regular fifth-steps in meetings by telling “WHAT HAPPENED AND HOW IT MADE ME FEEL.” 

FEELINGS ARE NOT AN OUTSIDE ISSUE, THE SOLUTIONS DO NOT LIE IN SHUTTING DOWN OUR FEELINGS AND PRETENDING THEY DON’T EXIST.

“WE ARE AS SICK AS OUR SECRETS”

WE MUST FIND AT LEAST ONE PERSON WE CAN TELL ANYTHING TO.

IN THE U.S. SUICIDE STATISTICS FAR OUTWEIGH OTHER COUNTRIES.

 

The solutions to anxiety and depression are simple but not easy.  You can find them on my website:

https://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com

 

Fear of people will leave us, Ninth Step Promises

STEP ONE OF AA

NINTH STEP PROMISES

“THE FEAR OF PEOPLE WILL LEAVE US”

When I first got sober & clean I was emotionally numb. I had separated myself from my feelings. I was dragging them behind me like a dead rag doll so full of pain, hurt and fear that my ego refused to own.  I rejected my own truths, I white-washed my fears with my shallow tough-girl persona.  I denied every deep and precious pain I ever felt.  I refused to be myself instead I made up a false identity who was socially acceptable in my eyes.  I had to create this other person because my true identity was weak, bad, ugly , and wrong in my eyes.  That’s what I was taught in my formidable years and that’s what I believed.   I laughed when I was nervous. I smiled as I told my new recovery counselor about my near death experiences during addiction.

But wait! Why did I smile when I recalled the tragic events of my life? I refused to feel because feeling is what scared me the most. Sharing my true feelings was a vulnerability I would not chance! Why would I?  Every time I showed my true self I was cut down at the knees.  My vicious older sister made certain of that.  My parents were not evil but they knew nothing about emotional nurturing.  So I laughed at my pain.  But no, WAIT!  To recover I had to make myself vulnerable. I had to tell someone my true feelings and who I was to release the pain that my poor inner child was lugging around behind me…me the ego self, me the tough girl.  I had a bucket full of sick emotional survival skills that took no account of hurting others.  I could blame every failure every wrong and dishonest deed on the beast of burden of my choice.   And usually that meant a boyfriend or a husband.  If I didn’t make my own choices then I wasn’t responsible for the outcome.

When I got sober at first the only feeling I knew was intense fear of facing life and other people without my drugs. I was completely out of touch with my true inner feelings and inner-man. I was walking around in-body with my soul and emotions dragging behind me like carrying a rag-doll by her hair that drags behind me on the floor. I remember telling my counselor after attending a women’s issues group that I didn’t belong in that group. All the women were crying and talking about their pain while I was numb…completely numb and I really thought I had no emotional pain. Little did I know I had a boatload of pain it was just…I had separated myself from it.

I remember one day in therapy telling a horrific story to a counselor about a traumatic event in my life and I held a protective smile on my face subconsciously thinking to myself…”I refuse to feel what I am talking about”. The counselor said to me “Laura why are you smiling?  That is a tragic event you are telling me about.” At that very moment my soul re-connected with my body along with all my baggage and feelings.   The rag-doll and all she carried came crashing down in an epiphany of just how terrible things had really been.

My heart at that moment began to thaw out.  But still, it took months before I was able to cry, really let it out.  I had froze myself up so well when the tears finally came they didn’t stop for, well I think I cried for about two years regularly, every time I was alone in my car.  I didn’t know that crying is a healthy emotion.  I didn’t know that feelings are to be honored and felt and then released.  Denying my feelings and repressing them made me sick and full of wrath.  But finally I was able to cry that poison out of my soul.

Acknowledging my feelings was the first step in my recovery. That was the beginning of my healing from “grave emotional disorder”. Nine years later….I have learned how to become and stay healthy emotionally and it took the 12 steps….a year of therapy…and regular spiritual maintenance.  Coupled with fellowship & meetings to get better.

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

WRECKAGE OF THE PAST

Wreckage of the Past

Growing up emotionally

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE SAME MAN WILL DRINK AGAIN.

