week 161) 29 January 2015 12 Step Study Big Book All Addictions workshop
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Big Book page 64 last paragraph: Resentment is the number one offender. It destroys more human beings (alcoholics) than anything else.
This process taught Stephanie that she is responsible for everything that happened to her in her life- by her reactions. We can have reactions of selfishness, self-pity, and fear which lead to resentments. Al-Anon teaches to put one’s intellect over one’s feelings in order to get a rational, healthy life. Feelings are a gift from God; they make us lovable and likable. But they are not the facts. … Suggestion: In the Set-Aside prayer at this point, we can be asking God’s help to set aside everything we think we already know ‘so we can see a new way of looking at our past, our present and our feelings’.
Resentment is fueled by fear. Fear of not being loved, liked or respected. And not getting what we want. Basically everybody wants to be liked loved and respected. Then we lust for material things, for the physical. Lust doesn’t just mean sexual. I lusted after food, alcohol to get high. All the things that we get resentful about because we can’t have them. I want that big house, swimming pool or that Gucci bag. I can relate to all of that can you? And when you don’t get it feel resentment. What you are doing right now is writing on resentments and the turnarounds. The reason we do the effects is to see how serious one resentment is. It affects our self-esteem, how we look at ourselves and our value in the world. Pride. Seeing ourselves as other see us.
Ambition. Want to be more loved and respected more than everyone else. Be top dog. We need to see how we affected we were and how these wants and desires ran out lives.
Personal relationship. If you have a resentment against someone because they are not doing what you want them to do it will affect every relationship and often end them. I ended up all alone or co-dependent where either I was bossing them or they were bossing me. Always ended badly.
Lived in total fear of everything. I did not have any personal security. Why? Did not have God. All I had was the closeness of the resentment I had of the self=pity, no room for God. God can’t come into our heart when all about me, self-pity, resentment. Where can God fit into a heart like that? Did not come into my life until I did this work. After my fifth step had my first spiritual experience then less than three years later had a huge psychic change and God really took over my life. Now am doing God’s will not mine. It is a process.
Sex relations and pocket book. Those two always affected every resentment. How can you look at yourself in the mirror and feel good about yourself as, say a woman in the world, when your heart is hardened by resentment, un-forgiveness and self-hatred. When you have a hardened heart, also have a hardened attitude towards yourself. It is all about you, you you. Learnt in recovery that we who live in resentment have big egos and no self-esteem. With all that garbage going on how can you look in the mirror as a sexual being to offer the world, a marriage or bring to meeting somebody and getting into an exclusive relationship?
Stephanie says: ‘In any relationship male or female I never brought my whole being, i.e. a person who felt good about herself. The majority of my life I wanted to be a boy. Talk about not feeling good about your sex relations! Did not want to be transgender. I had no voice, felt so powerless. Thought it was because I was a woman but it was my hardened heart’.
Pocket book. Never had a well-paid job. I was an under-earner.
Write this: Turnarounds are the only way for me to see the TRUTH and become recovered.
It is only the second half of the turnaround that really gives you the truth about yourself and the situation. You will not necessarily learn the facts and motives about the other people involved. You are going to find out your own motives: how you reacted on your feelings and how these created a chain reaction with people and situations. Once have figured it out, when you are next in these situations you may be able to head off the selfishness, self-centered behaviors, lies and fears.
Fear is a reality. Thank God for fear. When you step off the curb and a huge oil truck is coming down the road, it is good to be in fear and get back on the sidewalk. Fear with your Higher Power can be an absolute asset. A very bad use of fears is to create resentment, uncertainty and instability with our feelings and the fear of ‘I am not going to get what I want so I had better start manipulating’. Fear can be a healthy red flag and if you do the rest of the process on the situation and get to the facts.
Similarly with angry resentful co-dependent people. If entering a situation where that is the type of person you are dealing with, it can be helpful to feel fear and give them a wide berth. As Al-Anon suggests: be courteous to everyone; we don’t have to invite them home to tea.
Selfishness has two parts a) What is the selfishness? b) Why? i.e. your motive for wanting something. What do you want from the person or the situation?
I want…. and write on what you want.
Need to remember to ask yourself: Why do I want it? Might be as simple as I want them to be my friend, to love, like and respect me, to give me their attention.
Need to know your motives. The situations where you are selfish will change but your motive is basically the same.
“For most of my life I was resentful because people didn’t want to hang out with me. I felt that without the validation that they wanted me in their life I did not feel valuable. I did not want a million of dollars, I just wanted their attention. I realized even when people gave me their attention it was never enough. Just like with the food, alcohol, it was never enough.”
Self-seeking: The behavior you (not they) did to get what you wanted.
