- Trouble With 3rd Step

Trouble With 3rd Step

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

Postby Dallas » Mon Dec 31, 2007 7:43 pm

Hello flyfisherman,

Interesting observation.

My first trip into A.A. was about me. And, I only stayed sober 5 1/2 months. I didn't really believe I was alcoholic and I sure wasn't going to follow through with any sort of God or 12 Steps.

My second trip into A.A. (hopefully, my final one), it was my little kids that was the real motivating force for me wanting to get sober and stay sober. I was willing to do for them, what I was unwilling to do for myself.... even if had to be dealing with some sort of God-of-the-drunks, a sponsor, 12 Steps, anything at all... I was willing to do it for them so that they would never see me drunk again.

So, in a way, I guess I could have called them the Power that got me to do what I had to do to achieve and maintain sobriety. And, it was that way for several years in sobriety.

What's interesting now -- is that the kids have nothing to do with it. And, my oldest son got really angry at me and didn't want to have anything to do with me -- because I stayed sober -- and, stayed in A.A. :shock: And, it's still that way with him now. He decided that I was a weakling for needing to stay sober and stay in A.A. and that I must have lost all the good that was in me -- because I didn't get back out into the lead of the fast lane of the life that had been killing me. Go figure! :lol:

When I was new in A.A., I had previously became a master at hypnosis, auto-suggestion, self-suggestion and motivational tools like visualization. While I couldn't seem to get those tools to get me sober and keep me sober, I began to use them to enhance my sobriety. I would create visualizations, such as seeing my two youngest sons inside a whiskey glass full of ice and whiskey -- and I would see me sons in the glass and to drink the whiskey it would have represented drinking my kids. And, when nothing else seemed to work for me, and I just knew I would be picking up a drink, I would run those pictures in my head around the clock to try and not pick up the drink. It also helped me make some important discoveries about motivation and the other tools that I had been using and trying to use. Motivational force comes after actions are taken - and never precedes it. I can't sit and try to pump up my mind and expect a driving force to assist me unless I get into immediate action. It's important to do both -- to work with the mind and to get busy at the same time.

Eventually, I was able to get through the 12 Steps, and that produced the lasting changes and the tools that I needed for lasting changes. And, again, this is all about taking actions on decisions and conclusions. It's also about continuing to take those actions.... or I'll automatically relapse into my old way of living and thinking. There is a constant negative force in the Universe. It's like the opposite pole of a magnet. If we have an inner-attraction for the opposite pole it will automatically suck us back into our old negative way of living and doing and feeling and eventually back to drinking to try to find relief from the negative and conflicting forces that come to play in our lives.

When I first took the 12 Steps I was still having a problem with philosophizing about God... so on my 3rd Step, it was "I made a decision to turn my will and life over to the 12 Steps and A.A., as I understood it" because they indeed held a Power that was greater than me.

I don't have such a problem with philosophizing about God now -- as long as I don't think about it. :lol: I just came to a simple understanding and I act upon it rather than think about it. And, that works pretty good, so far.

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My name is Anne, I'm an alcoholic

Postby musicmode » Tue Jan 01, 2008 1:14 pm

Good morning and Happy New Year to you all. I hope that 2008 is the best yet for all of us, as...always...there is more, yet, to be revealed to us.

Someone said to me one time that if I stayed sober, my life would become better than I could ever hope for..but I had to be here for me. With that said, as I stay sober ### God's will, and I am willing to, and have made the decision to go by that of God's ####, relationships deepen, as I grow spiritually, the landscapes become more majestic and beautiful, which enhances my own serenity; I find myself thinking today, thinking things like: "man, if I'd-a still been drinkin', I'd-a missed that/ or, I wouldn't have seen the real beauty of ______." As I remain sober, the relationship between my husband and I grows, spiritually, also ### he is not a spiritual ####, I have a deeper appreciation for those in my life...my husband, my children, my extended family, which feeds the gratitude of having such blessings, which in turn, I am so grateful for sobriety. As the gratitude deepens, the love deepens, and so on~~these compound by feeding each other. My husband, my children, are all blessings and gifts from God as I understand Him, I could not properly appreciate these gifts for what they were when I was drinking, and...by the grace of God, did not lose these precious gifts. I view these gifts, and the beauty of the sunrise&sunset, and I thank God as I understand Him for sobriety/I'm truly glad to be sober, so that I am able to really be thankful and appreciate from the heart for what I have, which, in turn, strengthens the relationships I have with these gifts, which makes me glad to be sober. As a result of my sobriety, the "reasons", or maybe, the promises become manifest, which, in turn, makes me want to stay sober for me.

If this were a chicken and the egg type of tale, first, I have to want to me sober for me. It is from this, that the rest comes, which makes me grateful to be sober, which makes me want to be sober. If I was ever in doubt about a God as I understand Him, all I have to do is think about the birth of my children, a miracle and a blessing in itself; the very fact that, indeed, a force...of love, has bonded by husband and I together, in the face of much turbulence and instability at times, there is a Higher Power/Force in the mix that is the bond, that is love, and God is love; the very sunrise...God doesn't have to bring this light to the Earth, He could decide to not do that, but He doesn't...He promises us sunlight, and there is it. Religion is a force of man, spirituality...that comes from someplace else, deep within.

