Thursday, November 02, 2006

Step 11

I am baking pumpkin bread and watching election predictions on MSNBC. It looks like Kinky is really trailing in the polls, big wonder. He may split off a bit of the Texas vote, however, which can be problematic for other candidates. Perhaps he'll make a statement win or lose. What does this have to do with Step 11? Probably nothing.

I went to a meeting yesterday where the topic was the 11th Step . Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for His will for us and the power to carry that out.

One member commented that he spent a lot of time praying while on his treadmill. The next member, a newcomer, said, "Well, I spent a lot of time on my treadmill, too. Unfortunately, I don't have one." Of course, he was referring to his treadmill mind, the squirrel cage, the committee, however you may refer to that interesting chatter our brains provide free day after day.

I don't know about you, but some nights when I lie down to sleep, the chatter in my brain forces me to get up and decompress somehow before I go back to bed. I always thought it was because I was a night owl, but lately I've been wondering. How in heck have I stayed sober almost 22 years when my brain tells me so frequently what a flawed person I am? I have run on self will much of my recovery and it's really hitting me that it's time to make a change. I guess it's back to that thing called sponsorship and working with one, not just being one. My sponsor has been 1500 miles away for about six years and I think it's time I find a local one.

I shared with a woman with 37 years yesterday after the meeting about the kind of day I'd had on Wednesday, complete with quotes. She really chewed me out, giving me an earful about how badly I need gratitude in my life and why there's no excuse, especially given the miracles that have occurred in the past eighteen months with near death then a transplant, to be anything but grateful. She told me to write a gratitude list each day, not just to write one and forget it. She dished out a bowl of tough love and it really gave me something to chew on.

When our elder statesmen and women came into the rooms, they received tough love. When I got here, things weren't quite so tough. I have a theory that we've "untoughened" our program because we take it for granted. In the early days, there were few recovered alcoholics and few meetings, so early members seemed to need each other more than we do today. They clung together like men and women in a lifeboat.

Maybe it's the push by treatment centers to offer a kindler, gentler AA. Maybe it's all the psychobabble we hear spouted so frequently in meetings: "I came from a dysfunctional family," etc. But I can't imagine, for example, people coming into an early AA meeting and identifying as an addict/alcoholic. They would have been set straight pretty quickly. I'm not judging, because the softer, gentler program I received when I came into the rooms kept me here when tough love might not have. I'm just saying it's easy for me to get caught up in stinking thinking such as self-pity. Thank God there's still other members not afraid to tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to.

So I'm clean another day, the dogs are having a great day and the pumpkin bread, I hope, will be edible by humans, at least. The dogs, however, hovering near the kitchen, have other wishes. Until tomorrow, take it one day at a time.

5 comments:

woof said...

Sounds to me like you are experiencing another spiritual awakening....a growth "spurt"...without question.

twodogsblogging said...

Here is a tip. If the former owner of your home tells you the smaller of your two ovens doesn't work, take his word for it. It heated up, so hey, I used it. It burned the top and bottom of the pumpkin bread so the dogs are having a field day. :(

Anonymous said...

Sounds VERY promising. I find a LOT of the things people say in meetings are often the complete opposite of the AA programme in the basic text. Rather than analysing how it got to be that way, I just try to be helpful and refer to the real aa suggestions from the big book. I always say, 'if you want to hide something from an alcoholic, put it in the big book!' Because it is, sadly very true.

Anonymous said...

Sounds VERY promising. I find a LOT of the things people say in meetings are often the complete opposite of the AA programme in the basic text. Rather than analysing how it got to be that way, I just try to be helpful and refer to the real aa suggestions from the big book. I always say, 'if you want to hide something from an alcoholic, put it in the big book!' Because it is, sadly very true.

SCoUt said...

Sorry about your pumpkin bread, but glad the dogs are enjoying it. :) and :(
I can see that the program has much softer edges since I first came around back in 1987. (Haven't been clean since then, that's just when I was first introduced.) If you said you were an addict in those days, you would have definitely been "spoken to." And I knw people were told to sit down and shut up, etc.
I think it's sad that some A.A. groups are allowing this to happen because it is going to harm identification for the "pure alcoholic." And that's why they wanted to protect it in the first place.
N.A. still tells people not to identify as an alcoholic to try to protect that very thing. Well, some of that is a rant I won't post here -- you know, they get pissed when they go to an A.A. meeting that asks them not to identify as an addict but then they bug people in their own rooms???? Anyway...
I appreciate the tough love kind of deal myself. Sometimes I WANT feedback and CRAVE feedback and can't get it.
I guess what I have taken too many words to say is -- I am with you on all of this.
Peace,
Scout