If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
Why would people who need help so badly run from the very program that has helped so many with the same malady? Without the ingredient of ‘desperation’ the alcoholic addict will try anything except giving up and signing over power to a sponsor and A.A.
What would keep me from being teachable?
1. FALSE PRIDE AND SHAME-, False pride tells me that if I don’t know literally EVERYTHING then I am stupid, wrong, and bad. False pride says that only the most brilliant people are qualified to teach me anything. Working the steps and getting a sponsor curtails the lies my psyche is telling me to keep me sick.
2. . TRUST ISSUES Clearly I can’t get a sponsor because everyone is out to get me. The world revolves around my belly button therefore the world wants to know my fifth step and if I get a sponsor, he will sell tickets to the opening night show. “Mickey’s Fifth Step on Parade”. Yikes! However, realize this; there are only so many deadly sins. Seven to be exact. Most people’s step five are pretty much the same…boring sex, wrath, thieving, and the like.
3. FEAR OF COMMITMENT Omg! In my past addiction I made so many appointments that I could not keep. I am now gun-shy of commitment. I use words like ‘maybe’, ‘probably’, ‘most likely’ but never ‘yes I will be there’. Commitment is hard for me because of my past failures to keep them. The good news is now I am so desperate to get sober that I WILL KEEP MY APPOINTMENTS WITH MY SPONSOR NO MATTER WHAT. In addition, by doing that I am walking through the fear and building my self-worth. I am working the good principles and that magically feeds recovery to my soul.
4. FEAR OF BEING CONTROLLED BY OTHERS I used to hand over power to my partners to make them feel good so I could get what I wanted from them. After they made my choices for me (so I would not have to fear the outcome), they would put me on a time clock. Where are you going? What time will you be back? Whom are you going with? etc., etc. After a while, I would snatch back the power I had turned over. My codependent dance partner would then suffer from intense anger and lash out at me as if I had done something terrible. Won’t a sponsor do the same thing? Won’t the same sick dance take place? Fortunately not. Sponsors know we only suggest, we do not control our sponcees. We suggest to them what worked for us. It is my choice whether I do what is suggested therefore I reap the good consequences of my new actions.
5. ‘FEAR OF RELIGION’ . Religion told me that I am bad and going to Hell. I believed it. I was young and innocent yet they told me of a place of suffering and despair. Moreover, since I was bad, spilled my milk, and made an F on my report card they said I would surely be sent to the lowest pit in the underground skyscraper called “Hell”. I cannot bear to be terrorized by religious views anymore. AA must not be religious, we are a spiritual program. Step 11 proves that we are a spiritual not religious program of choice. There is no Hell in our Big Book.
6. THE FEELING I AM GOING TO LOSE SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT TO ME. My addict is scared to death of not having the drugs that worked to suppress my fears and emotional pain for so long. NOW MY DOPE HAS STOPPED WORKING. I have hit a brick wall. I drank and drugged repeatedly so many times I nearly killed myself. Therefore, I walk through the fear and distrust. I muddle though the past betrayal, I walk in the rooms, shrouded in shame and I say with all my heart; I am Mickey and I want to change, I can’t go on like I am, please show and teach me how to recover.
HERE ARE THE NINTH STEP PROMISES THAT DO COME TRUE WHEN WE WORK THE STEPS HONESTLY AND THOROUGHLY
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us____sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.
We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
That feeling of uselessness and self pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.
