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.

A Non-Theists View of AA

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE ARTICLE “The God of Coincidence.” TAKEN FROM AAagnostica website

According to the AAagnostica website most AAs believe in “a god of coincidence”  because God reveals It’s power in what seem to be coincidences yet AAs believe there are no coincidences.  Therefore when things happen just the way they are supposed to apparently God is working in our lives.

Tom P writes:       “The dominant AA creed I have found in meetings and in the Grapevine is that there is a God who is always with us, watching us, and He sometimes arranges coincidences that have good outcomes, or, if something bad happens, He allows it to happen in order to teach us important lessons, or because it leads to personal growth. ”          Yet, it seems that if members’ wish to belong to the AA club they adopt the dominant AA creed of the “God of Coincidence.” How else can you explain that otherwise intelligent and savvy people would discount the obvious explanation that coincidences are inevitable, and positive coincidences are more likely for those who are drug-free, grateful, willing, and working to overcome their selfishness. Just as members of a church accept the sect’s religious teachings in order to belong, and show this acceptance by professing their faith, members of AA seem to look for positive happenstances in their lives, and attribute them to God in order to (unconsciously of course) cement their feeling that they truly belong with AA      

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Member and Author Tom P calls himself a “non-theist” What is a non-theist?

Theist: God exists.
Nontheist: Prove it.

Seems that the Atheists just want to fit in and be a part of.  But the word “God” in the steps is eating their lunch.  And so they are fighting to start a group or a ‘sect’ of AA that isn’t rittled with mentions of God and The Higher Power.

One quote from AAagnostica site is this the  Definition of “Religion”:  “The biggest lie in human history. It has been responsible for more deaths in more wars than any.”

Tom P also wrote:

“Yet, we also want people to discover and embrace their true selves, and for some of us adopting the God of Coincidence, or labeling anything as a “Higher Power,”would be a self-betrayal. I love AA, it saved my life, and I have no Higher Power.”

Tom P. is a physician who spent twenty years working in mental health. Tom sees no evidence that the universe cares whether the Earth or us homo sapiens are here or not, but he also thinks that AA demonstrates the great good humanity can do when we hold hands, unite and take some responsibility for one another.

Tom also says:

“I wish I did not have to talk-around the Higher Power issue when I am sharing in meetings, to hide a part of myself. But then again, it has not been too hard for me to do. I have had a lifetime of practice.”

From the author:

Thanks to everybody for your positive comments. While I go to AA meetings, I actually feel more at home
and nurtured in Al-Anon. Among other things, there is less crosstalk, less fundamentalism, and a better
adherence to the principle of “take what
you want and leave the rest.” I don’t know if it will work for you, but it works for me.

I admit it still stings a little whenever the God issue comes up in meetings.   I have as much a need to belong as anybody does. One has to be careful, as some AAs will prompt you to just ignore feelings like this. Thankfully, I also have Adult Children of Alcoholics, where I can accept my feelings whatever they are, and get to know my true self.

TP

Comment Next comment Chris G on September 27, 2015 at 4:11 pm said: Mostly there is some parroting of “My HP guides me…” and so on, but I don’t engage.

READ ORIGINAL ARTICLE ‘THE GOD OF COINCIDENCE”

RELAPSE & STEP FOUR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Life on Life’s Terms

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

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

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

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

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