Many People in Alcoholics Anonymous are Not Recovered (yet or ever)

They are merely Reprogrammed.  They Grasp their emotionally erected walls hewn of Brick and Glass, Brick & Glass.

Just join FB Group:

What is the difference between reprogramming and healing?  Healing from addiction involves both emotional recovery and the reprogramming of mental habits, thought processes and results in a new self image.  If healed they are no longer defensive

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A Sick Relationship with Tech & How to Demoralize a Nation One Child at a Time

With God all things are possible.

In this day and age for those saved souls who know Jesus the most important prayer we can say may be “Father, let me NOT be deceived”.  Below is the video that helped open my eyes to The Great Deception of TV.

Please watch the video above then read the short story or visa versa.

I want to tell you a story of heartfelt truth. It’s not a made up story but I may use some allegories. Picture a little girl. Little Elior is her name. Little Elior has parents who love her but they know little about emotional nurturing. They don’t know how confidence and self worth are built because, well they have little of their own…they punish by guilting and shaming. They punish by violence. Even the father “spanks” little Elior at a very young innocent age. Naturally little Elior believes if her father hits her she deserves to be hit.  And the messages she repeatedly got from school, & parents were that she, not her actions were bad and wrong.

Continue reading “A Sick Relationship with Tech & How to Demoralize a Nation One Child at a Time”

Addiction: The Truth Will Set Us Free

What is addiction?

Addiction is not a Disease, but rather it is a spiritual malady and force of habit.  It is a poor self image and the presence of a broken heart.  Our heart can be healed and our habits can be changes.  We won’t relapse if we take the time to respect ourselves enough to realize not only did we hurt others but others hurt us deeply.  The certainly taught us as children that we were inferior and bad.  So we spent the rest of our days trying to prove that it wasn’t true while our own hearts believed that it was.

What can I say?  I have been passionate about recovery for years.  I made my Recovery Farmhouse websites back at around 6 or 7 years sober.  Since then I have written hundreds of articles and engage in numerous Facebook group posts.  I have worked in AA for years on end being a member of a home-group and being a sponsor.  I have held positions in my homegroup such and chairman, secretary, and the like.

Why in the Hell Was I an Addict?

Continue reading “Addiction: The Truth Will Set Us Free”

Why Am I an Alcoholic?

Why Are Addicts in so Much Emotional Pain?
Why do addicts seem to have a proclivity towards self destruction?
Why are addicts so inclined to blame others for their own choices?
And the biggie, why do our sponsors teach us to not ask “why”?
Answer number one: THE PROBLEM

I was in so much pain that I needed to numb myself due to a life-time of hiding away my true identity. By hiding intense feelings and thoughts away my pain lived inside me till I finally was taught how to let it all out.

Continue reading “Why Am I an Alcoholic?”

Addiction: “Manage” by Chris Joubert

Recovery Farmhouse hopes to see more stories and insight from Chris Joubert in the near future.

Chris Joubert a recovered addict shares from his up and coming book on addiction and recovery.  He speaks and writes in a grounded and emotionally sober manner.  His tone seems to exude a certain peace and serenity as he shares on topics of spirituality, and the disease concept .

“I have to mention”, says Chris,  “I had a great mentor called Pastor Sophos Nissiotis, the founder of Noupoort Christian Care Centre. His understanding of addiction is unparalleled.”

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Relapse Sucks

Relapse Feels Horrible
Here is a great solution for the remorse. It’s one little assignment that is tried and true…if we can just pick up a pencil and paper to do it!!!
Relapse brings up a lot of guilt and shame which sucks, however it is the perfect time to get some serious baggage off of our heart. Building self-esteem happens when we take one right action at a time. First thing, write core feelings. Write the self-loathing and the feelings of utter worthlessness you feel. Example: I feel like a failure, I hate myself for the things I have done to me and others (children especially). Write the fears associated with thoughts like: I let down my fellows, what will they think of me now? I want people to like me but now they will know I am a failure. Write all the society fears associated with relapse. Write the shame of re-entering the rooms after a relapse and what that does to your reputation and how it makes you feel. GET TO THE CORE FEELINGS THAT MOST EVERY RELAPSER FEELS UNLESS THEY ARE A SOCIOPATH or can’t get honest.

Continue reading “Relapse Sucks”

From Recovering to Recovered

When is it Okay for an Addict to Move from “Recovering” into “Recovered”?

If we believe we are emotionally and spiritually healed and have done much work on ourselves in those areas with God’s help, and do not want to drink. We may be “recovered”  for real.  To thine own self be true.

This is the Foreword to the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous as it appeared in the first printing of the first edition in 1939

“WE, OF Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. To show other alcoholics PRECISELY HOW WE HAVE RECOVERED is the main purpose of this book. For them, we hope these pages will prove so convincing that no further authentication will be necessary.”

 

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WHY AN A.A. MEMBER RESENTS THE HELL OUT OF A.A.

This is not an anti A.A. website, please randomly read any article and you will see that.  However XXX Anonymous is a friend of RFH and we have allowed her to vent in an article.  If you have some helpful feedback please post it at the bottom of the article.

AN AA MEMBER WRITES “WHY I RESENT THE HELL OUT OF A.A.”

 

My name is XXX Anonymous and I am an alcoholic.  I have struggled to stay sober for years.  I have tried and tried beating myself up all along the way.  Once I got ten years sober from an intense born-again spiritual experience in a church.  Well I am still born-again and love Christ but I have relapsed 8 times since that experience.  I am not trying to compare which is better church or AA because I have learned that 2 good things are 2 good things.  They don’t cancel each other out and they are not in a race or competition.  I also learned that the 3 things people use to stay sober are spirituality in what-ever way we can get it, therapy, and AA.  I do know that health issues can keep a person sober and “relationships” sometimes work.

Resentment

I got sober this time on April 18, 2015.  I know for a fact that I have exactly 100 days sober or 3 months 9 days sober, or  0.27 years sober due to the sobriety calculator on this site.  Big deal!  I do hate myself for not having more clean time!!!!  Well this is what happened.

BETRAYAL
I got a sponsor who helped me so much that I had nearly a year sober.  I brought her to my house and introduced her to my family and husband.  Come to find out she has a lesser secondary addiction called “SEX ADDICTION“.  Which okay  I don’t judge her for that but It really hurt me that my sponsor betrayed me like that.   I did fire her and get a new one.
Condemnation from my fellows

So I worked through the betrayal and then my doctor who knows I am an addict put me on a medication for pain.  I had a bad accident and the pain was causing me to stay in bed.  When I told one or two of my friends in the program about it they told others and then the whole group knew. (another betrayal)   If that wasn’t bad enough a women confronted me when I picked up my medallion.   She said “your not sober your on the prescription drug bla bla bla”.  I had no idea that drug addicts are known to abuse the drug my doctor put me on.

FAKE PEOPLE

I get tired of so many people in meetings pretending that their lives are the picture of serenity.  They never have any problems or struggles or emotional issues.  They get sober and then all is well and perfect.  That’s not the way that it is for me.  And I don’t believe it is for them either.  I know normal people who have day to day struggles.  I know alcoholics that have day to day struggles why do they think they have to portray a perfect life?  That makes me feel lesser than.  It makes me feel like something is wrong with me.   And I feel like the way that I work the 12 step program must be wrong because I do have difficulties and temptations and sad days and stress and anxiety.  Yes I have good days too and lots of them sober but I didn’t join AA so I could be a social icon who everyone wishes they were because I am perfect.  ridiculous that’s why I appreciate Recovery Farmhouse because it portrays real life recovery not some fake bullshit perfect life.  Work the steps once then its happy joyous and free all the time, right?

I SOMETIMES GET RESENTMENTS SO I GOT AN “F” ON MY RECOVERY TEST/REPORT CARD

Really?  The AA club I go to acts like if you ever get a resentment then you failed your test in recovery, you got an ‘F’ on your sobriety report card.  But really in real life everybody gets pissed off at people and has to pray for them until the resentment is finally gone.  So why do so many members want to make AA a place where you can’t be honest about short-comings or you will be dis-fellowshiped or labelled as spiritually un-fit?

That’s it.  These are the reasons I resent AA at the moment.  My sponsor says you can’t get recovery while you look down your nose at it.  She says pray for everyone and do a fourth step to figure out why I am mad at myself and God.

I WON’T LET THESE THINGS PUSH ME OUT OF A.A.

I still go to meetings.  I won’t stop because it’s the best thing I can do to stay sober and work the steps.  I keep  meeting new people so eventually maybe I will find people who don’t portray perfection and the perfect life.  Because in A,A. seems there are two types of people.  Perfect people, and totally worthless people.  Right now you see my problem?  These people don’t know the definition of balance.

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

I want to thank Laura Edgar for publish this article on her website.  She said that all aspects of A.A. are allowed on this website and no one will be excluded as long as they are in alignment with the “singleness of purpose” declaration which is “the only requirement for membership IS a desire to stop drinking.”  And to “carry the message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”  Thank God that Bill and Bob knew better than to make a bunch of membership requirements.  They were the right men for the job weren’t they,

By XXX Anonymous

 

Sober Relationships (part 2) A Man’s Perspective

Relationships and Early Recovery by Fred Hundt

 

When I came into recovery, carried into the Psych Ward for my threats against myself and others, I felt as alone as I’d ever been in my life.  My girlfriend was done with me, I’d alienated most of my friends and my main relationship problem was that I didn’t have any.  I had to face the fact that, for the first time in my life, no one was going to “rescue” me.  I had to face my addiction and my demons and I needed to accept help honestly rather than manipulating people and situations.