 

FOR WOMEN ONLY “Sexual Inventory” pg.69 of the Big Book

Alcoholics Anonymous

Relationships

Step Four SEXUAL INVENTORY AA

 

(This article is based on my experiences in Alcoholics Anonymous for over 10 years. )

Why is it that there are more men getting and staying sober in the program of AA than women? Why is it that we women seem to have more emotional issues that need addressing than men? Partly we just talk about our issues more, men usually repress on a much larger scale. Nevertheless we woman that do stay sober are usually more of the “tomboy” type. The very feminine and highly fragile woman rarely can get through what it takes to stay sober.

Experience teaches that us “ruff” types often  bi-sexual women have a much higher chance statistically of staying sober than do the frail and feminine. (taken from Triangle Club Gainesville, Fl statistics (Triangle club meeting scheduleClearly experience teaches it’s the “alpha” females who stay sober in much greater numbers than the more submissive woman.   However, we must learn to make ourselves vulnerable emotionally rather than protecting ourselves emotionally. “Sobriety ain’t for sissies!” So bone up ladies! You can do it but it’s gonna hurt! The bad news is…we can feel again, the good news is…we can feel again. Yes and we have a boat load of emotional issues and character flaws to give to our Higher Power and to ebb-away at.

Most addict women (who I have met) were sexually abused as children, (every stripper addict I knew when I danced (I took a pole) and the women I have gotten to know in recovery have shared this information with me).   I have silent theories that this commonality is the “why” behind most addictions. The guilt and shame that a young child will place on herself for something she was not equipped to fend off is astounding and life-changing. We addict woman have learned by the age of ten or younger that we can use our sexuality against men (or women) to control them, manipulate them, and force feed them guilt to get whatever we want from them.

In spite of how men have wronged and abused us it is vital that we see “our part” concerning our resentments so we can not only stay sober but more importantly…learn to Love and keep Love close to us and in us. WE DEPLOY LOVE IN DEFENSE OF FEAR.  I am saying Love is of greatest importance in our recovery however we are usually incapable of showing Love or even defining what true spiritual Love is.  Often we are incapable of acting out of Love in a truly giving way when we are deep in our addiction.  Sobriety must be our priority if we are to fully recover.

For those of us who were abused all we really wanted when we allowed the sexual-predators affection and didn’t run to an adult and snitch the assailant out was someone to Love us. We confused physical attention with Love and we thought to get Love we had to drop our moral boundaries. We thought we had to be hurt to get what we needed. Most addict women suffer in dysfunctional relationships, it goes hand in hand with our addiction.

I have heard many stories in AA.  We normally share our story with the group by the time we have 1 year sober.   We share “what it was like, what happened in AA, and what it is like now”.  Some of us even sold our bodies outright for money to get drugs. We were exposed to many disgusting and painful situations. Some that we barely made it out of alive.  It’s no wonder we learned to hate men.  It’s no wonder we learned to hate women!  They were our competition they betrayed our confidence!  Screw woman we thought!  We could manipulate men much easier.  

THE SOLUTIONS

But now we must put our “woman’s issues” on our fourth step.  We will need other women if we are to heal and stay sober.  So we pray for God to put the right woman in our lives so we can experience the “sisterhood of The Spirit”.   Men absolutely are incapable of relating to many aspects of our personalities therefore they are of limited use to us in recovery when working through these core woman’s issues. If we have a chance to get into a woman’s meeting we DO IT! These meetings are much more intimate and women will share things that you absolutely will not hear in a regular meeting, shares that are vital for our healing

We begin to let our abuses out of our bag of secrets. We expose some shameful actions of our past in our fifth step with a sponsor and we expose other secrets in the rooms with the woman. We will find that doing so will put in place the connection that we need to other woman. When we listen in our women’s meeting we train ourselves to LOOK FOR THE SIMILARITIES RATHER THAN THE DIFFERENCES!  We lay down our staunch invisible walls of defense and blame to let healing in.

