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. 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 checkbook 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.

WHO IS YOUR HIGHER POWER?

DO YOU KNOW WHO YOUR HIGHER POWER REALLY IS?

Third Step Prayer short version

God, I offer myself to Thee—to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.  Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.  Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and The way of life.  May I do Thy will always!

A DOOR KNOB IS NOT A POWER GREATER THAN YOURSELF THEREFORE IT IS NOT A “HIGHER POWER”

We want to choose a god deserving of our faith not an inanimate object that has less power than the man who installed it into the door.  Why not seek God with our heart in prayer?  Seek and we will find.  Could it be our resentment, pain, and hurt is much too deep to even consider seeking a god whom we feel is the reason we have suffered?   Or is our desire to control all things too strong in us to risk relinquishing control?   Our pain and consequences of active addiction must be more intense than our fear of the unknown and giving up control.  

In Narcotics Anonymous it has been said many times and is a popular belief that we may conjure up and name our own Higher Power.  Also members have said, if we want to use a door knob as a HP we can.   They say a door knob will work just as good as if we had one of the well-documented HP’s.  Perhaps the “Doorknob” is the official-unofficial HP of N.A.  But again, a doorknob is not a power greater than any human.

Many people in N.A. have major prejudices against organized religion. It is understandable that if we expect any group of people to be spiritually perfect or to adhere to all that their religion teaches we will automatically consider them hypocrites and not worthy of our respect when they falter, sin, or make a mistake contrary to their perspective rules of thumb. These preconceived type-sets that run deep in the neuron-pathways of our brain will have to be set aside or we won’t find a sponsor that we feel is fit to be our guide. All addicts have character flaws and do all religious people.

The first mention of “God” in the 12 steps of A.A. is in Step Two.  “We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity”.  When I did step two I believed that my HP “could” restore me to sanity.  However I wasn’t so sure that IT would restore me (if I had ever been sane).  

My own HP is The Father that Jesus spoke of in the days of old.  My other HP is Jesus Himself.  If this pisses you off be sure to put your prejudice on your step four (I did).  Your feelings of resentment are there for a valid reason no doubt.  You were probably wronged by religious people.  However the steps are about releasing the baggage that deep hurt and resentments cause in our heart and soul.  

Anyway personally I also believe there are many other HP’s which could actually be used as a person’s main recovery HP.  And that any of these god’s have the power available to them to keep a person sober when they learn to rely on them.  Christian doctrine would call my beliefs sacrilegious but, oh well.    I didn’t make-up my beliefs concerning Gods.  I learned to seek God and meditated for many years.  I believe that “The Most High God” and creator gave power to many other beings we can call gods.  Gods such as The Moon Goddess, The God of The Sun, and many more to choose from.

Wikipedia 1,000 Higher Powers to choose from

HOW TO TRULY FIND AND CONNECT WITH YOUR OWN HIGHER POWER

In this article I explain how to really find YOUR higher power by seeking with your heart.  There will be no doubts when God reveals itself to you.  https://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/vengeance-is-mine-sayeth-the-lord/

Addicts, Alcoholics and Manipulation

THE FINE ART OF “MANIPULATION”

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

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

Controlism- The using addicts Creed

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

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

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

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

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

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

THANK GOD FOR THE PROGRAM OF A.A.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly…all of it.  Please don’t white wash A.A.  If Alcoholics Anonymous was perfect I would not fit in.

THANK GOD FOR THE PROGRAM OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS!

I truly believe that if it were not for AA I would not be sober or sane today. This is my anniversary month and I want to express how grateful I truly am for the program. Please, Gainesville AA; gratitude is a state of mind and a feeling not an action. I will not go “gratituding” (if gratitude were an action word the ing would be correct.)   I will express my gratitude by doing some 12th step service work. Ok yes this is one of my pet peeves about Gainesville AA.    The PIRATE DICTIONARY by which they feel they can redefine parts of the English language.   Leave it to a bunch of addicts to assert the audacity to refute the scholars and masters of the English language.

However I am making a point here. In spite of all the little errors and cultish beliefs of AA members the program works. In spite of the fact that my own sponsor has stalked her boyfriend to the gates of insanity. In spite of the fact that most AAers are working hard on smoking themselves to death with cigarettes, still I salute you. And in spite of the fact that the majority of members reek of codependency the program still works!

The 12 steps are still ordained of God and set down as a solution for the sick and suffering. In spite of the fact that Bill W. spent countless years suffering from depression and engaging in infidelity.  THE PROGRAM WORKS AND IT HAS SAVED Mine AND COUNTLESS LIVES.
The question that I personally had to ask myself as I stumbled into the rooms was “What do I need and can I get it here”. That answer was yes these people obviously knew and know how to stay sober and I desperately needed that.

So, I hung in there with that character defect ridden sponsor as she took the time to spoon feed me the solutions I so desperately needed.  And I watched as she kept herself sober by the 12 Steps of AA.  And she picked up her own 10 year medallion years ago. I hung in with years of meetings and worked the 12 steps over and over year in and year out until I knew and worked recovery as a way of life. I taught others, I made suggestions and I shared in countless meetings, jails and rehabs.

I had a knack for speaking and I could present the steps like a pro. In AA you can learn and practice public speaking in front of hundreds of listeners free of charge.  I loved it!  I didn’t come to AA looking for perfection I came looking for a solution to my self destructive life patterns.

So, now as I approach my tenth year sober without a hit of crack cocaine, or a shot of heroin I still balk at the cultish dogma.   And I sometimes sneer at the non-empathic beat-downs going on between members. I look on as my brothers and sisters that I love stay sober and do a little bitching themselves about certain aspects of the program.

One of the most brilliant counselors and longtime members in the program that has helped thousands upon thousands by his knowledge and ability to characteristically share wrote a book called “The Lies Told in AA”. Does that mean that he will walk away from the program because it is now full of imperfect people? HELL NO!

We must get outside help where we can, where we fit in. People do get sober in church, I did that myself one time for several years BUT the thing is, I never really fit in there like I do in AA. Church people are very much like program people.   As a matter of fact church people appear to have that same empty black hole in their soul that they must fill with God to be OK.

We AAers have that in common with the church folks.  Best if you are trying to stay sober to go to church, AA, AND THERAPY.  Go in spite of the imperfections that are part of the human condition.

Go and get your psychic change my friend because you have earned your seat and its empty and waiting for you. So thank you AA , therapy, church and my own Higher Power for saving my life so I can engage in my own character defects, growing old, and the joys of life that sobriety has most definitely brought me.

THANK YOU ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS AND GOD

WHY PEOPLE RUN FROM A.A.

        

AA IS A PROGRAM OF ATTRACTION RATHER THAN PROMOTION

IF WE WANT TO STAY SOBER WE MUST BE WILLING TO BECOME TEACHABLE

Why would people who need help so badly run from the very program that has helped so many with the same malady? Without the ingredient of ‘desperation’ the alcoholic addict will try anything except giving up and signing over power to a sponsor and A.A.
What would keep me from being teachable?
1. FALSE PRIDE AND SHAME-, False pride tells me that if I don’t know literally EVERYTHING then I am stupid, wrong, and bad. False pride says that only the most brilliant people are qualified to teach me anything. Working the steps and getting a sponsor curtails the lies my psyche is telling me to keep me sick.
2. . TRUST ISSUES Clearly I can’t get a sponsor because everyone is out to get me. The world revolves around my belly button therefore the world wants to know my fifth step and if I get a sponsor, he will sell tickets to the opening night show. “Mickey’s Fifth Step on Parade”. Yikes! However, realize this; there are only so many deadly sins. Seven to be exact. Most people’s step five are pretty much the same…boring sex, wrath, thieving, and the like.
3. FEAR OF COMMITMENT Omg! In my past addiction I made so many appointments that I could not keep. I am now gun-shy of commitment. I use words like ‘maybe’, ‘probably’, ‘most likely’ but never ‘yes I will be there’. Commitment is hard for me because of my past failures to keep them. The good news is now I am so desperate to get sober that I WILL KEEP MY APPOINTMENTS WITH MY SPONSOR NO MATTER WHAT. In addition, by doing that I am walking through the fear and building my self-worth. I am working the good principles and that magically feeds recovery to my soul.
4. FEAR OF BEING CONTROLLED BY OTHERS I used to hand over power to my partners to make them feel good so I could get what I wanted from them. After they made my choices for me (so I would not have to fear the outcome), they would put me on a time clock. Where are you going? What time will you be back? Whom are you going with? etc., etc. After a while, I would snatch back the power I had turned over. My codependent dance partner would then suffer from intense anger and lash out at me as if I had done something terrible. Won’t a sponsor do the same thing? Won’t the same sick dance take place? Fortunately not. Sponsors know we only suggest, we do not control our sponcees. We suggest to them what worked for us. It is my choice whether I do what is suggested therefore I reap the good consequences of my new actions.
5. ‘FEAR OF RELIGION’ . Religion told me that I am bad and going to Hell. I believed it. I was young and innocent yet they told me of a place of suffering and despair. Moreover, since I was bad, spilled my milk, and made an F on my report card they said I would surely be sent to the lowest pit in the underground skyscraper called “Hell”. I cannot bear to be terrorized by religious views anymore. AA must not be religious, we are a spiritual program. Step 11 proves that we are a spiritual not religious program of choice. There is no Hell in our Big Book.
6. THE FEELING I AM GOING TO LOSE SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT TO ME. My addict is scared to death of not having the drugs that worked to suppress my fears and emotional pain for so long. NOW MY DOPE HAS STOPPED WORKING. I have hit a brick wall. I drank and drugged repeatedly so many times I nearly killed myself. Therefore, I walk through the fear and distrust. I muddle though the past betrayal, I walk in the rooms, shrouded in shame and I say with all my heart; I am Mickey and I want to change, I can’t go on like I am, please show and teach me how to recover.

     HERE ARE THE NINTH STEP PROMISES THAT DO COME TRUE WHEN WE WORK THE STEPS HONESTLY AND THOROUGHLY   

   THE NINTH STEP PROMISES

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through.  We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.  We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.  We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.  No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.  That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.  We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.  Self-seeking will slip away.  Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change.  Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.  We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.  We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises?  We think not.  They are being fulfilled among us____sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.  They will always materialize if we work for them.

 

Read a similar article by Martha Lockie)

Tom B “Emotional Sobriety”

Tom B video on Emotional Sobriety and Recovery from Alcoholism
Published on May 28, 2013
Awesome share by one of the best AA speakers, Tom B. This is perhaps the BEST talk on the topic of “emotional sobriety” I have ever heard! MUST LISTEN! 🙂 From the book Alcoholics Anonymous: “In spite of the great increase in the size and span of this Fellowship, at its core it remains simple and personal. Each day, somewhere in the world, recovery begins when one alcoholic talks with another alcoholic, sharing experience, strength, and hope.”

Here’s the link to the really good and helpful video. Tom B AA Video

12 Steps and (the right) Therapy Go Hand In Hand

Thank God for AA and Empathic Therapy

“We are convinced that a spiritual mode of living is a most powerful health restorative. …But this does not mean that we disregard human health measures. … though God has wrought miracles among us, we should never belittle a good doctor or psychiatrist. Their services are indispensable in treating a newcomer and in following his case afterward.” [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, p. 133]

HAVING WRITTEN THAT…..

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Me and a group of recovering addicts/alcoholics had the opportunity to participate in group therapy from a brilliant ground-breaking therapist and writer in the field of “Trauma and Recovery”.   Randall Mayrovitz is employed at Meridian Healthcare, Bridgehouse Rehabilitation Center.  The  therapy took place in 2006, our little group of women are still to this day sober and very much emotionally healed.  And thanks to the 12 step program spiritually fed.  Our commonality besides addiction is we women had suffered from abuse and neglect, of different types and different extents.

Please, we all love AA and still go on the most part.  We believe deeply in the working of the steps.  However, each of us women believe in our heart of hearts that without learning what Randy taught us in group, we would not have made it.  The pain was much too deep to be healed by looking only at “our part” in matters.

Learning our own patterns of dysfunction was a large part of recovery.  But do we shut down the tears of a five year old who is black and blue from the fist of a parent?   Do we send him off with an assignment to write down his part in the abuse?  An abused child now an adult does not grown out of needing comfort, care, and an understanding and loving hand to say,  “I feel your pain, its safe to cry.”   An abused child suffers and until that child is taught a way to heal they will be sick and continue to suffer.  Outside issue you say?  Well in some ways yes.  But also for us it is the issue.  Causes and conditions, the reason we (not all) drank and drugged was to bury feelings we could not bear.  Addiction is a shame based malady with fear at the helm and anger spewing from the rudder.  If addiction were or is solely a spiritual malady then we must all have a demon dwelling in us.  For us spirituality is the remedy but the sickness is very much emotional coupled with a lack of spirituality.  In my opinion.

Randall

EMPATHIC RECOVERY STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

We come together as survivors of painful life experience seeking a place to heal our wounds.  We’ve reached a point in our recovery where interventions aimed at symptomatic relief no longer satisfy us.  We recognize the revolving door of symptom substitution and feel the weight of something deeper.

While our symptoms and circumstances may vary, the end product of our trauma is the same: frozen feelings bottled inside because it was too unsafe to feel.  It was our natural inborn impulse to express these feelings in order to heal and grow.  Their suppression has created a powerful negative energy, driving us to emotional, physical, and spiritual illness and destructive behaviors.

Through each other’s empathic support and understanding, we hope to be able to restore our life flow, the inner force that guides us toward vitality and well being, compelling us to feel our darkest pain in order to recapture our deepest pleasure.  In so doing, we will slowly render unhealthy coping mechanisms useless, giving expression to old and new feelings and healing our wounds one piece at a time.

I will be publishing more from the Empathic Healing Workbooks that we were given at Bridgehouse

The Healing Journey

Embracing The Storm

Empathic Relashionships

On Buprenorphine in Recovery?

(Buprenorphine facts are taken from physician desk reference and the Suboxone.com website and the pamphlet that Subutex/Suboxone distributes.   And other various research reference sites online. )

FINGER POINTING AND FALSE COMPARISONS

It has come to my attention that the belief systems running through NA and even AA are that if your on any kind of pain drug from your doctor or even a rehabilitation maintenance type drug such as buprenorphine then your “not clean & sober”.  What I want to do here today is take a fair and balanced look at this issue and define what sobriety or clean and sober really is.  I also want to take a look at each of a few drugs and point out the differences in how they do affect a person trying to rehabilitate from an abusive and addicted lifestyle.