Most of the time it has some sort of manipulative flavor. I gossiped, flattered, lied to you. I wanted attention. I couldn’t stand to be alone. I pretended I was a friend.
Direct Lie. I’d like to be your friend. Let’s hang out together and get to know one another.
If asked, Do you believe in God? I’d reply whatever you believed.
Do you want a drink? I would say OK (while going to AA).
Lie of omission. All the things we did not say to bring honesty to the relationship.
e.g. I can’t drink I am in AA. Can’t eat because I’m in OA and that food makes me sick.
I would like to but I can’t give you the money. Instead of making sure they knew it was my last dollar I was giving them.
Lie I told myself. The foundation of my dysfunctional life was that I was afraid I was not loveable and did not deserve respect. If they really knew me they wouldn’t want to be friends. Afraid of their opinion. Am not a worthy person to be in relationship with anyone. Not until God came into my life did I realize that God cares about me so I am a worthy person.
A human being who takes no regular inventory usually goes broke.
If you have a lot of feelings and not facts, redo the resentment to try to get to the truth.
If you are still pointing a finger or caught up in the feelings, Stephanie suggests taking each resentment to Quiet Time and asking God to open your eyes: What do you want me to see about this? God will not lie.
And be aware: people we meet can be angry and manipulative. Be courteous to everyone and polite. But you don’t have to invite everyone home for tea. Stephanie is not intimate with everybody but she’s real with everybody.
Intimacy – in to me see; reserved for those who have shown they deserve to see into us.
Al-Anon teaches: Share a little and check what comes back. Never give away the whole loaf. If
what comes back resonates with you, share a little more. If exchanges keep resonating and you like the other person and they like you, then keep building up a functional, healthy relationship.
See BB p.64 para1 sentence 2:
“A business which takes no regular inventory usually goes broke.”
So Stephanie asks us to take our five most major resentments, do inventory on them, and then
take them to God and ask our HP: God, what do You want me to see about these?
We want to be a light of help/recovery to others. Recovery is about not being a victim; it is being sober, being a former addict.
Big Book Page 64 last paragraph:
Resentment is the “number one” offender. It destroys more human beings (alcoholics) than anything else. From it stems all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only been mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick.
That is the only direct information you will ever need. If you are not motivated to do this inventory by what Stephanie says, this sentence shows you why inventory is so important. We have not only been mentally sick (the third paragraph of the Big Book tells us) we have been released from the physical and mental obsession to use our drug but we have been spiritually sick. ‘Spiritually sick’ means living a life totally thinking about yourself, the selfish self-centeredness that brings on a desire to lie and be co-dependent.
When the spiritually malady was overcome. We straighten out mentally and physically.
You will only be able to get well spiritually with a fact finding and fact facing process. This is why we write out our feelings on the back. Bring them to God: help me to see the truth. List the person, the cause, the effects and pray to God to show you how it affects every area of your life.
Recovery is not being a victim.
Your sexuality is holistic. It is not about being in bed having sex with a man.
I couldn’t trust other people and I could not trust myself (e.g. I was always picking up the food after I told myself I would not). Fear: I can’t trust anyone.
Not being trustworthy creates a one-down situation in a relationship and puts it under a lot of strain.
Writing and then reading out the feelings on the back gives the listener insight into what is going on and also give you insights. All the words that our minds use to divert us because deep down our minds are afraid that the truth will kill us.
When Stephanie did this process she could not believe she had been so petty; the lies she told herself over and over again doing mean things to herself while she stayed in delusion and denial and kept pointing a finger, blaming others.
Self-seeking: Acted out with boys, overate, got drunk, etc. The more you expand about how you reacted the more you can take responsibility for the behavior. Then when you do any of those behaviors again you can say: OK this is an old pattern I did with, say, my mother. How am I putting this person in my mother role? What’s really going on here? I am afraid of… That will really help you to understand. You used these behaviors to cope whenever you were blamed and were afraid you were not loveable.
Very helpful to know how our coping mechanisms run our lives. At age four Stephanie picked up food to cope. Now she knows when she starts getting into unhealthy situations she is afraid.
When we tell somebody something and they get burned up, sore, or ticked-off, it’s because they’re living in fear and holding their victimhood very close, like a blanket. They’re afraid that
uncovering their Truth will kill them, so they want to stay in denial and delusion. They need us to not disturb their blanket.
Finally, see BB p.65 para3 sentence 1: “We went back through our lives.” Stephanie does not live in her past; she inventories. She does not wallow in or rerun her past mistakes. She is not a victim of her past. Once she has given her mistakes to God (Step Five) and asked forgiveness (Step Nine), she lets them go with no beating up on herself.
