Self with bells on

Discussions related to 12 Step Recovery and Treatment
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Self with bells on

Postby sunlight » Wed Dec 24, 2008 1:14 pm

A friend on the forum told me they were going to have to be careful what they posted because, then it started happening in their life!
I thought that was cute, until it started happening to me. Three times!!

No mystery, though. Our thought DO manifest themselves in our lives.
Is that like quantum physics or something?

It'd been a rough week for this time of good cheer. Yesterday was the frosting on the yule log!

When I was sending out holiday cards, I came across the name of a former friend. I had made amends to her in my 9th step, & she was so angry that she told me she never wanted to see me again. :(

I sent her a card, hoping maybe the years had softened her feelings for me. Yesterday I received one from her & the response was BRUTAL! The hatred, viciousness & violence in the words stunned me. I actually had to sit down. Then, I cried.

Tried to call my sponsor. No luck. No one else could be reached either. (Those last minute shoppers!) :?

So, inventory time. And, what did I find?

I found self, dressed in holiday clothes. :shock:

It was news to me when my 2nd sponsor told me that we can be self- seeking even when we are being kind, considerate, gracious or generous!

"Is he not a self-seeker, even when trying to be kind?"

This morning I felt so...clean. Like I'd been roto-rootered! :lol:

I am so grateful for the principles & people in this program .They are the searchlight that shows me:

Here! Right over here is where your love is small. Here's where stubborness is in your way, where you're pushing away the very people who could teach you, where you're clinging too tightly, won't give up control, where you demand others be what they are not.

It's a beautiful way to live, but a price has to be paid.

It's worth a white Christmas, though!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!! Thank you for the gift of you.

garden variety
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Postby garden variety » Wed Dec 24, 2008 2:05 pm

Hiya Sunlight!

Merry Christmas!

I strongly believe in that "quantum physics" thing you're talking about. But I heard it once REAL simple: The Law of Attraction.

Like attracts like. It pays big dividends by keeping positive - it's not cockeyed optimism - it's just a great return on my investment. It works the other way too.

With your negative encounter on the "return" card, you have no control over her response, so it doesn't matter even if you weren't "self-seeking" and motivated by selfless concern. It would have still hurt the same to me. I'm not sure self-seeking was the only thing behind your "event".

For me, each little step I take in the constructive direction, each action I take that is constructive, is started with a tiny "risk". What I say to myself before I take any risk is usually always something like "how will this bring a benefit to me"? Like the book says even when I'm trying to be kind.

But there you have a paradox - if I don't take a risk (which is almost always "self-motivated"), I won't be making spiritual progress, or I won't get sober. The third step is probably the biggest risk anyone takes, and it's taken with a "self-motivated" expectation - that God is going to arrange my circumstances better than I could without Him.

Sobriety hinges on the risk I take in the 2nd step. Another way of saying that I'm taking a risk which brings a bigger and better perspective to "self-motivation" is that I'm undertaking a venture in belief.

For me, the definition of "sobriety" is "my venture in belief".

Sunlight, my dear, if you ask yourself "What would have happened if she opened the door instead?", there you might find the true motivation behind what you did.

Reflective questions are meant to bring about spiritual growth. One of the most sage pieces of advice I was given is this simple statement: "Check your motives." I'm supposed to do that before I take the action, by the way.

To me, what you described sounds like a venture in your beliefs. Though it might be motivated by "self", that, in and of itself doesn't make you a "self-centered drunk" every time you think about enhancing your life or protecting yourself.

Be kind to yourself, too. You've been sober for a few 24's; you deserve to give yourself the same kindness you give to others. Otherwise that "rocket science" you were talking about will never work!

God bless,

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Postby sunlight » Wed Dec 24, 2008 3:34 pm

Thanks, Paul! I needed that!

I did check my motives, & they seemed good at the time. And if she had opened the door, I would have welcomed her back into my life with open arms & an open heart.

