Recording for February 26, 2015

(week 165) 26 February 2015 12 step study Big Book All addictions workshop

Step Four
* It is helpful to have a structured daily time to do the writing to combat our disease which does not want us well.

* Keep phoning those on the committed members list – it will help both you and the person you call who also needs the contact.

Mark Houston and Joe Hawk ran Big Book workshops which have been recorded (some are on You Tube). Joe’s book: The Awakening gives instructions on the Big Book process. What they both have to say will broaden and deepen your experience of doing the Big Book.

Look up: corroding
The evil and corroding thread of fear. Corroding means it will disintegrate. When live in fear in a relationship the relationship will eventually end.

Q.1. Are you writing and not doing your Quiet Time?

If it comes to Quiet Time or writing your Big Book step study sponsor says Quiet Time is more important than writing. If you are skipping the Quiet Time to do the writing you are putting cart before the horse. It is the Quiet Time that helps you be honest with yourself and God to do the writing.

Why are we doing this process? The answer is right in the Third Step prayer: relieve me from the bondage to self. When we are in bondage to self we don’t have the ability to say no to destructive habits.

God will find the right receiver for your fifth step. Once you walk out of there it will be as if you have left behind a bag of rocks and you have a spring to your step. Stephanie encourages us to always have that vision of all the stuff you are writing especially the writing on the back (that is the bag of rocks).

The bottom part is the solution and when you know what it is about yourself that creates all these resentments then you have an action plan right there. Bring it to God and Quiet Time and every night time you check up on yourself: How did I do on my action plan?. Did I bring all I learnt from turnarounds? Am I changing? We need to be checking up on ourselves. Do you give it away?
Be excited about the Big Book and go to your step one fellowship and tell them how through this Big Book process you are finding things out about yourself as to why you ate and drank. Offer to read the Big Book with anyone who is interested. Get them a Big Book if they don’t have one. You will get so much out of it. Make no comment, don’t give advice, just ‘thank you for sharing.’

You can live in steps 10, 11 and 12 even before we get there. Step 12 is helping anybody which you will be doing just by reading the Big Book with them. 11 is having Quiet Time. Ten is checking up on yourself. With an action plan you can throw out the garbage you are learning about.

Institutions
An institution is more than one person who comes together with others and they have an agenda and some sort of statement of purpose. e.g. group practice of doctors, the IRS, the US government, your football team, school, college, church, etc.

Do institutions the same way as for people. Write at the top of the page:
This is a fact finding and face facing proposition. This removes any moral judgement.
Write the cause in 6-9 words, then on the back the feelings and the story for the last time.

List all the ways this resentment affects you (just as you did for people).

Unlike with people a resentment against an institution is not to be loved, liked and respected but rather did they serve you. So your motivation will also be a little bit different than with people. It is important to see how you reacted.

Self-seeking behavior. You may have been a little bit more manipulative. It was more public than how you behaved with a person. Did I have an edge in my voice, condescending attitude standing with hands on my hips: How could you treat me the great I am like that?

Institutions are not hard but they will tell you the truth about yourself. Got to look at it squarely and bring it to God and apologize to God and to yourself and eventually whomever you need to make amends to.

Need to see when the evil corroding thread of fear started creeping in and how you could have been directly honest with the person. Write out as much as you need to the back even if you only get to do one a week. Really write it out. And see where the hook was. ‘Oh it was the first time we got together and they said xyz. And I didn’t check that out. ‘Really look at what you need to say to get clarity so you don’t live in fear that they don’t like you. The top part is really poison and has to come out before we can really heal. Before we can go to our part as to how we caused the poison.

The angry person’s prayer (page 66-67)
This was our course: We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick, Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us they, like ourselves, were sick too. We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick fried. When a person offended we said to ourselves: ‘This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.’

Stephanie asks us to go one step further and talk to them about what has upset you. They may get more angry and tell you take a leap off a short pier. Check it out for your own sake.

Ends

Recording for February 19, 2015

(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
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.

