Although I Search Myself it’s Always Someone Else I See _______Elton John

Addicts are really good at one thing…”the game of denial”.  I blinded myself for many years.

Am I an addict?  Addiction is a symptom.  What other symptoms do I have going on that may reveal to me what my addiction was really about.

In a crowded room full of people would I be attracted to the sickest person in the room?  Have my relationships been riddled with abuse and betrayal?  Do I have a problems communicating on a respectful level when I am upset?  Do I fear my feelings because they make me intensely miserable?  Do I have a hard time sharing my fears and opening up to people?  Do I have a hard time sharing my most intimate feelings, hopes, and dreams?  Do I have ANXIETY, ANGER, DEPRESSION, LOW SELF ESTEEM?  What about mental health problems such as depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), PANIC ATTACKS, self harm, suicidal thoughts.  Or learning and earning difficulties, lower educational attainment, difficulties in communicating behavioral problems including anti-social behavior, criminal behavior?

Still after I answered yes to many of these questions I had no idea I was an abused child.  It took me ten years in recovery, eight years in AA working the steps over and over.  A year of trauma in recovery therapy, 7 years of intense meditation and deep prayer.  Until finally I was able to look at my father in a way other than the magic picture I had painted in my mind for so long.

I had to be the one who was bad and wrong, I thought!  My father was an angel he couldn’t have been the one to brutally beat and possibly molest me as a baby.  At best he threw me to the wolves to be sexually ram-sacked at a young and tender age.  He could not have taken a beautiful young innocent toe-headed baby girl and bashed her, crashed her, and dashed her hopes and dreams into oblivion by teaching her that she was basically a third rate human being who had no right to live and deserved to be brutalized and beaten.  He taught me that every aspect of me was dirt.  My body, mind, soul, and spirit.  And to this day that sick bastard doesn’t think he did anything wrong.  He has never said, “I am sorry, I was wrong” about anything.

So I am processing my core issue, the true reason for my drinking and drugging.

Mean-while I hope to enlighten the minds of my fellows.  If I don’t have a disease…you may not have a disease either.  Why claim the disease concept for myself anyway?  Well for me it was a kind of justification for my behavior.  The disease concept lets me off the hook  I am no longer responsible for my actions.  I have an addiction cancer, not my fault!  But now I know different.  But initially, it’s still not my fault. I was coping the only way I knew how. But now I know better ways to cope. And I have way less stressful situations to “cope with”. The good news is that the trauma and child abuse theory for addiction means I have a real chance at a cure IF I do the work. Please, not “cured” to drink and drug again. Cured to not want to drink and drug again.
Addiction is no mystery to me at ten plus years sober. Start with a miserable, insecure, low self esteem, fearful individual who finds a solution to his fear in drugs. He feels better for a time…but then he gets a tolerance to his drug. It no longer has the same effects. The addict is desperately seeking peace of mind in the only way that has worked for him in the past. But his solution fails, AKKKKK!! The addict is driven by a powerful obsession to re-capture the good feelings which alcohol and drugs once provided. He searches like a starving animal seeking food. (hence the obsession) Take away any mans sustenance, starve him, and watch him act just like a sick heroin addict to the point of murder and theft. It’s a viable human basic need full throttle. Addiction falls into the bucket labelled “emotional survival”. The real question is…why is the addict so f**ing miserable to being with? Oh but AA teaches that the “why” isn’t important. Right. The hell it isn’t. Each person when choosing to answer this question in a painfully honest and unbiased way leaving the “pack mentality” behind (protect family at all costs even unto deep denial) will find that the core of his motive for addiction is rooted in his formative years. One step further we find that we had no idea what child abuse really looks and feels like. We ask “why was my self-worth so jaded?” “What made a little innocent child hate himself?” “Who taught me that I was not as good as other people?” False pride screams at the top of it’s lungs; “ADDICTION IS A DISEASE! ADDICTION IS GENETIC! I HAD A WONDERFUL CHILDHOOD! My parents were awesome care-takers. They nurtured and encouraged me. They fed and clothed me. They taught me that I was good and could achieve anything. They rewarded me and never sent me violent or demeaning messages. (Right, that’s why you methodically and habitually tried to off yourself.) Keep telling yourself that my fellow dysfunctional victim, keep listening to the false pride which says there is no such thing as a victim. There is no such thing as emotional trauma. I AM FINE DAMN IT! Just diseased, ya a disease that has nothing to do with the circumstances of my life so I don’t have to work on or address wrongs done TO me.   MY POINT?   How in the name of all that is holy are so many recovering addicts convinced that their addiction has nothing to do with their emotional condition and their childhood.

