finding root cause

12 Steps: Discussions related to the 12 Steps and using them as a treatment to recover from alcohol and drug addiction.
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finding root cause

Postby KevinFL » Sat Oct 13, 2007 11:44 am

i attended a big book/step study where i believe the 4th step? was used in reverse? to find the root causes of why we find ourselves with difficulties in certain areas. i was not following along closely enough to fully understand the method, and wasnt in a place of need at the time to ask the speaker to explain. does anyone know what it is and how it works?
thank you

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Postby Dallas » Sat Oct 13, 2007 10:30 pm

Hey Kevin, welcome to the site.

I'm not sure if I understand your question so my answer may be way off.

There are times, when I do a Step Study meeting, with the 4th Step... and (it's more like a "workshop" or "class" type setting -- where we talk about each of the Steps) sometimes, we'll look at the character defects "the exact nature of our wrongs", and look backwards at how it fuels more actions and behaviors that will lead to more resentments and fear... almost like a chain reaction effect. And, also, how our resentment and our actions generated out of the resentments -- will cause actions and resentments by others..... as if we "stepped on their toes... and they decide to retaliate or get even."

Not sure if that's something like what you're referring to or not.

Dallas B.

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Postby KevinFL » Sun Oct 14, 2007 3:49 pm

thanks dallas, that sounds like what i was referring to. can you give me 1 or 2 examples of how it works?

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My name is Anne, I'm an alcoholic

Postby musicmode » Mon Oct 15, 2007 1:08 pm

Welcome aboard, Kevin,

May I jump in here? Looking forward to Dallas' response.

There are more moments today, where...I won't go into any particular situation, but--the situation (whatever it might be)...the same results seem to occur yet again :? . So, I will step back and say to myself, ", then...there must be something that I do (or don't do) that keeps on causing 'this' (again, whatever it might be) to happen, why hasn't 'this' changed yet?

It's about breaking patterns (maybe? I hope I'm ridin' the right wave, here?). We will, as creatures of habit, keep doing the same thing over and over again. So...I will let the same old same old play out, only "this time" with awareness. Then, with prayer and guidance, I am able to recognize what is happening "next time", and there will be a conscious do something different, so say something different, even if it's in response to a person. When I do something that is different, or say something different, I can tell a pattern has been broken, usually by the look on the other person's face. Instead of going into the bank seething and wanting satisfactory results, I have discovered that, with different words and a different tone--I DO, in fact, leave with those satisfactory results. In a more personal situation, how many times, now--I've heard the other person say, "you never said/did that before." Thus, the end of another cycle (hopefully).

Nothing changes if nothing changes. It took me a long time to clue in that somehow, whether it be negative OR positive, it is by repeating the same input (by me) that keeps the same pattern going, and that pattern is usually one that is draining and exhausting for me. I've often been in the middle of a situation, thinking, I'm so tired of this, why is this happening--again? Now, I know...even if it's something another person starts...I don't gotta keep playing along (and, by the way...I've caught when it's me that starts it too...e-hem). In changing something I do or say, I can break a monotonous "deja-vu" type of pattern. It always comes back to a defect of character (me).

Take it easy, kids,
Anne M.

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Postby KevinFL » Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:45 am

thank you anne, yes youre riding the right wave. however, i am much more hoping that i can avoid getting into the situation completely.

i am mostly talking about matters of the heart here and by the time i realize i'm stuck in the "same old", i'm in too deep to really know where i even am and how i got there or level headed enough to sort out what the next course of action is or how i want it to end up.

maybe its the heart that got me there in the first place and how would i knowingly and/or happily work against what my own heart is telling me it needs or is pleased with?

i am not one who puts alot of effort into finding a "soulmate" or "life partner", but when someone comes along within what seems to be Gods will for me to be doing, and it turns into something that really gets my attention and takes me down the "relationship" road, i tend to put weight on its meaning and put in the effort. for me this doesnt happen very often that i notice so it would be hard for me to recognize similar signs when the situtaions are few and far between.

i dont want to sit here scorned for the next few years until the next one comes and i have to then "figure out" what i did last time to "try" and do it different. i believe there are answers in the steps, i just need help in locating them.

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Postby Dallas » Tue Oct 16, 2007 2:21 pm

Hello Kevin,

I haven't forgotten to answer the question above. People places and things in my life are moving on at around 200 mph --- and I'm still cuising along in the slow lane. Meaning: I'm okay, but, my daily responsibilities have been many over the last few days, and the answer to your question takes more than a bit of effort to write it down, and have it make sense, rather than "speak" about it. So, I'll have to come back to it later.

After reading your last message -- maybe I could be more help to you in that area by sharing some real live experience, rather than spending the time on the question that gets into theory of "how it works". :lol:

If I'm reading your message as you intended it: I understand and relate to you big time. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt, and went to coffee afterwards!

Relationships were a big problem -- and, they still would be and can be, when I listen to my heart rather than my head. And, my head can contribute to the problem with the heart.

