This program is confusing me

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Tosh
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by Tosh »

liz wrote: Im not even entirely sure HP can remove my defects.
Sheesh; let's stick some hurdles up! I personally don't worry about my defects; Steps 6 and 7 have nothing to do with me apart from I have to be willing and ask. The rest is upto God/HP to sort out.

In reality what seems to happen is that I put my focus on Steps 10, 11, and especially 12 and this reduces my self centredness (the Big Book explains that all our problems stem from our self centredness and selfishness) and my character defects reduce without me having to focus on them. Obviously Steps 1 to 9 need to be covered too.

It's a very clever program; don't think it, just do it. (NCO's used to scream that at us when I was in basic training in the army; it's good advice). It works.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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Old Rocker
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by Old Rocker »

One of the best things about AA to me is that it is no a self help program.

After the inventory steps we ask our defects of character be removed. Willingness. That was tough for me at times. I had my pet defects I liked to take out and pet, wallow in, and then feel so sad I had that defect!

I think it is better we can't fix ourselves. We could take credit for it if we did.

There is a humility is getting help. It took an act of God to fix the messed up stuff in me. :)
Accepted the ABC's 01/04/95.
(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.
(c) That God could and would if He were sought.

Nancy NC
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by Nancy NC »

I haven't seen this brought up before and I am certainly no expert, but it kind of sounds like you are rushing the program. I was told by some of the old timers to start with attending 30 meetings in 30 days or, better yet, 90 meetings in 90 days before you really start working the steps. Some people say that it takes at least 3 months for your body to get rid of the toxins it has accumulated. Take on a responsibility in your home group, like making coffee or cleaning up afterwards, etc. Being the "newbie" in the meetings helps to teach humility. From there take your time and really work the steps. Your moral inventory should be thorough and searching. It's not just the big things like stealing money. It's also the every day things like dishonesty, being selfish, hypersensitive or angry, etc.
Last edited by Nancy NC on Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Tosh
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Re: This program is confusing me

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Old Rocker wrote: There is a humility is getting help.
I once heard someone share that humility is merely an understanding of the reality of a situation. For me and the the 12 Steps, I realised I definitely needed help. Why? Because I have a massive tendency to over-think and over complicate stuff, but having a Big Book based sponsor helped me to keep things simple and get the things done that needed to be done (like a Step 4, Step 5, and certain amends I had problems with).

Prior to getting a sponsor I was reading all kinds of books about God and spirituality; purely to try and understand the program, yet not doing the program. That's a bit like trying to understand sex by reading books and intellectualising about it, but not actually doing the act itself. With the program, like sex, the real knowledge comes from the doing and not the thinking about it.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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Old Rocker
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Re: This program is confusing me

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Tosh wrote:
Old Rocker wrote: There is a humility is getting help.
I once heard someone share that humility is merely an understanding of the reality of a situation. For me and the the 12 Steps, I realised I definitely needed help. Why? Because I have a massive tendency to over-think and over complicate stuff, but having a Big Book based sponsor helped me to keep things simple and get the things done that needed to be done (like a Step 4, Step 5, and certain amends I had problems with).

Prior to getting a sponsor I was reading all kinds of books about God and spirituality; purely to try and understand the program, yet not doing the program. That's a bit like trying to understand sex by reading books and intellectualising about it, but not actually doing the act itself. With the program, like sex, the real knowledge comes from the doing and not the thinking about it.

Ha! And your sit has a note under the quote for no sniggling by the sex addicts! The irony :)

Some experiential truth there I guess in your post.

That would have gotten quite a few laughs in my home group meeting. But we are a bit of a crazy crowd at times. More fun.
Accepted the ABC's 01/04/95.
(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.
(c) That God could and would if He were sought.

shaunagus
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by shaunagus »

Tosh wrote:
Old Rocker wrote: There is a humility is getting help.

Prior to getting a sponsor I was reading all kinds of books about God and spirituality; purely to try and understand the program, yet not doing the program. That's a bit like trying to understand sex by reading books and intellectualising about it, but not actually doing the act itself. With the program, like sex, the real knowledge comes from the doing and not the thinking about it.
Ah bugger! That doesn't bode well for my spiritual development....

I've been practicing sex for 30 years and I am still rubbish at it :lol:
“I am a seeker, a poor sinful creature, there is no weaker than I am,” Dolly Parton

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Brock
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Re: This program is confusing me

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Nancy NC wrote:I haven't seen this brought up before and I am certainly no expert, but it kind of sounds like you are rushing the program.

