Don’t Judge Your Insides by Other People’s Outsides

The Mask

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.

Daily Meditation By Fred Hundt

Good Morning, Fillae Blusterers. I don’t know about you, but I have one of those brains which is constantly talking to me. It wants to analyze every situation I encounter, inventing reasons why each thing happens and how it is all part of a plan to hurt me (or, more precisely, my ego). It parses the speech of everyone around me, inventing motives for their words and fanciful backstories filled with sinister purposes. It loves to re-tell stories from my past, pointing out the errors I made and inviting me to feel badly all over again.

One of the most amazing things I’ve learned on my journey in recovery and spirituality is this…I can tell my brain to EFF OFF! I’m not a slave to all of the ego-driven thoughts and messages it creates. I can choose to accept certain messages (“Turn right at the next corner to avoid traffic”) and let go of others (“Here’s an opportunity to get even with someone”).

Even better, I’m learning that I can give my brain direction. I can order it to use its pattern-recognizing powers to see how all of the beautiful little things occurring around me reveal the presence of a Divine Spirit. I can guide it to look for the good in each person I meet. It can watch for opportunities for me to help others, serving joyfully. And, I can tell it to take a break from time to time, letting me just be, quiet and peaceful, right here right now.

___________________________________________–by Fred Hundt

THE DREADED SIN OF FORNICATION

From the book by Laura Edgar “Paradise For The Hellbound” the chapter titled “THE DREADED SIN OF FORNICATION”

If you want to read the entire book click this link:

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.net/bible/paradise-for-the-hellbound/

If you are a recovering Catholic or a baby Christian or even a seasoned Christian struggling with the sex issue because of certain scriptures that are in the Bible read this chapter it may set your mind at ease and your soul at rest.  Guilt sucks and why on earth would a God give us a sex drive and then say “don’t use it!”?  Here are some thoughts on the topic.  Read the book for free.  There are four more chapters here http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/paradise-hellbound-laura-edgar/  If you want to read the entire book just e-mail me at recoveryfarmhouse@hushmail.com Make sure you add the word “PARADISE” in the subject space of your e-mail.

FACING MARRIAGE OR THE DREADED SIN OF FORNICATION

I was delivered by God from heroin and cocaine addiction by receiving prayer in a little Baptist Church from five or so parishioners including the preacher.  At that time my life changed dramatically and so I was born of Spirit or born-again as the expression goes.

Not terribly long after my born again experience which by the way included; water baptism, baptism of the Holy Spirit and I’m sure the baptism of fire (Luke 3:16).  (All the Christian credentials).  I met a Christian Man that I liked very much he was quite an attraction for me.  I was single, young, impressionable, and very much desired to live by the rules.  We dated for a short time.  I believed in sexual abstinence before marriage because that’s how I understood the rule in the Bible.  I believed God wanted me celibate and I had gone a year with no romantic relationships (a very strange concept to most people I think).  However I had such strong passionate desire for this man I felt I had better marry him before I commit the dreaded sin of fornicationAfter all God had saved me from drugs and alcohol.  I didn’t realize it at the time but I felt obligated as if now I owed God my obedience.   I felt as if there were strings attached to my deliverance I did not have a pure understanding of God’s grace and Love.   I was viewing a spiritual event (my white light experience)  from a carnal and earthly standpoint

 

I was totally frustrated with abstaining from sex.  Between my unreasonable fear of God and my raging hormones I was about to make a huge mistake.  My solution for my overwhelming frustration and fear was to get married and so I did.  Not long after our union my young and handsome husband began popping Xanax and drinking in excess.  He stopped working and became very much an obnoxious drunk.

 

I have learned the doctrine of marriage from attending various Christian churches.  Some teach that I should have actually submitted to my husband and stayed married.  I was attending Narcotics Anonymous and still newly sober.  Some churches will callously dis-fellowship or excommunicate a woman by disciplinary council for divorcing her husband under any circumstance.  Biblical teachings on this subject can be misunderstood resulting in oppressive beliefs and doctrines.  Some church members said I should have persistently prayed for my will to happen in my husband’s life meaning, for God to change him into what I wanted him to be and now!  I could have wasted away praying for his transformation all the while living a life of servitude to a drunk who was incapable of supplying me with the sex I married him for anyway!  How ironic!   I would have been mourning and grieving daily about my husband.  Me miraculously set free from addictions only to put myself back into bondage to an unfulfilled unreasonable expectation.

