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|spud (profile) wrote, |
on 8-27-2014 at 10:07pm
Subject: the adventure continues....
hello. this entry is per beaver's request, but i also have plenty i've been meaning to share anyway.
so, i left off last with some of the uglier portions of my story, my first tangible spiritual experience, and the pink cloud i got to ride on for awhile afterward.
i have 'finished' step 4. step 10 basically covers the same ground, but is more for maintenance as things crop up, now that the majority of the housecleaning is done. i at least have a list i can reference, and add to as things occur to me. considering the amount of chemicals i've used to kill my brain, it's not surprising that some stuff i don't remember. so, i try to put it down as i encounter it. incomplete as it felt it was time to move on. step 5 is essentially a confession of the crap from your past that's weighing on you. again, i felt that this portion was somewhat incomplete - certainly not my entire life story. but really, the whole thing would be boring and be a case of diminishing returns. the point is that i'm willing to disclose any part of my sordid history, and am not trying to shy away from it myself, or hide it from anyone else. it does not mean i should force someone to endure it in its entirety.
maybe it would be better to break things down this way:
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.
i had done this step before my first meeting. the decision to come to AA was the ultimate admission of defeat. i saw no other options. but my dad has been sober for 19 years, so when the time came, it was obvious to me where i could go for a solution that would work. i just wasn't going to go there until i was willing to admit that i had a problem. the unmanageability of my life was a given. i hadn't been trying to run the show for quite a while. no wonder i felt like i was adrift, living a purposeless life. the part i have only come to realize in retrospect is how much alcohol took the reins. i remember coming into meetings early on and hearing lots of things i could identify with. these things tend to be pretty common among alcoholics. it was a convincing argument for my position among their ranks. but i also heard a lot of sob stories about hitting rock bottom. this wasn't me at all! i never got a DUI (regardless of how many i should have gotten. like, a lot. it's staggering, really.) i didn't destroy a family/relationship. i didn't lose a job (not true. i lost several. again, denial prevented me from seeing it at the time). i never sucked dick for blow. you get the idea. but it's hard to get a DUI when you don't have a car. it's hard to destroy a relationship when you're single. i had unwittingly custom-built a lifestyle that accommodated and facilitated my drinking. when i gave up on life, booze took it over for me, so that's what it became all about. my new life mission was to never run out of vodka or cigarettes, and wish for the rest of the world to leave me the fuck alone.
2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
i am powerless over alcohol. nobody else can do this for me, even if they tried, and i wouldn't want to put that burden on anyone else's shoulders anyway. that wouldn't be fair. so, a higher power is pretty much the only option left. without it, i will get drunk. i haven't gotten drunk in over 5 months. this means that what started as an innocent little unfounded belief is quickly becoming reliable faith based on my evident continued sobriety. the insanity is the self-delusion. the truth is right there staring me in the face. but my brain has the amazing ability to replay things over and over and over again in my head, tweaking little details each time, until the picture has become so distorted that i am convinced. it is lying to me, and i begin to believe it. justification of all sorts of sick thoughts and behaviors, based on lies which were initially rooted in reality. to get so turned around that you don't know what's real and true, and what isn't, is insane. quite literally. not that i've had regular conversations with trees. in fact, i could treat all sorts of other matters quite rationally. but when it comes to me and my feelings and my sense of self - and let's not forget my drinking - all reason flies out the window and the insanity creeps in. but spirituality can fix it for me? hellz yeah! i am a lazy fuck. any and all responsibility i can foist off on something else, regardless of how ethereal the entity, is something i can get behind.
3. made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of god as we understood him.
again, i'm fucking lazy. but for some reason i still have this compulsion to try and control things. i say i am willing to relinquish my will and my life to this being that i still don't fully understand (the more i learn, the more woefully inadequate my understanding proves), but suddenly find myself clinging to things. still trying to do stuff my way. getting upset when something is taken from me, or when i can't have things that i want. i am a child. i throw tantrums and hissy fits. i'm sure god - and probably most everyone watching - laughs hysterically. but the turnaround time is getting better, little by little. i don't fight as much, or for as long. the temptation is there to cling to the anger. i like it. i feel powerful. i feel justified. i am not. it is stupid to think that. i have proven it doesn't work. shit works a lot better if i stop fighting and just let it happen. i am often shocked at how well things work out. even better than what i had imagined, more often than not.
4. made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. admitted to god, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. were entirely ready to have god remove all these defects of character.
i don't know that i was really 'ready'. but again, it was one of those things where i have to keep moving. if i wait until i'm ready to do something, it'll never happen. if i wait until my inventory is complete, i'll never get done. the key here is willingness. i am not perfect - far from it. but i'm willing to try to get better. i'm willing to try to let my creator - whatever it is - take all of me, good and bad (that's in the 7th step prayer). it's wild to think that god can use the bad stuff in me to create good in the lives of others, but he can and does, without me even having to see it. it just happens. but if i don't give it to him, he can't use it. better let him work his magic. i just have to sit down shut up and watch the show.
7. humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings
it does not say 'adamantly demanded' that he remove our defects. humility and servility are important here. the prayer expounds a bit: "...i pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows." how often i obstruct my usefulness with selfish desires, self-absorption, or just distraction. we live in a noisy world. there's a lot that pulls us away from the here and now. away from the opportunities to help that are directly in front of us. i always thought it was stupid that people will send money to aid some third world country, then turn around and snub (or loudly complain about) the homeless and hungry in their own communities. how much more gratifying is it to help someone else than it is to buy a new toy? how much longer does the satisfaction linger? this is the better course. i aim to be greedily generous of myself and my resources, so i can feel that good. all the time. or, at least, as often as my awareness allows. i miss a lot of opportunities to help. but there are always always more. i just have to keep looking, and be at the ready when the time comes to capitalize on them.
8. made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
my sponsor has kind of been blending steps together. i appreciate this, as my brain is pretty helter skelter about a lot of shit. i can't just sit down for an hour and say "okay that's done. next step." that's not the way it works when we're dealing with memories and emotions. so i'm glad that i'm not forcibly tied to a strict set of rules. the steps are separated distinctly, and placed in order, for a reason, yes. but they are also designed to sort of flow naturally into one another. all this stuff is related, so it's hard to touch on one string without it's vibrations setting off other strings of a similar frequency.
so my homework, which i have not been doing, is to make a list of all the people i've harmed. i have a good start on the list, as all of the people from step 4 are pretty much going to carry over here, but again there's room for addition. there are plenty of people that i don't even realize i've hurt. or things that i've been hanging onto, that the people they were inflicted upon don't even remember. even if they don't know i've hurt them, or shrug it off, it is still important that i get that off my chest. only then will i be free of that injury playing over and over and over again in the worlds shittiest cinema - my brain.
so that's where i'm at as far as the 12 steps are concerned. progress is being made. that's all anyone can hope for.
the pink cloud is no longer quite so present. remnants, perhaps. and i haven't had any really notable spiritual experiences like that moment in the car, but i have been checking in more often (i have never prayed this much before in my life), and it's paying dividends in my sanity, if not my conduct. work is a total bitch, so it's a perfect place to really put this crap into practice. real life. real time. and it's constantly pissing me off. so... lots and lots of good practice there.
i need to go to bed, but there's more i didn't get to touch on yet:
- i can't live with myself: me and self (eckhart tolle - the power of now)
- fabric of the universe
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i'm glad you're progressing, i haven't had to live through alcoholism, but i've seen the effects of alcohol on people i love and care about (my old man had liver issues about a year ago, he was yellow for about a week.) I'm glad that you're finding the strength to overcome this.