Posts tagged Step 9

Reaching Out

One of my sponsees has been struggling with willingness on some of her 9th Step amends.  In addition to other suggestions, I mentioned that she may want to talk with some other women who’ve recently worked through the Steps and see what helped them.  I’ve been happy to see that she’s following up with other group members.

Many of us approach the 9th Step enthusiastically, and then waffle to and fro with the willingness to go forward with some of these amends.  Sometimes, our humility is lacking and pride is in the way.  Perhaps any previous self righteousness we used as a fortress to feel superior returns for a visit.  It may be that we just aren’t quite sure what will be the best way to approach the amend.  With all of these seeming detours on the 9th Step path, we need only call upon our Higher Power and reach out to others for help.  Our Higher Power will always respond if we are willing to listen and accept the guidance and direction.

So too, will our sponsor and other members of the program share what worked when they were in our shoes.  That’s how it works.  We pass on to others what worked for us.  We can’t keep it if we don’t give it away.  So asking others for help gives them the opportunity to recall what works, which then helps to position it again in their new set of tools for dealing successfully with life.  When we ask for help, we are actually giving these members an opportunity to do God’s work with us.  That is a blessing in my book.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am reaching out to others.”

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

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Step 9

Recently, a sponsee lost a young male relative due to a fluke car accident that could not have been predicted or perhaps prevented.  Fortunately, his wife and unborn child are safe although bereaved.  The entire situation is just so sad for the family.

What the young woman I sponsor was able to glean through this sad loss is her gratitude for having set things right with this relative through her 9th Step amends.  She has been able to share this with other members of the Program, and already she’s touched them with her honesty, authenticity and humility.  We don’t know the future, but we do have today to clean up our side of the street.

Another member mentioned to me that this story has made a big impact on her.  She’s been balking about doing her 9th Step.  She wants control.  And she clings to being right, which is absolutely not what Step 9 is about.  Instead, it is about acknowledging our part and the harm we’ve done, apologizing, doing what we can to make it right and requesting forgiveness, humbly.  The rest is in the hands of our Higher Power.  There are unforeseen benefits, when we are willing.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am willing to be responsible for me.”

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

If you find this helpful, pass it on to others.  For daily updates, press the orange RSS feed to the right for directions.   Solutions00’s

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Rigorous Honesty

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When we commit to working through the 12 Steps we discover it is a path of rigorous honesty.  For some of us this is a foreign concept.

Recently I was reminded that people who have nothing to hide, hide nothing.  Good food for thought.  My loved one comes from a family where honesty was not, and is not practiced.  Instead of rigorous honesty, what appears to have been status quo was rigorous dishonesty and deception.  It manifested as follows:  secrets and more secrets, phone conversations secretly recorded or listened to on extensions, belongings rifled through, lies told regularly, instead of addressing situations honestly people literally run away from home, no follow through on obligations, people routinely isolated in addictions while the rest of the family pretended it wasn’t going on and tip toed around the situations, and there’s much collusion (including breaking laws) to support the addictions and codependency, general dishonesty and dysfunction.  Many of us can relate to these conditions.  We’ve experienced some or all of them to varying degrees. 

That was then, this is now.  If we are committed to a new way of living we have the option to choose the safe vulnerability that comes from rigorous honesty.  It is a humbling and rewarding choice.  Again we take a risk to experience a new way of showing up in life.  For those of us who have come from an extremely dishonest environment, this can be daunting.  However, as we follow the examples of our sponsors and the instructions layed out in the 12 Steps we find that honesty can serve us well.  It helps illuminate the fogginess we’ve been operating in and gives us clarity about who we aren’t and where we went off track.  It builds character and self esteem to choose honesty.  Although we are cautioned not to cause others harm with our honesty, as in the 9th Step, we are encouraged to practice it in all our affairs.  It takes less energy to be honest and offers us a new freedom we may never have previously experienced.  The freedom to handle life on life’s terms with tools that work.  We see that we can stand as equals to our sisters and brothers on the planet in a way that never felt comfortable before.  Courage may be called for at first, but eventually we build a history to reference of success with our new found honesty and it becomes an automatic practice.  And we learn to be honest in helpful, discerning, gentle and loving ways that encourage others to respond in kind.  We understand how to communicate even what is difficult to address, in ways that others can hear and receive with an open mind.  It does take practice, and it does become easier as we progress through the learning curve.  One day at a time.

