Experience, Strength and Hope needed and welcomed

Alcoholics and Addicts in 12 Step Programs sharing their personal recovery stories with hope to help others who alcoholics and addicts who want to recover using the 12 Steps.
garden variety
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:39 pm

Postby garden variety » Wed Aug 08, 2007 1:14 pm

I'm glad you asked about "consent" - also glad that something I have to say can be helpful to you.

Consent is a word that's subtle, kinda through the back door type of thing. That's why I think its a good word for alcoholics because we have that "weaseling" personality that can work all kinds of angles to get our way.

Consent means that although you don't have any kind of authority over me, I am agreeing with you and giving you permission to do what it is that you think is best.

This idea fits in with turning over my will. God as I understand Him gave me a "free will", so in reality, He has no authority over me unless I take an act of my free will that gives Him authority. That happens when I consent - and that is the way I see the thrird step. It is an "act of consent". I give God as I understand Him permission to take care of my will and my life when it needs taking care of. Then I give him permission to DIRECT my will and my life when I am better able to take care of myself but I still need directions.

But there's one more thing that happens before I "consent" which is why I consent in the first place. I become convinced that giving whomever "consent" that they are going to act in my best interests. I become convinced that they will do the things for me that either I can't do, don't have the energy to do, or don't want to do. But I know these things are still in my best interests.

So when I am ready and willing to do the thrid step which is where the second step takes me, I agree that God, as I'm coming to understand Him, can and will do what's in my best interests. At that point I'm not sure that I can do what's in my own best interests, and my unmanageable life has convinced me of that. Your "adventures before and after" also convince me that "God however He is understood" seems to always be available and trustworthy enough that I can give Him permission to do for me what He has done for you.

Step 2 says "Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." I can take out all those words and just say "become convinced". That's all step two is - is becoming convinced that I can't fix what's broken and God can if I let Him.

Step 3 just means that I give him my consent to do what needs to be done with my will and my life that's in my best interests. And I trust that He will do all of the things that need to be done - especially the things I can't do, don't want to do, or I'm too tired, confused, or bewildered to do.

If you look at it this way, Deb, then you see how the third step will get you through your surgery without the need to pick up (or cut). It's just out of your hands and in the hands of Someone you've given your permission to act in your best interests because you're convinced that He can do the best job with it. Add to that, as soon as you let go of your doubts, that "empty space" is immediately filled with faith.

I think the whole process is beautiful because its so simple, and it works every time. God as I understand Him has never failed. That's a pretty good track record - enough to convince this alcoholic!

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Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2007 12:22 pm

Postby DebbieV » Wed Aug 08, 2007 2:20 pm

I think the light bulb has been turned on. :idea: I think I get what your saying now, Thank you Paul once again.
At some point in this program I do hope to sponsor, and I know not everyone thinks, feels, acts, drank etc, like I do/or did, so I like to understand others ES&H.
I also like the word consent in the way you described it when I am feeling a little rebellious or I don't seem to want to do want I know I need to be doing. After doing my steps and reading about 10, and reading about 12, I am learning as much as I did when I did the steps in the beginning. 1-3 was a little bit hard, not too much. 4-9 was hard in a way but what I got out of it was so much more than whatever fear I had about it. Step 10 is one that I seem to be having the most trouble with. probably because in my mind it has to be perfect, and I don't know if its even possible to do a perfect 10th step. So what I am going to do is go back to 3 and re-do it, re-read it, re-study it and re-apply it with the word consent, and maybe that will help out with 10. What has happen on 10 is I am starting to see how much I want to run the show, and how often I get upset if the players don't act like I want them too. I need to be me and let God be God. I do think I did step 3, I believe with all my heart that at the time I gave my will and my life over to the care of him. Take the surgery, cutting, drinking etc. the fear is gone, I do believe that God has done for me what I could not do for myself, however I still want to hold on to parts of it, & that by doing step 4 I have now realized what parts I am still holding on to and the main one is playing God. I will keep taking a personal inventory, but I would love to see what the outcome would be if I put the word consent in the 3rd.
Thanks for the idea Paul. I will let you know how it turns out.
Hope you are having a great day.


garden variety
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:39 pm

Postby garden variety » Wed Aug 08, 2007 3:39 pm

Hi Deb,

Just keep it as simple as you can. If you have gone through the steps as you said, then you will end up doing them more thoroughly as you "achieve" sobriety. "Taking back control" is not something you have to make a mountain out of. All it is is a bad habit you have that is part of untreated alcoholism, just a response or "faulty reaction" or "character defect". Over time that habit will be replaced with a good habit which is what the steps teach. What I do to keep things simple is put each step into a simple word that I understand - then that word becomes a "tool" or a "reaction" to life's circumstances. Then I'm doing the steps all the time.

