This program is confusing me

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liz
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This program is confusing me

Post by liz »

I simply do not know what I am doing spirituality wise.
I've gone through steps 1-11 already with a nice sponsor so I should almost be in maintenance!
A couple of prayers and it will heal me? My sponsor keeps saying bring every emotion to God, feeling,craving,resesentment,fear..but how??? Just by saying it?....Does it take quite a bit of practice and time? This is not an athiest issue, I have prayed in my life but these spiritual things have never worked for me.
I tried that Law of attraction thing in the past and got so frustrated I threw the book out.

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ann2
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by ann2 »

Hi Liz, welcome! For me the steps were not a couple of prayers. I needed a lot of study and concentration at step 1, for example, and step 4 involved intense self-examination that took place in a notebook. In step 9 I approached people in my life to begin actions to make up for the disappointments I'd caused them due to m drinking. Step ten continues the self-examination process.

What was your experience with the steps like? Did you use the instructions in the Big Book?

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

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Hanna
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by Hanna »

Hi Liz,
I too tried very hard to get it, this spirituality thing that all these relatively happy people seem to get so effortlessly! I too got frustrated when things like books, cd's, and meditation didn't work- I was trying sooo hard to get it. I made trips to church for the sole purpose of praying to every statue displayed to help free me from this obsession that was destroying me with each drink.
I spent years trying to "get it" so I wouldn't feel the anxiety that led me to self medicate with alcohol, which I did for the next 7 years. It eventually led to my spiral to the bottom of the bottle. Eventually I began to live for the next drink.
It wasn't until I took a look at where I was headed and it scared me. I didn't want to die this way, I knew deep inside that I wanted to do anything I could to save my life and spend it peacefully content with my family. I stopped trying to get help from the latest books, cds and such, I needed to reconnect with me, my spirit. I stopped asking humans for help when it was my spirit that was suffering, I was not living the life I knew I wanted--because of a substance that had power over my choices! I always chose to drink, even when I promised myself I wouldn't. I lost my drivers license for 2 yrs and then 2 months later I lost my job. I looked back and saw all the time I swore I wouldn't drink yet I did. I finally accepted it, I am powerless over alcohol! As a result my life had become unmanageable, I hadn't taken a good look at my life in a long time, I saw the consequences and collateral damage I caused, my life was unmanageable. How was I going to fix all this?
When I genuinely asked God to help me, I did feel a sense that things may work out. I had what I saw as 2 choices on how my story was going to turn out: A. peaceful & content with my family or B. obsessed & never satisfied and alone. I wanted option A and in that moment when I truly asked God for help I did briefly feel a sense of peace and hope. Later that day I found this sight, I have been coming here everyday since. That was the 2nd time he helped me that day, 1st was that brief sense of peace & hope. That was 21 months ago, the obsession has lifted, but I had to do my work for it to happen. My work was taking the steps, they are in order for a reason, step 4 is not advised until you have thoroughly accepted steps 1,2 & 3 . The steps are not tasks to completed on a deadline but more like a set of instructions on how to live and have peace and serenity, they are to be reread and acted upon as often as necessary until you have thoroughly accepted. This is a good time to go with Faith if you are having difficulty. Each step brought me closer to that peaceful content life that I had always been seeking. Once I asked for His help, I decided to stay close by, in case He sends anymore signs I want to be available to receive them. Each morning when I wake I ask for His help to make this a good day, remind me to pause when agitated and do my best to be the person I want to be, the best me.
I now comprehend spirituality, for me it's when my thoughts and actions are in harmony with my soul and nature. Once I surrendered I found strength, after each step I found a little more peace. I wish you strength and peace~
Hanna
We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace

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Layne
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by Layne »

liz wrote:I simply do not know what I am doing spirituality wise.....Does it take quite a bit of practice and time?
The rest of my life for this alcoholic, but it is about progress and not perfection, attempting to improve my conscious contact with my higher power; it is about the journey, not a destination.

I used to talk about how I had never had any burning bush spiritual experiences; now I am not so sure how true that is. It could be that I had been so close to a burning bush that I got singed by the intense heat and was just unaware of the pyre happening at my elbow.

My lack of acknowledgement of something doesn't mean that it isn't happening. For years I didn't acknowledge the fact that I was an alcoholic, didn't mean that I wasn't one.

Trust the process and be willing. Let your heart guide you and be quiet long enough to hear the the answers, because you are receiving them.

liz
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by liz »

Thank you so much for the replies.
The problem is I have genuinely asked God for help and admitted powerlessness.
I admitted step 1 for a long time before I came to program.
I have been bringing fears, resentments as they come up to god.
I don't know what else to do.
my sponsor told me just today that it sounds as though I am white knuckling on my will and I have to hand everything to God. I genuinely wish I knew what this meant as it might make a difference.

Mike O
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by Mike O »

liz wrote:I simply do not know what I am doing spirituality wise.
I've gone through steps 1-11 already with a nice sponsor so I should almost be in maintenance!
A couple of prayers and it will heal me? My sponsor keeps saying bring every emotion to God, feeling,craving,resesentment,fear..but how??? Just by saying it?....Does it take quite a bit of practice and time? This is not an athiest issue, I have prayed in my life but these spiritual things have never worked for me.
I tried that Law of attraction thing in the past and got so frustrated I threw the book out.
Hi Liz,

What's your specific "symptom"?

Is it that you want to drink? The obsession hasn't been lifted?