 

In early sobriety I heard the AA maxim of not getting into a new relationship for at least a year.  I didn’t understand it then, but listened to my sponsor’s advice to take things slowly, earning my way back into my girlfriend’s life with my behaviors, not promises.  He also warned me against turning meeting camaraderie with women in the program into anything more. 

 

Looking back, I’m grateful for the AA approach and my sponsor’s “Easy Does It” advice.  In early sobriety I needed to build a relationship with me.  I’d been avoiding myself through alcohol for years.  I had to learn to face myself, spend time with myself and, eventually, even begin to like myself.  I also needed to build a close working relationship with my Higher Power.  I learned to talk to my HP through daily prayer, to connect through meditation and to listen to the quiet voice of Spirit within.  Building those two relationships was a full time job…I couldn’t have given them the attention they needed if I had been involved in a romantic relationship.

 

I watch newcomers in the rooms get involved in relationships and I see the roller coaster rides they take.  I remember that in my early sobriety I needed less drama, not more.  I’d had plenty of it in my last few drinking years.  I needed the calm and quiet of those months to learn about serenity and how to achieve and maintain it in my life.

 

Part of what I realized about myself in early recovery is that I was a “taker,” not a “giver.”  As much as I tried to wrap my behavior in noble motives, I had always looked at relationships entirely from the point of view of what I could get from them.  I always expected that the “next” woman would save me, would make things all right.  When that didn’t happen, I pulled away.  I usually didn’t even have the courage to break up.  I would just make myself emotionally unavailable until she broke up with me.  That allowed me to play the victim or the martyr.  I didn’t know how to have an honest relationship!  If I had pursued a new relationship in early recovery, I’m certain that I would have defaulted back to my old behavior.  Falling back in the part of my life would have risked relapse, too.

 

Over months (and years) of sobriety, parts of the program began to sink in.  I began to learn humility and thought of myself less.  I began to focus on how I could serve others without expecting anything in return.  I learned that I could be honest with my Higher Power and with the people in my life.  Today I have a wonderful relationship with the woman who had “written me off” that night I went to the Psych Ward.  I’m grateful each day for the opportunity to serve her and for the simple joy it brings me.  I can’t give anyone else relationship advice, but can share that the AA program has worked for me in this and all areas of my life.

THE CARDINAL SIN OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

WHAT IS THE CARDINAL SIN OF AA?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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:

https://paradiseforthehellbound/ Read book free

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

 

 

Loving The Unlovable

By Nancy Carr

Author of “Last Call”

Available on Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Last-Call-Nancy-L-Carr-ebook/dp/B00TBWNTGU/ref=as_sl_pc_qf_sp_asin_til?tag=recovefarmho-20&linkCode=w00&linkId=DSIOJ7BRWK3BWSKN&creativeASIN=B00TBWNTGU

Loving the Unlovable

One of the first things I heard when I joined AA was “we will love you until you can learn to love yourself” I didn’t understand what that meant at first, but after getting some sober time it made sense to me. I came into AA broken, a shell of a person. I was morally, spiritually and emotionally bankrupt (another saying we hear in AA). It took a while for me to start feeling likeable, and to start loving myself again. It took even longer for me to be able to offer that love to someone else as I didn’t feel worthy of love when I was newly sober. One of the greatest things about becoming sober has been the ability to love. To fully love, unconditionally and openly. Anytime someone new comes into an AA meeting I get a feeling of overwhelming love for them because I know the fear and hopelessness they feel. We have all felt it. It doesn’t matter if I’m going to befriend this person or even get to know them, what matters is that I have compassion for them and they are a walking mirror of courage. No matter if they are from a park bench or Park Avenue, I understand how they feel.

Unconditional Love

To love someone unconditionally wasn’t something that happened to me overnight. It took time, it took patience and it took understanding. I’m grateful that I can love others in the rooms, as they all teach me something. Sometimes its love and tolerance, sometimes its gratitude – especially if that person keeps relapsing. The relapser teaches me willingness and to never give up. They remind me that I never want to feel the way they are feeling at that moment. It’s a little bit selfish for me to say that, but it’s the truth. Their relapse is keeping it green for me and its making me remember. They are keeping me sober and I’m grateful to them. I can even love that pain in the ass person that shares far longer than he should spewing complete crap and slogans out the ying yang – yup; I gotta love that guy too. Love and Tolerance is our code. Isn’t that what it’s all about? isn’t that what everyone wants in the end, to feel loved? I have learned since I came into AA, over a decade ago, that God puts certain people in my life as my teachers and my biggest examples of who I want to be, and who I don’t want to be.

Last year we moved to Florida, and for me it was my 4th move in sobriety. I’ve moved around a lot, but moving in sobriety is like starting over, it’s like being a newcomer again. This move to Florida was no different and I had to put myself out there and tell the Fellowship what was going on with me and open up again to someone. I was able to get a new sponsor pretty early on and she was exactly what I needed. God put her in my life for a reason and I felt like I knew her for years as I could tell her anything and everything and not feel judged. She got me.

A couple months after I started working with my sponsor, she told me that we needed to come to an Agape Retreat. I had no idea what she was talking about and she told me that it’s kind of a subset of AA and it’s held at O’Leno State Park (near Gainesville) and that we had to go. Since I’m not one to shy away from any weekend getaway, I was on board. I had been to a few AA retreats back in California, (where I got sober), and I was more than happy to check it out. I had never heard of Agape and had no idea what to expect. What I found when we arrived at our first Agape retreat in January were camp cabins with no heat and bunk beds. Mind you it’s Florida, but it was down to the mid 30s at night. Not exactly the Hilton, but it wasn’t about the accommodations as I soon learned, it was about Agape and the posse.

We ended up staying in a cabin with heat and I was about to experience what true unconditional love was. Without sharing too much about the Agape experience, I will just sum it up in a few sentences so you can understand it further. It’s usually 50 people or so, all in recovery; or trying to be, as some may only have a few hours sober, or a few days clean. Most come within a 200 mile radius of Gainesville and some of the posse has been coming to Agape for 20 years, like my sponsor, and some are newbies, like myself. Unbeknownst to me, I quickly realized that everyone is there to get closer to God and to have an amazing spiritual experience with the group, as well as with themselves. The level of raw, honest and “from the gut I need to dump this shit” sharing that occurs at these meetings are intense and there is usually a box of Kleenex making the rounds. Most people in recovery aren’t in recovery for just alcohol; there is usually a drug of choice involved, as well as other outside issues that seep into our DNA. These may include early childhood traumas, eating disorders, abusive relationships, sexual abuse and PTSD issues. It’s not a whoopee party of joy, or ceramic ashtray making – what comes out of these Agape retreats is healing. Extensive healing where you shed a layer of your damaged self and feel a little bit better for it. No one in AA, or Agape, claim to be therapists of any type, but being with a crew of people that have experienced some of the same issues and all want to jump on the Ark to find a better way to live and feel OK seems to be more therapeutic than any medicine or treatment program that is out there. Of course, this is all in my opinion and from my own experience.

When you go online and look up the definition of Agape, this is one of the definitions you will find:
“Agape is love, which is of and from God, whose very nature is love itself. The apostle John affirms this: “God is love.” God does not merely love; He is love itself. Everything God does flows from His love. But it is important to remember that God’s love is not a sappy, sentimental love such as we often hear portrayed. God loves because that is His nature and the expression of His being. He loves the unlovable and the unlovely, not because we deserve to be loved, but because it is His nature to love us, and He must be true to His nature and character.”

Being unlovable and unlovely is what drove me to drink and drug. I never felt like I was enough. So when I go to Agape and hear the unlovable are lovable and that Agape love is forgiving and unconditional – why wouldn’t I want to be with a posse that embraces that. Mind you, I get a decent amount of that love and acceptance from AA, but it’s different at Agape. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve been – but basically, whatever the question, love is the answer.

My husband and I just came back from our second Agape weekend and look forward to attending the next one. I’ve had people ask me, “What is Agape?” and like my sponsor told me, I just tell them, “It’s where the unlovable can feel loved and where the broken can be put back together, one piece at a time”.

Why Do I Beat Myself Up So Much?

Why Do I Beat Myself Up So Much

Why do we alcoholics either tend to be in complete denial about our short comings or we pick up the cat of nine tails and swat our own backs till we bleed.  Lets face it most addicts suffer from self-loathing while they are in their addiction.  And I know for a fact that old habits die hard as a matter of fact they never really die.  We just build healthy bridges over the sick roads of addiction called our brains neural-pathways.    I believe that’s why so many of us relapse, we take one wrong turn and we are back on the road toward self annihilation

Okay that’s totally negative yes but unfortunately it’s true in many cases.  So I have personally set some ideas to memory.  First rule,  I always have a choice.  Nobody takes my free will away from me short of me being kidnapped, beaten and forced to drink which is doubtful to happen.  Next I make a rule that when I start getting into the beat-Lori-up psychological game I get up, put on my shoes and take a walk.  Or I clean the house, or I write an article but I definitely “move a muscle and change a thought”.  Next I must remember that perfectionism is a character flaw of mine and I have no right to play God by saying I should be perfect.  My creator made me with human flaws.  I strive to do good but I must remember and accept that I need to give myself a break cause I am human.

But why do we have the tendency to spank and scream at ourselves psychologically?  In my own case  I surmise from years of deep meditation and spiritually boosted self-awareness that my subconscious believes that if I spank myself when I mess up or don’t do things exactly the way I meant to then the beating will make me do better.  The beating will somehow fix me and correct my human-ness.   Remember our hearts and egos do not have to be logical or make sense to our intellect.  We should not allow our intellect to invalidate our hearts thoughts and what it needs to express by calling it illogical.   Our deep seeded ideals of beating ourselves up as a solution to being human most likely stems from getting spanked and put down by my parents and older sister during the formidable years.

