Addicts, Alcoholics and Manipulation

THE FINE ART OF “MANIPULATION”

Most humans are skilled in the art of emotional manipulation even if we are unaware of it.  Thing is, we have learned controlling people works better through dishonest means rather than the honest approach.  Unfortunately that makes for sick relationships and a loss of Love.  And let’s face it AA and NA are full of dysfunctional relationships.  Unfortunately sick guidance is rampant in AA but it’s still one of the best ways to get sober.  That is, if you also seek God and get some empathic therapy along with it.  And absolutely read the Big Book for yourself and go to step study and same sex meetings.

One reason we do the 12 steps is so we can become aware of our character patterns both healthy and unhealthy.  Oftentimes active addicts have enablers who help us get our much desired dope and money.  We may feel reliant on enablers for something.  Therefore we often feel we must handle our enablers in a way they will react and behave as we want them to.  We are skilled in the art of getting a desired reaction from our “foe” per-say.

Controlism- The using addicts Creed

Maybe we engage in manipulation just so we can feel ‘in control’.  When we feel in control life isn’t so scary and we are not so afraid.  Good luck getting most recovering addicts to admit they are afraid. One reason it’s so hard to recover in AA is the rampant emotional denial and the false humility that goes on.  Members mistake cutting themselves down verbally for humility.  And they mistake cutting down the newcomer for 12 step service work.   How can I recover when no one admits their true feelings aloud.  I might sit in meetings feeling like the only one who is scared to death of delving into a sober life having no idea of what’s what’s around the next corner.  Dysfunction is the counterfeit for peace of mind.  We don’t have as many fears if we are playing God.   Now that we are sober we don’t need tangible items (money and dope) from our prey but rather some emotional reactions to make us feel ok.  I have read that even serial killers and child molesters use “emotional fishing” to choose their victims.  They throw out a “needy” or “vulnerable” type line and then watch for their desired response from a potential victim.

One way to manipulate is to hand over power by either acting weak and incapable or by requesting that our enabler make our choices and decisions for us.  As an AA sponsor, it’s imperative that our sponsee make his own choices, in making the right choice he builds his much needed self esteem, as he sees the good result of his healthy choices piling up.  Gaining a sense of accomplishment and setting goals in recovery is vital.  That is why we only “suggest” what newcomers should do for their recovery.  We should be a teacher not take control and oppress.  A sponsee does the “next right thing ” and reaps the benefits of it both emotionally and spiritually.  The 12 steps are based in good principles.  When we act according to these good principles we build our inner spirit-man.

When the manipulator hands the enabler power, in the mind of that manipulator the enabler now feels powerful and “better than” because they have the opportunity to dole out perfect instructions to the the co-da and “not so smart” manipulator.   In the mind of the manipulator: “now the enabler likes me, and will give me what I want, and he will like to be around me cause I made him feel powerful”.  Hence handing out power by an expression of my own vulnerability, ignorance, or incapability is the manipulators way of controlling a foe enabler. To take it to a deeper level (which most people have a problem with) The manipulator needs to manipulate people also, because they really don’t feel they are worth being loved by anybody either.  We have been taught this, usually by an adult in our formative years.

I have a house guest, this morning he said, “When I make coffee, I just pour fresh coffee on top of day old coffee grounds left in the pot. I don’t want to waist anything” he says.  My reaction was unplanned and I didn’t realize until that moment I was being primed as his emotional enabler.  He is truly wasting the coffee I bought anyway because he adds entirely too much water (every time he visits he does this).  He knows I won’t drink his weak-ass coffee anyway so I just pour what he made in the thermos and make my own.  I have long given up on requesting that he not add so much water to it.  Every night I throw away a thermos full of the watered down expensive coffee I paid for and he made.  Because he insists on making it weak and using enough water for a household of 10 coffee drinkers.  So, he pours fresh coffee on top of old grounds, which sat out all night rotting. He is still throwing my hard earned money down the drain.  I am not sure if he is trying to piss me off or if he wants another lecture on how to NOT waist coffee.  Or maybe he is really an idiot, however I don’t think so.  What the man wants is someone to do any emotional co-dependent dance with him.  And today I am not participating.  He has no idea he is casting a line my way and I often don’t realize I am biting a fishing line with a sick hook in it.