The right therapy can heal a heart. It’s our heart that has been abused. It’s our minds that are in need of some lessons in child development and some step eleven meditation and long term sobriety WILL bring back the memories that our heart desperately needs to express if we allow it. Don’t let the intellect to minimize, invalidate, & destroy the hearts voice.

Every addict is fearful and emotionally repressed. But don’t expect him to see or admit it until he has been through a year or so of good therapy.

Why Am I an Alcoholic?

Why Are Addicts in so Much Emotional Pain?
Why do addicts seem to have a proclivity towards self destruction?

Why are addicts so inclined to blame others for their own choices?

And the biggie, why do our sponsors teach us to not ask “why”?

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

Because of emotional neglect and a lack of spirituality I suffered pain. Notice I said “neglect” not “abuse”. Many alcoholics have good parents who have no idea how to emotionally nurture a child in their formative (young period of development in which our emotional patterns are formed) years. Our parents basically without meaning to, teach us we are bad, wrong, lesser than, and don’t really deserve a good life. At the age of 0-8 we have no idea what true love and caring should look like. I myself did not realize this until the intensive work I did into my past by both group therapy and a brilliant psychologist who had been through the same neglect and tearing down of his self-worth.

Once I believed I was a bad person I reasoned I would prefer to be a good person doing bad things so in an effort to fix myself (subconsciously) I engaged in a life of bad choices. Always struggling for the attention and nurturing my parents were incapable of giving. I started every day from the platform of low self worth. I beat myself up endlessly in hopes that if I punished myself enough I would again be a good person who deserves Love. . I hid myself and my emotions away because I believed they were all bad and wrong. Surly no one would like me if they knew who I really was. There is a deep price to pay for holding in who we really are and how we really feel. A body is not made to repress so many intense feelings. I caught Cancer by the time I was thirty-five partly because of repressing emotions. A large tumor had to be cut from my thigh. I was the great “repressor”. But the “screamers” (those addicts who yell at other people often) who also hide their true selves away, commonly suffer from heart attacks and strokes. ( My doctor’s theory not mine but I experienced that theory first hand.)

You see once I found a drug that numbed that pain it became my best friend. People who don’t have the pain that addicts have simply don’t react to drugs and alcohol the way those in deep emotional pain do. Common sense if you think about it. We are way over-thinking addiction in America. It’s really simple.

I was self-destructive because the fear of living so many years in great pain is a scary thought.

Blame is the most wide spread way of distracting and deflecting the responsibility of what I had done, who I really am and how I really feel. If I am blaming someone else then I don’t have to look at my guilt, shame, pain,fear.

In AA they teach us to not ask why because they themselves have never had the opportunity to answer their own question of “why did I drink and drug, why did I need to numb myself”.

Unfortunately if we don’t look at the “why” behind our addiction then we can never really find a healing.

The program works if we get a God breathed miracle and IF we do an in depth fourth step that brings into the light all of our shame and fear.

If all we do is list our wrongs and not talk about our deep and intense fears, shame, and feelings then the program is just a band-aid. And when the program is just a band-aid you will need that aid the rest of your life, just life so many people preach in AA. That the old timer is just as close to a drink as the newcomer. That’s true if the old timer hasn’t done the work on his core issues of shame, fear, and hurt.

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So what are the solutions?