3rd ed. Big Book pg. 83 & 84
I had a dream the first year I got sober. (I have been sober nearly 10 years today) this dream in early recovery revealed to me the personalities in my head that drove me to addiction. In AA we like to call them the “committee”. These personalities for me are three people. One is a brassy red headed “bitch” for lack of a more precise term. She loves to tell me how worthless I am. She loves to put me down by never ever looking at my accomplishments or my good deeds. This brassy haired bitch cuts me down at any opportunity. If she gets her way….I will hate myself utterly. She will never ever be satisfied with my actions and who I am. She is the personification of Hate and if I listen to her and forget who she is I will believe her and fall into her awful deception. My self-worth will become skewed. I must be aware of her at all times and ignore her incessant lies. Giving myself positive affirmations and seeing myself as a literal child, innocent, good, and spiritual fends her off. Giving thanks aloud to my higher power silences the bitch. Taking a walk, going to a meeting, writing my feelings, fears, and thoughts, these all silence her.
My second and third personalities who wants to destroy me iare “sloth” and his brother “false pride” The first man lies in bed at all times. He will not and cannot get out of bed. Beside his bed are bleachers filled with an audience this audience watches him at all times and he is aware of them. What this man wants me to do is stay in bed and do nothing like him. No work no fun no social life no exercise no showers no shopping no eating, especially no cooking to eat right.
Subconsciously fear tells me that if I stay paralyzed then the red-headed bitch can’t tell me my actions are worthless…at least that’s what the man in the bed thinks. If I do nothing I won’t get an “F” on my report card of life. If I stay hidden from the world I won’t be a failure. But that won’t stop the bitch really it only makes her stronger. If I let fear paralyze me it will cause more fear. My mind will become more and more negative. The 12 steps, the program of AA or NA, meditation, therapy, nature, pets, love, dancing, exercise, step five. These are all solutions that combat fear and negativity. My words have power I should never speak harshly to myself or others. It hurts me by giving power to a supernatural negative karma.
The male personification also wants me to think that the world revolves around me and that everyone is watching what I do. He wants me to think that people are judging me harshly, and that I need to perform and wear a mask for the audience in the bleachers. He tells me that I need to put on a production, a facade rather than actually live my life for me and be honest to people. He wants me to repress all my feelings and fears and pretend I am some perfect human with a perfect life. The F.I.N.E. syndrome- Fucked up, insecure, neurotic, & emotional.
My fourth personality is a little girl. She is a victim who is afraid. She doesn’t think that she has any value. People have abused her and been very mean to her. People that she trusted have betrayed her. The little girl has been wronged and told that she is worthless many times over. She is a direct reflection of my injured heart.
My older sister was very mean and critical of me from the very moment she became threatened and jealous of me at a very young age. My parents never knew they should validated my feelings and encourage me…I became afraid to confide anything to anyone at a very early age. They made sure to let me know that if I felt it then “it” was wrong. I was molested and abused and never ever told anyone, they did not have a role of protector for me whatsoever. I thought I was bad and it was my fault. This little girl was the wounded and sick “me” until I healed and learned to process feelings and fears. The other personalities are my survival skills as twisted as they may be. Emotional processing and communication skills are CRUCIAL for women to maintain healthy emotions. Learn here: http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/12-steps-and-the-right-therapy-go-hand-in-hand/
Getting to know our addict is very helpful. How? To be aware of the core reasons that we have tried so hard to numb even destroy ourselves is part of the healing process. We should learn to love all aspects of ourselves and to be understanding as to why we did or do what we do. We were children when our psyches were formed. Many of us addicts just didn’t have a chance emotionally. But we can change our self-image can change. Think of recovery as not destroying those personalities of our addict but rather we silence them. They are no longer on the forefront of our personality. We literally built a new identity in AA. Now Who am I really?
Next I give you an assignment if you will. I have discovered who I really am. And if you are clean and sober you can discover who you really are as well. Not the addict who would love to surface, not the injured child but rather the pure soul level person who was created by God absent of all the wounds, flaws and character defects. After we clear away the wreckage of our past by working the 12 steps and getting therapy who do we find walking in our shoes? For a time it’s helpful to take on the A.A. persona. Quoting lots of cliches and only doing A.A. sanctioned activities. But at some point we are living the program, it’s now time to re-define who we are outside of A.A. After all walking and talking like an A.A robot is just another form of fear and hiding who we are. It’s time to embrace our true and innocent selves. Here are my findings after clearing my own wreckage. I encourage you to write your own three natures down. This is an empowering exercise.
