Hello onehappydad! And, welcome to the forum! Thank you for sharing.
I understand because I identify and relate. Been there done that, kind of relating and identifying. For me... it sucked!
I could write a bunch on this topic -- but, I'll try to restrain tonge and type -- and hopefully keep to what's most important now.
For me, what was most important was:
1. The feelings were literally driving me nuts and it felt like it was literally killing me. Physically, I dropped 30 pounds the first month. Couldn't even think about eating because just thinking about eating -- made me feel like I wanted to puke.
2. As an alcoholic, drinking or sober -- I'm hyper-sensitive. And, unfortunately for me... sober... I'm way more hyper-sensitive. (One of the reasons alcohol was so self-medicating for me was -- in high enough quantities, it could numb my feelings -- so it became my solution -- before it became my problem).
3. I had a tremendous desire to stay sober -- and -- stay alive.
4. I wasn't very happy -- to say the least.
5. I had to find a solution -- that did not include alcohol or drugs.
6. Prayer and begging God to help me, did help -- but, it wasn't helping enough and it wasn't helping fast enough -- if I didn't find relief soon, I'd surely die, or drink again. And, for me, to drink -- was to die.
What I did to get through it:
1. I used anything and everything that I could find -- other than alcohol or drugs to help me get through it. And, I had no guilt about whatever it was and I didn't play any mind games w/ myself. For me, I was determined to do whatever it took -- to get through it sober.
2. I had discovered "why" AA works. So, I made it a high-priority of "knowing"... that "whatever I do -- it must be something that I can pass on to someone else to help them get through it when it's there turn, and I must pass it on to them." That was a nudge, that helped me take my thinking from "self-centered" to "others-centered." And, the reason that helped, I believe, was: it helped take my mind off of me and my problem, and that was automatically bringing relief. But, I still needed more...
3. I re-took
... (not practiced
-- not worked at it
... but "took
")... the 12 Steps, using it as: The problem is: my emotional pain -- I can't handle it and it made me crazy -- and I was unable to carry out daily tasks in life because of it (my life was unmanageable).
So, Step 1, for me became:
Step 1: "I admitted I was Powerless over my feelings -- my feelings and my thinking about me and my feelings and my pain and 'the other person' made my life unmanageable."
Step 2: "I was nuts... crazy, lost, bewildered, confused, insane... and I didn't believe anything was going to help, but I was willing to 'give it a try' and use the 12 Steps on it... hoping... that it 'might' help to restore me to sanity. (My honest version of: 'came to believe'). Hoping that the 12 Steps, and using them... would become a Power Greater than myself... because my prayers and God, just didn't seem to be acting fast enough!
I was a bit angry at God at the time. I couldn't see it then, but later in the process I discovered it. How can someone honestly turn their 'will and their lives' over to the care of something... that they are angry with? And, something that they believe, hasn't helped much... in this particular situation?' I couldn't -- and I still can't. But, what I can do is: to be honest.... and most honest w/ myself. So, for Step 3, it became:
Step 3: I made a decision to turn my will and life over to the care of -- the 12 Steps. (That became a life-saver for me, having to do it that way, because it made it clear to me that... 'Faith without works is dead"... if I don't take these actions, it doesn't matter what I believe, because it won't help!)
Step 4: I used our 4th Step (like this: www.step12.com/step-4.html
) as my guide to a Personal Inventory -- that I centered mostly on: The Relationship. Her. And, what I was feeling over her and the relationship).
Steps 5-7: No modifications there. Just like the BB instructs.
Step 8: My list of "everyone that had been harmed" by my feelings, actions, and my relationship -- with here... and her. I also, (and very rarely will I do this) included myself on this amends list, because what I intended by including myself -- was to make changes so that I would never do this again the way I did it previously.
Steps 9 - 11, No changes.
Step 12: Only modification was: "carry this message to others that are hurting like I was"
Why I believe it worked for me:
It changed my perception. I began looking at it from a different angle. And, once my perception had been "transformed" it changed my attitude and my thinking -- and the change in perception, attitude and thinking -- was the solution that changed my feelings.
Sorry if this reply is too long! Sorry to my fingers, too! They hurt now from all this typing!
I hope it helps.