1. Do you/ will you set aside a certain time each day to review what has happened between you and others, and how you have felt about it?
2. What sort of discipline would serve you best in doing your daily inventory?
3. Would feeling self pity or anger awaken you to the prospect that you might be wrong, or have done something in the relationship that was wrong, even if the other person was more so? Are you willing to develop the habit of looking at your feelings when they happen? It is possible that some of us may need or have had therapy to help with this. I did, and I am thankful for that wonderful resource that was given me. Where are you on this subject?
4. Have you ever been stuck in resentment, rage, self pity? Did it do anything at all good for you? Perhaps there is an example you could share.
5. How do you go about promptly admitting it when you are wrong? Can you share an illustrative experience?
1. Most people I know of do their inventories at the end of the day, and that is a good time. However, I do not find that the best time for me. I am a morning person. I tend to go to bed early and get up early. (I am healthy, but not wealthy, and I'll let you decide if I'm wise. For those who do not know what this means, it is a play on a saying by Benjamin Franklin, one of the founders of the American Republic.)
By evening, I'm brain dead. But early in the morning I am alive and full of energy, alert and able. I can remember anything that may be left over from the day before, and decide how to deal with it when the others in the household finally do awaken. The early time of the day is also the time I do most of my email with sponsorees and friends, and I read two major metropolitan newspapers. Others do tend to sleep late, but also, I do read very fast.
2. This discipline of reflection has worked well for me.
3. It took me years to reach the point where, at least most of the time, I know what I'm feeling in the moment. In fact, I would say that when I first came into the rooms, I rarely knew what I felt at any time. Therapy was a big help to me in reaching this space, although I think it can be done by simply working the steps with a good sponsor vigorously over and over. My therapist was a twelve stepper, and I think my therapy was simply a very sophisticated working of the steps! But the result is that now I can feel my feelings, and know what kinds of signals they are sending me.
Once I was afraid of feelings. Like so many, as a child expressing anger was considered a no-no, and was not allowed. An expression of anger, however genuine, was likely to bring down wrath from the adults around me. Often painfully. So for many years I would go around with my teeth clamped and grinding, saying, "What, me angry? Are you insane?"
But now I have learned that feelings are just feelings. I can read them as symptoms of something I need to know about myself and my life. I can use their energy to fuel my recovery. I don't have to stuff them at all. They cannot overwhelm me, or harm me in any way, if I use them properly. And no one is going to whip me any more for having them.
4. Once a good many years ago I kept a journal. I don't know why, exactly. A few years back I came across it and reread it. I was simply stuck in resentment. Stuck as fast as could be. Nothing ever resolved, nothing ever got done, just anger, resentment, sometimes rage, and always self pity, and stuck stuck, stuck. I kept the journal for quite a few months, and nothing changed, and I ate and ate and ate, too.
5. The rages, the outbursts of anger not really connected to the present moment, were frequent and hurtful to those I loved. In recovery, these did not stop at once, but they did begin a process of becoming less and less frequent. More and more, when I would blow, I would stop in the middle of it, and apologize for my inappropriate behavior. Nowadays, about the only time it happens at all is when I am both very tired and stressed out. And I still make an immediate amends for that. It is fairly rare! Ask my wife.
The Twelve Steps
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