Friday, November 20, 2009

AA Step 6 Continued

Step 6 cont
Do we gossip?
Are we sarcastic?
Do we make fun of those less fortunate?
Do we recklessly gamble, abuse credit cards, act out sexually, drive over the speed limit?
“How do these activities affect our movement to God and spirituality? Does practicing one addiction mean we still have an addictive lifestyle?”
The Big Book said alcohol was a symptom.
Do we still treat others as sex objects? Are we abusive? Are we able to be intimate? Can we reveal our true feelings in an open and trusting manner? Can we relate well to those we are sexually attracted to without becoming sexual?
How about our work patterns. Are we workaholics?
Cleansing rituals – pick a character defect and remain abstinent from it for a day to see how entrenched or present it is. Go without TV for a weekend. Vow not to gossip for 24Cleansing rituals . Remain celebate for a week. Give up smoking for a day.
These ideas continue to come from Drop the Rock, Removing character defects – Steps 6 and 7. I have been selective because a few of the suggestion pander to political correctness rather than looking carefully at addictions. In the program of AA, we say “take what we need and leave the rest.” I’ve left some of the idea about ‘altering mood’ out of the discussion because frankly I consider it normal for people to ‘alter their mood” with a hike, love making, a bowl of ice cream, prayer and meditaion, work. It is healthy to alter our moods with activities and yet the book seems to question this against some treatment centre ideology which I believe represents more an addiction to pseudoscience than something helpful to my recovery. That said, I still think the book is brilliant and admire the genius and work that the writers have put into it even encouraging me to think about this ‘mood altering’ thing which I’d occasionally heard as a chant in some meetings where it irritated me and now I understand why. Clearly it’s an “inside job’ but the founders said ‘spiritual progress’ and coming from the perfectionism of medicine I was thankful to hear that my job for today was not to drink. I don’t want to go back to questioning every little detail of my life or in my case I might return to drinking to stop the obsessive compulsive avoidance of anxiety by trying to live according to rules upon rules and often phony standards. It’s useful to consider our characters but I like to remember the Churchill’s of the world and Jesus’ rage attack in the temple. I am here to be human. But I’m not hear to indulge the animal. I’m aware I’m looking up and standing upright and walking forward.
Fasting is what these cleansing rituals represent.
I had thought sex was central to my life and frankly had said not so much in jest as in reality that if I couldn’t have sex life wouldn’t be worth living. But the years of absolute celiebacy taught me that despite my honest thoughts on the matter life went on. The same was true for food. I fasted for weeks drinking only orange juice and found that I felt better and meals weren’t central in my life. Smoking was once a daily matter to me and something I thought was a pleasure but indeed had become a terrible addiction. I am so thankful for having given up smoking and remained of the coffin nails.

While I didn't return to smoking and drinking, I did however return to food and sex and don’t’ have any regrets.

Ultimately pride is what we're working to understanding. We want to eventually replace 'false pride' with humility and true self esteem. In the eyes of God we are equal. When I think I'm better than you because I'm smarter or faster or richer or rank higher I really have to consider my on 'egomaniac with inferiority complex'. In a specific context I am superior. I am superior as the captain of my boat on my boat and at sea. But because I'm captain of my boat I'm not superior to you outside of that context.

I was fascinated by my dog's being happiest with a bone but having a quantum leap in happiness when another dog was present who didn't have a bone. I notice a lot of dogs carrying their bones around in search of dogs without bones. I've done it myself at times. The people I most resent are the people who do this and that's just because their arrogance reminds me of mine. Perhaps I'm disheartened then at how long the journey really seems.

Knowing that I ask God for forvivenss, guidance and help.

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