What is the cure?

Firstly and foremost I want to say, and this trumps anything following that I have written.  You have to feel if you want to heal.  Therefore in recovery we must be able to do the steps with our entire emotions invested in the process for it to work.  When we stop drinking and drugging there is a natural process of emotions in us that surface in perfect order.  Stuff comes up from the past that we have ignored or stuffed down  and repressed by using drugs and ignoring our emotions.  If we are still numbing ourselves out we won’t be able to heal 100% by addressing our underlying issues and processing those issues.

ALCOHOL AND DRUGS ARE BUT A SYMPTOM OF AN UNDERLYING ISSUE OR SICKNESS

Emotional disorder- is the inability to process our feelings.  We, I tend to stuff down and put into denial my intense feelings of FEAR in the form hurt, anger, betrayal, abandonment, rejection, and the big one inferiority.

First I want to point out that addiction is due to underlying causes such as emotional and mental disorders.  Some people think the disease is in our  DNA and hereditary they may be right.   But I believe it’s a learned behavior and the sex, drugs, gambling, food, alcohol are a solution to our deep fear, anxiety, and depression.   The drugs eventually stop working and our cure becomes lethal to us.  If we were emotionally balanced we wouldn’t need the steps the program or even God until our death…then we better have a relationship built with a Higher Power that can deliver us from death because we are all headed that way dope or no dope.

PEOPLE GET INJURED, SICK AND NEED PAIN MEDICINES FROM THE DOCTOR

We can be so sick or injured that if we don’t take our medicine our quality of life will be way worse than if we don’t. We mustn’t judge others for taking pain meds.   Come what may some day karma may tap us on the shoulder with some excruciating and chronic pain from a sudden injury.  To thine own self be true.  We are not martyrs.

I think if a man does have to take pain meds he has a better chance at recovery if it’s later rather than sooner.  Once you have six years under your belt sober I personally believe we don’t think with an addict mind anymore therefore we have a much better chance at following the doctors orders in sobriety.

 

WHAT IS CLEAN & SOBER?

Step One “We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol (drugs) and our lives had become unmanageable.”

If there is an absence of un-manageability then ones life is manageable.  If there is an absence of powerlessness then there is no issue…is there?  Just like a gun can be used for a good purpose to protect our families they can also be used to murder and mame.  A product in and of itself is not evil it is mans use of that product which defines weather it is good or evil.  Even Heroin, morphine and cocaine  are used for good purposes in hospital settings.  And don’t think hospitals don’t use Cocaine I had jaw surgery and know better.  They put cocaine on a long q-tip and went from nasal to throat cleaning it out.

Heroin; some scientists proclaim is a much better pain killer than Morphine however due to the prejudices and stigmas attached to it they use Morphine instead.  If one labels an inanimate object “evil” just because someones use of it makes it evil that is called a prejudice.  We can be prejudiced in our minds over any people, places, and things.

If I am addicted to pornography then the computer is my evil catalyst where-as if a scientist posts the cure for cancer on his science blog and it is used around the world then the computer is a wonderful tool that saves lives.  These examples tend to apply to anything.  Chocolate cake at a 5 year olds birthday party is something he will enjoy and look back on all his life.  How his mother nurtured him emotionally with her positive attention.  And yet to the obese man a chocolate cake is the evil which can kill him.  Sugar is actually poison which WILL kill him.

Pot or Marijuana to some people is their evil.  They abuse it relentlessly.  Others do not.  Hear me OTHERS DO NOT.  Just because someone can’t take narcotics without abusing them doesn’t mean they can’t smoke pot responsibly.  Pot is a drug that can be used reasonably in recovery in my opinion as long as you are not smoking it abusively and soberly work the 12 step program with a sponsor.  Go to meetings 90 and 90 and all the other stuff suggested.

HYPOTHETICAL:  MARIJUANA

Say Johnny smokes some weed at night and then he goes during the day to meetings and works the steps.  He is also seeking God with his heart and getting group therapy.  He doesn’t smoke pot during or before his recovery appointments.  He has stopped crack smoking and every other hard drink and drug he was doing.  Please don’t tell Johnny he is not sober he is doing great and so much better than he was.  He is a father to his children he is home at night.  And don’t forget he has been on dope pretty much all his life.  Having a cushion to keep his rage in check till he can work through his emotional issues is a plus.  Don’t ask Johnny to go on anti-depressants just so he can be legal.  Pot works for Johnny and is soon to be legal where he lives.   Do you think that smoking cigarettes is a healthy recovery thing to do?  Yet cigarettes are accepted among NA and AA members and don’t cancel out your recovery.  Why would pot cancel -out your recovery if Nicotine doesn’t?  Why would we judge Johnny as “not sober”, he doesn’t smoke cigarettes which are a drug also.  Cigarettes are an unfair status-quo in the rooms.  Cigarettes will kill you quick and are far more harmful than Marijuana if it’s smoked occasionally and not abusively.  Most cigarette smokers smoke way too much but yet they are considered sober.  And they are sober just not perfectly sterilized sober.  Bill Wilson our co-founder of A.A. died from cigarette addiction as a matter of fact in the form of He died from emphysema and pneumonia.  Why am a telling you this?  To point out that even the best of the best have secondary addictions.  For me it’s the internet and food.  None of us are truly qualified to harshly judge others.

BUPRENORPHINE (SUBOXONE, SUBUTEX)

I have know people that used buprenorphine when they started recovery and weaned down and people who have had to start med well into their tenth or more year.  Firstly if your on Suboxone which is buprenorphine and Naloxone combined don’t bother shooting it.  The Naloxone is only effective for relatively 20 minutes just long enough to block your rush and initial effects.  When the Naloxone wears off your drug works the way it is supposed to so as to reduce pain or cravings.  Secondly they have developed both Suboxone and Subutex (both buprenorphine) with a ceiling…if you take more than 3 pills don’t expect to feel the fourth one BUT you can still OD on them.   you just won’t get any higher than if you took 3. YOU CAN NOT GET ANY HIGHER ONCE YOU HAVE HIT THE BUPRENORPHINE CEILING.

Thirdly don’t expect Buprenorphine to get you high like an opiate the scientists have developed this PARTIAL OPIATE AGONIST so it won’t have the effects of a full blown agonist or “NARCOTIC”.  Put simply the chemical Buprenorphine does go to your opiate receptors. However, picture your receptors with a closed door in front of them.  When you take an opiate the door swings wide open and your receptors are drenched with the effects.  With partial opiate agonists such as Tramadol or Bubrenorpine the door to your receptors only opens half-way so the receptors only get half as sedated.

METHADONE

Methadone works to keep Heroin addicts off the street, keeps them from having to steal and rob to get heroin however it is very strong and will stop the natural process of healing and recovery.  So if methadone is used in the beginning of recovery it should be a temporary thing to ween off of eventually.  Then it can be considered progress.

ALCOHOL

Alcohol is a drug.  If you can sit down and drink 2 or even 3 drinks and stop every time.  If drinking doesn’t make you want to use crack or shoot dope etc. then your obviously not an alcoholic.  Personally I don’t know nor do any of the people I have asked know one dope fiend who is not also an alcoholic.
So as a rule if you want recovery you will have to stop drinking.

Bottom line we do the best we can.  If we are working the 12 step program and our lives are manageable then we are clean and sober if we have not picked up our drug of choice and abused it basically.

“NOT ONE ALCOHOLIC OR ADDICT WORKS A PERFECTLY STERILE PROGRAM WITH NO VICES”

Whether it be food, sex, sick relationships, gambling, cigarettes, weed, non-narcotic pills, wrath, violence, serial killing, wife beating, every addict in recovery tends to fall back on some vice or another.  We all humans commit sin of some sort.  We are human and I think we were created imperfect.  Perfectionism will beat us down if we don’t get it in check.  We will never be perfect and it is futile to struggle with ourselves relentlessly in a cycle of guilt and self-floggings that originated in our first addiction.  When we get into that cycle we go to a meeting.  “MOVE A MUSCLE CHANGE A THOUGHT”.   WE MUSTN’T JUDGE OUR OWN INSIDES BY OTHER PEOPLES OUTSIDES OUR FELLOWS ARE SELDOM TRANSPARENT.

 

 

Daily Meditation By Fred Hundt

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

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

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

___________________________________________–by Fred Hundt

STEP ELEVEN MEDITATION

WARNING! This article contains religious content such as scripture and mention of Christ and other Biblical characters.  Who knew that meditation is spoken of and advocated in the Bible.  But it is.  I do not speak for the whole of AA.  This is my experience with Step Eleven meditation and I want to share how wondrous meditation can be.

In this chapter of “Paradise for the Hellbound” I have attempted to connect biblical content and ideals with step eleven meditation  and the principles set forth in AA.  I have found that AA puts spiritual matters into practical directions that I for one can follow and be healed.

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.net/twelve-steps-of-alcoholics-anonymous/step-ten-eleven-and-twelve/

“MEDITATION”

(for those that want to read the entire book free at this link)  http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.net/bible/paradise-for-the-hellbound/

Step Eleven “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, Praying only for the knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to Carry that out.”
or originally written “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him praying only for the knowledge of His Will for us and the power to carry that out. ”   Amen
“STEP ELEVEN MEDITATION”

“MEDITATION IN CHRIST

The deepest questions of universal mystery posed by the most intelligent people on Earth can rarely be answered by the intellect alone. They are answered spiritually through the heart and soul by seeking God in meditation.

Gen 24:63
“And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide; and he lifted up his eyes, and saw and behold the camels were coming.”

First Timothy 4:14 & 15
“Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.”

Psalms 119:48
“My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments, which I love and I will meditate on your statutes.”

Philippians 4:8
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.”

Psalms 46:10 “Be still, and know that I [am] God.”

Apostle Paul the author of the book of “Philippians” in the letter to the Church at Philippi instructs the people that they should think on good things. The above scriptures show that we should meditate on God’s statutes. However, if your mind is anything like mine was before becoming conditioned by meditation; practicing positive thinking is easier said than done. Distractions, fear, and lack of concentration are the enemies of peaceful meditation. I was unable to stop fearful and critical thoughts even when I prayed for God to “please, guide my thinking”. My thoughts were laced with fears; ongoing dialogues of events that never took place in the real world and critical thoughts toward myself, other people, groups of people who were nothing more than a label placed on people I didn’t know. Well the practice of meditation when done in the way that I will explain can accomplish in us patience, positive thinking, tolerance, and best of all peace of mind.

Meditation and prayer are in my opinion equally important ingredients in building a relationship with Jesus and the Father. Furthermore, these two Higher Powers are not the only Higher Powers that exist. There are many powers living a higher existence than ourselves with whom we can connect. Hold on do not shut the book yet let me explain. I do not mean worship other gods or put them before God I am talking about spirits from whom we can learn and be comforted. Most Christians believe in guardian angels. In this same way, our own personal Spirit Guide can gently guide us. I have discovered by meditation that I have a group of spiritual teachers and helpers who are truly one with God. They helped me by giving me good quiet suggestions when I was unaware that they existed. They still give me good suggestions though now I know they exist.

When I was new at meditating my belief-system required confirmation that the still small voice I heard was not my imagination or a dream. When two of my Spirit Guides told me their names during meditation, I looked the names up and to my amazement both; the words were Hebrew, proper nouns/names that have divine meanings. Spirit Guides do not make my choices for me nor am I controlled by them.

I do not think that every saved believer will have only one purpose in the afterlife, to lounge around with the lion and the lamb. There is more to the afterlife for humans than lounging no doubt. Some spirit-people that have died will be helping the souls still on Earth. The spirit guides I believe were once human and are now in Gods perfect will in a place where that is possible, they are “Just (justified by the blood of Christ) men made perfect”.

Hebrews 12:22
“But ye are come unto mount Sion, (Zion) and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than [that of] Abel.

Jeremiah 1:5
“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

God spoke to Jeremiah and said, He knew him before he was born. I do believe I existed with God before I became human. That is a concept that I myself at one time would have thought was unthinkable. However, God has taught me that we conventional Christians have presumed way too much about God’s world. By the visions God has given me I realize Heaven is much more than the way it is depicted by the limited and Holy Bible. Through meditation, I realize God is neither legalistic nor limited by man’s perceptions. Seeing God’s wondrous creations helps me know that the Heavens must hold so much wonder.

I do wonder why pretty much across the board Christian religion defines transcendental meditation as evil and an invitation to Satan and his demons to enter. Personally, I believe it takes debauchery or a harmful or hateful act for Satan to enter a human. If we seek God and transcend this reality into a beautiful place that refreshes us how can that be wrong? Howdy, neighbor I just picked up a diabolical evil entity while innocently seeking Jesus with my heart and mind so now I will torture and kill you! Really? What kind of Love would God be showing us if we could be invaded and possessed so easily? I will not apologize for the inability of some folks to understand the truths I have found. Seek to understand rather than to be understood. Those who condemn meditation do not know how beneficial it can be when done in Christ.

 

Just for a moment image that there are other good and supernatural beings other than Gods immediate family.  Take into consideration all the diversity of the creatures on Earth. Our little Earth houses man, beast, insects, sea creatures, air creatures, dirt creatures, and so on. Now change the channel and envision God’s realm where it really is “all good”. How many types of beings do you see? Heaven and God are much vaster than our little Earth. It’s okay to jump out of the box that contains God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit, demons, angels, Prophets and Apostles spirits. If we list God as one entity, we are viewing the totality of the spirit world as having only two types of Spirits and of course Hell having Satan and his demons that is two more. That completes our list, four types of supernatural beings acceptable to Christian believers. In all God’s realms of magic and wondrous mystery, communication with any spirit other than God has to be evil. Furthermore, we had better curb our thoughts about angels because we could slip very easily into putting them before God. Why does the church plant such fear into the minds of Christians? Why is the topic of the supernatural so limited in the church? The origin of such limits comes from viewing reality by what we see with our mortal eyes rather than our spiritual eye.