Lets face it all childhood punishment really did for me and the women I have talked to about it is breed emotionally sick little children.  And hey yes the adults knew no better but that does not change the fact that I need an outlet for my emotions and I needed to learn new healthy ways to express my feelings.  Repressing emotions is no longer a viable option.  Writing is a top priority for me and the next best thing to sharing with other women or in a meeting.  Many of the men in AA seem to think that if we women write one sentence in a fourth step about our deep and savage feelings it will somehow fix us…right.  And I am only talking about emotional neglect, where abuse is involved there is even more urgency to learn to  emotionally process.  It’s either that or go back or or put a bullet in our mouth which many sober addicts turn to unfortunately.   When I say “savage feelings” I know many of you know exactly what I am talking about.

When I am in step eleven meditation I give myself positive affirmations which also help me remember I am good.

The Women’s Way Through The 12 Steps is a great way to work the steps it also has a workbook.
Thank you for reading along.

AA Is Getting a Bad Rap

 

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

AA is getting a bad rap lately by Nancy Carr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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/

 

 

 

Why Am I An Addict?

AA “I WON’T CO-SIGN YOUR BULLSHIT!”

THERAPY VS PROGRAM?

“How it works” Chapter in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous states that even people with “grave emotional disorders” can get and stay sober.  What is “grave emotional disorder” and how can I really heal from it and stay sober to boot? 

I won’t co-sign your bullshit!  Scream the A.A. sponsors to the detriment of their heartsick fellows! There is a great need in AA to understand the difference between co-signing bull shit and showing Love by exerting understanding, compassion, and care.  We don’t have to give our sponsees the beat-down that is not what the program is about.  Nowhere in the Big Book do the writers suggest brutality and badgering as 12 step service work.

There is a great need to understand the difference between self-pity and the expression of valid feelings such as anger, and hurt. Human feelings that result from an abusive past need expressed for us to stay or get sane.

The words, “I know how you feel, you have a right to feel your pain, grieve and to process your hurt…even if, the feelings derive from years prior” are words that can heal a heart.Most addicts have stuffed down tears for years that desperately needed to be cried for us to attain emotional balance and healing. Usually when we get clean & sober all our un-cried tears come to the surface and scream to get out. We then ask ourselves: “What’s wrong with me, why am I so depressed, nothing bad is going on right now? Next our sponsors quickly tell us to “get over it and write a gratitude list” as they watch us slam the door in the face of AA.

Gratitude lists work great for those stomping their feet because things are not going their way (self-pity). However when it comes to the horrible feelings of grief that result from abuse, abandonment, neglect and other childhood trauma all our sponsors suggestion does is add to our low self-image and push us out the doors.

The most common “grave emotional disorder” that addicts in the rooms suffer from is the inability to process deep hurts and trauma inflicted as children & sometimes through adulthood. We have turned our hurt to anger and continually search for a scape-goat to blame for our intolerable feelings. Our hurts have morphed into anger because “grief”, unless short lived and a result of the death of a loved one is unacceptable in our society. When we experience any other cause of emotional pain except what’s socially acceptable we are often told to just “GET OVER IT!” So driven by shame we bone-up, pretend we are tuff-girls and boys, file our feelings under the “wrong and weak” category in our hearts and make ourselves sick till we have no other solution except to numb that which we have labeled “Invalid feelings”.

Is it no wonder that when one of us relapses so many seem to be so devastated by it…even when we scarcely know the person who went back out? We are desperate to let out some of our grief in a way that is acceptable to our fellows. We all step up our meetings and talk about our pain and loss when it usually has nothing to do with the guy who just relapsed who we have never invited to our home by the way.

The need for validation of our deep hurt is huge and necessary for healing. It’s hard for us in recovery to see when we are stuffing down a pain that really needs to be expressed. Few of us were taught by example or in school that it’s ok to scream and cry feelings out, or that crying is a part of emotional health.

Grave emotional disorders are not healed by just writing down [our part] and transferring all the blame from one scape goat to the next; [ourselves]. Please don’t hear what I am not saying…we addicts have boatloads of character defects that we need to work on however, not all grave emotional disorder is solved by doing a guilt based fourth step. Furthermore, if Bill W. would have had a course in empathic healing and were taught that his feelings are valid and how to emotionally process them he may not have spent at least 12 years sober and depressed trying so many therapies and pharmaceutical remedies.

Typically Bill was too hard on himself. There comes a time when we must pause from blaming ourselves for where we are at emotionally if we are to find answers and heal. There comes a time when we should realize that we were dealt a mistaken hand where our understanding of emotions is concerned and the steps don’t fix everything.

THERE IS NO WRONG FEELING once we establish this we won’t be quite so quick to deny and shut them down. For anyone to label our feelings wrong is to label us wrong as a person because our feelings are our heart.  “Wrong”  is an action word.   What we do with out deep feelings like, blaming others for them or acting out in rage and  violence this can be labelled “wrong”.   It’s what happens after the feeling that is right or wrong.

When we learn how to let feelings flow through us instead of getting stuck in us, then we are on our way to being emotionally balanced. There are many ways to accomplish a flow of emotions.

Taking responsibility for ourselves includes learning how to process hurt, anger, guilt, remorse, disgust, fear, and pain. Labeling feelings wrong, staying in denial about them till they come out in the form of rage and blame is not emotional sobriety. How will anybody in recovery ever stop blaming others for their feelings if they have not allowed themselves to learn what to do with deep feelings to get them out?

Have you ever asked why there is so much finger-pointing going on in AA or the world for that matter? And why is it that so few alcoholics and addicts in recovery find healthy and loving long term relationships? We can’t make our significant others’ responsible for our feelings and show them Love at the same time. So many alcoholics just settle for the fact that they will never be able to have a successful relationship if they are to stay sober. Ouch!

Lastly have you ever heard anyone in meetings pit therapy against the program as if there were a war between the two? How about pitting religion against the program or pitting religion against therapy (that’s a common one in the church). The fact is these all three are good they are not at war at all.  

Every person I know that shows quality sobriety; meaning they are mature enough to not play the blame game and they show Love are those that have used a combination of therapy,  a 12 step program and seek spirituality.   All three are good and all three work if we are willing, open-minded, and honest enough to not practice contempt prior to investigation on any of them.

Therapy vs. program or therapy enhances program?

 

Laura Edgar

WHAT TO EXPECT AT ALCOHOLICS & NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS MEETINGS

If you have never gone to an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meeting, it can be a little scary at first.  You don’t know what to expect because it is a new experience. You may have heard a lot of negative things about meetings from other using addicts. Some people are court ordered to go to meetings and may feel negatively about them because they resent being forced to go. Remember that everyone in AA and NA had to walk into their first meeting at some point so you are not alone in feeling scared. People who go to meetings regularly are aware of this and often try to be very welcoming when they see someone new enter a meeting.

Where Do Meetings Occur and How Do I Find One?

 

Many meetings take place in church basements, treatment facilities, hospitals and recovery clubs. You can find a list of meetings online at the Alcoholics Anonymous website and the Narcotics Anonymous website. In addition, most counties have a drug and alcohol commission to help people in their county locate treatment. You can find the number for your local drug and alcohol commission in your phone book or online. They often have local meeting lists available in their offices. Any local treatment facilities would probably provide you with a free local list of meetings too.

Once you find your first meeting, you will be able to get a list of other meetings there. The meeting list will let you know the name of the meetings, time and place of the meetings and what kind of meetings are available in your area. The best way to find good meetings is to ask people in recovery who go to meetings. They can help you find the kind of meeting you want to go to. For example, there are meetings just for people who are new to AA and NA.

What Are the Different Types of Meetings?

  • Discussion meetings – These meetings usually are focused on a particular topic or two or  three topics which can be chosen by the chairperson of the meeting or the group itself. Group members take turns talking one at a time about the topic that is chosen.
  • Speaker meetings – These meetings have a speaker who is a member of AA or NA. The speaker tells their story of alcoholism/addiction and how they found recovery. These meetings can be very inspiring because you can learn that you are not alone and recovery is possible.
  • Beginner meetings – These meetings are for people who are new to AA/NA and want to learn more about the program.
  • 12 Step and 12 Tradition study – These meetings help you to learn more about the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions. Members usually read a chapter from the book and then discuss it.
  • Big Book or Basic Text meetings – These meetings are about studying the Big Book which is the main text of AA and the Basic Text which is the main book of NA.
  • Men’s and women’s meetings – These meetings are specifically designed for either men or women. These are great meetings to meet more members of your own gender, which is important for finding a sponsor.
  • Candlelight meetings – These meetings often take place in the evening and are lit by candles. It can be a different and fun change from regular meetings.
  • Open meetings – These meetings are open to anyone. Family and friends of addicts can attend as well as addiction professionals who want to learn more about the program of AA/NA.
  • Closed meetings – These meetings are only for people who have an alcohol or drug problem.

What Happens During the Meeting?

<p>The Beginning of the Meeting</p>

Some meetings vary the order of the format, some are more formal or more laid back but the following is generally what happens at most meetings.

Opening the Meeting

The chairperson of the meeting will open the meeting usually by pounding on the table and announcing the meeting is starting. Everyone who isn’t already seated takes a seat. Seating is sometimes in a circle or around a square or rectangle table. However, large meetings can have seats throughout the room. People are often chatting before the meeting but they get quiet when the meeting starts.

The Serenity Prayer

The chairperson asks everyone to help him/her begin the meeting with the Serenity Prayer. Don’t worry if you don’t know it. You will learn it in time. Only the first four lines of the Serenity Prayer are spoken.

