This program is confusing me

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ann2
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by ann2 »

Hi Liz,

Thanks for writing back. Step 6 was confusing for me, too -- i'm kind of lucky in that i didn't realize I was taking step 6, because it was a long time I took getting willing to have my higher power remove all my defects of character. After taking step 5, I was struck by the idea of having those defects define me. All I knew of myself, basically, were these defects. What would I be without them? I was terrified of the alternative, because I didn't know what it would be.

I know not everyone in AA has this kind of experience in taking step 6, but I think we all come to the point of sacrifice, that is, knowing our way didn't work, and we have to try something else, no matter how little we know of what that something is.

I don't know much still-- i just try to do the next right thing, and stop worrying about things I have no control over. Pray the serenity prayer a lot, i guess.

Glad you're here.

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

Mike O
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by Mike O »

I can't get out of my head enough for this to work for me.
Do you really believe that there is a Higher Power who can take these things away from you?
bring every emotion to God, feeling,craving,resesentment,fear..but how??? Just by saying it?....
For me, yes....followed by repeating the third step prayer on a daily basis.

harry71
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by harry71 »

Liz,how would you act if they were removed? My sponsor told me that my Higher Power was not deaf, ask and move on. I began to act as if they were removed and guess what I started to get relief. Some times things don't change ,but we do.
God Keeps Me Sober AA Keeps Me Asking

Mike O
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by Mike O »

harry71 wrote: I began to act as if they were removed and guess what I started to get relief. Some times things don't change ,but we do.
Good post, Harry.

This is kinda what I was eventually driving at, but you put it better than I would have. I think its possible to over-analyse the steps, promises, etc.

Liz, try just forgetting about yourself. Tomorrow, put every thought into other people. If you find yourself dwelling at all on yourself and your concerns, do something for someone. Force yourself out of your own head, to use your own terminology.

As Harry said, you've given all your stuff to your HP - He has it, so move on. Don't hold onto it.

Read Appendix II - Spiritual Experience - in the Big Book. It describes a change in our reaction to life. I think you'll find it helpful.

Lali
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by Lali »

First of all, do you have any reservations whatsoever about step one - and I mean both parts?

Now as for the defects part (Step 4), my advice would be to be diligent about working on those defects as they crop up, Every time you find yourself feeling resentful, for instance, or self-centered, for instance, be very aware of these thoughts.

Be still for a moment when you find yourself feeling resentful, for instance. If you are fortunate enough to have an index to the BB (they are out there somewhere - I once got my hands on one), go to the index and read\ every passage you can find that discusses resentments. Take the advice that you will read. For instance, the BB tells us to pray for those who you feel resentful towards. EVEN IF YOU DON'T MEAN IT. Keep praying for that person that something good will come their way. Eventually, yoiu will find the resentment has been lifted. I'm just using resentment as an example becaue the BB tells us resentment is the number one reason people go back out (paraphrased). Just know that when you are feeling resentful towards someone, it is eating you up inside, and the other person couldn't care less. They are going happily through their life. Its like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.

Anothe example - If you find yourself doing something that is self-centered, stop and think about it and think about how you can rectify it. Apologize the person towards whom you were acting self-centered. Think about how you might help them. Think about how you can help others.

In other words, take each defect you listed and when it crops up, stop and think about it and turn it into a positive action. Have you gotten to the amends part of the steps? Making amends will also help you alot. So what I'm saying is don't just list your defects and ask your HP to take them.

Take a proactive stance and work on each defect as they crop up. I think if you really let yourself stop and think about your defects and act in a positive way , you will find that you HP will help you along with this. If you are having trouble in the area of defects, don't expect them to go away overnight. Just work at it and move along with the other steps in the meantime.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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Brock
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by Brock »

Post deleted by me on 31st of March, someone found it offensive and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, and I apologize for doing so in this case.
Last edited by Brock on Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Mike O
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by Mike O »

I agree providing you are satisfied that 4 & 5 were thoroughly done.
Yes, of course.
:)

liz
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by liz »

its late now and Im going to re read all the great advice on this thread later in the day.
I really appreciate it, thanks
One question that stood out to me was
"Do you really believe that there is a Higher Power who can take these things away from you?"
And if im being totally honest I dont think so. I think thats the problem from my initial post is I havent had luck with those self help books about the universe making everything right for you.
Aside from that, I feel these are more than defects, a visit I had to a psychiatrist I came out of the consult with 2 different disorders aside from addiction :?

But still I hope I can clear my clutter enough to get a daily thing going prayer and meditation wise. and work "as if" I believe all this stuff.

do you guys just do a 10 step around every bad feeling that comes along during the day? is that what is meant by working on it?

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PaigeB
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Re: This program is confusing me

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It says in the Big Book...