Finding someone to criticize is an old survival skill that deflects self-guilt. Criticism feeds the ego that which it needs to go-on however, criticism is not what we need now…we need empathy, we need healing and that will never come whilst seeking differences so we can criticize others. We write ourselves a note “seek the similarities don’t criticize!” and we put that in front of us in every meeting we go to until we have trained our brains and have built a bridge over the sick neuron-pathways called addiction. Our brain-bridge is called “survival for the sober”. Building a sober brain-bridge takes work and a supernatural kick so we start by attending ninety meetings in ninety days and we pray for willingness, clarity, guidance, healing, and for our Higher Power to make a way where there seems no way.

We have deep and embedded trust issues that simply must be ignored to an extent so we can get what we need. We may not be able to trust but we will nevertheless choose a sponsor and work the Fifth Step leaving no debauchery uncovered. That which we want to keep secret the most should be at the top of our fourth step. The Truth will set us free.

We put the “blame-game” in the garbage. We are responsible for processing every feeling that comes into our hearts. If we have sex with a person they owe us nothing! It is our choice whether we have sex and unless we tell the person up-front a price for that sex…they owe us nothing.   Not a phone call, not to fix things for us, not to make our choices for us, nor a place to stay they owe us nothing.  If we expect something from a person we are in bed with then we should be up-front about it.  We can propose that if they are screwing other people we will have to leave the relationship. They are adult they can do as they please. They can make promises they won’t keep.  If they don’t respect us then we leave the relationship it is our choice if we stay therefore blame is off the table.  Granted we can command respect but it is us who must draw the line in the sand and walk away when it is crossed.  We cannot make other adults do anything we can only request and suggest.

If we feel we have been wronged we should call a woman and talk it out. If a law has been broken we may call the cops. We often find when we talk things out with another woman, it is our unresolved issues that are haunting us rather than the person we are in bed with in the present. We addicts tend to carry an ink-blotter stamping “guilty” on anyone we are intimate with once the fairy-tale phase of the relationship is over.   Not anymore!  Now we journal, we write “fuck you” letters (do not send) to vent our angers.   We scream alone in our cars if we have to, it helps and releases endorphins.   We beat the pillow, we talk it out with woman but we do not blame anyone anymore for our feelings ever.

Even if we are wronged…can the person process our emotions for us? No! If others had the responsibility of processing and dealing with our feelings then we would be slaves to other people which we are not. We are learning how to take responsibility for our lives and our emotions.   It is not easy, it is not for sissies.   But you recovery sister, can do it because ‘we’ are stronger and capable of a deeper Love than most women can even imagine. Why? Because of the deep pain you have suffered.

Your emotional pain has carved out a deep dark hole in your heart. You will process that hurt and replace it with Love. That is why we women in recovery are more capable of a deeper Love than anyone who has not been through the trauma that we have. Seek God and The Sunlight of The Spirit and you shall be a vessel of joy, Love, and happiness amidst the tears that have gone un-cried for too long.

 

 

PLEASE NO MORE Feelings! & Is Step Ten Enough?

Step 10

Alcoholics Anonymous

“We are as sick as our secrets”

 

Which Feelings Need Addressing & is Step 10 enough?  I woke up in the middle of the night with an intense feeling of impending doom.  I felt like I was somehow in a position where I had no safety.  I felt like I was dangling miles high in the air with no safety net.  In my heart and mind I must be putting my well-being in the hands of the wrong thing.  It is not uncommon to sub-consciously put our faith into a cigarette or a pill while in recovery from a traumatic addiction.  When in that addiction our neuro-pathways had been trained to take the direction where drinking is a solution.  Sometimes in recovery our brain takes a wrong turn if you will.  All we need do is put our faith back on the right neuro-road where we depend on our spiritual God rather than a person, place, or earthly thing. When I was a very young child I remember having an intense realization that one day I would die.  It frightened me because there is no earthly solution for death.  It prompted me to seek and connect with my Higher Power. 

When I experience impending doom all I have to do is pray and tell my Higher Power how I feel (fear) and remember that He/She/It does have my back and the feeling of fear will leave me.  Maybe it was the prospect of death itself that haunted me.  Perhaps I had awoken from a nightmare that I don’t remember.  Do I need to write a fear list?  If the feeling does not let-up by prayer alone then “Yes” back to Step Four! 