MY THREE NATURES
The Shaman, the Priestess. I am connected to my Higher Powers and I hear my Spirit Guides clearly. I do what is best for me and others. I know my shortcomings and keep them in check. I am aware of my core issues and work through them when they come up. I walk in the Light, Strength and Power of God! I have visions of past, present and future. I can look deep into your eyes and see your heart and soul, I am spiritually gifted and use my gifts to heal.
I am a sensitive child of God who can be hurt emotionally because today I can feel and that’s good. I am a human being and God created me with feelings. I don’t have to claim I don’t care what anybody thinks because that would be a lie. Wanting people to love me, care about me, and think highly of me are all God given traits they in no way make me weak. I am a strong and courageous child he above all just wanted to be Loved and be fulfilled by her Higher Power. I have to cry sometimes to clear out the emotional cobwebs. I know what the world is I accept it but don’t like some of it. I side with truth. I love color and fantasy and the supernatural. I am open-minded and non-judgmental.
My third Nature is a strong and powerful woman who in real life has overcome many obstacles and predators. The powerful woman is athletic and a fighter if need be. She is a survivor. She-I am a writer and seamstress a mother a protector. I have the power to give and to receive. I know how to make money and get what I need to keep a roof over me and my Childs head. I love travel and am comfortable doing anything alone that I do with a partner. I don’t need anyone in particular. I do not rely on anyone person I am self-supporting. When I fail I get back up. I am a student humble enough to be taught and I am a teacher strong and confident enough to teach. I can easily speak in front of a room full of people. I start the day with a knowledge of my character flaws so I don’t have to engage in them. My Higher Power said (Jesus) The things I do you can do also…and more.
Click here to read SOLUTIONS
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
skip to “How It Works”- here “HOW IT WORKS” From pg. 58-60 Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
PAGE 62 OF THE BIG BOOK OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS READS: “So our troubles we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn’t think so. Above everything we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness.”
Skipping down further we read…”First of all we had to quit playing God it didn’t work. Next we decided that here after in this drama of life, God was going to be our director. He is the Principal ; we are His agents. He is the Father and we are His children.” Skipping down again to page 63: When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts of remarkable things followed.”
Wow that’s a big piece of humble pie to swallow and it’s valuable and true information except for one thing. Addicts are usually totally without emotional balance. Especially when using we tend to blame everyone around us for our predicaments and the way we feel. If you tell us “our problems are of our own making” we will either turn on the guilt, shame, condemnation, and punishment toward ourselves or we reject the idea entirely.
There are two types of addicts, those who have been beating themselves up their entire lives and those who have been beating everyone around them up their entire lives. Seriously we must stop the punishment in spite of our accepting responsibility for where we are at in life and how we feel about ourselves, others, and our Higher Power.
The expert psychiatrists and psychologists who study alcoholism and addictions agree that addiction is not only a disease but is also a [shame based disease]. Once we accept responsibility for ourselves we must move straight-away into our step work and most importantly into our Fourth and Fifth Steps. Taking action and continuing to take action will alleviate the shame and guilt that we try so hard to pretend doesn’t exist. We prefer to stay in denial about our shame and fear because we perceive it as weak, bad, and wrong. But mostly we see our guilt as weakness. And more importantly our perceptions dictate that all eyes are on us therefore we must put on a strong and confident mask for our peers to see.
Remember one of the most prominent Ninth Step promises is “fear of people will leave us”. However, we fear not so much “people” but think about it, rather, we fear what people think of us. Certainly Bill W. and the rest of the early founders should have re-worded that promise in my opinion.
