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.

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

 

Surrender

Hello, freaks! With my tongue planted firmly, where it belongs.

When I hold on, I’m left with nothing. If I let go everything is possible

On this glorious Palm Sunday morning, I am embarking on a trek through some principles I have embraced, due mostly, to the idea I was in control and knew exactly what had to happen, and how you were joining me whether you liked it or not.

Fortunately for me and everybody close to me, I didn’t die before I surrendered. I am finding as well, that I am in a continual state of surrender unless I am not, in which case I am in for some emotional pain.

According to Meriam Webster Surrender is defined thusly

Definition

1.  a: to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand surrendered the fort

b:  to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another

2.  a:  to give (oneself) up into the power of another especially as a prisoner

b:  to give (oneself) over to something (as an influence)

For the purposes of this discussion, I like #2 as it relates to my surrender to a feeling of separateness and my behavior trying to feel connected through portraying myself, as something, I am not and engaging in activities aimed at establishing a connection with others doing the same thing. Use of imagination and experience can allude to a vast range of erroneous endeavors here.

As soon as I surrender to that idea, I am able to be liberated to embrace my already established connection to the whole and that I was never really never separate from it.

 

“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! ❤