Category: 12 Steps


Sober nation recently sent me an email talking about rebooting your recovery and I thought I would pass it on to y’all in case you have not signed up for their emails yet:

The truth is, is we are never as safe as we think.

It’s always terrifying and humbling to hear about friends or mentors relapsing after achieving multiple years of recovery. Addiction is a tricky foe, it has a way of sneaking up behind us when we are vulnerable.

Everyone (including myself) slacks off on their recovery from time to time. We get comfortable and we think to ourselves “I got this.”

I have seen many reasons for this…

  • Some of us no longer enjoy going to meetings, so we stop.
  • Some of us can’t afford weekly therapy sessions, so we stop.
  • Some of us lose friends or move and lose our support system.
We can help! There’s no need to white knuckle it. Let’s take action!

For the past 3 months, we have been quietly working on a 30 Day E-mail course that will Reboot Your Recovery.

This course is designed for everyone. If you have 30 days or 30 years, you will gain perspective, insight and daily exercises that will give your recovery a jump start.

I could go on and on about how amazing our course is, but I would rather show you. The course is a small $15 charge, less than you pay for Starbucks every week.

Except in this case, you can keep what you’ve learned and be able to apply it to a lifetime of recovery and life experience.

If you are feeling down, if you are feeling stagnant or if you are just interested in continuing to grow, this course is for you!

Take Charge and Start the Course

P.S. – If you have questions about what this entails, feel free to reply to this email. We only want to be of service. Here’s the link one last time

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Much love,

Sober Nation

There is a cost for what they are offering but if you click on the link and check it out they explain it all and it might be worth at least checking it out.  I am not going to be participating in this, but I wanted to pass it on in case anyone was in the need.

If no one has told you they love you today, I love you and God does too!

With spring comes new life, new growth and for most of us – spring cleaning!  Its only fitting that the 4th step is also about cleaning out the cob webs.

Step 4:

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

I am still working on my 4th step and can’t believe that it’s been a year already that I have been working on it.  I should go back and see what I wrote a year ago.  See how much I have changed.  Filling out the adoption/foster care application was like doing a 4th step.  You had to go all the way back to your child hood and give them an insight into why you are the person you are today and if that person is the correct fit to be a parent of a child in need of a home.  I have taken a few months off from even looking at my Blue Print for Progress book.  The 4th step work book for Al-Anon.  But I have been doing so many other things right now that the 4th step has taken a back seat for the moment.  Not forgotten, just set to the side.  Everyday I can do the 10th step to keep my 4th step from getting any bigger.

Today is the 3rd class in our adventure of becoming parents.  I also started a journal so I can put down all my thoughts and fears and feelings through this process so she knows what we went through to get her.  most parents can tell the kids how they were born, I can share with her the story of how she came to be a member of our family.  And it will be in my own words, as it’s going on, not in 10 years when I am trying to go off memory.

wpid-img_20130401_135203_557-1

The little sticker I found

Monday I was feeling kinda blue about the adoption thing because of all the rules and the things we have to do on their time frame when a child is placed with us….just stuff going around in my head that I was letting fester there.  And I came back from talking to a co-worker, on the floor in front of my desk – right where I have been walking all day long was a flower sticker that’s all glittery and girly.  I picked it up, closed my eyes and said thank you to my higher power.  I needed that right then and there.  Sometimes when I forget to get all that crap out of my head it can really make my thinking go to crap.  My Higher Power reminded me that my little girl is out there somewhere just waiting for Hubby and I to be available for her to come home.  I can’t wait to give that little girl a forever home.  If you would like to get updates on our journey please head over to We Wished For You and follow it.  I am trying to keep up with all 4 web blogs.  I don’t post on all of them everyday, but I don’t want to post just to post.

I need to sit down and work on my 4th step again, I also need to try to make it to a meeting again.  Its been about 3 weeks since my last one.  If I miss this week that will be a whole month.  But one late night a week is already almost too much.  It really takes a toll on me not getting to bed at my normal time.  Sleep schedules are very important to someone who has chronic migraines.  I know that having a child means that my sleep will be interrupted on more than one night a week, but that is something that I will work on when it happens.  For now I am just trying not to blow through that much PTO for a self-caused migraine.

How many of you have done your 4th step or are working on it?  Please feel free to sound off in the comments Box.  If you are not sure where to start with your 4th step and you are working the Al-anon program – or even if you would  just like to do a 4th step, the Blue Print for Progress book is a very good place to start.  I got mine off Amazon.