My heart is too sensitive. That's my emotional side. I'm overly-sensitive. When it comes to any kind of feeling -- it's like the volume can get turned up so high that it can make me do stuff that's not very intelligent. I've got to "continue to watch" that and I use inventories, (the 4th Step principles) and talking with others (the 5th Step principles), to keep it in check, (the 10th Step principles).

My head can add to the problem -- because it will say things to me like: "Well! It sure looks like God's will to me! Yada yada yada yada yada."

So, my heart can be craving for a particular kind of feeling, that in the past has already shown me -- that it can be dangerous for me -- and, my head will kick in with a perception of "well, this time it will be different. This really is different this time and God does want you to be happy.... joyous... free... and... and... and... and..."

So then, my head opens the door for my heart to take a little nip -- maybe just a half-jigger of something that "feels like love to me!"

And, after the half-jigger "something that feels like love" -- the phenomenon of craving kicks in, and suddenly, my heart is craving for a half-pint of love!!!

Notice, that it started out with a thought.

1. The desire for relationships and companionships.
Behind it all, I was feeling lonely. I desired companionship.

2, And, those are normal and maybe God-given experiences based upon our "herding" instincts to help us safely survive and prosper in life. So, that leaves the door open for my head to kick in "Well God made us like this...."

3. The feeling felt good -- when my eyes accidently glanced up to see her -- and something deep inside me said... "This could be God's will for me!" :oops: :lol:

4. So the next time she headed for the coffee pot -- I made a dash to the pot to top off my cup -- and said "Hi! My name is Dallas! Did you notice these cookies! Have you tried one? They're great. Do you like cookies?"

5. When she said she loved cookies and coffee... I just knew that God must have something to do with this... because God knows how much I love cookies and coffee... and, geezzzz, this girl is pretty! And, I know that God has been preparing that "special someone for me" since long before He created dirt!!!!

Get the picture? :lol:

6. So I decide to be careful -- because of my past experiences, and I don't jump right in and say "Hey! Since you like to eat... I know a great restaurant... want to go to the Red Lobster for dinner tomorrow night before the meeting?" :lol: :lol:

No... I don't do that! I use my head... and wait until I've talked to her at the coffee pot for at least six more times -- and discover that "this girl really does like cookies! She's not trying to trick me, my heart isn't trying to trick me... this is the REAL DEAL!!! She has been honest with me (that's a first!) she really does like cookies and coffee! And, she's so cute... and when she smiles at me, I feel like I'm lighting up like a Christmas tree!!! I hear music -- love songs and ballads start playing in my head....

And, then........ I ask her out to the Red Lobster!

7. When we get to dinner -- she's just perfect!

This really is God's will for me! ....... So, I take it to the "advanced planning stages" of my head -- and my head says something like "Yes, the two of you really do make a charming couple! This is wonderful! Did you notice the kind of glazy look in her eyes? I'm sure she couldn't possibly be on anything -- it must be the love that she's beginning to feel when she looks at me, too! :lol:

8. Head contributes to the problem.

So, I decide to take it easy and "think about it" ... I remember that glassy look in her eyes at dinner, and since I know "she couldn't be on anything"... it must be love!"

So, now my head is fueling my heart, and my heart is fueling my head... and, as we walk to the car to say good night, she reaches for my hand! Uh-oh! I'm in trouble now!!!!!

Now... my heart and head and my physical sensations are working towards building this "Volcano of Love" ... and the smoke is so beautiful that I can't see that I'll soon be covered in ashes! :lol:

Besides, who cares? Yes... I may burn a little... but, I'm willing to do anything to live God's will in my life -- and I'm sure that she is it!!! So, even if I get all burned up -- I did it for Him! And, for her! Because she really does need me. What would happen to that poor pretty vulnerable little girl... if I wasn't here to protect her!

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Am I off track here? Or, am I in the right park?


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Postby KevinFL » Tue Oct 16, 2007 3:08 pm

thanks for the reply dallas, i really hadnt figured any reason why you hadnt responded to the last question other than you just may not spend much time in this forum.

as for your shot at my circumstances; you are not way off. not really accurate with details but who would've racing to the coffee pot or cookies, no "advanced planning stages" or glassy eyes. i meet a girl through mutual friends at the restaurant after the meeting and after several repeat chance meetings ask for a date and get it. we go out and she expresses interest on more than one level but keeps it to a good friendship, not bringing me all the way in and not letting me go away. i have interest, but after seeing more of the less appealing character traits, i am happy with the friendship the way it is; however i would be willing to go to another level if she attempts to initiate, which she does. only for whatever reason its too much for her and it only complicates things. she then turns to taking a break from "all men to work it out". a new guy shows up and she goes right into it without being able to be honest with me about it. she keeps me on the "working it out no guys page". thus, i feel, betraying my trust and possibly herself when i was following her lead all along. this, by the way takes place over several months and many ups and downs.

