Willing to go to any length

Expect the unexpected... or discovered the unsuspected?
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Postby anniemac » Mon Dec 18, 2006 6:37 pm

I think for me, the being-human thing comes down to my difficulty with "what other people think of you is none of your business" -- but not in a prideful way. More in people-pleasing way; of still carrying around that fear that if you really knew me, you wouldn't talk to me any more. This seems to be my biggest block - my deep-seated feeling of being worthless. I don't always feel that way, but it is usually what is underneath other stuff when that other stuff rears up. I feel that I've run through Steps 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12 with this stuff....yet it's still there. I pray, I turn my thoughts to others, and those are temporary reprieves, but it's still there, underneath it all, governing my thoughts.

This defect has been especially pronounced the past few weeks, I seem to be walking around just looking for reasons to be offended and hurt. Wish I could figure out how this serves me, cause evidently it still does if I'm not letting go of it. :cry:

Ah, well, I do know this too shall pass, I won't always feel this way, so I continue to do the next right thing and run through the Steps on a continual basis. Life is great, just got a brain that doesn't want me to know that!

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Postby Dallas » Tue Dec 19, 2006 12:19 am

I noticed you left out Step 10 in the run through.

"For me" Step 10 has been the big growth Step that has moved me from those thoughts and feelings and fears of personal inadequacies... to more confidence and feelings of "good enough." The instructions that I find for this Step in the Big Book are incredibly growth and "getting better" oriented. Works for me. :wink:

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Postby Rusty Zipper » Tue Dec 19, 2006 12:00 pm

annie, my sponser mentioned that all my fear based thinking was just one of the seven deadlys... "Pride led the Parade!"

and yep Mr BB... step 10-11 is my (_rz_) savor...

xxoo, zip

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Postby anniemac » Tue Dec 19, 2006 2:27 pm

Hmmm. In this case, to me Step 4 and Step 10 are the same...I am reviewing my actions and looking for my part in it. I didn't list 8 & 9 because I don't see where amends are involved - as this is between me and me, there are no others involved. Therefore, the "promptly admit" part of Step 10 doesn't apply.

Or at least that's how I'm seeing it. If you guys have insight in to something I don't see, please let me know.


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Postby Dallas » Tue Dec 19, 2006 3:55 pm

By just reading Step 10, it's often perceived to be almost identical to Step 4. However, reading the instructions for Step 4 and Step 10 in the Big Book show that they are almost totally different.

In Step 4, I'm focusing on my weaknesses... my liabilities, the things that are blocking me. In the Step 4 phase of my recovery the objective is to smash my Ego, to cause me to become willing to let go of my old ideas, my old personality defects... my old way of thinking. It's emphasis is to prepare me to become willing to let go of the garbage in my life and become empty. This is why some make a major mistake in trying to mix their "assets" with their "liabilities" in Step 4.

Imagine that you're in the process of preparing the best meal of your life. You want the kitchen clean, the refrigerator cleaned out. The ecoli gone! :wink: (Before you start cooking the new meal)! It's about cleaning house.

In Step 10, the objective is rebuilding, reconstructing and recreating... while you are keeping the kitchen (your house) clean. It's about living and growing and enjoying the living in the clean house. We're moving the new furniture in to the clean house. We're restocking the fridge with clean fresh stuff. We're now looking at our assets (if we have any) and building upon those. And, we're now looking to create some new assets in our lives and in our personality. We've let go of our fears and embrassed courage and confidence.

In the back of the Big Book... there is a section called "Spiritual Experience". It goes on to say "What do we mean by Spiritual Experience"? The explanation is that it is a "personality change" sufficient enough, to enable us to recover.

Life in New Orleans would be dismall and depressing if they spent the next 200 years cleaning up the debris from Katrina. Life for alcoholics in recovery can become dismall and depressing if they are spending their lives cleaning house... and then never moving into and living in the clean house that they've prepared for their daily living.

Continue to take the trash out... but, by all means... "fully live" the good life in the new house!

"What can we pack into the stream of life?" Perhaps, in Step 4, we discovered that our drinking had caused our failure in school. We had been bright, intelligent people... we got two years towards a four year degree before our drinking cut us down to drop outs.

