Hi Guys,Auds here, sober and abstinent just for today by the grace of God, these fellowships and my own effort.
Today we begin the house cleaning (Into action) that will help us to get comfortable with who we are. We have all heard the statement that we are only as sick as our secrets. To me this means no more hiding when I finally admit to the things I have not wanted to look at. When into my addictions I anesthetized myself until I passed out from sugar or alcohol overload and then I didn't need to think about the things I had done or left undone. When I woke up all the things I wanted to avoid were still there — the phone calls from creditors and those who had been discomforted or out and out harmed by my behavior. And the resentments towards those whom I had forced into retaliation towards me. Lets take these things one by one.
I have already admitted to a lack of self esteem and anger towards those who "made me feel less than" hmmmm here's a question. Who made me feel less than? I was the one who saw disgust in the eyes of others, I was the one who gave others ammunition to believe that I was the person who I presented to them. When I danced on bars and threw my clothes across crowded rooms, when I swung from water pipes that gave way and drenched a wedding crowd and was asked to leave bars and other gatherings, who was at fault here? Those who were horrified or me? When I couldn't fit into my clothes and there weren't any bigger sizes in stores who put the food in my mouth? Who did the actions I was so ashamed of that I wanted to blot out every feeling and consequence.? I ate and drank to stop feeling anything and the result was horrifying behavior, and loss of self esteem.
Lets read a paragraph from one of my many meditation books. "The gravity of our addiction problems are deep seated; they involve self-centered habits, physical health, emotions and misconceptions acquired over period of years. They have sapped our mental powers, weakened our physical resistance, and have sponsored irrational thought and action. This has caused us extreme hardship and brought anxiety and suffering to others.
Arresting our disease is not possible until we have a knowledge of our defects; therefore we take definite steps toward correction of our physical, mental and spiritual disability when we make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves."
Searching and Fearless a scary thought, but there is no judgment here — only the job. In the third step we have decided that we think a higher power can help us to live a better life and it seems that this is one of the next right things he would desire us to do, so with a prayerful attitude of hope that we will live through this process we begin. I usually pray now:
God please help me to be fearless, an attitude I am not comfortable with. I can only try to do your will. Please lead me in thought word and deed to accomplish this task.
Now taking pen and a new pad of paper I sit alone and think. I could use any method of starting to write. Sometimes I write my name and proceed as follows:
A is for anonymous, being anonymous I can reveal all sorts of things I don't want to be credited with. U is understanding which I get from those who suffer from the same diseases I suffer from. D is for defects of character which keep me from self worth. R is for reflection which puts things in perspective. E is for everything I still want to hide Y is for the years I spent wallowing in self pity and guilt.
Hmmmm. So now I have starting writing I may write about all of the above or I may have the courage to face the defects of character now.
I have heard that our disease is a disease of perceptions so I will start by looking at the resentments that led to a decrease in self worth. I once wrote a piece for a writing class on "They" and it is always a good starting place for me to look at my misconceptions. "They" dissed me. Yes, they did but why, not because I was fat or drunk or throwing up good nourishment. They saw my behavior and my, the inside I showed them. Therefore they might have made disparaging remarks or looked at me in disgust. Of course we denied our part in their disgust we pointed out that they were unfair by reacting to our size or drunken behavior. "If they had our problems they would medicate themselves with sugar and alcohol too — if they had to misbehave to get attention — if they had to buy love by giving inappropriate gifts or going to inappropriate extremes in lending aid or money, they would be resentful too.
Hmmm, now who forced us to be the best darn doormats in the world? Could our lack of self-esteem be at the bottom of our destructive behavior and not be the fault of others? Lets take an honest look at this problem. Can we see even a small percentage of blame for own situations that is our responsibility? When I realized how I set people up to treat me badly, I realized that I was partially to blame for my own lack of self worth. When I realized that over the years I had taught people to treat me as the best darn doormat in the world and it would take a while to teach them to treat me with respect, I stopped resenting them.
Lets look at jealousy. I have never thought that jealousy was a problem for me. Hmmmm. how many times have I thought; "that person over there is eating things I don't eat and it is unfair that I can't eat that." In the first place I probably ate plenty of that in secret, and in the second place that person's eating plan might have included nothing but that substance in a twenty-four hour period or days. I was sitting on judgment that suited my denial.
How about thinking "that person has no money worries" hmmm Just because I perceive lack of financial insecurity in someone else does not mean that my perception is correct. So I must examine my jealousies and see where I am trying to make excuses for my inappropriate behavior.
Intolerance I immediately discounted as not in my repertoire. But when I raised my voice to discount another's fear and that person fled from the program, what responsibility did I need to take to make sure that I didn't repeat this action? It was fueled by my misconception of my "right to criticize another", and then what did I do to stop blaming myself for that action? In my disease I would have "drowned my sorrow" but in recovery I had to try to admit my fault and try to make amends. The point in step four is that I could see the origin of my discomfort and it was not the woman I had criticized but my shame at having acted inappropriately that had me uncomfortable.
Okay, I think we are on a good path towards finding and admitting to the things that make our lives unmanageable. We have taken a lot of time here so lets read the AA and OA 12&12s on step four, also read the things pertaining to step four in the big book. Lets read a paragraph and then sit quietly and think "does that pertain to me"? If so what should I do about it? Is there anything I can do about it? Please God let me have the courage and the wisdom to do what I can and accept what I cannot control.
This is too much to handle in a week so this week I have shared my fifth step with you on the things that kept me from self worth and a good relationship with my higher power. Lets think of a few questions that we answered in my share above. How would you answer them?
1- What keeps me using addictive substances?
2- Is it lack of self worth?
3- Who is responsible for this lack of self worth?
4- What behaviors of mine led to the feeling that others viewed me as unworthy?
5- How can I change my behavior that causes me to feel less than?
6- How do my character defects contribute to my active addictions?
7- Are my perceptions of others really correct?
8- How do my perception of others effect my mental, and spiritual health and how do they affect my physical health?
9- When I am abstinent my perceptions of people, places and things are more accurate. How about yours? If you see something in others you don't like, do you try to feel better by criticizing them? Do you see the same things when you are sober or abstinent, do you act the same way?
10-Have you been as honest as you can be in writing down your reactions and perceptions of all these things in relation to you?
Okay time to take a break sit still — have a cup of tea look out the window at nature — breath in and out deeply and say with me,
"Dear God, thank you for the courage you have given me today, I may not have had the courage to be completely honest and I am coming to believe that I must be completely honest if I want to recover. I am coming to believe that half measures will not be sufficient to achieve recovery, but I am trying to do your will. I am trying to seek you out. I am trying to do one day at a time the next right thing. Let me realize now that compulsive people don't know that relaxation is a necessity and not a luxury. Let me know that the next right thing for me at this moment is to stop and think about all I have done today. Dear Lord I thank you for putting into my mind all the things I need to think about today. I believe that one day at a time you will continue to put people in my life that will hug me and scold me. Places that I don't want to go to that heal me when I least expect it, and things I know I don't want that turn out to be the things I need and want the most. Amen"
As usual take what you need and leave the rest.