A few months ago I celebrated 20 years since I last consumed any alcohol. While this may seem like nothing to many of you, I invite you to go spend some time at your local detox centers. You will quickly discover that this is something many people cannot do at all. And for those of you who are great at math, you will quickly discover that I stopped drinking closely after turning 21. In a few years, I will have been sober longer than I had the potential to drink.
Were entirely ready – are we ever entirely ready for anything? Do we ever stop to ponder that before we undertake something of major import, or do we just dive in headfirst?
Maybe personality is a factor but in my olden days of addiction I used to plunge headfirst in to anything I thought would bring me relief from the squirmy discomfort of the moment. I went with the “it’ll be fine, it’ll work out” attitude with little or no thought as to whether it actually would or could.
In the world of 12 steps, Step 6 is one of the shortest – 12 little words which, on first glance, seem simple. But as all steps, they are simply profound.
A dry alcoholic – one who’s merely ceased drinking – is a miserable one. I certainly was. I needed booze. For over 15 years it served as my medicine, my magic doorway to relaxation and social confidence.
Throughout my first two years sober, intense nervousness and insecurity made me miserable. Tension ran me so ragged that my body eventually decided, “Can’t do this anymore; we’re shutting down” – and I sank into a depression no Zoloft could touch. I had not worked the 12 Steps.
We are starting a new tradition here at the New Thought Sobriety blog. The first Tuesday of each month, we will publish a post in the form of a LIST (after all, who doesn’t love a list?).
Each list post will feature things that are helpful, informative, educational, or inspiring! For example, “Top 10 Books on Recovery and Spirituality” or “Five Ways to Move Through the Holidays Peacefully.”
Enjoy our first one below, and let us know how you like it!
Today I want to talk about the first step.
They say in meetings that it is the only one that needs to be done perfectly. And yet it seems to be the most difficult one. And not just for New Thought folks but for everyone. If you are a New Thought person, then you know what the objection is. That one word: powerless. We are taught in New Thought that we are most definitely not powerless. Others object because they simply don’t want to stop the old way of living, and still others object because they are too afraid of the unknown to let go of the known.
Fear, rage, and shame. These were the dominant emotions in my home growing up.
I also recall a lot of shushing. People were “sleeping” [aka passed out], so shhhh. Loud emotions were squelched.
Healthy modeling of how to express anger I do not recall. Anger was at times downplayed or denied; other times fire-breathing and frightening.
So I am still fine tuning my anger-expressing skills. Actually even identifying and feeling anger. For me the learning experience is (a) how not to repress it– and (b) then what?
Procrastination: one word with such a powerful meaning behind it. We all do it. I will admit I am often guilty of putting things off.
I was in a therapy coaching session of my own a couple years ago sifting through pieces of my recovery story trying to uncover why I seem to procrastinate sometimes on important things – like my writing. Ironically, I’ve procrastinated down to the wire on this very blog post even after being mindful of what I learned in that session with my coach.
Thanks to my friend Peggy who recently articulated such a profoundly simple statement that rang so true for me at the cellular level that I want to embrace it, let it sink into my consciousness, and share it.
She said that AA and Science of Mind are two of her favorite things.
Such a plain and simple truth that I can live by. These two paths go hand in hand and lead to a land of sanity, serenity, and spirituality.
I stumbled in SOM before Alcoholics Anonymous. Probably literally stumbled as I was drinking pretty heavily in those days.