(week 165) 26 February 2015 12 step study Big Book All addictions workshop
* It is helpful to have a structured daily time to do the writing to combat our disease which does not want us well.
* Keep phoning those on the committed members list – it will help both you and the person you call who also needs the contact.
Mark Houston and Joe Hawk ran Big Book workshops which have been recorded (some are on You Tube). Joe’s book: The Awakening gives instructions on the Big Book process. What they both have to say will broaden and deepen your experience of doing the Big Book.
Look up: corroding
The evil and corroding thread of fear. Corroding means it will disintegrate. When live in fear in a relationship the relationship will eventually end.
Q.1. Are you writing and not doing your Quiet Time?
If it comes to Quiet Time or writing your Big Book step study sponsor says Quiet Time is more important than writing. If you are skipping the Quiet Time to do the writing you are putting cart before the horse. It is the Quiet Time that helps you be honest with yourself and God to do the writing.
Why are we doing this process? The answer is right in the Third Step prayer: relieve me from the bondage to self. When we are in bondage to self we don’t have the ability to say no to destructive habits.
God will find the right receiver for your fifth step. Once you walk out of there it will be as if you have left behind a bag of rocks and you have a spring to your step. Stephanie encourages us to always have that vision of all the stuff you are writing especially the writing on the back (that is the bag of rocks).
The bottom part is the solution and when you know what it is about yourself that creates all these resentments then you have an action plan right there. Bring it to God and Quiet Time and every night time you check up on yourself: How did I do on my action plan?. Did I bring all I learnt from turnarounds? Am I changing? We need to be checking up on ourselves. Do you give it away?
Be excited about the Big Book and go to your step one fellowship and tell them how through this Big Book process you are finding things out about yourself as to why you ate and drank. Offer to read the Big Book with anyone who is interested. Get them a Big Book if they don’t have one. You will get so much out of it. Make no comment, don’t give advice, just ‘thank you for sharing.’
You can live in steps 10, 11 and 12 even before we get there. Step 12 is helping anybody which you will be doing just by reading the Big Book with them. 11 is having Quiet Time. Ten is checking up on yourself. With an action plan you can throw out the garbage you are learning about.
An institution is more than one person who comes together with others and they have an agenda and some sort of statement of purpose. e.g. group practice of doctors, the IRS, the US government, your football team, school, college, church, etc.
Do institutions the same way as for people. Write at the top of the page:
This is a fact finding and face facing proposition. This removes any moral judgement.
Write the cause in 6-9 words, then on the back the feelings and the story for the last time.
List all the ways this resentment affects you (just as you did for people).
Unlike with people a resentment against an institution is not to be loved, liked and respected but rather did they serve you. So your motivation will also be a little bit different than with people. It is important to see how you reacted.
Self-seeking behavior. You may have been a little bit more manipulative. It was more public than how you behaved with a person. Did I have an edge in my voice, condescending attitude standing with hands on my hips: How could you treat me the great I am like that?
Institutions are not hard but they will tell you the truth about yourself. Got to look at it squarely and bring it to God and apologize to God and to yourself and eventually whomever you need to make amends to.
Need to see when the evil corroding thread of fear started creeping in and how you could have been directly honest with the person. Write out as much as you need to the back even if you only get to do one a week. Really write it out. And see where the hook was. ‘Oh it was the first time we got together and they said xyz. And I didn’t check that out. ‘Really look at what you need to say to get clarity so you don’t live in fear that they don’t like you. The top part is really poison and has to come out before we can really heal. Before we can go to our part as to how we caused the poison.
The angry person’s prayer (page 66-67)
This was our course: We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick, Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us they, like ourselves, were sick too. We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick fried. When a person offended we said to ourselves: ‘This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.’
Stephanie asks us to go one step further and talk to them about what has upset you. They may get more angry and tell you take a leap off a short pier. Check it out for your own sake.
