For the past few years, I have been active in a 12-Step program that is helping me deal with issues that date back to my early childhood, many years prior to my problems with alcohol and other drugs. In the interest of anonymity, I’ll only say that it’s one of the “S” programs. I don’t know where I would be without this program (although I could make a couple of good guesses). It has changed my life, my relationships with my family, and especially my relationship with myself. But that’s not what this is about. Continue reading
First Step Notes
We – If we are all the same species, it makes sense that a disease would present with common symptoms for all of us. Listening to shares at meetings, talking to other addicts, reading and other experiences show us that the effects of our addiction are the same, or very similar, for everyone. We are all in the same boat.
Powerless – once we are under the influence of our drug (including the “hits” and intrigues that give us little thrills) we are out of control. We can’t always predict what we’ll do next.
Unmanageable – we can’t control anything but our attitudes toward people, places and things. That includes significant others, business associates, people at meetings, acceptance or rejection of ideas, and anything else outside ourselves. …
Practical Karma – Karma is real, and occurs here and now, not in some other life. In one way or another, we reap what we sow, whether directly or in quality of life:
- angry people repel nice folks and attract other angry ones;
- cheaters and other thieves have to watch their backs;
- stingy people find that others are unwilling to share;
- those who withhold emotional connection fail to find happiness;
- and so forth.
For every yin, there’s a yang.
At most meetings of anonymous fellowships we have “go arounds”, where attendees identify themselves and assure one another that they are qualified to be present. We hear “My name is Eddie, and I’m an alcoholic,” or “My name is Freida, and I’m addicted to gambling,” or “I’m Bill, in recovery from sex addiction,” or “I’m Larry, and I’m qualified to be here.”
Only Bill claims to be in recovery, and yet on closer inspection it may turn out that he’s merely attending meetings, while Larry — whose only claim is that he’s qualified to be here — may, indeed, be truly “in” recovery.
What does it mean, to be in recovery? Continue reading
Happy birthday, 12 Steps, and thank you for giving me back my life!
“We found that this disruption of the reward system correlates with the number of problems, such as family issues, individuals have because of their marijuana use,” Filbey said. “Continued marijuana use despite these problems is an indicator of marijuana dependence.”
In AA’s first years, I all but ruined the whole undertaking with…unconscious arrogance. God as I understood him had to be for everybody. Sometimes my aggression was subtle and sometimes it was crude. But either way, it was damaging — perhaps fatally so — to numbers of nonbelievers…. Even now, I catch myself chanting some old barrier-building refrain: “Do as I do, believe as I do — or else!”
Bill Wilson, AA Grapevine, April 1961
I heard another newcomer at a meeting complaining about how she’d had God shoved down her throat by her parents, and she wasn’t having any part of this Higher Power stuff, blah, blah, blah. I find this sort of thing tedious, to put it lightly, having listened to and read about it frequently over the years. Even when I was claiming to be an atheist I thought it was shallow and ill-considered. So, since it’s my blog, I thought I’d write about my take on the issue. MORE>>>