Our fellows will make fun of us if we admit that we feel and think of ourselves as “lesser than” our peers. Right? That’s one reason people won’t do a thorough fourth step, false-pride sneaks in and tells us we mustn’t reveal our true selves lest others despise us and see that we are weak, wrong, and bad.
THE SOLUTION? WE TAKE ACTION AND WORK THE STEPS HONESTLY AND THOROUGHLY IN SPITE OF OUR FEELINGS AND FEARS. WE MUST UNDERSTAND THAT WE ARE NOT EVER GOING TO GET BETTER IF WE LET OUR FEELINGS RULE US. WE DO THE STEPS ACCORDING TO FAITH AND HOPE. WE ACT OUT OF FAITH AND HOPE SO THESE PRINCIPLES GROW STRONGER WITHIN US. AND WE DO THE “NEXT RIGHT THING” (see in pop up)
Open a popup window AGAIN, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN UNTIL IT BECOMES A WAY OF LIFE AND WE REALIZE WE HAVE BEEN TRANSFORMED.
“OUT OF THE PROBLEM INTO THE SOLUTION”. SELF ABUSE VERBALLY OR OTHERWISE IS NOT CONSTRUCTIVE NOR IS ADVERTISING OUR SHORTCOMINGS A FORM OF HUMILITY.
Page 58 Big Book A.A. “How It Works”
Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.
Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it-then you are ready to take certain steps.
At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.
Remember that we deal with alcohol-cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power-that One is God. May you find Him now!
Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.
Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:
Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.
Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:
(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.
(c) That God could and would if He were sought.
Yesterday I felt horrible and I wasn’t sure why. I kept having a bad re-occurring memory of me at a very young age feeling rejected and even loathed by my father. I wrote about the memory and shared my feelings with my close confidants in AA. I felt a huge relief after I shared my core insecurities of inadequacy and worthlessness. But there was more…there was something else going on with me yesterday and in the past few weeks. I have been working toward some business goals and things were looking pretty darn good where finances are concerned. Then suddenly out of nowhere I had some pretty big set-backs occur that threw me for a loop.
I have had expectations; high expectations that my websites and business were on their way up! When everything took a turn down hill at one time I was shocked. I did not expect the setback at all. I beat myself up for not using the money I had been making in a more responsible way. Somehow I really didn’t expect my E-bay sales to slow down either. I realized this morning that I had lost hope. I felt like my efforts were stupid…like “what did I think I was doing expecting my financial life to be above average or even average for that matter Who did I think I was.” “Did you forget young lady that you are a piece of shit and don’t deserve money”. “You have lived from week to week all of your life and it is not going to change because your Higher Power will see to that!” “Give up hope for the good life Laura because you don’t deserve it, who do you think you are!” This is what my head said at a very, very deep subconscious level mind you. And that is what my feelings dictated so I laid down in hopelessness losing the warm reassuring vision of a bright future and concentrated on fear of the future instead. YIKES!
Please keep in mind when you are reading this and maybe judging me as totally wretched. The logical mind in humans says one thing while feelings and emotions can speak quite another thing. And just because my logical mind knew I really had nothing to worry about because God always takes care of me. I still experience the insecurities. False pride will not allow a man to confess his weakness. Without confession negativity multiplies. Fearing what other people may think of me if I do admit weakness means that I feel inferior to others anyway and am ashamed of who I am.
False comparisons are just that…they are false. I should not compare my insides to other people’s outsides as they say in AA. People wear masks and to a certain extent masks are necessary. We don’t usually “unless we are writers” need to advertise our struggles and weakness to more than one or two close confidants. However in the name of compassion and sharing so other people will not feel so inferior themselves we should let them know what is going on inside of us and that we are not perfect by any means. I share to let other people know what works for me emotionally, spiritually, and mental health-wise.
“Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us” so says the Ninth step promises in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. But what I was going through was a definite financial insecurity….I needed to put my future….and my thoughts into the Loving hands of God. I have a Third Step God box that me and some ladies in AA all sat down and made for ourselves. It is stuffed full of fears that have passed.
