Having difficulty with Step 2?

12 Steps: Discussions related to the 12 Steps and using them as a treatment to recover from alcohol and drug addiction.
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Postby wareagle10 » Tue Jul 18, 2006 2:46 am

Perhaps you are both correct. But I have the feeling that my elevator goes in the other direction. (elevator (?) in the other direction, is that an oxymoron?) I don't know about the oxy, but the moron has been applied to me many times, Ha.

To have a face to face, that would be nice, if allowed to speak my piece and assuming that there is a God, or for that matter, a hell. In either case it would be nice to talk to either one and go over a few bumps in life's road.

No harm intended, just keeping the thought going. I enjoy all points of view and, believe it or not, take all of them to heart and remember them. As I have said before, should I be faced with a drink and the option was to drink it or drop to my knees and pray to a God I have no faith in, I will be on my knees. I have no idea what a God has to offer, but I do know what is in that drink. I will take the unknown.

Take care and straight ahead, John.

Buck V
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Postby Buck V » Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:39 pm

Great discussion.

I've talked with several alcoholics who believe that their higher power is their "inner self". The alcohol suppresses what the "inner self" knows to be true and lets the "outer self" control. Get rid of the drink and let what you know in your true "inner self", in your own heart if you will, take over. Kind of makes sense to me. "We have met the enemy, and he is us" ...Pogo. (inner self meeting outer self perhaps?)

My favorite oxymoron: "functional alcoholic"


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Lack of Power... that was my problem

Postby Dallas » Tue Jul 18, 2006 7:11 pm

I agree. This is a wonderful discussion!!!

While we discuss this topic, it brings to mind how pointless and academic the observations would be, if our sober alcoholic A.A. friends never took the first drink.

“These observations would be academic and pointless if
our friend never took the first drink, thereby setting the
terrible cycle in motion. Therefore, the main problem of
the alcoholic centers in his mind, rather than in his body.
If you ask him why he started on that last bender, the
chances are he will offer you any one of a hundred alibis.
Sometimes these excuses have a certain plausibility, but
none of them really makes sense in the light of the havoc
an alcoholic’s drinking bout creates. They sound like the
philosophy of the man who, having a headache, beats
himself on the head with a hammer so that he can’t feel
the ache. If you draw this fallacious reasoning to the
attention of an alcoholic, he will laugh it off, or become
irritated and refuse to talk.â€

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lack of trust

Postby c0rnfl8kgrl » Wed Jul 19, 2006 2:01 am

There once was I guy standing by a rushing river. He slipped on the muddy bank and fell in. The rapids were terrible and to keep from drowning, he grabbed onto a log. He held on to that log, which kept him afloat, for a long time. Eventually the river began to widen and the rapids subsided. Although the man could easily swim to the shore now and join his friends and family if he tried, he had become accustomed to holding onto the log. He did know how to let go of the log. What at first seemed to help him was now his demise.

So after so long holding onto the log, how do you trust your own legs to carry you back to the shore? Do you say a little prayer, let go, and swim like hell? Or do you test it out, distancing yourself from the log a little at a time, until you are no longer afraid you will drown? Or do you find a bigger log? Or do you float out to sea and hope an HP in the form of a cruise ship picks you up?

I was discussing the first few steps of AA with my therapist today, more specifically my stubborness with the whole Higher Power thing. He told me this story/ allegory. He says I still have one hand on the log. I'm looking at the shore, really want to get to the shore, everybody's yelling, "just swim! you can make it!", but I don't want to give up the log. I'm scared I'll drown. So I guess what I lack is trust, trust in myself as well as trust in a Higher Power to get me there safely.

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Thank you

Postby Dallas » Wed Jul 19, 2006 3:28 am

Hey c0rnfl8kgrl,

Thank you for that awesome share! Very appreciated.

Decisions. Gees, sometimes... there are so many choices and options, it can become tough to make a decision. I've discovered that I'm always the one who makes my decisions. It's my own deal. It's kind of like choosing. I can choose, or I can wait for a choice to be made for me. Sometimes, I could have said "but I didn't choose that! I didn't choose anything! I didn't make a decision!"... when actually, my choice and my decision was to choose to not to choose... and my decision was to not make a decision.

For me, as an alcoholic... I used to think that it was my choice, whether I would drink or not. And, at some stage of my drinking or my alcoholism, I lost the choice as to whether I would drink or not drink. But, I had lost the choice in whether I would drink... and even today, sober... I still don't have the choice as to whether I will drink. That's the type of alcoholic that I am.

I could say that "Well, you know... that's my log. I've lost the ability to choose whether I'll drink again... so, maybe I should go ahead and have one." But, there is another option. I do have the power to take the necessary actions to stay sober! I know, that sounds odd... but for me, I've discovered... that so far, it has been true.

So, if I have lost the power to choose whether I'll drink... then, why am I not drunk tonight? I am an alcoholic... and the natural state of alcoholism is to be drinking. And, if I'm powerless over alcohol... why am I sober right now?

I'm not sure what anyone elses answer would be. But, I am sure of what my answer is.

I was faced with a choice of taking certain actions... that would provide a way for me to stay sober. I can still choose to take the actions necessary to stay sober. My will power is worthless... in regards to staying away from the next drink... but I have to use every ounce of will power that I've got... to continue to take the actions necessary to stay sober.

And, here is what I've discovered, for me, about why I am sober tonight instead of drinking tonight.... By taking the actions that was necessary for me to take... to stay sober... I have found... what it was... that I was looking for .... in the bottle.

And, if I've found... sober... what I was looking for in the bottle... why would I return to the bottle, to find, what I never did find, in the bottle?

I believe that this is the only reason that I'm sober tonight. I found what I was looking for.... sober... that I never did find in the bottle.