Action Plan
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?

Dishonesty:
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
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:
stephaniew324@gmail.com 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.

Ends

Recording for February 12, 2015

week 163) 12 February 2015 12 Step Study Big Book All Addictions workshop

Stephanie has two groups on this number: 712 432 8816 pin no. 32450#
They have the same callback number: 641 715-3900 with different pin numbers:
(1) Tuesday 8am EST Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers pin no. 298913#
(2) Thursday 8am EST 12 Step Study All Addictions Big Book Workshop pin no. 95666#
There is an open buddy group on Sundays 11-12noon EST 712 432 0800 pin no. 587213#
(Thursday 9.30am EST group has disbanded.)

Please send donations to support the website to:
Stephanie Whiting
P O Box 531
North Pembroke MA 02358

To be added to the phone list and receive the soul work and notes from each workshop contact: sue7263@aol.com

Fourth step format
This is on the website or ask Sue for it. Stephanie asks us to write out the format for the first five people we are doing resentments on so we really get to know it. With steps 10, 11 and 12 we are all going to be living in this format.

This is a God-guided process.
Stephanie is not our God and does not have our answers. We have our own Higher Power who will give us the answers. She says: “I will keep repeating this as people sometimes get the wrong impression.”

Keep the 12th step uppermost in our minds. Stephanie prays that our motive for showing up each week is to have a spiritual experience. The 12th step is not ‘having had a Stephanie experience’, it means in doing this work you meet your Higher Power on an intimate basis.

The Third step prayer is inviting God in. However, remember to ask for humility by saying the Set Aside Prayer. You don’t want to risk being unable to see clearly because you are full of pride.

AA Big Book page 66, first paragraph.
It is plain that a life that includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness.
To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while. But with the alcoholic whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die.”
Why are we doing this work? Because our life has been full of futility which means you work hard but you get nothing but unhappiness. We may be sober a long time but we really understand that emotionally and spiritually our life is going nowhere; and deep down we know we are not where we are supposed to be. Life is just not what we know our Higher Power wants for our life.

It is plain that a life that includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness.
The Big Book is telling you something. You need to look what you are doing about your resentments. Stephanie says: “I have been doing this for 15 years and less than four months ago I went to a spiritual workshop and figured out I had a deep deep underlying resentment towards my son. How many times have I talked about him leaving and still crying about it? How many resentments papers did I write, talk about it? My son is thirty years old tomorrow. He left when he was 12 1/2. He came back when he was 21. Four months ago God gave me the blessing of realizing I still had a deep resentment towards my son. And I am so grateful. I really worked through it and went into deep deep prayer and meditation. I talked to the appropriate spiritual people and I did the appropriate spiritual work. Its gone. We really had a beautiful mother-son relationship and then he left. Ever since then our relationship has never really been the same.

I know now that my heart had a deep resentment which which has dogged me all my life: ‘how could he?’. That took a lot of spiritual work in the last four months. That last workshop truly changed my life. Everything God brings me today is life changing. I am so grateful. I take what God brings me very seriously. I don’t fluff it off. I was told by people: You need to go to this workshop it will change your life. You know what? That was God talking to me through people. So when people say things to you listen and bring it to Quiet Time. Ask: God did you just send a messenger that is trying to tell me something? The chances are the answer is yes. I cannot tell you how relieved I am. I didn’t know my heart had chains on it. Because the quality of my life is pretty good. I love my life. But knew I had something about my only son and I still really could not think about what happened without crying. Re-resentment means re-feel. And the resentment has been taken away.

Fifteen years of doing this work. Do you think you are done because you have written a couple of resentments? No. I am grateful from my own personal experience I never did think I was done. However I can live in complacency and denial. I don’t want to do that. The work I did in that workshop is very very important. If you are interested in knowing about the workshop e-mail me and I will tell you about it. It is not 12 steps or Big Book.