(week 164 19 Feb 2015) 12- step study Big Book all addictions workshop
We are an all addictions BB step-study workshop; all addictions are welcome here.
Stephanie is only our sponsor for the Big Book. We need to get our own addiction sponsors, fellowship mentors and accountability partners. Our recovery will be as strong as our accountability partners are because, knowing us well, they will know when we are off our beat.
We’ve done a minimum of five resentments on people. Maybe some of us don’t even have five others may have many more. It’s all a matter of what our Higher Powers have led us to.
In your 3-ring binder you should have the following divider sheets:
4th step resentments of people – with the list there of names of people you have written on
4th step resentments of institutions – with the list of institutions you will write on.
Just make sure you keep everything neat and orderly by paginating everything with the same individual name or institutional name (e.g. Mr. Brown p.1, Mr. Brown p. 2, Mr. Brown p.3 and/or
Medicare p.1, Medicare p.2, Medicare p.3). And somewhere in your binder, scotch a card with your name, address and phone number stating that ‘in case of loss, please return to said address’. Stephanie did once have a sponsee who lost her Fourth-step writing just before she was about to do her Fifth step and had to rewrite everything!
We’ve done a minimum of five resentments on people. Now time to go to institutions (as it tells us to do in the Big Book).
What is an institution? It is more than one person. Anything that is a group of people.
When Stephanie goes to the dentist she has a dentist but that dentist has three other dentists working there. They are a group. That is an institution.
A police or fire department are both institutions, as is the church. Other examples of institutions are: a school system, AA and our step one fellowship.
If you had an individual resentment against your mother, brother, father, sister but also had a resentment against the family (inc. the grandparents cousins etc – they all ganged up on you). would say :The Whiting family that is an institution. So you may have individual resentments against a dentist but also have a resentment against the institution of that group of dentists.
If you have ever been to a clinic, that is an institution or a group of doctors, psychologists, or a hospital. Social Security benefits is an institution as is Medicare, the State of Massachusetts, the government of the US, Congress, etc.
In the three-ring folder have a sheet that says Fourth Step.
On another sheet that says: Fourth Step resentments – People
(In this section file all the sheets marked on the top left-hand corner with the name of the person e.g. mother page 1 and the page number relating to that person).
The reason that it is recommended to write on resentments for a minimum of five different people is to enable you to see your patterns of behavior. If you do more, you will see the pattern even more so.
Then write on plain paper: Fourth Step resentments – Institutions.
Just list the institutions that you are going to write on. Turn the paper over and on the left hand corner e.g. South Shore Hospital page 1. I am resentment at South Shore Hospital
The cause: I treated my mother with disrespect.
Affects my self-esteem: Now that you understand what it means to put down the reasons and how one resentment affects every area of your life, you do not have to write out how it affects your self-esteem unless you want to.
Stephanie today would not write a turnaround without doing this writing but when she did her fourth step her sponsor did not have her write that. She is not asking us to do it unless we found very helpful..
Stephanie believes it gives a much deeper understanding if you fill out all the details of how it affects you. And how you saw yourself through the eyes of other people. And then do the turnarounds.
Keep writing this each time:
Turnarounds: the only way I am going to see the truth about myself.
Every time you do a turnaround it is the solution. The top writing part is the problem: you have a resentment. You get to see how this one resentment is really creating a big problem in your life. Keep the cause to 6-9 words. Turn the page over and write your feelings, the situation, “he did, she said etc. “ It is important that you write all this out so you can see the truth and are not denying your feelings. Nobody denying that they stepped on your toes and you have to see how you are retaliating out of resentment and anger. Doing the turnaround will show you if you are reacting in a negative way or responding in a recovery way.
An action plan after the Turnaround is really important so you don’t stay in the muck and the mire.
Creating an action plan enables you to recover from that resentment. Inch by inch it is a cinch. The action plan may be nothing more than you can pray for the person, write a letter and give it to God and your sponsor or your buddy.