I recognize my readers may not agree with all I am writing.  Christian divorce is a very sticky subject.  As my preacher at the time declared, “Sin to one may not be sin to another” I have found this to be true.

I married so I could Biblically and lawfully have sexual relations against the advice of my spiritual teachers.  I married hastily not knowing the man well enough or long enough.  Most people are on their best behavior when courting for the first 90 days.  He certainly had me fooled.  Not that he wasn’t a good man it was that his relapse into alcoholism changed him dramatically.

Marriage is many good things but it is confined by intention when thought of as only a solution to sexuality. My motives where wrong.

I quickly divorced Slim.  I had not considered his well-being when I married him.  I had ignored the glaring red flags I saw in my soon to be husband so I could get what I wanted.  The union was based on selfishness.  I broke the marriage vow and regretted the entire incident.

 

 

Should I have stayed in the marriage and sinned by self-induced oppression?  Or should I have sinned by divorce and breaking a marriage vow?  I deduced that I should not, by God live in my sinful mistake the rest of my life.  The worse sin would have been rejecting my freedom to Love by staying with a man in a graceless institution by my immature ignorance of the higher law of Love.

 

Mathew 5:32

“But I say unto you whosoever put away his wife saving for the cause of fornication causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever marry her that is divorced commit adultery.”

 

What does this scripture really mean?  It is saying God’s law is higher than man’s law is it not.  Even if the woman in the scripture was legally divorced, she still commits adultery states Jesus.  The Judge signed the divorce decree, put his state seal on it and yet in Gods eye she is still obligated to her first husband.  God’s law prevails.  His law deems the divorce occurred for the wrong reasons, only infidelity it declares will allow such a separation and freedom to unite with another person.

 

My question is this; are your beliefs in traditional marriage so lawfully bound that there is no allowance for grace?  Does forgiveness stop when we consider the laws of marriage?  I do not think that is what Jesus really meant.  Mathew 15:1-9 talks about the scribes and Pharisees who asked Jesus

 

“Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders?”  Jesus answered: “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of tradition”

 

In my ignorance and fear of breaking traditional biblical law, I abandoned and breached the higher law of Love.  I placed my fear of the law first and married with selfish motives in my heart.  The act of sin to one may not be sin to another because of the motives of one’s heart.  Certainly, the act of marriage in of itself is not a sin but I believe it may be a sin depending on our heart.

 

Suppose I help someone because of the kindness of my heart and Love.  Later I help someone again this time I’m doing it because they have something I want and I’m trying to manipulate them into giving it to me, I covet and lie to get what I want.  Two of the same deed one sin, one Love.  Indubitably, a big chocolate cake is not sinful but to the obese man it could be the tool of his self-destructive demise.  In his heart, he lusts for it putting it before God, man and himself.  The cake rules him it is his god.  What about TV do I put it before my family and God?  The same rule applies, what is in my heart?

 

Hebrews 4:12

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of thoughts and intents of the heart.”

 

 

 

Mathew 15:8

“These people draw near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”

 

Mathew 5:8

“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”

Romans 10:10

“For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.”

We have biblically established that what is in our hearts is the bottom line with God unto life and salvation.  Given this knowledge,

I would like to be capable of placing with my hand what goes in and what comes out of my heart thank you!  More self-sufficiency, Please!

Self-sufficiency does not jive with the realm of The Spirit.  Let’s examine the fornication issue a little further.  Suppose on the flip side I meet that special man of God.  A man of God, meaning he lives by the golden rule.  This is the man I have been praying for, the man I want for my life partner.

We make a promise of fidelity to each other and keep it.  We embark on a long loving relationship free of guilt and shame.  We consider each other before ourselves often.

We do not legally marry or vow a vow because we are unsure of what tomorrow may bring and we have both been married before.  Would I be living in sin?  Would I be fornicating?  I think not.  Our motives are pure and within the boundaries of Gods higher law of Love.

Some men asked God this question,

Mathew 22:36-40

“Teacher which is the greatest commandment in the law?  Jesus said to him “You shall

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.

This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it,

Love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments hang all the
Law and the Prophets.”

