Step 12..Carry the AA 12 Steps message of hope to the sick and suffering alcoholic, practice these principles in all my affairs. Live one day at a time on the Spiritual Path suggested that others may benefit from my daily reprieve. Is it about me or isn't it? Obviously this seems much more difficult than it really is. Too goody goody God like? Like it's great talk and talk is cheap. You can't be that good every day right? Saints? I mean for real not just in my own (I believe everything I think to validate myself) mind...Well, I have to say although it sure seems like it sometimes, I am not alone here in the Big Book 12 Steps. I've gotten quite used to the extreme self centeredness, the lions and tigers and bears.
The many who are willing to believe, willing to put the drink down with Steps 1 and 2 and understand the three pertinent ideas. And when ready, move ahead to their 3rd Step decision, express the idea, voicing it without reservation? Those who now have the new found Spiritual courage and strength to inventory their past from a new fearless moral standpoint in their 4th Step? Then have finally seen themselves and let their God know they knew the emotional distress and destruction they have caused..This is huge! Go on to surrender their defective character to their Spiritual Higher Power and clean up their past? Steps 5 6 7 8 9. Simply put, this is just how we roll. This is our whole new attitude and outlook on life. We are a reborn lot, not to be confused with a born again lot, for me anyway. We're sober today and willing to surrender ourselves to the power of the Spirit with each moment or like the Book's Step 10 suggests, constantly. Yes, following the Big Book 12 Steps and feeling myself thorough in my Step work to this point, Step 11 shows me everything I need to know about living one day without one drink. Everything to continue to grow in understanding and effectiveness in my sober life. I now have purpose, a reason for living. I can care enough about myself to be willing to take care of myself each day without some emotional enabler fancied or real. I am no longer the producer of confusion with the best of intentions. I have lost sufficient fear so life is no longer all about me, it's ok to just be a small part of it. I can survive, be valid without stealing a piece of everyone involved to create my emotional security. I am a real boy.
Without getting too morbid in my reflection it's safe to say I come from a pretty emotionally negative upbringing. Daddy had issues and passed them on to me. At 5 years old I was beat so bad I was never to be able to grow or participate...be a team player.. My life was over, shocked to the soul. I had been betrayed. I became stunted, self centered to the extreme. I jumped the track. I could not turn myself off now, there was no safe place for me now. Every minute of everyday was intense. I was afraid deep to my core. My head, my brain. Self centered fear was the norm. I could no longer hear and understand others, there was no listen and learn anymore. There was only tunnel vision of Daddy whipping me as I try to cover myself in the corner, am I good enough for Daddy, does Daddy approve, when will Daddy love me, nothing or no one else mattered. I began to treat others like Daddy would treat me. I saw his power over me and I wanted it over others. He loved me and I wanted to love others. In stead, I would make them pay for how I felt. My failures were your fault, if you can't fix me than the hell with you. Why didn't Daddy need to be fixed? Why was I the only failure? For the next 25 years life brought many empty relationships that began with the expectation that they would save me, fix me, make me happy, I would be could be normal, fulfilled even, happy.. They ended the same every time with me alone and broken. No new news here, same pain different faces. Whatever they had brought to me they left with. As much as I truly wanted to, I could not feel. I just could not risk it. I needed others to feel for me. I needed to fill my empty void of existence with others. I was always that beat five year old and sadly can still be today. Many many times and for long periods of time I wanted to die. Blubbering with my head in my hands. Many times I acted in ways that showed no concern for my life. I couldn't care. I was not capable of caring for myself. In my later teens and twenties when I became a drunk, that's all I was really. Just a drunk, a good for nothing drunk. All hat and no cattle. Hey! will somebody have sex with me and like me? Anybody? How about just talk to me? Notice me?
So should I be surprised when I don't find many survivors like myself blogging on the web? No I shouldn't. Those like me are generally out of the race early. Mostly with some alcohol related emotionally fragmented finish. We burn out all or any enablers left. Game over. The lucky ones who made it to the crisis centers? Well they sit around all day drooling in some inner city halfway house or if they're lucky, their old bedroom if a parent is still breathing.. Mush heads who walk around town aimless, studying the system that provides for them. Offering assistance to our incarcerated members on revise and revoke, GED, criminal law. At least they're safe, jammed enough on anti depressants to not hurt themselves or others. The regular morning nooner and night AA guys? The wolves in sheeps clothing cruising the meetings and keeping their past secrets hidden from society.. Well, they're mostly going to meetings daily for the rest of their lives. AA provides a fellowship that can grow about a man like myself providing direction and purpose if I am willing to keep close. Meds will make that happen. Funding, therapy. If I can't live my own life someone will do it for me. I suppose that's a good thing right? Feed the masses, house the masses. The AA warehouse is overcrowded like everywhere else...
