A Source of Pain

We usually found that our defective ways in dealing with others were

a source of pain for us. `Anon

This to me is the phenomenon of being an addict. We will desire the very thing that will cause us the greatest amount of pain. It is tantamount to going out into the yard, picking up the nearest cement paver, and conking our heads with it; and, then wondering aloud why we are in pain and bleeding. That is the essence of addiction. Alcoholics/addicts will lie even when it is easier and simpler to just tell the truth. Even when the truth will reap rewards, and the lie will cost them punishment, they will choose to lie. This is not because we are bad people, we just have alcoholic, self-defeating ways in which to react to the world. We need self-discipline that is offered in step #8.

In Step #8, the key word is self-discipline. What does it take to be self-disciplined? The other night, I got a call from the AA help line. The young person on the other end of the line was struggling. I listened politely for about 2 minutes to her pain. I then asked her to tell me about H.A.L.T.: what was going on re. her hunger, anger, loneliness, and tiredness. She was able to tell me how distressed she was in all these areas. I then made some suggestions. What happened? Well, she had an excuse for why none of what I suggested was going to work. For every problem, there is a solution, but when we choose the pain and lies over recovery and the solution inherent in AA and sobriety, we choose the dis-ease. I am powerless over what others choose to do. We are either focused on the solution, or we are feeding the dis-ease. Choose recovery.


Step #8: a 2 Part Plan


Made a list of all people we had harmed and became willing to

make amends to them all. ~ AA 12 X 12

The first part of step #8 is to make the list. The easiest way is to write down everyone that was on the 4th and 5th step list. I strongly suggest that everyone works with a sponsor in this process. One quick story: a sibling of mine, who came right out of a treatment program, and being so anxious to stay sober, ran around telling tales on everyone she had been involved with. It caused a great deal of pain, and she went back to the drinking as a result. Your sponsor will also be helpful in removing those names on the list who victimized you, not vice versa. Heed this advice. We are not doing this to alleviate or assuage the guilt of others. We are doing this to recover our own sanity and stay sober.

The second part of step #8 is to become willing. Here is that word again! The essence of the 12 step program of recovery is just that: being willing and remaining teachable. If how we were living our lives was working for us, we would not have a need to be in AA. I recommend to my sponsees that they write letters to each person on the list, but do not send them!! Write what you would want to say, if you knew you would never see the person again. Then, with the aid of the sponsor, nail it down to a simple sentence, “I was wrong about such and such, and how can I make it right.” Now, the hard part is to pray for them the things you wish for yourself. The healing thoughts and feelings will come. You will know when you are ready to move on.


Being Prepared

Being willing to achieve is not nearly as valuable as being prepared. ~ Anon

I saw this the other day, and it reminded me of getting and being sober. We spend years of hangovers and regrets swearing off then swearing on again. Our lives were consumed in pretending and promising to ourselves and others that we can act maturely when drinking, we can drink moderately in polite society, and we really mean no harm. To no avail. Many of us wanted to achieve sobriety. But, wanting and doing are totally different things as we have been humbled to learn.

Remember the acronym H.A.L.T.? Hungry, angry, lonely, and tired are the greatest bug-a-boos for any alcoholic. We cannot afford these feelings. I add S for sore (due to chronic pain). Life happens, and we will be confronted by these on a regular basis. For those who are new into recovery, I offer some tips and tricks: To avoid being hungry: eat breakfast, take healthful snacks to work, hydrate with water; not juice or pop. Drink warm lemon water before breakfast each day. To avoid anger: have some AA numbers entered on your phone and use them, take a walk, count to ten, do a step 10 inventory, and/or pray for the person. To avoid loneliness: go to a meeting, call until you get a human voice, walk around the mall, call someone who is struggling, or volunteer at an animal shelter or retirement home. And, to avoid tiredness: take daily naps, get to bed at a reasonable hour, avoid caffeine or cut back after noon, take 1/2 hour of quiet time before you sleep, move the TV/radio/stereo out of the bedroom, and consider not bringing work home with you. Preparation will reduce the exasperation and ensure continue sobriety.

What is Humility?

Humility is an action, not an emotion. ~ Jan W. 

We wonder what the heck is humility. It sure isn’t humiliation; but rather an awareness that we are not the only being on this earth, that others matter, and that there is a great deal of people, places and things that we have no power over. I like to think there is a universal order of things, that each of us has an inner clock that is ticking, and there is just so much life to live. That keeps me humble and ready to embrace each moment as if it were my last one. Frankly, there is not enough time in life to get all that I want to accomplish done.

I got this from a 12 Step newsletter in St. Louis. It is one person’s thoughts on what is humility:

spirituality                                          I don’t know                  spontaneity

Curiosity                                              innocence                      openness

child-like nature                                tolerance                         patience

integrity                                               detachment                     letting go.

That is a good start. See how many more you can come up with. Have a good day. Stay cool. This too shall pass.