The solutions are to rebuild our self worth and find ways to continually process the way we feel and what we think. Also our childhood fears and intense feelings need to be let out. Journalling, writing, crying, screaming, physical exercise coupled with an emotional out-pouring. If we feel horrible don’t lay down. Take a bat and beat the bed with it. Take a whip and beat a tree with it. Buy a punching bag if your a man and include a diary with your workout. Start writing and find out what is really in your head. WRITE DOWN CORE FEELINGS AND CORE FEARS. THE ONES THAT WOULD EMBARRASS YOU IF THEY WERE DISCOVERED. WRITE DOWN THE WEAK AND VULNERABLE THOUGHTS THAT HAVE HAUNTED YOU FOR YEARS. Then share the ones that are ongoing. We need at least one person we can tell anything to, even if it’s in confessional. Work all the steps in depth including shame, fear, and core child-like thoughts and needs. “I want people to love me” “I am afraid” “I hate myself” “I want my fathers love” “Why won’t Mommy Love me?” Our fourth step needs to work on our wrongs and on our deep emotions. We must rebuild who we are by doing step twelve for many years. Not only do we need to address our core issues to heal but we also need to develop new patterns of behavior. We must take our step three seriously. We need to admit that we don’t trust God or His choices for us. And why would we? Look at our past lives and what we have suffered. We need to get real with God Himself. “If your there show me”. Pray from the heart not from some mantra robot prayer.

Lay on the bed. Put your arms straight out to your sides leaving you vulnerable. Now show God your true heart not hiding or covering any of it. Admit to him you are lost and need help but that you don’t really know if He will help you or if He exists. JUST BE REAL WITH GOD.

Join a home group and make commitments to do stuff that is scary to you. Chair meetings, tell your story at a speaker meeting. Chair more meetings. Go to jails and institutions and share your story again. Do this and keep doing it. Every time your scared of relapse write it down and tell God your not trusting Him again and ask for help. Remember the program works and it’s not you that is healing you it is the program/God which you are working that is healing and keeping you sober. “so your OK and your going to be OK”. Ask your self; am I OK right now? Then that is good enough.

Do fear lists on a regular basis. Then find your part (not trusting God/program) and realize your OK. Do step Eleven regularly with positive affirmations of all the good things you have been doing for your recovery.

You are okay if you perceive that you are. Write an autobiography of the most intense childhood experiences and feelings and share it.

Ask God to remove your character defects. Do no harm. Help others. This is the will of God. Never say negative things about yourself like name calling and putting yourself down in your own head.

Give thanks every day to God….aloud. If you seek a spiritual experience to give yourself the supernatural boost that Bill W himself got then go to places that people seek God. I recommend the Pentecostal church because of the laying on of hands and prayer. I also recommend the Catholic Church because of the confessional. Be Catholic for a day and go to confession. The smaller Catholic Churches will accommodate you that.

Finally-make amends to those you have hurt without expectations of their reciprocation. Use a dictionary. Start learning, Set life goals. Eat right. Exercise. Do not engage in sick relationships anymore. If someone brings out the worst in you then it’s time to move on. Quit reserving a beast of burden to blame for your feelings and actions. No one can process the way you feel except you.

Tall order? Yes. Read the book I wrote for more help to really heal. Not so you can drink again but rather so you won’t want to drink again. You won’t want to change the way you feel because you will feel fine. And sometimes you will feel great. And sometimes you will feel like shit but you won’t hold it inside. If your angry you will beat the bad and write down your feelings. If your hurt by someone you will tell them “I am hurt by what you said.” That is if you want an ongoing relationship with them you must quit acting like a stone wall. You share not so people can fix you No. It is your sharing in itself that will fix you. You need noone to fix you but you do need to start sharing the more intense feelings and thoughts.

Show all people respect. All people.

“Paradise for the Hellbound” a book about change

Trust in God – Sharon’s Story about Crystal Meth Addiction Recovery

More from http://mormonchannel.org/12steps
http://www.mormonchannel.org/12steps   This is the link to all 12 of the videos that the Mormon channel has recently put out.  They are getting allot of attention in the press.  Apparently they are very down to earth real stories of real people, their bottom and their recovery from all different kinds of addiction.

