How does that lead to Integrity?

Welcome, if you’ve not been following along on our trip, investigating the spiritual principles behind working the steps found in the 12 Steps, primarily from the book Alcoholics Anonymous

So here we are at Step 5 Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs. I am not going to talk here, about how it’s done, or why, or the ways to overcome the inevitable reluctance to performing this step. There is a plethora of writing on those subjects.

I want to relay my experience of how admitting the sheer wretchedness of myself leads to integrity.

Integrity- noun

1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

2. the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished:

3. a sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition.

 

When I first learned that integrity was the principle behind this, I automatically thought #1 here and was confused other than the idea of integrating my entire past, however repulsive, by honest admission.
I have found, though that this step is imperative to arriving at #2 being whole.
Throughout my life, I denied or fought my demons or impaired myself to escape it. In doing so I gave these secrets power, which in turn pushed me to even more erratic insanity. I have to be a member of the human race and society, however painful it is. By sharing my weaknesses and flaws with another, healing my battered character can begin.

Courage

Courage is defined as noun: the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery

I’ll take this definition a step further. As the quality within to take action in spite of fear.

Why? you may wonder, do I need to be courageous. As I am progressing through my endeavor to rid myself of the compulsion to destroy my being, attempting to escape the agonizing feelings of being an addict.

Having navigated my way from Surrender and making my way to the doorstep or possible recovery by way of Honesty and developing some hope Great, so Now What?

The next task is truly a frightening prospect. Requiring all the courage I could summon. Step 4 Made a searching and fearless moral inventory. Which I might add, after doing the previous steps thoroughly was immensely easier than I thought, upon first examining the steps suggested.

I had never until this point take an honest look within to ask myself who and what bother me. What happened, how it made me feel and the most important part. What part did I play in that situation, relationship?

By recognizing, acknowledging and embracing the absolute worst I am capable of. I have discovered that I am now liberated to behave in entirely new way.

Great, so Now What?

I am continuing my series on principles I aspire to integrate into to my being.

So here I am having been reduced to the point of Surrender. I have arrived at the crossroad and the resulting option is killing myself, being locked up or Honesty. Having decided I want to live a free life and am in a position to follow in the footsteps of many who have overcome and flourished in spite of having been down a similar path.

Where do I go from here? Well, those brave souls I have decided to follow instruct me that I have to find and use a Power greater than myself and believe in the possibility, that I can start doing things, living my life differently, and my ability to make better decisions will result. Many will recognize step 2 of the 12 steps here. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. I had to have Hope that I could be changed.

What is wrong with this picture?

What was I thinking? I’m talking about the blatant disregard for my own and others safety. In the description of what it was like, in my last post, It’s Payday!

Ah the mind of a budding addict. I was craving a feeling of connection. I had a vast hole, or it felt like one, in my being. Something was missing. I used substances to alter my brain and body in order to feel different. The trouble is that I was severely impaired. I could care less about myself or others, while at the same time being quite self-absorbed.

I’m better now thanks to the grace of God and the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous

I have posted this song before but it’s pertinent

It’s Payday!

This piece is a brief description of “what it was like” in the fairly early stage of my addiction to alcohol and other stuff.

The year 1978. I am a utility assembly finisher by trade at Smith Tool Company. One of two, in that era, largest manufacturers of rock bits, used for drilling for oil and in other types of mining. I operate several machines in the performance of my job including, grinders drill presses lathes etc. Safety first right?

I am 18 years old and I have been smoking weed and drinking with increasing frequency. I worked first shift 6:30 AM-2:30 PM I arrive at work having smoked a joint or several bong hits of Columbia gold cannabis sativa. At that time the indica green bud had not yet become preferred. It was some good shit, trust me.