But, there's another part that was thinking, if she'd let me back in, maybe the harm I'd done really wasn't so bad! (I never even got the chance to make it right.) I could have dusted off that halo & strutted real pretty. Does that make sense? Sometimes it's hard to convey personal lessons! :?

For me to accept that she has a right to her feelings, even if I think they're wrong & hurtful, is a glorious thing!
And the place to where the whole thing bumped me is quantum freedom!

A Christmas decade birthday! That is so great it can only get better! :D

Very merry, Sunlight

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Postby Dallas » Sat Dec 27, 2008 12:38 am

I remember having a similar situation.
I was "once again" trying to make amends.

The result?

I quietly listened to 20 minutes of verbal assault.
They gave it to me with both barrels.

I kept my mouth shut until I hung up the phone.
I sure wanted to tear into them!!!
But, I didn't

It upset me so much I was shaking.

I called my sponsor about it.

He said: Forget about it. You've made your amends. You've made your offers and they were rejected. The amends weren't received like you wanted them to be received. It's now the other persons deal and not yours.

Suddenly, the thought crossed my mind: Why didn't I call and ask my sponsor before I took the initiative to trying to make amends again? I've been down that road over and over and over again.... not calling my sponsor first... and running my ideas by him, before jumping out and taking things into my own hands... without any guidance or discussion on it. (In the making of amends business). :wink:

I remember once, when I was five years sober... and I wrote a letter to make amends to someone.... I was just going to go give them the letter... and some dumb thought crossed my mind, to show the letter to some of my mentors in sobriety... :lol: They showed me how nuts I was acting in writing that letter that could have been used to put my feet in some serious fire... without ever even correcting the problem that I was wanting to make amends about.

I hope your situation turns out well.


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Postby sunlight » Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:00 pm

Thank you for the advice: call my sponsor BEFORE! DUH! :lol:
She has a way, though, of giving me enough rope to where I hogtie myself, then have to ask for help.

May I pour you a cup of coffee? I'd like to share a story.

I have a sobriety sister who is tireless in her service for AA - conventions, committies, delegations...even speaks across the US & Canada.

More than anything in the world, she wanted a child. After about 15 years sober, she conceived, & she was ecstatic.

She lost the baby, & had a total mental, physical & emotional breakdown. She had to be hospitalized in the psych ward.

Everyone who came to visit told her it wasn't her fault and that God didn't do it. She knew that. It didn't help.

Finally, her sponsor came (yep, a man. He was also huge in AA in these parts) & he said to her, "I want you to take these principles & search yourself & find out, not why this happened, but why you're having a complete meltdown because of it. Call me when you know."

She was mad! No sympathy, no comfort; just "use the tools!"

But, she followed directions & what did she find?
Basically, self with baby booties.

She was humiliated. It couldn't be true at 15 yrs sober! :shock:
She knew it was.

She was able to take up her bed & walk. Today, her sobriety has more vitality than ever! :D

I often think of what it costs her to share her story. And she shares it for US! So that we can let our defects be removed, root & branch, before they seriously injure us & others.

"Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas ..."

(I tend to dress mine up in different outfits, so I don't recognize them!) :lol:

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Postby Susan » Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:04 am

I too have dressed my old defects up in different outfits, but everyone knew it was me.

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Postby Dallas » Tue Dec 30, 2008 6:01 pm

Thanks for sharing your personal experiences Sunlight!
Personal experience is the Language of the Heart --
and, your heart definitely got through to mine! :wink:

It's simply amazing to me, that this is just how AA works.
One alcoholic talks about him/her self --
and another alcoholic is touched with a miracle of recovery.

No preaching. No teaching. Just simply sharing personal experience.
That's powerful!

She was mad! No sympathy, no comfort; just "use the tools!"

Imagine that? :lol: :lol:

Another way of saying it might be:
Just use our solution -- the 12 Steps and the Fellowship on it...
and, when the problem is solved -- share your story of your experience so that it will help others.!

That is ... most comforting!

We learn to use our tools: God, the 12 Steps, the Fellowship, and sharing our personal stories........ and it solves our problems.... and helps others.