It’s the habit of my husbands old friend to be in the state of Chaos and disaster over his security ($) when he comes down to spend a week or so in my house.  He begs that everyone tell him “it’s going to be ok” over and over and over.  But the thing is, he is a dry drunk sober 12 years in which time he has been to 3 AA meetings.  He prides himself on getting sober all by himself not needing any help.  Ironically, asking for true and authentic help is his poison (in his mind) he has a strong aversion to it.  Ironically the counterfeit to being humble enough to ask for true help is handing out power where we don’t really need it (help me make my choices for me and I won’t follow your advice anyway).  I recognize that type of handing over power because it was my key manipulation when I was emotionally sick.  With the counterfeit handing over of power I can snatch it back at any moment.   I choose leaving the foe enabler empty and powerless no longer entitled to make my choices or solve my disasters for me.

SOLUTIONS:  CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES, WORK THE 12 STEPS, FOR IN RECOGNIZING OUR OWN PATTERNS WE LEARN THE PATTERNS OF OTHERS.

THE CARDINAL SIN OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

WHAT IS THE CARDINAL SIN OF AA?

The “cardinal sin of AA” it is to take a man’s vulnerabilities and use them against him.  The other cardinal sin of AA is to gossip about what we have heard shared in meetings and to rub it in and make snide sarcastic remarks about what our fellows revealed about themselves in the meeting.  While we hide and wear a mask over our own faults and character defects.

Pointing the finger at other people is how people with low self worth see themselves as “better than”.  But they do it at the expense of those who are trying to heal by being honest and allowing themselves to become vulnerable with sponsors or in meetings so they can get better.  This is something the evil and condemning heart can and will never do..that is make themselves transparent.

The program works, but does it work because we have found a place where people can tell us how bad and wrong we are for being addicts?  Do we get sober because we are beaten into submission?  Do we overcome drugs by being criticized and downtrodden?  Heck No!  RATHER IT WORKS BECAUSE OF THE EMPATHY , UNDERSTANDING AND RELATING THAT WE SHOW ONE ANOTHER.  It works because of the similarities we see in one another.  Criticism is not a healing agent.  We don’t find peace when someone identifies all of our character defects and does a reverse fourth and fifth step on us.  If criticism were able to keep us sober and heal our emotional woes we would have been delivered from addiction a long time ago when those close to us began their verbal attacks.  But don’t tell your Nazi-like inventory-taking dry drunk sponsor that.  

Nowhere in the Big Book does it instruct our sponsors to point out our character flaws for us.  Even the word “personal inventory” tells the tale of SELF-EXAMINATION.  Sure our sponsors can guide and ask us the right questions to aid us in realizing our flaws. 

So then what is the healing agent of AA?  I believe it is the show of caring, relating, identifying, mirroring, and firstly listening and understanding each other’s plight and how we feel.  Empathy is the emotional salve that shows us the Love our heart craves.  Empathy is a caring way of identifying the similarities between us and our fellows.  But not just that, empathy then mirrors in a caring way to let us know  that it has been through the same pains as we have. 

I have been to so many meetings and recovery groups where a person shows the courage to share their heart with the group only to be reprimanded by sometimes as many as 50% of the  group.   Seems many people just want to tell the topic sharer just how bad, wrong and different they are from other alcoholics as if scolding the alcoholic will help.   God forbid if you relapse or have a desire to drink, some people will act like you have committed a cardinal sin.   And yet, that’s the very reason we have sought out AA to begin with.

AA members that really want to stay sober should walk into their group or meeting looking for the similarities in our fellows rather than the differences.   We should be ready to tell the suffering addict that they are not alone.  When a man makes himself vulnerable by sharing his weakness our job is to let him know that we are the same  as him.  And then we tell the sharer and the whole group just how we have overcome that same weakness.  What tools have we learned and used to change?   That is what we share.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 As for the real “cardinal sin of AA” it is to take a man’s vulnerabilities and use them against him.  The other cardinal sin of AA is to gossip about what we have heard shared in meetings and to rub it in and make snide sarcastic remarks about what our fellows revealed about themselves in the meeting.  While we hide and wear a mask over our own faults and character defects.

AA Is Getting a Bad Rap

 

Recovery Farmhouse thanks our most recent guest, published (“Last Call” a Memoir) writer Nancy Carr for sharing her stories and articles with us.   You can find Nancy’s book available in the left sidebar.