This is the Serenity Prayer:

  • God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Readings

The chairperson will ask for the readings. Somewhere in the meeting room will be a table of free pamphlets and books for purchase. You can find a booklet there which includes all the readings. The chairperson will either ask people to do the readings before the meeting starts or sometimes they are placed around the room and anyone sitting by one can choose to read.

You never have to read if you feel uncomfortable with it. If you see a reading at the seat you chose, you can ask someone else to read it or move to another seat. Even if you are asked, no one will be offended if you say you would rather not read.

The readings are either read from the person’s seat or sometimes from a podium. Before each person reads, they announce their name and that they are an alcoholic or addict. It is customary to say you are an alcoholic at AA meetings and an addict at NA meetings. However, you can say you are an alcoholic and an addict or cross-addicted. The readings can vary somewhat from meeting to meeting and are a little different at AA and NA meetings but they both read the 12 steps and 12 Traditions. NA changes “alcohol” to “addiction” in their readings.

Announcements

There may be a time during the meeting for announcements, which may include anniversary meetings, new meetings, meetings needing home group members or other business related to AA or NA. The group may be asked if they have any announcements related to AA or NA.

Introductions

The chairperson will ask if there is anyone from out of town or new to the meeting. The chairperson may say “this is not to embarrass you but to help us get to know you better.” If you are a newcomer or haven’t been to this particular meeting before, feel free to stand up, say your name and that you are new. Everyone will welcome you and tell you to “keep coming back.”

Talking about Cravings

There will also be a point during the meeting when the chairperson will ask if anyone feels like drinking/using. Some people will announce themselves (name and I’m an alcoholic/addict) and admit that they are feeling like drinking or using drugs. We call this “telling on yourself.” People often do this because talking about cravings helps you to not follow through and actually drink or use drugs.

Talking about it also lets group members know you may need more support. They may come up and offer their phone numbers to someone in need. Or pass around paper for people to write down their phone numbers for a newcomer. The chairperson also may say that if you didn’t feel comfortable talking about it with the group, get with someone after the meeting to talk.

Don’t be afraid to approach someone after the meeting and tell them you feel like drinking or using drugs and need more help. The squeaky wheel gets the oil. You have to speak up and ask for additional help to get it.

Clean Time

What is clean time and why is it important?

AA/NA meetings celebrate clean time at every meeting by giving out coins or keychains. There are different colors for different months and years of sober or clean time. The first coin/keychain is for “24 hours sober/clean or the desire to start a new way of life.”

Anyone can get this coin/keychain. If you are a newcomer, I recommend getting your first coin/keychain. You can expect lots of applause, people welcoming you, telling you to “keep coming back,” shaking your hand or hugging you. This will help you feel welcome and at home in the meetings. It is also meant to help you realize that you have made great progress just by attending a meeting.

The purpose of clean time is not to make people feel that some members have more seniority but to let everyone know that recovery is possible. It is meant to inspire newcomers and let people know that you can reach multiple years of clean time. Some meetings ask anyone with more than a year clean to stand up. This is also to show that recovery is attainable.

The Middle of the Meeting 

The middle of the meeting varies whether it is a discussion meeting, a book meeting or a speaker meeting.

  • For discussion meetings, some go around the room to give everyone a chance to speak. You can introduce yourself and say “I pass.”  No one will make you share.  People introduce themselves by saying “I’m (Your Name) and I’m an alcoholic/addict” or a variation of this.
  • At other meetings, anyone can choose to speak after the meeting is opened to discussion. Each person usually speaks for about 3 to 5 minutes so everyone has a chance to speak. When someone finishes speaking, they may say, “with that I pass.”  Members respond with “thank you” or “thank you for sharing.” There is no crosstalk during the meeting. One person speaks at a time.
  • Book or 12 Step/12 Tradition meetings read from the chosen book or read a Step/Tradition and may discuss the reading at the end.
  • Speaker meetings have a speaker who tells their story of alcoholism or addiction and how they found recovery.

The End of the Meeting

Most meetings close with members forming a circle and reciting The Lord’s Prayer or the Serenity Prayer. AA meetings usually join hands and say the Lord’s Prayer while NA meetings put their arms around each other and say the Serenity Prayer.

<p>Some Tips for Meetings</p>

  • The meeting will usually begin exactly on time.
  • Cross talk is not acceptable.
  • You can be asked to leave if you disrupt the meeting with cross talk, cell phones, inappropriate behavior, etc.
  • Please turn your cell phone off during the meeting.
  • It is acceptable to bring children to most meetings but you may need to bring something for them to do. If they are not quiet, you may want to remove them from the meeting so as to not disrupt the meeting. Some meetings have child care available during the meeting so ask around if you need to bring your children. You may be able to find a group member who will watch them so you can get the most out of the meeting.
  • AA members usually shake hands more often while NA members hug more.
  • Most meetings are non-smoking but may have a section for smokers.
  • Try to come early and stay late to meetings when you can. What happens before and after the meeting can be as important as the meeting itself. This is a time to socialize, get support, help others, get phone numbers or find a sponsor

 

AM I A “RECOVERED” ALCOHOLIC?

CHANGE 2

Recovery gospel according to Lori E

AM I RECOVERED AND SANE?  OR AM I AN ALCOHOLIC DESTINED TO ALWAYS BE INSANE?  THE 12 STEP PROGRAMS WORK…..TO A CERTAIN EXTENT.

Ok I just re-read the following and I think its a little harsh.  So… Disclaimer-I have been jealous and will be again at some point. I am human.  Getting jealous does derive from fear however ALL HUMANS GET FEAR OCCASIONALLY OR OFTEN.  

Big “GET OVER IT!”  To the alcoholics and addicts who are stuck in the mind-set that, their way of recovery is the ONLY way to recover.   People get sober with and without AA.  Believe it the addict mind in many instances becomes jealous over “their way” of recovery.  Even to the point of hoping that the person who got sober on their own or in church will quickly relapse to prove his point.

Addicts become jealous over “their Higher Power” and “their 12 step program”.   Lets face it codependency which thrives on jealousy runs rampant through the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Understandable if you take into consideration that jealousy stems from fear of loss and that Alcoholics tend to be emotionally immature (sometimes).

But open your minds my fellows!  There are many ways to recover that works and many times those same ways don’t work.   It just depends on several different factors.

Here are the three main ways that people are known to drastically change for the better.

 

 

1. Therapy has helped millions change: therapy only works if you have the right empathic therapist and if you have the courage to face yourself. To allow yourself to be vulnerable by facing your insecurities and your deepest feelings. Therapy only works if you are willing to re-live your most traumatic childhood and adult events, face them, and express your feelings in regard to them on an honest emotional level. The core level.
 
2. The 12 Steps: only work if we are willing to get honest about feelings and past events. They only work if we are willing to humble ourselves and become vulnerable & teachable. They only work if we truly seek out a Higher Power and involve Him/Her/it in the process of working steps 1 through 12.
 
3. Religion: Finding God only works if we seek with our heart and our mind. My experience dictates that “repentance” is one of the main keys to becoming spiritually empowered. At the same time without the balance of empathic understanding from relating with those like us and a degree of realization that we were victims as well as wrong, shame will tend to rein in our psyches. This lingering shame will inevitably throw us back into emotional and psychological denial of our weaknesses & faults. Religion has helped millions change, don’t underestimate its power just because it didn’t help YOU change. However there must be a logic based psychic balance that shows us we are not ALL BAD. Some religions oppress but God dwells where people seek and praise God. Your chances of having a spiritual experience at all are GREATLY INCREASED IF you surround yourself with people that are openly praising God.
 
Oftentimes the religious people don’t have a way to expel certain shame and guilt or to get in touch with the child in them who was abandoned, abused, neglected, and rejected. The common barrier to healing from past wounds is by reasoning out that “you can’t change the past why go there?” YOU CAN CHANGE THE PAST! By changing our perception of the past we change the past. How do we change a perception? Go back, relive, journal, share, be vulnerable. With therapy and the 12 steps these three long-term actions together are an absolute recipe for not only sobriety but also A COMPLETE RECOVERY as possible

 

But this is not the whole topic today.

Today the topic is; “am I recovered or not?”

 

This is the thing….the big book reads that bill w. And the group “recovered” from a hopeless state of mind. Being recovered is mentioned through-out the big book.   If a person has five years sober and realizes that they no longer have the alcoholic mind…and they have recovered. There is one sure way to know for themselves if they really have recovered.

 

The still insane, sick alcoholic will reason out…I have recovered so… I am no longer an alcoholic.  Now I can drink responsibly.   Now, this time it will be different!”   And for a time they may actually be able to drink responsibly.   However with the progression and insanity that alcohol produces and their past behaviors this luxury won’t last long.   On the flip side:  for the recovered alcoholic who truly is recovered, whose sanity has returned and have had a psychic change; their thought process works differently.  These types realize they no longer have the alcoholic mind and reason out that in spite of that and because of that they do not want to drink again…ever.   No matter what.   So if one is truly recovered they will know that because of the allergy to alcohol they will never be able to drink like a normal person.   They also realize that they are no longer an alcoholic in spite of a few addict-like tendencies and lesser addictions such as over-eating, internet addiction, cigarette addiction, sex addiction, anger or rage addiction, the addiction to being “not alright” even. 

Perhaps all three solutions are only needed for those that have been abused and neglected.  However i question any alcoholic’s self-awareness if they state they have no “core issues”.  Why would anyone try to destroy himself by drinking alcoholically and try to numb out feelings and awareness by poisoning oneself yet claim not to have any childhood issues or core level shame?

 

RELATIONSHIPS IN ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

IS IT LOVE OR IS IT FEAR?