In Step 10, we look at the two years and ask ourselves if we want to go back and get that degree. Or, would we prefer to use the two years credits towards the pursuit of a new major? Or, would it be in our best interest to just move on in a different direction... and then get towards moving on.

If I am simply reading the list of 12 Steps as they are presented on page 59 & 60, and not following the instructions with those Steps... I would totally miss out on the concepts like I've mentioned above. To read the Step is theory. To read the instructions is theory. To follow the instructions is practice. And, practice produces an understanding of the theory. The 12 Steps do not work in theory... they work in practice. And, they are numbered for a purpose. Each time I practice the numbered Steps... it produces a new understanding. And, the new understanding builds upon the experience of the previous understanding. (Can you imagine how long it's taken me to figure that one out? :oops: )

When I first came in to A.A., it was difficult to determine "which old ideas should I get rid of?" The key word that helped me decide, was the word "absolutely." Referring to page 58 .

Now that I've been sober and in A.A. for a few years... I need to "continue to watch for old ideas" that are worth discarding. Yesterdays ideas are old ideas. (Perhaps, this is what the "give us our daily bread" refers to in the Lord's prayer, that we often say at the end of meetings). Fresh bread. Fresh ideas getting planted inside open minds. Perhaps, this is one of the best reasons, to "continue practicing these principles" in all the areas of our lives... because it keeps us moving towards the fresh bread and more constructive and positive ideas.

If our problem "centers in our minds" and it's our "old thinking" that's creating our problems... our problems will not be solved if we stop at the place where we've "just gotten rid of our old thinking."

If our solution is "changing our thinking" and "changing our minds" the solution implies that it is a daily progression of a lifetime process. It's a moving forward approach to living.

Oops! :oops: Did I get carried away here? Gees. I could go on and on and on and on about Step 10! So, I better let go of this post before it becomes an old idea! :wink:


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Postby anniemac » Tue Dec 19, 2006 5:30 pm

Thanks for your post, Dallas ~ I think I understand what you are saying. And I think that that is exactly where I get stuck...I'm not sure how to "restock the fridge with good clean stuff". Because evidently, there's still old dirty stuff underneath - another layer of the onion, so to speak. It seems that 4 years later (to the day, as a matter of fact), I'm still uncovering more and more 4th and 6th Step stuff that blocks me.

Boy, do I pack things in to the stream of life! I am back in school, just got my Associates Degree, going on to my Bachelors and ultimately my Masters. Practicing yoga and meditation. Studying the Chakra system. Attending workshops. Being physically active. Seems that I'm continually adding more interesting things to my life.

And still bottoming out every few months.

Does this mean that I want to be un-well more than I want to be well? Is this my disease taking hold? Am I not entirely ready to be better, and if not, how do I become entirely ready? on and on and on the loop plays in my head.

Sorry, guys, this is why I don't share when I'm feeling down, because it sounds so...well....depressing! :oops:

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Postby Dallas » Tue Dec 19, 2006 6:43 pm

I really do relate and identify with what you're experiencing. :wink:

It's a common thread that seems to bother most of us. It isn't "unique or different." :wink: We can get into a mode of thinking "all or nothing -- either we're perfect or we're failing" and it will really kick us in the butt!

My head... just like a magnet... will automatically be attracted to negative thoughts... period. I haven't been able to "stop it" from doing that. (Is that kind of like "Powerless over negative thinking about myself?" )

Well... I'm powerless over alcohol... but, I'm not drinking... so, what is it that I'm doing that keeps me sober? I'm taking certain actions that lead towards sobriety and it keeps me sober.

So, how do I apply that principle to my possible condition of being "Powerless over negative thinking about myself?"

The answer: I must take positive actions that leads towards positive healthy thoughts about myself... or I will automatically slip into the mode of thinking negative thoughts about myself.

Remember our "gratitude lists"? That was an inventory of what we were grateful for. If we did the list daily... we got to feeling pretty good... and often, we got to feeling so good... that we forgot to keep up with the list. A few weeks or months later... we're down in the dumps and someone suggests "have you tried a gratitude list?" :oops: We know that it works. It's the "continual doing" of what works that gives us the big pay off.