 

My point liberally spoken as it may be is if the motive in my heart is pure and my actions Loving, traditional do’s and don’ts are not relevant.  Moreover, this child of God is not bound by religions meticulous and complicated traditions.  Some may call these traditions religious bondage.  Fornication as I understand it is committing a wrong act done out of twisted immoral motivation, selfish in nature and hurtful to people.  Love cannot fornicate, only God can see my heart and yours.  Setting moral boundaries for me and identifying what is and what is not sin for me is one crucial ingredient of my spiritual maturity.  No one else can decide how I abide in good conscience toward God except me.

 

A proverb written by a friend of mine reads, “Of guilt I can’t relieve you though you’re sorry and I believe you.”  So often, when we go against our own beliefs and convictions (otherwise known as apostasy) we seek justification and approval from others.  These confirmations give us temporary relief from inner guilt but do not cleanse our soul.  Justification distracts us from our guilt and turns it to blame.  Blame is a much easier emotion for our egos to handle.  However, our hearts suffer the loss.  Unchecked guilt usually results in self-hatred and snowballs into various sins.  A little guilt can spin into more wrong action and create a downward spiral toward a living Hell.

 

Another spiritual succubus is un-forgiveness.  Un-forgiveness also lives in our hearts and minds causing negative action due to negative feelings.  I believe if we could see spiritual entities, these emotions such as guilt, hatred, blame etc. would appear as black clouds going down into the pit of our stomachs (like the graphic illustrations of disease in the movie “The Green Mile”) and if unchecked, fill our bodies to the brim resulting in feelings that are unbearable.  These feelings often spill over in a bad way.  These individual sins should be checked daily and confessed to God and man.

 

The bottom line of my message to you is illustrated here so perfectly in First Corinthians.

 

First Corinthians 6:12-15

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.  Meats for the belly and the belly for meats but God shall destroy both it and them.  Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord and the Lord for the body.”

AMEN

 


EMOTIONALLY GROWING UP IN A.A.

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

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

AGREE TO DISAGREE by working the 12 steps.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Dating and Sex in Sobriety

NO RELATIONSHIPS BEFORE A YEAR SOBER..SO THEY SAY IN AA.  the suggestion has much merit but there are exceptions to the rule.

We can quickly destroy all our loving relationships due to natural knee-jerk reactions that fend off fear and the feelings that fear creates.  Some deadly knee-jerk solutions are blame, criticisms, hate, playing the victim or the oppressor anything that relates to putting down and condemning others to make ourselves feel better if even just for a short while.  There is no shortage of people to condemn including ourselves.  In the meantime we lose what our hearts really need and crave…to Love and to be Loved, to comfort and to be comforted, to understand and to be understood, to follow our conscience and to live guilt-free.

If you want to read  what Alcoholics Anonymous’ take on dating and sex is read page 69 from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Also here’s the link to the Narcotics Anonymous literature on the topic.

http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbook_chapt5.pdf

http://www.nawol.org/2012_ch16%20RELATIONSHIPS.htm

There are some awesome suggestions in both texts.  I feel obligated and inspired to write my own experience on the topic as an A.A. member since 2006.  My sobriety date is 04-15-06.  My name is Lori E. and I am a recovering drunk, heroin addict, crack-head, and co-dependent.  Given all of the things that I have recovered from including cigarettes I needed more than just A,A, to get better.

However without A.A. I doubt I would still be sane and sober.  I am the Chairman of the New Life Group in Gainesville, Florida.  I have done my share of taking meetings into the very jail I got sober in and the institution that taught me emotional healing.  Bridge House at Meridian Health Care.  http://mbhci.org/treatment-services/residential-inpatient-services/   saved my life and it cost me about $4 a day for 28 days if memory serves.  I do know at the time of my stay the government was footing  most of the bill.  They allow A.A. to bring meetings into inpatient on a regular basis including women meetings which at this phase of my sobriety are my favorite. Women open up on issues that are so pertinent to their healing that would otherwise be taboo in mixed meetings.  I remember they told us that only one out of the 30 patients in our group would still be sober after a year.  We proved them wrong due tothe excellent psychological therapy that we received from psychologists working there at that time.   There is a group of 5 or 6 of us who are pushing the 10 year mark of sobriety.  “Trauma in recovery” was the name of the therapy group.  And we had a “women’s issues” group also.   Out of the two therapists who saved our lives and taught us how to emotionally process (live with feelings) one has passed away and the other still works there.

