A sponsor is a person who has completed working the 12 steps and now teaches others to work them. One common first step assignment is to read “How it Works” and “The Doctors Opinion” in the Big Book of AA. Another assignment is to write five examples of powerlessness over alcohol or drugs in our own lives. And so we have begun the journey of recovery with a sponsor who has managed to stay sober themselves. What this first assignment does is brings our addiction into the light by listing our powerlessness it keeps us from forgetting we are addicts and prevents us from lying to ourselves by saying…”Yes I can drink responsibly…this time.”
The Doctors opinion shows us that we are definitely not alone and we are not the only ones who have experience the powerlessness of addiction. Powerlessness and the “insanity” of addiction are hard to differentiate between. All powerlessness associated with addiction is insanity but not all inanity exhibits powerlessness.I promised myself I would only have one drink however I woke up after a three day bender asking myself “What in the hell happened?” I promised myself I would never drink or drug again but I did it anyway. I promised myself I would never hurt my loved ones by my addiction yet, again I stole money from my daughter’s piggy bank to buy crack. Ouch! That is serious powerlessness.
Premeditated and guiltless thievery to support my addiction is insane but it is not a show of powerlessness. Accusing my ex-husband of being the reason that I drink and drug because of the way he treats me is insanity but it is not powerlessness. Good luck with your step work!
When we write our examples of powerlessness we should write also how it made us feel. The thing is we addicts usually want to be in complete control. Most of us have intense control issues even. And so we internally beat ourselves to a pulp when we cannot stick to our own using guidelines. Simply put we are expecting ourselves to control something that we are completely incapable of controlling.
We find ourselves in a subconscious state of self-loathing by which we hate us and the world. We did not create our powerlessness nor did we sign up to become addicts. We have no right to condemn ourselves for our powerlessness. We merely accept it and move on to step two.
OUT OF THE PROBLEM INTO THE SOLUTION!
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How to get clean and sober, emotional sobriety, recovery and emotional healing.
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Hi I am Lori I am a recovered alcoholic crack head, heroin addict. Before I came to AA I learned how NOT to cry. I was in abusive relationships and cried so many times I swore I wouldn’t allow my verbally abusive x husband to make me shed another tear. Unfortunately I turned those tears into anger and then wrath. I nearly killed my x husband at one point. When I came to AA and group therapy it was by cop car from a 60 day vacation in Levy County jail. I watched many women shed many tears in my new woman’s therapy group. They were able to let their feelings flow out with their tears. They were finally talking about things that hurt them and what they were ashamed of. After the first group session I attended I looked at my counselor and said “I don’t belong in this group, I don’t have any pain.” I was a tough girl a survivor I had to be to survive on the streets. read more…
But that tough girl persona wasn’t going to help me now. If anything it would have made it impossible for me to recover unless I abandoned it and allowed people to know what I was feeling inside. I had to be honest about what I was feeling and what I had done or I might as well pick up my stem and concede to self destruction.
When I got sober I felt like I had a crushing heavy pain filled bowling ball sitting in my chest. I felt as if I were a cracked vase that would shatter to pieces at any moment . I felt an impending doom that encompassed me preventing me from feeling joy, happiness and peace. But even with all these feelings I was terrified of going back to the crack traps and jail. I had just detoxed off Methadone, crack, Xanex, cigarettes, caffeine, and alcohol. I had the worst insomnia so it was like living in hell 24/7 . My anxiety was sky high. IT SEEMED LIKE SOBRIETY- damned if I do and damned if I don’t.
Each day I got out of bed I chose sobriety and just prayed it would get better and it did. I had been arrested on Good Friday of 2006. Nearly ten years ago …I sometimes take for granted things like peace of mind and freedom. I forget how miserable I was and how much God has done for me. That’s why I write and why I go to AA groups and share.
In a nutshell this is how I got and stay sober for nearly ten years, but more importantly this is how I prevent my own misery, anxiety, and depression: By working the 12 steps enough times for it to become a way of life (once a year for 7 years). By doing the valid suggestions of AA and rehab. Taking meetings to jails and institutions. Telling my story, what is was like, what happened, and what it is like now, Having fun doing AA functions. Getting close to nature outdoors, the beach, parks, springs, woods, etc. Extensive meditation and prayer. Church. A year of group recovery therapy which taught me how to let out and process intense emotions so they don’t turn to bitterness. Eating right and exercise.
SECONDARY ADDICTIONS ARE VERY TEMPTING
Secondary addictions are what we usually do when we are in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. And usually if we are moving toward progress our second addiction isn’t nearly as destructive as the first…if at all destructive. We get addicted to coffee, cigarettes, over the counter drugs, pornography, sex, prescription drugs, the internet (guilty) and people. I am a self professed website junky. When I ran across this “YOUR BRAIN ON PORN” I thought it might be interesting to read and maybe you guys would like it too.
Remember we in recovery usually reach out for some secondary dependencies or lesser addictions when we get sober. You won’t hear it talked about in the rooms much but that’ what we do.
There are two kinds of people in AA those who struggle and admit it and those who struggle and don’t talk about it. We certainly don’t struggle at all times and we do reach a place of peace if we work the steps but we are never finished doing the work while human and alive.
Do not be too hard on yourself for that is a character defect within itself! Come on folks! We are all doing the best we can for right now. From what I have experienced in Narcotics Anonymous the way they sometimes ostracize fellows for secondary addictions it feeds into the sickness of keeping secrets, repressing emotions, and feeds our shame issues. Some groups forbid members to chair meetings if they are on much needed psyche meds or pain meds even non-narcotic meds. Intolerance and a lack of acceptance for others and their personal medicinal status is just that…a lack of understanding and empathy.
In recovery we often struggle with sick relationships (co-dependency), cigarettes, food, sexual promiscuity, anger issues, even your non-narcotic prescription drugs…nevertheless we are doing way better than we were before AA and the 12 steps. Do not think that your recovery is counterfeit if you struggle with one of these? Believe me we all struggle at times. You will find that when one of us overcomes ALL of our little crutches we then become highly judgmental, and our control issues hit their highest peaks. It’s always something! Not a justification just fact. Best we accept ourselves and other as human and remember “OUT OF THE PROBLEM INTO THE SOLUTION”!
This article lists coping skills and dealing with FEELINGS.
And of course the famous AA pamphlet on “AA and Use of Medication” is found here: http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.net/aa-member-medications-and-other-drugs/