The fear list is an important part of our on-going maintenance in sobriety.  You will find the directions for it in Step Four of the big book.  “But that’s Step Four I should be over that!”….So some say.  However my experience is in the matter of emotional sobriety and overcoming grave emotional disorder I revisit the fourth step as often as needed and Step Ten is far from enough maintenance to keep my emotions in check.

In Step Ten the book reads that we are pretty much cured of regarding drink & drug as a solution, this is true to any extent.  “The problem has been removed, it does not exist for us.” However emotions and emotional sobriety are another matter, if I don’t stay emotionally balanced I will eventually see alcohol as a solution.  Absolutely we do “recoil” from alcohol if we work the steps but will we “recoil” from being self-destructive or hurting others?  Or will we just switch to another self-destructive habit?

 

 

STEP TEN-“Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.” 

This is a very limited prospect of which is useless without the rest of the 12 steps. 

Step ten works good enough for a quick apology or when simple self-acknowledgement of a defect then a little prayer will resolve resentment, shame, guilt or fear but if it doesn’t rectify my deep negative feelings a little more work may be necessary even though I have worked the steps thoroughly.  Truly Step Ten is not much of anything without the rest of the 12 Steps actively in place in our lives.  Furthermore without prayer and meditation we are usually not spiritually fit enough to take our own inventory anyway. 

Do I have any unresolved resentments I ask myself?  If so I need to pray for that person and if that doesn’t work I do a step four and five including “my part” and not eliminating “wrongs done to me” and how both of those have made me feel. If it brings up deep feelings I let myself feel them and I cry.

If I have a reoccurring memory of an event in my past and it is attached to an intense feeling; that is when prayer is not usually enough.  That does not mean I don’t pray.  It just means that there is something in my past that I need to explore with an empathic listener who can hopefully relate to the event.  I write down what happened.  Have I wronged anyone?  Do I feel guilt or shame?  Remember our heart does not have to make sense it just needs to express itself, raw, & without editing.  I share my feelings with a listener whom will neither shut me down, shame me, nor invalidate me for my feelings.  

Staying disconnected from our feelings is an old survival skill that worked.  To truly process core feelings we need to connect with them 100% and write, cry, scream, talk, moan, run, or even punch (the bag, pillow) them out.

Let’s face it folks some AA, NA members are in the business of invalidation.  These members will always look for the differences instead of the similarities.  Furthermore they will look for the “wrong” in anything you propose to them.  This may work for some people…but blame is a principle of co-dependency not a principle of healing in recovery.

Do I feel dirty, wrong, and bad?  We must not allow our intellect to cloud our fourth step by invalidation.  Admitting core feelings like “bad, dirty, wrong, disgusting, or cheap sounds embarrassing but these are the common human feelings that surface after living an addicted life.  These deep feelings need to come out or they will make us sick.  Let’s face it not only have most of us crossed our own moral boundaries when in addiction but we also have core issues that need addressing from childhood.  Oftentimes adults taught us that we were just plain “wrong” and that we don’t even have a right to be who we are and feel how we feel. 

Remember we in recovery usually reach out for some secondary dependencies or lesser addictions when we get sober.  You won’t hear it talked about in the rooms much but that’ what we do. 

There are two kinds of people in AA those who struggle and admit it and those who struggle and don’t talk about it.  We certainly don’t struggle at all times and we do reach a place of peace if we work the steps but we are never finished doing the work while human and alive.

Do not be too hard on yourself for that is a character defect within itself! Come on folks!  We are all doing the best we can for right now.  From what I have experienced in Narcotics Anonymous the way they sometimes ostracize fellows for secondary addictions it feeds into the sickness of keeping secrets, repressing emotions, and feeds our shame issues.  Some groups forbid members to chair meetings if they are on much needed psyche meds or pain meds even non-narcotic meds.  Intolerance and a lack of acceptance for others and their personal medicinal status is just that…a lack of understanding and empathy.   