SOBER RELATIONSHIPS and codependency

Three of the women that I got sober with including myself have been in long term healthy relationships that began during the first year of our sobriety in 2006.  Two of us are with men that have at least 7 more years sober than ourselves and we met these men in the program.  Technically that makes those two men 13th steppers but we can laugh about that now.   Thank god for the 13th step!  13th stepping is when a member with say a year or more sober preys upon a new and vulnerable member.  Technically this can be a very bad thing so I won’t make light of it without explanation.  I believe if we are over the age of 18 we are responsible for our choices and that includes when we are newly sober.

We women in my outpatient therapy group were dating early on but we took every action and choice that we made regarding our new relationships into the group for feedback and guidance.  We all spent at least a year in that therapy group 2 to 3 nights a week.   Since we had a support group we were not technically as vulnerable as your typical and newly sober woman.  Without that group I would not be in a mature and happy relationship today.  But it took allot of work on myself to change.  So two of us found our men in A.A. and the third women a total miracle because she found her husband in Bridge House.   Hers was what we call a re-hab relationship.  Re-hab relationships rarely last.  Usually what happens is the two people leave rehab and use drugs together.  Next they betray one another and the relationship ends in a total train wreck.  That’s the odds.

Even our wise counselor at Bridge House told us that from what he had seen people who get into relationships in their first year always relapse.  I remember in group one day Dr. Rand Maryowitz told us that he had never seen a relationship work that had started in the first year of sobriety.  Us women looked at each other reading one another’s minds we thought, “there is no way we are ending this relationship!  It feels too good.”  And it was good, the trick for me was to survive the crash of the fairy tale expectations which was one of my patterns of co-dependency.

I wanted to RUN AND BLAME

so many times when my feelings would get hurt and I felt he had wronged me.  That was me a runner and a blamer.  I was the victim.  Each time I felt that way I would call my new friends from group instead of running.  I would then realize one of two things, either my new partner had not wronged me at all or he had unknowingly done so and I just needed to communicate with him on an honest level and let him know how I felt and why I felt I was wronged.  Not so I could be “right” but so we could get to know each other and learn what one another considers disrespectful.  If you are with a partner that is willing to work with you and communicate at a core and honest level then you have a chance of gaining a life-long mate.  Soul mates     THE FACES OF LOVE

RULE NUMBER ONE- STOP BLAMING MY PARTNER FOR MY OWN FEELINGS AND MY  OWN CHOICES.

RULE NUMBER TWO- TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR EVERYTHING IN MY OWN LIFE.  INCLUDING MY PAIN AND INSECURITIES

RULE THREE-LEARN WHAT TO DO WITH THE INTENSE FEELINGS THAT WON’T GO AWAY.

I had spent my whole life blaming others for my shit.  It took a strong support group, a good counselor, and A.A (the twelve steps to be precise) for me to make the transition into self-responsibility.   Here are some of the articles that talk about the solutions to relationship sabotage.  I really had no idea what a healthy relationship was until I got sober and allowed myself to be emotionally vulnerable and teachable.

The thing is we get hurt and betrayed then we put up walls that protect us from that happening again.  But unfortunately the instinctual walls of a sick addict push love out and bring fear in.  I had to learn how to be okay with me.  I had to let myself off the hook for all the mistakes of the past and make amends where I could.  I had to invite God into all the areas of my life that I had been shielding Him from.  Without a Higher Power the healing process does not have the supernatural punch needed for an emotional make-over.  Therapy, 12 steps and God.  Three ingredients to a super dooper recovery!  I know many people in A.A. have given up of intimate relationships.  Many times when they do give up then, finally they find their soul mate.  A partner cannot fix us.  They cannot process our feelings for us or build our needed self-esteem only we can do that by doing the next right thing.  And continuing to do the next right thing.  Here are some articles about relationships and what it takes to be a partner.

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/2/sexual-inventory-pg-69-big-book/

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/2/the-power-of-choice-clearing-the-wreckage-of-the-past/

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/2/relationships-alcoholics-anonymous/

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/2/sexual-inventory/

 

 

 

STEP FOUR ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

IF STEP FOUR IS NOT FREAKING YOU OUT YOUR PROABLY NOT DOING IT RIGHT.

