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Posted by on in Alcoholism

I'm referring to one of my experiences with the 7th Step of the program of recovery as it is laid out in masterly detail in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. It was not about the conception of God anymore really. That is pretty clear. I have my personal beliefs in a spirit underlying the totality of all things. I'm good. Nobody can talk me out of or around it. This is about the process of surrender to this power that goes back to the beginning with my willingness to put down the booze. Actually a time I didn't think mattered really in light of what was to come next.

The willingness to believe turned commitment to my own sobriety has varied over time from the Heavenly Father, Mother earth and sky, to Quin the Eskimo, and back again and again.  It's the process, the willingness to take action I can now see in others who value their own conceptions that may be quite different than my own. I am no longer alone yet have my own beliefs. I am not afraid as there is nothing to defend, nothing to steal.

It's the willingness that binds us. The willingness to give freely. The freedom from self centered fear.  We can be vulnerable, we can take a risk with the emotional security offered through our willingness. I begin to live in the new world as if born again into the old. Step 7 is my second chance at life. The whole new pair of glasses thing. It's all just not about me anymore and well? I am relieved..

The Big Book Step 7 is short reading. I can assume it is also short in understanding. Limited in it's content. It isn't, there's a lot there. It just appeared that way as I still remained at times under a heavy fog of new found recovery. Unable to grasp the magnitude of the Big Book 12 Step process. It is a summary of my sobriety to this 12 Step halfway point with questions like, reviewing the first five proposals is my work solid so far? Yes. Am I cutting corners with my own selfish arrangements? No. Am I in fear of losing my emotional security if I let go of people or emotional enablers? Sort of still so I pray for willingness.. Are their any obvious half measures? No. Am I making mortar without sand, forcing my way through this whole 12 Step thing? No. Am I willing to serve my God and fellows who may or may not be suffering. Yes. This is who I am now, this is my purpose. My willingness is strong. The Book says it's indispensable and I agree. I see it now. The willingness is indispensable. I get it..

Now Steps 8 and 9. I will need room to move if I am to serve this purpose so it's time to clear up my street. I am sober yes and willing yes but still outside my AA safety net is a world of selfish bondage that chokes me, limits my movement. But I have seen myself in my 4th. It was me mostly. I am accountable.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Well? Detox is hopefully behind you. You're finally sober and going to AA meetings everyday. Some days it's a life or death mission and others you're simply going along with the gag still unaware of what it is to be grateful. There is a difference now between happy joyous and free and impending gloom and doom. The one dimensional view,  trying to kill yourself has changed. It's now a full feature movie with lots of rewrites creating a new you that comes and goes with each daily curtain call. You're a participant in a fellowship of empowerment with it's positive affirmations.

The old you just a harmless shadow in tow around the halls. You're safe for now as another shining AA beacon of hope. A room full of people as a buffer between you and your past. They like you, they really like you and with that? You like you.. Sober and strong, you tow your self around easily engulfed in camaraderie and fellowship. As if the past has not gone away but it's not here either. For today. It's one day without one drink, get to a meeting, and repeat while everything else is circling at the mile marker. No pressure here, You have plenty of time to clear the runway. Some even say do a Step a year although that doesn't seem right..

Yes you're weird but it's no secret. It's not a bad thing, right? Everybody is weird. It's just with the alcoholic like you claim to be? The extremist? When you said your name at the meeting and you were actually alcoholic? You have to wonder. Is there more to it? 

Life is a baffling ball of confusion you seem to always pick up and take home right? Right? When whatever it is becomes too much? Or you seem to use up all the weird in the room so others are all seemingly normal? You quit and retreat to some point of emotional security. Usually the nothing. The nothing, where denial reigns. Neither a happy or sad place really, just nothing. Booze or no booze. 

Blame is the defensive weapon of choice with it's justified feelings of betrayal. Selfishness and fear on all sides brought on by others you're sure. It's them, they broke the connection. They've abandoned you, you're on your own. Again with the people! With blame you fight back as the underdog. Alone now, shielded in self-pity you win. You are validated in the self, the nothing... You're ok now in your familiar hurt, for a while anyway. Whatever it was or is? It's everyone else's fault. When delusion is all you know well, you welcome the security of it. It is safe, familiar.   

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

The Big Book is pretty much all out Christian. I mean sure, you can deny it if you like, if denial makes more room for you and your own philosophy. Some deny Christianity simply because they don't like the word or what they believe it represents.. I know I did?  I couldn't even say the word God in the beginning so any willingness to believe was directed to a Higher Power not God. God meant religion. Religion meant Catholic. My cousin was Catholic and I hated my cousin so I hated Catholics.

It's just when you stretch the Higher Power thing out to include a doorknob? As if a doorknob represents an object with no human power? You lost me in the end zone. That old school is a bit too old for me. I say reel it back in a few years to atleast when people did read and follow the 12 Step directions in the Big Book. Or both Books, Big Book and 12/12.