To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while.

look up: squander. That is an awful action . We are not doing God’s will. We are squandering the time our Higher Power is giving us to be a recovered person walking in the world with our emotions given over to our higher power. And so instead of getting all emotional about things we can respond in a recovered way by asking God: What is appropriate here?

When we have deep resentments we cannot align ourselves in a healthy emotional way with our Higher Power. We squander hours being hysterical, depressed, overly happy or overly giddy. We move from allowing God’s will to control us to letting our self-will and emotions control us.

That means we experience God in our day-to-day emotional life. Of course you experience God when you go to Quiet Time but what about when you are washing dishes, making the bed, driving to work, having a one on one conversation? We need to be in that spiritual place where we are doing God’s will in all of those day-to-day little experiences that can create a wonderful healthy recovered life. That is the spiritual experience that living in steps 10 11 and 12 in awareness brings.

The alternative is that your experiences create a life of brutal futility and a deep unhappiness.

Awareness is great but awareness without the willingness to work on it, is self-abuse. So today pray for the willingness to be willing. When we are willing, the awareness comes.
I was not ready for that workshop but God knew he had some work for me. I have been doing my work for the last 15 years. Steps 10- 11 and 12. working one on one with mentors. When I was ready I got the awareness. Why? Because I have lived in willingness to be wiling and let God talk to me and change me. That is a spiritual experience.

…this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal.

Yes because firstly it can lead us back to our drug and secondly because we can be a ‘dry drunk’ and miserable having nothing except our own unhappiness and futility. When you have deep resentment you say: I forgive them but will never forget them. Who hurts when you say that? It shows your inner interior of futility and unhappiness.
[More sober alcoholics commit suicide than active ones, because they have had recovery and put down the addiction but are not willing to put down the deep resentments.]

Why are we doing this work?
Because our life has been full of futility which means you work hard but you get nothing but unhappiness. We may be sober a long time but we really understand that emotionally and spiritually our life is going nowhere; and deep down we know we are not where we are supposed to be. Life is just not what we know our Higher Power wants for our life.

We do this work because not do so is fatal, not necessarily that we will go back to the drink or food. For Stephanie going back to the food at twenty-three years in the program was a blessing. “It got my attention. …I slipped from a) and b) on page 60 to c). Where I needed to be from day one in recovery. Seeking God like God is my only answer. It took me 23 years of trying to rely on human power. Thinking: I know I am powerless, I have a food plan, I have a group. They didn’t have the power. Even though I didn’t have my white light experience for three years, I had a peace around my food I never had before. God was protecting me. I was seeking him with everything I had. I had mega willingness to have a spiritual experience with God. And it really changed my life.”

…this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit.
Q1. Take each half of the sentence and write on it and then on the whole sentence.

This will keep you motivated to keep writing your resentments. Do you want to be cut off from the sunlight of the Spirit? We need all the grace we can get. So it may mean going to God and praying about a deep resentment every day until it lifts. Need to question yourself. We have talked about holding my resentment close like a teddy bear. I am never letting anybody close again. I want to stay a victim because you did x y x when I was innocent and I am keeping the victimhood alive. Today you are now volunteering to be a victim.That’s what deep resentment is all about. Its gone and done and I am holding it close and defending my right to volunteer to be a victim. I don’t want to do it.

Harboring means you s.o.b. I am never forgiving you. I know, I did it with my only child. He meant more to me than anything yet my deep resentment came to light. That is insanity to hold a resentment when you know you can let it go. Definition of insanity: doing the same thing time and time again expecting a different result. Some people just stay dry drunks, and they are pretty miserable to be with. You may have met them or may even be one yourself.

Are you having trouble with personal relationships, with self-pity, with trouble in any area of your life? Look at the insanity of holding onto a deep resentment.

When I am really willing to be humble and look at myself, God shows up.

Action Plans
When we live in deep resentment, we don’t try to get out of it and we keep justifying it saying: They did this and that. Who are we to judge another’s character defects? Even before we get into looking at our character defects we can make personal action plans so we don’t have to live in all this emotional deep resentment – the crap we keep ourselves stuck in.
Q2. What could be your action plan for today?