And if someone has the guts to say to Stephanie that Stephanie hurt and insulted them, she will quickly inventory her deeds and apologize.
We may say: I did not intend to hurt you but I’m sorry you got hurt.
Stephanie’s wisdom to us: The older I get, the more depth the Serenity Prayer has for me.
Now she realizes she’s asking God to grant others the serenity to accept the things they cannot change and to change her.Says Stephanie: “Prayer is my salvation.”
P.S. Words are a diversion from the truth, used because of fear that uncovering the truth will kill us.
But NO – the truth will set us free!
Just/But, first, it will make us (very, very) angry.
(week 160) 22 January 2015 12-step Big Book All Addictions workshop
If you need a buddy, email Sue at: email@example.com
You can have more than one buddy; in fact Stephanie recommends it. The more buddies you have, the better. They’re like insurance because people come and go like flies in this BB step-study process. So, if one buddy drops out, you still have other(s). And belonging to a buddy
group (or more than one), as well, can only enhance your insurance because, if you lose your buddy, you still have the group to read your work to. The greatest gift you can give yourself is by reading your work to another, a witness, and listening to someone else.
If anybody in a group makes you feel unsafe, call or text Stephanie on her cell 617/ 774-7916
or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
These groups are for reading your writing, getting your feelings up and out, giving them to God and feeling safe.
You can read the back of your paper – your feelings – but you don’t have to. There are no ‘have to’s.
We could use donations.
We are now paying a very minimal salary to the person who puts up the recording on the website. It is work for which she deserves every penny. Plus we have to pay for security for the website and for voice box so you can hear on the website. We have expenses. Stephanie is free! Pray about supporting your Big book group. Send donations to:
P O Box 531
Today we’re just listening to other people’s writing.
There’s no right and wrong way to do the writing. Stephanie is just guiding with her comments.
She is not God- she is just Stephanie. But she is not your God. Go to God with your feelings about what Stephanie has to say and He will answer you.
Keep the front page of the inventory for facts. Leave the painful feelings for the back.
Get the feelings out and let them go- up and out, to God. Only God can take these hurt feelings;
they’re too big for us.
Just remember: the more wordy we are in the turnaround, the more we get diverted into our negative feelings. Try to stay succinct and specific.
And know: the lies we tell ourselves ( LITM) are what keep us in the resentments, what keep us sick.
If you get stuck writing step four: say the Third Step Prayer over and over again. And ask your Higher Power: Please guide me. Help me to set aside my ego and set aside what I think I know about this resentment, this situation.
Turnaround: The only way to see the truth and recover
The more words we write on the front for the turnarounds, the less specific we are. Too many words diverts us and makes us crazy.
Lie of omission: Have you told him/her how hurt you were? No.
What did you need to say that you didn’t?
Do you feel you need to say something to make this right, that you haven’t said?
Lies we tell ourselves
Tell God what lies you tell yourself.
e.g. You don’t know your friend will never love and trust you again. It is a lie you are telling yourself. Are you telling yourself there is something you can do to make it right?
e.g. What do you want from your friend? The same trusting relationship I had before the incident. Bring that request to God.
I will get back the relationship the way I want it.
I told myself I was….
(Fantasy is a behavior we may do to get what we want).
We have lived in this garbage for so many years. Now it is time to give it to God and move on.
After you have done the turnaround
If you still have feelings write them on the back and take the turnarounds to your Higher Power.
It is hard to find the truth if you haven’t written your feelings on the back.
The facts are not awful. Facts don’t have feelings. You are respecting your feelings by writing them on the back. Then turn the page over and get into the facts which is where the solution is. With the facts and your Higher Power you can get well. If you remain in the feelings you will keep being a victim with every situation except for rape, molestation or murder where you don’t have a part initially. Afterwards your part is: I held onto the resentment and it is killing me. That is the only part you played if you were raped, molested, had an act of terrorism, a murder, etc.. The only part we play is after all is said and done we stay in the resentment and un-forgiveness. We never get well when we keep going over and over the hurt. Resentment means re-feel. You already felt it when you were raped. You have already gone through the hurt, why keep re-hurting yourself?
Just keep saying: I am giving this to God. I cannot handle it. It is going to make me sick and go back to my addiction. If you want to say: God you punish them, that’s OK. Give it to God so you can move on and have a good life. We do not need to stay in fear. All it will do is make us have negative self-seeking behavior.
If more resentments come up while you are listening or writing
add them to your initial list. Then pray about how important each is to do right now. Make sure you have done all the important resentments first i.e. those that are currently bothering you big time. Then do the others. We have time as it won’t be until June that we move onto fear.