An anonymous author wrote the epistle (letter) titled “Hebrews” primarily to the Hebrews or Israelites of that time that had converted from Judaism to Christianity. Remember, we will receive the most value from scripture when we apply the message to ourselves but it is interesting to know to whom it was originally written. The author was writing to those who by accepting Christ as their savior have come unto mount Sion, which as we read earlier represents the “new covenant” moreover we have come unto “spirits of just men made perfect.” Once again and rightly so I have my own understanding of this scripture. The perfect spirits that now accompany us are former human beings who share our Living God they know the struggles we humans have to endure.

John the Revelator in The Book of Revelation shows one scriptural example of blessed communication with supernatural beings. St. John wrote the book of Revelation while communicating with an angel. St. John heard Gods voice as well. There are many examples of angelic communications in The Bible. Therefore, I see no more harm in receiving guidance from a Spirit Guide than harm in God providing an angel to save my life or transfer information to mankind. Angels are often defined as “ministering spirits” nevertheless, in most churches that I have attended a spiritual experience involving a guide that is spirit other than God Himself or angelic beings is frowned upon if not forbidden entirely and labeled [of the Devil].

Admittedly, when I first started my journey of meditation I feared Satan and evil. After all my mother taught me that when it comes to the supernatural Satan has far more power than God does. I did not want to open myself up to demons so I invoked the blood of Jesus for protection before each meditation for a long time. At this point in my walk with God I no longer, fear what is out there in meditation. I am in Gods care so I do not feel the need to invoke the blood of Jesus every time I meditate my protection holds fast, I am always protected by Jesus He has shown me this by the “Vision of Jesus” I wrote about in the “Visions” chapter.

Building a relationship takes time and care. Yes, prayer is vital in a relationship with God. Have you ever been in a relationship that the other person does all the talking and you do not have one opportunity to speak? Have you ever tried to talk to a person that just will not listen or let you finish a sentence? It is annoying is it not? Preachers tell us often how important prayer is and how spirituality is about a relationship with Christ but most explain very little if any about how to listen to God. Meditation is about listening to God and training our mind.

When practiced, meditation takes us to a sacred place where we meet God. Meditation is a place where we learn. It is a place to experience new visions, brilliant colors, and magnificent beauty, which cannot be put into human terms. Sometimes during a session, we may receive a renewing of the mind or some much-needed comfort. Maybe it is direction and guidance that we need. Sometimes we have no idea what it is we need until after we receive it during meditation. The bottom line is Meditation is a time to receive and you are worth it; you are a child of God. Often times we cry for our answers and blessings from God yet we do not take the time to slow down and receive what God has for us.

Our meditation is as personal as our prayers and it is as unique as we are. I have meditated while floating on the ocean, floating on the river, lying in the yard, sitting Indian style on the grass, lying inside on the bed, meditation during stretching exercises, and I am experienced enough to meditate while in the dentist chair or riding in the car with my family. I recall one time I was lying in the sun meditating and enjoying my peaceful pleasure. When I came back to earthly reality, I was so hot and starting to get sunburn. It amazed me that during my session I did not even feel the hot sun on my skin. I am in complete control of my faculties during these times I am not in a trance and I stop when I choose to. My Meditation has also become a coping skill that helps me calm down when I am stressed. The benefits are amazing! When I seek, I find and what is waiting to be found during meditation in Christ will surely be an awesome jewel.

The “Songs of Solomon” is a book in the Holy Bible that most theologians believe represents the relationship between The Holy Church and Christ. When I say “Holy Church”, I mean the true believers, Gods children I do not mean a certain denomination or religion. The book abbreviated as “Songs” has a double meaning Christ and the church or man to woman. Either interpretation is a beautiful read. The book of “Songs” has been highly criticized because of its amorous language yet its right to a place in the Bible has been defended by many saintly souls in all ages. “The Church” refers to Christ as her “Beloved” whom she seeks diligently to find and Loves fondly. The sharpened and stirring expressions of “The Church toward Jesus are those of passionate desire and sensuality. Jesus said, “I am the Rose of Sharon and the Lilly of the Valley.” (Songs of Solomon 2:1) These flowers are sweet our closeness with Jesus can be sweet as well.

Sensuality: Stimulated, sharpened, pleasing, dazzling, being heightened enhanced appealing, delightful, luxurious, fine arousing, stirring, and moving.

“Songs” portrays the kind of sensuality that owns no lust. Jesus refers to the church, his bride as “my sister my spouse” which is written from a spiritual standpoint not an incestuous one. Shame-based notions of lustful sex are what disturb some interpreters of the book of Songs.

Songs of Solomon 4:9 through 4:12
“Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, [my] spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck. How fair is thy love, my sister, [my] spouse! How much better is thy love than wine! And the smell of thine ointments than all spices! Thy lips, O [my] spouse, drop [as] the honeycomb: honey and milk [are] under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments [is] like the smell of Lebanon. A garden enclosed [is] my sister, [my] spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.”

Jesus explains in Mathew who his brothers and sisters are.

Mathew 12:50
“For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Those are the words of Jesus.

Songs 5:2
“I sleep, but my heart waketh: [it is] the voice of my beloved that knocketh, [saying], Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, [and] my locks with the drops of the night.”

During meditation, we can experience this kind of intimacy with Christ. We may learn and understand how beautiful it feels to be the sister or brother of Jesus. The scripture reads “Open to me” that is what we do during meditation we expose all of our heart and thoughts to Jesus. Understanding Jesus as a brother and a spouse and inviting him in with the passion and intimacy we would a desired lover will bring fulfillment beyond that of a natural love. Does it make sense that we should desire and take pleasure in Christ even more than a natural lover? Meditate until you get to a peaceful closeness with God.

In my Thompson Chain Reference Bible it is written that only the “mature spiritual mind can interpret the book of Songs.” When we work through our issues of guilt and shame about sexuality that have been instilled from our parents or abuse or sin we are free to enjoy an intimacy with Christ without fear and shame. If we are diligent about seeking God He will put the people in our lives that can help us process and overcome our embedded shame issues. As I have said before Shame is the single most powerful enemy of a relationship with God.

Psalms 4:4 “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.”

Tears are an expression of feelings that words cannot cradle they are truth. Our minds distort and misconstrue what our own heart speaks. The ego abides in the mind and says our heart makes no sense. My intricate thought misunderstands and so changes my soul’s truth to fit what fear dictates. The mind such a great capacity for reason and yet our hearts truth alludes our sometimes enlightened mind. Void of the courage to set out toward the quest to know ourselves we transform truth into an egotistical rational of words. How may we listen to our own heart? Meditation will help us do just that.

Can your heart understand by faith that what the eye sees is of least importance? Mankind is as grass, temporal. My heart needs help to know that the things I cannot see with the eyes are the greatest most powerful keys to the abundant life.

Psalms 119:48
“My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments, which I love and I will meditate on your statutes.”
New King James Version

MOMENT OF CLARITY

MOMENT OF CLARITY

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

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

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

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

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

LOCKED UP

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

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

 

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

9 years 1 month 1 day

Time span:

474 weeks

3318 days

9.08 years

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

Do you know when your moment of clarity was?

By Anonymous

 

EMOTIONALLY GROWING UP IN A.A.

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

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

AGREE TO DISAGREE by working the 12 steps.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Dating and Sex in Sobriety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOBER RELATIONSHIPS and codependency

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

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

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

I wanted to RUN AND BLAME

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

FORGIVENESS and STEP FOUR

krishna-christ

 

FORGIVENESS

Most religions teach forgiveness.  Forgiveness is a part of self-Love because when we forgive we receive peace of mind and healing on an emotional and spiritual level.  But, is it easier to forgive a stranger or a family member?  Don’t we tend to allow family members much more leniency where our boundaries are concerned?

I recently had an argument with some family members.  We argued back and forth and one of them un-friended me…temporarily that is.  However when my nephews new wife entered the picture and began verbally attacking me suddenly I realized that I had totally forgiven the members of my family and now despised this strange women that my nephew had recently married.  I found myself hoping for their speedy divorce so everyone would see what a bitch and traitor she is

Yes it’s a good thing that I so easily forgave my family but it’s just as important to forgive strangers.   I thought to myself; “screw that bitch who does she think she is?  She doesn’t deserve my forgiveness!”   However,  my unforgivness or “resentment” toward her is not hurting her at all.  On the contrary it’s actually hurting me.  Resentments are poison that live inside out bodies until they make us physically sick.  Furthermore a resentment can morph into full blown hate.  And then into wrath where we are lashing out and spewing evil words from our mouth.

Jesus said “It’s not what enters the body that pollutes it but rather what comes out of the body that defiles it.”  http://www.blueletterbible.org/bible.cfm?b=Mat&c=15  They say in A.A. a resentment is like eating poison and waiting for the other person to die.  And really every resentment stems from a lack of love for one’s self.  (Big Book page 417)         http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbook_personalstories_partII.pdf

Acceptance
And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.
When I am disturbed,
It is because I find some person, place, thing, situation —
Some fact of my life — unacceptable to me,
And I can find no serenity until I accept
That person, place, thing, or situation
As being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.
Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.
Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober;
Unless I accept life completely on life’s terms,
I cannot be happy.
I need to concentrate not so much
On what needs to be changed in the world
As on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”

Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition p. 417 If I am angry at others it is something in me that is ill-at-ease that is sparking that anger.  I know this.  Please, I do not mean that anger is a “wrong” and “bad” emotion.  It is a valid feeling that is part of the human condition.  If I am angry there is a reason behind it if I can just get to it and understand it so I can let it go.

I have found that for myself most of my anger stems from my unreasonable and even slightly irrational desire to be perfect in my own eyes.  If I say I want to be God it soundS ridiculous however, that is the core character flaw of most addicts and alcoholics in recovery.  It is where controlism springs from and lord knows there are a boat-load of control freaks in A.A.

Ok but how do I go about forgiving someone I hate or am disgusted with?  Journalling what happened and how it made me feel in regard to my resentment is very helpful as well and is part of the letting go process.  Being as concise as possible when describing ny feelings is very important.  Words like “I felt weird” or “uncomfortable”, “uneasy”, are not direct terms.  If I felt insecure or afraid or the fear of loss, or hateful, angry lesser than or ashamed I should write it down.

 

STEP FOUR

Remember feelings of shame, fear, and insecurities do not have to be logical to be valid and real.  If we shrug off every intense feeling because it is illogical to our intellect or originated in our past then we are still repressing emotions and they will eventually come out sideways usually at those we love most.

Firstly the most  handy and simple solution is to pray for those we resent.  Again, they teach this in A.A. and it’s also in the Bible    Start by praying every day for the person we resent.  If that doesn’t work then write out a formal fourth step to get to the bottom of what it is that we are really afraid of regarding the resentment.  There is ALWAYS fear at the core of every resentment whether (Big Book step fourhttp://www.stepsfoundation.com/Assets/Documents/4thStepForm.pdf

I want to stop right here and interject one of the most important parts of the forgiveness process.  In spite of what A.A. teaches about “my part” and EVERYTHING SURROUNDING A RESENTMENT BEING “MY FAULT”, the truth is there are abusers and very mean people out there who have not and will not hesitate to abuse small children in unthinkable ways.  When we have been wronged it’s important that we don’t blame ourselves for not knowing how to let the pain and violence that was inflicted on us as children or adults, go.  People can tell us all day long to forgive and “let it go” but if we don’t know how to let it go their instructions do us no good.  Furthermore if I was abused as a child, as many addicts were it is clearly not my fault.  Many of us tend to blame ourselves and beat ourselves up for things we didn’t have “a part” in.  Granted if we hate our abuser then that is “our part” and we need to let that go by working the 12 steps.

It is apparent in A,A. that there are two types of people.  Those who are much too hard on themselves and are hyper-aware of most of their character defect patterns.  And those who remain in deep denial of their shortcomings and are incapable of recognizing their faults on their own.  These types do well with a sponsor that will not hesitate to point out their shortcomings for them.  As long as the light bulb goes off when their sponsor points out their patterns they can then work a successful fourth and fifth step….with their sponsors help.  The hyper-aware types don’t need a sponsor to further point out defects they have already beat themselves up for for far too long.   These types need a more empathic and nurturing type of sponsor, caring, compassionate, understanding.  Both types are being nurtured in their own ways.  What one man considers “disrespect” another man considers that same thing “love”.  To each his own.

Making a Fear List is documented in the Big Book as part of the fourth step, of which many people overlook.  Learning to identify the fear that lives behind our intense feelings is part of the life changing self awareness that comes to us when we work the 12 steps.  However these fears live in us at a core, or root childlike level.  Most people are ashamed of their core fears and rarely want to admit them to themselves much less to others in a fifth step.  “The truth shall set us free”.  If we address these core fears and share them their burden will be lifted from us along with the shame of who we are.

So many times we hear in A.A. “I don’t care what people think about me.”  When in all reality if we don’t care what our fellows think of us then we are bordering on sociopath.  It is completely natural to care what our fellows think of us and to fear what people will think of us as well.  Fear of what people think of us should most likely be on our fear list.  Ninth Step Promise “fear of people will leave us”, but not if we don’t do the work.  We label this flavor of fear “society”.

The next big fear is “security”.  who doesn’t fear losing their car or home once in a while.  Specially if we live from week to week or moth to mon financially.

The third primary fear of loss is labelled “sex”.  Fear of losing our sexual partner is a big on.  So many character defects can be triggered by these fears of loss.  Jealously, envy, greed, worry, lying, cheating, and stealing are all motivated by fear of not having enough money  or enough control over our significant others.  Where are they at?  What time will they be home?  Who were they talking to?  Why were they out all night?

So we right down our fears and then we go one step further…Below the surface, why am I really afraid of losing my significant other?  Two things 1. I am not trusting my Higher Power and 2. I have self-esteem issues, I don’t think I am good enough.  If I were totally confident in myself and in God I would not fear losing the three S’s, sex, society, and security.  99 times out of 100 if I am disturbed it is because I am afraid of losing and I am not trusting God.  So what’s the solution?

I repent of my lack of faith, trust, and I ask my Higher Power to forgive me and help me to trust Him, It, Her.  Also working steps 10 through 12 on a regular basis will increase my self esteem and bring me closer to God through prayer and meditation

The 12 steps work.  they were developed for addicts, thing is most people that work the steps do it at a very superficial level.  Few people will admit that they fear and have self-esteem issues.  Obviously is I have low self-esteem it will make me very ashamed and uncomfortable to broach the topic in a candid way.