Selfish how were you selfish? What did you want from this institution?
Always start by writing: ‘I wanted…
Then put the motive by answering the question: Why did I want this? That will give you more information about yourself and what motivates your whole life. The motive for every resentment Stephanie had were to be loved, liked and respected. Why? Because she did not love, respect and like herself.
Self-seeking: What behaviors did I do to get this institution to do what I wanted?
a) There may be more direct lies with an institution.
b) Lie of omission. What didn’t you tell this institution you needed to bring honesty and maybe even resolution? A lot of Stephanie’s resentments were because she never told people what she expected. Wanted them to read her mind. “Now I am upfront I tell people what I expect, when they can expect from me.”.
c) Lie you tell yourself. This is what motivates everything in your life. And it is a lot like the motivator in selfishness. The lie Stephanie told herself is that in and off herself she did not have any value. Needed to have her sense of self validated by others, who I was married to, her academic achievements, amount of money ini the bank. etc.
Never do any work without the third step prayer and the set aside prayer.
If you don’t bring your Higher Power into this you will be going round in circles and lying to yourself as you were before you did this work. God will tell you the truth and the truth will set you free.
Put somewhere on the outside of the folder: your name and address, phone number and a note: if this is lost, please return.
Fear is the evil and corroding thread in every negative thought.
Every negative thought comes from fear and gets you to step on the toes of somebody and they retaliate and they get a resentment.
Fear – a hundred forms of fear. Write them all down. Write as much as you need in the Turnaround as it is all about the solution not the problem. Why it is suggested to keep the top very minimal. Write as much as you want, making sure in upper left-hand corner you write the name or institution page number.
Pride is how other people see me.
When we get sick and tired of not measuring up (to our own ideas) we get angry.. Then project that onto others. When we say “My teacher says I don’t measure up.” “They are saying…,” we are projecting onto them our own fear of not measuring up. By making them the bogeyman we act antagonistically and they react. It is a vicious cycle. The only way out is through trusting and relying on God. God loves me. God doesn’t make junk. I do measure up in God’s eyes. If God can do that I can measure up in my own eyes. If my teacher doesn’t like me I can live and let live. Also not everyone measures up to my world. Do not need to have to have a resentment against everyone. We had an attitude and people reacted to it. It was not them, it was us.
Work at your pace.
My buddy is done and doesn’t want to write any more on people. I am not done on people, can we still work together? Absolutely. She can read institutions and you people. All you say at the end “thank you for sharing” or “I witness your work.” Going to learn from your buddy buddy/group.
We are going to be writing on people, institutions, principles, fears, sex for the rest of our lives. So if we are in a different place from our buddies, all the better, with every sharing you are getting insights into them and into yourself because we are basically all the same. There may be different situations but I think you have figured it out after more than three years of this workshop that we are not that much different.
Action plan: Face Everything with God And Recover (acronym for FEAR).
You see your pattern. Your action plan is to go to Quiet Time and have God show you how to proceed. . No. 1: stop lying to yourself. Come out of the fear. Face it and get honest about it. Bring it to your Higher Power and then march through so you don’t get any more resentments in the present.If you can face your fear of: I don’t measure up, I am not good enough and stop projecting that onto your present life, that is an action plan that will bring you healthy relationships today, tomorrow and the future and stand you in good stead for making amends for past ones. You projected your fears onto them and they reacted to your attitude so you really did step on their toes. You just saw that they were being mean to you while not seeing how you set the ball rolling with your internal argument and angry attitude that you are not measuring up. That is very deep and your answer to an action plan: Face Everything And Recover with God. And we have to face that it was our attitude, through fear of not measuring up, that set the ball rolling.