RELATIONSHIPS IN AA, SOBER IN ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS AND LOVE & INTIMACY

How can I tell if I am acting out of fear or if I am really acting out of Love?  When it comes to relationships so many times we throw around the words, “I love you” for the wrong reasons.  We may say the words to make someone feel needed or Loved which in itself is a kind manipulation.  We may say it to make someone feel obligated to us as if being loved has a price tag on it.  Or we may say it because we have been hurt by someone and we want them to feel extra guilty…”how could you leave me for another woman I love you!”

Often-times drug addicts have to learn how to manipulate people to ensure that their using needs will be met.  To make sure that I would have the drugs I needed I had several enablers on a line.  Enablers tend to have their own underlying reasons to enable us but that’s a whole other matter.    So in my mind the numerous “sugar daddy’s” that I had on the line had the following reasons to want me around.  They wanted to be seen with a young and beautiful woman, “hood ornament” per-say.  They wanted sex, of course that’s the most common one.  They just wanted affection and to feel loved.  They wanted to feel important and needed.  They wanted to feel masculine, sensual, strong, and beautiful or maybe they just wanted to feel.  And I was there to accommodate and fend off their insecurities.

Armed with this knowledge I would tell them what I thought they wanted to hear and much of that was the “I love you”.  So I lied I cheated, I manipulated and said I love you because of fear.  I was afraid if I didn’t say and do these things I wouldn’t get what I needed to stay well and wanted to feel good.

But what about regular intimate romantic relationships that aren’t cursed with drug addict motives?  Do we still act out of fear and say the “I love you” for the wrong reasons?  HELL YES it happens all the time!  The primary reason is control and fear of loss.  Oftentimes people in relationships tend to act out because they are afraid of losing…especially addicts who no longer have their drink and drug.  Now the sober addict has a person that they begin to obsess on and become way too dependent on emotionally and perhaps financially.  The “I love you” becomes a staunch obligation to the partner rather than a giving and affectionate tid-bit of verbal yummy.  Lol!

So if our partner interacts with other friends do we find ourselves feeling threatened subconsciously and then react by using sex to get then under control?  Or maybe we find a reason why the partner shouldn’t be with their friends like…it’s dangerous, I am worried about you.  Or when they come home do we throw a fit about how worried we were about them because “WE LOVE THEM”.

We can use this thermometer Love is charitable, it is giving, Love does not attack verbally but fear does.  Love does not try to play god, but fear does.  Love would never tell another adult how to live.

If we are concerned about a Loved one then we share our concerns in a respectful manner such as sharing our fears for that person by speaking in the “I” context.  NO “YOU’S” you this you that tends to be an attack.  For instance if my partner is hanging out with his old using friends I could say.  “Wow you must be stronger than me if I were hanging out with my old using friends I would relapse for sure.”

One of the oldest control games in the world is limiting freedom for one’s own well-being for one’s own good.  All people deserve to have peace and freedom.  Once we are adults our mommies don’t control us any longer.  The law and our employers are the only authorities that we endure.  Each man has the right to make his own mistakes.  Each man has the right to have peace in his home.  Sponsorship means we suggest and we ask questions we don’t make our sponcee’s decisions for them that is enabling as well.

We should treat our life-partners or significant others like friends giving them the same respect and freedom we would give a good friend.

 

 

RELATIONSHIPS IN ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

IS IT LOVE OR IS IT FEAR?

(for those who don’t know what RULE 62 is it means, “don’t take yourself so seriously.”

RELATIONSHIPS IN AA, SOBER IN ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS AND LOVE & INTIMACY

How can I tell if I am acting out of fear or if I am really acting out of Love?  When it comes to relationships so many times we throw around the words, “I love you” for the wrong reasons.  We may say the words to make someone feel needed or Loved which in itself is a kind manipulation.  We may say it to make someone feel obligated to us as if being loved has a price tag on it.  Or we may say it because we have been hurt by someone and we want them to feel extra guilty…”how could you leave me for another woman I love you!”

Often-times drug addicts have to learn how to manipulate people to ensure that their using needs will be met.  To make sure that I would have the drugs I needed I had several enablers on a line.  Enablers tend to have their own underlying reasons to enable us but that’s a whole other matter.    So in my mind the numerous “sugar daddy’s” that I had on the line had the following reasons to want me around.  They wanted to be seen with a young and beautiful woman, “hood ornament” per-say.  They wanted sex, of course that’s the most common one.  They just wanted affection and to feel loved.  They wanted to feel important and needed.  They wanted to feel masculine, sensual, strong, and beautiful or maybe they just wanted to feel.  And I was there to accommodate and fend off their insecurities.

Armed with this knowledge I would tell them what I thought they wanted to hear and much of that was the “I love you”.  So I lied I cheated, I manipulated and said I love you because of fear.  I was afraid if I didn’t say and do these things I wouldn’t get what I needed to stay well and wanted to feel good.

But what about regular intimate romantic relationships that aren’t cursed with drug addict motives?  Do we still act out of fear and say the “I love you” for the wrong reasons?  HELL YES it happens all the time!  The primary reason is control and fear of loss.  Oftentimes people in relationships tend to act out because they are afraid of losing…especially addicts who no longer have their drink and drug.  Now the sober addict has a person that they begin to obsess on and become way too dependent on emotionally and perhaps financially.  The “I love you” becomes a staunch obligation to the partner rather than a giving and affectionate tid-bit of verbal yummy.  Lol!

So if our partner interacts with other friends do we find ourselves feeling threatened subconsciously and then react by using sex to get then under control?  Or maybe we find a reason why the partner shouldn’t be with their friends like…it’s dangerous, I am worried about you.  Or when they come home do we throw a fit about how worried we were about them because “WE LOVE THEM”.

We can use this thermometer Love is charitable, it is giving, Love does not attack verbally but fear does.  Love does not try to play god, but fear does.  Love would never tell another adult how to live.

If we are concerned about a Loved one then we share our concerns in a respectful manner such as sharing our fears for that person by speaking in the “I” context.  NO “YOU’S” you this you that tends to be an attack.  For instance if my partner is hanging out with his old using friends I could say.  “Wow you must be stronger than me if I were hanging out with my old using friends I would relapse for sure.”

One of the oldest control games in the world is limiting freedom for one’s own well-being for one’s own good.  All people deserve to have peace and freedom.  Once we are adults our mommies don’t control us any longer.  The law and our employers are the only authorities that we endure.  Each man has the right to make his own mistakes.  Each man has the right to have peace in his home.  Sponsorship means we suggest and we ask questions we don’t make our sponcee’s decisions for them that is enabling as well.

We should treat our life-partners or significant others like friends giving them the same respect and freedom we would give a good friend.

 

 

A.A. HIGHER POWER

God is Love. I have run the gambit where religion and spirituality are concerned.   

I believe in Christ He is my higher power.  I use the terms “He” and “Him” even though I believe my Higher Powers are Spirit not flesh.  I also believe they could become flesh anytime they want.  I use the “Him” term because I am just so used to it, I do hope it doesn’t put you off. 

Anyway Before I met Christ I had a prayerful relationship with who I call “God the father”.  Christ brought me closer to, God the Father.  I had one drastic life altering white light experience where I was delivered, yes delivered (one of those religious terms unpalatable to many especially to recovering Catholics & addicts) from a life of deep and twisted addition.  I learned allot about God’s Grace and unconditional Love after I turned my back on Him by sinking into a deep dark and long relapse.  I say I learned much about His grace because he again pulled me from the mire and brought me into the program of AA. 

The first time I got sober due to my white light experience I was also involved in NA.  I didn’t work the steps or get a sponsor.  The second time I got sober I pretty much did everything suggested and learned and worked the steps more thoroughly than most woman I know.  (I can say that because I have worked the 12 steps with countless woman and I know to what depth of awareness they worked.  Granted this doesn’t make me better or of more value than any soul just self-aware.  False humility is not one of my defects I won’t hide behind a mask of false bravado pretending to be unaware of my own accomplishments for fear that acknowledging my progress would be vain or defective.  (Pet-peeve sorry) There is a thing called footwork and I have done plenty of it!  I won’t stand by and say I don’t know anything either as I have seen countless both blessed and knowledgeable men do.  That would be dishonest of me wouldn’t it seeing that I KNOW different.

These misguided attitudes are a luxury to those who perhaps fear that if they did acknowledge any goodness in themselves or acknowledge that they achieved (for lack of a better term) an “A” or “B” level of recovery they would quickly be swept away by the false pride that would send them plummeting to their last and final grave & incomprehensible relapse.  Let me point out that one character defect (false humility) will not protect oneself from another character defect (false-pride).  It’s not the little quirkish traditions of local AA lore that get and keep us sober.  And certainly self-degradation won’t keep me close to God or sober for that matter. 

Let me also clarify what humility really is, it is the awareness of one’s own character flaws or patterns.  We acknowledge these patterns not so we can publicly announce them but rather so we may avoid acting them out.  Sitting in a meeting and stating that I am garbage without God and the program implies that God does make junk.  Do I need God to be good and stay on track?  Hell yes!  However no matter how reliant upon my Higher Power I am cutting myself down openly or privately is a form of condemnation, harsh judgment and criticism. 

Ok back on topic…God the supercomputer.  For us Bible believing folks we like to validate ideas by lining them up with the word.  It’s written that “man was made in the image of God.”  The Bible speaks of the “hand of God” and other various body parts such as His eyes, arm, and mind.  Scientists have proven that our human brains are a computer of sorts.  A fleshly computer to be precise.  In deep meditation I have had many visions but most recently I have had visions that make me believe God can download us mere mortals with any program he wishes.  He can change out our hard drive or do a complete recovery on us.  Is it coincidence that when you clean out a computer it is called a “recovery”?   Ok I know what your thinking…Lori’s cheese has finally fallen off the cracker. Lol!