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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 –  Father, today I am Your Child again.

Practice – We  thank You, Faather, that we cannot lose the memory of You and of Your Love.  We recognize our safety and give thanks for all the gifts You have bestowed on us, for all the loving help we have received, for Your eternal patience, and the Word which You have given us that we are saved.

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Doing Things Differently

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We are taught in the 12 Step programs that the definition of insanity is – “Continuing to do the same thing expecting different results.”

The premise is that if we do things we’ve never done before, things will change.  After years of pain and suffering, often needlessly, most of us finally reach the conclusion that it’s worth a shot to try it.  Now if we’re truly willing, we will humbly do as we are told – get a sponsor, work the Steps with our sponsor, go to meetings, do service work, read the Big Book or other 12 Step program literature, socialize after meetings and call our sponsor and others in the program regularly.  This is a form of surrender, and there is strength in surrender.

As discussed before, we don’t have to like it.  We don’t have to like any of it.  If we do it, things change.  We start to clean up the wreckage of our past.   We often find that people are willing to forgive us when they see the genuine regret we express for past behaviors, and our willingness to do what we can to make things right.  We start to feel better about ourselves precisely because we are being accountable and responsible for ourselves and what we have done in the past.  We even discover at times that circumstances which previously seemed unsurmountable resolve themselves easily, miraculously when we do as directed by the 12 Steps.  Keep in mind that some of our past may never be completely rectified.  Not everyone may forgive us, even after we make amends.  These things we learn to accept, and we can continue to make progress around them by doing living amends.  By making sincere efforts daily to conduct ourselves in a way that delivers on our commitment to practice the principles in all our affairs.  We most often find ourselves living a sane, productive life that contributes to the world in ways that make a positive difference.  Life still happens and there are great joys and serious challenges encountered on our journey.  But, we are changed.  Our lives are changed and we can experience the happy, sane and joyful freedom mentioned on pages 83 and 84 of the Big Book.  Promise.

     – 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 –  There is no peace except the peace of God.

Practice – There is no peace except the peace of God, and I am glad and thankful it is so.

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Making Amends

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The concept of making amends exists in many cultures and faiths, however, in many of those it is about apologizing to a Higher Power.  In the 9th Step we are given a specific action to do.  We’ve already made our list of people to whom we had caused harm in the past.  Now we begin the behavior, the action of making amends ” wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

Making amends is more than just saying, “I’m sorry.  I was wrong.”  It is about changing how we act on a daily basis.  Living amends are the goal going forward.  Living amends are a commitment to using the tools of the program to live our life with honesty and truth, extending ourselves respectfully to others in how we speak and act, and allowing them their dignity.  It is about following through on our commitments, doing what we say we’ll do, not promising what we can’t or won’t deliver on and being thoughtful about how we interact with others in general.

We may need to ask others, “How can I make this right?”  when we apologize for our past behavior.  Fortunately, our sponors can guide us through the nuances of amend making.  It can be most helpful to start making amends to ourselves first – and asking ourselves how we can make things right for us is very helpful in that it can direct our new behaviors.   We deserve to ask ourselves this question.  And we deserve the positive, helpful answers that come to us as we learn to treat ourselves and others as the children of God that we all are in this life.   It works.

     – 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 treat myself and others with respect.”

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

Course In Miracles Lesson – I find the love of God within me now 

Practice – I find the love of God within me now.

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