Either God is everything or he is nothing." Either way, we need to get working the program or we will die. Work the Steps to the best of your ability and waste no time! AA has been my HP since August 1, 2009 and I have not found it necessary to take a drink.

Everything or nothing? I chose the latter. I worked all 12 Steps with my sponsor and I am currently taking 3 gals through the Steps as well. Step 12 says, "Having had a spiritual awakening as THE result of these Steps.."

The work comes first and then the results.

All we can do is try for the best and leave the results alone.
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

harry71
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by harry71 »

Liz,I have great respect for psychiatrist, but their job is to give people a label. You have character defects, you are not a defective character. Your self talk is part of the problem as I see it. Treat your self the way you would want others to treat you. God loves you and so does AA, just the way you are. Of course all this is my opinion which is worth what you paid for it!
God Keeps Me Sober AA Keeps Me Asking

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ann2
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by ann2 »

I have or have had some very juicy diagnoses, at least two serious enough to unalterably change the course of my life and character. However, putting AA's program first has always been THE best way of dealing with everything else. Why? I think for me it's about honesty and action. If I am dishonest, I will drink. If I don't face up to my issues, I am being dishonest. If I admit them but don't take on board all the stuff I need to do and think about because of them, I am being lazy.

I just keep paddling my little webbed feet under the water honey. Yes, prayer every time. And eventually you get very pleased to have a reason to remember HP :)

It's really a wonderful way of living.

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

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Layne
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by Layne »

liz wrote: One question that stood out to me was
"Do you really believe that there is a Higher Power who can take these things away from you?"
And if im being totally honest I dont think so. I think thats the problem from my initial post is I havent had luck with those self help books about the universe making everything right for you.
Whatever the character defect is that I ask to be taken away, that thing was originated and created by me, so even if a higher power takes it away, I can still originate and create it again. That is what free will is.

The thing will never ever be permanently gone to never return as long as I have free will. Free will is a double edged sword, but it is to wonderful of a gift to trade.

Character defects, disorders, diseases are just a few of the labels and or names for some of the things that I have. Knowing the name and or label doesn't really change much for me other than helping me to identify and be a little more aware of causes and effects. Bottom line is they are the cards I have been dealt.

I seem to do better when I try to fit Layne into the universe, rather then when I try and fit the universe to Layne.

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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by Mike O »

liz wrote: "Do you really believe that there is a Higher Power who can take these things away from you?"
And if im being totally honest I dont think so.
Ah, we're getting somewhere, Liz.
:D

Do you think you could believe in the possibility that there is such a Higher Power? Because, that's all that you need at this point.
Read the chapter We Agnostics again, thoroughly, Liz.

stever777
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by stever777 »

:wink: If you have worked the steps with a sponsor and you are still confused, then there is something within you that is blocking you from having your Spiritual Experience. For example, until I could get past the almost certain belief that God would not forgive me for the things I'd done, I continued to paint a negative , unforgivable image of myself. This was a recipe for failure and I went back out time and time again over it. Finally I understand and have been sober longer than my last five-year relapse. :D

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PaigeB
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by PaigeB »

The Big Book Online - Appendices I I

SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE

The terms “spiritual experience” and “spiritual awakening” are used many times in this book which, upon careful reading, shows that the personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism has manifested itself among us in many different forms.

Yet it is true that our first printing gave many readers the impression that these personality changes, or religious experiences, must be in the nature of sudden and spectacular upheavals. Happily for everyone, this conclusion is erroneous.

In the first few chapters a number of sudden revolutionary changes are described. Though it was not our intention to create such an impression, many alcoholics have nevertheless concluded that in order to recover they must acquire an immediate and overwhelming “God-consciousness” followed at once by a vast change in feeling and outlook.

Among our rapidly growing membership of thousands of alcoholics such transformations, though frequent, are by no means the rule. Most of our experiences are what the psychologist William James calls the “educational variety” because they develop slowly over a period of time. Quite often friends of the newcomer are aware of the difference long before he is himself. He finally realizes that he has undergone a profound alteration in his reaction to life; that such a change could hardly have been brought about by himself alone. What often takes place in a few months could seldom have been accomplished by years of self-discipline. With few exceptions our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves.

Most of us think this awareness of a Power greater than ourselves is the essence of spiritual experience. Our more religious members call it “God-consciousness.”

Most emphatically we wish to say that any alcoholic capable of honestly facing his problems in the light of our experience can recover, provided he does not close his mind to all spiritual concepts. He can only be defeated by an attitude of intolerance or belligerent denial.

We find that no one need have difficulty with the spirituality of the program. Willingness, honesty and open mindedness are the essentials of recovery. But these are indispensable. (H.O.W.)

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”

—Herbert Spencer
Straight from the Big Book... emphasis made by me.
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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