The Big Book 12 Step guy..Step 12. The guy who has lost the power of choice, he is powerless, hopeless, and not afraid to admit it. He sees others who are addicted to peanut butter cups or can't throw anything away but feels different. He sees himself as the Big Book describes him, he identifies for the first time in his life with something else, he is a real alcoholic? I guess so. It does fit him. It's like Bill W puts words in my mouth, never has this occurred, There is nobody like me, I am unique right? it can't be denied, I am no longer alone in my malady. It was always me against them but now it's me and Bill, weird.. So what now? What does a real alcoholic do for their much anticipated daily reprieve. I mean by the Book, what does it say in the Book? It doesn't seem right that being a Big Book 12 Step AA member should hang and say they go to meetings with their one requirement defense. That seems insulting really. There is so much more.
I guess I understand how it can seem like it's my way or the hiway. I'm into the Book, I do my best to live it, do it. What many refuse to understand is I am that sick, not that uber healthy. If I wasn't such a hopeless case I wouldn't need to be so hard on myself where it is suggested here in the Big Book 12 Steps. If you think I spew this Big Book 12 Step stuff because I'm better than? Or I stroke my ego by dominating others? You got me all wrong. It's all about survival for me. I pray that I don't do or say anything to harm others today, I want to be right sized. I pray to be humble, I don't pick up a drink, and I live another day sober. Not a hell of a lot more to it than that. You've heard it before, trust in God and help others. I just have to work at it everyday, it doesn't come easily and in my case not guaranteed to come with my putting down the drink. Now I have seen others put the drink down and move on in sobriety without any real reconstruction. But not me. I have been messed up for a very long time, since I was young really so in my desperation in trying to live a day without any anesthesia I have been to therapy, counseling, group and one on one adult child. CODA, ACOA, ALANON, AA, Bradshaw, Emmett Fox, and yes I've done it myself for periods of time. In AA I've sponsored hundreds, been the Step workshop guy around the country, guest speaker for thousands at State conventions and giant holiday hoopla's where sobriety is embarrassingly measured by fame. Fellowship of the Spirit mixed bag Big Book small book or no book at all gatherings. Prayed to keep a confidence while witnessing many a 40 hour thorough and honest 5th Step from a man on a life or death mission.. I have felt on top of the AA food chain with tales of fortune and glory and also picked up a drink after some sobriety and woke up 3 days later lost in the doom of my mind because I didn't die. So I could say I have lots of experience and I do.
The problem is it was all yesterday and I'm in today now. I'm no good at retaining and applying. Short term memory is ...I have learned the hard lesson before, I can't stay sober on yesterday's sobriety. It's all about today, where am I with the Big Book 12 Steps today. Am I willing to walk the Spiritual path today. Now. This minute with these thoughts. Well? I feel this writing is ok, safe. I don't feel any selfish motive or something to prove or reason for control. I hope someone reads this and says to themselves, I am not alone. He's saying what I'm thinking. That Stepsherpa is quite full of himself, a strange bird but well, so am I and what's the big deal. I'm willing to do something about it today, I am willing to change. I am a participant in my life today sober and at times I bang my head on the door opening sure, I am bumping into people I believe are in my way and tripping over who I think I am with a new set of stage props or faces to arrange. Yeah well, it's not all hats and horns, or like the song says the road goes on forever and the party never ends?... I have a Higher Spiritual Power, I pray, I have to, for the courage and strength to be the best I can be today. I too carry a message of hope to the suffering alcoholic. I search for it each day. I am willing to sacrifice myself to make it happen. It is the best it has ever been for me with this willing attitude. I have no reason to lie. I am a free man sober, take what you need I have nothing to steal.