With March almost over I wanted to do a little check in.  This has been a big month for us.  I turned 30 years old, celebrated 9 years at my current job and we started foster/adoptive parent classes.  I have not been to a meeting in two weeks, I was feeling a little burnt out.  Plus with class being on Wed nights and not getting home till after 9pm the next day I feel dead.  Makes it hard to want to go anywhere Thursday night as well.  I do miss my Al-anon family, but right now I have to take care of myself.

I was taught that in Al-Anon, we have to take care of ourselves.  And right now that means getting rest and not over doing it.  The first class was a shocker and until I get used to staying up late on Wed nights it might be a little bit till I can get to a meeting.  I still do my reading and will still try to keep in touch with everyone.

This being the third month we talked about the third step, I am having to do that a lot and turn stuff over.  Its hard, but I know in my heart that my Higher Power is there right beside me through all of this.  I pray for the strength to stay on track and make it though this process of becoming a parent.  I know my daughter is out there somewhere, just waiting for us like we are waiting for her.

I use the serenity prayer so much om my way to work – it’s a good thing I don’t have my windows down, the cars next to me might hear me yell it over and over to myself till I can say it calmly from the heart.  That’s when I know my higher power has heard me and I feel the calming nature of his presence with me.

What are somethings that you have turned over to the care of God, as you understood him?  What are somethings that you know you need to let go of but are having an issue doing so?

New Month, next step…

The 3rd step is also the 3rd step in my little cha-cha dance.

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

We made a decision…  this says to me that it is truly up to me to make this choice.  I can choose to be sick and crazy, or I can choose to get better and ask for help from my higher power.  If I ask for help then I have to be willing to get out of the damn way so that He can do what He needs to do to help me. And it’s the care of God not the full control, not the ultimate fix all.  We still have to play a part in our lives, we just have to be willing to ask the right questions and listen to the answers.  It may not be what we want and it may not even be something that we understand at the very moment.  But it is there, if we ask for it.

If I ask for the ability to understand my husband, He is going to give me a situation where I have to be understanding.  If I want to forgive my husband, He will give me a situation where I will need to forgive.  If I ask to be more patient, He will give me a situation where I have to show patience.  He is not going to magically give me what I ask for, He is going to give me the tools to show myself that I have the ability to do it.  Al-Anon has shown me that when I asked for strength, He showed me that I am strong.

So as we start our step 3, remember that it is in this step that we learn that God is willing to show us what we already have inside us, if we are willing to trust Him and ask for His help.  It’s like asking for someone to take the blindfold off so you can look at your self for the first time.  You get to see all the wonderful things inside you that has been there the whole time, it was just hidden behind our own blockades.  We pulled off the blinders, we pulled back the shades…seeing the true self that is there by asking God for His help, we should be ready for the next step – Our personal inventory, but more on that next month.

If no one has told you they love you today, I love you and God does too.

 

 

February 2013…

Smoke

Smoke (Photo credit: AMagill)

Hello February – Ready for step 2?  well good because here it is:

Step 2 –

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Last year I explored the meaning of the word Restore…why?  Well because it stuck out to me, that’s why.  This year the word that stand out to me is Could.  It could restore us to sanity.  It’s not a false promise, is not a answer to fix all that is wrong with me.  I have to do be present in this journey of getting back to sanity.  My Higher Power can help me get there, if I let it.  I have to get out of the darn way and let him take some of this weight off my shoulders.  If I don’t let go, if I hold on with everything I have to things – how can I take a hold of the gifts of today?  How can I reach towards the future with hands full of yesterdays crap?

Could [kood; unstressed kuhd]
verb

1.a simple past tense of can1 .
auxiliary verb

2. (used to express possibility): I wonder who that could be at the door. That couldn’t be true.
3. (used to express conditional possibility or ability): You could do it if you tried.
4. (used in making polite requests): Could you open the door for me, please?
5. (used in asking for permission): Could I borrow your pen?
6. (used in offering suggestions or advice): You could write and ask for more information. You could at least have called me.
I find that even if I have read all the pages in the ODAT (One Day At A Time, Al-anon daily reader) a story will stick out to me in a different way.  I see what I need to see when I need to see it.  I can get out of a story what I need to hear at that moment in time.  It will be different for me each time, and that’s the best part about it.  That means I can read that book 100 times and still get something different each time.
If I can learn the art of letting go, this happy feeling I have today might just stay with me for a while. Last Thursday was my 30th day of being a non smoker.  I consider myself to be a non smoker now because I don’t want to go back to it.  If by calling myself a non smoker, I can resist giving myself permission to do it again.  So yes, 30 days as a non smoker and today is  30 days till my 30th birthday.  Yeah – what ya got on all my three’s!  I hope you all have a good day.
If no one has told you they love you today, I love you and God does too.

Step work…

I feel like I need to do a little step work.