 

SOBRIETY TOOLS

TOOLS TO STAY CLEAN AND SOBER

THE SAME THINGS I DID TO STAY SOBER NINE YEARS AGO I DO TO KEEP ME SOBER TODAY.  TEMPTATION STRIKES AT NINE YEARS SOBER!  DOES THAT MEAN MY SOBRIETY IS NOT QUALITY SOBRIETY?  

I used to love to drink the frothy brown head on the top of a cold Amber Bock or Dark Heineken beer.  I preferred my beer nearly frozen.  I would chug down the first one till I remember getting a warm fuzzy feeling in the pit of my stomach.  Then I felt the alcohol coarse through my veins almost like a shot of heroin straight into my blood stream.  I would sit around with my friends connecting on a level that made me feel brotherhood and a sense of belonging.  I had found my place in life and it took alcohol to get me there.  

So when I walked to my neighbor’s house yesterday to pick up my little dog I was a bit taken by the ice cold cooler full of Amber Bock and the fellowship that I found.  At nine years sober I must admit my mind went to a place where I asked myself, “Can I safely drink?  After all I am a different person now.”  When they kindly offered me a beer I laughed and told them that I quit nine years prior and that drinking got me in trouble.  They laughed and said, “We thought that was the whole reason TO drink….to get in trouble that is”.  I kindly laughed-back enjoying the prospect of being enabled by alcohol to do the things that my pesky conscience wouldn’t allow.  And is that the “why” behind the wealthy man’s reason to drink as well as the poor man’s?  Who knows?  All I could remember were the good times and that’s ok temporarily that is.   I did have some good memories of drinking and met some wonderful people.

The counselors at Bridge house Rehab gave us a little sobriety tool called “play it through”.  This tool, if you really do want to be free from the miseries drinking brings, works.  It works for me and it works for those I got sober with back in 2006 who are still around.   

My brain’s travelling neurons then took an abrupt turn into an exit ramp and caught my pain-staking-ly built sobriety bridge.  By doing the “next right thing” and by God’s grace I have built a bridge over the carved out and well used roads in my brain labelled “This way to Hell”.  After nine years of recovery my minds neurons have learned to travel on the well-lit highways or “neural-pathways” of sobriety.  And what did I find on my well lit road leading me away from the Hell that I have had enough of?  You guessed it, I found awareness.   I recovered the memories of the hangovers, the regrets, the wrongs I committed, and my destructive actions.   I found memories of throwing up, of waking up so thirsty from a black-out that was so deep it could only have been induced by poisoning my brain.  I remembered crashing my vehicles, and the regret of sleeping with countless men just so I could feel I had some value.  I remembered the jails.   I remembered my moral compass and self-esteem being crushed even further into the dirt.  I remembered doing the things that a hurt child of God does while just trying to make sense of a young life filled with betrayal, evil, hurt and pain.  And so I knew then as I sat on my neighbor’s porch that drinking was not my choice, not today and hopefully never again.

SO IS MY SOBRIETY QUALITY?  I DIDN’T DRINK, I USED THE TOOLS, I DIDN’T DISRESPECT OR JUDGE MY DRINKING NEIGHBORS, I AM NOT ASHAMED OF WHO I AM AND MY THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS.  QUALITY SOBRIETY HAS MANY FACES INCLUDING A FACE OF PAIN.  BUT THROUGH IT ALL IT HAS A FACE THAT HAS EYES TO SEE PAST THE EVIL INTO THE GOOD.  YOU BE THE JUDGE.

TRADITION TEN

TRADITION TEN 

TRADITION 10

We in recovery would do well to learn how to agree to disagree. Showing respect to those whose views are different than our own is part of emotional sobriety (translation-Maturity). We learn at business meetings and at the poles that voting and having varied opinions must be understood.  We should not run from all controversial topics as if they were poison and CENSOR them as if they were blasphemous. Controversy is not bad and personal choices and opinions have NOTHING TO DO WITH THE TENTH TRADITION.   “A.A. has no opinion on outside issues.”  Tradition Ten is about A.A. AS A WHOLE IN THE PUBLIC AND POLITICAL ARENAS.

EXAMPLE of a breach of Tradition Ten would be…

>[I am the chairman for the NEW LIFE GROUP in Gainesville, Florida representing Alcoholics Anonymous in an official capacity and I make a statement to reporters of the Tampa Tribune that Alcoholics Anonymous officially has voted to NOT support The Governor of Florida in his next election because he endorses Narcotics Anonymous (and we hate them right?  Or is it just NA who hates AA?  off-topic sorry) That would be a Tenth Tradition breach.

If we don’t learn to stand for something in our recovery then we are still hiding behind a passive and fearful blanket of irresponsibility. Do we vote? Do we teach our children the principles that we ourselves have chosen in spite of many people’s opposing beliefs? There is NOTHING wrong with standing for something and discussing it…that is not a Tenth Tradition issue so next time you witness a respectful discussion of two people’s opposing views…don’t quote the Tenth Tradition as if it had something to do with it.

Here is a quote from the Tenth Tradition in the Twelve and Twelve.  Understanding what the Tenth Tradition is really referring too is vastly overlooked in A.A.

“TRADITION TEN OF A.A.”>“Let us reemphasize that this reluctance to fight one another or anybody else is not counted (motives?) as some special virtue which makes us feel superior to other people.  Nor does it mean that the members of alcoholics Anonymous, now restored as citizens of the world, are going to back away from their individual responsibilities to act as they see the right upon issues of our time.  But when it comes to A.A. as a whole, that’s quite a different matter.  In this respect we do not enter into public controversy, because we know our society will perish if it does.”  Bill W.

 

Have A Wonderful Evening

From Recovery Farmhouse We hope you have a fantastic night.  Enjoy it you deserve it!  Know that you are of great value to those around you.  And thank you all for your interest in

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/2/how-do-i-get-clean-sober/

Here is a link and an excerpt to our latest post.

HOW DO I GET CLEAN & SOBER?

If you seek a full recovery from addiction A.A. Works for some people, therapy works for others, and spirituality works for yet others.  Combine all three and you up your chances of staying sober by at least 30%.  But be sure to choose an empathic, caring type therapist, you will need it to balance out the intolerance of many A.A. sponsors and members.  And furthermore I recommend a Spirit-filled church (holy roller type).  Dry and Spirit-less churches that don’t really believe in the gifts of the Spirit such as prophecy, healings, miracles, deliverances, and open-praise aren’t usually as effective in the miracle department.  Make certain that your church at least believes in the power of the blood of Jesus and the laying on of hands for healing and deliverance.  Yes again the holy rollers.  Truly every spiritual experience I have had of high magnitude has been where people praise God openly.  Not to say a spiritual experience cannot happen to you at home alone.  I have also seen that happen.  It’s just way more likely to happen at a tent revival than in the bathroom at home.  And then there’s the spiritual awakening and a psychic change.  If you work the 12 steps out of the 12 and 12 and big books honestly and thoroughly several times you may just get the psychic change needed to stay sober.

HOW DO I GET CLEAN & SOBER?

If you seek a full recovery from addiction A.A. Works for some people, therapy works for others, and spirituality works for yet others.  Combine all three and you have a chance.

THERAPY

Be sure to choose a therapist who knows how to show empathy not one who just sits there like a bump on a log writing words you can’t see.   I say this because addicts suffer from low self-worth and we already feel like we are being judged. An addict will rarely open up fully to a person unless he feels he will not be judged.  When it comes to therapy for addicts it’s best to have a therapist who has recovered from addiction himself.   And if you can’t find a recovered addiction therapist then group therapy could work because of the feedback and relating.

AA sponsors are there to take you through the 12 steps not to delve into your emotional healing.  The statistics of suicide among recovering addicts is high.  I am basing this on the fact that I know several who have killed themselves while in A.A.  I accredit the suicide rate to the fact that so many recovering addicts don’t get the right therapy.  And they don’t address their true core issues.  The things that we are ashamed of are the things that haunt us.  Past issues live inside us and take on a life of their own.  Past issues make us sick, angry, and trying to fend the pain off causes character defects.

CHURCH

I recommend a Spirit-filled church (holy roller type).  Dry and Spirit-less churches whose members really believe in the gifts of the Spirit don’t have allot of spiritual power.    Make certain that your church at least believes in the power of the blood of Jesus and the laying on of hands for healing and deliverance.   Truly every spiritual experience I have had of high magnitude has been in or around a church where people praise God openly.   Miracles can happen anywhere but it’s more likely to find a miracle at a tent revival than in the bathroom at home.

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

There are many non-addicts in church who will not relate to what your feeling when going through a struggle with addiction.   Non-addicts are not privy to the practical solutions that you will learn at A.A.  By the same token many A.A. people don’t know what a complete deliverance from addiction by a spiritual experience is either.  And really isn’t that what actually took place in Bill Wilson’s life the co-founder and author of The Big Book and most of it’s literature?  That spiritual white light experience of his is what prompted the idea for the 12 steps.  So really why not seek both a miracle and sobriety from working the steps?  Why not use both solutions?

The 12 steps are not therapy they address our shortcomings and the need for confession and repentance. (step 4 & 5) You won’t hear it worded repentance and confession in AA confession is called a fifth step.

Every addicted women I have met WAS SEXUALLY MOLESTED at some point in their child hood and most were repeatedly molested.   Unfortunately the 12 steps don’t and step-work don’t provide a way for  true “victims” to acquire a healing.  If we hold a grudge toward our assailant then the steps do give place to addressing our resentments.  But simply jotting down the event in a one sentence format and then searching for our own guilt in the experience and what we did wrong WILL NOT HELP US HEAL FROM ABUSE.

Maybe that’s where Bill Wilson just missed the boat on his own emotional healing.  There should have been a step that addresses the pain of the true victims of abuse.  “Victims” are real and not some made up psychological crutch or bad habit.  Yes we need to get past being a victim and the idea can be used as a way to control people.  “Oh poor me give me attention that sort of thing.  In AA they call abuse an “outside issue”.  It’s understandable they are not equipped to handle deep emotional trauma issues.  But in my opinion those issues are why people become addicts.  So the 12 steps alone will only be enough if God touches you and heals you.

That’s it bottom line without God the steps won’t work and without giving rebellious addicts a way to seek God that is acceptable to them they will not recover that’s why the church shouldn’t judge AA and AA shouldn’t judge the church but they do and often.

The steps and Big Book do not tell us how to get an emotional healing from abuse.  And even if you don’t remember being abused, or emotionally neglected it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.  Many addicts don’t know what emotional neglect looks or feels like.  They will say they had a fine childhood, “my parents did the best they knew how”.  And they did , except;  why then are we alcoholic?  Emotionally balanced people don’t seek to numb themselves out on a regular basis to the point of self-destruction.  Emotional abuse by a parent can be just as devastating as sexual abuse or violent beatings.   Most addicts subconsciously grow up thinking they are bad and wrong.  Therapy will help us figure out why.  I think if Bill Wilson would have had a better therapist he could have felt free enough to let out some of the feelings that were causing him so much depression.

Bill W.’s depression is well documented. Instead of looking at “our part” on our fourth step concerning  childhood abuse (which by the way, could only be that we held a natural resentment toward our assailant for years and that we are full of false guilt over the event.  We do not grow out of trauma, it will live inside us until we give it a healthy door out.  What we actually need to do is find a way to go back to the events that traumatized us and express the way we feel about it from our hearts core.  Crying, weeping, screaming, moaning, and guttural sounds will do the trick.  But also talking it out with a caring listener who can relate to the pain it caused us.  This can heal us.  In AA they will shut you down quick over expressing past trauma and insist that you forgive or just “get over it!” before you are even able to express your pain.  We usually are unable to forgive until the emotions are properly expressed.  If you get hit in the face you scream ouch then cry! Then you can work on forgiving after the OUCH and tears are out.

JAILS AND INSTITUTIONS

What about rehabilitation centers?
Getting thrown in jail and rehab can be a good thing initially to get sober.  Sometimes we have got to be locked up for the first 90 days or so because otherwise we will not be able to get through the physical withdrawal.  Plus rehab centers teach many things about sobriety.  Having a detox center to help with the withdraw is good.  My theory is get all the help you can!  If your dead from a drug overdose having a house and job won’t do you any  good anyway right?

HOW TO REALLY GET SOBER?

THERE IS NO PERFECT SPONSOR, NO PERFECT REHAB CENTER NO PERFECT DETOX NO PERFECT COUNSELOR, NO PERFECT PROGRAM AND NO PERFECT CHURCH , PREACHER OR THERAPIST.  However, all these imperfect things combined can lead to your imperfect recovery.

A FULL RECOVERY

Yes you can recover.  AA works.  “THESE SICK PEOPLE ARE KEEPING ME WELL”  how ironic.    Those sick people , and they are will teach you how to get and stay sober but you won’t find many that believe in employing all three spirituality, therapy, and the 12 steps.  But that’s what worked for me.  After several years of all three you won’t need meetings anymore, why would you?  Meetings are not the program the 12 steps are the program.  Fellowship though, is a must in the beginning to establish sober relationships with people.  Also it’s suggested we go to 90 meetings in 90 days if at all possible to jump start recovery.  You won’t hear in AA that you will fully recover and no longer need meetings even if it is written in the big book.  Look it up , the word “recovered” is all over the Big Book.

The following are some quotes from the Big Book about being “recovered”.

“I will always be recovering, never recovered.”  This statement is not aligned with the teachings of the Big Book we do recover!

 

 Title Page: “ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS. The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism” (I totally agree with him on this one we absolutely do recover, at least I have.)

 

Page 20, paragraph 2: “Doubtless you are curious to discover how and why, in face of expert opinion to the contrary, we have recovered from a hopeless condition of mind and body.  (here, here!)

 

Foreword to the First Edition: “We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.”

 

Page 29, paragraph 2: “Further on, clear-cut directions are given showing how we recovered.”

 

Page 132, paragraph 3: “We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others.”