Here’s the link to the really good and helpful video. FOOD FOR THOUGHT AA EMOTIONAL SOBRIETY TOM P

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We must never give up hope.  In all things give thanks.  I have been ungrateful for the things I have.  For that I repent, where does that get me other than anger and resentment.  And so once again I accept that God is in charge and I trust, trust, trust, that He, She, It, has my best interests at heart.

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…..

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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

AA LOVE AND TOLERANCE IS OUR CODE

LOVE IS HIGHLY UNDER-RATED IN SOME SECTS OF AA

This article is dedicated to Beth Palmer who by her sharing has the gift to help us see.

I want to begin this post with a quote from the “Twelve and Twelve” I simply love Bill W.s literary expression and agree with most everything he and his fellows wrote.

“Finally, we begin to see that all people, including ourselves,

are to some extent emotionally ill as well as

frequently wrong, and then we approach true tolerance and

see what real love for our fellows actually means.”

I’m sure some AA members will be quick to tell me that Love won’t get anyone sober but I say it will sure as hell heal the underlying and core causes of addiction when applied to the right emotional wounds.  Often times in AA there is a mentality that to get sober we have to be kicked in the ass.  That really does work for some people and I will not discount that a “call you on your shit” sponsor is a valuable commodity.  However I think for the people that have had their asses kicked all their lives and tend to beat themselves up for human error and minor mistakes need a more loving and empathetic approach to their choosing a sponsor and friends in AA. 

Please I don’t mean to imply a sponsor should be a coddling mama figure and emotional enabler who calls my wrongs “rights” and breast feeds me at every turn.  I just mean someone who will not constantly look to label their sponcee “wrong” and “bad”.  Personally I have done that to myself all my life as have my family members to the point of feeling I have no human right to even exist on the earth much less be a valid and important member of society.  No I mean a sponsor who will validate my emotions because they are God given.  And a sponsor who will see the similarities and relate to me which means someone who understands and “gets” me.  That is so important for healthy emotional healing and that is what I found in AA not just from my sponsors but from my friends in AA as well.

GOD IS LOVE

God is Love. When people have had a spiritual experience they walk away feeling loved by God and their faith that God exists is increased greatly.  They walk away from the experience feeling much more loving towards others. That includes loving themselves. I guess that’s why spirituality is a solution to addiction. When I am loving myself I am not abusing drugs or over-taking them. When I am loving myself I eat right, sleep right, fellowship, take myself to the beach or the river.  Generally I have a clear vision of what is good for me and what is not and I follow that criteria. Gaining spirituality through seeking God by prayer or meditation (step eleven) has turned my life on a different path than if I were running on pure self-will.

I wish my self-will were healthier but I have had my own self-will run me into the dirt literally.   I have watched like a by-stander as I have gone against my own moral compass while struggling and fighting for what my self-will demanded and thought it needed. I have hurt those I love and I have taken what little self-worth I had and crushed it in the wine-press by my own apostasy. (Going against what I believe in) Apostasy will crush a man’s self-image quicker than anything that I know of.  Guilt and remorse set in when we do what we know is wrong. Then to cover the feelings of guilt we pour on more rational and false justifications to numb it all out and engage in further drinking and drugging.

There are many other addictions besides drugs and alcohol mark my words. When a man gets sober after many years of using he will seek out a new addiction even if it be the addiction to something considered healthy like working out or work or sex or eating. But all things done in excess are potentially harmful.

So what then?   Are we recovering addicts doomed to always be revelling in one addiction or another?   No absolutely not!  The solution IS Love and steps 10-12 show us how to maintain self-love. Put in simpler terms we make it a habit to pray and meditate at least 30 minutes a day. We exercise our bodies and we eat right. We do some kind of service work and we keep guilt and shame off of our backs by confessing anything that makes us feel guilty and ashamed. When it comes to confession and the fifth step, it works best when we confess to both man and God. Oftentimes our souls will not feel a cleansing relief if we only confess to God because He, She, It is so far removed from us we just don’t feel the accountability provided by a human. The first 5 or 6 years of my own recovery I had plenty to confess and I did so in meetings and in private. Not to mention when we confess in meetings it helps other people relate to us and they realize that they are not so bad or different than other people.