Humans generally learn by default to put on a hard emotionally protective shell so others will not see their vulnerabilities and they won’t get hurt.  However oftentimes that hard shell tends to offend or trigger others emotionally before they can actually see what is going on with the person.  In other words; when we are hurt we may seem just angry or mad at someone who really has nothing to do with the reason we are actually feeling unrest.  Hurt and fear by default turn to anger in most alcoholics because it is a safer emotion to portray to our fellows than an emotion that appears weak.  Some say depression is anger without enthusiasm with hurt at the core.  We alcoholics tend to have trust issues and we are not willing to show our real emotions to anybody.  We fear for our survival in this world that we see as cruel and unsafe!  This my friends is the core reason so many fear and run from doing a fourth and fifth step.So what do we do?  Do we continue repressing every hurt and pain of betrayal unto infinity till it takes us down?  No never!  Not if we are to heal and actually be able to say “Hi, I am Lori, I am an alcoholic addict in recovery.”  Not if we want a redeeming psychic change…we must find someone we are willing to trust with our feelings, our shame, and our fears.  We need, yes need someone in the program who will relate to us and have compassion, someone whom we can cry to.

We must for survival sake do a thorough Fourth and a thorough Fifth Step to get out the skeletons of our past that are eating our emotions and our relationships alive! 

We must make our step work personal by writing and sharing our Fifth Step in the “I” context.  We should state our feelings and events with honest emotion.

IT IS THE THING WE ARE MOST ASHAMED OF THAT SHOULD BE AT THE TOP OF OUR LIST.  A shallow and non-revealing Fifth Step with our most shameful events omitted will not help us.  No, not if we are to recover our joy and obtain the miraculous psychic change needed to not only stay sober but stay sane enough that we do not choose suicide over sobriety like countless addicts and alcoholics have.

We are dying out there and we must take serious action for our true survival…”It is better to save our ass than save our face.”  “Pride comes before a fall oh how deep that fall can be.”  Hope is the answer, hold on to the hope that we really can get better with God at the helm of our step work.

What should I do today to start the process of working the steps? 

STEP FOUR

Why is everybody so afraid of the Fourth Step?

 

Doing a fourth step is work.  When many of us get to the rooms of a 12 step program usually we are full of guilt, remorse, shame and fear; the emotions nobody wants to admit or talk about.  We have been programmed from youth not to show weakness or it will be used against us by our fellows.  If we show vulnerability we are made fun of, taken advantage of, cast out, gossiped about or worse.  It’s understandable that we cringe by what is asked of us in a fourth and even worse; Fifth step.

There is a saying that the truth will set us free.  Humans need forgiveness from guilt, we need to be able to walk without a cloud of shame causing us to be hyper-sensitive to our interaction with others.  We need the poison of deep regret to be cleansed from our hearts.  We will never be relieved from guilt by denial or lies.  Trying to ignore a past full of wrong decisions and hurting others will eat us up inside.

If we weigh our options to either bury our guilt and suffer a continuing soul sickness that affects every relationship we have especially the one with ourselves.  Or choose to cleanse our hearts and be set free and open up the opportunity to have truly loving relationships with ourselves and others….hmmm which would we choose.  Do we keep our skeletons hid to save face?

No!  Saving face is a lie and the longer we keep our guilt hidden the sicker we become.  We must write down all the things we are afraid and ashamed of including our deepest darkest secret to have peace and serenity.  We are children of God and we are not alone.  There are only seven deadly sins and most addicts are very familiar with at least a few of them.  All fifth steps have been said and done before.  Our sponsors are usually not shocked by them or even surprised.

The truth is not our enemy…oh contraire’!  The fifth step truths will set us free and start us on our road to happy destiny.  Give yourself a fighting chance my friend!  We must learn to be kind to ourselves by making the steps our way of life.  We will truly be reborn if we are honest.

 

The God Hole

I will no longer tolerate separation from my God.

There is a place in my spirit where I do feel my perpetual shame deriving from guilt nevertheless, I present my heart before my God.  A strong place within me cries out, “I will not tolerate separation from my creator by hiding and protecting parts of my soul and being that I am ashamed of in hopes that I can then win God’s acceptance.  Embracing the attitude of desperation toward God in spite of my apprehension awards me complete acceptance of “me” and of how God created me.

A Vision of Jesus

The vision of Jesus

 

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

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

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

 

Hebrews 7:25

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

 

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

 

WILL YOU TRUST ME NOW?

 

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

 

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

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

 

Ephesians 2:8&9

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

 

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

FROM FOCUS ON GUILT TO FOCUS ON INNOCENCE

FOCUS ON INNOCENCE

Imagine your life as a long-running movie.  Now see it made by two different directors.  The first movie, in the hands of the director is a movie about fear, anger, scarcity, and anxiety.