my "same old" here is that this is a person who is just not emotionally available for what even they may think they are trying to express to me. and of course honesty is an issue. i put weight on her expressed interest in me early on as well as the fact that accepting her as a friend without expectation of more would be the right thing to do.

so my pain here is that i really accepted the friendship she desired as something real, and put in effort to support it, then she betrayed it. of course i am disappointed she is seeing someone else, but its not as damaging as being led on just as a friend. i dont believe she intended for it to happen this way, she just wants whats best for herself and is dealing with her own defects as well. she herself has her "race to the coffee pot and Gods will this time."

i need to learn more about what catches my attention and the difference between my needs with God, and someone else's needs for God.
Last edited by KevinFL on Wed Oct 17, 2007 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Dallas » Tue Oct 16, 2007 5:54 pm

i really hadnt figured any reason why you hadnt responded to the last question other than you just may not spend much time in this forum.

Sometimes, it's the other part of the site that keeps me so busy. :lol: Between regular work, meetings, life, AA, the forum, and all the emails that come in -- sometimes it get's busier than I can get busy. :lol:

A quick note (and hopefully later tonight I can answer the original question):

This part isn't AA, but it's a tool that I discovered when I was a little over a year sober and it worked great for me. You may want to check it out. The awareness at the end can give you a lot of info about yourself... and the relationships - or potential relationships - that you pick.

1. Make a list of relationships or potential relationships that you've had. Just write down the names, to use for later.


2. Take two sheets of paper -- one for mother and one for father. If you didn't have a mother or father relationship -- let the person be someone who filled the role of "mother or father" to you.


3. One person at a time, with the mother and father sheets:

a. Draw a line down the middle of the page.
b. Left side of paper, title the top "Things I liked or admired about my mother" -- Right side of paper, title at the top "Things I didn't like or admire."
c. Now do the same for the "Father sheet."

4. Once you've got those ready to write on, begin to fill them out. Pros on one side and Cons on the other side.

When you get that finished -- if you're interested in doing it -- let me know and I'll give the rest of "what to do next" on it.


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Postby garden variety » Wed Oct 17, 2007 1:05 pm

Hi Kevin,

I'm a little late here, but I totally understood your original question. It can apply to relationships or anything else. You work the solution out backwards - and it has ALWAYS worked for me. It's pretty simple. Go to page 58 of the Big Book.

One of the most important things that is said goes like this: "Some of us tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely."

When I found out the power in that statement, and how to "work it backwards" - man almighty - did things ever CHANGE absolutely! And the first area of change was in "relationships" with women. But learning this "trick" works with every single thing. Here's how you "work it backwards".

First, I look at areas in my life where there hasn't been any "spiritual progress". Spiritual progress always helps me grow and become more mature and to "intuitively handle situations which used to baffle us." If there is any area in my life where "the result is nil" - zero-zip-nada-etc - then that's an area I have to use the tool I learned in step 4 - the tool of "reflection". That means looking at "my role".

But the important thing "working it backwards" does for me is what it tells me in no uncertain terms. If I'm not growing spiritually, that means I'm holding on to an old idea, or an old belief, or an old "mind tape". And the "result" of holding onto to this "sacred cow" of mine is NOTHING. NO PROGRESS. ZERO. ZIP. NADA! Or as the book says "nil".

Then the other important thing "working it backwards" does for me is it gives me the specific instructions on what I have to do to start making spiritual progress, right? I have to "let go absolutely". That my friend is what it means when that old timer smiles and says "turn it over". Are you with me?

In a nutshell, it means that in any area where I haven't been successful, there is some false idea or belief that I have either willingly or unwittingly let it stay hanging around. It got there through alcoholic "self-delusion" or "denial". It stays there because I'm either in the fog, asleep at the wheel, or a damn stubborn fool.

The "suggestion" that comes along with "working it backwards" is that I'm better off to "abandon" the false idea or belief "absolutely". I cut it off at the root - no mercy! If it ain't working - then it's out the door! Or as someone religious might say "If your eye offends you, its better to pluck it out and get into the kingdom half-blind than to go to hell." Well its not really about "going to hell" for me or "religion". That just illustrates the point. If I'm holding on to a false idea or belief, then I'm going to be miserable until I let it go absolutely.

Some of our more "corporate minded" friends would say: "think outside the box".

Kevin, give this a try and let us know how it works. Oh yeah, and welcome to the board.

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Postby KevinFL » Wed Oct 17, 2007 2:05 pm

thanks for posting your comments garden variety. what you are saying is what i'm talking about....the root of the problem that is giving me no spiritual progress. a belief developed through my alcoholism that is in the way of my happiness. my trouble here is that i dont know what belief or idea that may be, and i didnt get exactly how to "work it backwards" out of what you are saying. how do i know what it is that i need to abandon or turn over?

dallas, ive done the mother father thing so i am ready for further instruction.

thanks everybody for reading and posting.

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