IS LAUGHTER AND CELEBRATION ALWAYS A SIGN OF “QUALITY SOBRIETY”?

WHILE SADNESS AND GRIEVING ARE A SIGN OF WORKING A BAD PROGRAM?

 

Depression is often repressed anger that lacks enthusiasm, 12 step action should be taken to fend depression off.  But also a deep emotional process of cries, guttural-outbursts, writing, sharing, moaning, and screaming needs to take place to release the emotional pangs misery that encompass the feelings of the adult who missed out on emotional Love and nurture while growing up.  “

 

Oh wouldn’t it be nice to feel totally secure & happy, with not a fear.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be aware of our own mortality and yet not fear the unknown when it confronts us?    Isn’t the happiest person in recovery synonymous with the most spiritual man in recovery?  But wait…truly any man facing his own reality on this Earth with eyes wide-open should be afraid.  There are entirely too many horrible things that can happen.  There are too many terrible things that WILL HAPPEN…THAT IS, IF WE LIVE LONG ENOUGH TO EXPERIENCE THEM. 

 

Don’t you just love those drug company commercials that relentlessly remind us of the many horrible illnesses that could befall us as we walk into our twilight years?   Struggling as we go to fend off the Alzheimer’s and decomposition?  Or how about the endless ads in the mail once we hit the magic age of 50 for final expense and burial insurance.  Or how about the progressive memory loss and thinning hair line?  Just to name a few…the better we are at “denial” of all this reality the happier we may be.  And isn’t denial dishonest at its core and contrary to every Twelve Step principal we have learned? 

 

Nevertheless, however rewarding our pleasant & various distractions from our sickening reality may be these pleasantries may not be in OUR OWN best interest.   Staying in the house of gaiety, celebration, and gratitude may seem like our highest achievement in recovery not to mention how we do enjoy appearing [above it all] to our fellows.   After all doesn’t our happiness prove that we are working the best program out there? 

 

In spite of the world-renowned 12 step solution of teaching us to grab pencil and paper to write down all the things we are so wonderfully thankful for, at the on-set of any signs of ill-at-ease.  Beware this 12 step solution may NOT always be [the-next-right-thing]. 

 

We may be experiencing on-going discontent and irritability for a very important reason.  Our discontent could be our call or the only thing that draws us to our higher power.  Perhaps instead of distracting ourselves from our sadness we should be accepting, owning it, then we should take a much closer look at the reality of our own impending doom as mortals.  This wake-up call per-say could be so we will seek GOD the lasting solution rather than repeated and temporary Band-Aids that we stick on our skin while under the surface we deteriorate along with our soul’s spirituality.

 

King Solomon the wisest man of all time has written a message to us:

 

Ecclesiastes 7:2-4

 

“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.

 

Sorrow is better than laughter,

For by a sad countenance the heart is made better.

 

The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.”

 

Gotta feel to heal and gotta seek God diligently to find.

STEP ELEVEN
STEP ELEVEN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step Five of Alcoholics Anonymous (2)

Topics: Fear Not, Step three and Step Five of Alcoholics Anonymous

HELP LINE

Suicide rate statistics among addicts.

“Fear not” is easier said than done. We need to learn the 12 step tools and especially invoke step three to keep fear at bay. There is no shame in revisiting a third step to remind us that God has our back! One of the first things we do when beginning our walk in sober school is identify, seek, and find a Higher Power.  Step five in the Big Book is the magic step that alleviates our guilt & shame but make no mistake, it is not a one-time job!  Unless of coarse your perfect or sociopath.

 

John 14:27
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  “
They say that the most used phrase in the Bible is “fear not”

 

The psychological make-up of an addict

Many of us when we were very small children were often told by parents that we had nothing to be afraid of when we expressed our intense child-like fears. Unfortunately during our forthright expression of true feelings our parents often implied by their lack of empathy and understanding that our fears were not only unfounded but ridiculous and perhaps absurd. These adults knew no better. 

Parents do not usually know that some validation of our feelings along with comfort and logic was necessary for our emotional health. Therefore our intense little feelings were invalidated, we felt “wrong” for being afraid.   After-all our parents knew best how we should feel so our fears must be wrong.  But instead of that making our fears go away it motivated us to hide our fears for shame.  My parents used shame to control me.  They used shame to oppress me and steal my dreams and hopes.

