(week 164 19 Feb 2015) 12- step study Big Book all addictions workshop
We are an all addictions BB step-study workshop; all addictions are welcome here.
Stephanie is only our sponsor for the Big Book. We need to get our own addiction sponsors, fellowship mentors and accountability partners. Our recovery will be as strong as our accountability partners are because, knowing us well, they will know when we are off our beat.
We’ve done a minimum of five resentments on people. Maybe some of us don’t even have five others may have many more. It’s all a matter of what our Higher Powers have led us to.
In your 3-ring binder you should have the following divider sheets:
4th step resentments of people – with the list there of names of people you have written on
4th step resentments of institutions – with the list of institutions you will write on.
Just make sure you keep everything neat and orderly by paginating everything with the same individual name or institutional name (e.g. Mr. Brown p.1, Mr. Brown p. 2, Mr. Brown p.3 and/or
Medicare p.1, Medicare p.2, Medicare p.3). And somewhere in your binder, scotch a card with your name, address and phone number stating that ‘in case of loss, please return to said address’. Stephanie did once have a sponsee who lost her Fourth-step writing just before she was about to do her Fifth step and had to rewrite everything!
We’ve done a minimum of five resentments on people. Now time to go to institutions (as it tells us to do in the Big Book).
What is an institution? It is more than one person. Anything that is a group of people.
When Stephanie goes to the dentist she has a dentist but that dentist has three other dentists working there. They are a group. That is an institution.
A police or fire department are both institutions, as is the church. Other examples of institutions are: a school system, AA and our step one fellowship.
If you had an individual resentment against your mother, brother, father, sister but also had a resentment against the family (inc. the grandparents cousins etc – they all ganged up on you). would say :The Whiting family that is an institution. So you may have individual resentments against a dentist but also have a resentment against the institution of that group of dentists.
If you have ever been to a clinic, that is an institution or a group of doctors, psychologists, or a hospital. Social Security benefits is an institution as is Medicare, the State of Massachusetts, the government of the US, Congress, etc.
In the three-ring folder have a sheet that says Fourth Step.
On another sheet that says: Fourth Step resentments – People
(In this section file all the sheets marked on the top left-hand corner with the name of the person e.g. mother page 1 and the page number relating to that person).
The reason that it is recommended to write on resentments for a minimum of five different people is to enable you to see your patterns of behavior. If you do more, you will see the pattern even more so.
Then write on plain paper: Fourth Step resentments – Institutions.
Just list the institutions that you are going to write on. Turn the paper over and on the left hand corner e.g. South Shore Hospital page 1. I am resentment at South Shore Hospital
The cause: I treated my mother with disrespect.
Affects my self-esteem: Now that you understand what it means to put down the reasons and how one resentment affects every area of your life, you do not have to write out how it affects your self-esteem unless you want to.
Stephanie today would not write a turnaround without doing this writing but when she did her fourth step her sponsor did not have her write that. She is not asking us to do it unless we found very helpful..
Stephanie believes it gives a much deeper understanding if you fill out all the details of how it affects you. And how you saw yourself through the eyes of other people. And then do the turnarounds.
Keep writing this each time:
Turnarounds: the only way I am going to see the truth about myself.
Every time you do a turnaround it is the solution. The top writing part is the problem: you have a resentment. You get to see how this one resentment is really creating a big problem in your life. Keep the cause to 6-9 words. Turn the page over and write your feelings, the situation, “he did, she said etc. “ It is important that you write all this out so you can see the truth and are not denying your feelings. Nobody denying that they stepped on your toes and you have to see how you are retaliating out of resentment and anger. Doing the turnaround will show you if you are reacting in a negative way or responding in a recovery way.
An action plan after the Turnaround is really important so you don’t stay in the muck and the mire.
Creating an action plan enables you to recover from that resentment. Inch by inch it is a cinch. The action plan may be nothing more than you can pray for the person, write a letter and give it to God and your sponsor or your buddy.
Selfish how were you selfish? What did you want from this institution?
Always start by writing: ‘I wanted…
Then put the motive by answering the question: Why did I want this? That will give you more information about yourself and what motivates your whole life. The motive for every resentment Stephanie had were to be loved, liked and respected. Why? Because she did not love, respect and like herself.