And so I had not lost my spiritual gift called hope I had just misplaced it per-say. I experience deep and wrathful anger during that period at which time I prayed deeply that I wouldn’t hurt anyone by my words.
I learned a valuable lesson as I sat I said to myself and God, “I can see why some people do not seek God and reject Him all together. My feelings of anger were so deep that I could only do what I knew was right and true from my experience. Because in the moment of my rage I hated everyone including God and myself. That hate made me realize that I have judged many a man without walking in their shoes or feeling how they feel or going through what they had been through to get to the place for which I looked down on them.
ISN’T IT STRANGE THAT IN THE DEPTHS OF MY EMOTIONALLY NEGATIVE AND UNKIND PLACES WHERE MY SOUL SLIPS AGAINST MY OWN WILL. IT IS THERE THAT I AM HUMBLED AND FIND MY MOST VALUABLE SPIRITUAL LIFE LESSONS.
“Fear not” is easier said than done. We need to learn the 12 step tools and especially invoke step three to keep fear at bay. There is no shame in revisiting a third step to remind us that God has our back! One of the first things we do when beginning our walk in sober school is identify, seek, and find a Higher Power. Step five in the Big Book is the magic step that alleviates our guilt & shame but make no mistake, it is not a one-time job! Unless of coarse your perfect or sociopath.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. “They say that the most used phrase in the Bible is “fear not”
The psychological make-up of an addict
Many of us when we were very small children were often told by parents that we had nothing to be afraid of when we expressed our intense child-like fears. Unfortunately during our forthright expression of true feelings our parents often implied by their lack of empathy and understanding that our fears were not only unfounded but ridiculous and perhaps absurd. These adults knew no better.
Parents do not usually know that some validation of our feelings along with comfort and logic was necessary for our emotional health. Therefore our intense little feelings were invalidated, we felt “wrong” for being afraid. After-all our parents knew best how we should feel so our fears must be wrong. But instead of that making our fears go away it motivated us to hide our fears for shame. My parents used shame to control me. They used shame to oppress me and steal my dreams and hopes.
What’s worse once we got to pre and elementary school we found out just what kind of people express their fears openly. We learned about the scaredy-cats, the chicken-shits, the pussies and the yellow-bellies. We learned that people who express any form of fear will be ostracized greatly by their fellows and friends. We must be bad we must be wrong!
And so we learned to stuff down those big fears into our guts, we learned to act, and we learned to put on the mask of fearlessness. No-one would call us cry-baby again! Ever! We learned, even…to shut off our tears. Showing any kind of hurt emotional or physical would label us weak. So we turned our hurts to anger. Who could blame us…we didn’t want to be labelled by everyone. Between our parents and our school-mates we were really left with very few people if any in whom we could confide our true feelings so we could let them out.
Most of us women in addiction were sexually abused as children. We hid the feelings from that away as well…deep in our bowels lie the pain and hurt of a wounded, neglected, and abused child. We did not trust that our feelings were right therefore we could not trust our parents to tell them what happened…or maybe our parents are the culprits of the abuse. Either way we had no adult to confide with about the abuse and the feelings of self-loathing that resulted from it.
AND SO GOES THE STORY OF THE TYPICAL ADDICTS EMOTIONS…expression of feelings was off the table so what would we do with all those feelings inside us that were ready & able to cause an explosion of wrath. We usually weren’t cruel people we didn’t want to take out our feelings on others so we beat ourselves up for being who we were.
We developed a voice in our head that screamed at us for things we said and did and things we didn’t say and do. We became our own worst enemy.
The self-hate, the anxiety, and the depression that we felt had to stop!
SO WE MEDICATED! After-all the last thing we would do is confide in someone so they could turn around and use it against us!
Ohhhh how the drugs worked, ohhhh how they made us feel better…for a while anyway!