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PaigeB
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by PaigeB »

I heard a really great speaker the other day who talked about really getting the benefits of Steps 10 and 11. He said he writes out inventory every night and sometimes carries a notebook to write down things as they come up during the day... both he shares with another alcoholic and together they see patterns of behavior that need work.

Prayers, according to the BB should happen morning, night and anytime in between.... We pause when agitated and ask... Prayer is like a talking meditation for me, and I have to practice it, I put it in my morning routine. My evening routine tends to stop when I fall asleep - usually when I get through the list of jerks who affected me today and I DO NOT think that is where it is meant to stop, so I gotta work on that!

Meditation ~ now THAT takes practice! Today you can do a quick Google search and come up with a ton of stuff on it. Most of it is pretty simple, but it DOES take active practice. It is a practice in refocusing the mind.

In real life, I refocus many times a day by using the pause and redirect to good thinking. Thinking about practicing the AA principles - or just the one word principle itself, like "Integrity" or "Love" or "Service".

But there is always action to take. :wink:
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB

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ezdzit247
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by ezdzit247 »

Hi, Liz

My name is Mary and I'm an alcoholic.

Here are the Promises from the AA Big Book on p 83-84.

1. If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.

2. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.

3. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.

4. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.

5. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.

6. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.

7. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.

8. Self-seeking will slip away.

9. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.

10. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.

11. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.

12. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.


Have you experienced ANY of these promises being fulfilled in your life so far? If you have, please tell us which ones?
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

shunpiker
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by shunpiker »

Hi Liz. Prayer and meditation like anything in life takes a bit of practice, and a lot of humility. Talk to God when you feel it is the right time, and not just in the morning on your knees, or at night just before bed. God is available to us 24 hours a day 7 days a week, so pray when it's good for you and he will listen. But also spend some time afterward hearing his response to you. God speaks to us in many ways including through prayer, the bible, church, others and circumstances. If we humbly turn 100% of our will over to God, and let him direct our lives we will be restored and redeemed. Our sanity will return, and our defects and obsessions will be removed. Like this program, prayer takes a bit of work, but the rewards are endless. Derrick, a recovering alcoholic and a grateful follower of Jesus Christ.
"But I thought it was just to damn big of a mountain to climb" Joe Walsh/One day at a time

rosco
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by rosco »

Liz,
i have just over two years. i have the same issue but it is waining again, thankfully. i'm glad i read this.

i am trying to understand the prayers rather than recite. "My HP, i give this over to you. it is too big for me..." i mean i need to understand what i'm doing, not waiting for my HP to say, "ok, i got you."

i only find that my problems are gone after i've turned my back on them for a while. helping others at meetings, 12 stepping, by just saying, "Hi, i'm sober for x time," helps me turn my back on the problems/fears.

have you listened to speakers on spirituality? Clancy I has a hilarious one on it. and i think Sandy B or Chuck C helped me laugh and feel better about my part.

i could be a bit off, but spirituality to me is the same quest i had when drinking. an inordinate desire for a conscious contact with God. God is people and Love is action. i wish i could see the "light" or spirit in things only but i usually recenter on living dust, its earthly importance and how it affects me.

Curt

liz
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by liz »

Thank you so much for all the helpful replies.


"What's your specific "symptom"?"

White knucking through cravings and none of the promises have been filled. Not yet being in a place of neutrality towards drinking.
I still have all the fear,selfishness,depressed thoughts,etc so this tells me something has not clicked yet.

It might become better when I get to sponsor someone but how can I unless I am first recovered?

Mike O
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by Mike O »

Thanks for the reply, Liz.

Were you rigorously honest throughout the steps?
I only ask because some people, including myself initially, can hold things back, particularly with Step 4.

-Mike :D

liz
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by liz »

I was honest in step 4. I didn't have THAT many shameful things, the worst was stolen money. The most damage I did luckily was to myself.
If Im being totally honest here and I don't mean offense at all but I think what Bill had was some born again experience...
This is a rare thing to happen..
The fellowship is helpful but the promises seem a little too good to be true especially for someone who has had these psychological issues ingrained for years.

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ann2
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by ann2 »

Hi liz,

I wonder what your experience was like with step 4. Did you write out a list of people, institutions and concepts that you felt resentful toward? Did you then go through that list and write down the reason you felt that way? Did you then add a 3rd column to the list, identifying if it was self-esteem, security, ambitions, personal, or sex relations, which had been interfered with? Were you then able to recognize that those who caused you to be resentful were struggling with their own issues? At that point, did you begin to identify your own mistakes? Did you begin to see where you had been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking and frightened?

I am referring to the Big Book's instructions for taking step 4. There is more, about fear, about sex relations. The reason i am going into specifics here is because step 4 is a way to take moral inventory, to make a personal examination -- something most of us alcoholics avoid.

This is the kind of honesty step 4 helped me with. This was the basis of step 5, which led to a profound change in my perspective in steps six and seven.

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

liz
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by liz »

Hi Ann,

I did the inventory in the chart style you are talking about with how it affected my personal,ambition,security,etc.
I understood how I was self seeking ,dishonest and afraid in many of issues.

I did step 5 and read them with my sponsor..

and step 6 is where the confusion begins we are ready to have these defects removed. yes I am ready and have been asking for them to be removed but I don't feel any different, all of the fear,resentment,frustration,depression is there.
I can't get out of my head enough for this to work for me. My situation is not helping either, I recently lost my job, live with family member, am in early 30's and have nothing.

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