- Step 11

Step 11




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

Postby john boy » Sun Feb 22, 2009 7:44 am

I am tying to determine what I should write...It began with something from Step 11 pg. 100...referring to meditation helping us to envision a goal towards our spiritual objective.

I then read of the love for our pets....thus,

...In very early sobriety I heard it said that most of us will experience a bottom that will be close to or worse than that which we experienced while drinking...Well...today I am in the midst of a divorce, had to put down my dog in late December and my cats of 20 years in January. All due to health issues.
This is the most difficult period of my sobriety (24 years)...I am grateful for my brothers and sisters in Alcoholics Anonymous who are with me during this difficult time. I am grateful for my God who has helped me understand there is a purpose for this experience...and the fact one day all will be well. As compared to the days I never envisioned a day of sobriety..ever!....Excuse me if sounding of self-pity...I tell myself that today I can hurt and experience emotional pain without feeling sorry for myself. ... May I always have the knowledge and wisdom that has been passed on to me..and belief to carry out the actions suggested.

John
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Postby ROBERT » Sun Feb 22, 2009 11:21 am

HEY JOHN----SOUNDS LIKE YOU ARE GOING THRU IT INSTEAD OF AVOIDING IT--OR TRYING TO GET OUT OF THE PAIN BY SOME NON-HEALTHY MANNER---AS THE BOOK CLEARLY POINTS OUT--"THE CERTAIN TRIALS AND LOW SPOTS AHEAD" WE CAN'T AVOID LIFE WHEN WE ARE LIVING--AND GROWING THRU OUR OWN TRIALS AND LOW SPOTS..THANKS FOR SHARING...GOD BLESS.............ROBERT
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Postby Dallas » Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:08 pm

Hello John,

Sorry to hear of the losses that you've been experiencing.

I can relate to part of it -- the divorce part. I've nearly had to put my dog down, but we (me and the dog) were granted a reprieve. I lost a cat once -- many years ago, while I was still drinking -- and I still think of that cat now. I felt like it was a loss of a child. It was the only cat that I had ever had and I never wanted another cat because I was afraid of the emotional pain if I had to go through it again.

The same thing with the divorce. I was afraid to love and to care again because it nearly killed me. That was experienced in sobriety. And, it felt like it did kill me at the time. It was tough to get through. And, thanks to God, the 12 Steps, and the Fellowship of AA -- they all got me through it.

My little sister gave me some advice many years ago that eventually came into play and helped me. (Interestingly enough, I've had to use the advice from her, since losing her, a little over a year ago). She told me that no relationship was ever designed to last forever -- other than our relationship with God. She said, that at the same time, all of our relationships are within us. And, it's our thoughts about the relationship that make it a relationship. So, all of our relationships last as long as we think about them -- even though physically, none of them last forever.

Her advice didn't help me at the time, because I wasn't ready to be able to use it. But, I did think about it a lot and tried to find something in the Universe that had a permanent relationship. I had grown up with the beliefs since childhood that some relationships are forever.

One day, I was listening to a guy sharing in a meeting. There was something about this guy that really impressed me. He seemed to have some sort of glow of honesty as he spoke. He was talking about himself, and he said "I learned that I had to put God first in my life." He said that when he took his third step -- he took it to mean that he was turning over all that he ever thought he owned to God. His life. His wife. His family. His kids. His dog. His car. His job. His business. He went on to say that none of this stuff was ever really owned by him, at all. He just though it was.

He made a decision that everything belongs to God. And, he took on the attitude that God was only letting him use it and take care of it.

He said, when he had car trouble -- that he asked God "God, why do you have such a crappy car that breaks down all the time? If I were you -- I'd drive something better than this old piece of junk!"

He said that by taking that attitude -- he never had another car problem. He said it was God's problem -- and not his problem.

He went on to say that he had been sober for a few years -- and had learned that anytime he put anything in front of God -- meaning #1 in his life -- he kept losing it. Even his sobriety. His business. His wife and family. And, he said, that he learned that whenever he kept God #1 in his life -- everthing else seemed to work out just fine.

I applied what I heard him say when I experienced my divorce and when I almost lost my dog. I took the attitude that "she belongs to God, she doesn't belong to me" -- and "it's really God's dog -- He only lets me take care of her."

I learned that it was my attachment to things, people, stuff, relationships, pets, businesses, jobs, etceteras -- that I thought were "mine" -- that caused me emotional crisis when I lost them. Naturally, we feel emotional pain with any loss -- but, for me, it was an emotional crisis -- if I was attached to it.

I decided to take on the attitude that I came into this world with nothing -- I'll leave this world with nothing (just like I came into it) -- and everything that came into my path -- wasn't really mine any way. I only thought of it as being mine.

That attitude has helped me numerous times over the years in sobriety -- to better cope and heal from my emotional pains.

I know the hurt from experience. As Robert mentioned, you're walking through it and feeling it -- rather than running from it (the emotional pain). Robert might not of said that, but that was what I perceived that he was saying.

Keep in mind that we're here for you. We love you. We care about you. Some of us have experienced your same type of losses -- and we made it through to the other side -- with our health and sobriety.

I know that for myself -- when I got to the other side of the divorce and the tremendous pain -- I learned a lot about myself. I learned also, that all of us are very emotionally fragile. We can break easy. And, I learned that I was able to get to the other side of my pain -- walking through it -- without drinking or die-ing.

Thank you for sharing your experience and what you've been going through with us. I know that it helps me.

