Why Dale K Re-wrote The First 164 Pages of The Big Book

 

Why on Earth did Dale K think he had the right to change our treasured Big Book?

Some background info.  Who is AAAgnostica and Tom B?

Read original aaagnostica article here

The AAAgnostica site advocates the book “Secular Sobriety” by Dale K which is a rewrite of the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book text.    aaagnostica.org and writer Tom B. are an open minded, free-thinking organization geared toward alcoholics Anonymous.  They impress on us the fundamentals of a godless recovery for those who need it. (Tom B always uses a small “g”)  The website’s “about” page states this: “When we use the word “agnostic” in relation to AA – or words like “atheist” or “freethinker” – we are simply referring to the specific wisdom of groups and individuals within the fellowship who understand that belief in a “God” (of any understanding) is not a necessary part of recovery from alcoholism.  They advocate freedom of choice where religion and spirituality are concerned and admonish religious dogma and social prejudice that lives in the rooms of AA.    Here is their email if you wish to contact them.  Thomas B writes most of the articles on the site and wrote one promoting the book “Secular Sobriety”.

Continue reading “Why Dale K Re-wrote The First 164 Pages of The Big Book”

Recovery from Addiction

Jails, Institutions, and Near Death

Spring of 2006 I spent 2 months in jail getting sober for the last time. I spent my time locked up reading the Bible, The Big Book, writing ‘Paradise for the Hellbound’, and praying that the judge would sentence me to Bridgehouse. Bridgehouse (B.H.) is a rehab center owned by Meridian Behavioral Healthcare. I had been on the Methadone program there and I sent letters to my doctor to get me into rehab from jail. He was all for it. He himself later landed in rehab. Come to find out the doc was dipping into his own meds .How convenient.
On June 15th 2006 I got transported to B.H. by a Levy County Sheriff to begin my 28-day stay. Twenty-eight days…… twenty-eight days …. (reminiscent sigh). In the spring of 2006 28 days seemed like a very long time. The days were long and the nights were even longer. I had been in my addiction for nearly 35 years.

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Is Your A.A. Sponsor your Army Sergeant?

What is the best kind of sponsor?

There has been a long standing debate in A.A. about what kind of sponsor is right.  The kind who is loving, caring, considerate, respectful, informative, giving, truthful, and assertive.  Or the kind who says “I am not here to be your friend, get off your lazy low-life ass and do this work.” Or as one man shared recently about a man in A.A. who “saved his life” by saying to him early on in recovery “FUCK YOUR FEELINGS”.  OUCH! I SAY OUCH TO THAT.  But it worked for him.  It got his attention he said.  But not all emotional pain is self-pity, on the contrary.  Trauma needs to be expressed to come out.

Granted keep in mind in our scenario both sponsors are teaching the twelve steps and the traditions from the Big Book.  The personalities are just an added flavor or bi-product of their Sponsorship.

Continue reading “Is Your A.A. Sponsor your Army Sergeant?”

Legal Child Abuse and Parental Neglect Iced over with Ignorance

What Beatings Did for my Self-Identity

Why I chose to become a drug addict.

Firstly who can justify beating with a belt or even an open hand little baby girls.  We were beautiful and innocent babies who had not even learned right from wrong.

My heart is broken.  I spent the first 17 years of my life learning from those I trusted and loved most what a horrible person I was.  I learned it from my father who I now loath.  Thing is I had no idea what child abuse looked like so I blamed myself for every beating, verbal belittling, rejections, abandonments, and violent strike my father gave me before the age of 5.  Who allows their little daughter of 3 or 4 to walk into a pile of hot coals?  I suffered 3rd degree burns on my butt and legs for my parents….neglect was it?  I remember the mail man bringing me home at the age of 3 because I wondered down the highway with no supervision.

Firstly how in the hell does a man justify beating a little 3 or 4 year old girl.  It sickens me.  Father; you taught me I was literally disgusting.  He taught me that my young and excited hopes and dreams were ridiculous and I could not possibly attain any of them.  He taught me who I was.  He was my teacher and he showed me I scarcely had a right to be on this earth.  All my feelings were wrong he said.  All my ideas were wrong.  By the time I was 4 or 5 I remember wanting to cut my body because it was reprehensible.