Confessing our shortcomings to a human cuts our false-pride to the quick.   False-pride is a crippling character defect that has caused more debauchery and chaos than imaginable.   False pride ends Loving relationships, it can’t admit when it’s wrong, it shuts down our ability to learn new things (because it knows everything) and it basically and quite literally will kill us by its symptoms if it’s not kept in check.  And so confession and truth are the tools we have to wage war against our false pride. This is another reason why the 12 steps work. The truth will set us free

 

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?

 

Sobriety Year Seven

SEVEN YEARS SOBER, ALCOHOL WAS BUT A SYMPTOM OF A DEEPER SICKNESS

 

I ran into a lady a Wal-Mart, she invited me to church.  I gave her a brief summary of what God has done for me in the last nine years.  I told her I have stayed sober nine years.  She looked at me amazed and said, “Wow!  That must be hard, it’s hard to stay sober.”  I thought to myself about the last years in sobriety and how easy it has been to stay sober anymore.   I thought to myself this life of mine is the closest this former drunk has ever been to a “normal life”.  I told “June” (is her name), I said, “June it was hard, very, very hard to get sober and the first four years where absolutely filled with processing my core issues. 

 I worked very hard to clear up the wreckage of the past and root out the underlying causes of my addiction.  Not to mention the twelve steps were and are my guide through my sober journey.  In the twelve steps lies the magical jump-start that made all my healing and psychic change possible.  That magic is my Higher Power.  I relentlessly worked step eleven meditation daily for years.  I connected with God, I met my Spirit Guides and I became strengthened to the point of a new self-confidence and awareness of who I really am.  I let little Laura out of the closet and she isn’t so bad after all.                                                                      

My underlying cause was “emotional disorder”    Not to mention I was ate up with shame.  Until I went to AA and had one full year of recovery based therapy I had no idea what to do with feelings.  Feelings used to scare the shit out of me to put it bluntly.

Why does the addict work so hard to change the way he/she feels?  How is it that the new re-habs are advertising that they have the “cure” for addiction when we are taught in the big book that we will always be alcoholics?  Is it possible that Bill Wilson was wrong?  We are taught to keep an open mind and to never limit God and His power.   Maybe Bill Wilson just never did find the courage and where-with-all to return to his childhood traumas and scream and cry them out as that small child.  Letting the hurts out rather than holding them in and allowing them to rule over out action and emotional responses is the sickness.  Letting hurt out is the process that leads to our healing but not everyone can make themselves so vulnerable.  Crying is a healthy emotion and should not be repressed.

If the underlying cause is healed by God and we are taught how to express our feelings in a healthy way, then it becomes very easy to stay sober. Is it a cure?  Well that’s a matter of semantics.

NEVER-THE-LESS I AM SOBER BY THE GRACE OF GOD WHO PICKED ME UP OFF THE STREET WHERE I WAS DEAD TO THE LIGHT AND HE OPENED MY EYES AND HEALED

HOW DO RECOVERING ADDICTS & ALCOHOLICS DEAL WITH MONEY?

MONEY AND THE RECOVERING ADDICT.  FREEDOM FROM COMPULSIVE SPENDING.

How do addicts handle their finances after years of spending money on the wrong things and suffering the regret?  In the past personally I crossed many moral boundaries to make my money and then spent it on drugs instead of paying the bills, buying important things for my family and myself.  Since I now have years of sober time under my belt I do question my occasional compulsive spending, I analyse it and am now sharing it with you.

I remember at the start of my recovery I continued in my willingness to cross moral boundaries to get money a time or two when I needed that money to get to a meeting or put toward my rehab stay.  I had the gift of desperation that is a key in opening the lock of  sobriety.  I don’t save money well I never have.  Neither have my parents, they didn’t teach me good financial planning or skills.  However since I have been sober I do much better with my money, I get my bills paid even though sometimes they are late.  I enjoy shopping but if I know a bill is due I usually pay it first.  I say “usually”.