Step #1:

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

This can go for things other than alcohol.  I am trying to quit smoking right now, I have almost 14 days under my belt. (5pm today will be 14 days)  and I had to admit that i was powerless and that my life had become unmanageable.  I had let it start to rule my life.  I would plan things around being able to smoke.  it was starting to get sad and upset me.  I quit for 2 years before, I felt so dumb for starting up again.

Step #2:

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

I had to put my faith in something greater than myself to be able to let go of the smoking.  I had to let go of it, do I still have craving – OMG yes I do.  But all I have to do is catch a whiff of the smoke and I wanna run the other way.  Makes my head hurt and I feel ill.  I have felt a lot better in these 2 weeks and been pounding the water.  But I had to look towards something else for help.  For me it was the want to become a mother was grater than smoking.  It motivated me really well.

Step #3:

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

I have to ask my God to help me – help me every time I get a bad craving to do something else.  So I prayed about it and what came to mind was water.  Its something I need more of anyways and it might help with the toxins.  So when I get a bad craving – I chug the water.  replacing something bad with something good.  Its helped so far.

 

Those 3 steps – the Cha-Cha as we fondly call it – is the foundation of my life now.  I can use those steps to over come many things.  I am trying to use them to come to grips with the fact I can not control every aspect of these adoptions classes.  The class we wanted we waited too long to sign up for.  and the ones that are left for Jan and Feb and March are not close to our house.  We live outside of the city and all they classes are towards the middle of town.  I have to let go and not get so warped out of shape over the fact that I can’t just take the class where I want to when I want to.  I wanted to call up the center for the class and beg that they let us in.  But there must be a reason God said “not that one my child.”  I may not like what He has to say – and I might not understand why He did it.  (But that’s ok.) It’s not in my control.  I may never know either why He didn’t want us in that class.  That’s in His hands.

There is a christian based class that we can take – doesn’t bother me that its religion based like it might others – it’s just the timing on getting both of us there for it.  There are some that start in March as well.  it would be nice if Hubby had his new job soon and that way we would not have to worry about his current boss trying to make it to where he can’t leave on time.  We have missed a few Thursday night meetings due to that issue. Oh well, some people are just unwilling to have compassion or understanding.  But that is something they have to sort out for themselves.  All I can do if fix me, I can’t fix others.

So keep us in your thoughts as you do your daily prayers – we quit smoking and are working on becoming parents.  My Sober hubby has just over a year and a half under his belt and life just keeps getting better by the day.  Better, not easier – don’t confuse the two.

If no one has told you they love you today, I love you and God does too!!

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.  If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey

I am trying to be more thankful for what I have rather than be mad about what others have that I don’t.  In my depression and co-dependent thinking it was easy for me to do the Why me? I NEED that thing, so I MUST have it!  I didn’t need what ever that was.  My wants and needs were all messed up.  I know its been a while since we did any real step work and I am working on that – so over the next few days look out for Step 1 – and a few more inspired thoughts… I know I need them!

If you would like to ask any questions – please feel free to do so in the comments or by emailing me at chipinmyheart2011@gmail.com.  If you email me and I post your question – I will remember to save your anonymity and not share names.

If no one has told you they love you today, I love you and God does too!!

It’s in Giving That We Receive – December 2012 Forum (the Al-Anon monthly magazine)

This time of year is a good time to go over the 12th step.  Whoa I know – going over a step!  We have not done this for a while and I think its time that we get back to it.  I missed almost all of them after the 4th step – but that’s OK.  End of this month starts a new month, a new year, a new chapter – we can start the steps over again.  No where in my book does it say do these once.  it is an ongoing life change that takes practice.

So here we go, step 12:

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

This month marks a few anniversaries.  It is the one year of my recovery, and the first year of this Blog.  Amazing how fast time flies.  I started my recovery with the 12th step.  I started by reaching out to others after my very frist meeting.  The power of AA and Al-Anon gave me the strength and courage to speak out about how I was feeling.  Something I had never done before – I kept my feelings hidden.

So the 12th step helped me dig out of this hole I was hiding in to say hello to the world.

Hello my name is Courtney.  I am codependent and powerless over my husband’s drinking.  I am powerless over others lives and I need help

That was hard for me to deal with, I felt powerless over the whole world, yet I was fighting tooth and nail to control it.  I felt useless yet wanted everyone to come to me with their issues cause I could fix them.  I felt alone yet never spent any time looking at what I wanted for myself.  Now – I can see how I can admit I am powerless and pray for help and guidance.  I can admit that my life had become unmanageable cause I let it get there.  I know now that I have the tools to survive being on my own, I just prefer not to be.  I have a better understanding of how to detach with love – other have to beat their own battles.  I can’t do it for them.

