Sharing Our Unmanageable Lives
We have heard it said that, “thirteenth step is when you combine the first step and the twelfth step.” In other words, “my life is unmanageable and I want to share it with you.”
¶ 4/27/2005 05:03:00 AM2 commentslinks to this post
Hey, Hey Paula
I can never remember exactly but, Paula Abdul’s birth date is within six months of mine. A recent article about her suspected substance abuse problem got me to thinking. When we were in our mid twenties she spent as much time in the headlines as I was spending in treatment, halfway houses and other institutions. I remember sitting in the dayroom of one of those facilities and reading a newspaper article about her. At the time I mistakenly thought “man I wish I had her talent I would not be here.” Well, I have no idea if she has a problem or not but it does bring home that old saying “don’t judge your insides by someone else outsides.” You know who else is almost exactly my age, Whitney Houston is. God bless the both of them.
¶ 4/22/2005 12:00:00 PM0 commentslinks to this post
Regardless how hard we try some of our sponsees will not stay sober. On the other hand some sponsees will ignore all of our advice, work the program “ass backwards” if at all and will stay sober despite our repeated warnings to the contrary. In either case, if we were conscientious in our efforts with her are not at fault. It is after all the grace of God and not us that sobers the alcoholic. If we managed to stay sober while working with other alcoholics our efforts have been a success.
Our Own Skin
For many of us The Program was where we learned, often for the very fist time, to live in our own skin. Some of us never wanted to be ourselves. From our earliest memories, we wanted to live somewhere else, do something else and be someone else. Often this flight from reality started long before we ever tasted alcohol. Alcohol however, added fuel to our escape. No matter what people told us the next day, we were convinced that we sounded better, looked better and felt better after “a few” drinks. When we hit our bottom and had to stop or die, we could no longer rely on a drink to help ease ourselves into our own existence. So we reemerged in our own skin whether we wanted to or not. At first it often can be hard to feel through the fog but eventually we have to face life as ourselves without the narcotic affects of alcohol. This can at times be a painful place. If we are diligent in our program in other words, if we clean house, find God and help others we will begin to recover and in recovery we become alright with ourselves. We learn often joyfully to face life as ourselves just for today.
¶ 4/15/2005 06:59:00 AM0 commentslinks to this post
A God of My Understanding
“If you want to stay sober,” the old timer told me, “you will have to get a God of your understanding, a higher power.” At the time that was an intimidating task. I believed in God, at least academically. The God of my understanding however, was not my higher power, I had no faith. You see my God was a very detached yet punitive parent. I conceded that this God probably could restore me to sanity but, I seriously doubted that he would. Instead I imagined my God looking down and saying “you got yourself into this now get yourself out of it.” Fortunately along with this doubt, I had the “gift of desperation.” So when people told me to act as if I had a merciful God who could and would restore me to sanity, I did. I learned how to ask my God for help staying sober in the morning and thanking my God at night. Not long after I saw the miracles starting to happen not only in my life but the lives of those around me. Little by little I came to believe in a merciful and loving God. Today I believe in a God who not only can restore me but restores me everyday.
¶ 4/04/2005 02:16:00 PM0 commentslinks to this post
Sunday, April 03, 2005
Many years ago now a counselor at a half-way house told me that I had no gratitude. She was right I would later discover but, at the time I had no idea what the word really meant. She told me to look it up in the dictionary but, the definition made no sense to me. Armed with this definition I did not understand, I was supposed to look for people in the house who had gratitude. All I found were clueless idiots who were oblivious to the gravity of their situation. In my arrogance I wondered why I, who had “never caught a break,” should be grateful. Without even asking she told me why, in spite of what I thought I had “caught a break” by getting sober and if I wanted to stay that way I would need to become grateful. I said incredulously, “You don’t want me just to fake it do you?” She told me that she did not care if I had to fake it. She also told me that I needed to write down a gratitude list of at least 25 things every morning. I baulked at the assignment but, not wanting to get kicked out of the house, I did it anyway. There is a lot to be said for doing things anyway. By doing it anyway slowly and at times painfully, I began to become grateful. Today I see where my sobriety has brought me and at times I get glimpse into the lives of those who did not stay sober. Today I do not have to fake it, I am grateful.
¶ 4/03/2005 06:43:00 AM0 commentslinks to this post
Saturday, April 02, 2005
Powerless, in the beginning the very word filled me with shame. It is not that I did not know I was powerless. In fact, I felt powerless over so many things. The word powerless had such a sting in it for me. It suggested my private weakness made public. My deepest fear that I was a silly weak woman and I did not measure up was now on displayed like a neon sign. An old timer assured me that it was a paradox and it would one day make sense. “You’ll understand that you gain power by admitting your powerlessness just as you get by giving,” she said but I did not understand. Today I understand. I do not know when or exactly how that changed for me. By going to meeting and working the steps one day I realized that I saw things differently. Today I am not ashamed to freely admit how powerless I am over so many things and to rely on the only real power there is the God of my understanding.
¶ 4/02/2005 03:47:00 PM1 commentslinks to this post
Outright Mental Defective is an ongoing conversation about living sober one day at a time.