- Step 7

Step 7




12 Steps: Discussions related to the 12 Steps and using them as a treatment to recover from alcohol and drug addiction.

Postby wareagle10 » Fri Jul 07, 2006 1:39 pm

Thanks Buck, it is always nice when you get another perspective on an issue and that gives me something to think about. It has always been my attitude to accept what others have to say, I may never know, or perhaps I will, when I will have to put into practice that someone else has offered to me in my quest for sobriety. What you say makes good sense to me, that I try to make adjustments and see how they work, not that they have to be perfect. I make a daily attempt at practicing as much of the program as I can and sometimes I do better than other times. Sometimes I fail miserably, but, it is still better than the alternative. I know what waits for me with the alternative, I have no idea what the future holds, but I'll take the wager its better if I keep doing the things I have been doing.

You take care and straight ahead, John.
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God could and would if He were sought

Postby Dallas » Fri Jul 07, 2006 2:32 pm

"God could.... and would.... if.... He... were sought" :lol:

I remember a time when I was having a problem with the God stuff, and it was really giving me a headache to think about it. Then, I began to ask myself a series of questions that really settled the matter for me.

The first question that I asked myself was "Who am I... to say that there is no God?" And, "how did I get so intelligent... that I could say for a fact that there is no God?"

My head kept getting tighter and tighter on the God thing that it became so uncomfortable for me, that I decided to try what Bill W., did. I got on my knees and asked, "If there really is a God.... will you show yourself to me?"

I can remember other times in my life of asking basically the same question, of "If there really is a God... will you show yourself to me." But, I've recognized that what I was actually doing during the previous times was "making a statement" rather than "asking a question."

When I had previously said "God if you're there why won't you show yourself to me"... I was coming from a place of arrogance with an unwillingness to believe... and with a closed mind. It was actually a statement of my defiance and rebellion that actually stated "God, even if you are there... I'm not going to believe it... regardless of what I see."

I now know that the reason I was so defiant towards God, is that "if there really is a God... it will mean that I'm not it." :wink: And, to admit that I'm not God, would mean that it would be an intelligent idea for me to stop playing God.

Another problem I had, with the God thing... was that "if there really is a God... then, I might really have to change some of the things that I'm doing" if I want to continue to live at peace with myself, doing the things that I might believe that God wouldn't want me to do.

Who made me so smart... and what made me so smart... that I could say "God doesn't exist"? What made me so intelligent... to think that I knew anything at all about God? I had to be careful with my line of reasoning... if I really wanted a truthful answer to my question, because if I were placing myself on the same level as God... and then "attempting to seek Him"... then, the only God I would find would be me! :wink:

I am so grateful that this question no longer bothers me and that the "God problems" are gone for me. I'm grateful that I no longer have to live my life in doubt about God. I'm grateful that I have made peace with God and that I don't have to debate the idea any longer.

I used to think that I could "manage my character defects".... but I don't think that way now. That thinking changed as a result of me asking more questions to myself.... I started with the question, to my self, as "Self! What makes you think you can get rid of Self?" :lol: And, as I pondered that question... I began to realize and fully understand that I needed God's help. And... "what if" I needed God's help... and "there was no God?" Hmmm.... Imagine that! :wink:

When I read the 12 Steps, as they are presented on page 58, 59, of the Big Book... I've come to the understanding that "if even one word" of the 12 Steps is changed... then, what I end up with is a different 12 Steps. And, if I could write and come up with my own set of 12 Steps... why wouldn't I do that before I came to AA?

The fact is... I came up with all kinds of stuff before I came to AA... but, the stuff didn't work. It didn't mean that what I came up with was worthless... or might not work for someone else... it just didn't work for me.

When I finally gave up the need to keep attempting to invent and come up with new and improved ideas about the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, and just accept them as they are presented in the Book... I gained some real peace of mind... and some much better results than I was producing with my "new and improved" versions . :wink:

So, just passing on what worked for me... if someone tells me that they have a God problem... I share with them what I did to solve my problem.

"Pledging to myself... to keep an open mind, and a definite willingness to change my mind about what I currently believe... and willing to accept the truth about what I discovered... I humbly got on my knees... and asked... (not stated) If there really is a God... will you reveal yourself to me?"

