Experiences along the way that bring us closer to our Higher Power
I have been spending a lot of time with GUILT lately. I had worked hard at staying sober for almost 4 months, then messed up and had to start all over.
That guilt, shame, remorse thing can take on a life of its own and just suck me down.
Anyway, I was reading a murder mystery yesterday and right there in the book someone said:
Guilt is a wasteful emotion; forgive yourself and go on to do better.
I know the book was a far cry from AA approved literature
, but it was like a little gong went off in my head. I feel like God smiled at me. And you know what? I really do feel like I am going to go on and do better now....... Amazing!
That was a moment of clarity for me.
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KJ!!!! Good to hear from you!!!! It's even better than good to hear that you're moving forward and into a good place.
If you hang in there, and keep doing what we do... one day all the stuff will be behind you, and I guarantee you that you'll find a way to look back with confidence, strength and hope... and you will even be able to laugh at some of it as you recall it!!!
I love to read about AA history. I mention that because of your reference to a Murder Mystery and Approved Literature!!!
Most of the things that I've read about the AA Pioneer's indicated they read anything they could get their hands on that would help them!!! They didn't have hang-ups in regards to whether something was approved by anyone or not... if it helped... they used it! Then, they went on to do things like write a text book on recovery for us. For me... that's pretty amazing... since the one who had been sober the longest only had about three and a half years sober! Imagine that!
Sometimes, it almost seems like there is Something out there in the Universe... that makes sure that we get what we need... when we need it... to help us get to wherever it is that we're going!
That Something.... that just seems to always be there watching out for us. And, we might get the help that we get through a book, a comedy show, a song, something that a stranger says to us.... something on a sign, a smile, a hug, a license plate, a bumper sticker... a message on a forum... and even a Murder Mystery book!!!!
I am totally sure that, that Something.... is looking out for you!
It's really great to hear from you. I know you've been going through some difficult times... and hopefully, you're near to the other side if it.
Best thoughts and wishes to you!
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Well, let's see how many places I've gotten the message: Once, my head was befuddled with negative self-image messages, and the song came on the radio, just as soon as I got in my car, "I love you just the way you are!" Wow - did I ever take that to heart. I think if we're spiritually fit, (or trying to be!), we can get messages from anywhere. Another time, I was really worried about a personal relationship, and the song kept going on in my head, "Let it Be!" How appropo for me that was. And it worked. Also, I have what I refer to as a 'favorite' nemesis in AA (somebody who inevitably gets under my skin. Well! Something he said, really helped me one night, as I was already fighting an imaginary battle. He said (and it is out of the Big Book, "We have ceased fighting everybody and everything!" That, from a fellow AA. I know it's from AA, but the fact that it came from a so-called nemesis, tells me what the fellowship is all about. Thank God, I did not turn off what he said, even though he got under my skin! I always felt there was a grain of truth to what he said, but never actually applied it experientially. So, it helped my peace of mind. One of my favorite sources is not original to me, but from the Bible, it says, 'trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding.' from Proverbs 3:5. I have learned in AA that my understanding, especially as an alcoholic is all askew, so that helps.
I say, Hurray! God comes to us all in hiw own way!
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Good to see you again. You're the one that "got tired of being an alcoholic", then drank to cure that problem. You are so where you need to be, and I really can relate to "being tired" of being an alcoholic. The last time I said that was somewhere around my second year anniversary of sobriety, and boy I was tired, but at the same time wrestless, and very much discontent. I thought this "alcoholic business" would never end...thank God it didn't!
But about the guilt thing and the light going on. Be sure you remember that, because guilt really ran me through the ringer, for a real long time in sobriety. Like you, all of the sudden a "gong" rang when I read something in an inspiration somewhere.
It talked about a soldier packing to go on a day-long march in the hot sun somewhere. Then it said we'd think he was a fool if he packed what he needed from yesterday's march, along with what he needed for today's march, and set out in the hot sun. I got to thinking how stupid it would be to be packing and marching like that, and then this big regret that I had been carrying for many years jumps straight into my mind.
Man alive...it hit me really really hard! Like the gong fell on my head! I'm packing stuff from a march 10 years ago! I broke down and cried, big time crying where your gut is completely out of control. The thing was, I had asked forgiveness from this lady, and she was more than gracious, and we are still good friends today. I set on the 9th step years ago and made amends with more than just "I'm sorry", I did stuff for her, fixed things, etc., so she really knew and appreciated that I was in action and making things right.
But the dummy I was, I still hung on to that guilt for 10 long years, and whenever I thought about it, it hurt, and I cried. I just knew that I'd always regret what I'd done. But, that reflection all of the sudden changed everything. It woke me up real bright-eyed. Then I knew...If she could forgive me and be friends today (she actually said "Thanks, I love you" and I cried all the way home when she did that), and if my God had already forgiven me, and I had put this thing through the steps, what the heck was I still hanging on to this?
It was finding another silly "character defect", guilt, like you said a pretty useless one. But one thing I been learning about these character defects like this one, is when they get to hurting bad enough, by golly, I'm going to do something about them. That's when I seem to be "humbly asking" to have these shortcomings removed, when they got my stomach doing somersalts, and I can't stop crying cause they hurt so bad. But I guess that's a good place to ask because I don't think I could be in a humbler state, and boy every ounce of me is "entirely ready" to be gone of the thing.
Keep coming back, and don't beat yourself up. Just make things right as good as you can with whoever you hurt, God, and yourself, about whatever you feel guilty about and be on to the next right thing.
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It's been a while since I have written, and i really haven't caught up with every one yet, but I would like to share some thing for future attacks of guilt, which I am very familiar with.
I the area of relapse, I have no personal experience. I have not yet had that misfortune. I do not take credit for in any way shape or form. But I do do some thing by instructions of my higher power through my sponsor and friends. I listen. When I hear that some one has been out there and has come back. I listen like a dying woman to every thing they have to say. I learn or try to exactly what happened and when. I stick in my little pea brain and when I get those urges I think about them and I drop to my knees and pray for dear life.
So you see my friend you have nothing to feel guilty about. By sharing your experience, you enable others to learn from them. That's how it works. As long as you learn from it and you share what you learned, it becomes a positive thing that makes you stronger and those around you as well.
As far as what literature attacked your guilt, I find that neat as well. I discovered long ago that my HP doesn't just come down and sit beside me and have a talk. He speaks to me through others and through the daily events in my life. I was at a book store the other day, and I found this book marker. It said "Worry doesn't empty tomorrow of of its problems, It only empties today of its strength." I bought it instantly. Have a great day and smile.
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That is a valuable story you told. Recovery is inside and outside the rooms of AA. Openmindedness is the key! Guilt really is a Waste! Welcome Back.
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Steps 4 through 9 is what set me free from guilt and remorse. Without the guilt and remorse I would not have taken Steps 4 through 9 and without 4 through 9, I would have never made it to Step 12. My sense of guilt was good in the sense that it drove me into taking the Steps.
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