AA is getting a bad rap lately by Nancy Carr

I’m hoping I can change that rap.  Over the last few months AA has been in the media and not in a good way.  When I saw Gabrielle Glaser this past March on CNN discussing her most recent article in the Guardian, “The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous”, I was super irritated.  Who the heck was she to eschew a “way of life” for millions of alcoholics and addicts in recovery from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body?   I don’t know why she felt it was her duty to take on the AA organization as a whole and discount what an amazing social movement and Recovery Fellowship it actually is.  This Fellowship helps people and saves lives.  Period.  If it’s used properly of course.  I should further state what AA is not: 

It’s not a speed dating venue, it’s not a place to go meet your new neighbor, it’s not a place to go looking for drugs, it’s not a place to further your career and reach your sales quota, and it’s also not a place to find a babysitter. 

AA is a place to get and stay sober.  More on that later. 

Back to Gabby and her irrational AA article.  I’m so grateful that Jesse Singal wrote a counter piece entitled, “Why Alcoholics Anonymous works”.  He went on to say, “Glaser’s central claim that there’s no rigorous scientific evidence that AA and other 12-step programs work is wrong.  Glaser is simply ignoring a decade’s worth of science.”   Further on in his piece, Jesse gets input from an addiction specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, “No, that’s not true,” said Dr. John Kelly.  When Glaser’s argument was run by him, he countered, “There’s quite a bit of evidence now, actually, that’s shown that AA works.”  Further Kelly said, “In recent years, researchers have begun ramping up rigorous research on what are known as “12-step facilitation” programs, which are “clinical interventions designed to link people with AA.” 

Well, thank goodness Dr. John Kelly and Jess Singal were around to back up some of Glaser’s BS.  According to an 2010 article in Wired by Brendan Koerner, “the 200-word instruction set has since become the cornerstone of addiction treatment in this country, where an estimated 23 million people grapple with severe alcohol or drug abuse—more than twice the number of Americans afflicted with cancer.  Some 1.2 million people belong to one of AA’s 55,000 meeting groups in the US, while countless others embark on the steps at one of the nation’s 11,000 professional treatment centers. Anyone who seeks help in curbing a drug or alcohol problem is bound to encounter Wilson’s system on the road to recovery.”  Brendan’s article further goes on and list the pros and cons of AA and why it works for some and not for others, but the basis of his article was that it works, if you work it and if you want it.  It’s also not the only method to get sober, it just happens to be the method that worked for me and one that I truly believe in.  So of course I’m going to be an advocate and supporter of the 12 step program.   

However, the most disturbing piece I saw recently was about the new documentary the 13thStep. 

I had heard about this film through the recovery community and didn’t want to give it more than a second thought until I read Amy Dresner’s article on the The Fix.  Amy who has been in and out of recovery for the past 20 years (currently she has over 2 years now in AA) wrote a review about Monica Richardson’s documentary,  The 13th Step, a film about predators in AA.    Amy goes on to write, “This film interviews a slew of women who have been sexually abused by men in AA, as well as the family members of women, like Karla Brada, who have been murdered by AA members. Brada met Eric Allen Earl in AA. He had nowhere to go so she took him in and was dead by his hands four months later.   After the fact, her family dug into his history and discovered he had 22 years of criminal activity including eight restraining orders and a stunning 52 court-orders to AA. Brada’s family are suing AA for wrongful death.” Additionally she wrote about Julie, “Julie knew a guy in the rooms of AA for three years and he invited her over for coffee at his home, only to slip a date rape drug in her tea and assault her.   When Julie complained to her sponsor about the incident, she was met with “Well, what was your part?”   I was less than thrilled when I read this and even more so as to who the hell Julie’s sponsor was? But that’s not the point here.  The point is that AA may not be the healthiest environment to walk into, but not all of AA is an evil breeding ground for criminals and predators.  I’d like to see the documentary that focuses on the real recovery of AA and how it does help alcoholics and addicts regain their lives back. How families are mended back together, how marriages are saved, how parents learn to be parents again and how sober citizens finally can get a chance at a true and sober life.  Where is that documentary?