Continue reading “Legal Child Abuse and Parental Neglect Iced over with Ignorance”

How To Become Who You Really Are

Get To Work!

Building Self-Worth takes time and work.  But it is a priceless result when we become who we were really meant to be.  We Become who our heart screams and claws inside us to be.

Join a home group and open-up to the group.  You have to be a friend to make a friend.  Show vulnerability. (true feelings) Express your fears.  The truth WILL set you free. (don’t incriminate yourself legally) Share “what happened and how it made you feel.)  Get phone numbers of same sex members.  Call them and check in.  Get a sponsor.

Chair meetings, bring meetings into jails and institutions, go to detox to share your story with others.  Get in the middle of the boat, per-say.”  Set goals to accomplish that are fulfilling to you.  Work the 12 steps with all your heart, leave nothing uncovered where shame can get a strong-hold. 

Shame is at the core; it drives us to isolate and puts us humans on the defensive.  Put one foot in front of the other.  Do Step Eleven and don’t stop doing it.  Years pass quickly.  I challenge you and myself to meditate 4 times a week and see where that gets us.  So what I am suggesting here should supply both inner fulfillment and enlightenment. 

If we lie still, chant a mantra of our choice.  The demons (metaphor) will leave, they hate when we lie still and focus on finding our Higher Power. Or IT/HE/SHE finding us. 

Meetings every day or two a day.

Addiction is “Fear Management”

Franklin D. Roosevelt said “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”.

WHY does it seem addicts are far more fearful than other people?   It is a fear of feelings that drives a man to numb all his feelings including the blessed ones.  At the core of addiction lies fear, shame, and an inability to process our feelings in a healthy way.

Panic attacks, anxiety, stress, shame, embarrassment, nervousness, phobias, freaking out,, shame, insecurity, shyness, inferiority are all bi-products of fear.  Addiction =”fear management gone awry”.

Some may highly disagree with the fear theory.  They will tell us they are ashamed of nothing and don’t give a damn what anybody thinks of them!   And as they approach life through a platform of anger and wrath what they say is in some ways true.   We bathe in anger to cover fear, hurt and pain.  This is the addicts basic false-pride and denial system born from a core of fear and shame.  Shame is a form of fear.  Shame is the belief that other people are better than us and will see that we are BAD so we hide. (I do wish I was not writing my own emotional story here).

But please, before we slip into a warm cherry pie of deep dish denial and hang the messenger.

Please realize, addicts are not at fault for their deep fear/shame feelings.  In the formative years of which we were sponges learning the basics of life itself and where we fit into it, some adult/adults who probably loved us (as much as they were able) convinced us that we were of less value than other people.  These influential moms, dads, uncles, brothers, sisters, priests, pastures,  coaches and teachers were in a position to literally form our self-image at a core level.  Most likely they themselves reflected their own self-image onto us. They felt worthless and so we were worthless.  At times addict-type parents are ashamed even of their own children.

Low self esteem breeds defensiveness.  

We wear our hearts on our sleeves and we flinch and lash-out at any remote suggestion that we are bad, wrong, ugly, stupid, or any other negative connotation such as these.  Feeling threatened we immediately switch-off to blame-mode and block out countless opportunities for fruitful and productive relationships.  We routinely cut-off our own nose to spite our face.

And so as young emotionally defenseless children, we walked around with our heads hung low separate from the flock, prime prey for the abusive and distorted sex offender who reels us in by telling us what we crave to hear more than anything; ‘WE ARE OF VALUE, WE ARE LOVED’.

This my friend is the story of many an addict boys and girls alike.

IF AN ADDICT DOESN’T KNOW HE HAS BEEN  DEEPLY ASHAMED HE HASN’T GOTTEN DOWN TO “CAUSES AND CONDITIONS”….YET, IN his/her RECOVERY PROCESS.   But this is the beginning of healing, realizing the malady’s core.

We formed temporary emotional survival skills for our deep shame, but our skills, primal in nature have become destructive and push away the ones we love most and those we could have loved.  Our slip-shot solutions are destructive and hurt others.  We set ourselves up not as equals but rather as better than everyone else.  We do this through harsh condemning judgments and endless fault finding and criticisms.   We had to find a way to live with ourselves.  When we drink and drug then we are beautiful, then we are strong, then we do not have to be ashamed.