  Bill with his documented mixed beliefs, his willingness is progressive. Beginning in the Big Book with the "my own conception" suggestion?   Ending with calling the one true God by name in the 12/12 with a nudge and a wink. He means Jesus! See! I told you! It's a Jesus thing! SUCKERS!

Oddly I don't seem to care once I see it for what it really is. Jesus? Ok, what's next. At least I'm not following Jim Jones to Ghana. I can follow Bills experience, his experience is safe. I identify with Bill. I can do this, I can be open minded. I'm all alone now anyway so who cares what I believe?

Then comes Bob with his heavenly Father story and Silkworth co-signing it all. Ok fine, AA is loaded with Christian undertones but what about me? The suffering agnostic alcoholic who has but a tiny chip of willingness? I lean toward Bill. Bob is creepy and Silkworth represents authority so he's out. So that's settled. All hail Bill W.. Have I chosen wisely? For me? Yes. All of it was too overwhelming so I needed to choose a side. If not I would compare until I compared myself out of AA altogether. Sabotaging my recovery as usual because I couldn't figure it all out and control it. I would need to quit, cut and run. Again.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

I don't really feel anything is wrong with someone in recovery bulldozing their way in and through their new way of living sober. Most are all over the map not used to following any kind of direction.. They're still into surviving. Carving out sobriety as their new high road, paving it with the new found AA fellowship. Hey, whatever works right? It's safe to say that when I was first introduced to the fellowship and 12 Steps? I had no idea what the heck was going on, no idea at all. I know I was rescued, I had got lucky really, my extreme self centered ignorance was bliss for me when I was new to Alcoholics Anonymous. A huge distraction with new stimulus.

I had found a new way to forget who I was and where I had been. My past seemed behind me finally. And it was. It was behind me waiting. I'd be back.

New friends everywhere? Even a place to be besides the bar room everyday, a safe place. A reason for living that offered me purpose I had lacked when obsessed with daily drinking. The meetings shared change. I was changing too. I heard the Titanic analogy one night at a meeting. I was switching seats on a sinking ship? Settling for less as I shuffled around the deck with wet feet. Was my new sober life like this also?  Banging out AA meetings to avoid the impending doom? As if sure I can putt the booze down but live without it forever?  Doubtful. How could I? My mind still raced uncontrollably. The only thing I could really focus on was getting to the AA meeting, everything else was a crap shoot. Money, food, a place to sleep. These things seemed as if they were falling out of the sky. 

One thing for sure. I was safe in AA. Safe from who I was or had been or who I thought they think I had been, whoever they were. Yup. I could laugh at my history in the meetings. Shuck and jive at the butt can telling tales of drunkenness and cruelty as if harmless banter. I could leave the reality of my life at the door with a nudge and a wink.. I was here now, safe and protected, no need for unresolved issues surrounding constant script re-writes, no. I was the star. All of AA loves me.

There was talk of 12 Step recovery where my entire self would be ironed out. I could or would be all fixed? Cleaned and pressed as if a fresh new shirt. I would tell myself "no pressure" I was ready when God was. God will direct me. Preferably after the Saturday night AA dance that Ann the new pretty girl is going to meet me at if her new mean old sponsor doesn't intervene.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

It seems like if you're used to doing nothing for yourself as far as recovery goes? Anything is huge. I can selfishly forget that tidbit about people or myself in recovery. So when I hear or read of someone just keeping away from that one drink for one day? Be it by fellowshipping in meetings? Or some altered 12 Step ritual? It's good. It's positive, It has to be. Why? Because when I think it's a problem well. It's my problem. I don't need to be creating problems. I have enough indecision and controversy to stimulate unwanted selfishness and fear. It's as if sure, I stopped digging my grave but I want to keep the shovel..

They are generally doing great in AA's new found safety net and certainly don't care to understand anything that would pull them from their camaraderie. That is unless of course I "pressure thump" them with what I think they should be thinking. So what, AA is really sober school and I'm the self appointed headmaster? I steer them away from what's working for them and to the chosen Big Book curriculum? I become the producer of confusion with a Big Book in my hand? A righteous co-dependent alcoholic? Then I come off as the great all knowing Stepsherpa who knows everything about everything except when to shut up and quit taking everyone's inventory who isn't like me or think what I think? Yikes!  I'm not the only alcoholic in Alcoholics Anonymous? Double Yikes!

What they have is working for them. And to be honest? More than half the time I don't know what that is. And I'm not going to so, I should stop looking for an emotional security boost from others and get back to my own program.  To thyne own self be true as they say. I do my best to "leave Brittany alone!" Today.

 

I remember as if it was five minutes ago wrapping up my initial 5th Step, the big one.. It was mid February 1983, blistering cold and snowing heavy. A pine tree at the back door was covered as my Sponsor disappeared into the pitch black about midnight. Something had changed in me. I was alone yet not alone. A spiritual shift you could say? I was different like I had never been. Not compared to a better class of friends or geographical cure anyway. It was just me. I alone had changed. It wasn't a people thing and that's what made all the difference. I felt free. Spiritual. Restored to my original self maybe.

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