So for the people you have hurt or harmed, the action plan is to change your attitude through going to Quiet Time. And knowing how much God cares about you so living in the present withoutthat angry attitude of I am not measuring up. Your action plan is to live in faith and not fear. And build your recovery up in God and yourself so when you go back to those people they will really see a difference, that you no longer have that attitude. We all know angry people. When you have a fear of not measuring up you are an angry person. We don’t think it relates to us. Stephanie hears all the time: ‘Go easy on me. I can’t use that language of character defects because I beat myself up all the time.’ They do indeed, but they have a very angry attitude which they project onto others. They cannot face that all their lives they have had an attitude that others are beating up on them and this attitude have set the resentment ball rolling.
When the Big Book says we have set the ball rolling and fear is the evil and corroding thread, we need to put these two together. Stephanie says: ‘I was angry and I picked up food and I ate at people at my mother and my father. I had an attitude towards them that they didn’t love me. They didn’t have a chance to love me, I was one big porcupine. I was pretty difficult to love. If you can look at that. It is hard stuff to look at. A lot of people may say they are not ready to look at it.
‘Today I blame nobody for nothing. I own my own feelings. When I feel like someone is saying something mean I step back. And I don’t immediately blame them. I put a bandage around them like Al-Anon taught me and look at my own reaction. It is all about me. If I am feeling that they are being mean and what they are saying is not nice, I have got to go inside of myself to process. What am I afraid of? If I mean what I say and say what I mean I can have a boundary with that person. When I am afraid I cannot put up a boundary. When someone goes off on me I step back and ask God for help to evaluate what’s going on with me and look at myself. I am feeling afraid. Then instead of reacting I can check out the situation. ‘Oh gee, it seems to me you are upset. Have I said anything that would make you upset?’ . Maybe I am carrying an attitude and I walked into the place with a chip on my shoulder that set them off. I know before I did this work had a chip on my shoulder and set people off.’
Listen again how we had an attitude because we were so angry, upset and afraid that we did not measure up and projected this onto others and brought a negative attitude to all our relationships and they retaliated. But we were the ones who brought the negative attitude in the beginning with the evil and corroding thread of fear
FEAR: Face Everything And Recover with God.
See your attitude and what type of attitude you are bringing to these relationships. That is a turnaround. Where is fear? Everywhere. Fear fits into every thought that isn’t positive. Fear is in your attitude, in every resentment, every negative word out of your mouth.
Ask God: What do you want me to know? Today you face everything with God. Your action plan will be facing everything reasonably with recovery. You won’t be lying to yourself or lying by omission, but instead will be able to ask: You seem really angry, what’s going on? And giving the person a chance to respond. ‘Well you should have seen yourself walking into this office. You looked like a bull in a china closet’. ‘Thank you for telling me. I am not mad at all’. Not having a lie of omission. Telling people what’s going on: ‘I am really confused with what you are saying and with your attitude,’ and giving them the space and permission to say :’Well I don’t know what is going on with you.’ We don’t have to react, as unlike them we have the Big Book. We can step back. ‘God this is an angry person. Help me from being angry.’ And we can do the angry person’s prayer and respond by not having a lie of omission. Staying in the here and now so that when we go back and made our amends and hopefully build a bridge they will see a totally different person.
Stephanie says: “I never asked my mother: do I measure up?” I just assumed my parents did not love me. I lived in this fear my whole life. I was frankly pissed off. I bought that fear-laden attitude of big ego, but really thinking I am no good, into all my relationships and they could see this attitude, the chip on my shoulder.
Everybody reacted to my fear-based attitude to myself and my low self-esteem.”
Fear is the evil and corroding thread that plays out in lies in omission.
We don’t say what we need to say to bring honesty to the relationship. Need to say: What did you mean by that? We think, we feel, we have not checked it out. Reinforcing that evil corroding thread of fear by not checking it out keeps us perpetuating the lies we tell ourselves. And this is how we create our own scenarios.
If you don’t really trust someone’s albeit positive answer you need to do some work with the person for example asking: Was I a problem to you? Is there any reason that I am feeling that you didn’t really love me as much as you loved my sister? You may still have lies of omission. Checking it out is your action plan.