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Postby MikeM1968 » Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:15 pm

I made an amends to a woman I was platonically close to in recovery for a resentment I had with her and "retaliated" in writing to in my early recovery. I felt as-if this woman whom has alot more time and is well respected in the area here "played me", or 13th stepped me (and not in the way I'd have wanted her to either!!) I knew what I wanted, and pretended I was okay with just being friends, until I couldn't pretend anymore and wrote her a letter. That ended that, and she was very angry at me. I believed she had played me for favors and my time. I felt very hurt emotionally. I went through both blaming myself to the point of depression, and then blaming her and back and forth. Did a 4th and 5th step on it with little relief.

Regardless of her - I obviously had a problem. I'd allowed myself to get very close emotionally and mentally without ever even making my true feelings known by trying anything physical. I was only in my 2nd year of recovery and simply didn't know what I was supposed to do with a woman when I was alone with her!! (yes it's true). I was even married once, I figured I had sex before so I had to know. The problem was, back then, alcohol was my liquid courage. Any time I made that first "move" I was always drunk. It also explains many of the choices in women I made (or lack thereof, like my ex-wife) Very silly when I look back now. I actually had to learn this in recovery.

When I ran into this woman at a friends AA party, I made my amends right on the spot. I simply couldn't deal with the discomfort. Her reaction was seemingly okay, she said "everyone acts like that in early recovery" we talked civil for a bit, and I honestly felt like a door had re-opened again. After-all, I had changed, and even if she did play some sort of "game" with me, I'd know better now not to fall for such things. No reason we couldn't be on a civil speaking basis with each other.

Then, many months went by and I looked her-up and called her about something since the amends went well, and she seemed interested in talking civil that day, I just figured no problem. I made my amends. Perhaps the lines of communication could be re-opened, or so I thought. Then, before one meeting, she took me aside and reminded me of what "I did to her", and that "she's amazed that I actually feel no shame or guilt about it". It only brought-back-up my resentment in my mind against her again. I just apologized (again) and kept quiet about it.

I never did tell her why I even had my original resentment against her. Back then, I just retaliated in writing very harshly and very cruelly quite a few times. I just couldn't believe she still had a resentment. That's when I realized it's not up to me to be forgiven, it's only up to me to forgive and to change. That's it, nothing more, nothing less.

I finally put pen to paper and explained it to her and forgave her. I simply couldn't do it face-to-face for some reason. I know a face-to-face is probably something I need to do as-well. It's sad that someone with her amount of time chooses to still hold on to her resentment (or still tries to hold it over my head). I have no control over that anymore. Yes I'm guilty of making a mistake, no I'm not ashamed. I was just very ignorant. I was a different person at that time, and I'm still changing. I won't allow this person to "shame" me. It almost seems like she wants to use it to manipulate me.

The hard part is she's still a very "popular AA" in my area, which adds to my intimidation of her. Like if I go face-to-face with her, people might jump in to "defend" her or something like that. I pray for her because I do know her story and know that she's a sicker person than myself. My conclusion was that I had no business hanging around with someone with a past like hers (very low bottom case) in the first place. I made a bad choice in the type of person I chose to hang around with (regardless of how physically attracted I was to her, or how much "time" she has). I justified my selfishly driven behavior as "patience and tolerance". I literally worshiped this woman, like she was my higher power.

After separating myself from her for a few years, and getting a "life" thanks to my recovery. I saw how sick I was too, how I put her before what I needed to be doing for myself, put her before god, how I literally overlooked all this stuff I actually knew about her, which she herself told me, merely because of her looks and personality. I would have done anything for her, and she knew it and used it. I was guilty of lust and idol worship.

Fortunately for me, there are plenty of meetings in my area. She only goes to a few meetings and mostly at the local clubhouse. I just stay away from those meetings. Some resentments have no resolution and any further dealings with her may make mine come back again. Just seeing her even does sometimes.

I just wish there was some other way of making her not seem so intimidating to me. I remind myself that she's a sick person, yet that doesn't always work.


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