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Postby anniemac » Fri Jul 07, 2006 5:33 pm

Hi everyone, and thanks for your posts! I am rushing around at work and will get back here to thoroughly read what everyone wrote...but another thought just occured to me (damn, gotta stop thinking!! LOL) ~~

Maybe it's not as much about God necessarily removing them, as it is about us being humble enough to ask anyway??

:?: :?:
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Postby Dallas » Fri Jul 07, 2006 9:11 pm

Hey Anne, great to hear from you. Hopefully, if you're rushing around work... you'll get the weekend off! :lol:

I just absolutely love Chapter 4, "We agnostics" (Well... actually I just absolutely love all the chapters... but, today... pages 44 - 45 strike a nice tune inside me). :wink: "Lack of power, on my own... that is my dilemma!"

"If a mere code of morals or a better philosophy of life were sufficient to overcome alcoholism, many of us would have recovered long ago."

Some people equate physical sobriety as recovery from alcoholism. Surely, physically sober is a necessity, but it's only the starting point in regards to recovery.

I'm the type-of-alcoholic, that had to ask God for help... to get sober... and to stay sober. And, I need God's help with everything that I must do to keep my physical sobriety and to get better, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

I could have been the type of AA in recovery, who read and understood Steps 10 & 11, to mean... "okay, just make a mental note of what I did wrong... admit it... make amends... try to do better next time... and do a lot of praying and meditating." However, I had too much to lose, that I didn't want to lose... to attempt doing it that way. I chose rather, to read the book and to follow the instructions as closely as I could in the book. And, as a result of those efforts, I experienced what Bill wrote about, in regards to "being rocketed into the fourth dimension." It was absolutely and is absolutely incredible! And, that's what got me hooked on and in searching that Big Book... and using it as my guide... for my actions towards spiritual progress.

The bottomline for me is.... "I love the effect produced by the 12 Steps, when I take them following the instructions in the book."

I would guess... that the state of being "humble"... would be a quality of humility. Wouldn't it be humble... if the book said to me "ask" and I decided that it was in my best interest to "ask"?

In Step 11, it mentions praying only for the knowledge of God's will for us... and the power to carry it out.

Why would I ask for the knowledge of God's will for me... and the power to carry it out... if I didn't use the knowledge of His will for me... and take the actions that I'm asking for the power to carry out? If I didn't "use it" it might be like asking God for a tank of gas and a map, while I sat inside my truck in the garage... listening to the radio! I'm not going anywhere until I pull out of the garage and head down the road! To sit on it... means I miss the trip!

Since the 12 Steps is my Spiritual Path... and my Design For Living... and the instructions in it has saved my life, and given me a life better than anything I've been able to accomplish without it.. ... in Step 7, I'm instructed to "ask." For me... that's the end of the discussion. I've discovered that I gain much greater favorable results when I follow the directions rather than give the directions. If I have a problem with something in the 12 Steps... I'm always free to change my mind about it and just do it! :wink:

Often, when my "mental debate" was going on... in the end... I discovered that I was back at the wheel, attempting to "be God." :shock: And, that doesn't work very well for me.

It's similar to the reason that I got a Sponsor... and use my Sponsor. I've discovered... that even when I thought I was smarter than he was... following his directions rather than my own directions to myself... was producing much greater results.

I think it was mentioned above, about "doing something... and then checking it out... and making adjustments." That's precisely what I've done to get me from where I was at, to where I'm at today.

I would take an action. Measure the results. Ask myself "is this moving me closer to... or further away"... from my objective? (Another wonderful benefit of doing a 10th Step, by following the instructions in the book... it's an excellent measurement and monitoring system! And, I don't have to rely on what "my head" is telling me... because I have the results in black and white... on paper... through my previous days, and months and years, written-down inventories from Step 10! (Another advantage of doing a written 10th Step). :wink:

Humbling? You bet'cha! Ego smashing? Yep. Wonderful results? The best I've ever been able to find!

A long time ago... even before I came to AA... I had some problems. I kept doing some stupid things that were causing me troubles. After each time of ending up in trouble... I would say "I'm never going to do that again! I'm going to change!" And, I would use all my will power and efforts to change... but the change would only last for a little while. I needed help. I needed the power to make "longer lasting" changes. :wink:

Now, that I've got the Power to make the "longer lasting" changes... I've discovered that without the Power (when I move away from the Power)... I flip flop back and forth in and out of old problems.... much more rapidly than I do when I'm trying to stay close to the Power!