Boundaries
And we maintain healthy caring boundaries. Do not need to even be loving boundaries. Al-Anon says above all else be courteous and kind. If you cannot help a person then don’t hurt them. Our action plan is to do the work to get over these resentments and then create healthy boundaries around these people being courteousness and kind. We do not isolate nor do we do the opposite and be inappropriately welcoming.

Writing Step Four
Let me repeat you are not doing this. You are taking your will and asking God to give the willingness. God is doing the writing through you. If you do the Third Step prayer and Step Aside prayer before you start, you will never write anything wrong or one word that is not supposed to be there.

End

Recording for February 5, 2015

(week 162) 5 February 2015 12-Step Study Big Book All Addictions Workshop

Stephanie has two groups on this number: 712 432 8816 pin no. 32450#
They have the same callback number: 641 715-3900 with different pin numbers:
(1) Tuesday 8am EST Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers pin no. 298913#
(2) Thursday 8am EST 12 Step Study All Addictions Big Book Workshop pin no. 95666#
There is an open buddy group on Sundays 11-12noon EST 712 432 0800 pin no. 587213#
(Thursday 9.30am EST group has been disbanded.)

Please send donations to support the website to:
Stephanie Whiting
P O Box 531
North Pembroke MA 02358

Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous from bottom of page 65 to top of page 66:
We went back through our lives. Nothing counted but thoroughness and honesty. When we were finished we considered it carefully. The first thing apparent was that this world and its people were often quite wrong. To conclude that others were wrong was as far as most of us ever got. The usual outcome was that people continued to wrong us and we stayed sore. Sometimes it was remorse and then we were sore at ourselves. But the more we fought and tried to have our own way, the worse matters got. As in war the victor only seemed to win. Our moments of triumph were short-lived.

We’re an All Addictions Big Book Step-Study workshop, all inclusive.
We’re all equal and there’s only One that can put Stephanie together and that’s God.
We need to have patience, kindness, compassion and above all – helpfulness! We need to be helpful to each other and says Stephanie, “I want, my goal is, to teach you to be helpful to others to open this Big Book and go through it. I don’t believe that keeping this Big Book tight to my bosom is what this process is all about. I believe it’s all about giving it away.”

Today’s reading: BB p.65 bottom paragraph (after chart) – end of same para p.66:
“We went back through our lives. Nothing counted but thoroughness and honesty. When we were finished we considered it carefully. …. Our moments of triumph were short-lived.”

If we feel ‘icky’ with someone, uncomfortable, jealous ( even just a tinge) – put them down on our resentment list.
If we’re doing this work half-heartedly, we’ll get half of what we need to get. Hey- maybe that’s all we want. We can always revisit what we did half-heartedly; but why bother to have to do that. ….Stephanie makes no judgement; “you and God have to come to a decision about what’s enough for you today.”

“The first thing apparent was that this world and its people were often quite wrong.”
That attitude, not blaming ourselves, not seeing our part, will keep us from having (good) relationships. Feeling high and mighty sets us up for NO relationships, by murdering others, via even just the gossip in our heads – e.g. ‘I did all of that for them and they didn’t even appreciate it, they didn’t even say thank you, they moved on?!

To conclude that others were wrong was as far as most of us ever got.
This sentence is very, very important. One of the most important in the Big Book. Not the most important which is: God is everything or God is nothing and the second most important – the a) b) and c) on page 60, but this is really right up there.:

So why do an extensive fourth step the Hyannis way? Because to conclude that others were wrong was as far as most of us every got. Without digging deep we won’t see our selfish behavior and will continue to have unacceptable behavior fuelled by self-justification and denial, resulting in a miserable existence which we blame on others and the world.

