- Will the past ever change in sobriety?

Will the past ever change in sobriety?




Discussions related to 12 Step Recovery and Treatment

Re: the past will never change

Postby chollis » Wed May 02, 2012 7:52 pm

I agree with a lot of things that are stated in this post. I do agree that the past is today and your past up until today. You can't always change the past but you can make stuff better for the future. We are all in the first step by being friends on this forum. The future we can not plan but we can make ourselves better by learning from our past and learning new things for the future.
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Re: the past will never change

Postby Dallas » Sat May 05, 2012 8:29 am

Great to read your comments.
Thanks for posting!
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Re: A newcomer shares

Postby Serenity Seeker » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:11 pm

Serenity Seeker wrote:The thing I love most about this program is that we alcoholics can have an issue, no matter what it is... and I can go to my sponsor, this wonderful life changing tool 12Step.com, and an AA meeting and hear the same Steps and principles applied to all your affairs. Usually I hear from you what my sponsor says... that is probably because we work the same program? lol Anyway, wanted to give gratitude.

I have been praying for the strength and courage to take my second attempt at the fourth stept. My sponsor is not rushing me. in which I am grateful for. I have been practicing talking to God and turning my will and life over to him daily.

I have much fear which is getting better because I have been praying about it and listening in the rooms with my heart instead of my ears today. In my crazy head, my pain of the past I feel has so much power over me and in the past that has been my main excuse for picking up. Although, I realize today I pick up that first drink only because I am an alcoholic and have an allergy. Like many I am sure, I used it as an excuse to pick up that next drink/mind-altering substance, today that is not what I want. I just am afraid that knowing me, I will start it get into self pity mode, which with most of that I do not handle so well. However, after studying more in the BB about this step and the tools on this website, the meetings and extensive work with my sponsor and prayer, I feel the fear being removed. I realize the only way to a happy life is to take these steps with action not theory.


So, how this topic helps me tremendously as explained above. I heard in the rooms:

For most of my life I was either mad about yesterday or fearful for tomorrow.

Abandon all hope of a better past.

Today's "reactions and decisions" are tomorrow's past.

I have heard my sponsor say I do need to take the action of the fourth step, but we are slowly moving (I appreciate her for that). I trust in God to give me the stength to take this step with him. I like to beat myself up because I am not taking that action yet, but I just keep comin back to reach my higher power with my heart, speak with honesty from the heart, listen with my heart and know that I am today exactly where God wants me to be...

Dallas, thank you so much for your additional addition to these quotes I so earnestly have come to depend upon for positive affirmations in my life.

The only place the past exists is in my head.

I can only change my past by changing my present.

I hope I did not get off topic. If I did I do apologize.


Okay, so it has been a while since I have been on this site. The sad part is that I started to read about "the past" this evening because it has been weighing at my heart, pecking away like a crow on a dead animal, leaving me so miserable. Go figure, about the same time last year, I was whining about the same thing I am trying to make excuses for today. I can't face it, I am afraid. Fear of the 4th step. Ugh. So, I heard in a meeting tonight... you can't? or you won't? I am sober today 1 year and 32 days. I re printed the Fourth Step sheets and have made a decision that with God and my sponsor I can do this. There is truly absolutely nothing worth picking up a drink for today, and I've learned I don't have to, I've learned it is okay to feel pain, it makes us stronger. How could I help another newcomer if I never had any experience to gain strength from to pass on the hope you have given me. Just wanted to say hi. BTW... God provided the perfect job only 3 minutes from my home, with good benefits and money. Not sure if you remember me, but I was having a hard time with it. Everything you stated Dallas was true. Is there anyway you could email the fourth step papers that I could type on?

God Bless
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Re: Will the past ever change in sobriety?

Postby Dallas » Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:19 am

Hey, Serenity Seeker. Good to hear from you!