We are learning how to do this for a lifelong process. We all get resentments every day which why we have the 10th step.
Write a minimum of 15-30 minutes a day. If you cannot do 30 minutes daily you are probably too busy and not making your recovery a priority. You can of course, do an hour, devote a whole week-end. Do as much as you want.
Write on a daily basis to bring issues to your higher power in Quiet Time. Write on the back all the feelings you have today about what happened in the past.
Examples of the three types of dishonesty:
Direct Lie: You tell someone exactly what is not the truth. e.g. I didn’t go to the Thursday meeting. I wasn’t there. Or you ask: Stephanie did you did your workshop today? And she replies: No.
Lie of omission: What I need to say to bring the truth to the relationship.
For example Stephanie says if her husband didn’t take out the garbage (his responsibility) and she said nothing it would be a lie of omission.
Date rape: Stephanie says: I was 26 and a man who was one of a group of us who had been drinking all evening in the bar offered to drive me home as I did not have my car. He then followed me inside and date raped me. Lie of omission: I saw him afterwards and said nothing. I never said: ‘What you did was wrong. I am going to press charges.’ I lived in resentment because I never got honest with him.
The lie I told myself: What do I expect, I was drunk? I put myself in that situation because I am an alcoholic. I was drinking and so I somehow led him into believing that he could have sex with me without asking.
The lies we tell ourselves keep us in resentment.
Go to the different lies: they are very, very important. The truth will set us free so we can bring it to God, our buddies and sponsor.
Rape is rape. It is not my fault and it is not acceptable. My part now is if I am still holding a resentment. This incident happened when I was 26 and I am now 65. Thank God I could let go of it fifteen years ago when I did this Big Book process. I stopped carrying the shame and the guilt (that were his) and I no longer don’t have a resentment against him. I feel sad for him.
Read the feelings to your buddy so they can see the context and understand the resentment. Hopefully it will be the last time you will ever need to share it.
If there were feelings on the front Stephanie’s sponsor would say: This is the crap you have been living in since it happened. Don’t you think its time you let it go?
Stephanie says: I don’t have to live in that any more. I am free. I have cut the ties. Write out all the feelings and then put the facts down. Its like cleaning up and throwing away all the dirt. I don’t have to re-feel all that awful stuff. Its a choice. If I don’t let go then I am choosing to be my own victim. Now I can take responsibility for my part and let God be responsible for the other person.
(week 159) 15 January 2015 12-step Big Book All Addictions Workshop
AA Big Book page 64.
The whole purpose of doing this fourth step is to have a spiritual experience with the God of your understanding. If you don’t invite God into this process then when you get to the 12th step you will not have had a spiritual experience and this will be just another empty attempt that you tried to do yourself to get well. If you don’t bring God into this experience then you are stuck (as written on page 60) in a) and b) and are not in c) – seeking a partnership with God.
If you are not doing it with God you will probably get so frustrated or so freaked out by answering the questions that show you your selfishness and your self-centredness, dishonesty and how your life is lived by fear that you will stop doing it. That is what Stephanie has experienced as a Big Book sponsor: without a Higher Power the fruit of your labour is sour and you either leave in frustration or you leave because you don’t want to come out of denial.
Therefore we started upon a personal inventory. This was step four. A business which takes no regular inventory usually goes broke.
Write: human being above business.
At the top of every page of your step four write:
This is a fact finding and a face facing process
We stay in the facts and out of the judgment, out of the drama. We want the facts. Write the drama on the back as you need to feel the feelings before you can deal with them. Then read it over with your higher power and ask: Tell me what the facts are. Doing a turnaround on a feeling will mean you are going to try to defend yourself and get into more denial. Or alternatively try to demonize the other person so you come out right while they come out bad. Without the facts your turnaround is not going to tell you the whole truth.
Circle: It is an effort to discover the truth.
The facts are truthful. Share what you have written on your feelings with a sponsor in your step one fellowship, your friends in Big Book. You need to deal with the feelings so can tease out what the truth is. The truth is facts about the stock in trade.
One object is to disclose damaged and unsaleable goods.
The truth will show you your damaged and unsaleable actions and the other person’s actions. To get rid of them promptly and without regret or moralizing. The purpose of writing the facts is so that you can discover the truth and disclose how you have either made yourself out as a hero and the other person is the bad guy or you made them the hero and you the bad guy or somewhere in between. You are new at this so have patience with yourself.
With each new person: no matter how often you have previously written about them, write out your feelings about the resentment on the back to give you a much better chance of really getting to the facts.
To get rid of them promptly without regret.
