ACCEPTANCE IS A PROCESS NOT A LIGHT SWITCH
I WAS VERY SICK FOR A LONG TIME
When I got sober after 30 years of drinking, drugging, and sick relationships I was scared to death. My self-esteem was zero. I was afraid to make a choice about pretty much anything for fear it would be wrong. I didn’t trust myself or my choices and hadn’t for a long time, that is unless I was in control-ism mode. But once I sobered up certain behaviors stopped immediately other habits took some time to develop.
SOBER DREAMS DO COME TRUE
I met a nice guy in AA. He had seven years sober. I like him so much but I was scared to death. That did not stop me from building a relationship. Well the thing is I was also going through group therapy at the time. All three of my close rehab girl-friends found men in A.A. Our psycho-therapist told us he had never seen a relationship in early recovery work out well we couldn’t stop ourselves. We were on the pink cloud of recovery. Pami’s guy had over ten years sober and Jody’s had less than 90 days. She had met him in rehab. What a story this is…that was in 2006. Seems so long ago. We all wrote lists of what we hoped to achieve and obtain in sobriety. We all surpassed our wishes and dreams over-abundantly. We are still happy with the men we met fresh out of rehab. It’s now 2016. Jody has got her Master’s degree in psychology. She is the most empathic woman I know and has helped me so much. Pami works diligently in A.A. and helps other women often. Her life is one huge vacation as I watch her travel from beaches to Caribbean cruises, she has made peace with the ghosts of her abused past. She has done the work. Me, well I started a little successful business that I make a meager living with. I got my daughter back and raised her in a peaceful house with a good man. I took her to the wonderful places I dreamed of taking her as I sat in jail in deep regret and remorse. I bought my very first brand new car. I love to build websites. Writing is my passion and my therapy. I wrote a book and published it. I started an A.A. women’s meeting at the club of my home group that ran strong for years. I have sponsored countless women from that club. They generally give up at step four. People think they have a past that can’t be spoken out loud. Lol Well there are only seven deadly sins and nothing new under the sun. Your story is not so different my friend. But it will kill you if you don’t tell it to somebody. God simply blessed me and my sisters in sobriety. We had miserable lives of abuse neglect and self-torment. We all went to therapy together for a year and more. Seems like a long time huh? A year is nothing in the grand scheme of things. And ninety days is a drop in the bucket. If not for A.A., therapy, and God we would not be sober today. Find a good sponsor who shows caring, respect, and Love. These are the best years of my life. Anxiety is a thing of the past.
HOW TO HEAL
Women went from being the competition to being my allies and the very one’s who aid in my healing. Without empathic women I doubt I would not have healed.
A.A. only works if you do the steps in depth and share all your dark shame and guilt. Feelings are a big part of a fourth step. “What happened, and how it made me feel”. We repress and hold our pain in until it turns to anger or character defects of some sort. There is a reason most of us women need to ask this question for every resentment on our list. We should explore the feelings behind our resentment. We should write at least a page about “the cause” step four. And the “affects my” is usually not just fear but rather self-esteem like Bill W. wrote. Explore that self-esteem issue don’t just write a label and leave it at that. Get to know who you are. Fear of losing something we have, fear of looking bad to our fellows, fear of loss of security, or fear of losing a sex partner (jealousy, envy) are at the core of our resentments. We must get to our core fears to see who we are. We should add these topics to the regular shallow men’s version of our Step Four.
BILL W. WAS A MAN HE HAD NO IDEA HOW A WOMAN FEELS INSIDE OR WHAT SHE NEEDS TO DO TO BE OKAY EMOTIONALLY
I also recommend you start out by writing down all the deep intense feelings and thoughts behind wrongs done to you. Cry about them. Scream about them. I don’t know…not one women in AA intimately who was not molested as a young girl. If you don’t have group therapy or a therapist, then use the paper and pen first, second is saying it outloud. You were wronged and you should be angry by god! Don’t worry about seeing your assailant as sick, praying for them or forgiving them before you have gotten out the core hurt and pain behind the abuse and neglect. When we are young we don’t know how to process our emotions. So they fester. Acceptance is a process not a light switch. Tell your sponsor this if she shuts you down when you talk about the pain you have never talked to anyone about before. If she continues to shut you down find an empathic person who will listen to you and use both of the women. Talking about your feelings is different than a bitch and blame session. Bitching and blaming won’t heal you. That’s why we use the tool; “what happened and how it made me feel.” There is magic in getting out repressed feelings. Read about the “fear list” in step four Big Book and do your own. Then pray about trusting God and re-visit your Step Three. Changes come when we rely on the program and God for our recovery rather than ourselves. Especially if we have numerous relapses in our past.
In A.A. people especially men don’t want a show of any emotions especially in meetings. They are stoic and repressed. When you show tears or pain it reminds them down deep of themselves. They have their pain stowed away in a yellow box and DON’T WANT YOU REMINDING THEM OF IT. They will shut you down quick and call your emotions character defects. They don’t know the difference between healthy tears and self-pity. You may need to grieve over past issues that you numbed away with drugs. Some will tell you “the past is the past let it lie”. Well that may work for them and they may go to their grave with it. But if you want the panic attacks and anxiety to stop there are only two ways that will happen.
1. By doing the work in therapy, sharing, and writing.
2. An intense spiritual experience and deliverance.
And with number two you never know how long or which issues will come back up. Who knows the mind of God? People in A.A. will tell you not to ask “why” when really “why” is the beginning of wisdom. The obsession over a question that cannot be answered is the only “why” that should be shut down. If these stoic repressors don’t get to their own core issues before the fifteen to twenty-year sober mark, statistically suicide will be a greater option than relapse. Not everyone in A.A. is helpful. We should not judge a man by the number of years he has sober.