Then need to step back and ask: Where am I being selfish? What did I want from this person/institution? Did I want confirmation that I am special and s/he cares about me? Is there a lie of omission? Did I check it out with the person whom I feel is not respecting me?
Today, I have a good working relationship with my son’s Father but I do have to make an amend for blaming him for everything gone wrong in the relationship and, to this end, have written him a letter which I stayed up most of the night to do, being filled with a sense of deep sorrow. And, I did run this letter by two of my mentors before I will send it off.
*Remember: The Truth will set you free but first you will have plenty of denial!
*By having lies of omission, we aren’t checking things out, we aren’t reality checking.
*Ask yourself in the Turnaround: Where am I being selfish?
*Live in faith and not fear, that God will take care of your needs.
*And whenever you don’t know what to do, just bring it to your Higher Power and ask your HP what to do. Your HP will show you. Then, run it by your mentors, accountability partners, people that are evenly yoked with you, evenly-yoked meaning on the same level of commitment to the process as you are (at any given moment in the continuum your journey).
If you have any questions about institutions and resentments on them, you can email Stephanie at:
firstname.lastname@example.org OR call/text her cell: 617/ 774-7916.
What we went over today is really the whole key to why we have resentments and why we picked up our drug(s)-of-choice. There is no coincidence that BB has us do the resentment first and then look at the fears because we have to be convinced that we are the cause of all our broken relationships to be willing to look at the (cause of us causing all our broken relationships as being our) fear – the fear of not being good enough, not measuring up. Whatever we wrote until now in our Soul Work for Steps One, Two, and Three is just now gelling in our consciousness- through the format of Step Four writing.
Inch by inch a cinch.
Recommendation: listen a couple of times to this week’s workshop. It is very deep about fear. Then bring it to your Higher Power and see if any of your truth is in it.
week 163) 12 February 2015 12 Step Study Big Book All Addictions workshop
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Fourth step format
This is on the website or ask Sue for it. Stephanie asks us to write out the format for the first five people we are doing resentments on so we really get to know it. With steps 10, 11 and 12 we are all going to be living in this format.
This is a God-guided process.
Stephanie is not our God and does not have our answers. We have our own Higher Power who will give us the answers. She says: “I will keep repeating this as people sometimes get the wrong impression.”
Keep the 12th step uppermost in our minds. Stephanie prays that our motive for showing up each week is to have a spiritual experience. The 12th step is not ‘having had a Stephanie experience’, it means in doing this work you meet your Higher Power on an intimate basis.
The Third step prayer is inviting God in. However, remember to ask for humility by saying the Set Aside Prayer. You don’t want to risk being unable to see clearly because you are full of pride.
AA Big Book page 66, first paragraph.
It is plain that a life that includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness.
To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while. But with the alcoholic whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die.”
Why are we doing this work? Because our life has been full of futility which means you work hard but you get nothing but unhappiness. We may be sober a long time but we really understand that emotionally and spiritually our life is going nowhere; and deep down we know we are not where we are supposed to be. Life is just not what we know our Higher Power wants for our life.
It is plain that a life that includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness.
The Big Book is telling you something. You need to look what you are doing about your resentments. Stephanie says: “I have been doing this for 15 years and less than four months ago I went to a spiritual workshop and figured out I had a deep deep underlying resentment towards my son. How many times have I talked about him leaving and still crying about it? How many resentments papers did I write, talk about it? My son is thirty years old tomorrow. He left when he was 12 1/2. He came back when he was 21. Four months ago God gave me the blessing of realizing I still had a deep resentment towards my son. And I am so grateful. I really worked through it and went into deep deep prayer and meditation. I talked to the appropriate spiritual people and I did the appropriate spiritual work. Its gone. We really had a beautiful mother-son relationship and then he left. Ever since then our relationship has never really been the same.
