Wreckage of the Past
Growing up emotionally
|Clearing the wreckage of the past means growing up emotionally. “INDECISION” Page 86 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Step Eleven “In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, and intuitive thought or decision. We relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while.”
Why was it so hard to make any decision when I was newly sober? One huge reason is because I was afraid of the outcome of my own choices. My decision could turn out bad or wrong and then I would be bad and wrong. And why not, I made so many wrong choices in life I was used to the badgering and consequences of my selfish actions. Obviously the “bad” and “wrong” label was stamped on me at an early age therefore it is at the core of my “fear of people” issues.
One of my valuable (old behavior) survival skills when drinking and drugging was to let others make my choices for me. When I hand over power to someone by asking them…”what should I do” I am offering them ego-feeding material. Furthermore if the decision turns out “wrong” I can quickly blame that person for the outcome. This is why a sponsor should always answer objectively when a sponcee tries to hand over their power of choice by responding with “it is your decision but we can go over your options and I can suggest to you what may be the best choice.”
Why does the Ninth Step promise us that “fear of people will leave us” and how does it leave us? Between our connection with God and our customary twelve step work our confidence and self-esteem are rebuilt and we no longer fear making personal choices. We need no longer fear “bad” outcomes because life is a journey, we are only human and we have been created to make mistakes and to rely on a Higher Power. We are and will never be perfect while human. When we make right choices and do the next right thing we receive positive consequences which are confidence and true pride the good kind.
When I hand over power to a person it is a manipulation skill that keeps them coming back. It feels good to rule over someone and make their choices for them. However when that kind of power is snatched back…ouch! The person feels empty and lacking and usually they don’t react well. How do I snatch power back? By going against the advice given or just pushing the adviser right out of the picture all together by walking away.
It also says on page 88 that “faith without works is dead.” Therefore we should be sure to have some Step Twelve action going on even if it’s not in the capacity of AA. Not everyone fits into AA’s traditional version of the twelfth step, by chairing meetings, becoming an officer & active in business meetings, making coffee, speaking in institutions, speaker meetings, joining the activities committee etc. there are many ways to share the message outside of AA that will work to give the same good effect.
“Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principals in all our affairs”.
However if we choose to not do traditional twelfth step work we may be in danger of missing out on valuable personal growth, maturity, self-esteem, confidence, and emotional sobriety that happens when we do the things underlined above.
Learning to take responsibility for our actions and building confidence takes work. Fear of people will leave us IF we work the steps. One thing sure if we don’t put ourselves in uncomfortable and vulnerable positions by working step 12 we will not gain the confidence that no longer fears people and makes independent choices.
STEP 12: Courage & willingness means doing the next right thing when I just want to go home and hide in my bed. It means telling my story at detox when I am nervous as a cat. It means chairing a meeting when my hands shake, courage is making coffee when I fear that everyone at the meeting will tell me it tastes horrible, courage is doing a fifth step when every fiber of my being says “keep it secret”, courage is asking someone to sponsor me when I am afraid of being told “no”, it is sharing my secrets when I fear betrayal, it means making a friend when I fear I will just be abandoned again, it means putting pen to paper when I feel like it will all be a waste of my time. Without these kinds of courageous actions and the willingness that goes against our core fears we might not grow in the miraculous and amazing ways that are promised in Step Nine “fear of people will leave us”, furthermore we may not stay sober at all.
THE SAME MAN WILL DRINK AGAIN.