So in giving love and understanding to my husband, in giving love and thankfulness to my parents, in giving prayers of happiness and contentment to the people who I would rather punch in the face – I am giving them the gift of my true love. A love that I pray that God will give onto them.  A love that I am powerless over whether they accept it or not, powerless over if they pray or not, powerless over if they believe in God – but what I am not powerless over is the fact that I GAVE.  I gave them that love – the rest is up to them and I have to let it go and be in the hands of God.

The 12th step to me now means giving back without expecting a return.  I can’t control what I get in return.  But I can be content in knowing that I did my best in to share with others my spiritual awakenings – what happens after that is in Gods hands.  And that – the love of God – is my gift.

If no one has told you they love you today, I love you and God does too.

A look at Causes of Relapse…

Causes of Relapse (as offered in AA meetings)
1. Failure to go to AA meetings.
2. Failure to take the 12 steps.
3. Involvement in an emotional relationship.
4. Association with the old crowd.
5. Failure to get a sponsor.
6. Failure to read the Big Book.
7. Desire to achieve oblivion.
8. They didn’t “want it” badly enough.
9. Etc.

I never really drank so I can not relate to all things that an alcoholic is going through.  But I do have an addiction to nicotine.  So I understand how relapsing can make you feel like a failure.  You want to blame others, blame things, blame situations.  We come up with all kinds of reasons as to why it happened to make it OK in our minds that we slipped up.

Here is a distillation of Big Book causes of relapse:
Causes of RELAPSE (according to the Big Book)
Count:
7….a. Failure to grow spiritually.
4….b. Fighting with or harming others.
3….C. Failure to work with other alcoholics.
2….d. Failure to take step 5.
2….e. Attempt to shield from alcohol.
2….f. Failure to make amends.
l….g. Selfishness.
l….h. Resentment.

~ I too can have a relapse back into my old ways.  I could go right back to letting my life be ruled by someone else.  I could go back to being sad, hateful, angry, lonely, with-out faith, with-out hope.  It is always there, ready to pounce.  I have to be active in my thoughts and retain my faith and turn things over to my higher power.  If I take my anger and turn it over – there will not be any negative soil for those nasty things to grow in.

~ I too can relapse back into the craziness that was my life for about 6 years.  Not knowing who I was going to get walking in the door when my husband got home.  I had no idea when he was going to be home and if he was already going to have some beers in him.  I had no way of knowing when he left work, where he stopped on his way home, if he was dead or alive.  I worried about him and feared him at the same time.

~ I don’t want to go back to that way of thinking.  It is getting better day by day.  A little bit at a time I am able to let go of those feelings.  It’s not that they might ever really go away – but it’s what I do with those thoughts and feelings that matters now.  I have to tell myself that I can control it, change it or cause it.

All I can do is pray and turn it over.  Everyone will have to face themselves in the mirror and that is the person who you have to deal with.  That person staring back at you from that shiny piece of glass.  Those eyes that show all your inner most feelings – can you look yourself in the eye?  I know that when I wake up in the morning  – I can do that.  I can face myself knowing that I have done the best that I can and that I am the only person who is truly responsible for my happiness.  I am still working on my 4th step, so I can be ready to move on to the rest – one step at a time.  Is it easy – NO.  But the right thing may not always be the easy thing.  Sometimes the right thing to do is the hardest thing you will ever have to do so far.  One step – one day – one moment – one second – at a time.

 

These are not intended to offend anyone – some might get a chuckle, some might see where they have gone off the path of serenity and onto the path of self-destruction.
Twelve Steps of a Relapse

1. I decided I could handle any emotional problems if other people would just quit trying to run my life.

2. I firmly believe that there is no greater power than myself and anyone who says differently is insane.

3. I made a decision to remove my will and my life from God, who didn’t understand me anyway.

4. I made a searching and thorough moral inventory of everyone I know, so they couldn’t fool me and take advantage of my good nature.

5. I sought these people out and tried to get them to admit to me, by God, the exact nature of their wrongs.

6. I became willing to help these people get rid of their defects of character.

7. I was humble enough to ask these people to remove their shortcomings.

8. I kept a list of all the people who had harmed me, and waited patiently for a chance to get even.

9. I got even with these people whenever possible except when to do so would get me into trouble.

10. I continue to take everyone’s inventory and when they are wrong, which is most of the time, I promptly make them admit it.

11. Sought through the concentration of my willpower to get God, who didn’t understand me anyhow, to see that my desires were best, and He ought to give me the power to carry them out.

12. Having maintained my emotional problems with these steps, I can thoroughly recommend them to others who don’t want to lose their hard-earned status, but wish to be left alone to practice neurosis in everything they do for the rest of their days.

 

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