When it comes to walking in a Wal-mart with a pocket full of money even though all I need is a gallon of milk I will tell myself “I know there’s something I need” just so I can shop.  Shopping is a high for me and if I go to the grocery store hungry I may forget all about my bills temporarily until I get home and wish I hadn’t spent so much money.  I wonder…is it the shopping or the beating myself up that I get more satisfaction from.  Maybe subconsciously the thought of just being good bores me to tears and since I no longer drink and drug because it became too painful I must replace that debauchery with another of a different flavor.  One thing sure if we are busy doing Step 12 we won’t have time for self abuse.

The cycle of guilt is a merry-go-round that does not enjoy being put to rest.  Whether it be illicit sex, stealing, yelling at our loved ones, gossip, over-eating, or greed recovering addicts seem to have a need to keep the merry-go-round of guilt and self-punishment alive.  After all what will we do with out emotions and thoughts if we don’t have some negative aspect of ourselves or others to focus on?

The 12 steps help us to STOP the cycle of guilt and remorse.  Perhaps not completely however,  believe it there are degrees of guilt.  Remorse can be so deep that it becomes intolerable after all where does depression step from if not from a deep nagging dissatisfaction of one’s self?   The program gives us all kinds of new things to focus on and yes new things to criticize and balk at.   Aren’t the very nature of steps 1,4,6,7,8,9, & 10 about asking ourselves “what have I done wrong today and in the past”?  YES THEY ARE however the steps offer us solutions to that guilt so we don’t have to walk around ashamed of who we are.  Without steps two, three, five, eleven and 12 our wonderful recovery program is nothing more than [ more of the same], more insanity and a continued process of self-abasement without the solutions.  At the same time without the self-examination of our shortcomings we cannot clear the wreckage of our past and put our emotions from “disorder” to order,  It is completely understandable why so many people take a peak at AA and then decide it’s not for them.  They see all the negative self-examination and say “It does me no good to dwell on the past there is nothing I can do about it now its gone.”  To an extent they are spot on and that is the best attitude if a person does not have steps 2,3, 5, 11,12.

Ignoring and repressing guilt will only get us so-far.  Unprocessed emotions will come out of us in the form of criticisms, gossip, verbal attacks on other people, and it will turn bitter inside of our bellies and prompt us to jealousy, envy,  and make us sick.  Repressed guilt turns to shame which turns to fear and hate.  We as recovering addicts need the 12 steps like a fish needs water.  We must not give way to homicidal and suicidal thoughts but instead have the courage to do self-examination and admit our wrongs and then tell someone about it.  We must let the cat out of the bag by doing our Fifth Step which is so important for our emotional recovery.  Our relationship with God is so important but we must have at least one confidant that we can tell anything to.    Where there is no sense of accountability personalities digress.

So how does all this fit in with our finances?  We recognize when and if we are using money to continue somehow our cycle of shame and guilt.  If we learn to work the 12 steps properly and  as women focus on our feelings when doing so and honor them by validating and sharing them in our fifth step we can then let the pain go rather than hold onto it like Gollum held on to the ring….his Precious.  We shall put our emotions into a state of “order” rather than sick and depressive “disorder”.   By admitting that we do experience guilt and shame instead of labeling such feelings weak and shameful we can and will simply grow out of them.

SELF LOATHING

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THE FIFTH STEP

THE FIFTH STEP

LIFE ON LIFE’S TERMS

Because of what life throws us quality sobriety doesn’t always look pretty.  At times the appropriate sober emotional response is to throw down the mask and promptly fall apart.  We must release the poison that negative human emotions can create in our hearts if we are to survive not only sober but sane as well.  Contrary to common belief crying is a healthy emotion that should not be shut down by force of habit.

Psalms 30:5 “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

Pretending we know no sorrow does not exhibit strength it exhibits weakness and fear by forbidding others from seeing who we are and how we truly feel sometimes.  It is not sincere for those in the program to constantly portray that “It’s all good” all the time as if those who are having struggles are inferior for lack of a decent program.

Sharing from our heart during times of struggle is often a huge relief to our fellows because now they know…they are not alone.  By the same principle of honesty the most important thing to share on a fifth step is the deep dark secret we are the most ashamed of.  Shame is an exhausting emotion that cannot stand the light of confession and so it leaves.  Thank God we have a way to emotionally heal.