Today was Thursday, which was payday. We would get our checks sometime between morning break and lunch. This occasion, a sort of routine was developed over time with my buddy Dennis. Upon release for lunch, for which we have half an hour to complete, no time is wasted. Out to the parking lot into Dennis’s van, a couple joints rolled quickly. One fired up and we’re  off to the bar that will cash our checks. 15 minutes in and out and off to Dell Taco which was one of the first to serve a 32 oz drink with a meal. Stop at the liquor store to grab a half-pint of Wild Turkey 101 proof Kentucky Bourbon. I love that stuff and it provided a nice compliment to the weed buzz. If one drinks the beverage to the top of the sun on the logo printed on the cup a half-pint fits quite nicely into the beverage. The second joint smoked on the way back to the factory, walk back into work booze in tow and security is none the wiser.

wild_turkey_logoImage source- whiskeyid.com/google

Looking back on this now I realize how hazardous it was for me to be operating large machines and grinding small parts by hand was but I was indestructible then.

That is just a taste of what it was like for me way, way early on in my using life.

Thanks for stopping by

some music from the era

 

“I hope you’re done and not here just to take a break”.

Those were the words of Roger B. at The Retreat in Wayzata The Retreat

His words stuck home with me that day in November 1998. I was done and had finally reached the point where I was “willing to go to any lengths to get it” I had to want to be “done” in order for any of the suggestions proposed by 12 step programs to work in my life.

If I hang on the delusion that someday, I will be able to drink and maybe smoke a little weed and I will not at some point be “on the hunt” for a hit, I am a goner.

It is I am told the great obsession of every addict to be able to use or drink without consequences.

Those days are long past though and I have discovered, that it wasn’t the using that was the problem. I was the problem. I am super sensitive and have chasm within me that is insatiable and drug and alcohol were the only things that dulled that ache. I describe it here The Longing

As long as I think I can use something, somebody, some activity to quell that craving I am a slave in chains to it and will use any means to at least try to calm the desire to feel whole.

Peace be with you! ❤

 

When you can’t look on the bright side, I’ll sit with you in the dark -Alice in Wonderland

This week a theme has been percolating within me since my last post and the one before that. Things that I’ve read, things I have been thinking about, I know that is a dangerous endeavor, given my thinking problem. I have uncovered something that seems universal.  There is no way I can be of any help if I can’t comprehend what you’re even talking about. In addition, good things grow out of compost.

If I am to help anybody find God I must understand the sinner- God Calling

One thing that had been scratching the inside of my skull was one I heard in A.A. meetings and I found it here.

A drunk fell in a hole and couldn’t get out. A businessman went by. The drunk called out for help. The businessman threw him some money and told him, get yourself a ladder. But the drunk could not find a ladder in this hole he was in.

A doctor walked by. The drunk said, “Help, I can’t get out.” The doctor gave him drugs and said, “Take this, it will relieve the pain.” The drunk said thanks, but when the pills ran out, he was still in the hole.

A renowned psychiatrist rode by and heard the drunks cries for help. He stopped and said, “How did you get there? Were you born there? Were you put there by your parents? Tell me about yourself, it will alleviate your sense of loneliness.” So the drunk talked with him for an hour, then the psychiatrist had to leave, but he said he’d be back next week. The drunk thanked him, but he was still in his hole.

A priest came by and the drunk called for help. The priest gave him a Bible and said I’ll say a prayer for you. He got down on his knees and prayed for the drunk, then left. The drunk was very grateful, he read the Bible, but he was still stuck in that hole.

A recovering alcoholic happened to be passing by. The drunk cried out, “Hey, help me, I’m stuck in this hole.” Right away, the recovering alcoholic jumped in the hole with him. The drunk said, “What are you doing? Now we’re both stuck here.” But the recovering alcoholic said, “It’s okay, I’ve been here before, I know how to get out.”

Taking all of that into account, all of which I, wholeheartedly agree with, I am willing and able to get into the foulest putrid muck of the abyss, with you.

It is a place from which I have emerged, but not without someone who has been there. So the cycle continues, a seemingly catastrophic fracture of psyche takes us to unfamiliar territory, where the solid ground on which I once found firm and reliable is now quicksand. All of the survival mechanisms on which I had relied upon have evaporated. The primary reason, I have found was and continues to be my recent discovery of using things, people, activities to make me feel better. That I was maniacally self-centered and demanding that these things continue to do their magic. They inevitably fail, leaving me in nearly unbearable pain. The only things left are find something more satisfying or surrender.

I ask for help from God, and others who have shared their experience with me, elucidating the familiarity with my dilemma. I can sit in that dark place with you and share without fear and grow.