 ____________________________________________________________________________

NEXT ARTICLE:

WHAT PEOPLE HATE AND LIKE ABOUT A.A.

http://www.orange-papers.org/

http://leavingaa.com/why-i-left-aa-stories/#comment-123785

These two links are anti-12 step websites.  It appears that the sites were created by disgruntled ex-A.A. and N.A. members.  The Orange Papers site has allot of statistics true and balanced.  The “leaving AA” site is more just a bitch session by people who either have been hurt by people in A.A or they are trying hard to rationalize their own inability to stay sober, you be the judge.  Lord knows I know how guilt can wear on a person struggling to stay sober.  If their blaming keeps them feeling sane without really hurting anyone it’s ok I reckon, let them bitch and criticize as one.   They have a common bond at least.

I like to give a fair and balanced opinion about anything.  Leave it to alcoholics and addicts to have to label things either all bad or all good.  Addicts are notorious for wanting to put the “bad and wrong” label on anything they can.  (myself included at times)  However lets face it there are not many things in this world that are all bad or all good, in fact it is a rarity.  Even a good thing can be overdone until it becomes bad.  But when it comes to inanimate objects they are not usually bad on their own.  It’s the people that are wrong for using an object like a gun or knife for evil purposes.

From what I have read some people end up with oppressive and controlling sponsors in A.A. I don’t doubt that a bit.  I have been a member of A.A. for ten years…this time.  I have met the sick and controlling people.  I have seen the closed-mindedness, the liars and the sick perverted sex offenders by the droves.  As a matter of fact I think child molesters and alcoholism go hand in hand.

What these sites comments say about A.A. is probably true on the most part.  But what they are not saying is that they need to label A.A. bad because to them there is no such thing as something being both good and bad.  IT MUST BE ONE OR THE OTHER THEY SCREAM!

So does A.A. really work?  Well it appears that only 5% of newcomers will pick up a 1 year medallion and only 1.17% will pick up a 10 year medallion and 0.15% will pick up a 20 year medallion.  Now that doesn’t mean that there are not allot of people that stay sober due to A.A. yet leave A.A. for one reason or another.    I know some people who have learned the 12 steps and how to live them. They have people in their lives that they confide in and they are close to God… they don’t NEED the meetings when they have the program.  Maybe others no longer need to sit in A.A. meetings absorbing the sick vibes of all those emotionally handicapped people who frankly don’t open up enough in meetings to get better.  And with good reason.   They would no doubt get shut down and criticized if they actually shared their hurts, fears, and worries the way that they should be encouraged to.

If they could vent they would heal.  If people would get real in the rooms and tell the sick and suffering addict that they understand and have felt that way too then the program would be much more effective.  But instead people sit like vultures in meetings waiting for someone to criticize.  Members use the A.A. cliche’s as if they were weapons to stab the unknowledgable newcomers with.   Newcomers suffer while members make it a fault-finding meeting rather than looking for the similarities and relating.

I have often wondered why is it some people want to make people feel better and other people want to make people feel inferior.  If I were hurt by an A,A cliche’ that a member wielded at me as a newcomer, would I then wield that same cliche’ later?  Wouldn’t I access that the statement was hurtful therefore I would find another way to express a similar thought?  However I do see people using the same tools that hurt them to hurt other people.  It’s not surprising that many people just get tired of A.A.

Granted A.A is the perfect platform for a minister or counselor to catapult his career.  Some groups will allow any member with 30 days sobriety to take meetings into jails and institutions.  These people could have audience to hundreds of people in no time while they share their story and their own interpretation of what the 12 steps really are and how to work them.  Right or wrong if they are offering hope to the hopeless it good.  Service work is a wonderful thing if it’s done with kindness.  It does not take brash, and mean cliche’s to share the program of A.A.

Why are so many members so defensive when it comes to their 12 step program?  That’s simple in the addict mind things are either good or bad so if someone points out one wrong thing with their A.A then that means that the entire program is bad, which in turn in the perception of the insecure addict makes themselves bad as well because they are a member.  An insecure man with low self-worth is defensive because he feels he needs to be to make himself look better…and if his program looks bad he looks bad.

Feeling we need to defend A.A. is akin to thinking we have to defend God Himself who clearly doesn’t need us for It’s defense, It is the almighty It needs no defending because no one can bring it down.  Both God and A.A.  I think the only one that could truly bring down the 12 steps and their programs would be He who established it to begin with (and I don’t mean Bill W. I mean God Itself, Himself, Herself. (Choose your own descriptive word.)

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

THANK GOD FOR ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

THANK GOD FOR ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

I truly believe that if it were not for AA I would not be sober or sane today.  This is my anniversary month and I want to express how grateful I truly am for the program.   Please, Gainesville AA; gratitude is a state of mind and a feeling not an action.   I will not go “gratituding” (if gratitude were an action word the ing would be correct.)   Today but I will express my gratitude by doing some 12th step service work.  Ok yes one of my pet peeves about Gainesville AA is their PIRATE DICTIONARY by which they feel they can redefine parts of the English language.  Leave it to a bunch of addicts to assert the audacity to refute the scholars and masters of the English language.

 

However I am making a point here.  In spite of all the little errors and cultish beliefs of AA members the program works.  In spite of the fact that my own sponsor has stalked her boyfriend to the gates of insanity.  In spite of the fact that most AAers are working hard on smoking themselves to death with cigarettes, still I salute you.  And in spite of the fact that the majority of members reek of codependency the program still works! 

 

The 12 steps are still ordained of God and set down as a solutions for the sick. In spite of the fact that Bill W. spent countless years suffering from depression and engaging in infidelity THE PROGRAM WORKS AND IT HAS SAVED MY AND COUNTLESS LIVES.T

 

he question that I personally had to ask myself as I stumbled into the rooms was “What do I need and can I get it here”.  That answer was yes these people obviously knew and know how to stay sober and I desperately needed that. 

 

So, I hung in there with that character defect ridden sponsor as she took the time to spoon feed me the solutions I so desperately needed.  And I watched as she kept herself sober by doing so and picked up her own 10 year medallion years ago.  I hung in with years of meetings and worked the 12 steps over and over year in and year out until I knew and worked recovery as a way of life.  I taught others, I made suggestions and I shared in countless meetings, jails and rehabs. 

 

I had a knack for speaking and I could go through the steps like a pro.  I didn’t come to AA looking for perfection I came looking for a solution for myself destructive life patterns.

 

So, now as I approach my tenth year sober without a hit of crack cocaine, or a shot of heroin I still balk at the cultish dogma and I sometimes sneer at the non-empathic beat-downs going on between members.  I look on as my brothers and sisters that I love stay sober and do a little bitching themselves about certain aspects of the program. 

 

One of the most brilliant counselors and longtime members in the program that has helped thousands upon thousands by his knowledge and ability to share wrote a book called “The Lies Told in AA”.  Does that mean that he will walk away from the program because it is now full of perfect people?  HELL NO!

 

We must get out help where we can, where we fit in.  People do get sober in church, I did that myself one time for several years BUT the thing is I never really fit in there like I do in AA.  Church people are very much like program people as a matter of fact church people have that same empty black hole in their soul that they must fill with God to be ok. 

 

We AAers have that in common with the church people.  Best if you’re trying to stay sober to go to both places AND THERAPY.  Go in spite of the imperfections that are part of the human condition.

 

 Go and get your psychic change my friend because you have earned your seat and its empty and waiting for you. So thank you AA , therapy, church and my own Higher Power for saving my life so I can engage in my own character defects, growing old, and the joys of life that sobriety has most definitely brought me.

 

THANK YOU ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS AND GOD.

 

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

 

    THANK GOD FOR THE PROGRAM OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS!I truly believe that if it were not for AA I would not be sober or sane today.  This is my anniversary month and I want to express how grateful I truly am for the program.   Please, Gainesville AA; gratitude is a state of mind and a feeling not an action.   I will not go “gratituding” (if gratitude were an action word the ing would be correct.)   Today but I will express my gratitude by doing some 12th step service work.  Ok yes one of my pet peeves about Gainesville AA is their PIRATE DICTIONARY by which they feel they can redefine parts of the English language.  Leave it to a bunch of addicts to assert the audacity to refute the scholars and masters of the English language.

 

However I am making a point here.  In spite of all the little errors and cultish beliefs of AA members the program works.  In spite of the fact that my own sponsor has stalked her boyfriend to the gates of insanity.  In spite of the fact that most AAers are working hard on smoking themselves to death with cigarettes, still I salute you.  And in spite of the fact that the majority of members reek of codependency the program still works! 

 

The 12 steps are still ordained of God and set down as a solutions for the sick. In spite of the fact that Bill W. spent countless years suffering from depression and engaging in infidelity THE PROGRAM WORKS AND IT HAS SAVED MY AND COUNTLESS LIVES.

 

The question that I personally had to ask myself as I stumbled into the rooms was “What do I need and can I get it here”.  That answer was yes these people obviously knew and know how to stay sober and I desperately needed that. 

 

So, I hung in there with that character defect ridden sponsor as she took the time to spoon feed me the solutions I so desperately needed.  And I watched as she kept herself sober by doing so and picked up her own 10 year medallion years ago.  I hung in with years of meetings and worked the 12 steps over and over year in and year out until I knew and worked recovery as a way of life.  I taught others, I made suggestions and I shared in countless meetings, jails and rehabs. 

 

I had a knack for speaking and I could go through the steps like a pro.  I didn’t come to AA looking for perfection I came looking for a solution for myself destructive life patterns.

 

So, now as I approach my tenth year sober without a hit of crack cocaine, or a shot of heroin I still balk at the cultish dogma and I sometimes sneer at the non-empathic beat-downs going on between members.  I look on as my brothers and sisters that I love stay sober and do a little bitching themselves about certain aspects of the program. 

 

One of the most brilliant counselors and longtime members in the program that has helped thousands upon thousands by his knowledge and ability to share wrote a book called “The Lies Told in AA”.  Does that mean that he will walk away from the program because it is now full of perfect people?  HELL NO!

 

We must get out help where we can, where we fit in.  People do get sober in church, I did that myself one time for several years BUT the thing is I never really fit in there like I do in AA.  Church people are very much like program people as a matter of fact church people have that same empty black hole in their soul that they must fill with God to be ok. 

 

We AAers have that in common with the church people.  Best if you’re trying to stay sober to go to both places AND THERAPY.  Go in spite of the imperfections that are part of the human condition.

 

 Go and get your psychic change my friend because you have earned your seat and its empty and waiting for you. So thank you AA , therapy, church and my own Higher Power for saving my life so I can engage in my own character defects, growing old, and the joys of life that sobriety has most definitely brought me.

 

THANK YOU ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS AND GOD.

 

The God Hole

I will no longer tolerate separation from my God.

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

LOST DREAMS

 

LOST DREAMS 

 

Dreams just like goals are very important to have and to keep.  To work toward a goal is fulfilling.  To have hope and dreams is spiritual because “hope” itself is one of the spiritual gifts from the creator of spirituality itself (hope, faith, Love 3 greatest gifts).    Having goals and fulfilling them is vital to our self-worth.  Our very life depends on having goals to attain and accomplishing tasks and feats.  When mankind retires from his work often times him /her just dies partly because of feeling worthless.  If a man feels they have no purpose or worth they may lay down and die.

 

So what happens when a dream fails, crashes, is lost and unattainable for reasons beyond our control?  Well, partly, we should have a mourning period.  Yes!  By-god, our dreams and our feeling are of great value and valid!  Don’t allow others to tell you to “get over it” before your heart has grieved the loss of an important, & purposeful dream.  We lean heavily on our goals and hopes for the future.  So, when that hope is impossible and just won’t work we should grieve for a time.  The amount of time to grieve any loss varies however, we don’t move into “acceptance” of a loss until it has been mourned, grieved, and properly processed through various methods of emotional processing.

 So to process the loss we cry, we beat the pillow, we talk about what happened and how it made us feel, we write about our feelings connected to the loss and we pray to our Higher Power to help us accept the loss and move on.  If someone invalidates our feelings we simply ignore their ignorance.  (We can journal about it later.)  Repressed emotions are the number one cause of depression, anxiety, and feelings of worthlessness.  We need one person in our lives we tell anything to whom will not invalidate us or try to fix us, someone who will listen, mirror our feelings (understand & relate) and show care.  If we have intense feelings attached to any situation then we should process that situation to get it out of us and move on.  Otherwise it will turn to resentment, wrath, anger, and then depression.  Depression is anger without enthusiasm. 

And then after we have processed and mourned, we put on our shoes, we get up and we walk, we stretch, we breathe, and we develop a new dream to take the place of the old one.

We don’t beat ourselves up for the loss.  We don’t call it or us a failure.  We don’t ever call ourselves ugly names or say we were stupid for having our lost dream to begin with.  Alternatively, we take inventory of all that we learned along the way of our lost dream.  If we do the inventory we find that we gained valuable lessons because of our previous dream.  We realize that our next dream and goal will be all the better because of our prior goal.  What we learned along the way is priceless.  We remember that it’s how we react to life’s disappointments that defines our character.  Nevertheless pretending to be ok with a loss instantly will only bring more displaced anger.  In recovery we have learned that all our feelings are valid no matter how ridiculous it seems to our psychological reasoning.  We must not let our minds tell our hearts how to feel.  THERE IS NO WRONG FEELING ONLY WRONG ACTIONS.  We no longer repress our intense feelings

Our new dream and goal gives us greater purpose.  We have focus again!  We have gratitude in our hearts now because of the opportunities that our Higher Power has provided us. 

In the real world our dreams come crashing down in the real world we learn to mourn and then we get up and we build new dreams.  My Love this is the essence of “Hope” one of the three greatest spiritual gifts…now you see why.

Gainesville 12 Step AA & NA Programs

Thank you “Elmer” for your insight on emotional tools which you shared at the Triangle Club to help the guys your worked with get well.

In Gainesville  ******ics Anonymous Program  some of us have a certain tradition.  I am not talking about the 12 traditions right now.  I am talking about an exercise that we do in accordance with the fifth step.  This tradition keeps us SANE, AND SOBER.  This tradition keeps shame at bay which is the number one reason people leave the program…shame.   Yes “resentment is the number one offender but it is not the #1 reason people that have the program working for them yet choose to leave.  Ok yes they leave because they drank or wanted to drink and then the shame sets back in.