Keep It Simple,
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Postby Dallas » Tue Jan 01, 2008 4:34 pm

If you guys and girls ever get overwhelmed by all those gifts from God, ask Him if He'd drop a few of them off at my house! He's been making me work and pay for everything I get! :cry:

:lol: :lol: :lol:

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Postby flyfisherman » Wed Jan 02, 2008 9:15 am

Mike (dahlgren) and Dallas, you made excellent points with regard to the importance of doing the program for yourself. I think Dallas makes the point that loved ones provide a powerful motivation, but ultimately the program works for each person only to the extent that that person wants to remain sober. Very true.

I am more of a newcomer than both of you, so I appreciate the feedback. As it turns out, Dallas, I also use a lot of visualization techniques as a part of my meditation. I used these techniques for self-improvement in athletics for years, and I am finding them to be a great tool in abstaining from alcohol.

I still think that love and family are higher powers that can be the basis of any step work, because there is a significant spiritual element there. I am not opposed to religion (I can see how my post can be read that way), but Mike's points are insightful as to how religion does not necessarily have to be part of the program. I guess what matters is that my initial motivation to become spiritually one with my spouse and family is a higher power that works in a very real sense to me. But it is also important that I have high hopes for myself -- including goals involving my career, physical fitness, and hobbies and intellectual pursuits, none of which can be accomplished unless I stay sober.

So I'm staying sober to improve myself, but I improve myself in order to attain the higher spiritual plane of oneness with the love of marriage and family. This is definitely an evolving process for me, and I appreciate your ideas.
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Postby dahlgren » Wed Jan 02, 2008 10:49 am

Happy New Year to you flyfisherman, my hope and wish is for continued recovery and enlightenment for you and yours.

As I had said earlier it seems like you've found something within the program that works well for you. At the end of the day that's what truly counts because you're the one that has to work it. I'm very happy for you and hope that through your program you continue to grow and progress toward the person you aspire to be. You, like the rest of us that find success in the program of AA are miracles, this I truly believe.

Keep coming back my friend, you'll never know just how much you help me.

In love and recovery,
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Postby Dallas » Wed Jan 02, 2008 11:18 am

flyfisherman wrote:I still think that love and family are higher powers that can be the basis of any step work, because there is a significant spiritual element there.

Hey Flyfisherman, thanks for your share. I think I understand what you shared (your entire message) and it certainly makes a lot of sense to me. Those are really valid points. And, there is nothing there that I would have any disagreement with.

I do have a question for you, probably because others in the Fellowship asked me similar questions when I was new in sobreity.... and, looking back on it, I'm glad that they asked me the questions.

There are many possibilities in life. Everything seems to be on the move and changing. So, my question is:

"IF" there was a change... in the love, the wife and the family... and the change was not to your liking... would you still have a Higher Power that you could turn to and rely on... that was not subject to the changes that could take place in relationships and love and family?

Naturally, I don't think many of us like to think about changes that are not to our liking. And, I don't believe it's good to think about it too offen or for too long... since our minds have a tendency to attract and manifest what they think about... but, I do think, that because of our highly sensitive natures as alcoholics... that it's a good idea for us to give ourselves periodic check-ups by asking ourselves questions like "Is third base covered? If a runner steals third, and something happens and I end up losing this inning, and it's the last inning, and I lose this game, and it's the last game of the season, and I'll be retired from this sport as of this game... Will I be okay with it? Can I live through it? Can I stay sober through it? Will I do what's necessary to stay sober? Or, am I placing too much dependance on it?"

Periodically, I now ask myself similar questions about different areas of my life. Relationships. Business. Pets. Work.

If I discover a weak link in my life (my recovery... because my life is dependant on my recovery) by having an attachment that could destroy me if something changed in that attachment, I work on better preparing myself to handle it, in event that I do have to face the change. I guess, it's similar to surveying my options. If this door closes... for good... what are the other ways that I can get in or out of where I'll be?

I have personally known people that have placed their love and relationships and family and jobs and business and career and money, etceteras, as number 1 in their life, and they were convinced that they could not live sober without it. Then, something changed. And, they were right.

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Postby garden variety » Wed Jan 02, 2008 11:51 am

Hi Flyfisherman (does a river run through it?)

For some reason, probably because I was looking at your post from a spiritual perspective, I understood what you meant. I believe that a marriage between two people based on love can only come from a Higher Power. And if I'm involved in such a relationship, my spirit and hers is supposed to be looking out for the spiritual growth of the other.