Self-seeking: What behaviors did I do to get this institution to do what I wanted?
a) There may be more direct lies with an institution.
b) Lie of omission. What didn’t you tell this institution you needed to bring honesty and maybe even resolution? A lot of Stephanie’s resentments were because she never told people what she expected. Wanted them to read her mind. “Now I am upfront I tell people what I expect, when they can expect from me.”.
c) Lie you tell yourself. This is what motivates everything in your life. And it is a lot like the motivator in selfishness. The lie Stephanie told herself is that in and off herself she did not have any value. Needed to have her sense of self validated by others, who I was married to, her academic achievements, amount of money ini the bank. etc.
Never do any work without the third step prayer and the set aside prayer.
If you don’t bring your Higher Power into this you will be going round in circles and lying to yourself as you were before you did this work. God will tell you the truth and the truth will set you free.
Put somewhere on the outside of the folder: your name and address, phone number and a note: if this is lost, please return.
Fear is the evil and corroding thread in every negative thought.
Every negative thought comes from fear and gets you to step on the toes of somebody and they retaliate and they get a resentment.
Fear – a hundred forms of fear. Write them all down. Write as much as you need in the Turnaround as it is all about the solution not the problem. Why it is suggested to keep the top very minimal. Write as much as you want, making sure in upper left-hand corner you write the name or institution page number.
Pride is how other people see me.
When we get sick and tired of not measuring up (to our own ideas) we get angry.. Then project that onto others. When we say “My teacher says I don’t measure up.” “They are saying…,” we are projecting onto them our own fear of not measuring up. By making them the bogeyman we act antagonistically and they react. It is a vicious cycle. The only way out is through trusting and relying on God. God loves me. God doesn’t make junk. I do measure up in God’s eyes. If God can do that I can measure up in my own eyes. If my teacher doesn’t like me I can live and let live. Also not everyone measures up to my world. Do not need to have to have a resentment against everyone. We had an attitude and people reacted to it. It was not them, it was us.
Work at your pace.
My buddy is done and doesn’t want to write any more on people. I am not done on people, can we still work together? Absolutely. She can read institutions and you people. All you say at the end “thank you for sharing” or “I witness your work.” Going to learn from your buddy buddy/group.
We are going to be writing on people, institutions, principles, fears, sex for the rest of our lives. So if we are in a different place from our buddies, all the better, with every sharing you are getting insights into them and into yourself because we are basically all the same. There may be different situations but I think you have figured it out after more than three years of this workshop that we are not that much different.
Action plan: Face Everything with God And Recover (acronym for FEAR).
You see your pattern. Your action plan is to go to Quiet Time and have God show you how to proceed. . No. 1: stop lying to yourself. Come out of the fear. Face it and get honest about it. Bring it to your Higher Power and then march through so you don’t get any more resentments in the present.If you can face your fear of: I don’t measure up, I am not good enough and stop projecting that onto your present life, that is an action plan that will bring you healthy relationships today, tomorrow and the future and stand you in good stead for making amends for past ones. You projected your fears onto them and they reacted to your attitude so you really did step on their toes. You just saw that they were being mean to you while not seeing how you set the ball rolling with your internal argument and angry attitude that you are not measuring up. That is very deep and your answer to an action plan: Face Everything And Recover with God. And we have to face that it was our attitude, through fear of not measuring up, that set the ball rolling.
So for the people you have hurt or harmed, the action plan is to change your attitude through going to Quiet Time. And knowing how much God cares about you so living in the present withoutthat angry attitude of I am not measuring up. Your action plan is to live in faith and not fear. And build your recovery up in God and yourself so when you go back to those people they will really see a difference, that you no longer have that attitude. We all know angry people. When you have a fear of not measuring up you are an angry person. We don’t think it relates to us. Stephanie hears all the time: ‘Go easy on me. I can’t use that language of character defects because I beat myself up all the time.’ They do indeed, but they have a very angry attitude which they project onto others. They cannot face that all their lives they have had an attitude that others are beating up on them and this attitude have set the resentment ball rolling.
When the Big Book says we have set the ball rolling and fear is the evil and corroding thread, we need to put these two together. Stephanie says: ‘I was angry and I picked up food and I ate at people at my mother and my father. I had an attitude towards them that they didn’t love me. They didn’t have a chance to love me, I was one big porcupine. I was pretty difficult to love. If you can look at that. It is hard stuff to look at. A lot of people may say they are not ready to look at it.