I know now that my heart had a deep resentment which which has dogged me all my life: ‘how could he?’. That took a lot of spiritual work in the last four months. That last workshop truly changed my life. Everything God brings me today is life changing. I am so grateful. I take what God brings me very seriously. I don’t fluff it off. I was told by people: You need to go to this workshop it will change your life. You know what? That was God talking to me through people. So when people say things to you listen and bring it to Quiet Time. Ask: God did you just send a messenger that is trying to tell me something? The chances are the answer is yes. I cannot tell you how relieved I am. I didn’t know my heart had chains on it. Because the quality of my life is pretty good. I love my life. But knew I had something about my only son and I still really could not think about what happened without crying. Re-resentment means re-feel. And the resentment has been taken away.
Fifteen years of doing this work. Do you think you are done because you have written a couple of resentments? No. I am grateful from my own personal experience I never did think I was done. However I can live in complacency and denial. I don’t want to do that. The work I did in that workshop is very very important. If you are interested in knowing about the workshop e-mail me and I will tell you about it. It is not 12 steps or Big Book.
To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while.
look up: squander. That is an awful action . We are not doing God’s will. We are squandering the time our Higher Power is giving us to be a recovered person walking in the world with our emotions given over to our higher power. And so instead of getting all emotional about things we can respond in a recovered way by asking God: What is appropriate here?
When we have deep resentments we cannot align ourselves in a healthy emotional way with our Higher Power. We squander hours being hysterical, depressed, overly happy or overly giddy. We move from allowing God’s will to control us to letting our self-will and emotions control us.
That means we experience God in our day-to-day emotional life. Of course you experience God when you go to Quiet Time but what about when you are washing dishes, making the bed, driving to work, having a one on one conversation? We need to be in that spiritual place where we are doing God’s will in all of those day-to-day little experiences that can create a wonderful healthy recovered life. That is the spiritual experience that living in steps 10 11 and 12 in awareness brings.
The alternative is that your experiences create a life of brutal futility and a deep unhappiness.
Awareness is great but awareness without the willingness to work on it, is self-abuse. So today pray for the willingness to be willing. When we are willing, the awareness comes.
I was not ready for that workshop but God knew he had some work for me. I have been doing my work for the last 15 years. Steps 10- 11 and 12. working one on one with mentors. When I was ready I got the awareness. Why? Because I have lived in willingness to be wiling and let God talk to me and change me. That is a spiritual experience.
…this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal.
Yes because firstly it can lead us back to our drug and secondly because we can be a ‘dry drunk’ and miserable having nothing except our own unhappiness and futility. When you have deep resentment you say: I forgive them but will never forget them. Who hurts when you say that? It shows your inner interior of futility and unhappiness.
[More sober alcoholics commit suicide than active ones, because they have had recovery and put down the addiction but are not willing to put down the deep resentments.]
Why are we doing this work?
Because our life has been full of futility which means you work hard but you get nothing but unhappiness. We may be sober a long time but we really understand that emotionally and spiritually our life is going nowhere; and deep down we know we are not where we are supposed to be. Life is just not what we know our Higher Power wants for our life.
We do this work because not do so is fatal, not necessarily that we will go back to the drink or food. For Stephanie going back to the food at twenty-three years in the program was a blessing. “It got my attention. …I slipped from a) and b) on page 60 to c). Where I needed to be from day one in recovery. Seeking God like God is my only answer. It took me 23 years of trying to rely on human power. Thinking: I know I am powerless, I have a food plan, I have a group. They didn’t have the power. Even though I didn’t have my white light experience for three years, I had a peace around my food I never had before. God was protecting me. I was seeking him with everything I had. I had mega willingness to have a spiritual experience with God. And it really changed my life.”
…this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit.
Q1. Take each half of the sentence and write on it and then on the whole sentence.
