Soul Work Thursday 11/01/2012 Chapter 3, More about Alcoholism – page 30 paragraph 1- thru paragraph 3.
Words: Vain, Persistence, Illusion, Astonishing, Fully Concede, Delusion, Pitiful, Incomprehensible, Demoralization
1) Why isn’t my Quiet Time a way of life for me?
2) What is the resistance to having a QT?
3) Do you believe that having a relationship with a God of Your Understanding is what the 12 Step Study process is all about? 4) Are you willing to admit that you are bodily different than others?
4 a) Are you willing to admit that you are mentally different than others?
5) Do you still obsess that someday you’re going to be able to go to …ex. a party and drink a fancy cocktail, or buffet and eat without weighing? What is your great obsession?
6) What are you obsessing about? … putting your time and energy into?
7) Can you relate to the story I just told you? Identify and own where you are at? About holding resentments, gossiping, 10th step, hangover, and living in recovery by sharing our experience.
8) Are you in delusion about what you can handle in any behavior, people, or substance?
9) What was the last delusion you were in? Write it out. How did you or how are you resolving it in a healthy way? How did it affect your food, sobriety, sleep, etc. …
10) Was your illness progressive? Write out your story.
(week 44) 1 November 2012 Big Book Step Study – notes on the workshop
More About Alcoholism, page 30 from start of the chapter: ‘Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics…’ until end of 3rd paragraph: ‘Over any considerable period we get worse, never better.’
Stephanie encourages us to go to the handout page at: www12stepstudy.com and read ‘slips’ by William Silkworth – AA conference approved literature. Dial 641 715 3900 pin 95666# if you cannot make the live workshop.
Third Step Prayer. Set Aside Prayer (see website for handout of the Big Book references for this).
As Stephanie has been saying every week since this workshop began in January, Quiet Time is vital.
Q1 Why isn’t my Quiet Time a way of life for me?
Q2 What is the resistance to having a Quiet Time?
Q3 Do I believe that having a relationship with a God of my understanding is what the Big Book Step Study workshop is all about.
If you are having trouble with a Quiet Time see the website for the 12-week Trust and Rely workshop. Call 641 715 3900 pin 97200#. Each week a new led Quiet Time half hour is available. You can do it with Stephanie until you get on your feet and it is part of your life as it is today for Stephanie. It took her a long time to see that having a relationship with God could replace one with the dysfunction of addiction. In Stephanie’s opinion that is the Big Book’s answer.
Recommend listen on the playback (same phone no. + pin 95546#) for Katie speaking about a higher power and Step 10 at last Tuesday’s Big Book meeting. The live meeting is Tuesdays 3-4 EST on same tel.no. and pin.
Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics
This means you are unwilling to admit that you need God to stop your addiction. There are many people who say they are an alcoholic but they think that going to meetings and doing the tools will keep you sober. They may not drink but will be a dry drunk. Stephanie doesn’t want to be a dry drunk. She wants to live so that she can be happy joyous and free and have others ask “what the heck do you do. You don’t drink and you’re happy?”
A real alcoholic is willing to admit that they cannot stay clean of their addiction and they cannot have the joy of living by just going to meetings and working the tools.
Stephanie says just about every week how important going to meetings and working the tools are. She does this on a daily basis as she is not cured, but she does not just rely on that. She has Quiet Time and bringing God into every area of her life. No person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows.
If you are a real alcoholic are bodily and mentally different. Accepting that is part of the first step.
Q4 are you wiling to admit you are bodily and mentally different than others. (including even other people in the 12-step rooms who don’t need a spiritual experience and making God everything in their life).
Therefore, it is not surprising that our drinking careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove we could drink like other people. The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.
Look up vain Most people think vain is looking in the mirror all the time. This is not what this says. Vain means attempts that don’t work.
Q5 Do I still obsess that some day I am going to be able to go to a party and be receive red enough to have a cocktail with a fancy umbrella? Some day when I am down to my goal weight I will be able to go to a buffet and just eat whatever I want. For Stephanie it would to be without her scale. She is not only powerless over certain foods she is also powerless over quantity.