When we got honest we saw we were so much worse than those we had been judging. Even if it was only a fantasy in our heads. People can tell an attitude an mile away.
You cannot have negativity about someone and not think it is going to come out sideways.
The usual outcome was that people continued to wrong us and we stayed sore . Sometimes it was remorse and then we were sore at ourselves. Write beside this: bondage to self’

A bit of remorse is healthy. But remorse can lead us into unhealthy territory, for example: numbing ourselves out with our drug-of-choice to stuff down our feelings or, the flip side, believing we ‘deserve’ our drug-of-choice because ‘they did that to me’. We also don’t have a right to push our remorseful feelings on others instead of taking the responsibility on ourselves.
Remorse keeps us into “the bondage of self” instead of being ‘built’ (BB p.63/Step Three prayer:
“God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me”) and being helpful (“and to do with me…”) to others.

(Stephanie had remorse over having an abortion. “I pushed it down for thirty years. Then when I brought it back up I had remorse and went overboard with the beating up of myself . Could not stop crying every time I talked about. Remorse was not helpful because I bored everybody to death about the abortion issue. I wanted everybody to know how sorry I was and how against abortion I was. I made the world and its people often quite wrong. Who made Stephanie? God. I now have a sincere regret. I know how I feel about abortion. Do I have a right to push it on other people? No I don’t. And I have been relieved from the remorse by God. And that was a hard, hard one. I wanted to blame the world and its people. Blame the clinic, society, I didn’t want to take responsibility. So I had a really hard time. Today I don’t have a hard time today with my own abortion or others having an abortion whether or not it is legal. It is none of my business. My business is to work with God. If others have remorse and cannot move on, please put them in my life and help me to help them.” )

“But the more we fought and tried to have our own way (with the world and its people), the worse matters got.”
That’s what the turnarounds are all about – to get new eyes to see ourselves, to see our personal “stock-in-trade …to disclose damaged or unsalable goods…”

“As in war, the victor only seemed to win.”
When we have a resentment over someone, it’s because we want domination over that person and somehow they are unwilling to let us have our way. That creates a ‘war’. Someone takes
over, either pleasantly or nastily, but nobody benefits by strong-arming another. The resentment we have is hurting US as much as it’s hurting the other person – even more. We may feel justified but, for an alcoholic, there are no justified resentments. We have to see our part in the resentment. We will balk at first but then we will see the truth.

“Our moments of triumph were short-lived.”
Our moments of judging ourselves right, better than others, were short-lived because we addicts were alone. Harboring resentment shuts us off from “the sunlight of the spirit.”

Note: God always gives us a solution. He never gives us an awareness without giving us a solution. So do not be afraid of facing the truth.

Some extra points about the fourth step process.

Ambition: (It is very close to selfishness.)
What is the overall/big picture you wanted? What expectations did you have?

Pocketbook: How did this cost you money? Affect your ability to earn?

Pride: How did you think other people saw you? Or, How did you see yourself?

Turnaround (write this each time): The only way I am going to see the truth

We have got to uncover our part so we can correct the wrong. As it says in the Big Book, we are going to baulk. We have to be willing to look at ourselves and take responsibility for our actions. Stephanie had a resentment against her father for the majority of her life . And is so grateful that once she did this process that changed so that before the end of his life they were reconciled.
This work works.

If you write something about a resentment and you really feel uncertain Stephanie will go through it with you. Her schedule is tight with volunteer work and she promises to fit everybody in who wants to speak to her.
stephaniew@gmail.com or 617 774 7916

Recording for January 29, 2015

week 161) 29 January 2015 12 Step Study Big Book All Addictions workshop

Stephanie has two groups both on the same number: 712 432 8816 pin no. 32450#
They have the same callback number 641 715-3900 — but different PIN numbers:
(1) Tuesday 8am EST Live – Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers (callback pin no. 298913#)
(2) Thursday 8am EST Live – 12 Step Study ( All Addictions) Big Book Workshop
(callback pin no. 95666#)
Open Study-Buddy Group 712 432 0800 pin no. 587213# 11-12noon EST Sundays

Donations needed to support the website. Please send to:
Stephanie Whiting
P O Box 531
North Pembroke MA 02358

Step Four

Big Book page 64 last paragraph: Resentment is the number one offender. It destroys more human beings (alcoholics) than anything else.