Humbling? You bet. Each time I take one of those Character Defects off the shelf and start using it again... and end up with a big problem... it reminds me that "without help... it is too much for me."

Perhaps... if I could hang on to that idea more often, of "without help it is too much for me"... there would be longer and longer periods of time between me reaching up on that shelf full of character defects that have been removed.

And, what about those character defects that just don't seem to budge, regardless of how much I work at removing them? It reminds me, that Powerless over alcohol... is not my only dilemma! :wink:

Dallas


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Postby anniemac » Mon Jul 10, 2006 8:19 pm

This is such a typical example of the circles I can run myself in.

Evidently, I still hold on to some of my old ideas. I have not yet resigned from the debating society. I don't feel that I have to admit that either God is everything or God is nothing. That's the one area in my life where I actually don't have black-and-white, all or nothing thinking....I want God to be just some things, not ALL.

Letting go is a daily challenge for me. I get in my own way numerous times a day, and I don't even see myself doing it until someone mirrors my insanity back to me.

I think it was another thread where someone posted, that issues with any of this stuff is really a Step One issue. Yeah, I guess I can see that. I know for certain that I could acheive a much deeper level of both powerlessness and unmanagability in my life. I don't want to, yet I don't grasp this "as only the dying could". Sometimes I forget that I'm on this path due to alcoholism and I view it instead as a self-improvement quest, to live a lofty spiritual life.

Damn, how do I "get" this on a deeper level without going back out there and needing this on a more desperate level to save my life?? That's somewhat rhetorical, but if you actually know, feel free to share! I just remind myself of all the "yets" still out there for me, knowing without a doubt that I could reach them. But since I actually didn't reach them, maybe I don't surrender with the same depth that others do. :cry:
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Postby Dallas » Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:14 pm

Hello Anne,

Great to hear from you! Hope you had an awesome weekend!

This is my second attempt to post a reply. :lol: I had my thoughts all arranged and typed out and moving right along... and suddenly I had a "power brown-out" and lost the power to everything in my house... including my PC! And, I had to just smile and think "Well. That's keeping it real simple!"

Do I believe in a Power? Yep. I was using it while connected to post a message. Was I thinking about the Power when I was posting the message? Nope.

Therefore, I can conclude... that "Yes. There is a Power. I use it all the time without even thinking about it. And, what would happen if I lost the connection with the Power? My lights go out. My PC goes down. Life as I know it comes to a screeching halt! Did I have to drink over it? Nope. Did I lose my serenity and peace of mind? Only for a couple of seconds. And, then what happened? The Power came back on. Cool! What next? I had to reboot my modem and my PC... the Power was there...regardless of what I believed about the Power... but I had to take certain actions to begin to use it in a way that I wanted to benefit from using the Power."

I would not have taken the actions to even try to reboot my PC and my modem, if I didn't have some reason to suspect that the Power was available.

If I would have looked at this illustration in reference to Step 1... I admitted that I didn't have the Power. (Powerless). Step 2, would have been, "am I willing to believe that there is a Power?" I can do that. Did I have faith that the Power was available to me? I didn't need that. The Power was out! :lol: Step 3, would have been... I made a decision to take certain actions. Step 4, would have been... to look around me and and discover what was blocking me from the Internet. Once I discover what's blocking me... Step 5, I admit it... Step 6, is I become willing to fix what is blocking me. Step 7, 8, 9, is I reboot!

The only thing that was necessary to believe and admit was... 1. I didn't have the Power. The rest of getting connected, re-connected, and staying connected... is all actions. A "just do it." And, after I did it... I can see that if the Power doesn't go out in about 5 seconds I can click the submit button!

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Postby Buck V » Tue Jul 11, 2006 12:49 pm

Dallas,

Loved the analogy of losing your PC. I'm in the computer industry, and I always recommend a battery backup to prevent data loss in the event of a power outage. In the event of a power loss, the battery gives enough time to save your data and power down your system. I also insist on a surge suppressor. In the event of a power surge, the surge suppressor prevents your components from getting fried. These two prevention tools not only protect your data, but protects your hardware. I also highly recommend a data backup system, either tape or CD, in the event of a catastrophic system failure, so the system can be restored with relatively little data loss.