The other in the hands of a different director is a movie about Love, peace, innocence, abundance, and happiness.

One director is your ego the other is The Holy Spirit and the star of the movie is you.  By Marianne Williamson from  “The Gift of Change”.

I have said it before…if you have made it to a sober place and have crawled out of the pits of hell.  Where you were surrounded by violence, shame, betrayal, guilt, pain, remorse, and condemnation, then a window of opportunity is open for you.

It is no accident that you made it out of hell alive,  The only trouble is early sobriety is scary.  Massive fear crops up for the unknown.  And why not!   We have rarely been clean and sober for more than a day or two in years!

No more heaviness we cry!  No more pain we beg our higher power.  Will God really help us through the mess of baggage we call our lives?

Hell yes He/She/It will!  We are valuable children of God!  We deserve to be happy for a while and have peace.  We have paid our dues in spades by god!

Sit back, quit fighting, soak up the recovery in the rooms of AA.  Soak up the sanity that our counselors offer.  Lie down in detox and take the medicine they give to get you over the first big hump.  Then make your way into rehab where you don’t have to be in charge any more.  You don’t have to have all the answers.  You can be a patient instead of a doctor, be a student instead of teacher.

We are all students and we are all patients from time to time.  Become a student now and it will save your future and bless the family you have possibly violated and neglected at best.

The 12 steps are designed to relieve that very guilt.  AA & NA are designed for the insane addict (as I was) who continues to do the same thing over and over expecting different results.  The steps if we take action and do them will show us how and empower us to see our innocence rather than our guilt.

“RARELY HAVE WE SEEN A PERSON FAIL…

WHO HAS THOROUGHLY FOLLOWED OUR PATH.” ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS WORKS!

NOW IS THE BEST TIME TO START YOUR RECOVERY FROM ADDICTIONS AND EMOTIONAL DIS-ORDER!

 

Make a list of your sobriety hopes and dreams and check it twice!  

It is written in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous that “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path”  If you have the capacity to be honest enough with yourself to admit you have a problem….then you have a good chance of staying sober for a very long time.  The main ingredient of recovery is truth.

If you are willing to take the steps that are suggested by the people in Alcoholics Anonymous that have stayed sober before you for years, then you will not fail.   Regardless of how many times you have sabotaged your own sobriety.

Sit down, make a list of all the good things that you want from your sober life and in 6 months you will realize you have been given and achieved far more than you had hoped for.  This is a common story told among those in AA. 

When I sat in jail in 2006 hoping to spend just one day with my daughter at my favorite beach I was full of fear that I could not stay sober or out of jail long enough to do that.  Nine years later I sit amazed at the accomplishments and blessings that I have experienced by turning my fears and control over to my Higher Power.

Once I realized that the 12 steps are my recipe for staying sober and at peace with myself I knew I had it made.  The reason that I did not fail is I learned to “get out of the problem and into the solution”.  I went to 90 meetings in 90 days at first then for the next four to six years I went to four meetings a week.  I enjoy meetings now it’s not a burden.  I have cleared the wreckage of my past by doing the 12 steps.

Between therapy and the Fifth Step I learned how to express myself from my heart.  I learned to share my fears rather than stuff them down till they make me sick.  I learned that crying is a healthy emotion and a part of life.  I learned that pain is the beginning of healing.  Journaling my feelings is priceless to my emotional health.  And meditation feeds peace and anointed guidance to my very soul.

One day at a time I have earned my degree in sober school.  There is no need for me to pretend that I am alien to progress.  I have made much progress and you can too.  If you are willing to become a student.

My friend I am sure that you are wise in many ways.  BUT, having the wisdom to become teachable again will save you.  The horrible suffering that addiction brings transforms into the willingness and desperation needed to take your leap of faith.  Fear of the unknown can lead to the fulfillment of your deepest heartfelt desires when you get out of the problem and into the solutions.  Do not prejudice yourself against any possible help, rehab, therapy, AA, and religion are all a step in the right direction!

Solutions

Can step Four cure my anxiety?  Make a fear list.  Can the Addict mind admit it is afraid?