In recovery we often struggle with sick relationships (co-dependency), cigarettes, food, sexual promiscuity, anger issues, even your non-narcotic prescription drugs…nevertheless we are doing way better than we were before AA and the 12 steps.  Do not think that your recovery is counterfeit if you struggle with one of these?  Believe me we all struggle at times.  You will find that when one of us overcomes ALL of our little crutches we then become highly judgmental, and our control issues hit their highest peaks.  It’s always something!  Not a justification just fact.  Best we accept ourselves and other as human and remember “OUT OF THE PROBLEM INTO THE SOLUTION”!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer:  Oftentimes people in recovery from addictions, usually men do not need to ever return to a fourth step after doing it once, they don’t need to talk about their feelings, nor do they need an empathic listener.  They are emotionally and spiritually healthy.  These type fellows have either had an intense spiritual healing experience or they have gone to therapy for a year or more and worked through their core emotional issues, or have done both. 

Alcoholism in itself is traumatic experience to our hearts and minds.  My suggestions in the following articles are for those in recovery who have a knowledge of the 12 steps and have had trauma in their past and are in need of an emotional healing from that. 

AA OLD TIMERS

 AA OLD TIMERS

& A LOOK A STEP 12

 

THE CARROT”

It’s the way of some of the AA old-timers to go to an extreme by denying that their emotions exist.  They confuse emotions such as anger or hurt with character defects.  A feeling is not a defect again I say it comes from our heart which is a place of truth.  Actions are the only things that come under the heading of “character defect” .  These old crotchety types will teach the new-comer that crying is self-pity and that expressing hurt from being wronged under any circumstance no matter how horrific is always a character defect in us

POET & SONGWRITER  JOHN MELLENCAMP          EXCERPT FROM “PINK HOUSES”

 “Oh but ain’t that America, for you and me

 Ain’t that America, we’re something to see baby

Ain’t that America, home of the free, yeah

Little pink houses, for you and me,

oh baby for you and me 

Well there’s people and more people

What do they know, know, know

Go to work in some high rise

And vacation down at the Gulf of Mexico

Ooo yeah”

What do we do after we have processed our painful traumatic pasts, we have a new set of friends in AA, we have let our feelings out, talked about them and the circumstances surrounding our feelings, (make no mistake it is vital we express both our feelings and the circumstances that surround them,) we wrote about same, identified & related with others about same, talked about our shame, and thoroughly worked our steps, we have reconnected with God YET we feel bored.   We feel something needs to be done, its as if the spark is gone from our recovery and all we do is work, work, work!  

So, I tell my partner “Partner” I say, “I am bored and feeling unfulfilled because I must work, work, and work some more!”   He says to me; “partner, set your eyes upon the CARROT” .  He jogs my memory by his suggestion.  I had forgotten how valuable the carrot is for me emotionally and how it improves my attitude.  And so I do just that.  I work, work, work, and keep my thoughts on my up and coming “vacation down at the Gulf of Mexico Oh yea!   I pack my camera, my bathing suit, I buy a $3 raft and I am on my way!  Yaay!!  I have worked and I deserve a rest to reflect, revitalize, and remember how good life really is!

And yes, the next paragraph of the song by the way talks about “the pills that kill” but I shall save that for my next article on that and the choice of taking meds for pain, anti-depressants, psych meds etc. while in recovery.  If I can’t go to the gulf then I will go to the local springs or wherever I can get with nature and be refreshed.  I count my blessings and am filled with gratitude when I get close to God’s natural creations and then I do it all over again. 

Step Twelve work gives me a purpose when I share the solutions at meetings.  AAers need to talk about what is going on with them.  It is not our place to shut anyone down who needs to express their emotional pain. Recovery is about learning what to do with our emotions not pretending we don’t have emotions.  Staying in emotional denial feeds anxiety, fear, and secret-keeping.  We are as sick as our secrets and that includes secret emotions.  

It’s the way of some of the old-timers to go to an extreme by denying that their emotions exist.  They confuse emotions such as anger or hurt with character defects.  A feeling is not a defect again I say it comes from our heart which is a place of truth.  Actions are the only things that come under the heading of “character defect” .  These old crotchety types will teach the new-comer that crying is self-pity and that expressing hurt from being wronged under any circumstance no matter how horrific is always a character defect in us.  

