I Want Every Addict to Know,
addiction can be a thing of the past. It doesn’t have to be a threat to us for evermore. We don’t have to fear it crouching outside the rooms like some powerful beast cunning baffling powerful. FEAR is not what the 12 steps teach us.
The reason people are always on the edge of relapse or fear they will is because they have not worked the twelve steps to the point of learning to live them. If fear could keep us sober then we would have stayed sober along time ago of our own accord. Because fear is one thing that most addicts are well versed in.
The second reason people don’t stay sober is because they haven’t had the right therapy and learned the therapeutic process to maintain healthy emotions. If we are still in deep deep emotional pain then eventually we will have to numb that pain. AA doesn’t usually teach us how to maintain healthy emotions or that it’s okay to cry. And that crying is a part of the emotional process. Admitting fear and knowing when we are afraid is a vital awareness. And one which false pride detests.
True recovery consists of exposing weaknesses and being emotionally vulnerable. Not necessarily to a room full of people but at least to some people. The armor has got to be removed.
Never let anybody tell you, recovery sucks. Don’t you worry newbie! Oh it’s hard, scary, and allot of work. But it’s a joyous adventure full of challenges and rewards when lived abundantly. Like they say, “the good news is you can feel again” and “the bad news is you can feel again.”
So not to be cliche but, in the beginning recovery is 99% cliche. We follow other AAs around while being led by the nose on how to act, feel, and perceive. In the first couple years or five even that’s a good thing. When starting a new life being an AA robot-drone is a valuable, even priceless step up for us. It’s a miracle and gratitude pours in and out of us like rain. But at some point that pink cloud will turn gray, we should use our own words when speaking instead quoting the Big Book word for word in every conversation so we can feel valid. At some point it should become ok to be who we really are. We should be original, authentic, and transparent.
We should set goals outside of AA. We should steer clear of dogma that reeks of religion, [A.A. religion that is]. And please, “religion” is anything done “religiously”. Re-writing the English language is not my job. Are you objective enough….yet to see that AA is highly religious, full of redundant dogma, and well, not as successful as we would like it to be in many cases?
Most of us come into the rooms with zero self worth. We have spent the last 10 years or more doing that which we pretty much know is WRONG on countless levels but for some damn reason we just can’t stop. And most of us even swing further down the low self worth tunnel to swim in the pool of incomprehensible demoralization. That pretty much rings out any self love we have managed to hang onto.
Why do you think addicts are so fucking ego driven to the point of denial into literal blindness? Ego is our emotional survival tool. It kicks in when there’s just no real positives to keep us going. Ego is our saviour. But ego is also poison, it pushes real love right out of our life. It stops us from being able to communicate on an honest level. And we spend our conversations in defense mode quoting the only words we view as acceptable. Always feeling we are threatened or being put-down so we defend. We are sarcastic, we lie, we hide, we cheat, we steal, and at all costs we NEVER let anybody see the real us. Some sober addicts take this skill of survival a step further and begin believing their own lies. All the better to cope with a petrified existence.
Most addicts don’t even know they are fear driven yet fear is their primary emotion. The dogmatic AAer will cringe if you even hint that AA is anything but perfect. But here I go my critical jag is I am bent on making everyone else see the truth about themselves since I did. In effect we are all different but in effect also, addicts are very much alike in many ways or the program wouldn’t work.
So I will stop the criticism and be clear. I went hard and heavy into AA for 7 years. But I also did other things like therapy, and meditation, serious meditation so I had the benefits of three types of recovery. My therapy taught me that I could heal and showed me the “why” behind my emotional illness.
The addict life takes a toll on anybodies self esteem. We grow self esteem by doing estable things. Positive accomplishment nurtures our heart and feeds love to our soul. But, if we shrug the 12th step and balk at the fourth, if we lie on our 5th and sell a stroke job to our ninth, well then our self esteem doesn’t get the boost it needs. We don’t feed love to our soul or spoon-feed ourselves accomplishment and nurturing. We should be artistic, creative, and challenge ourselves.
So back to the the AA drones. To avoid becoming an AA parrot who is afraid still to let anyone know who they really are and hide behind the big book, speaking only what’s in the book or what other AA parrot, before we take a good thing and use it as an addiction we set outside goals for ourselves. We do lots of service work and speak to large groups. We tell our story over and over. We go to jails, and institutions. We start a business, go to school, write a book, we continue building, working, loving, and doing things that heal our soul.
We don’t pretend that we are “ok” all the time. That will kill us quickly. We share our intense feelings and fears. When we express our fear it loses power over us. When hide our fear it gains power.
The reason we can face who we are in AA is because we have solutions to process what we see in the mirror. If we are afraid we can work the fourth step.
If I have been sober ten years or more and still say I drank because of some Big Book stated generic, blanket reason then I have not addressed my own core issues.
Before we started drinking and drugging there was something wrong. Something we needed to escape. A feeling in our gut. Little kids don’t hate themselves, little kids are joyful. Something turned our joy into sadness WAY before we took our first drink and the emotions behind that original trauma is what needs processed. Then we need to learn how to practice healthy emotions on a regular basis.
Journalling is priceless. Writing is healing, sharing our deepest fears is freeing. We can use the fourth step for any fear. We can re-visit our third step and remind us that we are going to be ok, we are in the hands of our Higher Power. Thank God