10/26/08 BB Into Action (A double life)

The book Alcoholics Anonymous, aka The Big Book, is the basic text for the AA program of sobriety. "Alcoholics Anonymous" Copyright 2012 AAWS, Inc. All Rights, Reserved. Short excerpts used by permission of AAWS
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Karl R
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10/26/08 BB Into Action (A double life)

Post by Karl R » Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:46 am

Good Day,

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

With yesterday's passage we looked at the 5th step-that we have admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our defects. As Martin said bringing our HP and another person into the process makes honesty and thouroughness more of a possibility.

Today's passage (in red below) helps me revisit the idea of an alcoholic's double life. I spent many years showing one side of myself to the world and keeping the worst of myself to myself (although everyone knew the worst as I now find out). The fifth step was my first really comprehensive opportunity to practice revealing all of myself to another human, and my higher power. The patterns of behavior that were revealed to me helped set the stage for a new manner of living and further travel down the pathway. It helped me learn humility, fearlessness, and honesty. The fifth did indeed relieve at least part of the tension resulting from the 4th for me and pointed the way for more work.

Anyone care to share of their ES and H regarding what they received from their 5th step?

have a great day all,
Karl



This is perhaps difficult - especially discussing our defects with another person. We think we have done well enough in admitting these things to ourselves. There is doubt about that. In actual practice, we usually find a solitary self-appraisal insufficient. Many of us thought it necessary to go much further. We will be more reconciled to discussing ourselves with another person when we see good reasons why we should do so. The best reason first: If we skip this vital step, we may not overcome drinking. Time after time newcomers have tried to keep to themselves certain facts about their lives. Trying to avoid this humbling experience, they have turned to easier methods. Almost invariably they got drunk. Having persevered with the rest of the program, they wondered why they fell. We think the reason is that they never completed their housecleaning. They took inventory all right, but hung on to some of the worst items in stock. They only thought they had lost their egoism and fear; they only thought they had humbled themselves. But they had not learned enough of humility, fearlessness and honesty, in the sense we find it necessary, until they told someone else all their life story.
More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor. To the outer world he presents his stage character. This is the one he likes his fellows to see. He wants to enjoy a certain reputation, but knows in his heart he doesn't deserve it.
The inconsistency is made worse by the things he does on his sprees. Coming to his senses, he is revolted at certain episodes he vaguely remembers. These memories are a nightmare. He trembles to think someone might have observed him. As fast as he can, he pushes these memories far inside himself. He hopes they will never see the light of day. He is under constant fear and tension - that makes for more drinking.
Psychologists are inclined to agree with us. We have spent thousands of dollars for examinations. We know but few instances where we have given these doctors a fair break. We have seldom told them the whole truth nor have we followed their advice. Unwilling to be honest with these sympathetic men, we were honest with no one else. Small wonder many in the medical profession have a low opinion of alcoholics and their chance for recovery!

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Post by Oliver » Mon Oct 27, 2008 5:23 am

This is one of those passages in the Big Book that hit me right between the eyes. I was master of the double-life, of the self-reinvention and of being a person who kept so much of himself from the world and from the sunlight of the spirit. These days, I don't feel the need to be exhibitionist, but I can share these things with somebody - that has been a great gift of our fellowship.

The memories of last night are not a nightmare for me today.
Today I am free to be honesty about myself, where appropriate.
I do not feel I need to act a role in order to belong today.

When I first came to AA I knew I belonged, but I was worried you guys would throw me out because I didn't think I was like you. So I told some stories about my drinking - some true, some exaggerated. I was acting the role of the person I thought you wanted me to be. I made the right noises in the right places. I was a people pleaser. I hoped you all thought I was a nice guy.... and I drank again.

The last time I came back to AA I came back with complete honesty because that was all I had to offer. Bizarrely, I found it such a weight lifted from my shoulders and such a liberation to lay bare the facts of my life in my inventory and to share them.
Oliver
"In exchange for bottle and hangover, I have been given the keys to the kingdom."

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Post by leejosepho » Mon May 07, 2012 3:38 am

Oliver wrote:This is one of those passages in the Big Book that hit me right between the eyes. I was master of the double-life, of the self-reinvention and of being a person who kept so much of himself from the world and from the sunlight of the spirit. These days, I don't feel the need to be exhibitionist, but I can share these things with somebody - that has been a great gift of our fellowship.
That was my own deal, and Step Five really took care of that. There was the person I had always wanted to be and sometimes even thought I might be, but my actions had showed differently and I really knew I was not ...