Oftentimes alcoholics have been sexually and emotionally abused as children and have never had the chance to express the pain associated with the abuse.  Getting sober will always bring those deep pains to the surface so we need an outlet.  God gave us tears for a reason and crying is absolutely a part of the healthy emotional process.    We who have learned the remedy for addiction share the solutions for the newcomers pain in meetings and that is a twelfth step action.  

 We gain fulfillment by sharing in meeting however it can get old continually  being around negativity especially when we just want to enjoy life and stay on a positive train of thought.  Nothing wrong with taking a break from meetings when we know how to live the program.  

When we vacation down at the Gulf of Mexico we get to go to out-of-town meetings that are new and different.  That in itself is a positive change. 

And so we use the carrot as one of our survival tools for the good life  in recovery.

A THOUGHT: Yep acceptance is a part of healing. Where there is no acceptance there is denial., However denial is also one of the stages of healing. Denial keeps us alive until we are ready to face past traumas and process or cry them out…or scream…or write…or punch the bag.

 

OLDTIMER 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 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.

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.

 

 

 

SPONSORSHIP & A LUST FOR POWER & CONTROL

SPONSORSHIP

SELF-ESTEEM

THE 12 TRADITIONS

TRADITION 2

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Early Recovery topics “The good is the enemy of the best”

HOW IT WORKS & WHY IT WORKS

NINETY MEETINGS IN NINETY DAYS

Early Recovery topics

Recovery sabotage… is very common in early recovery and happens more often than not.  Let’s face it, most of us have tried and tried again to stay sober with many failed attempts.  Each failure we beat our self-image to a pulp and leave our self-esteem in the gutter. 

“Recovery ain’t for sissies” they say, but hey, screw that!  We are not sissies!  Nor are we “bad people” who make a conscious effort to hurt our loved ones and ourselves by our addictions.  We are sick people trying to get well!

Therefore folks, it helps to know one of the most insidious sub-conscious sabotage techniques that our addict mind uses to keep us sick.  The good IS the enemy of the best.  In early recovery ninety meetings in ninety days is a must.  We know that we should take this suggestion because it worked for so many people in the rooms that have multiple years sober. 

Usually what happens is we get a couple weeks sobriety under our belt and we are living responsibly so we miss meetings to do some “good” thing such as…take our children to the fair because we have neglected giving them attention and time for so long.  Or we might finally get a job and put that before our daily meeting.  Or maybe we are finally getting some work done around the house that we have procrastinated on for years.  Perhaps we are finally considering visiting our parents to tell them how good we are doing now.

These types of tasks are the only ones that can logically pull us away from meetings because we can justify that they are “good tasks”  “responsible activities” and we are doing the “right thing” by putting them before our meetings. ……….NOT!

The thing is if we do not attend the ninety meetings in ninety days our new-found responsible behavior will quickly fall by the wayside.  To build a truly responsible life, one of which we are no longer hurting ourselves emotionally, beating down our self-esteem and destroying our relationships we must stay sober.  And to stay sober we must build a foundation in recovery by attending allot of meetings initially.  Why??? 

  1. To build relationships with sober friends. 
  2. To build new habits and behavior patterns. 
  3. To learn the solutions for emotional meltdowns. 
  4. To establish a knowledge of the Big Book.
  5. To get a sponsor and work the steps. 

Put it this way my sacred and lovely fellow addicts who deserve a kick-ass & wonderful life.   Our brain needs a new program, it needs re-wired.   Rewiring of the brain is absolutely possible and it does happen allot but it takes installing a new program and the download time for the sober program is lengthy. 

The initial download for the installation of a sober brain is ninety days of daily meetings.  After that you can cut down to four meetings a week if you like.  Then somewhere during that four meetings a week if we work the 12 steps including a fifth step with a sponsor we will no longer view meetings and the program as a pain in the ass.  Fulfillment and enlightenment will occur along with an amazing psychic change and we will take hold of the solutions to addiction by doing them.