This process taught Stephanie that she is responsible for everything that happened to her in her life- by her reactions. We can have reactions of selfishness, self-pity, and fear which lead to resentments. Al-Anon teaches to put one’s intellect over one’s feelings in order to get a rational, healthy life. Feelings are a gift from God; they make us lovable and likable. But they are not the facts. … Suggestion: In the Set-Aside prayer at this point, we can be asking God’s help to set aside everything we think we already know ‘so we can see a new way of looking at our past, our present and our feelings’.

Resentment is fueled by fear. Fear of not being loved, liked or respected. And not getting what we want. Basically everybody wants to be liked loved and respected. Then we lust for material things, for the physical. Lust doesn’t just mean sexual. I lusted after food, alcohol to get high. All the things that we get resentful about because we can’t have them. I want that big house, swimming pool or that Gucci bag. I can relate to all of that can you? And when you don’t get it feel resentment. What you are doing right now is writing on resentments and the turnarounds. The reason we do the effects is to see how serious one resentment is. It affects our self-esteem, how we look at ourselves and our value in the world. Pride. Seeing ourselves as other see us.

Ambition. Want to be more loved and respected more than everyone else. Be top dog. We need to see how we affected we were and how these wants and desires ran out lives.

Personal relationship. If you have a resentment against someone because they are not doing what you want them to do it will affect every relationship and often end them. I ended up all alone or co-dependent where either I was bossing them or they were bossing me. Always ended badly.

Personal security.
Lived in total fear of everything. I did not have any personal security. Why? Did not have God. All I had was the closeness of the resentment I had of the self=pity, no room for God. God can’t come into our heart when all about me, self-pity, resentment. Where can God fit into a heart like that? Did not come into my life until I did this work. After my fifth step had my first spiritual experience then less than three years later had a huge psychic change and God really took over my life. Now am doing God’s will not mine. It is a process.

Sex relations and pocket book. Those two always affected every resentment. How can you look at yourself in the mirror and feel good about yourself as, say a woman in the world, when your heart is hardened by resentment, un-forgiveness and self-hatred. When you have a hardened heart, also have a hardened attitude towards yourself. It is all about you, you you. Learnt in recovery that we who live in resentment have big egos and no self-esteem. With all that garbage going on how can you look in the mirror as a sexual being to offer the world, a marriage or bring to meeting somebody and getting into an exclusive relationship?

Stephanie says: ‘In any relationship male or female I never brought my whole being, i.e. a person who felt good about herself. The majority of my life I wanted to be a boy. Talk about not feeling good about your sex relations! Did not want to be transgender. I had no voice, felt so powerless. Thought it was because I was a woman but it was my hardened heart’.

Pocket book. Never had a well-paid job. I was an under-earner.

Write this: Turnarounds are the only way for me to see the TRUTH and become recovered.

It is only the second half of the turnaround that really gives you the truth about yourself and the situation. You will not necessarily learn the facts and motives about the other people involved. You are going to find out your own motives: how you reacted on your feelings and how these created a chain reaction with people and situations. Once have figured it out, when you are next in these situations you may be able to head off the selfishness, self-centered behaviors, lies and fears.

Fears

Fear is a reality. Thank God for fear. When you step off the curb and a huge oil truck is coming down the road, it is good to be in fear and get back on the sidewalk. Fear with your Higher Power can be an absolute asset. A very bad use of fears is to create resentment, uncertainty and instability with our feelings and the fear of ‘I am not going to get what I want so I had better start manipulating’. Fear can be a healthy red flag and if you do the rest of the process on the situation and get to the facts.

Similarly with angry resentful co-dependent people. If entering a situation where that is the type of person you are dealing with, it can be helpful to feel fear and give them a wide berth. As Al-Anon suggests: be courteous to everyone; we don’t have to invite them home to tea.