This will keep you motivated to keep writing your resentments. Do you want to be cut off from the sunlight of the Spirit? We need all the grace we can get. So it may mean going to God and praying about a deep resentment every day until it lifts. Need to question yourself. We have talked about holding my resentment close like a teddy bear. I am never letting anybody close again. I want to stay a victim because you did x y x when I was innocent and I am keeping the victimhood alive. Today you are now volunteering to be a victim.That’s what deep resentment is all about. Its gone and done and I am holding it close and defending my right to volunteer to be a victim. I don’t want to do it.
Harboring means you s.o.b. I am never forgiving you. I know, I did it with my only child. He meant more to me than anything yet my deep resentment came to light. That is insanity to hold a resentment when you know you can let it go. Definition of insanity: doing the same thing time and time again expecting a different result. Some people just stay dry drunks, and they are pretty miserable to be with. You may have met them or may even be one yourself.
Are you having trouble with personal relationships, with self-pity, with trouble in any area of your life? Look at the insanity of holding onto a deep resentment.
When I am really willing to be humble and look at myself, God shows up.
When we live in deep resentment, we don’t try to get out of it and we keep justifying it saying: They did this and that. Who are we to judge another’s character defects? Even before we get into looking at our character defects we can make personal action plans so we don’t have to live in all this emotional deep resentment – the crap we keep ourselves stuck in.
Q2. What could be your action plan for today?
And we maintain healthy caring boundaries. Do not need to even be loving boundaries. Al-Anon says above all else be courteous and kind. If you cannot help a person then don’t hurt them. Our action plan is to do the work to get over these resentments and then create healthy boundaries around these people being courteousness and kind. We do not isolate nor do we do the opposite and be inappropriately welcoming.
Writing Step Four
Let me repeat you are not doing this. You are taking your will and asking God to give the willingness. God is doing the writing through you. If you do the Third Step prayer and Step Aside prayer before you start, you will never write anything wrong or one word that is not supposed to be there.
(week 162) 5 February 2015 12-Step Study Big Book All Addictions Workshop
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Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous from bottom of page 65 to top of page 66:
We went back through our lives. Nothing counted but thoroughness and honesty. When we were finished we considered it carefully. The first thing apparent was that this world and its people were often quite wrong. To conclude that others were wrong was as far as most of us ever got. The usual outcome was that people continued to wrong us and we stayed sore. Sometimes it was remorse and then we were sore at ourselves. But the more we fought and tried to have our own way, the worse matters got. As in war the victor only seemed to win. Our moments of triumph were short-lived.
We’re an All Addictions Big Book Step-Study workshop, all inclusive.
We’re all equal and there’s only One that can put Stephanie together and that’s God.
We need to have patience, kindness, compassion and above all – helpfulness! We need to be helpful to each other and says Stephanie, “I want, my goal is, to teach you to be helpful to others to open this Big Book and go through it. I don’t believe that keeping this Big Book tight to my bosom is what this process is all about. I believe it’s all about giving it away.”
Today’s reading: BB p.65 bottom paragraph (after chart) – end of same para p.66:
“We went back through our lives. Nothing counted but thoroughness and honesty. When we were finished we considered it carefully. …. Our moments of triumph were short-lived.”
If we feel ‘icky’ with someone, uncomfortable, jealous ( even just a tinge) – put them down on our resentment list.
If we’re doing this work half-heartedly, we’ll get half of what we need to get. Hey- maybe that’s all we want. We can always revisit what we did half-heartedly; but why bother to have to do that. ….Stephanie makes no judgement; “you and God have to come to a decision about what’s enough for you today.”
“The first thing apparent was that this world and its people were often quite wrong.”
That attitude, not blaming ourselves, not seeing our part, will keep us from having (good) relationships. Feeling high and mighty sets us up for NO relationships, by murdering others, via even just the gossip in our heads – e.g. ‘I did all of that for them and they didn’t even appreciate it, they didn’t even say thank you, they moved on?!
To conclude that others were wrong was as far as most of us ever got.