If you can write your feelings and see that it really affected you and you don’t want it to, you will want to get to the facts and learn the truth. And to realize whenever there are two people who don’t agree there is blame on both sides .You want to see where you are responsible for your self-seeking, dishonesty, selfishness. That is your whole goal – and it is very painful. You have a higher power, you have a buddy, you have friends. You share and have it witnessed. Then you take the pain to your higher power and Quiet Time. Don’t try to get rid of it at an open meeting or with your buddy. Know that the only way you can walk through this is going to God.
If the human being is to be successful you cannot fool yourself about values. Black and white thinking hurts you. Herbert Spencer said: ignorance is prejudice prior to investigation. You are doing the investigating but if with an attitude of: I am right; they are wrong, you will end up rubber stamping your own denial. Don’t be ignorant or prejudiced.
Set Aside Prayer
This is one of the most important prayers for the rest of our lives.
We own our feelings and we deserve them, but they will lie to us. Stephanie has seen some of the lies that set her up to be a failure in her relationships. We need to really let go of the prejudice of ‘I know’ and I say: ‘God I don’t know.’ That’s the whole purpose of the Set Aside Prayer: ‘I don’t know. Please God can you show me.’
Once we say ‘I’ve already done the fourth step’, we close a door. Ignorance is prejudice prior to investigation. Stephanie finds every time she does the fourth step something else comes up. We are blinded by our own denial and we don’t even know we are lying. That is why it is so important to put aside what you have already done and go to the work like you are absolutely brand new, that you never before seen the resentments. Remember resentment means re-feel. Something that happened to you fifteen years ago which you wrote about five years ago, means you have now had five years of growing and maturing, so it is guaranteed that you will look at it differently – that is the key.
We took stock honestly.
If you are in the feelings it may be sincere but it cannot be honest. Have to be in the facts to be honest.
The flaws in our make-up that caused our failure.
We are not trying to search out the flaws in others. I am powerless over my flaws and the flaws of others.
…which caused our failure.
Stephanie says: “I really was a failure at relationships. I wanted you to say I was so caring, so loving. The fact was I did everything to get people’s attention. When they didn’t love and respect me I chopped them off at the hip. I was barely civil. I had a lot of failures. Thank God I put them all down and made amends to everyone.” Being convinced…
There is black and white in this process. We have to be convinced that human powers cannot relieve us of our selfishness, self-centredness, dishonesty and fear. We have to be convinced that we have to search out the flaws in our make-up. but we not soul searching on our own will. We are seeking our Higher Power in Quiet Time. We don’t have to say: I am just a failure at everything. God doesn’t make junk. He made a beautiful human being. The problem was we turned away and stopped asking God for help. Need to see how we messed up and how with God’s help we can make it right, but we cannot make anything right and make amends until we are willing to see how we messed up.
This fourth step needs to be truthful and honest. If you do five people you will see a pattern in your life.
b) That probably no human power could have relieved us of our alcoholism and c) that God could and would if He were sought. Came to believe that a power greater than us could restore us to sanity.
Doing the same thing over and over is insane, but our feelings keep telling us the other person is hurting us, that it’s their fault. We have a pattern whereby we set people up so that things turn out badly.
Being convinced that self manifested in various ways was what had defeated us.
That is what you have to be convinced of. With God we can look at the defeat without blame and judgment.
Look at our own behavior not that of the other person. If we don’t have a relationship with a Higher Power we cannot do this.
This is the key, we consider its common manifestations.
I doesn’t say: ‘we considered our feelings around this’.
And here we stepped on the toes of others and they retaliated.
That is why you have them listed under resentments. We started the ball rolling by a look, a word, an attitude, we somehow some way. All except for rape, armed robbery and being molested where we did nothing. As a child you were a victim and nobody can ever say it was your fault. But that happened many years ago, and what you are doing today is re-living being a victim. You now have a choice. Are you going to keep saying to yourself: I am a victim, they did this to me? They victimized you once and now they are still victimizing you, but with your participation.
Forgiveness is the answer and it takes a long, long time to forgive someone who robbed you of your innocence. In Al-Anon they say to put a bandage around the person’s head that says ‘sick’ and give them to God to deal with. If you re-victimize yourself then because that is your script, eventually everyone will victimize you. Feeling sorry for ourselves we set ourselves up to be victimized over and over again.
Remember we are considering our common manifestations, not theirs. People do awful things to other people. Are you going to move out of the feelings of being a victim of other people’s terrible behavior or are you going to stay being a victim? Stephanie has seen many people leave this work because they want to be a victim and don’t want to look at how they are now victimizing themselves.
Re. resentments from childhood.
Remember how you felt as a child about the person and write that down.