But the drugs quit working that’s why we are here in AA to find new solutions.  Solutions that do not consist of blame as their pre-requisite.  Solutions that will aid in our sobriety and our emotional healing.  And hopefully somewhere in our recovery we learn it’s ok to cry.  That crying  and being hurt are part of being human.  We MUST FIND WAYS TO PROCESS THE MOST INTENSE OF OUR FEELINGS IF WE DON’T, THEN WE WILL CONTINUE REPRESSING EMOTIONS.

THE SOLUTIONS ARE HERE WE JUST NEED TO USE THEM.

What do we do?  An immersion into AA or any 12 step group is vital. We do a serious third step.

We do step four and list all prejudice, shame, resentment, silent judgement, guilt, and all hurtful actions.  We do ongoing step work. We make a FEAR LIST.

We do step 12 chair meetings in jails, institutions, and AA itself, all service work will build self-worth.  The more the better.

We get therapy and develop emotional processes that work for us.  We hournal, write, cry, scream, groan, beat the bag, share, beat the bed.  (There is no wrong feeling therefore we don’t have to hide and deny them.)  We confess past offences.

We write a biography of the intense times in our life-What happened and how it made us feel.

Practice Spirituality-Step Eleven is priceless and should be ongoing.

A connection to nature and the outdoors is very helpful.  We go to rivers, lakes, springs, snow, sky, caves, animals, walks and more.)

Got Your ACE Score?

I AM NOT AFRAID OF DYING!

What is terror management theory?

 

 

Entitlement, Expectations, and Gratitude

Gratitude is the opposite of entitlement. I have heard in the rooms that expectations are premeditated resentments.

One thing that can make me dissatisfied often if I allow it to creep into my life is an attitude of entitlement. Entitlement is a feeling of being deserving of certain things. My entitlement issues could spring forth in any area of life really. Maybe I feel I deserve romance, sex, Love, cars, boats, money, decent family, certain behaviors out of others, even good health. But what am I really entitled to? More precisely, upon which areas of my life shall I invest my deep feelings of entitlement? Best answer: None.

Naturally we are completely valid in expecting many things. Things like getting paid for a job we are hired to do. Or, to be treated with respect and with loyal regard by those who are named as loved ones and friends. If we buy an item from the store, we expect it to do what is advertised. These are valid expectations that are natural to have. However, the fewer and more cautious our expectations the happier we will be. Hope is the spiritual replacement for expectations.

Assuming and expecting are pretty much the same thing. When we “assume” we expect without having all the facts we should but when we “expect” it’s supposed to be “based in” fact.  Some situations are highly predictable and others are not.  Some people and situations catch us totally off guard.

Firstly, we should expect human beings to act like humans

that way we won’t put too much stock (trust) where it is unwarranted.  People will mess up repeatedly, intentionally and unintentionally including ourselves.  Keeping an open mind especially were dating and commitments are concerned will save us from emotional crash and burn. If all we see in our potential life partner is the good, then we probably don’t know them well enough to marry them- yet. Granted there are exceptions to every rule but going into a relationship commitment with a well balanced view of who we are committing to is better than going into it with eyes half shut. Sometimes we want something so bad we white-wash it and then when the fairy tale phase is over…it all comes crumbling down. Addicts are famous for marrying prematurely.

Alcoholics and addicts tend to see things in an all or nothing, good or bad light sometimes. But truly good people do bad things and bad people do good things and even more appropriately,

human beings should not be labeled good or bad but rather just human.   And humans have a good side and a bad side.

It’s important to understand and know ourselves in depth so we can know others. Working the 12 steps is one of the best ways to gain wisdom and understanding of ourselves.

As children of God we deserve good things. As recovering addicts, we can’t afford to plant our hearts in entitlement. And so- we cautiously hope for good things and when they don’t happen we keep our eye on the prize which is meeting our maker. And we stay grateful for that which we DO have.

I WON’T CO-SIGN YOUR BULLSHIT!

“I WON’T CO-SIGN YOUR BULLSHIT!”

Scream the 12 step sponsors to the detriment of their heartsick fellows! There is a great need in AA to understand the difference between co-signing bull shit and showing Love by exerting understanding, compassion, and care.

