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Post Info TOPIC: Step Study - Introduction


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Step Study - Introduction
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I am going to be using "The Codependent's Guide to the Twelve Steps" as my core resource in starting the step threads for this step study.  I will also be referencing many of the other books I have on the steps including the AA Big Book, the 12x12, Paths to Recovery from Al-Anon and more.  Please feel free to use whatever you wish, or nothing at all.  This is simply an opportunity for us to share our ES&H about the 12 steps.  Some may just browse, some may share what they have learned, some may work the steps as we go. 

Since I started the Book Study with the Introduction I will do so with "The Codependents's Guide to the Twelve Steps" as well.  It seemed to give us a good opportunity to share where we are with our codependency and this will give us a good chance to share where we are with the steps - have we worked them, do we have any questions and so on.  Next week we will dive into step 1.


In the Introduction, the author, Melody Beattie, discusses how she was first exposed to the steps and recovery by being forced into treatment to avoid legal problems.  Then one day she is in a meeting, hiding in the back row, and someone shares their experience, strength & hope.  She had the very common experience of the person sharing "talking about her".  She got sober and worked the steps.

Years later she found herself completely buried in unhealthy codependency and ready to work the steps again.  "The first time I was exposed to these Steps, they gave me sobriety.  The second time I was exposed to them, they gave me a self and a life."

She discusses how we are the key to our own recovery.  We must do the work, no one else can do it for us, and the steps are the core - the solution.  She states that this book is not endorsed by nor endorses a specific 12 step program and can be used by anyone.  She has included questions at the end of each chapter / step to help facilitate some deeper thought or discussions about the material.

"Yet writing about these Steps is a weak reflection of what these Steps are and what they can do.  The magic, the mystery, the power in these Steps can be understood only when each of us personally applies these Steps to our life.  That's when they reveal themselves.  That's when they become more than a list of twelve suggestions."


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I worked the steps 2 years ago with an AA sponsor.  I walked through his door completely broken, having suffered more in the previous 2 years than I had my entire life combined.  We used the AA Big Book, but at home I also read the "Codependent's Guide to the Twelve Steps."  The transformation was incredible.  The work was difficult and very painful.  The relief and healing can't even be described with words. 

It was a rough ride to the doors of recovery and now I can't imagine life without it.  I had spent my entire life lived in fear and didn't even know it.  I had controlled my life and isolated enough that I had a GREAT life.  My home life and my relationship with my daughter were great - my work was great - and I had a lot of fun . . . by myself or with my kid.  Relationships - the family of origin was always tenuous and made me anxious and intimate relationships never lasted because the first sign of trouble I was gone.  But it was mostly drama free and fun.

Then in walked chaos in blue jeans and it was gasoline to my codependency and inability to function in a relationship.  It turned so toxic that I went from a very passionate, fun-loving, outgoing person to not caring if I lived another day.  Just the fact that it was possible was mind blowing.  This person triggered every defect known and unknown.  I became someone I had never been.  I had become a hateful, passive aggressive, manipulative, mean person.

2 years later I am still learning and healing.  I am looking so forward to going through this book again and will be doing the work as I go along.  I don't feel quite myself yet - but then I may never.  There are things that happen in your life that change us forever.  My hope is that as time goes by and the wounds heal - I can be a better me.  I can be stronger, have less fear, communicate better, love more and learn how to take care of myself so only those things in life that can't be avoided hurt me.  I hope to never be a volunteer again.

Linistea


-- Edited by Linistea on Monday 14th of March 2011 11:22:29 PM

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Almost 3 years sober.  Worked the AA 12-steps with a Sponsor.  I continue to work a solid program of AA:  HP, meetings, steps, work with a sponsor, sponsor others and do service work.  My life changed.  I had a new freedom and a new happiness.  I had a new attitude and outlook on life.  Fear was replaced with Faith and Trust in a HP.  Life was good.

Recently; I choose to try being chemical free- I weaned off my Lexapro with a Dr.  I felt confident, secure & at peace.  I wanted to see if I could grow spiritually without the aid of Rx.  Also, the Rx made me extremely tired.  I faced divorcing my wife.  My choice.  There were many factors but lack of intimacy was the biggest.  She also had an emotional relationship with a close family friend for the first year of my sobriety.   I have done a 10th step on this to look at my part. 