When I was delivered from addiction the first time around I was clean for years I stayed on a pink cloud for at least a year.  Prior to that I was plagued with anxiety, and panic attacks, I was a heroin and cocaine junky who had to have a shot of dope to get out of bed in the morning.  After one touch from God my thinking was changed dramatically.  I no longer had anxiety or panic attacks.  After one download in a little Baptist church in the meadow.  As windows 8 calls it, by one “refresh” I was set in a direction of service and Love toward mankind.  I received a new operating system with my files or memories left intact.  My resentments were quelled and my sickness abated.  I loved my mother again that in itself was a miracle. 

Let’s face it folks steps 10, 11, and 12 are the maintenance steps when I meditate I get spiritually fed, I get a disk defragging, a disk cleaning, and vital updates.  Why is it different this time clean and sober for me?  Granted I had much joy my first round of sobriety, I learned allot, I changed in a huge way morally and I became Loving but God had only begun my overhaul.  The first time I was sober I didn’t wholeheartedly believe that I was a good child of God.  I believed with my head but my heart deep down was telling me that I was bad and of Satan.  I still carried deep shame within my heart from the sexual abuse I suffered as a child and my actions during years of addiction.  Deep down I knew I would screw things up again.  Why? 

There are three things that I did different this time (I got sober this time in 2006) One; this time I worked the steps with a sponsor honestly and thoroughly, everything came out in my fifth step.  Two, I got empathic recovery therapy and learned how to continually share my true, illogical and fearful heartfelt inner feelings.  People are usually ashamed of their true feelings because nobody (well most people) wants to be vulnerable or be looked upon as different.  The thing is everybody except perhaps true sociopaths have illogical fears and deep child-like feelings that they don’t like about themselves.  So we cover them up with the mask, distractions and lies.  Therapy taught me to vent these feelings so they don’t fester, or turn to rage, and obsession.  Thirdly this time I practiced meditation on a regular basis for the first six years I was sober.  What this did is open my mind to receive God’s blessings.  Meditation improved every aspect of my recovery and most importantly helped heal me both emotionally and spiritually.  

When I say “meditation” I don’t mean picking up a book and reading a passage.  I am talking about the kind of meditation that takes an hour a day to be still, silent, and open.  Meditation when practiced regularly brings a steady flow of continuous spiritual experiences that can move mountains and heal the heart the soul and the mind.

Funny thing…different things have different ways of communicating.  Animals have their own way, humans speak to humans verbally, computers have their own language, electricity speaks to the light bulb and it reacts, the light speaks to our atmosphere and it reacts and becomes visual, the sun speaks to the flower, the moon speaks to the Earth, even water speaks to our bodies and we live.  Action and reaction but how does man speak to God?  Should we use our tongue as if God were a man that has ears…perhaps so but God my friend “looks upon the heart” so it is written.  Should we not try seeking God with words straight from our heart and then talk to Him with our minds as well? 

Seek and you shall find but seek with your hearts language for it is the language of truth absent of all the editing that our mind thinks should be done.  For out of the heart bursts forth the well-springs of life.  Eternal Life“  

What is logical to the mind is folly to the heart and what is truth to the heart is valid to God.”   

Disease dis-ease causes and conditions

Is addiction a real disease?

I guess that depends on your definition of the word.

But did the word originate somehow from the word dis-ease.

Not in any language study I can find.

The word disease did not originate from dis ease contrary to popular AA lore. It does however have Greek & Latin origin words with definitions that are complex. These core Latin and Greek words mean suffering, various “opathy’s” disease type categories including psychopath(y) neuropath(y), and feelings, empathy, sympathy and various “pathy’s”.

However like the word dishwasher the “dis” is not a prefix meaning “separated from” as it occurs in the word discomfort and other words like it.

The word disease’s core definition is not dis-ease. Here’s Mirriam Websters def.dis·ease noun \di-ˈzēz\
: an illness that affects a person, animal, or plant : a condition that prevents the body or mind from working normally

: a problem that a person, group, organization, or society has and cannot stop.
I will stop you right there Mirriam by saying there are allot of things that society can’t stop yet we do not define them a disease. That’s a poor definition Mirriam.

SHAME BEGINS AT A VERY YOUNG AGE BUT I WON’T GET INTO THAT.

Addiction is a spiritual malady because of our own moral boundaries that we cross when addicted. These rationals result in deep and embedded shame and guilt which cause the need for further numbing of feelings.

Addicts are experts at denial…it’s an emotional survival skill. Deep denial leads to self delusion meaning we often end up being blind to what’s really going on with us and our emotions.

Addiction is also an emotional sickness because of emotional disorder or an inability to regularly engage in healthy emotional processes like crying or sharing deep feelings pile up in us.

IT IS VITAL TO LEARN HOW TO REACH OUT AND SHARE, TO LEARN HOW TO CRY OR BEAT THE BAG, JOURNAL, SCREAM IN THE CAR (ALL EMOTIONAL OUTLETS) IF WE ARE GOING TO SURVIVE SOBRIETY WITHOUT VIEWING SUICIDE AS A SOLUTION AT SOME POINT OR RELAPSE OR ALIENATE EVERYONE WE LOVE BY BLAMING THEM FOR THE WAY WE FEEL INSIDE.
IT TAKES ENERGY TO PROCESS REPRESSED EMOTIONS. DEPRESSION IS HURT TURNED TO – ANGER WITHOUT ENTHUSIASM.
In my opinion

PS part of the cure is not drinking.

Medications & Recovery

 

THE TOTALLY CONTROVERSIAL TOPIC OF: TAKING MEDS WHILE IN TWELVE STEP RECOVERY.

FINDING THE PERFECT BALANCE THAT LIES SOMEWHERE BETWEEN “MARTYR” & DOPE FIEND.

AA put out a pamphlet on medications & recovery.  In a nutshell it’s easy to anticipate AA’s stance if you have read the Big Book. Listen to your doctor, doctors are good, we members are not physicians etc.  http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/p-11_aamembersMedDrug.pdf  Or rather a group of AA’s members and their stance on taking medications while in recovery.   There are many drug-addict/alcoholics in AA who have medicinal needs whether it me psychological meds or pain meds.  It seems to me that the recovering alcohol-addicts who wrote the AA pamphlet do not have a well-rounded view of doctors and their common practices.  CLEARLY BY MY OWN EXPERIENCE AND THOSE CLOSE TO ME DOCTORS DO NOT ALWAYS HAVE THE PATIENTS WELL BEING AT HEART.  How can they help no promoting drugs that they are getting kick-backs from the drug company for…and it’s completely legal.

The AA pamphlet called, “THE AA MEMBER: MEDICATIONS & OTHER DRUGS” which, mind you is full of good advice, excuse me “suggestions”….well, under certain circumstances  it would be good advice.  Unless of coarse, your doctor is harboring a century old resentment toward his alcoholic & addict parents for instance…not such a good idea to spill your wide-eyed confession out onto the highly toxic floor.   Then there’s the doctor who goes right to treating the symptoms, the hell with healings & causes!   He applies drugs no matter what the ailment in spite of what his (perceived) feeble-minded patient informs him of.  What does a patient know after all?  Uneducated and below his own social status.  This kind of doctor will object to any curtailing of his normal methods of doctoring.  This kind of doc seldom listens to any patient.

Really?  Does everybody just automatically take the doctors prognosis as gospel?  Seems like the people I have heard share in AA on this topic have absolutely no inclination what-so-ever to question a doctor’s advice….I find that odd.   I have repeatedly heard physicians painted as all-knowing saints who should never be questioned by the lowly and  conniving alcoholic.  In my subconscious I am wondering what’s behind that kind of blind faith in any human being.  

And just to stray off topic a bit…assuming that every addict lied and cheated his way into his oh-so-successful addiction is an assumption that reveals the character of he who assumes.  Everybody lies at one time or another, yes.  But not everyone stooped to a standard level of “if they’re mouth is moving they are lying” I came from the school of “honor among thieves”.    But oh_________ how some people love to brag in a packed meeting about their “stealing your dope and then helping you look for it.”     It’s only a fifth step confession by the way if your feeling at least a little guilty about it.   Boasting is a whole other matter folks categorized under the flaw of false-pride.  “false” because it isn’t the good “pride” in a hard worked job well done.  This boasting (hypothetical but common member) is a prideful balloon of ego ready to pop wide open at revealing his next villainous act.   Sorry..back to the meds!

Truly writers of this pamphlet and the Big Book obviously haven’t been watching the commercials that inform us about the many lawsuits over hanus prescription drugs advertised by lawyers everywhere.  Nor are they taking into account the kickbacks that doctors get for prescribing certain harmful and questionable, newly developed drugs.  Don’t get me wrong like I said “good advice” but only under the circumstance that you have a truly good man or woman as a doctor.  What are the odds?

We must as addicts in recovery find our own boundaries where meds are concerned and this is not an easy task it will take time and counsel.  We cannot depend on our doctors in many cases for the best “next right thing” to do.  We must be true to ourselves where meds are concerned and find the perfect balance that lies somewhere between martyr and dope fiend because both are self-destructive.  Martyr being the man who suffers so badly with a physical or emotional ailment that he is continually miserable in sobriety.  Yet he refuses all and any help from the doctor because of his NA counterparts that deem such consumptions a relapse.  At some point we should as people learn to let ourselves off the hook and not be so rigid with ourselves and others.  At the same time we don’t want to become so lax that we are not connected to what fulfills us.