... and then in Step Five with my sponsor, he shared his own stuff right alongside mine and that horrible load of my trying to be anything other than myself virtually vanished.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Re: 10/26/08 BB Into Action (A double life)

Post by PaigeB » Mon May 07, 2012 10:47 am

The best reason first: If we skip this vital step, we may not overcome drinking. Time after time newcomers have tried to keep to themselves certain facts about their lives. Trying to avoid this humbling experience, they have turned to easier methods...They took inventory all right, but hung on to some of the worst items in stock.
It took a real willingness to go to any length to take the 4th & 5th Steps. I forced myself to stay in that humble AA persona by taking the action... packing up my inventory, driving to my sponsor's house, parking the car, setting up my paperwork at her dining room table.... then blurting out the worst first. She had me write down this part of my inventory. Now I was humble enough and willing enough to get to the actual paperwork portions I had been working on.

There was a part of me that really wanted to please my sponsor. There were those items I was afraid to write down. But in the end it was willingness and a desperate fear of drinking again, of failure, that got me through here. So in some way, some ego was necessary! I had a better understanding of instincts gone astray and am practicing checking my motives. Calling my sponsor in times of trouble and regular meetings with her, keep my 5th Step alive daily.
Step 6 is "AA's way of stating, the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job... with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement." 12&12 Step Six, p.65

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Re: 10/26/08 BB Into Action (A double life)

Post by Tommy-S » Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:01 pm

Thanks folks... Lot of stuff in this one:
In actual practice, we usually find a solitary self-appraisal insufficient.
LOL... Like leaving this fat kid in charge of the cookie jar. :) Had anyone asked me back then, I was one of the nicest people you'd meet...in spite of what judges, friends, family, MPs, cops, etc might have thought or said to the contrary. My alcoholic world was the real one... and living a delusion, the world through the bottom of the bottom was the real culprit, and I, it's greatest victim... or so I thought.
The best reason first: If we skip this vital step, we may not overcome drinking. Time after time newcomers have tried to keep to themselves certain facts about their lives. Trying to avoid this humbling experience, they have turned to easier methods. Almost invariably they got drunk.
The desire to 'overcome drinking' was pointed out time and again by my sponsor while I was on Step 4... Are you willing to go to any lengths?

And I found, once I started digging around old wounds, I just had to get rid of what I found so it was a 'natural progression to tell on myself.
More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor. To the outer world he presents his stage character. This is the one he likes his fellows to see. He wants to enjoy a certain reputation, but knows in his heart he doesn't deserve it.

The inconsistency is made worse by the things he does on his sprees. Coming to his senses, he is revolted at certain episodes he vaguely remembers. These memories are a nightmare. He trembles to think someone might have observed him. As fast as he can, he pushes these memories far inside himself. He hopes they will never see the light of day. He is under constant fear and tension - that makes for more drinking.
It wasn't until finally put the bottle down, adn those awful memories began to surface, did I understand the cycle i had been trapped in behind the drink... drinking to forget what I did the last time, while creating new nightmares, had me so twisted up I no longer knew up from down. Lacking the bottle to numb me to who and what i had become, I simply HAD to do something to clear the wreckage... And in doing so, removed that 'constant fear and tension' the had ensured I would drink again and again until insane or dead.

Confiding the worst in me with another human being was the toughest thing I ever did...but it was Do or Die, and seeing and hearing how this experience had changed those who had gone before me, I did what they did to get what they got.

As the book says a little further on, "I began to have a Spiritual Experience... That personality change sufficient to overcome Alcoholism. And obviously, since I am still stacking up 24 hours, I am 'proof' that it works.

I got a good life today, and know in my heart, 'We've never had it so good. Thanks

Tommy
Together, we don't have to cave in or wimp out to that Fatal First One, no matter what today!

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Re: 10/26/08 BB Into Action (A double life)

Post by PaigeB » Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:28 pm

Thanks Tommy!
Step 6 is "AA's way of stating, the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job... with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement." 12&12 Step Six, p.65

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