So when we have a “good” and “responsible” task that we think is best to put before our meetings; buyer beware!  It could be our addict mind cunningly and insidiously plotting our demise!  After all, we are too smart to fall for missing a vital life changing meeting just so we can watch Netflix or take out the garbage.

 Footnote:  Bill W. said “the good is the enemy of the best” somewhere in our AA literature.  I will confirm at a later date.  If you have the info please post it below.

A Little Apology

cat

To all registered readers of Recovery Farmhouse we want to apologize for a horrible glitch that was in the website.   Due to super-slow load time on header pictures we have discontinued the social “share” buttons for Facebook, Google, etc.  

So sorry you guys had to suffer through such slow loading times YIKES!   Blame it on procrastination we were duck hunting!  We are recovering addicts too and took way too long to straighten it out.  

Anyway, until we can identify a plugin that won’t slow down the system there will not be any “share buttons” on the site.

Thank you readers you are awesome!  We Love you!  Sincerely Recovery Farmhouse.

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

 SPIRITUAL PETS?

RECOVERY

PROVIDENCE

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

What is “The Will of God”?

What is the will of God?

STEP ELEVEN

EMOTIONAL SOBRIETY

will of god 2

WHAT IS THE WILL OF GOD?

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

 

Eleventh Step Prayer of Saint Francis

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

AMEN

 

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

 

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

 

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

Is Alcoholics Anonymous a Cult?

AA

BLAME

CULTS

Is AA a cult?  Well that depends on who you ask the question.  One thing for certain about the human race…we get some kind of fulfillment out of stamping a “BAD” label on groups of people, organizations, types of people etc.   We don’t want the karma or negative consequences that harsh judgement could bestow on us so we should definitely be careful about using the word “cult”.    There are lots of articles labeling AA a cult.  But really what are the characteristics of a true cult?

  • An organization that insists on separating you from your friends and family.
  • A group of people that want to control your behavior, the way you look, act by lots of rules and regulations that are invasive and contrary to freedom.
  • A religious group that insists they are the only one’s who know God.   They drill into you that all other spiritual and religious groups are bad, wrong and evil.   And they  insist that they are the “way” to God.  Without them you will be lost and doomed to a fate worse than death.
  • They often claim to be the only prophets on the face of the Earth.
  • They make themselves as God by requiring that you worship them, him.  They require that you give you self wholly to them.  All of you your mind, body, time, and work.  They require that you give all your worldly possessions to them.
  • They ultimately require that you cross your own moral boundaries and good conscience to obey them even unto death or group suicide.  The ultimate sacrifice.
  • A cult usually condemns everyone else they claim to be all-knowing when it comes to who and what is evil.  Their primary purpose is to manipulate you into handing over all your power and choices.

Pretty vicious!  These are evil characteristics at best and clearly just another form of blame by a cults condemnation of all other things religious/spiritual .

Is AA a cult?  No, not by it’s doctrines, which are the 12 steps and 12 traditions absolutely not.   Granted that does not mean that there could never be cultist sects working within AA.  Made up of people that practice AA completely contrary to the 12 steps and traditions, but that goes for any large group within organizations.  Any group of people can go awry.

However, few if any religious organizations have the liberating and non-controlling foundation that AA has by its 12 Tradition.  Nor does any other religion suggest that you seek God and put your own vision and label on God.    AA does not hand us God on a platter served up with a cocktail of legalistic regulations of what HE looks like acts like dresses like, wants us to dress like Nor do they serve a desert of descriptive visuals of the punishment and torture God will smite us with  if we don’t obey all the rules.

Spirituality does not come in a box.  We do not come to know God by other people’s seeking God for us.  We must seek out our Higher Power on our own.  That way when we reach that pie in the sky the great creator of human life will recognize us and know exactly who we are because we prayed, meditated, sought God with our might and even helped a few addicts along the way.

Out of a desperation that only the fear of utter emotional pain, death, suffering and worse can induce.   Yes by this woe we found God and by this woe we learned that Love is an action that we take to receive back that same Love.