Step 1 - Acceptance
Step 2 - Faith (or "becoming convinced" which is the same thing)
Step 3 - Consent (or "surrender" if you're the fighting type)
Step 4 - Reflection (looking at yourself and the part you played)
Step 5 - Accountability ("another human being" gets involved along with God and yourself)
Step 6 - Willingness (willingness to change old habits)
Step 7 - Humility (asking for help to change)
Step 8 - Estimation (like a car wreck estimate)
Step 9 - Restoration
Step 10 - Review (the day, the situation, the event in terms of "good" and "bad")
Step 11 - Contemplation (talking and listening to the Spirit)
Step 12 - Action

If you look at the steps as single words like this, then you actually "catch" yourself "practcing" the principles in all your affairs. You also notice a lot quicker when you "intuitively handle things which used to baffle you." Then also with single words, you stop thinking about each one of them and stop making things more complicated.

Like in step 10, "review" means just that, "review" - not "I'm God and trying to be perfect", or "I'm taking my will back". I'm just looking at the day in review, the person, place or thing in review, or the moment in review. What did I do that was "good" and what did I do that was "bad". Then the bad things I correct promptly.

I can even give you a single word that sums up all 12 steps: "BEHAVE"! :?

Posts: 213
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2007 12:22 pm

Postby DebbieV » Wed Aug 08, 2007 6:18 pm

I can even give you a single word that sums up all 12 steps: "BEHAVE"!

:lol: :lol: :lol:

That I think I can do for today. 8)

Thanks again Paul. You know, you sound a lot like my sponsor. That must mean you "keep it in the book" Thank God for that.


Posts: 213
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2007 12:22 pm

Re: Experience, Strength and Hope needed and welcomed

Postby DebbieV » Sat Sep 15, 2007 5:31 pm

DebbieV wrote:Hi, I'm Debbie and I'm an alcoholic,

I wasn't going to write this in the forum because it felt like an outside issue, but I realize today that it is directly related to my drinking. I also learned that almost ever thing I think about is directly related to me having a drink ( if I don't use my tools I have been taught in AA) So my sponsor "suggested" ( that is another way of saying " just do it" and I thank God for my sponsor's ability to talk to me the way I need to hear. ) that I post this on the forum, what a novel idea, go to people with experience strength and hope. So here I go:

Last week I was told for the forth time that I had to have a bi-lateral mastectomy. The first three times I went and got drunk and blew it off. I cant go drink or blow this off, One, it does me no good to do either because both ways can kill me. Two, because of the program I do have a little happiness, joyousness and freedom today and I don't want to loose that anymore than I want to loose my life. For anyone who knows or can imagine, going thought this surgery ( and I have to stop smoking before they will do the surgery) at a month and 1/2 is scary as hell. I think it would be at 20 years, but It is scary as hell for many reasons for me 1. pain pills, I like them a little too much. 2. loosing a very big part of me 3. new in sobriety, and the number 4, I use to be, or still am, I don't know how to word that yet, a cutter, I use to go get drunk for a reason of your choice and come home and cut my wrist, not to die but to cut, never went too deep, just a typical cutter, I don't do that anymore and I want it to stay that way, but any signs of a cut or a scar sends my mind into a bar, or a issue sends my mind into a bar and then I cut, when I decided that I was going to have the surgery all I could think about was the scars after they were done doing all the cutting and it freaked me out bad. I did a " mini 4th step" on this last week and I was feeling real good until today when I got on the computer to see what I need to ask the plastic surgeon tomorrow, then my alcoholic brain kicked in and I had to go to sights with pictures, and I was off and running, full blown panic attach hit, never had one before and for those who do I'm truly sorry for you, they are not fun at all. I called my sponsor ready to hear all the AA things like, let it go God will handle it or did you pray about it or read the big book and see what it says, but what I head was "of course your scared and having a panic attack, this is a scary thing", followed by a lot of talking and even more listing. Sooo what I'm wondering is if anyone can relate to the fears I have with being this new, loosing my Brest, and seeing the scars. Need all the help I can get on this one.

Thanks all for being here for me,

Well that was me, a little over a month ago.....thank God for the 12 steps.... Surgery went well, almost off the pills ( and dont even think they are fun :D ) the scaring doesn't bother me at all (Once again thank God for the steps.)
I dont know about the cancer part of it yet, I will find out sometime next week, but to be honest, I dont think there is anything to worry about.

The pain is more than I thought it would be....but I can at least type now.

A friend came by once a day and read my BB to me, mostly pages 83-88.

I went to my first meeting today since surgery. It felt great being in the room.... We had a "Fall Fest" going on, and my son and I stayed for 2 meetings........felt a little strange being in a meeting on pain pills, but it is where I needed to be, and they are being taking as prescribed.