Some pretty and acceptable words for fear are….anxiety, depression, uncomfortable, nervous.  Why are addicts so dang afraid?   Perhaps because we were taught to suppress our fears rather than express and release them.  Step four has a solution called the “fear list” that very few talk about in the rooms.   Perhaps because of the ugly words for fear that we were raised on nobody wants to be associated with scared y-cat, pussy, chicken-shit, wimp, etc.Fear and shame are at the core of every addiction and until we admit we are afraid we won’t seek out the 12 step solutions.  The right way to do a fourth step always has fear in the “effects my” category. IMO

Reference page 65 in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous for the Fourth step grid directions.  Turn to page 68 for the “fear list” directions and how to have fears removed.  Revisit Step Three to remind us that we are in the care of our Higher Power.

These solutions are part of working the 12 steps of AA.  So often people speak in meetings and coin the phrase “live the steps”.  These directions are a big part of just how to do that.

“Life on Life’s Terms

PTDC0001

Early recovery is great when there’s a pink cloud following us everywhere we go.  We are so relieved to have escaped our living Hell that we just beam at the thought of the fresh day that lies ahead of us.  As the years move on and “life on life’s terms” sets in…not so much beaming happening eh?  The daily chores like work, raising children, grocery shopping, house cleaning and laundry sink in as our gratitude spills out with the laundry soap.  Ouch!  And what about this whole aging thing?  Another Ouch!

We in the program have two really great ways of escaping the pitfalls of relapse that threatens us.  Relapse usually starts by losing our zeal for meetings and daily life then losing our gratitude.  Next we experience emotional suffering and then perceive the drink and drug as a solution to depression and anxiety.  Unfortunately this is the common progression of the classic addict thought processes and memory.  Have no worry have no fear!  Our solution for the mundane is in steps eleven and twelve.

Meditation puts our thinking on a higher plane.  We start with a simple prayer, we pray for the knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out and we ask God to help us meditate.  Next, we sit quietly seeking our Higher Power by repeating a mantra over and over.  By this seemingly non-productive action we train our mind to shut out the chaos and fear the world and our own psyche offers us.  Once we establish the ability to concentrate on one thought clearing our mind of all thoughts is the next natural step.

Once our mind has moved into the space that owns no fear, our mind is empty.  We then are able to hear our Higher Power clearly while we absorb our God’s Spirit and enjoy His or Her or its healing power of mind, body and soul.  When practicing this regularly we are in a position to do our service work with a supernatural kick.  We have a fierce gratitude for life, we don’t forget where we came from and we work hard on keeping our side of the street clean and guilt free.  By meditation we gain patience and tolerance toward ourselves, others and even the fearful and struggling relapsers[1].  By chairing a meeting, speaking at jails and institutions or just working with a sponcee one on one we are reminded of our own progress and that classic addict memory that gets us in so much trouble is transformed to sanity.  We no longer have the addict mind, we are free!

 [1] Let me clarify I am not disrespecting those of us who have relapsed, most all of us have relapsed, if we resent relapsers it is usually because we resent ourselves.  I have observed in the rooms people in recovery often become intolerant of those who have gone back out.

THE TOOLS OF AA and NA

THE TOOLS OF AA AND NA COME FROM THE 12 STEPS AND OTHER ASPECTS OF THE PROGRAM LIKE FELLOWSHIP, SPONSORSHIP, AND OTHER CONSTRUCTIVE SUGGESTIONS EVEN CLICHES LIKE “OUT OF THE PROBLEM INTO THE SOLUTIONS” HELP KEEP US SOBER.

Tools are an important part of recovery.  Working the steps formally and implementing them in our lives as needed are two different things.  If we get a resentment that we are unable to let go of first we pat ourselves on the back for admitting it….we don’t punish ourselves for being human.  Then we can sit down and work a fourth step grid on the issue.  What happened and how did it make us feel?  We write the events down on paper.    At the core of EVERY resentment is fear.  Identifying what we are afraid of is usually not logical…it is a feeling and does not have to be logical to be valid.  We write down our fears.

Are we afraid of losing something associated with the “three S’s” [Sex, Society, and Security]  99% of the time fear of loss is at the core of our resentment.   We revisit the third step and put our fears in our Higher Powers hands.  We ask God to remove our fears,  We admit that we are lacking at some level; faith and trust in our Higher Power or we wouldn’t have fears.  We discuss our lack of faith with God and ask for help.  We pray for the person whom we have the resentment against for a week or as long as it takes to get them out of our head.

These tools are common solutions to our emotional disorder.  We are not hard on ourselves because we know we are making progress and we just showed ourselves the Love it takes to heal!

Emotional sobriety means learning how to take responsibility for our own feelings and actions.