Stephanie wants to be God-honouring. Thinking about ‘I can’t wait to get to my goal weight, go to this party, dance and eat and drink’ that is not recovery for her. She wants to go to a party and talk to people and share a little bit about herself and what they will share about themselves. Big Book says go to a party and see what you can bring to it by way of recovery. Stephanie brings recovery by just being friendly. She is very hard of hearing even with her hearing aid. If anybody is nearby she will ask them if they are having a good time. If they do not want to talk she does not hold them hostage.
What is your great obsession? Stephanie’s is how can she can to bring to people recovery/a relationship with God. That is what her work is today. She has two websites: www.12steprecovery.com and www.bible4recovery.com These two areas are her purpose in life, not whether she is going to fit into size 4 clothes. She has given away the majority of her size 4. They were such a badge of honour. Size 4 always had spandex in. She has gone up a size, not gained weight. Now more comfortable and does not have to think How do I look, is anybody looking at me. ‘Neat and clean so I can really be present in my relationship with people.’ She doesn’t want to be thinking about her hair. So now can throw a headband on and she just does not need to be concerned. All her clothes are hanging and she does not have to waste her time. She does go to Clutterers Anonymous (not CLA) on Saturday mornings, if you are interested. It has helped her so much to keep it simple.
What are you obsessing about/putting all your energy into?
Stephanie used to spend way too much time on clothes which took up three closets and now she has the equivalent of one. She has to be really careful re. food, diet books, romance novels, television, how she looks etc. She is glad that she is very open about what she can become obsessed about. She really does not feel she has any secrets today and is pretty much an open book which does help with relationships. She is willing to open up and that helps others and then there can be an intimacy. She does not watch the news, read newspapers, watch game shows or sit coms. She does not read anything except non-fiction. She cannot talk small talk. This past hurricane she only knew what the weather was in central Massachusetts. Her husband told her what she needed to know. She is a depressive person and can get all whipped up and obsessed ‘really, really easily’ if she does not keep filling herself with positivity.
She had a slip this week-end when she gossiped to her husband and her son about her father’s estate. Her father has been dead over 2.5 years. She did a tenth step immediately making amends to her husband and her son and told them both ‘you did not need to hear my old baloney’. She didn’t pour the booze but poured the selfishness. She had a hangover because of getting into the ISM (I Self Me) of the disease so she encourages all of us to be careful.
‘You can change drinking to thinking. The idea that somehow someday I will be able to control and enjoy other people is the great obsession of every abnormal person’. Stephanie thought she could control it if she bought up her resentment again and shared it with her husband and son and could change the situation. ‘Of course I could not’. The thinking is 24/7 and she has to be careful that her thinking does not go into obsession. To get into an obsession over a person, a situation or a substance she is then abnormal: not in her normal recovered mind. It is a playground for the disease – a dangerous area. “It is awful”. She does not want to be there. She is only getting right today and she did this on Sunday. Her mind is just getting back. And she has already told us what a frustrating morning with her breakfast all over the floor, which she had taken a lot of time and energy to make and then could not have it. She thanks God it happened today not Monday or Tuesday.
Q. Can you relate to the story that Stephanie just gave us about bringing up an old resentment and then gossiping or talking to the wrong people about it? And then realizing and doing a 10th step and then having a hangover.
When Stephanie takes time to share something with us she wants us to look at ourselves. Everything is for a purpose: for us to own where we are at. Can we identify and prevent something. Stephanie went into this week-end for us as part of her sole purpose in showing up every Thursday and sharing her life with us as our sponsor. Then we can take what we like and leave the rest.
The persistence of this illusion [that we can control our drinking] is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death
persistence look up. In Big Book draw a square box around each word she asks us to look up. This is so that when we are taking someone through the steps whenever we see a boxed word will know to ask sponsee to look it up.
look up illusion, astonishing.
Stephanie must have written on the issue many times and yet her abnormal brain thinks it must change if she brings it up. And all it did was make her miserable and she is then negative with her husband and son. She wasn’t drunk on alcohol but was drunk on resentment and that affects her family.