Robin Williams-an addict in recovery hung himself today. Why would anyone with all that money, in the program, sober for quite some time want to kill himself?
“Our liquor was but a symptom, so we had to get down to causes and conditions.”
I have a friend who is a therapist and in 12 step recovery. He loves both programs. But he has quoted me shocking numbers of addicts/alcoholics in a 12 step program who have committed suicide. The statistics are staggering. What you will find behind the statistics is an ability to express and share negative feelings. . My friend insists that all his sponcees do regular fifth-steps in meetings by telling “WHAT HAPPENED AND HOW IT MADE ME FEEL.”
FEELINGS ARE NOT AN OUTSIDE ISSUE, THE SOLUTIONS DO NOT LIE IN SHUTTING DOWN OUR FEELINGS AND PRETENDING THEY DON’T EXIST.
“WE ARE AS SICK AS OUR SECRETS”
WE MUST FIND AT LEAST ONE PERSON WE CAN TELL ANYTHING TO.
IN THE U.S. SUICIDE STATISTICS FAR OUTWEIGH OTHER COUNTRIES.
The solutions to anxiety and depression are simple but not easy. You can find them on my website:
|Clearing the wreckage of the past means growing up emotionally. “INDECISION” Page 86 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Step Eleven “In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, and intuitive thought or decision. We relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while.”
Why was it so hard to make any decision when I was newly sober? One huge reason is because I was afraid of the outcome of my own choices. My decision could turn out bad or wrong and then I would be bad and wrong. And why not, I made so many wrong choices in life I was used to the badgering and consequences of my selfish actions. Obviously the “bad” and “wrong” label was stamped on me at an early age therefore it is at the core of my “fear of people” issues.
One of my valuable (old behavior) survival skills when drinking and drugging was to let others make my choices for me. When I hand over power to someone by asking them…”what should I do” I am offering them ego-feeding material. Furthermore if the decision turns out “wrong” I can quickly blame that person for the outcome. This is why a sponsor should always answer objectively when a sponcee tries to hand over their power of choice by responding with “it is your decision but we can go over your options and I can suggest to you what may be the best choice.”
Why does the Ninth Step promise us that “fear of people will leave us” and how does it leave us? Between our connection with God and our customary twelve step work our confidence and self-esteem are rebuilt and we no longer fear making personal choices. We need no longer fear “bad” outcomes because life is a journey, we are only human and we have been created to make mistakes and to rely on a Higher Power. We are and will never be perfect while human. When we make right choices and do the next right thing we receive positive consequences which are confidence and true pride the good kind.
When I hand over power to a person it is a manipulation skill that keeps them coming back. It feels good to rule over someone and make their choices for them. However when that kind of power is snatched back…ouch! The person feels empty and lacking and usually they don’t react well. How do I snatch power back? By going against the advice given or just pushing the adviser right out of the picture all together by walking away.
It also says on page 88 that “faith without works is dead.” Therefore we should be sure to have some Step Twelve action going on even if it’s not in the capacity of AA. Not everyone fits into AA’s traditional version of the twelfth step, by chairing meetings, becoming an officer & active in business meetings, making coffee, speaking in institutions, speaker meetings, joining the activities committee etc. there are many ways to share the message outside of AA that will work to give the same good effect.
“Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principals in all our affairs”.
However if we choose to not do traditional twelfth step work we may be in danger of missing out on valuable personal growth, maturity, self-esteem, confidence, and emotional sobriety that happens when we do the things underlined above.
Learning to take responsibility for our actions and building confidence takes work. Fear of people will leave us IF we work the steps. One thing sure if we don’t put ourselves in uncomfortable and vulnerable positions by working step 12 we will not gain the confidence that no longer fears people and makes independent choices.