When it came time to sign the papers and after telling my children- my ass fell off.  I was riddled with fear, doubt, insecurity and hurting my children.  My diesase told me it was all my fault.  Through the pain I had some clarity that I was rigid in my AA ways and basically blocked others who weren't working a program from me.  Not really working the program to well outside the halls.  I took my wifes inventory and was looking for wife to go to Alanon.  Because that's what she needed??  I bought the book Co-dependent No More to figure my wife out.  confuseno  Because of Fear- I was wasn't loving toward my wife.  Fear that I would be abandonment for this other guy or hurt if she had another relationship in the future.  I wanted love but didn't want to give love.   I was constantly waiting for her to change.  I focused more on her defects than her strengths. 

My family of origin Hx- my Alcoholic father left when I was 4.  My mother raised me until I was 7-8.  Then had a step Dad. 

In the Introduction:
I also came to AA by someone's desire to get sober and did the same thing Melody did until several relaspses led me to my botton.  Then I was in it for me.

She also points out that several years into sobriety and strained relationships she new she needed more than sobriety.  I can related to this.  I need what Bill W talked about: Emotional Sobriety. 

I could relate and gained some hope with this:
"The first time I was exposed to these Steps, they gave me sobriety.  The second time I was exposed to them, they gave me a self and a life."

I like Melody wasn't happy at first to be facing yet another problem; but I also have faith and trust that this is a gift.  A gift to learn and grow.  A gift God put in my path at the right time.   

Looking forward to the journey with you all.



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I am humbled by reading the author's introduction. She takes an honest look at her life and how once through the steps to get a handle on her chemical addictions didn't "cure" her. I so wish that I had read this book when I was getting sober. I knew that I needed to focus on sobriety first, but I didn't know that my co-dependency issues would take the opportunity to fill the space my drinking left.

When I got sober 5 years ago, my divorce had just been completed (it took 1 1/2 years to hammer out, given my ex's refusal to engage/cooperate in the process). After I left my husband, I plunged into drinking and indiscriminately hooking up with men to do what I called at the time "clearing out the cobwebs." By the time I hit bottom a year and a half later, I was nearly bankrupt, I was allowing men to use and abuse me, and I was in constant emotional/mental pain. I stopped the drinking and worked the steps, but I decided "my program" would allow me to keep screwing around with men. It's fortunate that I was able to achieve sobriety -- I think wanting to be a good mother to my son is what saved me. But a two-year relationship with a controlling, dysfunctional beast of a man kept me feeling bad about myself. When I finally pulled away, I barely had time to steady myself when I was rocked by the death of my oldest sister, who had been battling ALS for several years. My family's dysfunction and grief engulfed me and I was hanging onto sobriety by a thread.

I had a very nurturing AA group (all women, many abuse survivors) and they helped me stay steady and weather the storms. I've continued working my program and getting a bit healthier each day, and I am especially grateful that my higher power has allowed me to meet my best friend/soulmate, who I will refer to as my "boyfriend" (because I've never let myself use that term ever before and it feels good smile.gif). I want so much to be as healthy as I can for me, for him and for my son, who blessedly has been growing into an incredible young man despite his parents' various dysfunctions.

I look forward to sharing in the experience, strength and hope of others here to tackle the steps once again and work toward more serenity.

-- Edited by NaninMinn on Tuesday 15th of March 2011 08:13:42 AM

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Been in AA over 10 years and through the steps numerous times, I find my self echoing melody. I know I need something more then sobriety. I was not on my way to living happily ever after, I'm on my way to codependency recovery. This last five years have been the most insane I have ever had. Five years with a mostly active alcoholic that has brought me to the brink of suicide, and homicide. Six months ago, hitting Alanon hard, I was sure I had been adversely affected by someone else's drinking, but now know the truth, that its not her, never was. Its me and my codependent issues, and I do believe they have been there from the beginning. I can remember things from my earliest memories, like driving in the car with my family, everyone was tired, I wanted to sleep but could not. I had to stay awake. How could I sleep while my dad had to stay up and drive. I can remember the guilt I felt when I would slip off in sleep. This codependent thing has been with me from the beginning. Cant wait to role my sleeves up and dig in.