My experience on this subject is that more often than not, newcomers don’t rush the program, quite the opposite they take far too long. I know you speak about being thorough, and agree to an extent, (will cover that after this), but more and more sponsors are seeing the wisdom, in doing the steps closer to the speed they did them when AA was relatively new. The book “Back to Basics” has gained popularity in recent years, and uses four lessons one each week, and you not only complete the steps you are then expected to start teaching others. When the early AA’s were admitted to hospital, they left within two weeks with all steps completed, turned around and started sponsoring others. And while I agree that the problems and doubts Liz is experiencing could be put down to rushing, without being cruel I suspect it may have to do with not believing it would work in the first place, and therefore doing it in a half hearted manner. Let’s also keep in mind that she had a sponsor who relapsed while working with her, once again don’t want to be cruel, but doesn’t sound like much of a sponsor to begin with.
Your moral inventory should be thorough and searching. It's not just the big things like stealing money. It's the small things like that fight you started with somebody when you were in second grade, the lies you told your parents over why you did or didn't do something or that poor awkward kid you picked on when you were a teen.
I expect that these were the instructions your sponsor gave you, and they have worked, so three cheers for that. But sponsors vary on this question of thoroughness, whether you care for the popular speaker Chris R or not, many people follow his advice. And Chris among others I have heard lambaste the idea of taking more than a couple of months on the steps. And all point the finger at #4 as being the main culprit in holding people back, held back or maybe procrastinating all because they want to be “thorough.” And because sponsors are different, I for example when considering the second grade fight, would be tempted to say rubbish get a life, let’s put down the big stuff. If you find when you complete the steps that pulling Johnny’s hair as a kid still bothers you I would be surprised, and if it does do another 4 & 5 on this small stuff, many people do them over and over, some on an annual basis. The bottom line for me, believe in your heart it will work for you as it has for millions, and just do it, quicker the better.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

liz
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by liz »

Hi.

Thank you for all the support and suggestions and patience. i am probably repeating the same issues sorry.

I am doing the program quickly. I just have to go over step 12 with a sponsor.
I've been listening to the joe and Charlie BB study thanks to one of your recommendation and I like the way they break things down and make sense of things. Ive been enjoying them. I also relate to the person above who complicates and over thinks everything.

The problem as I see it is I am reciting prayers and 10th steps but they are quite empty.
I guess it takes time and practice before there is power behind the praying if I am making sense.
I still dont even know what people mean when they say that God is the director. how does one even turn over control to God. I am currently unemployed with little income I need to start making decisions quickly
I am not in a place of neutrality nor have my thoughts changed. I am going to try praying for people I feel resentful towards as per the Joe and Charlie recommendation.
I know a lot of the true recovery comes from sponsoring, how do i do that if I have not experienced the recovery?

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PaigeB
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by PaigeB »

Try meditating on turning things over to HP - just have an open mind, don't struggle.

There is always the options of finishing the 12th Step and then going right on to sponsoring. Your opinion may be colored by your preception of not having a spiritual experience.

"... a personality change sufficient to bring about recovery..." Appendix II
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

shaunagus
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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by shaunagus »

liz wrote:Hi.

I am doing the program quickly. I just have to go over step 12 with a sponsor.

The problem as I see it is I am reciting prayers and 10th steps but they are quite empty.
I guess it takes time and practice before there is power behind the praying if I am making sense.

I am not in a place of neutrality nor have my thoughts changed. I

I know a lot of the true recovery comes from sponsoring, how do i do that if I have not experienced the recovery?
Hi Liz

There are people with much much more experience than me so hopefully of what I am about to write is off-base someone will say.

If you are at step 12 and haven't had a spiritual awakening then possibly something has been missed out during your step work. Don't get me wrong I am totally in favour of working the steps quickly - I got a sponsor after 3 weeks, about a month later I was started on my step 4, two months after that I did step five, six, seven, eight and started nine. Now I am on ten and eleven (haven't found a sponsee yet so don't count myself on step 12). So in three months approx I worked the steps.

At the beginning of the process I asked my sponsor "what if I do all this and don't have a psychic change?" and he replied that he guaranteed I will. Others said the same - that if I work the steps I would have a spiritual awakening and I (an atheist/agnostic) had a spiritual awakening, a psychic change.

I am not in a position of neutrality every day but it's a billion times better than before. I don't feel connected to a power greater than myself all the time but when I work at it, I do. Mostly I have a programme and tools to help me feel connected to something powerful.

So based on what I was told (psychic change guaranteed) and my experience - plus the wording of the Twelfth Step "having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps" maybe something got missed in your journey?

I don't know. I obviously don't know you at all. And so I could be waaaay off beam and please don't out too much stock in my words but I just offer them as my experience in case it helps. If I am right it doesn't mean anything bad other than a revisit of earlier parts of the programme. And in reality we all do that as part of working our ongoing programme in one way or another anyway.

With love, in fellowship

Shaun
“I am a seeker, a poor sinful creature, there is no weaker than I am,” Dolly Parton

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Re: This program is confusing me

Post by Roberth »

Hello liz a lot of good stuff here. Maybe too much to swallow at once, my sponsor would tell me things like we eat an elephant one bite at time.
He knew the reason people fight the 4th step so much was of the 5th step and not wanting to tell anyone. So he would tell me so don’t work the steps just concentrate on the step you are on.
He also told me to look at the punctuation in the book. When I came to a period was I supposed to take action like in the 4th step it we made a grudge list On step 4 he pointed the period after the line “We listed people, institutions or principles with whom we were angry.”
Of course I was lucky because he would sit with me and talk me through each.
Robert
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in pretty, well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming WOW What a ride!!!!