For me... two of my weaknesses have been discipline and structure. So, I have to "continually work towards" discipline and structure. One way that I do that... is with my daily Step 10.

How about a "positives list"? What if we got into the habit of daily making a list of "what's good about me"? What are my strengths? What are the pleasing characteristics of my personality? What am I good at?

By focusing on my strengths... my weaknesses automatically get taken care of. And, if I focus on my weaknesses... pretty soon, I won't feel that I have any strengths.

So, in my daily Step 10... I make inventory on my positives, my assest, and I ask myself "How can I improve upon these?"

For a long time, I had to post little post-its all over the house with reminders like "I like myself!" :oops:

I appear to be unable to "think" myself into positive thinking... but I can "act" myself into positive thinking. By taking positive actions, that leads towards positive thinking about myself... eventually I start thinking about myself in positive ways (whether I believe it or not when I start it).

And, for me... it requires that daily discipline of "doing it." I refer to it as my "Mental Training Exercises."

One of my major problems was negative self-talk. "My head tells me things that I don't need to be listening to!" Then, I would end up depressed, restless, irritable, moody, feeling stuck or anxious.

So, I have to "take actions" to counter-act the negative self-talk. Many of those actions... are not written in our book. They're little things like "When I see someone with a heavy load... offer to help them." When I'm in the parking lot of the supermarket... grab a shopping cart or two, and push them inside the store. When I see some liter... just pick it up and throw it away. Consciously "be nice to people." :oops: (

Sometimes... I really am walking around giving myself instructions to "be nice to people"... not because I'm a bad person, and not because I tend to not be nice to people... it's because my head needs to hear me saying "be nice to people". Later on... when I get an attack of "negative head" talking to me... there seems to be another side of my head that fires back with "that's not true! I go out of my way to be nice to people!" And, it happens automatically.

A different variation of the "be nice to people" is a "do something good for someone and don't let them know that you did it."

So... how do I incorporate that into my daily Step 10/11/12?

"In considering my plans for the day" :wink: (that's my "To Do List") I add:

1. Be nice to people today.
2. Do something good for someone and don't let them know I did it.
3. Find some liter to pick up and pick it up.
4. (Then, I add my regular stuff like): Go to the bank.
5. Drop off clothes to the cleaners.
6. Balance my checkbook.

At then end of the day... "while reviewing my day"... I go over my list to determine how well that I did, and what I can do better tomorrow.

At the end of my "Step 10 Inventory" I'm feeling pretty good about me and I have a good nights sleep. I feel comfortable. At peace. And, this begins to affect my sub-conscious thinking and I have good dreams and wake up feeling full of energy, charged up and looking to jump into my list!

That's how I do it. It may or may not appeal to you. You may be doing something that already works better for you. I enjoy trying different things. When I hear of someone doing something and it's paying off for them... I like to give it a good honest try and see what it will do for me.

One day, here on the forum, someone posted a prayer, that was "God, bless me big time!" When I heard that, I liked it and decided to give it a try. It's been a few months now... and I'm still consciously saying "God... bless me big time!" It feels good when I do it. It causes me to laugh. It helps me to think positive. It helped me to change some more of my thoughts about God, and to think of God in a different way.

To help me try it and then make it a habit... I started by adding it to my daily "To Do List" (My daily Step 10 List).

Now... I could be doing my daily Step 10 like I did years ago... when I was "looking for the things that I was doing wrong and making amends for them" ... but, I began to notice, that "what I think about is what I tend to attract." So... if I'm "looking for my wrongs" ... I'll end up attracting more wrongs to look at! :wink:


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Postby anniemac » Wed Dec 20, 2006 4:15 pm

Thank you Dallas ~ you truly are an awesome person! I totally agree that we are what we think, and we attract what we think. I can forget how powerful that concept is. Every thought's a prayer. Wow.

Thankfully, today I want to feel well more than I want to feel not-well.

One day at a time!

We need an emoticon of a big hug cause I want to send you one....

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Postby Dallas » Wed Dec 20, 2006 6:28 pm

Anne, you're the awesome one!

Keep coming back! You are a huge contributor to the good in my life! The Sunlight of the Spirit that radiates through you and your sharing -- sure keeps me warm!

Dallas :oops:

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