Abstinence from prescriptions is not always best in fact it can be dangerous.  Many if not most people in AA are on anti-depressants.  Anti-depressants will most likely quit working at some point.  Doctors have to continually switch people around from drug to drug, change dosages, and try different combinations.  Whatever works.  And hey I mean that it’s not for me to judge.  Next there’s the pain issue.  If you’re a narcotics addict and pain drugs are your drug of choice best draw the line at surgery.  Especially early on in recovery.  Meaning don’t take them unless you have severe pain.  There are drugs like “Buprenorphine” that are non-narcotic yet very strong.  There is allot of controversy about this drug.  And if you are in Narcotics Anonymous good luck with finding a sponsor who won’t dub you “still using”.  If  this is the case, hey there are lots of addicts in Alcoholics Anonymous, “the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.”  If you are in AA and are not abusing your Buprenorphine then you are sober.  

The addict mind prior to a psychic change better yet a total mental transformation is incapable of thinking like a normal person regarding drugs therefore if you have to have surgery in your first five years or so don’t expect to not hear the voices of obsession in your head when you bring home those Percocet for post-operative pain.  You can take them as directed but most likely they will talk to you in between doses…they did me.  That doesn’t mean I relapsed it meant I was triggered by them.  A thought does not constitute a relapse.  I was going by the book with my meds and doing the right thing while at the same time the addict in me had her voice as well.  Things are not always just one way they can be both.

More about suboxone & methadone.  Well if an addict gets on these drugs early on and uses them temporarily to “adjust” emotionally to sobriety that could be a good thing if there is a gradual and complete reduction.  I have seen these drugs help people transition into sobriety slowly and successfully.  I know some people who started with methadone, switched to suboxone, weened off that  and have been sober a very long time.  They got off both drugs within a year.  Keep in mind that these success stories also include doing allot of step work, getting a sponsor, having therapy, going to many meetings, opening up to people and making new friends in AA.  

If my friends had stayed on those drugs past say a year chances are they would not have worked through their emotional underlying issues…YOU HAVE TO FEEL TO HEAL.  The drugs may work for a while to suppress painful emotions but when they stop working the addict will either honker down, work the 12 steps, get some therapy and start to really recover or they will just go up, up, up, on the dosage until other drugs like cocaine, alcohol etc, start to look like a solution. 

Remember if alcohol is only a symptom of a deeper problem then finding and alleviating that problem is the solution.  Usually that problem is grave emotional disorder.

The important thing is to learn how to live and work the steps often and at least when we need it and to establish an ongoing relationship with a Higher Power.  If drugs interfere with that process or cause unmanageability then that constitutes a slip.  If a psychic change doesn’t take place “the same man will drink again”.  People who get on pain meds which cause no unmanageability have not relapsed…. have they?   Again you have to feel to heal.

My advice no suggestion  (if you’re new to AA the word “advice” is extremely and politically incorrect)…anyway, if you have a serious pain issue say you broke your leg or severed a limb personally I wouldn’t tell the doc at the ER “I am an addict” you’re liable to go home with a bottle of aspirin.  Seriously most doctors are either all in or all out when they hear the word “addict”.  Either they will prescribe when it’s unwarranted or they won’t prescribe when it’s truly needed in spite of the label you are wearing.  

It’s a matter of throwing the dice.   I have had it go both ways.  My pain doctor knows my story and he has asked me lots of questions about recovery life, it interests him.  If I am in pain he works with me he is neither all in or all out he prescribes judging by the symptom and watches me for any evidence of what he calls “deviation” from recovery.  I have also had the opposite happen when I told one new doctor my history and was swiftly treated like I was an inmate in a prison by the meanest jail guard there.  With no logical explanation this doctor cut my seizure medication in half.  Not a good idea it could have killed me.  So prayer and common sense play into it.

Be sure to talk to someone about your medicinal situation if you have guilt feeling get them out.  We addicts oftentimes lay guilt trips on ourselves.  False guilt will eat us alive and there is always someone out there looking to validate how wrong you are.  By the same token there are emotional enablers a plenty.  Finding an emotionally  balanced confidant in any 12 step program is very important.  Addicts tend to swing to either one extreme or the other.  Therapy, the 12 steps, and spirituality WILL bring you emotional balance after a time…and two times.  Thank you so much for reading along.  If you are a writer submit your recovery articles to http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/2/recovering-sober-writers-wanted/

THE PAMPHLET

• No A.A. member should “play doctor”; all

medical advice and treatment should come from a

qualified physician.

• Active participation in the A.A. program of

recovery is a major safeguard against alcoholic

• Be completely honest with your doctor and

yourself about the way you take your medicine.

Let your doctor know if you skip doses or take

more medicine than prescribed.

• Explain to your doctor that you no longer

drink alcohol and you are trying a new way of life

in recovery.

• Let your doctor know at once if you have a

desire to take more medicine or if you have side

effects that make you feel worse.

• Be sensitive to warnings about changes in

your behavior when you start a new medication

or when your dose is changed.

• If you feel that your doctor does not

understand your problems, consider making an

appointment with a physician who has experience

in the treatment of alcoholism.

• Give your doctor copies of this pamphlet.

 

 

THE MYSTERY OF THE ADDICT “BOTTOM”

 

 “The Mystery of the Unpredictable Bottom”

No one absolutely no one knows when they or anyone else will hit the emotional bottom that it takes to get sober.  Getting clean and sober is no easy task. 

 

However, if we have hit a nasty emotional bottom, it usually causes a deep and lingering fear within us of returning to the horrible drink and drug that planted our guilt. That fear in itself can supply the momentum needed to stay sober long enough to get a sponsor and work the steps.  Unfortunately we never know when that bottom will appear.  We never know when a loved one will have had enough. 

Sometime the fear of going back out hangs onto to us even after years of sobriety.  Reason being most of us have relapsed so many times we just don’t trust ourselves.  Think about it, even if another man betrays us we never fully trust him again.  We do this same thing to ourselves (most of us) by setting out to stay sober over and over and failing miserably.  Therefore we tend to feel we are on really shaky ground even after years of sobriety.  As a solution for that fear I would tell myself.  “Self, it’s not you that is keeping you sober, you are relying on the program now, as long as you work the program, the program works!  You will not relapse.  I knew it worked because I heard testimony upon testimony of just that in meetings.

Typically with addicts we may feel extremely guilty and remorseful about the the debauchery of the night before and quit for a day or two.  But unfortunately again addicts forget so quickly the pain of a hangover or the pain of withdraw symptoms until directly after the next benge.  

What the program does if we work it is remind us of the pain we have been through so its not so easy to justify that first drink or first drug.  Therefore, the rationalization and memory lapses that are required to get drunk again do not happen as readily.  

So many times we addicts get sober then hope and pray our loved ones will follow suit.  We think if we just share what worked for us surely they will take the same route.  Why wouldn’t they?  We think. But very seldom do they follow suit until they finally hit their own pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. 

The more we harp on them to stay sober and preach to them about what worked for us the more it pushes our loved ones away.

So we pray “God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change the courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference.”  

RELAPSE & STEP FOUR

RELAPSE SUCKS BUT THERE IS A WAY TO QUICKLY CLEAR THE EMOTIONAL WRECKAGE.  I DIDN’T MAKE IT UP ITS RIGHT OUT OF THE BIG BOOK.

This article has some really helpful (step) writing exercises to get past the horrible feelings that come along with a relapse and trying to step back into the rooms of AA or NA with a clear head and free heart. We who are returning from a relapse are no worse or better than the man with 20 years sober, just in a different place. As people we are all equal but just because our head knows that our heart condemns us and wants us to beat ourselves severely. These feelings can prevent us from re-entering the rooms and making another attempt at sobriety. Our head tells us “what’s the use we will just screw up again?” NOT TRUE because this time we will use the steps and rely on AA to stay sober rather than ourselves. Once we realize it’s the program and our Higher Power that keeps us sober rather than ourselves we can walk with confidence that the program works. All we need do is work it.

Relapse Feels Horrible here is a great solution for the remorse.  It’s one little assignment that is tried and true…if we can just pick up a pencil and paper to do it!!!    Relapse brings up a lot of guilt and shame which sucks, however it is the perfect time to get some serious baggage off of our heart.

AFTER WE WRITE OUR FEAR LIST with our short explanation of “what happened and how it made me feel”  WE ASK GOD TO REMOVE ALL THE FEARS AND CHARACTER DEFECTS WE HAVE CONFIDED IN OUR HIGHER POWER.  We share our fear list with an empathetic listener who will relate to us and NOT INVALIDATE OUR VALID EXPRESSION of fears.  Women are usually more empathic than men.

 Building self-esteem happens when we take one right action at a time.  First thing, write core feelings.  Write the self-loathing and the feelings of utter worthlessness which addicts feel after a relapse.
Example: I feel like a failure, I hate myself for the things I have done to me and others (children especially).  Write the fears associated with thoughts like: I let down my fellows, what will they think of me now?  I want people to like me but now they will know I am a failure.  Write all the society fears associated with relapse.  Write the shame of re-entering the rooms after a relapse and what that does to your reputation and how it makes you feel.

Our head will tell us this exercise is just making matters worse.  Our head will say “why should I replay this it just causes pain?”  But this exercise should feel yucky!  It goes against our very nature to hide away and repress feelings of inferiority.  Then cover it all up with a bow of character defects and blame everyone else.  Well that does have it’s uses but it will never get me well.  And the feelings I hide will come out sideways eventually at those I love most.  So if we are going to feel like shit anyway we may as well feel like crap on our way to getting better than feel like crap on our way to getting sicker.  Your choice.