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Brock
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Re: This program is confusing me

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liz wrote: I know a lot of the true recovery comes from sponsoring, how do i do that if I have not experienced the recovery?

Liz started this thread and it has gone on for quite a while, I think the opinions offered in the main have been helpful, maybe not so much to Liz but I am certain to other readers myself included. And the fact that she started it and it has helped others is 12th step work, sponsorship is also 12th step work, but not the only kind, not at all. It is my greatest wish that she may see that by coming here she has helped others, well done and thank you. The statement quoted above is false, there is joy in sponsoring yes, but I know it is Liz’s ex sponsor who put that idea in her head, for she said on March 27th. –
my sponsor tells me the program was really reinforced when she started sponsoring.
Well if it was reinforced it was by weight being added to the bottom, because shortly after this it was reported that the sponsor relapsed, she landed flat on her bottom. I am not trying to make fun of someone’s relapse, just pointing out that what she told you proved to be false.

In the Big Book the chapter discussing step 12 is titled “Working With Others,” the word sponsor does not appear, in those very early days of the fellowship it was more of a hands on go out and look for a drunk sort of thing, and Bill spoke of the things we should expect, remember at that time it was normal to take drunks home, where we may have what is written on page 97 happen –
A drunk may smash the furniture in your
home, or burn a mattress. You may have to fight with
him if he is violent. Sometimes you will have to call
a doctor and administer sedatives under his direction.
Another time you may have to send for the police or
an ambulance. Occasionally you will have to meet
such conditions.
By 1953 when he wrote the 12 & 12, AA had developed to the point that Bill saw this one- on- one intensive work as only a part of the 12th --- here is what he says on page 110
Nor is this the only kind of Twelfth Step work. We sit in
A.A. meetings and listen, not only to receive something
ourselves, but to give the reassurance and support which
our presence can bring. If our turn comes to speak at a
meeting, we again try to carry A.A.'s message. Whether our
audience is one or many, it is still Twelfth Step work. There
are many opportunities even for those of us who feel unable
to speak at meetings or who are so situated that we cannot
do much face-to-face Twelfth Step work. We can be the
ones who take on the unspectacular but important tasks that
make good Twelfth Step work possible, perhaps arranging
for the coffee and cake after the meetings, where so many
skeptical, suspicious newcomers have found confidence
and comfort in the laughter and talk. This is Twelfth Step
work in the very best sense of the word.
Twelve Step work in the very best sense of the word indeed, thank you Liz for starting this thread, it helps folks like me remember that just by attending a meeting, shaking someone's hand, better yet assisting with coffee or the chairs, this is 12th step work also, your higher power will reveal more, keep the faith, and may God bless you.

Brock.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

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Tosh
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Re: This program is confusing me

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liz wrote: I still dont even know what people mean when they say that God is the director.
Okay, what's God's will for me? Is it to go out and have an affair with some strange woman? Or is it to help carry this message to other alcoholics? Is it to be angry towards my family when they annoy me, or is it to try and practise patience and tolerance towards them? Is it for me to be self centred or to try and work towards being other centred (some call 'other centred' as being 'God centred'; in practise it should be the same thing). If God's my director, then my intentions and actions should (I say 'should', because they often aren't) be aimed at being less selfish and self centred.
liz wrote: how does one even turn over control to God.
Someone wise here once posted that God gave us freewill, he doesn't want it back. But making the decision at Step 3 - though it can mean different things to different people - should manifest itself in doing steps 4 through to 12. These steps are the METHOD of how we turn our will and our lives over. Remember, my natural inclination is to be selfish and self centred and do things like to try and have an affair with Mrs Tosh's sister. God's will is for me to do Steps 4 through to 12.
liz wrote: I am currently unemployed with little income I need to start making decisions quickly
The Big Book calls God the Great Reality. Reality is a great teacher - it keeps on bashing us (again and again) till we learn how to do things differently and/or better. It's certainly how God disciplines me. He lets me keep on making mistakes till I learn from them (and I'm a slow learner; I'm a Geordie!!). Someone smart once wrote something like "We are not punished for our sins, but we're punished by our sins".

God's will for me is to work, to pay the bills, to treat my family with respect and to carry this message. This stuff doesn't have to be all 'high brow' and esoteric. It's about getting our heads out of our bottoms (our self centredness) and start working towards being 'other centred'. That might sound strange, but for many years I made my own happiness more important than anyone else's and I ended up miserable and contemplating suicide and at my first A.A. meeting. Then once I started trying my best with this program, I found being less self centred a lighter - happier - way to live.
liz wrote: I am not in a place of neutrality nor have my thoughts changed.
Liz, can I ask you to describe your Step 5 experience; how did that go? And what about your amends; how did they go?
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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