This sentence is very, very important. One of the most important in the Big Book. Not the most important which is: God is everything or God is nothing and the second most important – the a) b) and c) on page 60, but this is really right up there.:
So why do an extensive fourth step the Hyannis way? Because to conclude that others were wrong was as far as most of us every got. Without digging deep we won’t see our selfish behavior and will continue to have unacceptable behavior fuelled by self-justification and denial, resulting in a miserable existence which we blame on others and the world.
When we got honest we saw we were so much worse than those we had been judging. Even if it was only a fantasy in our heads. People can tell an attitude an mile away.
You cannot have negativity about someone and not think it is going to come out sideways.
The usual outcome was that people continued to wrong us and we stayed sore . Sometimes it was remorse and then we were sore at ourselves. Write beside this: bondage to self’
A bit of remorse is healthy. But remorse can lead us into unhealthy territory, for example: numbing ourselves out with our drug-of-choice to stuff down our feelings or, the flip side, believing we ‘deserve’ our drug-of-choice because ‘they did that to me’. We also don’t have a right to push our remorseful feelings on others instead of taking the responsibility on ourselves.
Remorse keeps us into “the bondage of self” instead of being ‘built’ (BB p.63/Step Three prayer:
“God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me”) and being helpful (“and to do with me…”) to others.
(Stephanie had remorse over having an abortion. “I pushed it down for thirty years. Then when I brought it back up I had remorse and went overboard with the beating up of myself . Could not stop crying every time I talked about. Remorse was not helpful because I bored everybody to death about the abortion issue. I wanted everybody to know how sorry I was and how against abortion I was. I made the world and its people often quite wrong. Who made Stephanie? God. I now have a sincere regret. I know how I feel about abortion. Do I have a right to push it on other people? No I don’t. And I have been relieved from the remorse by God. And that was a hard, hard one. I wanted to blame the world and its people. Blame the clinic, society, I didn’t want to take responsibility. So I had a really hard time. Today I don’t have a hard time today with my own abortion or others having an abortion whether or not it is legal. It is none of my business. My business is to work with God. If others have remorse and cannot move on, please put them in my life and help me to help them.” )
“But the more we fought and tried to have our own way (with the world and its people), the worse matters got.”
That’s what the turnarounds are all about – to get new eyes to see ourselves, to see our personal “stock-in-trade …to disclose damaged or unsalable goods…”
“As in war, the victor only seemed to win.”
When we have a resentment over someone, it’s because we want domination over that person and somehow they are unwilling to let us have our way. That creates a ‘war’. Someone takes
over, either pleasantly or nastily, but nobody benefits by strong-arming another. The resentment we have is hurting US as much as it’s hurting the other person – even more. We may feel justified but, for an alcoholic, there are no justified resentments. We have to see our part in the resentment. We will balk at first but then we will see the truth.
“Our moments of triumph were short-lived.”
Our moments of judging ourselves right, better than others, were short-lived because we addicts were alone. Harboring resentment shuts us off from “the sunlight of the spirit.”
Note: God always gives us a solution. He never gives us an awareness without giving us a solution. So do not be afraid of facing the truth.
Some extra points about the fourth step process.
Ambition: (It is very close to selfishness.)
What is the overall/big picture you wanted? What expectations did you have?
Pocketbook: How did this cost you money? Affect your ability to earn?
Pride: How did you think other people saw you? Or, How did you see yourself?
Turnaround (write this each time): The only way I am going to see the truth
We have got to uncover our part so we can correct the wrong. As it says in the Big Book, we are going to baulk. We have to be willing to look at ourselves and take responsibility for our actions. Stephanie had a resentment against her father for the majority of her life . And is so grateful that once she did this process that changed so that before the end of his life they were reconciled.
This work works.
If you write something about a resentment and you really feel uncertain Stephanie will go through it with you. Her schedule is tight with volunteer work and she promises to fit everybody in who wants to speak to her.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 617 774 7916
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