Typing 4th Step? That goes against the instructions in the Big Book, for the 4th Step.
Which means: Those who type their 4th Step will NOT have the same results as those
who wrote and originated the 12 Steps. That's why -- I'll never do the 4th Step worksheets
where people can type in them.

I figure -- if a person is going to go through all the work required to take all 12 Steps
Why not get it right the first time? Getting it right the first time lays the foundation for
what Bill referred to as "The One Day At A Time" program. In the beginning it was not "not drinking one day at a time" (which is how it's gotten turned around and perverted -- it's "The Daily Program of Action" -- Steps 10 through 12, which is built upon the foundation of Steps 1 through 9.

My question & maybe you'll want to use it as a suggestion is: Have you tried making a "pre" inventory analysis of your life -- looking for something that might be tragic or traumatic -- that happened to you -- at this time of the year?

Over the years in sobriety -- I recognized a pattern, that at certain times of the year -- I struggled more than during the other times of the year. So, I looked back over my life and made a list of that particular time of year, as far back as I could remember. And, I was able to locate and identify something that had been buried deep inside my memory, to a place that I had tried to totally erase from my mind. What I discovered was: I was not consciously aware of the event, because I had tried to hard to bury it -- but it was still lurking in my sub-conscious. Once I got it identified, I did a special inventory on it -- using what I had learned from doing my original 4th Step. It got dealt with and the pattern has never returned.

I've used this w/ others in recovery and it has helped them, too. Particularly, those of us who seem to have a harder than normal time of the year during the holiday season. ;-)

I hope that helps. Wishing the best for you!

Dallas
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Re: Will the past ever change in sobriety?

Postby Serenity Seeker » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:51 am

Dallas,

LOL Although it is not a laughing matter, I somehow had a feeling you would say that. I guess pencil and paper it is. It seems my whole life has been those tragic times, things I would rather bury than deal with. I almost in a sick way enjoy self-loathing, although i know how sick I am and how painful this is. My fear overwhelms me, in the past when I tried this Step I have slipped into self-pity from the pain. I know from being in the rooms that there has nothing I have been through that others have not been through worse, or that I have done that someone else hasn't done or done worse. I really do not have an issue with the "looking at my part", it is the resentments and hurt that I hold of people where I did not have a part as a child, accepting that the person did the best they could and that they were sick to. I guess I am still dealing with expectations on how a mother or family member should have treated me. Now they are gone, no longer to ever see again. Not sure, so confused. They say if you really want to find sobreity (peace of mind) we will go to any lengths, why am I have such a hard time with that? I do want this, what you and countless others have... so I am praying for willingness to look at these issues, and actually get to the real work in alchoholic anonymous. But in trying not to beat up on myself to much, I am grateful for today, to ask God to help me make it through this day without the insane thought that I can drink, drug or gamble and the results to be different than before. For him to just take over inside of me and lead the way. So, first things first today, prayer, work and keep trying my best to remember through the day what his thoughts and actions would be for me, not what my crazy mind would think or act with others. Gotta get ready for work, keep me in your thoughts and prayers please.

The lost or stubborn: Serenity Seeker
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Re: Will the past ever change in sobriety?

Postby Dallas » Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:11 pm

Serenity Seeker wrote:I guess I am still dealing with expectations on how a mother or family member should have treated me.


I sure understand that one -- more than well. ;-) Not only as a child -- but, as an adult, as well.

btw: Pen. Not pencil. And, black ink & white paper. LOL. Yep. That's in the Big Book. :-)
An exception could probably be made if you were in jail -- where you can only get a pencil. LOL.

I think I may -- understand your entire situation really well.
God, has blessed me w/ the opportunity to be of service for many
who are in this camp. And, my hope & prayer for you is -- that as you get through this
you'll be able to take a load off my hands and I can send them all to you for help! :-)

Honestly, though, I think that's how it works.
God takes some of us who have been some really brutal stuff
walks us through it to the other side -- and then, uses us
to help set free, the many who are just like us, who are out there struggling to make it.