I highly recommend reading Amy’s piece, and as disturbing as it was, it really annoyed the crap out of me.  Not Amy’s piece, but the content of the documentary.  I’m actually sad that AA isn’t a safe place for a newcomer, or anyone ignorant to the 12 step environment, to get sober.  I get that AA has these sick freaky dudes and we are not a group of healthy folk, Well Peoples’ Anonymous it is not. 

When I found out, in my first 30 days of recovery, what 13 stepping was – I was shocked.  I couldn’t believe that men, who seemed to be so nice and supportive towards me, wanted to take advantage of my vulnerability and ignorance.  I was a shell of a person when I walked into the rooms, so to have my sponsor tell me what 13 stepping was, I was just mortified.  I had this old dude who kept asking me out for coffee and I was so naïve as I didn’t know how to say No.  My sponsor told me to tell him “No way” and to blame it on her.  Verbatim, she told me to say, “My sponsor said there is no reason for you and me to have coffee outside the rooms, so no thanks”   I was so relieved that I didn’t have to be rude to him.  I was actually worried as I didn’t want to hurt his feelings!  Crazy talk!  Same thing could be said for the “hugging” that goes on at meetings now a days.  I’m not a hugger if I don’t know you.  Just because I met you at an AA meeting, doesn’t mean we are friends and we can hug.  What is with that? Dudes just think that women are open game to hugging if you say “Hello” to them at a meeting.  I’ve come a long way since my early sobriety and figured out early on who was “safe” in the rooms and who wasn’t. 

Amy goes on in her piece to say that AA is a breeding ground for predators and sick people, which makes complete sense.  AA alone is not a remedy for our disease and what ails us.  It’s not a cure all for everyone and most people in the Fellowship, like myself, need to seek outside help for other issues.  The 12 steps, sponsorship, meetings, service, and the Fellowship are all fine and dandy, but they don’t work for everyone.  It’s true that most people who come into AA are not just addicted to alcohol – they can be dual diagnosis; either drug dependent, mental disorders, eating disorders, sex addictions, adult children of alcoholics and other co-dependency issues are wide and varied.   AA is a place for sick people just trying to get better and if everyone who came to AA had a genuine desire to get sober and do what is suggested, I’m sure we wouldn’t have all these predators and sickies trying to get one over on us. 

I myself was 13 stepped by a sponsor.  Not in a sexual way, but in a manipulative and deceitful way.  She was very well respected in my Fellowship, well regarded as an AA pillar to many.  She sponsored a lot of women, she was asked to speak frequently at speaker meetings, she held a women’s meeting out of her home, she had a good rap and she ran a really great program.  She was the deal.  I wanted what she had.  BAM!  She was a fraud. 

I started noticing some holes in her story, “from the podium” and started asking some questions about this and that and soon after so did a few other folks and lo and behold, it turned out that most of her story was a lie and she had also been embezzling money from one of her customers.  Soon the local authorities were on to her and she was sent to an out of state prison for a few years.  So, yeah, there was a bad apple in the bunch, but it didn’t deter me from wanting to be in AA. Nor did it make me flee AA and join another sober Fellowship.  I saw this person for what she was, a con artist.  I thought to myself, “Wow, what a great place to come if you want to take advantage of people.” 

I’m not one to say that AA is the only way to recovery as there are other programs out there, SMART, SOS, WFS, Celebrate Recovery, spiritual advisors, meditation, yoga and white knuckling abstinence.  What I am saying – and this is just my rant and my belief, is that AA has worked for me unequivocally.  It works if I work it.  It’s a program that has helped shaped me to be a better human being.  It has also helped millions of other people and it’s a place where people come back to.  It’s a place where we will welcome you back whether or not you relapsed for 2 days or 2 years – we just want to help you. At least the majority of people I know in AA do.  The majority of people in AA are good, honest, helpful and caring individuals.  It’s the 13 steppers, 2 steppers and bottom feeders who aren’t there for their sobriety.  They are there for themselves and what they can get out of you.   They are the folks you need to stay away from.  They are the bad apples of the bunch and my advice to anyone would be to trust their gut.  Guys with the guys and women with the women – at least for the first year until you have some sober time.  The unsaid rule of “don’t date in your first year thing” was a great yard stick for me.  I started dating right after my year and let’s just say I was able to start working on Step 6 pretty easily after that.  I should also out myself a bit here and say that my now husband and I started dating when I had a few years and he had 9 months.  So, yeah, I guess anyone could say that I was a 13 stepper!  In my own defense, we had a very communicative, open and loving relationship where we both kept to our own programs.  This is also not to say we haven’t had our ups and downs in our marriage, because we have, but at least we have a unified belief together that AA is where we want to recover and that we feel lucky that we get to walk this journey of recovery together as we both want to live a sober and full life. 