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Once again this introduction (like codependent no more) is like reading "my story"

I agree with her assertion that the 12 steps are a one size fits all one size fits all, fits any person, for any life difficulty, that is my experience after having done the steps "formally 7 or  8 times, informally a number of times at Joe and Charlie seminars, and enough 10,11,12's to choke a donkey, the steps have been integrated into my life, they are hard wired into me, I'm no saying I practice them to perfection, but they have become my default mode, got a problem? whats my part, run it through the grid, got a resentment? what's my part, run it through the grid, angry, sad? whatever, run it through the grid

here however, in some ways I am going off my map, which is a good thing, these are steps in a new fellowship, steps in a different direction, where I am looking at things from a different angle

Something of Value

I read a book once about the whites in Africa when they colonized Africa and modernized the natives and took away the natives culture, they replaced it with crap, and this guy asserted if you are going to take something of value away from someone, you have to replace it with -Something of Value- and the ruling whites had failed miserably in doing that, they took away a deep culturla heritage and replaced it with poverty, alcoholism, and Religion, and the author thought that was a pretty raw deal

I was raised 'off the grid' by not hippies, beatniks more like, but people who had turned their back on the traditional values of capitalism, mass media, junk food, religion, consumerism, and TV, all things I still believe today are inherently evil

But they didn't replace it with "Something of Value"

When they threw out traditional values, in some cases they threw the baby out with the bathwater, I moved around a LOT, went to 17 different schools by the time I was 17 and I ran away from home, by 10 years of age I owned my own machine gun and pistol, I knew who to shoot in drug deals, I knew what doorway to stand in and who to hit with a baseball bat if my father gave me the nod in a barfight, to call my upbringing dysfunctional is like calling King Kong kind of a big monkey

When my parents split up, I went with my father, to find out what kind of man my father was, read "The Sea Wolf" by Jack London, he was an atavistic Conan The Barbarian genius with morals that were.....biological, not the "Law of Man" but "Natures law" or "Necessity" although he adhered to his morals more rigidly then any man I have ever seen, he was flexible but his morals, and moral certainty wasn't, and killing or crippling a man meant nothing to him if the man had it coming by his morals

I was terrified of him, although to this day he has never raised his voice nor his hand to me, his worst punishment in his arsenal was "the look"....being disappointed in me, but then here's this guy with incredible high morals in one area, ...in others....nonexistant, like there, he was like Don Draper in Mad men, this incredibly charismatic man, that everyone around him look to for their moral compass, this incredible icon of integrity, and he cheats on his wife, and leads a double life

This doesn't bring UP my mother, or her family, jesus, 5 years of therapy and they'd qualify to play white trash on Hee Haw, and they come from what's known as a "good family'...which means wealthy, both sides actually, but both sides turned their back on their families, and money, so here I am going to rich schools with rich kids visiting my rich family in home made clothes still wetting my bed at 7 or 8  maybe even 9 or 10, years of age because I am so terrified all the time

F@%$#ing 60's

F%@ing summer of Love

F#@#@ing Berkeley

In therapy some years ago my therpaist was doing an exercise and she said "now lean back and imagine your oldest memory where you are -safe-"

What? I don't understand

Think back ...maybe to when you were a toddler, with your mother or father, think back to when you were safe....

I couldn't...

I have never felt safe

The world has never been a safe place for me, except when I was drunk, then I was GOD, and I sought thrill seeking behaviors, BIG waves, climb the Golden Gate Bridge...did you know your eyelids start flapping at 150 mph on a motorcycle with no helmet on? and it takes 3 exits to slow down from 150 mph if you are on hallucinating acid on that motorcycle?

Like I get "I'm not normal" and thank God for it, normal people bore me to tears and make my eyeballs dry out, and thank God I found my people in the rooms of AA, but it's time to take that tot he next level, I bin playing AA guy for a long time, I want to play "I don't know **** guy" for awhile, it's so tiring knowing it all (joke)

I want "Something of Value" that's not chemically induced, and I am hoping I find some of it here, in this trip through the steps

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it's not the change that's painful, it's the resistance to change that is painful

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