 

5

 

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.

AT A YEAR SOBER WE ASK; WHATS WRONG WITH ME????

STEP THREE….LETTING GO & LETTING GOD

AT A YEAR SOBER WE ASK; WHATS WRONG WITH ME????

 Real Recovery doesn’t always feel or look like quality sobriety

“If anybody knew how I really felt inside they would know that I am not doing well in my recovery. I feel like something is wrong with me. I must be doing something wrong! I am sober but I am depressed, I am sober but I still have anxiety attacks. I mustn’t tell anyone how I feel or they will know I am not really emotionally sober. I don’t have quality recovery how could I if I did I would not feel like this.”Hmm??? Ever hear anybody share the above statements in a meeting? Most likely you answered no. However the above scenarios show the way that many addicts think and feel even though they have worked the steps and regularly work steps ten through twelve.WHY????????????

First let’s define this type of thinking and what it’s connected to in us. Let’s explore the dreaded word, feeling, and thought called “SHAME”. Alcoholism & addiction have been explored and painstakingly researched by many experts who have finally defined addiction as a “shame based disease”.In the Big Book it is written that alcohol is but a symptom of an underlying problem. And that we alcoholics suffer from spiritual and emotional maladies. So what is this underlying malady and how do I fix it? In “How it Works” it is written that some of us suffer from “grave emotional disorders”. It says that those who suffer from these disorders can also get better and stay sober. Well guess what ALL ADDICTS AND ALCOHOLICS SUFFER FROM EMOTIONAL DISORDER in my opinion. It takes some serious open-mindedness and lots of journaling, meetings, therapy, working with a sponsor, prayer and meditation to get in touch with and admit to ourselves our underlying malady of shame.Shame tells us that we are not worthy of a Higher Powers Love. Shame tells us that we don’t deserve anything good. Shame tells us that we are bad, wrong, evil, and that we must keep who we are a secret or we will never have anything we want or need. Starting the day from the platform of shame blocks us off from so many good and spiritual things. It causes us to have to justify and defend ourselves. It causes us to be in defensive mode. It shuts us off from Love. Shame shuts us off from God even in our prayers we block off certain parts of our heart hiding parts of us from our Higher Power in hopes that even He, It, She will Love us if we pretend to be someone we are not.
What’s the solution?

We must first realize that we are human and we will never be perfect as long as we are human so we can never ever approach God as a perfect and totally worthy person. We must quit hiding and keeping secrets from God and man.
ACTION:

We should lay on the bed or floor stretch our arms out as far as we can to our sides focus on God and expose all of our heart to God. We should approach our Higher Power in all honesty and transparency and say; “here I am just as I am, I want a relationship with You I need your help.”

We are our Higher Powers creation and we were created INCOMPLETE that’s why we feel so incomplete. Not because we are bad, wrong, unworthy etc. but because that’s the way we were made. We are only complete & fulfilled when we exercise an ongoing relationship with our creator. Fulfillment, enlightenment, encouragement, comfort, and healing are some of the things we get from opening up to our creator. That’s why the steps work, they show us how to have a spiritual connection with our creator.

WE ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO FEEL GOOD ALL THE TIME
even when working the steps correctly, we were not created that way. It doesn’t mean something is horribly wrong with us.
So, we acknowledge and honor our feelings no matter what they are and we continue on with our daily lives in spite of them. We don’t let our feelings create Kayos in our minds. “THE

NEGATIVE THOUGHTS THAT ATTACH THEMSELVES TO MY FEELINGS ARE NOT FACTS.” FEELINGS themselves ARE FACTS because they are very real to us and come from our hearts experiences. It’s the thoughts that get us in trouble. If we don’t honor our feelings and journal them, talk about them then we are dishonoring and invalidating who we are. Our unhappy feelings come from somewhere real and often times we need to do some crying, some screaming (not at anyone) some beating the bed with our fists to get these intense feelings out in a healthy way so they don’t come out sideways at other people.
Addictions spell emotional trauma and that trauma needs an outlet. Emotional trauma does not have to mean that we were abused as children by adults. Emotional trauma can result from emotional neglect and a lack of nurturing as children. Deep hurts from rejection and abandonment don’t go away just because we are grown. We usually blame other people for the way we feel we are confused because other people trigger intense feelings (from past events) that live in us. Blaming others for the way we feel gives us temporary relief but will never ever help us heal.