My best wishes to you,

Dallas
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Postby sunlight » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:19 pm

My thanks to you John. It gave me deep consolation & comfort to read your words & know someone is in a similar emotional place right now.
Even though I KNOW I 'm not alone, there are moments that it feels that way.

I am currently in such emotional pain that it feels like I am dying! And, maybe I am! It's been my experience in my few years of sobriety, that parts of me have to die ( those darn old ideas & behaviors ) if new life is to be created in me.

But man!!! Does it have to hurt so much for so long? :cry:

I have taken refuge in the steps, my God, the fellowship & my sponsor. What wonderful tools! And, I take the actions I need to keep moving forward, stay sober and keep smiling.

I have asked God to lead me to a deeper level of prayer & meditation, and it's like an oasis in the desert.
I once heard it said that if you're having difficulity with serenity, the problem is usually step 11. Dang! It was true!

I will survive and thrive and hopefully, help others do the same.

Thanks to all of you for your fellowship! :D
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Postby Dallas » Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:04 am

Hey Sunlight,

We are with you -- too!

Sorry to hear of the rough road you're on.

Remember, there are only so many potholes in the road -- and it will be smooth again. You're on the section of "Construction Ahead! Slow Down!"
You'll soon see that sign that says "God at work!"

We love you and care about you, too!

For a refreshing read -- regardless if you've read it recently -- try it again, slowly -- Step 11, in the 12&12.

Best wishes,

Dallas
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Postby sunlight » Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:00 am

Thank you for the read, Dallas. There were tears when I finished. It revitalized me!

I just realized that I've worked all 12 steps in 12 days. And I DO mean WORKED.

And, today, I experienced a mountain moved.

I would like to post what's going on with me, but I'm in the middle of it & I can't even do it in a general way.

But, I have talked to many alcoholics. Even the ones I try to dodge will ask, "How are you?" & I'll say, "I'm ok", & they'll say, "No, how are you REALLY?" :lol: It's great. They know. :wink:

My sponsor has told me she's so proud of me, & coming from her, that's a big encouragement. 8)

I am so happy that I am able to be honest today.

And so happy to be sober. :D
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Postby ROBERT » Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:44 am

SUNLIGHT--YOU SOUND GREAT...A OLD PAL I MET IN COLUBUS OHIO WAS SOBER28 YRS--AND REAL OLD TIME QUALITY SOBRIETY--THE KIND I WANTED,JERRY USE TO TELL ME IF YOU LIKE WHAT YOUR GETTING KEEP DOING WHAT YOUR DOING,DISCIPLINE IS DOING WHAT YOU DON'T WANT TO DO SO YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO.....GOD BLESS....ROBERT
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Postby garden variety » Wed Feb 25, 2009 8:57 am

Hey Sunnylight.

I'm proud of you too. Your words help me. Your trials help me too.

I understand what it's like to go through life, and to watch things happen to friends and loved ones - things they might not "deserve" - but still happen. Tradgedies, diseases, suicides, tragic deaths, alcoholic deaths - its hard to sit and watch and the only thing that I can do is pray.

Some days there's just a lonely, sad, hurting feeling in my heart because there is absolutely nothing more I can do but pray, even though I wish with all my heart that I could trade places with the ones I love who suffer. Nothing left but that queer silence of prayer, and my feelings that my prayers are nothing but sorrowful words mingling into the wind then disappearing, or passing thoughts that are meaningless to the man or woman next to me. I think to myself that I must be delusional to believe that words into the wind are prayers that are actually heard by some Great Mystery of the Universe.

In the past two weeks I've seen a loved one suffer, one painful day at a time. Nothing changed today from yesterday, except that todays tears are new and fresh. Where is hope? How can I say anything meaningful while I watch everything that was her world - even her identity - fade into a hole in the past with each today bringing more pain and weariness. All I can do is wash dishes, vacuum floors, and staple together copies of pieces of paper sent to agencies and institutions or doctors and lawyers that are needed to "officially" announce to the world that things have changed. That her world has irreversably turned a sharp corner into each painful moment that make up "today".

Today I'll phone another friend - an old girlfriend - who could move around only by using a walker, the last time I saw her. After exploratory surgery, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis last week. We used to go places for dinner together and eat with chopsticks. I remember dancing and holding her in my arms and kissing her like it was yesterday. Today she can't walk.

"Life is difficult."

That's the first sentence in the book "The Road Less Travelled". I'm sure you can give a witness to that, Sunlight. I don't know what you're going through, but my heart goes out to you. Life really is difficult, and sometimes all the prayers, "AA slogans", or simple kits of spiritual tools won't take away the pain, despair, anger, or plain ugliness of the moment when suffering suddenly appears and takes hold. I wish I could hold your hand, too, in your moments of painful uneasiness.

I read a story about a Jewish carpenter that did everything right all his life, helped multitudes of people with every kind of problem imagineable, and prayed to his Father every day and night. At the end of his journey, he felt perhaps how you feel today, or perhaps like my loved ones feel today: forsaken.

Take care my friend. Even though you may feel forsaken, you are still loved by all of us. When you hurt, we hurt too.

God bless.
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Postby ROBERT » Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:26 am

WHAT A AWESOMELY TOUCHING-LOVING -CARING-WAY TO CONVEY TO ANOTHER ---COMPASSION!!!.......THANKS GARDEN VARIETY--WELL PUT.......ROBERT
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Postby ROBERT » Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:29 am

PS----I ENJOY THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED,AND DR.PECKS OTHER GREAT BOOKS ON SPIRITUALITY
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