We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed.
look up fully concede, delusion. delusion is the ISM I am deluded in thinking one way, my way. When I align my thinking with God’s way I come out of delusion. God is the truth. Stephanie will lie to herself (that is delusion) that she is like other people. Other people can bring up a resentment and not have a hangover. Others can do and say things that she cannot. She has to stay this side of the positive line. She cannot go into negativity in any way shape or form or the disease takes over. That is what she has learnt about herself. She is either positive or she is sick and that is why she protects herself. Why she does not watch TV, listen to radio station, read newspapers, do a lot of things that others can do. She does not begrudge them. Her husband can do these things. She bought him excellent headphones and she does not have to listen to the TV or listen to anything she does not want to listen to. So she can still be in the same room with him which is important as a couple and they can both do their own thing.
Q. Are you in any type of a delusion about what you can handle? Are you dabbling in television when you know you cannot, caffeine, a food substance, alcohol, medication? Are you dabbling with the delusion that it is OK? It has to be smashed. Deep down you know. She is trying to help us get gut level honest with ourselves. Are you in any delusion about any behaviour any person, substance in your life? Now is the time to get those delusions out before you start writing your fourth step so that when you start writing the fourth step you won’t have to break through the delusions. It is going to be hard enough to look at the past and see the lie that you will have built up around these things in the past to protect yourself. And that’s what keeps coming up: a lie about her dad. It’s a very heavy duty lie that keeps coming up that her dad was not being honoured. His memory, his wishes are not being honoured. “I am in delusion about that”. Her husband knows the truth as is the executor of the estate and he sat her down and told the facts again and now she feels she is finally out of delusion that her father’s memory is not being respected.
“This one is really, really deep. The delusion is the disease”. The disease wants to keep her in delusion about this and keep her tied up in resentment and fear and all this emotionalism. And it’s another ploy – a dysfunctional ploy – to keep her father alive. He is dead. It happened differently with her mother. With her mother she could not let go of her clothes and her shoes. Stephanie could not move for her mother’s things in her bedroom (her mother had many clothes). Stephanie could not let it go. That was how her grieving worked. Thinking if she let those things go it would diminish her life. She feels it is the same thing with this estate business. She thinks she has come to the point where she is able to let go. All that remains are her mother’s pearl necklace and wedding ring which she always wears. Everything else she has given away. Feels today she can let go of this estate business. She eventually told her husband she does not want to know anything about it. She got triggered as someone called her. Just as no TV and no romance novels, similarly she has the ‘no talk’ attitude about this. She will not talk about it and if someone mentions it will say she is not involved. So she feels she has really grown through this situation.
Q. What was the last delusion you were in? Write it out (as Stephanie just told us). How did you resolve it or how are you resolving it in a healthy way? Go into all the areas of your life. How are you with your food, your sobriety, your sleep? (It affected her sleep). She wants us to see how the disease affects all the areas of our life. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed. Don’t you just love that analogy? Taking something and smashing it on the top and getting rid of it, sweeping it up and putting it in the wastepaper basket.
Instead of drinking Stephanie has understood that she is powerless over her thinking. That is why she needs God. She cannot even be thinking on her own without bringing in God. She is a depressive (anger turned inwards), so she gets angry and very negative.
We are going to see people in our step one fellowship who have control. They come in, get a sponsor, food plan. She realised she had to have a Quiet Time to have God in her life 24/7. She cannot afford to not have God in every area because she is incapable of living in this life. She was a mess: could not keep a job, relationship, supporting herself.
All of us felt at times that we were regaining control, but such intervals – usually brief – were inevitably followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. Look up: pitiful incomprehensible and demoralization.
If you are going to know that you are powerless you have to know what being powerless brings out. If Stephanie helps somebody and they say it is too much, and they don’t want to do all this work she wishes them well. Some come back. Why? Because real addicts. They think that they have regained control. Having a sponsor, a food plan and doing the tools they feel like they are in control. Then over time the disease leads them into pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. No condemnation from Stephanie, she herself did it for years. Used diet pills. Thank God only used them for six months. She thought she had regained control and was high as a kite. Then the downer she experienced after she could no longer get them. She experienced such pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. This time she had messed up her body so badly with the speed she was the worse she had been in her life. She did not want to live.
Q. Was your illness progressive? Write out your story (if you want) It was during that time that Stephanie came back to the God of her childhood. Everything has a reason. She is glad to remember how bad she was back then.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Thy will not mine be done.
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#.
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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.