At the end of the day, I have to believe in the foundation of the program and how Bill W. wanted it to be, “an easy program for complicated people”, and “Rule 62, just don’t take ourselves too damn seriously.”

Posted by Nancy Carr at 5:58 AM No comments:

 

MOMENT OF CLARITY

MOMENT OF CLARITY

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

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

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

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

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

LOCKED UP

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

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

 

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

9 years 1 month 1 day

Time span:

474 weeks

3318 days

9.08 years

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

Do you know when your moment of clarity was?

By Anonymous

 

WHAT WOULD SATAN DO?

Satan or self?

 What would Satan do….just a little joke joke…remember rule 62 : Don’t take yourself so damn seriously!  But pretty sure Satan would play the blame game and not take responsibility for his own actions.  In AA we learn to own all our actions.  Own it!

Hmmm Alright since we are talking about the voices in our heads.  I choose not to glorify Satan or give him credit or blame for my own consciousness.  How-ever I acknowledge the existence of evil and dark forces whatever name they may be given.

 

Anyhow I personally have a committee sitting on bleachers in my head.  They observe and sometimes criticize my actions.  I will label them “society”.  They are my perceptions of what others think of me and they could be accurate or way off base with their ideas.  They believe that “The world revolves around my belly button” per-say.

 

Here are the rest of the people in my head.  I have a guy (sloth/fear) who lies in bed all the time and wants me to stay paralyzed in bed.  He wants to hide from the light of life.  Get busy dying instead of living.  Its best I resist him he wants to isolate me.

 

Then I have a red-headed woman who is simply “fear and attack” she is very critical of me and others.  Really she just needs to know everything is going to be OK and she does not have to be afraid and react in critical and insecure fear.  She is a part of me I need to accept her to help her heal.

 

These characters are in essence are my core “character defects/flaws”.  They were revealed to me in a vivid dream at about a year sober.  I wrote the dream down; it was a revelation of who I am and who I do not want to be.  They are NOT some enemy rather a part of me in need of healing.  They should be understood, resisted, ignored, and I should be aware they are usually mistaken.  They will push Love out of my life in error by their/my misguided self-destructive solutions of resentment, blame and twisted perception.

 

If I label the committee some evil outer entity then the 12 steps, fear list and sexual inventory are useless in over-coming them.  Only thing I can do with Satan is the third step by which I put him and his demons into the God box or into God’s hands.  The only thing I can do with Satan is resist the temptation he, it, they, and I put in front of me.

 

The steps really do work when I work them!  As for Satan why concern myself with him when I can neither change him nor kill him?  I can only work on my own stuff; Satan will answer to God who gave him the power to tempt me in the first place.  After all doesn’t the Bible say “all things are of God”  2nd Corinthians 5:18.

what would satan do

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.

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.

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.

 

 

“Blame”

STEP FOUR

12 STEP SOLUTIONS

Is blame a character defect or an emotional survival skill? How about it’s both?
Blame rears its ugly head in ways that may surprise many in the realm of recovery. Blame, accusation, and just plain critical fault finding is an unhealthy survival skill for those of us who learned how to live through a life of addiction without snuffing ourselves out because of guilt.When I neglected my daughter, neglected my health, ripped through my relationships like a title wave I needed a beast of burden per say to take the blame for the destruction that I had caused. Looking at my own baggage and character flaws at that point was too painful. I had no solutions then so why even look? I used blame in all forms to survive the emotional landslide in my heart.Now that I am clean & sober I can honestly look at my flaws because I have solutions for the landslide of emotional guilt and shame that accompanies my self-awareness. It is perfectly normal to want to bury everything that should be on a fourth step. However the emotions connected to that baggage WILL come out sideways (blame) at those we love most and those we don’t love until we get the work done!I am an emotional woman…my first thorough, and painstaking Fourth Step was 50 pages long. By doing it I found myself, it was my beginning of self-love. FEEDBACK WELCOME!