There is a great need to understand the difference between self-pity and the expression of valid feelings such as anger, and hurt.

Human feelings that result from an abusive past need expressed for us to stay or get sane.

The words, “I know how you feel, you have a right to feel your pain, grieve and to process your hurt…even if, the feelings derive from years prior” are words that can heal a heart. Most addicts have stuffed down tears for years that desperately needed to be cried for us to attain emotional balance and healing. Usually when we get clean & sober all our un-cried tears come to the surface and scream to get out. We then ask ourselves: “What’s wrong with me, why am I so depressed, nothing bad is going on right now? Next our sponsors quickly tell us to “get over it and write a gratitude list” as they watch us slam the door in the face of AA.

Gratitude lists work great for those stomping their feet because things are not going their way (self-pity). However when it comes to the horrible feelings of grief that result from abuse, abandonment, neglect and other childhood trauma all our sponsors suggestion does is add to our low self-image and push us out the doors.

The most common “grave emotional disorder” that addicts in the rooms suffer from is the inability to process deep hurts and trauma inflicted as children & sometimes through adulthood. We have turned our hurt to anger and continually search for a scape-goat to blame for our intolerable feelings. Our hurts have morphed into anger because “grief”, unless short lived and a result of the death of a loved one is unacceptable in our society. When we experience any other cause of emotional pain except what’s socially acceptable we are often told to just “GET OVER IT!” So driven by shame we bone-up, pretend we are tuff-girls and boys, file our feelings under the “wrong and weak” category in our hearts and make ourselves sick till we have no other solution except to numb that which we have labeled “Invalid feelings”.

Is it no wonder that when one of us relapses so many seem to be so devastated by it…

even when we scarcely know the person who went back out? We are desperate to let out some of our grief in a way that is acceptable to our fellows. We all step up our meetings and talk about our pain and loss when it usually has nothing to do with the guy who just relapsed who we have never invited to our home by the way.

The need for validation of our deep hurt is huge and necessary for healing. It’s hard for us in recovery to see when we are stuffing down a pain that really needs to be expressed. Few of us were taught by example or in school that it’s ok to scream and cry feelings out, or that crying is a part of emotional health.

Grave emotional disorders

are not healed by just writing down [our part] and transferring all the blame from one scape goat to the next; [ourselves]. Please don’t hear what I am not saying…we addicts have boatloads of character defects that we need to work on however, not all grave emotional disorder is solved by doing a guilt based fourth step. Furthermore, if Bill W. would have had a course in empathic healing and were taught that his feelings are valid and how to emotionally process them he may not have spent at least 12 years sober and depressed trying so many therapies and pharmaceutical remedies.

Typically Bill was too hard on himself. There comes a time when we must pause from blaming ourselves for where we are at emotionally if we are to find answers and heal. There comes a time when we should realize that we were dealt a mistaken hand where our understanding of emotions is concerned and the steps don’t fix everything.

THERE IS NO WRONG FEELING

The Singleness of Purpose AA

It appears the singleness of purpose has gotten a little complicated. However, it remains clear that we should not censor drug addict alcoholics in meetings (within time limits).  We allow them their recovery and ability to share their experience, strength and hope.  Here’s a quote from the article published by the general service office of AA.

“In a presentation at the 1983 Conference entitled “Are
we helping the dually addicted?” delegate Dyanne G.
described the way her group welcomed her. “I will continue
to thank God that I came into an A.A. group spiritually
fit enough that its members did not find it necessary
to censor my conversation or actions in order to
protect themselves. I did talk about drugs, and I used a

lot of four-letter words to do it! My group allowed me
the dignity to choose to change these things and the freedom
to do it when I could, not when they thought I
should. . . . My group seems to have no trouble sticking
to our single purpose, which is to carry the message to
still-suffering alcoholics, however damaged and confused
they are in the beginning . . . . There is a fine line
between upholding our singleness-of-purpose Tradition
and limiting or restricting our membership. The day
A.A. appears to be rejecting people who may be alcoholic,
we will begin to die. What good will it do us if,
while we are defending our ‘rights,’ A.A. is destroyed?”

SEE GENERAL SERVICE OFFICE OF AA ARTICLE ON SINGLENESS OF PURPOSE HERE