Today I began my life with Step 11 upon awakening. Now just so I don't sound like my life is governed by the state with free food and no responsibility, I'll mention a pending civil law suit that's got me on the ropes without merit, partners ongoing cancer treatment which demands constant attention of course, money problems due to work related issues etc. Life stuff. Mid life crisis? maybe. Lets say it's more like life crisis as early or mid whatever, it's there most mornings when I open my eyes. Today I woke up with fear, nothing too intense but left unchecked enough to get me off on a self will jag first thing. Just a racing alcoholic mind trying to control, trying to make an arrangement that would be suitable. The world is screwed up and I'm ok. Something I could multitask with while I shower and get ready for work. An attitude of intolerance came over me like a cloud. The guy at work, the carburetor for my generator up north, my partners brother the pothead that lives with mommy.. It's like no matter the topic? I was shooting holes in it and going nowhere until I fancied myself the king for today. After limited success I decided to follow the Big Book. I opened it to 84-88 and thought about my day. Thought about who I am, what is my purpose. My mind calmed as I thought of my Spiritual path, my sobriety. I thought about how left on my own to create self esteem I just fall back to finding fault in others to raise myself up, nothing new here as I have a big 4th Step full of that garbage. I had myself convinced I was too good for my job, followed by my neighbor up north who is dumping money into his property making me look bad with a broken Skidsteer in the driveway I should have had fixed months ago.. Yup, he's everything and I'm not. lol, where have I heard that before? I now wondered why I'm not happy for him and that I do like him as a person. He's always been a friend to me so why do I create this animosity? Selfishness self centeredness, fear.. there it is right out of the gate. Convinced of my alcoholic condition I laid there meditating on my day until I felt good enough to get going. Hours have gone by so far and this attitude of tolerance has stuck. I feel good really. I needed the 10 20 minutes of meditation to figure out who I am but now? I have responsibilities to meet today and am not going to run from them. I don't feel any fear at all, life is once again worth living sober without alcohol to shut down my brain.
Oh yeah it says the Spiritual life is not a theory, we have to live it. So more Step 11? more daily reprieve contingent on my Spiritual maintenance? Yes. This is my foundation today. This is my attitude on which all things are built today. When agitated or doubtful I pause and ask my Higher Power to direct my thinking reminding myself I am no longer running the show. I usually calm down right away. Sometimes I may need to seek counsel with others who are aware of my condition to keep me from believing everything I think or what I think is Gods will for me. It's easy to seek a intellectual cure for my Spiritual malady, the great give it to me I'll fix it nightmare. My new profound better philosophy of life, after all I am sober all this time, listen to me! Everybody stand back, here goes! You do this and you do that and you over there stay still. Everybody think what I think and be happy like me or wait, everybody make me happy by thinking like me or no, everybody hey over here, I know what's best for you just think like me.. Yep.. I watch for it and take action when I see it forming up and hopefully not always after I'm caught and the damage is done by some selfish thought or action..I have my days, I try not to take emotional hostages or get my security from others but I have my days. I can become Spiritually weak worn down by selfishness so constant vigilance is in order. I don't want to be making my Step 11 review tonight and think wow the first 15 minutes of today were great but I was mortified at my thoughts and conduct for the next 15 hours. I'm willing to do the work constantly like it says in Step 10. It's not worth paying the price of letting myself down. I'd like to think I finally know too much to fail or drink or this stuff has finally become a working part of my mind. There may be some truth to that but at this point I can't be sure so why risk it. I know what works for me.
So the short version is, this is who I am. This is the guy who will meet the new guy tonight and read together for a while around page 20 something, Bills story, there is a solution... Step 1 stuff. If he has identified himself as a hopeless alcoholic and after I have discussed myself and laid out the 12 Step solution in rough detail? If he wants to go for it I'll assure him I am prepared to walk day by day on the Spiritual path with him. If he wants to quit or take a brake he should understand I must go on without him. This is what I do for me. I will not dump him if he is iffy at times about his condition or cry's for he needs here and there. To some degree we all do that especially in the beginning.. My primary purpose? I will keep the Spiritual path clear and the Book open to the 12 Step directions using my own experience as a trail guide. The rest is up to him.
Hey, I am sober! I mean really, just let me think about it for a minute. All the mental hopscotch aside, I am a full on wasted drunk who doesn't drink today. How huge is that! How you do it or if you do it is your concern. I have found a life worth living in the Big Book 12 Steps. Of course I want others to experience it and if alcoholism was one size fits all I'd be pushing it hard but it's not for everyone as it clearly states. It is for those who make an admission of hopelessness. This is not your average AA talk therapy and I'm not here to say it is better or worse, it is what it is, it's in the Big Book for me and there are other books for others to make use of in their own recovery. I feel at times I am the luckiest man alive to have found it, to have been rescued from the untreated alcoholic pit of despair.. When I'm on the Spiritual path suggested and I can open my eyes to see it? I got it, it's here! the big break. It's that simple, willingness is key.
Now what am I going to do with it today, well? I'm going to give it away just as I did yesterday, just as I do hope to do tomorrow! That's the only requirement of Step 12, give freely of what you find and join us on the broad hiway.