What’s worse once we got to pre and elementary school we found out just what kind of people express their fears openly. We learned about the scaredy-cats, the chicken-shits, the pussies and the yellow-bellies. We learned that people who express any form of fear will be ostracized greatly by their fellows and friends.   We must be bad we must be wrong!

And so we learned to stuff down those big fears into our guts, we learned to act, and we learned to put on the mask of fearlessness.   No-one would call us cry-baby again!  Ever!  We learned, even…to shut off our tears.  Showing any kind of hurt emotional or physical would label us weak.  So we turned our hurts to anger.  Who could blame us…we didn’t want to be labelled by everyone.  Between our parents and our school-mates we were really left with very few people if any in whom we could confide our true feelings so we could let them out. 

Most of us women in addiction were sexually abused as children.  We hid the feelings from that away as well…deep in our bowels lie the pain and hurt of a wounded, neglected, and abused child.  We did not trust that our feelings were right therefore we could not trust our parents to tell them what happened…or maybe our parents are the culprits of the abuse.  Either way we had no adult to confide with about the abuse and the feelings of self-loathing that resulted from it.

AND SO GOES THE STORY OF THE TYPICAL ADDICTS EMOTIONS…expression of feelings was off the table so what would we do with all those feelings inside us that were ready & able to cause an explosion of wrath.  We usually weren’t cruel people we didn’t want to take out our feelings on others so we beat ourselves up for being who we were.

We developed a voice in our head that screamed at us for things we said and did and things we didn’t say and do.  We became our own worst enemy. 

The self-hate, the anxiety, and the depression that we felt had to stop! 

SO WE MEDICATED!  After-all the last thing we would do is confide in someone so they could turn around and use it against us!

Ohhhh how the drugs worked, ohhhh how they made us feel better…for a while anyway!

Robin Williams-an addict in recovery hung himself today.  Why would anyone with all that money, in the program, sober for quite some time want to kill himself?

“Our liquor was but a symptom, so we had to get down to causes and conditions.”

I have a friend who is a therapist and in 12 step recovery.  He loves both programs.  But he has quoted me shocking numbers of addicts/alcoholics in a 12 step program who have committed suicide.  The statistics are staggering.  What you will find behind the statistics is an ability to express and share negative feelings. .  My friend insists that all his sponcees do regular fifth-steps in meetings by telling “WHAT HAPPENED AND HOW IT MADE ME FEEL.” 

FEELINGS ARE NOT AN OUTSIDE ISSUE, THE SOLUTIONS DO NOT LIE IN SHUTTING DOWN OUR FEELINGS AND PRETENDING THEY DON’T EXIST.

“WE ARE AS SICK AS OUR SECRETS”

WE MUST FIND AT LEAST ONE PERSON WE CAN TELL ANYTHING TO.

IN THE U.S. SUICIDE STATISTICS FAR OUTWEIGH OTHER COUNTRIES.

 

The solutions to anxiety and depression are simple but not easy.  You can find them on my website:

https://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com

 

The Human Condition

Third Step Prayer

Great and Wondrous Higher Power

“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 Thy way of life. May I do Thy will always!”

Perhaps it is because we alcoholics know what pure and sacred goodness is that we sometimes feel an intense shame for who we are. Is that consciousness humility or is that self-degradation? Our thinking may tell us that even our feelings of shame are lowliness and wrong. However our Higher Power created us imperfect beings to strive and struggle toward righteousness and purity. We while in the flesh will never be perfect. We must let ourselves off the hook. How can we be anything but the children of God as God intended us to be with our struggles and faults?
Our solution to the human condition of an addict is to rely on a Higher Power just like the Third Step Prayer exhibits.

If we start our day from a platform of humility knowing full-well the character patterns in us that were unveiled during our step work then we do have the goodness and awareness enough to ask our Higher Power for help throughout our coming day.

Reliance on God works for us…it is our solution to the human condition we are not alone in our sometimes perilous yet wondrous journey.

AA “I won’t co-sign your bullshit!”

THERAPY VS PROGRAM?

“I WON’T CO-SIGN YOUR BULLSHIT!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grave emotional disorders

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

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

THERE IS NO WRONG FEELING

 

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

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

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

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

Therapy vs. program or therapy enhances program?

What is the easiest way to get sober?

PLEASE No more feelings!

You can recover

Laura Edgar

 

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