While I was drinking alcohol... it always gave me the perception that "pretty soon, I'm going to find what it is that I'm looking for!" But, I never found it. I always came away from the bottle just as empty as I was when I picked up the bottle. It only seemed like it was going to get better with a few drinks.

What I did find, as a result of taking the actions that were necessary to stay sober... is much more awesome than anything that I've ever even imagined that I would be able to find! And, what amazes me about it... is all I was trying to do was to stay away from the next drink!

I didn't expect to find what I found. And, if someone told me what I would find... I wouldn't have believed them.

The actions, that it took, for me to stay sober... was the 12 Steps.

I didn't believe the 12 Steps would work for me. I didn't believe that God would work for me. I thought "Yeah, all this HP stuff that you guys mumble about... it's a bunch of crap as far as I'm concerned." But, I had no other alternative known to me than to try the 12 Steps. I had pretty much tried everything that I could possibly try. I had read hundreds (literally) of books on "self-help" and psychology... psychiatry... psychotherapy... seminars, retreats, drugs.... yep.... drugs, too! I had tried religions. I even tried God once and it really did work for a while! (Almost 14 years before I got sober in A.A., I had been taking and working 11 1/2 of the Steps out of another kind of big book... but I had never heard about the first half of the first Step... or God might have worked for me the first time, and I might not have ever needed A.A.!)

As I look back now, on my drinking career... and ALL the different things I tried... I needed to try every single one of those things before I tried the 12 Steps. Because, if I hadn't of tried everything I could find... I would still be out there looking to find what I've already found!

Keep coming back! To every log... there is a purpose! I know that if you are honestly seeking... you shall find... if you don't stop seeking.


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Postby c0rnfl8kgrl » Wed Jul 19, 2006 1:20 pm

You make a lot of really good points, Dallas. Thank you. I have to go about this my way and try what feels right at the time and learn what I'm supposed to learn when I need it. I think that now that I am on a path, wether it winds, curves back over itself, gets rocky and slippery, whatever... the fact that I'm determined to stay on the path and figure out where it goes is something.

And I think a big part of it is learning to forgive myself for needing all the "logs." I thought I should be strong enough to handle everything on my own. But I'm not. And I need to forgive myself for every slip and every deviation. I do not have to be perfect! What a concept!? And what a relief it will be when I get to that point.

I think part of accepting an HP is the unconditional love that comes with it. It's that unconditional love that makes it easier to forgive oneself. I'll get there....

Jim W
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Having Difficulty With Step 2?

Postby Jim W » Thu Jul 20, 2006 1:23 am

The Second Step is not about making up your own God. It's about starting where you are at. When I was new I told my sponsor I thought God was a son-of-a-bitch. He smiled and laughed and said "that's great-at least you believe! It's a place to start." Become willing, start with what limited conception you have and go from there. A conception is open-ended. It grows-in other words, as you grow, God grows. Take the action in the remaining steps and you'll see what I mean.

I've heard it said that God created man in his own image and man returned the favor. Any idea I have about God, probably isn't. God is more of an experience than an idea.

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Postby c0rnfl8kgrl » Thu Jul 20, 2006 3:35 pm

No, it is not about making one up. But when your conception is that there is absolutely no such thing as God, that it is mythology, a story, symbolism, fables... as all religions and dieties throughout mankind have been, used to pass on moral lessons from generation to generation, and you know without a doubt that you will not in any capacity truly believe in God, you will never have religion, then where do you start? If I have to glean my spirituality from various philosophical sources, all of which transend religion in its convensional sense, then that is what I have to do. If alcoholism is a syptom of spiritual void and filling that spiritual void is necessary for recovery, than I just might have to make a few things up along the way.

Enlightenment is an experience. Stripping away the layers of the percieved self as defined by external stimuli in order to see and be your true self, which has always been there but got burried along the way, is an experience. If praying to a symbol gets you to that point of enlightenment, than that is your path. If meditation and chanting mantras gets you to that point of experiencing your true self, then that is your path. I am not questioning any path but my own. I know that praying to a god will never work for me because I will never truly have faith in it. So why should I waste my time? That time is better spent exploring my own concept of spirituality. I do not have to name it. I do not have to give it a figure head. I do not have to read about it or study it. All I have to do is be open to it.

Jim W
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Having Difficulty With Step 2?

Postby Jim W » Fri Jul 21, 2006 12:17 am

If your conception is no conception, start there and have an open mind, pretty much as you've already said, c0rnfl8k (sorry if I didn't get that right. I will say that it isn't an intellectual exercise. Like I said, start at a point of willingness, which I believe is rooted in absolute hopelessness (Step One), take the action in Steps 3-11 and see what happens.

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Postby cinderbobble » Tue Jul 25, 2006 1:29 am

God does not concern himself with whether you define him, conceptualize him, or anything else, except that you do what he would have you do. Take care of your spirit, and the 12 steps are the perfect way to do that. It enables us to keep our side of the street clean, through a thorough housecleaning and also by love and service to others. We do not need lengthy and windy definitions, just do the simple things he asks us to do.

The challenge for me to to continue to take MY OWN inventory. A friend in the fellowship said that the 'gift of this program is that we get to take our inventory. Although I do not pretend to get things right away, I quite frankly did not appreciate that dubious gift, but since then, I am slowly beginning to comprehend.

God only asks us to do the things he wishes us to do, just a parent wishes to see his children eat right, sleep when they should, and take a little discipline now and then. To do those things, are what enables us to grow. Love and service. Remember, if you are an alcoholic, quite frankly these things will go against your grain, which is why we need the steps and the fellowship.

The obstacles are self-indusgence, ego building (secretly floating above the rest') and hiding a bad motive behind good actions. It is natural to fall into these traps, which is the reason this program requires constant vigilance.

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