Posts tagged Step 1

Step 1

Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over acohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.  Although it’s the first of the 12 Steps, it can seem like the tallest order.  Who would want to admit they were powerless over anything?  Or, that their lives were unmanageable – that they were out of control?

No one would want to, but when we’re desperate enough, tired enough, and willing to surrender we can admit these things.  And there is power in surrender, as a good friend of mine in the program promised me in my first year.  When we surrender, it opens doors to possibilities that previously were unavailable to us.  And it doesn’t matter the addiction; drugs, food, alcohol, gambling, people, sex, spending, hoarding.  They are all symptoms of the real problem, the cause.  They are what we were choosing instead of feeling the emotions that spring from the mistaken thinking that happens in our heads.  And it is mistaken.  We find ourselves trapped in a spiral of automatic unhelpful, thoughts, behaviors and actions that do not serve our well being.

When we know better, we do better.  I do believe that statement.  We may be reluctant, or even defiant.  But when we are desperate enough we can choose to try what has worked for so many hundreds of thousands of other people around the world.  I remember thinking prior to finding the 12 Step programs, that there had to be a better way to live.  It didn’t seem possible that everyone on the planet was as sad and hopeless as I felt when witnessing such unkind, self-defeating and at times cruel actions between people.  ” There have to be people who live happier lives than I’ve this.”  That was my thought.  And my Higher Power has confirmed it for me, and led me to what will continuously transform my life for the better.  For me and for those whose lives I impact.  Progress starts with the 1st Step.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am surrendering.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Recovery

footsteps

In a meeting recently someone said, “There is no recovery without working the steps.”

Although I grew in the program knowing this and working the Steps right off the bat, that has not been everyone’s experience in 12 Step programs.  The 12 Step programs were practiced with an active “working the Steps” approach by most everyone where I previously lived.  Sponsors had learned the tradition from their sponsors, that sponsorship requires diligently working through the 12 Steps with anyone who asked them to be a sponsor.  Sponsees knew from the beginning of asking someone to be their sponsor that working the 12 Steps starting right away was expected.  Nothing wishy washy about it.   

Here’s the thing – Working the 12 Steps is the program.  Going to meetings isn’t enough.  Imagine if in school we only went to math classes, never did homework to see if we knew how to do the equations and make them work to get the right answers and then were presented with tests.  We would fail.  We would have heard much information, but we may have learned nothing.  That’s how it is in the program.  We must work one Step at a time, in order, with a sponsor if we want results.  The reason is – that’s how it works.  That’s how we get better, that’s how we start to change, that’s how a Higher Power of our choosing is able to work in our lives to send us miracles to replace disappointment, desperation and the depths of despair.  If we will surrender and do what others tell us works, our lives transform.  They know from experience.  It takes courage and humility – admitting that we just can’t figure it out on our own.  That make us human, not failures.  That makes us ready to have God do for us what we could not do for ourselves.  There is great power in starting with Step 1 and being guided through all 12 Steps by one who has gone before us.  We are so blessed to have this opportunity – all we need to do is be willing to work the Steps and do it.

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Affirmation for the Day – ” I am doing the next right thing.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

Course In Miracles Lesson –  I am not a body, I am free.  For I am still as God created me.  It can be but myself I crucify.

Practice – I am not a body, I am free.  For I am still as God created me.  I choose the joy of God instead of pain.  It can be but myself I crucify.  All that I do, I do unto myself.  If I attack, I suffer.  But if I forgive, salvation will be given me.

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Step 1

earth 4

Admitting we are powerless over anything can be the path to serenity and sanity.  And it’s necessary if we’re to regain our place among our fellow sisters and brothers on the planet.  Isolating and controlling didn’t work.  Our way didn’t work, as much as we hated to admit it and speaking for myself, there was no other choice.  I’d read books, talked to professionals, schemed and manipulated and it was all for naught.  It didn’t work.

The only thing that helped me was to go to meetings and work the 12 Steps with a sponsor.  It’s the only way that I, as intelligent and persistent as I was, could stop the out of control tailspin that was harming me and others.  Even after many years, I don’t necessarily like going back to Step 1:  “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.”  But I don’t have to like it, I just have to do it.  This is surrender.

I’m observing, from a distance, a loved one still wrestling with a combination of control and surrender.  They’re probably as scared as I was.  I reached a place of feeling defeated and desperate.  Thank God.  There is power in surrender.  It’s unfortunate that it usually takes such extreme circumstances to coax us into the 12 Step Programs.  And, it’s painful and disheartening to watch others only dabble with what works instead of committing to do the work.  I focus on keeping my eyes on me and on what’s working, what’s right and what’s good in my life. Demonstrations of my powerlessness and my Higher Power’s ability to provide everything needed for a healthy, happy, joyful and productive life of freedom are right before my eyes every week.  Truly.  Often, it just can’t be missed.  But that is Step 2.

So, Step 1 gives us an opportunity to begin to see clearly – “Awareness is half the solution.”  I love that slogan because it always gives me hope.  When working on Step 1 with newcomers, one exercise that’s helped them is to make two columns on a sheet of paper.  Column one has the heading “What I’m powerless over.”  Column two’s heading is “How my life has become unmanageable.”  Then they list examples from their lives that belong in each column.  This is to be kept with them in a purse or wallet.  If they ever forget why they stopped obsessing on someone or using their substance of choice, and why they’re going to meetings and working the Steps, they can read these lists and instantly be reminded of what brought them to 12 Step programs.

I wouldn’t want to go back to the life that brought me to the programs.  Few would.  The reminder works, and is part of the experience, strength and hope that we get to share with others.  My life is now so much better than I could ever have imagined.  It has ups and downs, but as the program promises the highs aren’t as high and the lows aren’t as low.  Challenges no longer need to be a crisis.  They’re just life.  We start to learn to face them with sanity and serenity through the First Step.

     – If you find this helpful, pass it on to others.  For daily updates, press the orange RSS feed to the right for directions.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am willing to change..”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

Course In Miracles Lesson –  I am not a body, I am free.  For I am still as God created me.  Salvation of the world depends on me.

Practice – I am not a body, I am free.  For I am still as God created me.  Salvation of the world depends on me.  I am entrusted with the gifts of God because I am His Child.  And I would give His gifts where He intended then to be.

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