STEP 12: Courage & willingness means doing the next right thing when I just want to go home and hide in my bed. It means telling my story at detox when I am nervous as a cat. It means chairing a meeting when my hands shake, courage is making coffee when I fear that everyone at the meeting will tell me it tastes horrible, courage is doing a fifth step when every fiber of my being says “keep it secret”, courage is asking someone to sponsor me when I am afraid of being told “no”, it is sharing my secrets when I fear betrayal, it means making a friend when I fear I will just be abandoned again, it means putting pen to paper when I feel like it will all be a waste of my time. Without these kinds of courageous actions and the willingness that goes against our core fears we might not grow in the miraculous and amazing ways that are promised in Step Nine “fear of people will leave us”, furthermore we may not stay sober at all.
THE SAME MAN WILL DRINK AGAIN.
|PSYCHIC OR PSYCHOTIC?
In “How it works” in the Big Book it says that even those of us who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders can stay sober too. I do write much about “emotional disorder” as Bill W. mentioned in “How it Works” and the solutions to that. But today I want to tap into the topic of “mental disorders” which our founders mentioned as well. Furthermore I don’t know if anyone has noticed but bi-polar people make up a huge part of our 12 step programs.
What is schizophrenia? I am not so sure weather our schizophrenic fellows are crazy or have actually tapped into a real dimension that most of us never hear or see. I am not a physician therefore medically I am not equipped to give the whole story concerning mental illness. However, I do know people that can hear my own thoughts and I know this beyond a shadow of a doubt. These psychic friends of mine believe that schizophrenics have the ability to hear into other realms and that is what drives them to drink and worse. . Many times we humans label those who are spiritually gifted as “crazy” and “insane”.
We as humans who depend so highly on what we can see with our eyes cannot connect with higher realms unless we close our eyes and develop our “Third eye” the one that does not optically view things but rather shows us visions by our minds eye.
We start by repeating a mantra so we can learn to focus on just one thing.Once we have practiced that for quite some time it is natural for our mind to move into a state of emptiness. Usually when we hit this phase of meditation a door will be presented to us that will appear as a symbol that we are comfortable with which represents our higher being. For me it is usually crosses and triangles that appear surrounded by blackness and stars.
We are in the care of our Higher Power if we have done our Step Three therefore we need not fear the many different realms that may be dangerous or evil. I always pull out of any places that seem spiritually dangerous to me. Everything we need to seek and find God we already have within us.
MANKIND WILL ALWAYS TRY TO PUT SPIRITUALITY INTO A BOX LABELLED CARNALITY, meaning mankind tends to apply his/her own character defects to his spirituality. But don’t be too hard on us we can’t help it. I am sure you will see some prime examples of this in my own writings, I am not “all spiritual” and my mistakes do not stop me from continuing my writing and fighting the good fight.
If we do our Step Ten regularly and keep our side of the street clean we will be less likely to look for someone to blame and something to control. Not everything as a matter of fact very little is under our control therefore trying to keep things under control is as futile as thinking that we as the chairperson in AA control the meeting. Of this we are but facilitators just as we are only facilitators of our own actions and nothing more. Realizing this takes a huge burden off our shoulders.We sigh with relief because we need not judge anyone as “crazy” including ourselves.
We are not responsible for the human race we are only responsible for “me
“Recovery ain’t for sissies” they say, but hey, screw that! We are not sissies! Nor are we “bad people” who make a conscious effort to hurt our loved ones and ourselves by our addictions. We are sick people trying to get well!
Therefore folks, it helps to know one of the most insidious sub-conscious sabotage techniques that our addict mind uses to keep us sick. The good IS the enemy of the best. In early recovery ninety meetings in ninety days is a must. We know that we should take this suggestion because it worked for so many people in the rooms that have multiple years sober.
Usually what happens is we get a couple weeks sobriety under our belt and we are living responsibly so we miss meetings to do some “good” thing such as…take our children to the fair because we have neglected giving them attention and time for so long. Or we might finally get a job and put that before our daily meeting. Or maybe we are finally getting some work done around the house that we have procrastinated on for years. Perhaps we are finally considering visiting our parents to tell them how good we are doing now.