All humans have a capacity to be hurt emotionally by others, if we do not have a healthy outlet for hurt it will evolve into anger and continue to live inside us until we connect with it and express it in a healthy non-attacking way.
When deep emotional hurt does not have an outlet it turns to anger which in turn can evolve into rage.

Depression is anger without enthusiasm
it happens when we are just too worn down by our own anger & we haven’t the energy to be angry anymore. We have not processed our anger we have merely changed our focus so the anger evolves into depression.
ACTION: Putting our emotions in order by talking about our feelings with someone who won’t shut us down and will be empathic is healing. Journaling is healing, moaning in guttural sounds to let hurts out is healing. Putting on our shoes and getting out of the house to do 12 step work or meetings is healing. Crying is healing. Screaming when we hurt so bad emotionally that words will not suffice is healing.

WE DO NOT RAMBLE ABOUT HOW BAD OTHER PEOPLE ARE AND WHAT THEY DID TO US UNLESS IT’S ON PAPER. WE ONLY NEED TO SAY IT ONCE OUTLOAD, IN A MEETING AND AGAIN TO OUR SPONSOR OR EMPATHIC LISTENER. It’s the talking about “how it made me feel” that heals us. It made me feel worthless for example or it made me feel dirty etc.
I am talking about healing core issues that are the cause of our relentless effort to numb out our feelings and our life. But let’s face it had we really wanted to be dead we would have gone through with suicide. What we really want is balanced and orderly emotions not lack of emotions.

We woman will die if we don’t talk about the way we feel. Criticizing others, character assassination and living in blame are character defects that we should not confuse with the expression it takes for healthy emotional order.

ACTION: What about anxiety? The fourth step in the Big Book has an exercise called the “fear list”. We write down all our core fears, we explore them.

REMEMBER FEARS COME FROM OUR HEART AND DO NOT HAVE TO BE LOGICAL. Just because our mind knows we don’t have to fear something if our heart fears it we should recognize it and honor it. Furthermore we should not let our shame throw us into the deep river of denial. Our fears need expression if we want to stop the anxiety attacks. So we write all our fears down and consider them. We realize we are not trusting God and that our faith is sometimes little if we are in fear. So rather than sticking our fear in the “denial box” we stick it in the “God Box”. We then ask God to remove our fears and help us to rely on him, it, or her.
Anxiety is intense fear that we have buried rather than expressing it, perhaps it’s a fear associated with trauma. After all who wants to be labelled “chicken shit”, “spiritually unfit” or other judgmental words to label he who has fear? But guess what? Every human on the face of the earth has fear it’s just learning how to express it and taking action in spite of it that turns it into courage or emotional growth. Intense fears need to be expressed and released (not dwelled on) so they don’t live in us and turn into intense anxiety.

THOUGHT PROVOKING QUESTIONS: Why is screaming a natural response to intense fear? Screaming releases boatloads of endorphins and is a solution to fear. Why do some soldiers come back from the war with PTSD and others don’t who have the exact same experiences? Because often times we were taught that our expressions of fear and hurt and anger are wrong, bad, weak, stupid, ugly, disgusting etc. We were taught that our healthy emotional expression was wrong by some adult when we were very young and so we believed them and we became ashamed and shut down our own healthy emotional process.
What’s the solution to emotional disorder? Drinking and drugging of course! Yes I am serious. What happens when drinking and drugging quits working because of the consequences? Find a way to express and process our emotions in a healthy non-attacking, non-hurtful, non-destructive way.

God gave us vocal cords for a reason we can either save our face or save our ass! It’s time to let the emotional child within us out of the box so she, he can have a half way decent recovery.
Disclaimer: I own two supernatural boxes. One is called the “GOD BOX” the other is called the “DENIAL BOX”. I have and do use both.