‘Today I blame nobody for nothing. I own my own feelings. When I feel like someone is saying something mean I step back. And I don’t immediately blame them. I put a bandage around them like Al-Anon taught me and look at my own reaction. It is all about me. If I am feeling that they are being mean and what they are saying is not nice, I have got to go inside of myself to process. What am I afraid of? If I mean what I say and say what I mean I can have a boundary with that person. When I am afraid I cannot put up a boundary. When someone goes off on me I step back and ask God for help to evaluate what’s going on with me and look at myself. I am feeling afraid. Then instead of reacting I can check out the situation. ‘Oh gee, it seems to me you are upset. Have I said anything that would make you upset?’ . Maybe I am carrying an attitude and I walked into the place with a chip on my shoulder that set them off. I know before I did this work had a chip on my shoulder and set people off.’
Listen again how we had an attitude because we were so angry, upset and afraid that we did not measure up and projected this onto others and brought a negative attitude to all our relationships and they retaliated. But we were the ones who brought the negative attitude in the beginning with the evil and corroding thread of fear
FEAR: Face Everything And Recover with God.
See your attitude and what type of attitude you are bringing to these relationships. That is a turnaround. Where is fear? Everywhere. Fear fits into every thought that isn’t positive. Fear is in your attitude, in every resentment, every negative word out of your mouth.
Ask God: What do you want me to know? Today you face everything with God. Your action plan will be facing everything reasonably with recovery. You won’t be lying to yourself or lying by omission, but instead will be able to ask: You seem really angry, what’s going on? And giving the person a chance to respond. ‘Well you should have seen yourself walking into this office. You looked like a bull in a china closet’. ‘Thank you for telling me. I am not mad at all’. Not having a lie of omission. Telling people what’s going on: ‘I am really confused with what you are saying and with your attitude,’ and giving them the space and permission to say :’Well I don’t know what is going on with you.’ We don’t have to react, as unlike them we have the Big Book. We can step back. ‘God this is an angry person. Help me from being angry.’ And we can do the angry person’s prayer and respond by not having a lie of omission. Staying in the here and now so that when we go back and made our amends and hopefully build a bridge they will see a totally different person.
Stephanie says: “I never asked my mother: do I measure up?” I just assumed my parents did not love me. I lived in this fear my whole life. I was frankly pissed off. I bought that fear-laden attitude of big ego, but really thinking I am no good, into all my relationships and they could see this attitude, the chip on my shoulder.
Everybody reacted to my fear-based attitude to myself and my low self-esteem.”
Fear is the evil and corroding thread that plays out in lies in omission.
We don’t say what we need to say to bring honesty to the relationship. Need to say: What did you mean by that? We think, we feel, we have not checked it out. Reinforcing that evil corroding thread of fear by not checking it out keeps us perpetuating the lies we tell ourselves. And this is how we create our own scenarios.
If you don’t really trust someone’s albeit positive answer you need to do some work with the person for example asking: Was I a problem to you? Is there any reason that I am feeling that you didn’t really love me as much as you loved my sister? You may still have lies of omission. Checking it out is your action plan.
Then need to step back and ask: Where am I being selfish? What did I want from this person/institution? Did I want confirmation that I am special and s/he cares about me? Is there a lie of omission? Did I check it out with the person whom I feel is not respecting me?
Today, I have a good working relationship with my son’s Father but I do have to make an amend for blaming him for everything gone wrong in the relationship and, to this end, have written him a letter which I stayed up most of the night to do, being filled with a sense of deep sorrow. And, I did run this letter by two of my mentors before I will send it off.
*Remember: The Truth will set you free but first you will have plenty of denial!
*By having lies of omission, we aren’t checking things out, we aren’t reality checking.
*Ask yourself in the Turnaround: Where am I being selfish?
*Live in faith and not fear, that God will take care of your needs.
*And whenever you don’t know what to do, just bring it to your Higher Power and ask your HP what to do. Your HP will show you. Then, run it by your mentors, accountability partners, people that are evenly yoked with you, evenly-yoked meaning on the same level of commitment to the process as you are (at any given moment in the continuum your journey).
If you have any questions about institutions and resentments on them, you can email Stephanie at:
firstname.lastname@example.org OR call/text her cell: 617/ 774-7916.
What we went over today is really the whole key to why we have resentments and why we picked up our drug(s)-of-choice. There is no coincidence that BB has us do the resentment first and then look at the fears because we have to be convinced that we are the cause of all our broken relationships to be willing to look at the (cause of us causing all our broken relationships as being our) fear – the fear of not being good enough, not measuring up. Whatever we wrote until now in our Soul Work for Steps One, Two, and Three is just now gelling in our consciousness- through the format of Step Four writing.
Inch by inch a cinch.
Recommendation: listen a couple of times to this week’s workshop. It is very deep about fear. Then bring it to your Higher Power and see if any of your truth is in it.
Podcast: Play in new window