17 October 2010
When I surrendered to alcoholism, I was grateful to my Higher Power for introducing me to AA, but more importantly The 12 Steps.
I have used these 12 Steps in various fellowships to help me better understand how to live my life. The one thing about the 12 Steps is that they dead with the problem in one step.
For example, I am an alcoholic. The first step says, “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.” That is it. The first step puts the focus on the physical part of the problem.
The rest of the 11 Steps deal with the spiritual part of the problem. The spiritual part? That is me. It doesn’t matter what program we are in the first step is the only step where we might have the right to blame someone or something for what happened.
The rest of it is all about going inward and finding that light which is inside all of us. The part of us that needs to take responsibility for our actions without pushing blame on anyone.
Programs like AA and NA that is easy to do because we can rationalize our behavior on something outside of us and then work on ourselves.
Other fellowships don’t have that “luxury.” CODA for one. I created many problems in my first marriage because of what I thought was a love for my wife. I accepted her actions as my responsibility.
When I finally accepted this addiction… yes an addiction... I was filled with shame. I replaced the first step of AA with a personal step. I removed alcohol from the step and put my ex-wife’s name in it. Now it said, “I admitted I was powerless over J----- and my life had become unmanageable.”
That was hard enough, but when I realized that this was the only step where I could “blame” her for my problems is where I saw how sick I had become. Now I had to look within.
Doing that fourth step without any finger pointing was a difficult challenge. About the only thing harder was the 12 Steps of ACOA.
Again, the First Step helped me recognize the problems created by others… but the rest of the steps I could no longer use my parents as an excuse… this was now my recovery and my program and I no longer could use them as an excuse.
That was where I began to really get in touch with my emotions. First came the anger. And it wasn’t really constructive anger. It was filled with rage. I smacked walls with my fists, made threats to others and just wanted to explode.
Overtime, I learned constructive ways to deal with my anger as well as other emotions.
What I learned along the way is that I need to feel all of these emotions to feel them and even embrace them… if I don’t then they do have the ability to make me physically sick because I know spiritually I am hurting. I am hurting because I have given my emotions the power to run my life, instead of me managing them.