These types of tasks are the only ones that can logically pull us away from meetings because we can justify that they are “good tasks” “responsible activities” and we are doing the “right thing” by putting them before our meetings. ……….NOT!
The thing is if we do not attend the ninety meetings in ninety days our new-found responsible behavior will quickly fall by the wayside. To build a truly responsible life, one of which we are no longer hurting ourselves emotionally, beating down our self-esteem and destroying our relationships we must stay sober. And to stay sober we must build a foundation in recovery by attending allot of meetings initially. Why???
Put it this way my sacred and lovely fellow addicts who deserve a kick-ass & wonderful life. Our brain needs a new program, it needs re-wired. Rewiring of the brain is absolutely possible and it does happen allot but it takes installing a new program and the download time for the sober program is lengthy.
The initial download for the installation of a sober brain is ninety days of daily meetings. After that you can cut down to four meetings a week if you like. Then somewhere during that four meetings a week if we work the 12 steps including a fifth step with a sponsor we will no longer view meetings and the program as a pain in the ass. Fulfillment and enlightenment will occur along with an amazing psychic change and we will take hold of the solutions to addiction by doing them.
So when we have a “good” and “responsible” task that we think is best to put before our meetings; buyer beware! It could be our addict mind cunningly and insidiously plotting our demise! After all, we are too smart to fall for missing a vital life changing meeting just so we can watch Netflix or take out the garbage.
Footnote: Bill W. said “the good is the enemy of the best” somewhere in our AA literature. I will confirm at a later date. If you have the info please post it below.
|Fear of What People Think of Us Will Leave us. Here we go prepare yourself for a new idea contrary to AA tradition. (Not “The Traditions” more like Gainesville tradition.) You will either get angry or disagree vehemently, agree to disagree peacefully, or see my point. Either way acceptance is the key to finding peace when in disagreement. I do care what others think of me and don’t pretend not to. Seriously…I am not sure that being apathetic or indifferent to what people think is a healthy social quality. Really I care what my partner thinks of me, my family, and my loved ones. I do GET that it is a social rule in AA to not care however I think something got lost in the translation. Meaning there is a HUGE difference between “Care” & “Fear”. Lumping myself in with sociopaths who truly don’t have any “care” of what others think (but they are good at pretending they do) is contrary to healthy social conscience. In regard to, “fear of people will leave us.” One of the Ninth step promises. It is the FEAR of what people think that actually creates problems and is unhealthy. If nobody cared about what others thought of them…hmmm wonder what the world would really be like. Social concern is a part of our conscience and keeps us humans in check. Care and Love are often synonymous.
Lack of care for what others think of me does not make me strong or a better person. Really! Its the ego in defense of a mans own low self-worth that screams from the roof tops “I DON’T GIVE A DAMN WHAT YOU THINK OF ME!” When in all truth we would not be screaming it and harping on it if there weren’t an underlying fear of what people are thinking. When we have no fear of what others think of us we have no reason to shout from the roof tops that we don’t care what they think. Simple self-awareness tells me that. I know what it is to fear people and what they think…I know it well. I know how it feels to fear what people think of me and to fear yet be myself, yet state my views and show you who I am anyway and walk through that fear.
Put in a different light I had to harden my heart to survive addiction. I had to harden my heart to survive abuse. I had to make myself not care and put on a social armor of being tuff to survive my very sick past. Now I have found to let Love in I need to let down the armor of protection that shut it out. It is totally understandable to adhere to the principle of not caring. But I no longer live by that rule, I am not a tuff girl, I have emotions, feelings and can be hurt. I care and it is good it is part of life. I now have a way to process my pain when and if it crops up so I don’t need the shield of not caring.
Higher Power softens the heart, cleanses it, and makes it truly strong. Love is the strongest power that exists, Love and care are synonymous.