You have got to know how you felt as a child. And you have to do a turnaround on whether there is still any lingering feelings about that. Do you still have feelings of fear that, for example, your brother will go back to the way he was when you were growing up? If you are writing about something which happened in childhood write out on the back your feelings about it. You are looking at it how you responded as a kid since only in that way can you see the facts. Need to discover if there is any residue of that resentment in your relationship now.
Resentments and Feelings:
Stephanie encourages us to write about our feelings on the back of the page and do this before we write how the resentment affects us.
Writing your fourth step is your soul work. Take what Stephanie says, listen and re-listen to it on the callback or the website and put it into your writing.
If you are really stuck, write out your resentment and send it to Stephanie. Similarly, if you have a question on the format and need a comment. For example as someone already asked about a resentment from their childhood. I would ask: How did you react as a child? In what way is this reaction impacting on your relationship and expectations with that person today?
Quiet Time gave Stephanie, ‘a powerful Higher Power that I am very intimate with. ‘
Are you skipping your Quiet Time or rushing through it? Are you putting your heart and soul into it or is it just another rote exercise and if so, how are you really going to search out your resentments? You will be too scared at the fear of seeing yourself.
We have been together for over three years which is three years of a relationship with God in your Quiet Time. You are going to trust God to give you deeper insights, so go to God, with your resentments. It doesn’t matter if they have dogged you for seventy years, you are not the same person, so keep bringing them so you don’t have the victim mentality.
Stephanie says: ‘I gave you the example of the victim mentality believing I was not smart. I had four degrees yet I never earned over $30,000 a year. I victimized myself with the lie: I am stupid. I cannot go to graduate school. I cannot apply for that teaching position because I am not smart enough.’
Keep doing the work. Fact-finding means getting out of the feelings of being a victim and into the facts so you can see your own victimization of yourself.
(week 158) 8 January 2014 12 Step Study Big Book workshop
If you want a pocket-size dictionary of words in the Big Book and one of the AA 12 x 12 they can be purchased from this address: www.bigbookdictionary.com
e-mail address: email@example.com
Buddy Group guidelines:
You must announce that you are there. You do not have to share but you must tell the group you are there otherwise if you are listening and not telling anyone, it is stalking. Say: Hi. this is Stephanie, Grateful to be here. I won’t be sharing. Fine. no problem. You are part of the group. |When there is a lull, you give latecomers the chance to identify themselves. You are sharing really intimate feelings and situations and you do not need to feel there is someone listening and they are not admitting they are there. The No.1 guideline is for us to feel safe and to protect the safety of others.
You do not bring anything to a buddy group that is not the work. You don’t bring in outside books you don’t even bring reading the Big Book. What you bring is your written work. It is not off the cuff. Off the cuff is not recovery. You can go to your step one fellowship and share off the cuff there. You can talk off the cuff at the end of the workshop. When in the buddy group or one on one you are reading your writing. And if you don’t have any writing then you show up and say: I don’t have any writing I will be listening and witnessing. And I would prefer until we are done that buddies keep to buddy time and let go of fellowship.
You are really vulnerable and open conversation tends to get messy and people misinterpret. So keep it to buddy time. Believe me you have the rest of your life to make friends with your buddy, see each other, visit each other. I know buddies from years ago and are still dear friends. Do yourself a favor and wait until it is over. If you need a buddy, request one at the end of this workshop. Leave your number. Remember you can have more than one buddy and more than one buddy group. But you follow the guidelines.
Staying with the writing:
The writing sometimes gets put on the side. I encourage you not to do this. Just as you don’t get too busy for your Quiet Time, don’t get too busy for your writing. Stay current. Even if you write for 15 minutes every day and have 15 minutes Quiet Time. If you are really committed you will do it. If you are not, you will find a hundred excuses. I am not going to condemn you, push, pull, prod, dictate or command. Just going to encourage you the best I can. It is between you and your higher power and if you have a buddy, all the buddy says when you say: I don’t have any writing, I am witnessing your work, the buddy replies: thank you. Make no comment. It’s between them and their higher power. If you are stuck, talk to me. It is not up to a buddy to get someone unstuck.
Big Book goal
Having had a spiritual experience.
The goal of the Big Book workshop is not to lose 50lbs, to save your marriage, or get a promotion, it is to have a spiritual experience with the God of our understanding. The second goal of this process is to practice recovery in all our affairs. The third goal is to do service and help others.
The first requirement is that we being convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success. On that basis we are almost always in collision with something or somebody, even though our motives are good.
The two very important words being convinced that we were at Step Three, which is that we decided to turn our will and our life over to God, as we understood Him.
We have already looked at how one resentment affects your self-esteem etc. and the devastation of one resentment. Being resentful and angry wrecks a person and we cannot be our best self. It is impossible. And we can do a lot of covering up. We can over-achieve or become victims and have people rescue us. There are a billion ways that we try to run our life on self-will and be a success. I know I did it.