I also understand what Dallas and Mike refer to, because no human power could relieve me of my alcoholism. Before I went back out drinking in my first "tour" of sobriety that lasted about 6 years, I met my wife. I prayed her into my life and I drank her out of my life. Not only was my wife and family not enough to keep me sober, but my former "religion" of Christianity was not enough. The bible was not enough. The church was not enough. Even the personal relationship I had with God was not strong enough - because I didn't understand what it meant to be powerlsess over alcohol. Just like alcohol destroyed the realtionship with my wife, it also destroyed the relationship I had with my God. Alcohol is defeintely an "equal opportunity destroyer".

So in a roundabout way, for me, it turned out that none of those powers went beyond human power. The bible was written by humans for humans. Churches and religions are designed and operated by humans for humans. Even the Big Book was designed and written by humans for humans, the difference being it's "main object". The book says it was specifically designed to help me (the alcoholic reader) find a concept of God that will help me solve my problem. This is so beautiful the way it is put:

"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. But we found that such codes and philosophies did not save us, no matter how much we tried. We could wish to be moral, we could wish to be philosophically comforted, in fact, we could will these things with all our might, but the needed power wasn't there."

In other words, church and religions don't have the Power. And no, not even the bible or the "Gospel" of Christ was sufficient to relieve me of my alcoholism. With all due respect to the Lord and those who believe that way, even he was a human being. It is said about the "Son of God" that he was like us in every way, except without sin. Now not to go off on a tangent, but it can't be denied even in the "Christian" context that Jesus was a man - a human being who probably had a completely "perfected and enlarged" spiritual connection to the One he also called "his God" (he did say "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" - wasn't that Jesus in his human power?). Now if you are a "Christian", please be open-minded enough to view this in context - it's the way it was with me. I am not putting down your religion or belief.

The point I'm making is that even the most sacred of any belief systems is human by design. And none of the belief systems are specifically designed to relieve me of my alcoholism. They are based on oral and written "codes and philosophies" handed down from one generation to the next. They are "designs for living" that really do work for proabably almost everyone. That is, except alcoholics.

What? Why?

"Our human resources, as marshalled by the will, were not sufficient; they failed utterly.

Lack of power, that was our dilemma."

In other words, the part of our alcoholic brains that can "differentiate the true from the false" has been damaged. And the alcoholic can't rely on will-power to make a relationship work (with God) that is stronger than the alcoholic addiction. We can't rely on what the rest of the "moral" world relies on to live right which is their religious doctrines and theologies designed for living as a decent human being in this world. There is a part of our brain that doesn't know right from wrong! Without the Big Book and Alcoholics Anonymous, we would have been doomed while the rest of the world could adopt and live by "moral codes and philosophies".

For me that is PROOF of a loving God - and oh so much GRACE! He saw that nothing would work to make alcoholics right with Him. We were so self-willed to the extreme that we forced a loving God to make an exception just for us - and for us alone. And it's not because God made a mistake in creating us either. It's just that with our "class of drinkers", we used the gift of "free will" and created a monster out of it, because alcoholism is our "self-imposed crisis".

So the difference I understand was put to me by a Baptist preacher, of all things. He told me "Religion is man trying to contact God. Spirituality is God trying to contact man."

The book also says it real nice:
"Actually we were fooling ourselves, for deep down in every man, woman, and child is the fundamental idea of God. It might be obscured by calamity, by pomp, by worship of other things, but in some form or other it is there."

Wow! And then:

"We finally saw that faith in some kind of God was a part of our make-up, just as much as the feeling we have for a friend."

And it goes on to say that the only workable "concept" of God is a "Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found."

So I believe each person already has a God "concept" deep down inside, just like he or she has feelings for a friend. So understanding a Higher Power has to be somewhat unique to each person, in my opinion. It's also not for me to question or judge the God concept of another.

I hope this doesn't start too big of a fire - remember "Easy Does It"!
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Postby dahlgren » Wed Jan 02, 2008 12:26 pm

Excellent points Dallas, I for one am sure glad to have found this forum and you. You put very eloquently the point I was so crudely trying to make.

There is something I relate in meetings over and over again that I would like to share.

I have a very strong belief that everybody will be faced with, at least one time in their life, with something so traumatic and life changing that no matter how many friends, family or caring people they have in their lives; the only thing that will get them through is FAITH.

Now to me a true faith can come in many different forms but ultimately it all boils down to a belief that there is One that holds all the cards, cares about and loves me unconditionally. That faith for me is what has and will continue to get me through.

In love and recovery,
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Postby dahlgren » Wed Jan 02, 2008 6:10 pm


There was something else that came to mind that sums up for me how I view another's beliefs in this program. This came from a meeting schedule card that my sponser had given me many years ago and is something I've used daily to evolve continually in this program.


The most loveable quality any one can possess is tolerance.
It is the vision that enables one to see things from another's viewpoint.
It is the generosity that concedes to others the right
to their own opinion and their own peculiarities.
It is the bigness that enables us to let people be happy
in their own way, instead of our way.

Thanks for letting me share all, keep coming back you'll never know how much you help me.

In love and recovery,
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Postby Dallas » Wed Jan 02, 2008 7:30 pm

Gees. I want to post right now on this topic but I'm late and I've got to run! So, I'll have to do it later tonight.

Keep coming back!

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