The Gainesville tradition that I am referring to is that we share in our meeting “WHAT HAPPENED AND HOW IT MADE US FEEL.”  We have learned that keeping secrets about our INTENSE feelings will kill us.  We have learned that all the repressed emotions in the world will not change who we are.  We have learned how to come to terms with who we are and to accept that.  But not only accept..WE SHARE NOT ONLY “WHAT HAPPENED” BUT “HOW IT MADE US FEEL”

This is the magic children.  This is the one thing that 12 step programs around the world are missing.  THERE IS NO WRONG FEELING ONLY WRONG ACTIONS.  If we label our feelings “wrong” we are labelling ourselves wrong.  Every feeling that we have is for a valid reason and is valid.   Granted we don’t share all of our feelings nor do we allow our feelings to rule over us.  However, we do respect and honor our feelings, they are valid.   No we don’t run around having to express every small felling we have.  There is a time to say “feelings aren’t facts” and simply ignore them.  But there are on the other hand feelings that are eating our lunch that need to come out…  Otherwise we may slip into our old behavior of projecting and blaming others for the way we feel.  So we put our intense and nagging emotions into the middle of the meeting room so they get absorbed and carried away by the Spirit of the program.  This my friend is one of the most important solutions I have.  It is just as important as not holding resentments.   Similar article “Men in Recovery”

repressed feelings

 

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?

 

“IN ALL OUR AFFAIRS” 12 STEPS

 

To all our readers, Recovery Farmhouse introduces Author and recovering alcoholic Russ K. of Tampa.  Here are two very interesting articles about good change that he would like to share with you.   Thanks,- Recovery Farmhouse.  I am including an interview of him that I got off

Becca’s Inspirational Book Blog thank you Becca.

Back to the Basics of a Spiritual Life

skip to article “In All Our Affairs”- here
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Back to the Basics of a Spiritual Life Awakened Living, A Practical Guide to the Spiritual Life by Russell Kyle

 

Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 1.43.11 PMAs a new year approaches, I’d like to suggestAwakened Living, A Practical Guide to the Spiritual Life by Russell Kyle to help you take steps toward a life filled with more peace and joy.

He agrees with many other philosophers that “the world is what you think it is,” so his first recommended practice is to take responsibility for your life and recognize the true cause of your experiences. He offers 15 additional practices, then finishes with 365 short readings for morning meditation or daily contemplation.

For positive change in your life, Kyle recommends a simple reliance on the “Highest Intelligence and Power governing all,” and recommends building a relationship with this higher power, without pushing specific religious beliefs. He recommends thinking about God, then talking to God, until the prayer experience moves from your head to your heart.

Kyle also recommends meditation, saying “you can achieve most anything” with just this practice alone, done consistently. He offers pointers for meditating and a Guided Meditation you can read or record and listen to. Practicing his daily meditations will bring you into the present and help you “let go and let God.”

He also makes a case for using positive affirmations, giving of yourself selflessly, surrounding yourself with good, and being humble, forgiving and flexible.

Here, Russell Kyle answers my questions:

Author Russell Kyle

BECCA: What hope or message do you wish to offer others with your book?

RUSS: The message I’m hoping to convey with this book is the absolute availability for anyone to develop a spiritually connected life. That beyond the mystical and illusionary is an authentic spiritual way of living and being, available to anyone. My hope is that it may lead those who have always been drawn to the idea of living a spiritual life to living that life. By making easily available to them some of the actions they can take to make this desire real and very much alive. These practices are practices that I know work.

This book doesn’t claim perfect teachings but instead points the way to where what one seeks may be found through practice. Practices directly affecting one’s heart, mind and body. Anyone with a bit of willingness for a positive change, along with an open mind, can grow and learn much from these age-old, and new, practices. The hope I would like to pass on is that good change can happen for anyone. That they may soon see that no matter what they’ve been through, what they’ve done, or even where they now stand, what really truly matters most is only the direction they are headed. And with one small step, one moment, one practice, this new direction can begin. Yet beyond my personal hopes, beyond my personal intended message, is my ultimate purpose: to play my part in any way I can in accelerating the awakening happening right now on our planet.

BECCA: Did any specific personal experience lead you to write this book?

RUSS: Yes, absolutely. My journey toward light began from the darkest of darkness. Due to years of sexual abuse, introduced to heavy drugs at a very young age by my abuser, I quickly became a full-blown drug addict and alcoholic. Parents divorcing and father dying, all this between the ages of 12 and 15. My course was set toward disaster. And I followed. Living on the street. Losing all of my family and friends. Attempts at suicide. Jail and everything else that comes with this lifestyle. I had no place else to go but 6-feet under, or up. Yet up seemed impossible, no matter what was said, who said it or when they said it, I was doomed and I knew it. Though, by some grace of Goodness, I one day stumbled into a group of spiritual people, recovered from many of these vices themselves. They offered a spiritual, non-religious way of life that I latched onto. They pretty much told me what I needed, but explained that finding it was solely up to me. What I needed was a spiritual awakening. And so my journey began… exploring different religions, spiritual practices, traveling and discovering. Practicing and experiencing. The more I awakened, the more I was freed from my past.

It wasn’t long before I began realizing the Universe was leading me to share this message of personal transformation. I cleaned up, sobered up, never to use or drink again. I’ve come to terms with my abuse and forgiven. Freeing myself. All through the power work of spiritual practices. I found that my learning accelerated as I taught and so today, as a student and a teacher, I grow spiritually and enjoy a life beyond what once were my wildest dreams. Am I traveling from place to place in my private jet, millions in the market, family all behaving, no problems, perfect health, perfect everything? No. But I’m coming to accept life on life’s terms. To see the purpose and meaning behind events, those we may label as good as well as those many label bad. Coming to see how this acceptance actually begins to transform not just one’s vison of the world but actual life circumstances and events. In turn, getting what one wants by first accepting things as they come. Living in this world of spiritual paradoxes, exciting, fulfilling and ever expanding. Today I live a deep and meaningful life. Full of purpose and full of unlimited possibilities.

One of the most exciting things about it for me, is that it too, in the very same way, is available to you, to anyone. I know today that the next best thing to having a spiritual awakening is to play a part in the awakening of another. Because of this, and a deep urging desire and love, I have put the basics of my beginning practice in a book for others.

BECCA: Can you explain what you mean by “having an open mind on our understanding of God?”

RUSS: It simply means to continue to explore beyond whatever knowledge, understanding or experience you may have of God. Even if you don’t believe in God, there is an understanding or idea that you are not believing in. For non-believers, I feel this is something still worth exploring. What do you have to lose? So you find out you were right… or not. Either way. The journey, the seeking, is good for the mind and heart. It’s worth the journey. We each have our own concept of the Divine. The only problem with having an idea of how something is, is that we limit it from being more. Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once said, “When you label me you negate me.” Meaning, when you describe me, you limit me. For example, if I tell you my God is green, then I am also saying God is not red, not yellow, not pink, not orange, and not all the colors ad infinitum. So, as we grow, as our awareness expands and we begin to have some strong ideas on how things are, let us keep in mind that these ideas can limit further understanding. I find that once I experience an ‘ah hah!’ moment, a break into a higher awareness of some sort, it’s best to simply acknowledge it, and then let it go. Not grab, cling and clasp to it. For if I wish to grow spiritually, I must continue to let go of my concepts and understanding, making room for new ones.

The idea is to break our attachment to words and ideas. We easily get hung up on words. For many, the word God itself doesn’t bring up good feelings. As soon as it is used a wall goes up and we shut ourselves off. Like a trigger of sorts. We already have our idea of what the word means, what is probably going to be said and many times have also quickly formed a judgment of the one using the word. All predetermined by the concept we’ve attached to the word. Often this happens without our even knowing it. We never get past the word. We never give ourselves the opportunity to see what this thing is behind the word. There is an old Zen saying, “Truth has nothing to do with words. Truth can be likened to the bright moon in the sky. Words, in this case, can be likened to a finger. The finger can point to the moon’s location. However, the finger is not the moon. To look at the moon, it is necessary to gaze beyond the finger, right?” Right! So we can easily see that we must look beyond our current understanding to really see what we are attempting to see.

Many may be fine with their understanding. It’s working for them. I encourage anyone to work with what is best for them. But to continue to awaken, the confinement by concepts must be broken, and continually broken. Be open-minded: Remain teachable, a student, always willing to honestly consider new points of view and ideas, always willing to change one’s own mind.

BECCA: You recommend both prayer and meditation – how do you differentiate the purpose of each?

RUSS: I’ve heard it said that prayer is talking to God, meditation is listening. I like this but for many it’s become much more, and in many ways very different. It is my experience that the benefits of both prayer and meditation are ultimately much the same. They are a reserved moment to focus on, and connect with, your source of Good. Prayer focuses on a way of building concepts and ideas by word or thought. Placing intentions out into the universe in which the universe will respond. Meditation, for myself, is a way I connect more by not trying. To surrender. To heighten my sense of all parts of my being with all parts in which that being rests. To put the thinking mind on hold and see what else shows up. Even this description is limited as to the unlimited potential of mediation. Like most spiritual concepts and practices we carry, they share similarities, yet the experiences and uses are unique to each. One fact though that most can agree on, most who have tried prayer and meditation enough, is that it works. It works in maintaining, reinforcing and better developing our connection with our deeper selves and the world around us. They heighten our sense of something Wiser at work beneath all things. They raise our awareness to the coincidences and synchronicities. They open our eyes to the awareness of our part in this magical dance of this universe.

BECCA: Is there a time to pray, and a time to meditate?

RUSS: That is probably best left up to each person and what works best for them. The combination of prayer and meditation is a powerful recipe. Some may already view prayer and meditation as the same, again it’s a personal interpretation. Spending time studying other’s views on meditation and prayer has given me a better understanding of the many ways in which to connect with, and sense, ourselves and our connection to our multi-leveled environment. To better connect with the Divine if you will. So I tend to use prayer and meditation both in combination as well as separate as the situation or mood sees fit. I find prayer is quickly accessed and used throughout the day, when riding in my car or walking in the mall, these times meditation might not always be most accessible. Though walking meditations are great for enhancing a mindful state, I usually find sitting quiet most useful during meditation. Again, these are practices you will cultivate as your path forward sees fit. The only requirement is to begin.

BECCA: What would you say is the best way to pray?

RUSS: In my Chapter, ‘Practice Prayer’, I list some specific suggestions on prayer. But ultimately I feel it is a personal experience and practice. What I would tell someone new to prayer, is to just begin. It will develop from there as best fits your needs. Don’t get too caught up in ‘what’ you are praying to. Focus more on the content of your prayer, what or who you are praying for. I’ve found that positive prayer is most effective. Pray in affirmations. For example, “Thank you for the abundance flowing into my life right now,” “Thank you for healing my body,” “I pray for this person, and give thanks for the blessings unfolding upon her right now.” Again, these are examples of some ways to pray. The deeper a prayer life becomes, the more natural it will become.

Take a prayer walk outside, observing and being mindful of your environment, saying to yourself, praying, “Thank you for that flower,” “How beautiful is the sky,” “Thank you for my legs to walk upon, air to breathe and eyes to see.” Prayer which includes appreciation and gratitude tames the mind and opens the heart. It raises the one praying to a higher state. A state in which we see more, experience more and connect deeper. With practice, prayer can become a state of being, a connection we stay plugged into throughout the day.

BECCA: What suggestions do you have for other first-time writers who feel they have an important message to share?

Get it out there. Take care not to get hung up on how others may criticize or judge your message. We have little control on how people take what we say. If something is urging you to get it out there, just do it. As far as how; the only way I know to truly carry a message is through personal demonstration or testimony from those who have been there. For non-fiction writers, simply stick to the truth and how this truth may be demonstrated or has been demonstrated. If you feel a message is important, then you probably have some connection to it already, emotionally, mentally or physically. Whatever your connection, let this be your doorway of bringing it to life, to putting it on paper. What can speak louder than that? As author Wayne Dyer once said, “Don’t die with your music still in you.”

Awakened Living, A Practical Guide to the Spiritual Life by Russell Kyle is available now. To contact Russ with your own questions or comments, email him at AwakenedLivingGuide@gmail.com or connect with Russ at  https://twitter.com/RussellLKyle orhttps://www.facebook.com/LessonsExperiencesOfTheSpiritualPath.

Namaste!
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets, Balance Your Chakras – Balance Your Life, and The Chakra Energy Diet

www.theChakras.org

Practice these principles in all of our affairs.  

What does this mean? I’m learning the answer to this every day. It is in the practice that I make progress.

The principles, by my understanding, are the guidelines for living that I learn by following the directions in the 12 steps. The better I get at applying the steps to my real life situations the more I see the principles at work. The principles, as I see it, aren’t really something that can be listed or simply explained, we come to know them by personal experience, by action.

Some of the applicable to life ideas I’m picking up through my practice of this program I’d like to share with you. Of course I’m always learning and some of my understanding of these ideas may have even yet changed since I’ve written them down, but as of now this is some of what I’ve learned, and use.

Step one is teaching me the importance of acceptance. To accept is to not complain, or wish otherwise to be, it is to be content with what is by understanding that it is what it is already. No amount of anything can change that. All that can, and should be, changed is my perspective on what is. As with any change I must first accept where I am. In order to move ahead I have to first approach the starting line, accepting things first as they are sets me in the position for any desired change, but I must accept where I am first. I remind myself often, that things are as there are, so why waste energy wishing otherwise, for they already are. It wasn’t until I fully accepted that I was an Alcoholic that then I could begin seeing the problem of which I had been hoping to change.

It is important to understand that accepting isn’t settling for less, it is putting us in a position for more, able and available to change the things we can and accept the things we can’t.

 

By these actions I’m learning the benefits of honest self-examination, a willingness to rectify my wrongs, the actions to do so, and the joy this brings as freedom and content. I’m being introduced to ways of better connecting to the source of my Good, ways to find new ways and the gift of many opportunities to share and teach these ways to others.

Self-examination has taught me to keep the finger pointed at myself. It is I that is the cause of all in my life, and so the choice to make any changes rests with me too, right here, within my reach. In finding the problem I am introduced to the solution…one of many of the spiritual paradoxes I continue to discover.

I now too have a better understanding of the daily reprieve talked about in the book.  It’s been shown, not just told but shown, to me the necessary actions I must take daily to keep this gift of new life, continued self-examination, amends as they arise, meditation, prayer, open mindedness, honesty and helping others.