When I named and claimed that I was an agnostic, nothing would convince me until I saw it on paper through doing this process. And it brought me to my knees. God I want to trust in you. I don’t trust in you. Help me to trust in you. I was humble and teachable and three years later I had a white light experience that changed my life. I am not an agnostic. I trust and rely on Him with everything. I have to. My way as an agnostic brought me back to the food, a divorce from a wonderful man in recovery – the list goes on. I wrecked our home. I was a tornado in other people’s lives.
I am resentful at Joe. The cause: left my home, me.
This affects my:
self-esteem – took it away (on the back of the page write why)
pride – bad mother (needed to write on the back on that)
ambition: best mother ever (on the back wrote I had to be a better mother than my mother)
personal relationships – shattered (write on the back how they were shattered. With my son leaving, every relationship was shattered. I wanted to go to a mental institution. Wanted to get shock treatment. Did not want to feel the pain.)
personal security – no trust in anyone. (The one person I had given heart and soul to had abandoned me. So again wrote out the emotions on the back).
pocketbook – could not work
sex relations – I was shattered as a human being (How am I going to have sex with my husband when shattered?)
I could not relate to other mothers, I was shattered. I could not go to PTO: I was shattered. I could not even relate to Al-Anon. I sat there and cried and cried. I would listen to parents and I would be jealous. Their kids were sober, doing well. I was shattered. Can you use the same word twice? Sure. And I would write all that on the back. How I couldn’t talk to my girlfriends when they talked of how good their children were doing. Could not talk to my husband. Thank goodness I never blamed him. (I blamed myself)
Write all the garbage on the back. Pages and pages of feelings of he did this and said that. All my hurt, all my longing, my character defects – I wrote about them all. And then I got to the facts. Only the facts, not my feelings, are going to give me the ability to get well.
Write this down: If I do this fourth step and stay in my feelings, I will not get well.
Feelings are very important. I never discount them. Feelings are not facts. They are a gift from God and tell us we need to go to God. Happy sad or glad I need to go to God. We need to put our feelings in proper perspective so we can get well. We have got to see the truth.
Underneath the very last entry: write: Turnaround.
After you do your five people you can use the format on the website. Don’t do this until you have finished with the five. Want you to get into your brain what the next step is. So if you don’t have the website format or your writing with you, you can still sit down and help somebody.
Turnaround: The only way I am going to see the truth and recover the turnaround is to see the truth of the stock in trade, see my character defects.
Write this down: To get rid of these properly (that takes God). But have to know what you need to take to God.
TURNAROUNDS: Looking at our part – the only way to freedom from this resentment.
a. direct lie
b. lie of omission
c. lie I tell myself
(always a lie of omission & always a lie we tell ourselves)
We have every resentment because:
I am afraid this person I resent does not like, love or respect me.
If you want to, write ‘fear’ beside each of the seven emotions: self-esteem, pride etc.
Fear is at the bottom of every resentment – fear that you are not going to be loved, liked or respected. It is our innermost need as a human being.
People can love you but not like you. Some of you have parents that loved you but they didn’t really like who you were. I lived with that. And I brought this fear into every relationship.
Turnarounds are the only way you are going to see the truth and the only way you are going to recover.
You have got to get to the truth because you cannot do the turnaround and think you are going to get well if you are telling yourself a lie. e.g. I could pretend I didn’t resent Joe because he is my son. It would be a lie: I was very resentful.
It takes awhile to uncover the lie. We lie to ourselves saying: It is not that bad. Or we lie and say: It was awful and I will never be able to get over it. We lie: I will never be able to forgive them.
1. Selfish: a) What I wanted from this person. You write : I wanted ….then write what your HP tells you to write. Selfishness has two parts. b) Why? For me I wanted them to give me attention, to be my friend or my boyfriend. It always had something to do with getting attention. Esteeming me. Why? I did not esteem myself as valuable. I did not esteem myself until my white light experience. Then I felt God really loved me and didn’t care whether or not humans did. e.g. What did you want from them? A raise. Why? A raise would show I am worthwhile.
You have to dig deep.
2. Self-seeking: the behaviors you did to get what you wanted.
This was such an eye opener. I people pleased, manipulated. Used my sexuality. I did for others what they should be doing for themselves. I cried, lied. I pretended I really like them when I did not. I gossiped. I back stabbed. The list goes on and on.
a) Direct lie.
b) Lie of omission
c) Lie I told myself
(we always have b and c)
Lie of omission is not saying what you need to say to bring honesty. I would break my food plan. I lied to my group through not telling them. They assumed I was clean with my food and I was not. Or I needed to tell a friend something really hard like: You really hurt my feelings. Instead I held a resentment. Not telling a person the truth and bringing honesty to a relationship. I was a bold faced liar. I lied when I could have told the truth.
FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real
Fear: I was afraid of:
a. Not getting what I wanted
b. Other people’s opinion of me.
c. Financial insecurity.
d. Put whatever else you were afraid of
Does your answer have to be restricted to 6-9 words? No. You can write whatever you need to on the turnarounds. Try to get to the facts and put feelings on the back of the page.
Do Five. Why? If you have really done five resentments thoroughly, you will see your pattern and you will see that every resentment has basically the same elements. If you want to, do more.
Radical thought: if you only do five resentments you will only be making five amends. So if you feel you need to clear up a lot of wreckage you need to write. No writing: no amends. Why? You will make amends and not know the truth. You will make amends on feelings. It’s important to cut through the feelings and tell the truth. Without writing you will make a mess of making amends.
Stephanie quoted pg 67, fourth paragraph, (fear)…”was an evil and corroding thread” that makes us lie to ourselves and others.
She said that Resentment comes from fear. All the 6 ‘affects’ are based on fear; i.e., self esteem would be: fear of how other people see me, or how I see myself.
Pray before you write. And thank God after you write. If you get up, pray again before you restart writing. Pray, pray, pray to the point where prayer becomes second nature because prayer is all about steps 10, 11 and 12. So practice praying.
(week 157) 1 January 2015 12 Step Study Big Book workshop
Step 3 is all about being honest with yourself and how much you need the Higher Power/God.
Definition of God: there is a God and not only am I not it, but neither are other people.
On page 59: Half measures availed us nothing, We stood at the turning point.
We asked God’s protection and care with complete abandon.
You want an answer to all your problems? You don’t depend on people, on yourself but instead depend on God.
What do I do when I put up and shut up and try not to manipulate a situation?
I ask God to take the situation and I live in my own action plan. That’s what you do.
Very simple. This is a simple program.
The program is to stop trying to control and let God be God.
This is the how and the why of it.
(i.e. the answer): We had to quit playing God. It didn’t work.
Resentment against God/lack of trust in a Higher Power
Stephanie explains: When people have trouble with God it is all self-centeredness. They had expectations: i.e. resentments in the making. I never argue with anyone ever. The one thing you never argue about is God. I don’t know (for example why horrible things happened to someone) but I do know in my life nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. I may say I don’t have any answers for you but you can use Good Orderly Direction (GOD). Teach them about an action plan. God is in this action plan. Explain that if they want to get well this is a proven way to do so. You need to have a God of your understanding: Good Orderly Direction. Keep having Quiet Time and you will find a Higher Power.
If you stay in the negative your life will be negative.
Whereas an Action Plan helps you focus on the solution rather than the problem.
Recommend reading The Reflections book, As Bill Sees It, or The Big Book, Al-Anon book Day By Day, etc.
1. Ask God to come into it.
2. Read a paragraph.
3. Write what it means to you.
4. Reflect on what you have written.
Often people who are antagonistic won’t even try Quiet Time. So it is getting them over their resentment to stick with. If they are desperate enough they will do it and they will get a HP.
Half measures availed us nothing. Just going to AA meetings is a half measure. If someone does not like the word God can say Higher Power or Good Orderly Direction. That is a very non-threatening way to have Quiet Time. Give them an action plan and say its OK to have a resentment against God. Stephanie says she had one. It was my own selfishness and self-centeredness as I wanted God to do everything. I wanted this and that perfect e.g. perfect parents. It was not reality. Parents are really sick people. I was a sick parent and I had eight years of sobriety and six years of abstinence and Al-Anon when I became a parent. I was not a healthy parent at the time.
So its taking them through the reality that they cannot have life the way they want it. And accepting that and letting go. They may not have had a perfect childhood although once they get over their resentments they can have a darned good life now. Resentments are the greatest robbers of peace and serenity.
Next week bring at least one resentment written out with the cause and how it affects you so you can read it to the group and participate. [We may spend a couple of weeks, or whatever is needed, on this before moving onto the Turn Arounds].
Our live phone meetings are every Thursday at 8:00 AM EST. The phone number for these live meetings is (712) 775-7031, and the meeting ID number is 714744988#.
P O Box 531
North Pembroke MA 02358
You can listen to our recorded meetings at (641) 715-3900, pin 95666# for our Thursday Big Book Step Study workshop. You can also hear our Tuesday Big Book Study recordings at (641) 715-3900, pin 298913#. These meetings can be accessed at any time.