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Connect the Dos

Getting from A to B

Fair warning, i’m working on Step 6 in Alcoholics Anonymous and so my next few posts will be about that.

Step 6

Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

WTH? Defects of character, moi? What defects of character?

One of the things i like most about AA is that there is a clear, practical program to get better. It’s as easy as connecting the dots.

Here’s a short Step By Step refresher course of how i got here.

In Step 1 of AA’s 12 Steps, i admitted my life had become unmanageable because of my inability to handle my drinking.

In Step 2, i said that i obviously couldn’t control my drinking, so a power outside myself was going to have to. My Sponsor and i  decided this “Higher Power” was AA Meetings.

In Step 3, i turned over control of my drinking and life to this power.

In Step 4, i made a list of all the deepest, darkest defects of my character and the actions these defects led me to.

In Step 5, i went over this list with another person (my AA Sponsor).

Now, in Step 6,  i’m letting my Higher Power know that i’m ready to give these up to him/her/them/us.

10 Ways for an Agnostic to Find God

It's a Miracle!

One of the main tenets of recovery is that the addict is not able to control their own drinking (or gambling, or binging/purging, or drugging, or sex addiction…), otherwise they would control it and there would be no addiction problem. Because we addicts are not able to control this aspect of our lives, we have to give control of that area to someone / thing who can; this entity is often referred to as a Higher Power, or a “power greater than ourselves”.

But what about those people who cannot find their Higher Power?

What follows are my suggestions for those who are struggling with the concept of a Higher Power.

10 Ways for an Agnostic to Find God

  1. Stop looking
  2. Listen to the silence
  3. Create something from nothing
  4. Write a mental list of at least 3 people you love, and why you love them
  5. Do a totally anonymous act of kindness
  6. Decide what you want most, then think about it until your heart hurts
  7. Hold hands with someone (two people works best, one on each side)
  8. Talk to someone with less experience than you
  9. Apologize out loud to someone you love
  10. Do something that makes you deliciously happy

When you have done all of these ten things, put a face on how you feel (note: it doesn’t have to be a person’s face).

The next time you need God, think of that face.

When you can’t see that face anymore, go back to step 1.

Sobriety Brought Me To My Knees

These past few weeks have caught me in a place i’d promised myself i’d never go again. On my knees.

i was very religious in another life. i was president of my church’s youth group and preached a sermon before a congregation of 200 odd people. Then i became disenfranchised with the hypocrisy of organized religion and converted to agnosticism. i wouldn’t bother God if he wouldn’t bother me.

AA has strong religious overtones. Fortunately for me, here in Yeaman, the Christian aspect of the program isn’t stressed so much as giving up control of your life to a Higher Power of your own choosing. One of the guys says his Higher Power is Bus #59 because that’s the bus that brings him to the meeting room.

After my religious falling out, i have surprisingly little difficulty accepting a Higher Power. i tried controlling everything for 28 years and i screwed my life up royally. For me, the key is in that sentiment: a Higher Power is a power outside yourself that can “restore you to sanity”.

So every morning i get on my knees, in a very physical and real way, and i pray for guidance to a power outside myself and Higher than i ever was in my drinking life.

Today’s Epiphany

A Bright Idea

Literally. Today is Epiphany because the 6th of January, Epiphany, is the Christian holiday celebrating the wise men visiting baby Jesus.

“Epiphany” is also the word that means “sudden realization of great truth”, and is basically how i’m going through the AA steps. With each step, i’ve had an epiphany where i’ve understood the essence of the step.

Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

My realization here was the second part of that sentence. Everyone knows the part about “powerless over alcohol”, but when i heard the “unmanageable” thing, my recovery kicked off. i clued in that the way i’d been living my life wasn’t working.

Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

My sponsor helped me with this one. He told me that AA Meetings were my Higher Power. By going to 4-5 meetings a week, i found something i could have faith in that wasn’t religious…something that paid me back more than i put into it.

Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

My epiphany with this step came at a meeting when i shared about how i had problems with humility and fear. It suddenly came to me that giving my will and life over to the care of God meant i had to be humble, because i was admitting “someone” else could do something that i couldn’t; namely, control my unmanageable life. On top of that, there was no reason to be afraid because i wasn’t in charge anymore. God was in the driver’s seat, so i no longer had to fear where the car was heading.

Like they say in the program,

Step 1: i came

Step 2: i came to

Step 3: i came to believe

Thanks to Mrs Demeanor, who made the link between Epiphany and Epiphany for me when we were in the shower.

Why i’m Insane

No Shortage of Insanity Here

i drank for 28 years and the drinks i liked the most weren’t beer or wine or whiskey. My favorite drinks were mojitos and daiquiris and Mike’s Hard Lemonade—drinks where i couldn’t taste the booze.

i drank for 28 years and my drinking hurt my relationship with my kids, my wife, my girlfriends, my friends, my job, my health. i drank despite the financial burden, the hangovers and the smack downs and the lost phones, keys, money, stolen camera, dangerous situations, flirting with death…

Step 2 of the Alcoholic Anonymous 12 step program states:

[We] Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

When i went into the program, i thought, “OK, sure, i’m an alcoholic but insane? That seems a little harsh.”

Then i realized, i drank for almost 30 years despite the damage i was doing and despite the fact i don’t even like the taste of alcohol.

Another helping of insanity, anyone?

[My first Insane post]

This Is Insane

This Is Insane, Too

Today someone told me they had a good 16 years drinking. That got me thinking.

My drinking career lasted nearly 30 years. Long enough that i shouldn’t call it a “career” but my “drinking life” because i boozed for almost as long as Jesus lived. How many of those drinking years were good ones? The first 6, max.

How crazy is that? i spent–no, strike that– i wasted 24 years for a decent 6. It’s like saying i got 6 dollars and all it cost me was 24.

Step 2 of the Alcoholic Anonymous 12 step program states:

[We] Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

i know some people in the fellowship who don’t like the word “insanity”. For me, when you throw away half your life for a few moments you don’t remember that well anyway, what else do you call it ?