I went into the biggest pity-party a few days before surgery, lasting a few days after.......not a pretty sight at all :oops: .......Lost my sponsor, got my heart broken (or broke my own heart...not sure yet) hurt a dear friend with my selfish words, did a painful 10th step (because of the surgery and what I had done) felt what it was like to have feelings and stay sober, grew up a little, beat myself up a lot. Came out on the other side with a 3 month chip..... and more knowledge of myself, the traditions, the program, the steps, the principles and God.....I like my HP more today then I did a week ago....Pain has a way of doing that to me.....If I'm in pain, emotionally or physically, I start talking with God a lot more....and he seems to listen a lot more. :wink:

So all in all.............the biggest lesson I have learned in the last month or so............just dont drink over it, this too shall pass :D

I made it boys and girls, it was hard at times, but I have a green 3 month chip infront of me that says, I can make it through more than I thought I could......so I bet you can too. :D


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Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2006 3:42 pm

Postby anniemac » Tue Sep 18, 2007 3:32 pm

GREAT NEWS, Debbie, on all fronts! I'm sorry that you've had your share of emotional as well as physical pain, but I do believe that we grow from our emotional pain. And it sure sounds like you did!

Congrats on the 3 month chip!!

garden variety
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:39 pm

Postby garden variety » Tue Sep 18, 2007 4:21 pm

Now that is just beautiful!

Thanks for warming my heart, girl.

God bless you always and congrats!

Love and respect,

Posts: 213
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2007 12:22 pm

Postby DebbieV » Fri Sep 21, 2007 5:47 pm

Thank you Paul and Annie.

Its good to feel the road under my feet....not my head in the clouds or my ass on the ground. :D


Posts: 213
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2007 12:22 pm

Postby DebbieV » Sat Sep 29, 2007 6:20 am

Hopefully this is my final update on this subject.

Went to the Dr. last week for the biopsy report. It turns out that I had cancer on the right side. He said he got all of it, and took out the lymph nodes under my right arm.
I was in such a state of shock for a few days.
What is weird about the whole thing is, that even before I went to the Dr. I started praying and meditating on the word acceptance. I didnt know at the time why I felt so compelled to do it. I just keep feeling the word acceptance.
We the Dr. came in and told me that it was cancer, that he got it all, and it did not spread. I cant say that the acceptance hit right then. I think all that hit me is shock. I had been walking around all this time with breast cancer. Holy S**T batman.
A friend in the program took me to the appointment, and after we went to the store to do some shopping, and standing in front of the frozen foods, I started to cry. I said "how in the hell am I supposed to feel? I became a breast cancer survivor patient overnight" He said to feel what I was feeling, and get to the point of acceptance. And it hit me that is what I had been praying and meditating on all morning.
It took a few days for the shock to go away completely, but it seems as if acceptance took its place.
What a wonderful program we have.
I found out for the third time in May that I needed to have this surgery, and I went and got drunk and blew it off.
We I got sober in June, I got a sponsor who knew that I had to have the surgery, and he pushed hard for me to go have it done. I really didnt want to. Too many fears.
So I made the appointment, My sponsor at the time took me through the steps. And I had the surgery.
So, at this point in my life, I thank God for my first sponsor. I would have still had the cancer if I wasn't pushed to have the surgery.
I thank God for the steps, I wouldn't have made it, because of all the fears.
I thank God for the fellowship, A member has stayed next to my side from the time they took me back to surgery, to every step of the way after that. His sponsor died about 2 months ago and he was kind of in a lost place. I had just lost my sponsor a few days before surgery (he didnt die) so we kind of helped each other.
That is what this program is about, helping another alcoholic, even though he is a man, I have learned to trust. He is helping me to help himself. Nothing more, that is so nice to have someone that close and not have to worry where their motives are. I get a lot of the, men should help men and women should help women. I agree with that, a lot. But, with the way this all happen, I didnt have a woman in my life and trying to find one after surgery, that I could trust was hard.
So, it looks like my old sponsor saved my life again.
The steps, saved my life again.
God, saved my life again.
And another member of the fellowship has helped me get up, brush my self off, and keep on walking, When all I felt was alone, and in a pitty party, because so many people I cared about who said they would walk with me though this, didnt. But, with a little help from a friend, a lot of help from God, I walked though this.
Stronger than I was before.
Acceptance has become a big, important word, thought, and action for me today.
I am truly grateful I am sober, believe in God, took my steps, and have a program and a fellowship that is growing with people who really care.
I'm also, oh so grateful to my old sponsor, he got me so far in this walk, even if he didnt walk with me through all of it, I believe he made it possible for me to walk it, and walk it with God.
I hope to God this is my last post on this subject. I think all that could go wrong went wrong, and all that came out of it was better than I could imagine. :D

We alcoholics may be stronger than we thought.
Just keep fighting that first drink, and pick up some tools in the step to help with the fight. This To Shall Pass.

Thank you all who gave me support through this on here, sometime it is a little easier to post what I am going through, than it is to talk about it in a meeting.

Thank So Much,
:wink: :wink: Debbie

BTW, Yes I am going to get a second opinion from an Oncologist, But my surgeon said he got all the cancer and the cells, and I do believe that.

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