Kicking Subutex While In Recovery

False Pride is One of my Dominate Temptations of that I confess.

If Staying Sober is what you need to learn today…do not read this article.   I have many many other articles on how to stay sober. I have been sober since 2006.  That’s 14 years or so.  Ten of which I have taken some kind of doctor prescribed non narcotic drug.  Be clear I don’t take opiates, that would cause me dysfunctional addiction and horrible consequences.

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Addiction: The Truth Will Set Us Free

What is addiction?

Addiction is not a Disease, but rather it is a spiritual malady and force of habit.  It is a poor self image and the presence of a broken heart.  Our heart can be healed and our habits can be changes.  We won’t relapse if we take the time to respect ourselves enough to realize not only did we hurt others but others hurt us deeply.  The certainly taught us as children that we were inferior and bad.  So we spent the rest of our days trying to prove that it wasn’t true while our own hearts believed that it was.

What can I say?  I have been passionate about recovery for years.  I made my Recovery Farmhouse websites back at around 6 or 7 years sober.  Since then I have written hundreds of articles and engage in numerous Facebook group posts.  I have worked in AA for years on end being a member of a home-group and being a sponsor.  I have held positions in my homegroup such and chairman, secretary, and the like.

Why in the Hell Was I an Addict?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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
A
nd 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.