What I do, when helping them is:
1. I don't have them do ANY of the Steps alone -- other than Steps Six & Seven. Because they're supposed to be alone in six & seven.
2. We use the Big Book, together -- setting aside Friday, Saturday & Sunday, to do all 12 Steps.
3. We start on the front cover & read every page up to 103, and follow the express instructions on each page to take each of the Steps.

While you could do all of these alone -- except for Step 5, when a person has relapsed as a result of struggling through Step 4, alone -- I suggest that they do not do it alone, the next time, obviously.

The real powerful transformation that takes place as a result of vigorously launching through One through 12 -- is incomparable to anything I've ever seen. It's incredible! And, unless someone has experienced it this way -- they really can only imagine -- what it would be like. And, even then, most of them can not even imagine it unless they have experienced it. (That's what they tell me).
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Re: Will the past ever change in sobriety?

Postby Dallas » Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:17 pm

btw: I was going to mention, also -- years ago, my sponsor gave me seven questions to use,
for preparing others and to use to help relieve some of the intense pressure that might drive them right back to drinking, before they can get through the Steps.

My experience has been -- that they work like magic! Both, for new people and for old timers that are struggling.

The questions are written down and you use a pen & paper to answer them.
Then, you get together w/ your sponsor, or someone who understands what you are doing,
and read your answers to them -- much like the 4th & 5th Step -- EXCEPT, this should NOT
be used as a substitute for Steps 4 & 5.

You can find the questions here on the site, titled "Clancy's Seven Questions."

If you have trouble locating them, if you want to use them, let me know and I'll look for the link to them for you.

I'm pretty sure, that you can go to the front page of the site www.step12.com and look on the left side of the home page, and you'll see a link to them.

Also, there is a copy of them here, in the forum, too.

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Re: Will the past ever change in sobriety?

Postby Serenity Seeker » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:06 pm

Dallas,

Thank you so, so much. I am glad I checked my mail before starting the day, you give me hope and inspiration. I will check that out. I have four days off starting Friday, so I plan to concentrate on recovery and house issues. BTW: I got the chance to meet Clancy personally in Wheeling WV at a conference. I heard his lead and met him personally on the elevator... it was an experience, one I will never forget. :o :shock:

Have a good day, I can't wait to check out those questions.

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Re: Will the past ever change in sobriety?

Postby Camel » Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:52 pm

Hello, Serenity Seeker,

Delay is dangerous, and rebellion may be fatal. Our literature says the Steps are suggessted. However, there are MUSTS in the Big Book. 103 of them if memory serves, 51 of them in the first 164 pages. To me, suggested means I can't tell anybody in AA what they must do. However, the directions clearly state what I must do. and how I must do it, to be Happy, Joyous, and Free. Maybe you should consider getting another Sponsor, if that one has let you go 1 year and 32 days, without working Step 4. I would not have made it through the Steps, without a Sponsor who loved me enough to keep on encouraging me to keep gettin' after it. There was never any relief in my addiction, and there is none here, either. I must keep seeking. I must keep working. The difference is, I'm seeking usefulness as opposed to uselessness. I'm seeking life rather than death.

Hub
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Re: Will the past ever change in sobriety?

Postby Frananne » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:55 pm

I did the steps fairly fast in the opinion of some in my home group. It was essential that I do so. Turned out that after working the steps in 3 months I had a nasty surprise in month four, surprise diagnosis of hepatitis c. I had thought all along that God was carrying me along at the pace He wanted me to do them. I was into service and the practice of daily doing steps 3,10,11 when I found out. If I had not gotten to where I was I do not know where the strength would have come from to make the journey I am on. I continue to grow in understanding of myself and the program but am just so glad I had the tools I needed.

I do not believe in doing things by half measures. I know a few people who , like you, have gone more than a year without finishing step 4. I do not know understand it.
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