I can use this analogy in my life as well. I use the 10th and 11th steps as a kind of "battery backup" and "surge protection". If my 24 hours start to "brown out" or the lights start flickering, become too stressful, seemingly overwhelming, nothing going right, all my defects starting to rear their ugly heads, a thunderstorm ready to hit, I power down, review why my fears, anger, and resentments are getting ready to crash my system, refer to the technical specifications (the steps) to see if I've overlooked something, fix it if it needs it, and always, always consult with the manufacturer (my HP).

I have the BB and the fellowship as my "data backup" in case of catastophic system failure (relapse) Fortunately I have not had that happen to me so far today, and if I keep my data, (my program) up to date, properly maintain the equipment, keep an eye on the ever loomimg thunderstorm, and keep a good, healthy relationship going with my manufacturer, I never will.

And I shouldn't have any problems with my computer either.

Buck
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Postby Rusty Zipper » Tue Jul 11, 2006 12:55 pm

Dallas, and everyone grat analogy's... yep, action not intentions... might be get'n a new puter soon... then i hope to be a post'n fool, not just a fool. :shock:


love you kid's ... xxoo, RZ :wink: ...ps, my six month six nights a week chaip is up. now i hope to have a bit more time... see-ya's

bless
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Hot Hot Hot!

Postby Rusty Zipper » Tue Jul 18, 2006 1:37 am

today reminded me of that old Buster Poindexter ####### tune, that Rio De Janeiro-ish, wedding Conga line fave. "Hot Hot Hot!" whats this have to do with recovery one might ask? well, someone tonight ask'd me how my day was...? i stared blank'ly at him... i was in another place, another dimension...why? i was catapolted back to my childhood. growing up in the family of negativity towards the heat ### #### "its so, so, hot, todays going to be a schoarcher, stay inside, stay out of the sun, my alltime fave... make shure you put your hat on, geeze! and many others" i said to this fella, you know, today was alright... i amazed myself... looking back at these so called forgoten steps, steps 6 & 7. they have realy invaded my life for the good... fears, what i ran on, i asked to be removed awhile ago, and all the forms of them.... i live the steps on that daily basis that is recomended... some days all, some days some, some days, a combination of them... some days, its ruff enough to just handle step 1 ! so today, i was able to somehow get past all this summer in New England Heat, not think much about it, not complain about it, not the dreaded dwell on about it... today i was able to get on that Conga line of recovery, and pull off another day of recovery... Viv'a Step-7! ... Ready kids, Everybody! ... It's Hot! Hot! Hot!... :wink:



all good wishes and give only love, (_Zip_)
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Postby anniemac » Sun Jan 21, 2007 8:04 pm

Wow. I came here to post something about Step 7 and saw that I had posted something back in July, and it was so wonderful for me to read my old post. Why? Because I'm not there any more!! I have grown! That's so cool, to be able to see it in myself.

Dallas, you had said something a little while back, something about after 20 years sober, your thoughts still go to the negative, maybe you said "left to your own devices", I don't recall. Whatever it was that you said, though, it stuck with me, it planted a little seed, and that seed has been germinating for a while, and today at a meeting, it sprouted!

I've had a problem with Step 7 all along - just couldn't come to believe in a God who waved a magic wand and removed my defects of character. Somehow, when you said that your first inclination is to think negatively (or something along those lines), I began to realize that maybe it's not about the magic wand theory -- maybe it's not about a physical exorcism of my defects. Maybe, left to my own devices, I am who I am.

And it finally clicked, that when I use God as my filter, the go-between between me, and life, my defects just don't exist -- because I'm not relying on my own power; I have tapped in to that power greater than me. That so long as I am connected, maintaining that conscious contact, I am living as an extension of God. Anne, the human, her defects just get by-passed. It's only when I sever that connection and try to run the show alone, that those defects have reason to exist.

So God does remove my defects of character. Maybe not with a scalpel and surgery, but by virtue of removing my need for them for that moment in time when I am relying on God.

Sheesh, never know if my thoughts are making sense to anyone else, but this was a good realization for me, and has given me so much more acceptance of Step 7 and its possibilities.

So thanks Dallas, for telling me that you are a negative thinker! LOL :lol:
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