I’m experiencing the truth that self-sacrifice is the greatest method of self-help. Yep, another strange paradox, so it would seem. This single way of living, giving of myself, is the best gift I can give myself.  As a servant I am filling the highest position in the AA spiritual community. It is the most prosperous of all trades and lifting of all actions.

Today I live on circulating spirituality, kept in motion by steps 10, 11 and 12.  Step 10 keeps me cleared out for the process, an open channel. Step 11 draws in the necessary power, understanding and peace needed for my daily emotional sobriety. Step 12 is the process by which I give back, on which I allow that same goodness brought in to then flow out. By this I keep my spiritual circulatory system flowing and healthy. By this process I keep the good in my life circulating as well. By this I continually let go of the old making room for the new.

Today I also do my best to focus on the new person. During meetings, if there is a new person, I sit through that meeting thinking ‘what is this new person hearing, how are they hearing it?’ I know, because I was there once. I do this for two reasons. One is to keep my thinking new, as open as the new person. By this I hear things fresh and open. Second I do this so as to know if my group if fulfilling their primary purpose, carrying the message to the new person. It gives me a good idea of how I would want to be approached after a meeting like the one we just had, why? Because right after the meeting I will be fulfilling my personal responsibility and approaching that person to do or say what I can to help. So I keep my attention on the new person and it helps us both. Today I know that when my intentions are on helping, I in return receive in unlimited ways as well. But to receive something for myself falls short in reasons why I have the desire to help, it is deeper. I think it is like this for all of us AAs. Because I have been there, and out of genuine compassion I feel the need to comfort those hurting in that same way that I once did. This compassion along with the excitement of a solution that I know works, I jump at any opportunity to serve AA and the newcomer. I’ve found that here the rewards seem greatest too.

I love the program that saved my life and that has given me back to my family. I do my best to keep the balance between my family and my meetings. When drinking I withdrew from my family life, recovery should not do the same; as the book states on page 129 “The spiritual life that does not include its family obligations is not so spiritual after all.” I know when I need to get to a meeting, and I don’t hesitate to go. I also know when I need to be home with my family and I won’t hesitate to stay. The key is being honest with myself. Early on in recovery I had to just follow directions, my honesty and intuition couldn’t yet be trusted as a good guide. I just did the 90 meetings in 90 days as I was told, and then attended four or five times a week after that for the next year. Today my inner guide, because of my sincere work on the steps is a bit clearer, just a bit though I must say, I have much more to go. I’m finding that the spiritual principles of AA work when applied to anything at home; being a parent, husband, friend, good neighbor and son.

 

 

When in the workplace ‘principles before personalities’ is my lifeline many times. I’m learning to love and tolerate my fellow man, also realizing that they too might just be tolerating me. I’ve found here seems to be one of the best places full of opportunities to help others, whether I’m helping by prayer, by action or simply by good example. When going through my day in a conscious state of self-examination I learn much about myself, where I am, what I like about me and where I need improvement.

The journey of this life is never boring. When working the program the change in my life is so exciting that why would I want anything else. I don’t fear that change today either for I trust my Higher Power that all is happening for Good reason. Even my mistakes, when turned over to my Higher Power are like coal made into diamonds. In fact that is what this whole thing is all about, turning our past to good use and enjoying today as is.

Today a can say, with truth and understanding, that I am a grateful recovering alcoholic. I remind myself each morning with a note on my desk, ‘to count my blessings’ and that each day is a gift, each moment, each person that comes along, and mostly the wonderful program that is saving my life, the program of AA.

Remember my fellow AAs that AA points the way, we take the steps and it is our responsibility to carry the message, in word and in action. I’m doing my best at my part, one day at a time.

Russ K.

Tampa, FL

 

Back to the Basics of a Spiritual Life

Back to the Basics of a Spiritual Life Awakened Living, A Practical Guide to the Spiritual Life by Russell Kyle

THE TOOLS TO STAY SOBER IN ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

Staying Sober, The Same Things I did to stay sober nine years ago I do to keep me sober today.

Is anyone having a hard time staying sober today, we in Alcoholics Anonymous ask?

THE SAME THINGS I DID TO STAY SOBER NINE YEARS AGO I DO TO KEEP ME SOBER TODAY.  TEMPTATION STRIKES AT NINE YEARS SOBER!  DOES THAT MEAN MY SOBRIETY IS NOT QUALITY SOBRIETY?  

List of Sobriety Tools link

I used to love to drink the frothy brown head on the top of a cold Amber Bock or Dark Heineken beer.  I preferred my beer nearly frozen.  I would chug down the first one till I remember getting a warm fuzzy feeling in the pit of my stomach.  Then I felt the alcohol coarse through my veins almost like a shot of heroin straight into my blood stream.  I would sit around with my friends connecting on a level that made me feel brotherhood and a sense of belonging.  I had found my place in life and it took alcohol to get me there.  

So when I walked to my neighbor’s house yesterday to pick up my little dog I was a bit taken by the ice cold cooler full of Amber Bock and the fellowship that I found.  At nine years sober I must admit my mind went to a place where I asked myself, “Can I safely drink?  After all I am a different person now.”  When they kindly offered me a beer I laughed and told them that I quit nine years prior and that drinking got me in trouble.  They laughed and said, “We thought that was the whole reason TO drink….to get in trouble that is”.  I kindly laughed-back enjoying the prospect of being enabled by alcohol to do the things that my pesky conscience wouldn’t allow.  And is that the “why” behind the wealthy man’s reason to drink as well as the poor man’s?  Who knows?  All I could remember were the good times and that’s ok temporarily that is.   I did have some good memories of drinking and met some wonderful people.

The counselors at Bridge house Rehab gave us a little sobriety tool called “play it through”.  This tool, if you really do want to be free from the miseries drinking brings, works.  It works for me and it works for those I got sober with back in 2006 who are still around.   

My brain’s travelling neurons then took an abrupt turn into an exit ramp and caught my pain-staking-ly built sobriety bridge.  By doing the “next right thing” and by God’s grace I have built a bridge over the carved out and well used roads in my brain labelled “This way to Hell”.  After nine years of recovery my minds neurons have learned to travel on the well-lit highways or “neural-pathways” of sobriety.  And what did I find on my well lit road leading me away from the Hell that I have had enough of?  You guessed it, I found awareness.   I recovered the memories of the hangovers, the regrets, the wrongs I committed, and my destructive actions.   I found memories of throwing up, of waking up so thirsty from a black-out that was so deep it could only have been induced by poisoning my brain.  I remembered crashing my vehicles, and the regret of sleeping with countless men just so I could feel I had some value.  I remembered the jails.   I remembered my moral compass and self-esteem being crushed even further into the dirt.  I remembered doing the things that a hurt child of God does while just trying to make sense of a young life filled with betrayal, evil, hurt and pain.  And so I knew then as I sat on my neighbor’s porch that drinking was not my choice, not today and hopefully never again.

SO IS MY SOBRIETY QUALITY?  I DIDN’T DRINK, I USED THE TOOLS, I DIDN’T DISRESPECT OR JUDGE MY DRINKING NEIGHBORS, I AM NOT ASHAMED OF WHO I AM AND MY THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS.  QUALITY SOBRIETY HAS MANY FACES INCLUDING A FACE OF PAIN.  BUT THROUGH IT ALL IT HAS A FACE THAT HAS EYES TO SEE PAST THE EVIL INTO THE GOOD.  YOU BE THE JUDGE.

12 STEP PRAYERS

ALCOHOLICS PRAYERS 

THIRD STEP PRAYER, ELEVENTH STEP PRAYER, SEVENTH STEP PRAYER, ST. FRANCIS PRAYER, SERENITY PRAYER SHORT VERSION & LONG VERSION, LORDS PRAYER, 23 PSALM 1-6

AA prayers

Third Step Prayer short version

God, I offer myself to Thee—to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.  Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.  Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and The way of life.  May I do Thy will always!

 

 

 

Seventh Step Prayer

My Creator,  I am now willing that you should have all of me, good & bad.  I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you & my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here to do Your bidding.

 

Eleventh Step Prayer

Lord, make me a channel of thy peace–that where there is hatred, I may bring love–that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness–that where there is discord, I may bring harmony–that where there is error, I may bring truth–that where there is doubt, I may bring faith–that where there is despair, I may bring hope–that where there are shadows, I may bring light–that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.  Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted–to understand, than to be understood–to love, than to be loved.  For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.  It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.  It is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.

 

Serenity Prayer Short Version

GOD, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,  Courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  Living ONE DAY AT A TIME; Enjoying one moment at a time;  Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.  Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it. Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;  That I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. 

 

St Francis Prayer

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

Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted; to understand, than to be understood; to love, than to be loved.  For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.  It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.

It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.

 

 

 The Serenity Prayer

 

 

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.

 

Living one day at a time;

Enjoying one moment at a time;

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

Taking, as He did, this sinful world

As it is, not as I would have it;

Trusting that He will make all things right

If I surrender to His Will;

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life

And supremely happy with Him

Forever and ever in the next.

Amen.

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THE LORD’S PRAYER

Our Father who are’t in heaven hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses.  As we forgive those who trespass against us.  Lead us not into temptation.  But deliver us from evil.  For, Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory for ever and ever

Amen

 

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.
Amen.
__________________________________________

Twenty-Third Psalm

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff–they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

— Psalms 23: 1-6

Read more: http://www.lords-prayer-words.com/lord_traditional_king_james.html#ixzz3vBh6QQpA

____________________________________________________________________

Children’s Bedtime Prayer


Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep:
May God guard me through the night
And wake me with the morning light.
Amen.

________________________________________________________________

Third Step Prayers

The following prayer is the third step prayer found in the Big Book and used by Bill W.:
God, I offer myself to Thee To build with me & to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.  Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy love & Thy way of life.
May I do Thy will always.

 

However, there are numerous third steps prayers used as part of the program of recovery, including those used by Dr. Bob and Clarence S.  There are also third step prayers for each religion or faith.  While the ones on this site show a sampling of these prayers, it is by no means exhaustive.

Here is a list of the third step prayers I have encountered over the years: Dr. Bob, Clarence S., NA, Native American, Christian, Buddhist, Wiccan, Eastern Orthodox, Jewish, Baha’i, Universalist, Catholic, Set Aside Prayer, Before Getting Out of Bed. Again, this is by no means a complete list, it is just an example of the different types of third step prayers used today.

Native American 3rd Step Prayer

(short version)
Great Spirit,
whose voice I hear in the wind,
whose breath gives life to the world,
Hear me.
I come to you as one of your many children,
I am small & weak,
I need your strength & wisdom.
May I walk in beauty.
And how my life is unmanageable.
I need to learn & remember that
I have an incurable illness & that
bstinence is the only way to deal with it.

Long Version

Oh Great Spirit whose voice in the winds I hear,
And whose breath gives life to all the world-
Hear me.
Before you I come
One of your many children.
I am small & weak.
Your strength & wisdom I need.
Let me walk in beauty & make my eyes ever behold the sunset.
Make my heart respect all You have made,
& my ears sharp to hear Your voice.
Make me wise that I may know all You have taught my people,
The lessons You have hidden in every rock.
I seek strength, not to be superior to my brother,
but to fight my greatest enemy – myself.
Make me ready to stand before You with clean & straight eyes,
So when life fades as the fading sunset,
may my spirit stand before You without shame.
Mitakuye Oyasin

Third Step Prayer (Alcoholics Anonymous)

God, I offer myself to Thee
To build with me & to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them may bear witness
to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy love & Thy way of life.
May I do Thy will always!

3rd Step Prayer

Take my will & my life,
Guide me in my recovery,
Show me how to live.

3rd Step Prayer (Jewish)

Grant me inner peace…, Let my body be completely subordinate to my soul & have no other will or desire but to follow the desire of the holy soul, which is to do Your will.
Let peace reign between my soul & my body. Let my body be sanctified & purified until it becomes united with the holy soul & I carry out all Your commandments & do everything You want of me, body & soul, willingly & with great joy.

Let my body & soul unite in love & peace to do Your will sincerely, until I attain complete inner harmony & am ready to order my prayer before You perfectly. Let my prayer rise before You like the incense & perfect sacrifices offered by those who are whole & perfect.

3rd Step Prayer (Dr. Bob)

Dear God, I’m sorry about the mess I’ve made of my life. I want to turn away from all the wrong things I’ve ever done and all the wrong things I’ve ever been. Please forgive me for it all. I know You have the power to change my life and can turn me into a winner. Thank You, God for getting my attention long enough to interest me in trying it Your way. God, please take over the management of my life and everything about me. I am making this conscious decision to turn my will and my life over to Your care and am asking You to please take over all parts of my life. Please, God, move into my heart. However You do it is Your business, but make Yourself real inside me and fill my awful emptiness. Fill me with your love and Holy Spirit and make me know Your will for me. And now, God, help Yourself to me and keep on doing it. I’m not sure I want You to, but do it anyhow. I rejoice that I am now a part of Your people, that my uncertainty is gone forever, and that You now have control of my will and my life. Thank You and I praise Your name. Amen.

Third Step Prayer (Clarence S.)

Lord, I ask that you guide and direct me, and that I have decided to turn my life and will over to you. To serve You and to dedicate my life to You. I thank you Lord, I believe that if I ask this in prayer, I shall receive what I have asked for. Thank you God. Amen.

Third Step Prayer, Life With Hope

Higher Power,
I have tried to control the uncontrollable for far too long.
I acknowledge that my life is unmanageable.
I ask for your care and guidance.
Grant me honesty, courage, humility, and serenity,
to face that which keeps me from you and others.
I give this life to you to do with as you will.

EASTERN ORTHODOX

O Lord, grant me to greet the coming day in peace, help me in all things to rely upon your holy will. In every hour of the day reveal your will to me. Bless my dealings with all who surround me. Teach me to treat all that comes to throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that your will governs all. In all my deeds and words, guide my thoughts and feelings. In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by you. Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring. Direct my will, teach me to pray. And you, yourself, pray in me. Amen.