GET TO THE CORE FEELINGS THAT MOST EVERY RELAPSER FEELS UNLESS THEY ARE A SOCIOPATH or can’t get honest.  These admissions of feelings and fears WILL cut the ego to the quick!  These core human emotions, when addressed & processed will set the addict free from anxiety if done thoroughly and regularly.Next write all the fears about security.  I lost my house I am scared shitless, I am ashamed I now live in a trailer.  Write: I maxed out my credit cards, how will I ever pay it back?  My life sucks now financially, all that money I spent, regret, regrets regret!  I am afraid I will be homeless!  Don’t just write it like your balancing your check book or something, no!  Write an expression of emotion straight from the core of your heart words that would embarrass you thoroughly if anyone read them.
On a Fourth Step let’s face it folks; if we only write what we are comfortable sharing with others we won’t get a damn thing out of the step work.  Write the stuff that you want hidden, write the stuff that makes you squirm at the thought of anybody seeing it!  Write the stuff that you have hidden for years!There is a reason that we talk about the three fear groups.  Sex, society and security are mankind’s main concern, not just the addicts concerns.
When we get into fear 99% of the time it’s about losing our security in one or more of these areas.  Therefore it makes sense to write these fears like it instructs us to in the fourth step Big book.After we have expressed our feelings on paper and have listed our fears we re-visit our third step.  We remember that God has our back in all these areas and we ask him or her or it to remove all the fears we listed.
Next we confess our fears and feelings in a meeting or to our sponsor.  We do the fifth step on the worst of these fears and they will lose power over us!It’s easy for other people to tell us to “get over it”.  But that’s easier said than done, we can’t take our heart out and put it in the dishwasher with the dirty dishes.  Sure some things we can just shrug off but other feelings need a little work to help us process and get out.
The people who say “get over it” are often the ones who repress so many emotions that they are one heart-beat from a break-down.  We came to AA to learn how to deal with our emotions not how to shut them down and get sicker.  Always pray before any step-work so your recovery gets the supernatural kick-start that it needs.
  AFTER WE WRITE OUR FEAR LIST with our short explanation of “what happened and how it made me feel”  WE ASK GOD TO REMOVE ALL THE FEARS AND CHARACTER DEFECTS WE HAVE CONFIDED IN OUR HIGHER POWER.  We share our fear list with an empathetic listener who will relate to us and NOT INVALIDATE OUR VALID EXPRESSION of fears.  Women are usually more empathic than men.

AA “I won’t co-sign your bullshit!”

THERAPY VS PROGRAM?

“I WON’T CO-SIGN YOUR BULLSHIT!”

 One of the first steps of true healing is expressing our deepest fears and hurts.  We should have at least one person who won’t shut us down.  Someone we can tell anything.  But first we have to become courageous enough to let our heart be heard.

“I won’t co-sign your bullshit!” scream the 12 step sponsors to the detriment of their heartsick fellows!   When and how is it okay to let out our hurt while attending Alcoholics Anonymous?  Sponsors tend to shut down our pain when it’s bubbling up in us and ready to explode.  That is not healthy.  Teaching mere distractions from our core issues is dangerous.  At some point in our program we need to get to our core reasons for drinking and drugging.  Meditation and prayer will help that.  And working the steps first is fine.  As long as we find an empathic friend or therapist who we can tell anything to.  “What happened and how it made me feel” is the magic guide to what we need to express from our heart.  This is what we need to let out.  And believe me our feelings DO NOT HAVE TO BE LOGICAL.  We should not invalidate our feelings just because they don’t make sense to our mind’s eye.  There is a great need in AA to understand the difference between co-signing bull shit and showing Love by exerting understanding, compassion, and care.

Part of our step 5 should be “what happened and how it made me feel” regarding our most intense memories and feeings in our past.

There is a great need to understand the difference between self-pity and the expression of valid feelings such as anger, and hurt.

Human feelings that result from an abusive past need expressed for us to stay or get sane.

The words, “I know how you feel, you have a right to feel your pain, even if, the feelings derive from years prior” are words that can heal a heart.  Most addicts have stuffed down tears for years that desperately needed to be cried.    Usually when we get clean & sober all our un-cried tears come to the surface and scream to get out. We then ask ourselves: “What’s wrong with me?  I should feel good I tell myself!   Next our sponsors quickly tell us to “get over it and write a gratitude list” as they watch us slam the door in the face of AA.

Gratitude lists work great for self-pity.   However when it comes to the horrible feelings of grief that result from abuse and other childhood trauma all our sponsors suggestion does is add to our low self-image and push us out the doors.

The most common “grave emotional disorder” that addicts in the rooms suffer from is the inability to process deep hurts and trauma. We have turned our hurt to anger and search for a scapegoat to blame for our intolerable feelings. Our hurts have morphed into anger because “grief”,  is unacceptable in our society and in AA unless someone dies. When we experience any other cause of emotional pain except what’s socially acceptable we are often told to just “GET OVER IT!” So driven by shame we bone-up, pretend we are tuff-girls and boys, file our feelings under the “wrong and weak” category  and make ourselves sick till we have no other solution except to numb our so called “Invalid feelings”.

Is it no wonder that when one of us relapses so many seem to be so devastated by it…

even when we scarcely know the person who went back out? We are desperate to let out some of our grief in a way that is acceptable to our fellows. We all step up our meetings and talk about our pain and loss when it usually has nothing to do with the guy who just relapsed.   Few of us were taught by example or in school that it’s ok to scream and cry feelings out, or that crying is a part of emotional health.

Grave emotional disorders

are not healed by just writing down [our part] and transferring all the blame from one scape goat to the next; [ourselves]. Please don’t hear what I am not saying…we addicts have boatloads of character defects that we need to work on however, not all grave emotional disorder is solved by doing a guilt based fourth step. 

Typically Bill was too hard on himself. He was depressed for years and doing his fourth and fifth step did not touch his deep depression.  There comes a time when we must pause from blaming ourselves for where we are at emotionally if we are to find answers and heal. 

THERE IS NO WRONG FEELING

 

Taking responsibility for ourselves includes learning how to process hurt, anger, guilt, remorse, disgust, fear, and pain.  We must quit running from our emotions to recover.  We should start journaling “what happened and how it made me feel.  This is a magic cure to depression.  Then when we get comfortable with that we can share our feelings no matter how ridiculous our head tells us they are. Labeling feelings wrong, staying in denial about them till they come out sideways at those we love most is dysfunctional.  That’s what happens when you call your heart “invalid” and say; “I should not feel that way.”  Intense feeling need journalled and shared.  Intense feeling can be cried out, screamed out, we can beat the mattress, beat the couch, get a plastic bat and beat a strong tree.  This gets feelings out.  Sounds crazy huh?  Well repressing intense fears and feelings is what gets us sick.  Letting them out is one of the most important parts of true recovery.

Have you ever asked why there is so much finger-pointing going on in AA or the world for that matter? And why is it that so few alcoholics and addicts in recovery find healthy and loving long term relationships? We can’t make our significant others’ responsible for our feelings and show them Love at the same time. So many alcoholics just settle for the fact that they will never be able to have a successful relationship if they are to stay sober. Ouch!

Lastly have you ever heard anyone in meetings pit therapy against the program as if there were a war between the two? How about putting religion against the program or pitting religion against therapy (that’s a common one in the church). The fact is these all three are good they are not at war at all.  Combining a therapy with the program and a spiritual program along with it will give you the edge you need to recover.

Every person I know that shows quality sobriety; have used a combination of therapy,  a 12 step program and seek spirituality.   All three are good and all three work if we are willing, open-minded, and honest enough to not practice contempt prior to investigation on any of them.

Therapy vs. program or therapy enhances program?

What is the easiest way to get sober?

PLEASE No more feelings!

You can recover

Laura Edgar

 

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WHY IT WORKS

GOD GRANT ME THE SERENITY TO ACCEPT THE THINGS I CANNOT CHANGE, THE COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS I CAN AND THE WISDOM TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.RARELY HAVE WE SEEN A PERSON FAIL WHO HAS THOROUGHLY FOLLOWED OUR PATH. “BIG BOOK OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS.”

My creator and God is the cornerstone of my spirituality.   I obtained spirituality initially by Step Eleven which is:   “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.”    I continue feeding the spiritual part of my being by doing steps Ten through Twelve.   

 

But not just that; I revisit step three oftentimes to remind myself that God has my back.  I revisit step three to remember that everything WILL be ok because I am not running the show God is.  When I consciously did my Step Three I gave my higher power permission to guide me, and to intervene for the sake of my well-being.  

 

I revisit Step Two when I see myself slipping back into insanity usually due to complacency.   When I see the red flag of fear, intolerance, resentments, hatefulness, and grasping’s for food, sex, or anything else to numb my feelings I know I am getting a little crazy.

 

Lastly I keep a good handle on steps four and five because I do….yes on occasion pick up resentment and fear. I have the directions to maintain spirituality by living the steps. That’s “why” not just “how” it works for me.  

 

The 12 Step programs work because the steps are a practice of good character and spirituality while the disease is a practice of character defects.  As we practice the good character by doing the steps our sanity is established. The longer we live the steps…the more ingrained the good character becomes in our brain.  

 

We build sane bridges over the insane neural pathways of the past.  My sobriety has been supplemented with several formal, long, and thorough fourth steps, each year.   In recovery therapy I learn healthy communication, plus techniques to process painful emotions.   Given all these factors and God’s Grace…why it works is not a mystery…. to me anyway.

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

The reason relapse happens is because the neural pathways that were carved out in our brains do not go away. If I do not maintain spirituality there is a possibility my thoughts will spill or drop off the new bridge of healthy thinking that has been built over the old carved out neural paths of the past. However If I remember that I DO HAVE A CHOICE and tell myself that; I have the ability to take the next right step I will be ok.

 



“Life on Life’s Terms

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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.