Christian Prayer

Dear Lord JESUS, I thank You for this day.
I thank You for my being able to see and to hear this morning.
I’m blessed because You are a forgiving God and an understanding God.
You have done so much for me and You keep on blessing me.
Forgive me this day for everything I have done, said or thought

that was not pleasing to you.
I ask now for Your forgiveness.
Please keep me safe from all danger and harm.
Help me to start this day with a new attitude and plenty of gratitude.
Let me make the best of each and every day to clear my mind

so that I can hear from You.
Please broaden my mind that I can accept all things.
Let me not whine and whimper over things I have no control over.
Let me continue to see through God’s eyes and see his people with love.
And when I sin, let me repent, and confess with my mouth my wrongdoing, and receive the forgiveness of God.
And when this world closes in on me, let me remember Jesus’ example –
to slip away and find a quiet place to pray.
It’s the best response when I’m pushed beyond my limits.
I know that when I can’t pray, You listen to my heart.
Continue to use me to do Your will.
Continue to bless me that I may be a blessing to others.
Keep me strong that I may help the weak.
Keep me uplifted that I may have words of encouragement for others.
I pray for those that are lost and can’t find their way.
I pray for those that are misjudged and misunderstood.
I pray for those who don’t know you intimately.
I pray for those that will delete this without sharing it with others.
I pray for those that don’t believe.
But I thank you that I believe.
I believe that God changes people and God changes things.
I pray for all my sisters and brothers.
For each and every family member in their households.
I pray for peace, love and joy in their homes that they are out of debt

and all their needs are met.
I pray that every eye that reads this knows there is no problem, circumstance, or situation greater than God.
Every battle is in Your hands for You to fight.
I pray that these words be received into the hearts of every eye that sees them and every mouth that confesses them willingly.

Wiccan Prayer

I know the Laws of Nature are you, Lady.
Keep me mindful that I step upon Your Body,
with your feet,
that my sorrows are Your sorrows,
and that a healthy priest makes all things sound.
I feel Your breath in the wind, and Your hand in mine.
Keep me sincere.
Give me Your work,
which is to be joyous,
and to tend all things, because all things live, of themselves,
and with Your spirit.Your will through mine, so mote it be.

Buddhist Prayer

With every breath I take today,
I vow to be awake;

And every step I take,
I vow to take with a grateful heart–

So I may see with eyes of love
into the hearts of all I meet,

To ease their burden when I can
And touch them with a smile of peace

I take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha
Until I attain Enlightenment.
By merit accumulations from practicing generosity and the other perfections
May I attain Enlightenment, for the benefit of all sentient beings.

Bahai Prayer

O my God and my Master! I am Thy servant and the son of Thy servant. I have risen from my couch at this dawntide when the Daystar of Thy oneness hath shone forth from the Dayspring of Thy will, and hath shed its radiance upon the whole world, according to what had been ordained in the Books of Thy Decree.
Praise be unto Thee, O my God, that we have wakened to the splendors of the light of Thy knowledge. Send down, then, upon us, O my Lord, what will enable us to dispense with anyone but Thee, and will rid us of all attachment to aught except Thyself. Write down, moreover, for me, and for such as are dear to me, and for my kindred, man and woman alike, the good of this world and the world to come. Keep us safe, then, through Thine unfailing protection, O Thou the Beloved of the entire creation and the Desire of the whole universe, from them whom Thou hast made to be the manifestations of the Evil Whisperer, who whisper in men’s breasts. Potent art Thou to do Thy pleasure. Thou art, verily, the Almighty, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.

Bless Thou, O Lord my God, Him Whom Thou hast set over Thy most excellent Titles, and through Whom Thou hast divided between the godly and the wicked, and graciously aid us to do what Thou lovest and desirest. Bless Thou, moreover, O my God, them Who are Thy Words and Thy Letters, and them who have set their faces towards Thee, and turned unto Thy face, and hearkened to Thy Call. Thou art, truly, the Lord and King of all men, and art potent over all things.
Bahullh

Unitarian Universalist Prayer

I know little of who you are. I know little of your plan. I can understand only specks of your power. I cannot begin to comprehend all of what you are. But this I know. You do not give love, you are love. You do not project beauty, you are beauty. You do not allow hope, you are hope. You do not lend strength, you are strength. All that is good is your gift. All that is bad is the consequence of man s attempt to reject or mold you. The solutions to my problems, my fears, and my shame are all found in you.

All things I wish to be come from my desire to be closer to you. I see you every time I see the light shining through a tree. I see you every time a sunset or mountain vista takes my breath away. I hear you ever time I open myself to the wonder of life. I feel you every time my heart fills with joy and love. I doubt you only when I allow fear, and greed, and selfishness to assume the power to control me. I know that if I allow you in my life I feel peace. When I embrace you I feel love. When I seek you I find strength.
Father, show me the way to serenity so that I may be of help to others. Show me the way to responsibility so that I may give to others.

Mother, show me the path to compassion so that I may comfort others. Show me the path to healing so I may help others heal themselves.

Grandfather, show me the road to wisdom so that I may teach others. Show me the road to strength so that I may carry others until they can carry themselves.

Grandmother, show me how to feel love so that I may love others. Show me forgiveness so that I may forgive myself and others.

God, help me remove the blinders of self-will. Help me see what is true. Teach me so that I can be of service. Free me from fear, from hate, from greed, from discontent so that I may contribute myself to your work. Allow me to see what you would have me do and grant me the strength to follow through. Without you I am empty. With you at my side I am whole.

Thank You.

Catholic Prayer

Father, Help me know Your will through the spiritual wisdom and understanding that comes from the Spirit so I may live a life worthy of You, pleasing You in every way. Help me to bear fruit, to influence others’ lives in every good thing I do. May I constantly be growing in my understanding of who You are and in my awareness of how You work in the world.

Help me offermyself as a living sacrifice, desiring not to live like those who are giving in to the ways of the world but to be totally changed by the renewing of my mind. Then I will be able to know Your willYour good, pleasing, and perfect will.

May I yield my will to Yours and set my hearts on doing Your will. Help me set aside my own desires, seeking only Your will, standing firm and keeping on in Your strength. Help me be strong and not give up no matter what happens filled with joy and thanksgiving.

May I have no other desire than Yours. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Prayer of St. Francis Assisi

Lord, Make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
Where there is discord, harmony.
Where there is error, truth.
Where there is wrong, the spirit of forgiveness.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console.
To be understood as to understand.
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Dear Lord,
So far Ive done all right.
I havent gossiped,
havent lost my temper,
havent been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or overindulgent.
Im really glad about that.
But in a few minutes, God,
Im going to get out of bed,
and from then on,
Im going to need a lot more help.

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.

Living one day at a time
Enjoying one moment at a time.
Accepting hardship as
the pathway to Peace.

Taking as He did,
this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it.

Trusting that He
will make it right;
If I surrender to His will.
That I may be reasonably
happy in this life,
and supremely happy
with Him forever
in the next.

FROM FOCUS ON GUILT TO FOCUS ON INNOCENCE

FOCUS ON INNOCENCE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FEELINGS FOLLOW ACTIONS

Step Eleven

THE BIG BOOK

FEELINGS FOLLOW ACTIONS NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!

GOOD FEELINGS FOLLOW RIGHT ACTIONS MORE ACCURATELY PUT.

“On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead.  We consider our plans for the day.  Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives.  Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all Gad gave us brains to use.  Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives. “   This quote is taken from pg. 86 of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Today my mind may be telling me that my life is a disaster and that I am a mess!  I refuse to believe this because today I am taking action for my recovery and my well-being.   Today I will help others & do no harm.  I will exercise, eat right, and go to a meeting.  

Many times before I joined AA and learned how to live and take responsibility for my own actions I used to often say “I don’t feel like it!”  I said this in response to being faced with many responsibilities.  I said it when people asked me to go places, on social outings, to the beach, on a road trip, pretty much in response to anything that would take me out of my isolation and out of the state of sloth. 

I used to think I had to wait until my feelings were right to do the task at hand.    I would get to-it when I felt up to it.  I feared somehow that it would hurt me to take an energetic action.  Somehow I felt I had to nurture the deep emotional pain that was inside of me.  Depression & isolation were my bedfellows.  Not to mention I feared subconsciously the unknown and felt it was a risk to go to new places and do new things.  However what I feared was an illusion.

I have since learned by working the steps and addressing core issues that feelings nine times out of ten, are a result of my actions and I can act my way into good feelings.  Please understand that healthy emotions include a certain amount of grief, hurt, pain, and anger and so-on that should be neither ignored nor shrugged off.   We should not put a mask over our feelings nor should we let them rule us. 

Emotional balance in recovery and understanding when to ignore feelings and when they should be addressed & processed takes time and much work.  In early recovery it’s beneficial to both explore our feelings with a therapist or empathic listener on a regular basis and to spend time doing recovery based activities, laughing and forgetting ourselves and all our self-consciousness.  However we mustn’t swing from one extreme to the other.  Labeling all feelings character defect based is very dangerous but also labeling all feelings a priority at all times is just as dangerous.  Just because our feelings are always valid does not mean we let them paralyze us or always give-in to tears.

Good feelings do follow right and constructive actions.  If I get up in the morning and feel like crap I do not have to make my day follow suit.  I don’t have to create a crappy day.  I must not allow my feelings to rule over me and oppress me.  If my character defect is sloth then the spiritual remedy is to repeatedly take action contrary to sloth such as go for a run or go outside grab the hose and pour cold water over my body and take a walk.  If I clean my house I will feel better about myself.  (Opinion) Sloth is a spirit that attaches itself to humans and tells us immobilizing lies that we hear in our mind.

Sloth is the enemy of recovery as is wrath.  If I am angry I should never, ever take it out on those around me.  Again in early recovery we must learn outlets for anger.  Denial and distraction works for a while but it is not a solution.  The rage I feel inside is MINE I need to own it and then learn the solutions for it.  I have written many articles on the solutions for anger.  Anger is not the defect of character wrath is.

My message today…..feelings follow actions not the other way around.  You are a beautiful child of a Creator.  God don’t make junk!  No one taught you how to deal with the intense feelings that drove you to drink and drug therefore you are innocent.  You, if you are an alcoholic or addict are a sick person trying to get well not a bad person trying to get good.  In this way its true AA is not a moral program.  However if you continue working on the steps and stay in meetings, work with others and do the maintenance steps of 10, 11, and step 12 you will learn to follow your heart and this will bring you peace and morality both.  All morality really is, is the act of following one’s own heart of which we also call the conscience.   

We in early recovery must first learn what our true heart’s desire is so we may follow it to find peace.  Many of us for survival sake learned to disconnect our hearts truths from both our intellect and our sense of reality through deep denial.  He who learns to follow his own heart and resists perfectionism has found wisdom.

FEELINGS ACTIONS SNIP

STEP FIVE Alcoholics Anonymous (1)

SELF-LOATHING

SOBRIETY SABOTAGE

STEP 5 AA

STEP FIVE-There is a huge difference between the healthy emotional processes of steps 4 & 5 versus struggling for unattainable perfection, failing to live up to it then relentlessly beating ourselves to a pulp in our heart and mind for our guilt.

It is flawed thinking to surmise that somehow if we flog ourselves enough for our perceived imperfection THEN we will be good and acceptable to our Lord and our fellows.    The pure and anointed process God has set down to relieve our guilt by confession (or fifth step as we label it in AA) works famously to relieve self-hate.   The trouble is most self-haters don’t realize that it is themselves that they hate.  Because of our ability to survive emotionally we put blame quickly into action.  Then it becomes the world’s fault that we are miserable.  Oh well….no not “oh well”, this emotional survival process that so many of us humans engage in of blinding our self-awareness is at the core of every sick murderous and violent act against mankind that we can imagine.  Plainly said, blame is at the core of our worlds straying from Love.WE, THE CHILDREN OF A CREATOR ABSOLUTELY DO NOT HAVE THE INALIENABLE RIGHT TO CONDEMN OR PUNISH OURSELVES or anyone else. The decision to punish or not to punish lies in the realm of our Higher Power and the law.   Furthermore it is a common and subconscious illusion that self-abuse will render us pure and perfect…probably rooted in childhood punishments.  Interestingly my spiritual teacher whom was a missionary, a reverend, a grandmother, and a friend once informed me that “there is a counterfeit for every spiritual principal in existence on our Earth”.  Surely our former destructive methods of cleansing ourselves by self-abuse (even when it is done subconsciously) is surely the counterfeit of the pure and enlightening act of confession or “Step Five”.  And if your a religious human who prays often.  Do not be fooled by merely confessing all your wrongs to God and leaving out the “human” angle.  There will be little humility gained by confessing faults only to God.  This keeps false pride and sick secrets snugly in place in our hearts.  Confessing to a human and God are both vital to recovery.

SPONSORSHIP & A LUST FOR POWER & CONTROL

SPONSORSHIP

SELF-ESTEEM

THE 12 TRADITIONS

TRADITION 2

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOW IT WORKS & WHY IT WORKS

NINETY MEETINGS IN NINETY DAYS

Early Recovery topics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

 



How Much Work Must I do to Stay Sober?

NINETY MEETINGS IN NINETY DAYS

PSYCHIC CHANGE

 

 

RECOVEREY MAGIC

It is suggested in AA and NA both that we attend ninety meetings in ninety days.  Is it true?  Must we go to that many meetings?  If we are a full blow addict or alcoholic then yes!  It takes at least that much time to connect with enough people to learn the program.

We should start chairing meetings at thirty days sober; if that’s not do-able then we should start participating in meetings in some way that holds us accountable and responsible to be there regularly.  We can clean the meeting room or set up chairs, or make coffee or buy food and bring it regularly.  The key is to get involved, get a sponsor of our choosing and start formally working the steps thoroughly and truthfully.

Having completed the 12 steps, when not if we get upset and miserable or bored enough to want to drink and drug again; we implement what we have learned in the steps to keep us sober.  The goal is to obtain a “psychic change”.  What that means is our thinking becomes like that of a non-addict.  Psychic change means we no longer see abusing ourselves as a solution to misery.  Our eyes are opened.

If a Higher Power is not included in our program then we will in no way get the supernatural boost we need to stay sober and be happy.  The good news is that everyone no matter how evil or how sick he is has access to a Higher Power.  All we need do is seek with our heart and sit back and watch what we find.

Yes the program involves a lot of work.  However life involves a lot of work anyway, whether we stay sober or not.  We can work toward our demise or work toward our healing and salvation.

Our choices are our responsibility, we are not on a roller coaster that takes all our choices away…we DO have choices today.

Today I will make the right choice by going to a meeting.