Selfishness has two parts a) What is the selfishness? b) Why? i.e. your motive for wanting something. What do you want from the person or the situation?
I want…. and write on what you want.
Need to remember to ask yourself: Why do I want it? Might be as simple as I want them to be my friend, to love, like and respect me, to give me their attention.

Need to know your motives. The situations where you are selfish will change but your motive is basically the same.
“For most of my life I was resentful because people didn’t want to hang out with me. I felt that without the validation that they wanted me in their life I did not feel valuable. I did not want a million of dollars, I just wanted their attention. I realized even when people gave me their attention it was never enough. Just like with the food, alcohol, it was never enough.”

Self-seeking: The behavior you (not they) did to get what you wanted.
Most of the time it has some sort of manipulative flavor. I gossiped, flattered, lied to you. I wanted attention. I couldn’t stand to be alone. I pretended I was a friend.

Dishonesty
Direct Lie. I’d like to be your friend. Let’s hang out together and get to know one another.
If asked, Do you believe in God? I’d reply whatever you believed.
Do you want a drink? I would say OK (while going to AA).

Lie of omission. All the things we did not say to bring honesty to the relationship.
e.g. I can’t drink I am in AA. Can’t eat because I’m in OA and that food makes me sick.
I would like to but I can’t give you the money. Instead of making sure they knew it was my last dollar I was giving them.

Lie I told myself. The foundation of my dysfunctional life was that I was afraid I was not loveable and did not deserve respect. If they really knew me they wouldn’t want to be friends. Afraid of their opinion. Am not a worthy person to be in relationship with anyone. Not until God came into my life did I realize that God cares about me so I am a worthy person.

A human being who takes no regular inventory usually goes broke.
If you have a lot of feelings and not facts, redo the resentment to try to get to the truth.
If you are still pointing a finger or caught up in the feelings, Stephanie suggests taking each resentment to Quiet Time and asking God to open your eyes: What do you want me to see about this? God will not lie.

And be aware: people we meet can be angry and manipulative. Be courteous to everyone and polite. But you don’t have to invite everyone home for tea. Stephanie is not intimate with everybody but she’s real with everybody.
Intimacy – in to me see; reserved for those who have shown they deserve to see into us.
Al-Anon teaches: Share a little and check what comes back. Never give away the whole loaf. If
what comes back resonates with you, share a little more. If exchanges keep resonating and you like the other person and they like you, then keep building up a functional, healthy relationship.

See BB p.64 para1 sentence 2:
“A business which takes no regular inventory usually goes broke.”
So Stephanie asks us to take our five most major resentments, do inventory on them, and then
take them to God and ask our HP: God, what do You want me to see about these?
We want to be a light of help/recovery to others. Recovery is about not being a victim; it is being sober, being a former addict.

Big Book Page 64 last paragraph:

Resentment is the “number one” offender. It destroys more human beings (alcoholics) than anything else. From it stems all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only been mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick.
That is the only direct information you will ever need. If you are not motivated to do this inventory by what Stephanie says, this sentence shows you why inventory is so important. We have not only been mentally sick (the third paragraph of the Big Book tells us) we have been released from the physical and mental obsession to use our drug but we have been spiritually sick. ‘Spiritually sick’ means living a life totally thinking about yourself, the selfish self-centeredness that brings on a desire to lie and be co-dependent.

When the spiritually malady was overcome. We straighten out mentally and physically.
You will only be able to get well spiritually with a fact finding and fact facing process. This is why we write out our feelings on the back. Bring them to God: help me to see the truth. List the person, the cause, the effects and pray to God to show you how it affects every area of your life.

Recovery is not being a victim.

Sexual relationships
Your sexuality is holistic. It is not about being in bed having sex with a man.

Personal relationships
I couldn’t trust other people and I could not trust myself (e.g. I was always picking up the food after I told myself I would not). Fear: I can’t trust anyone.

Not being trustworthy creates a one-down situation in a relationship and puts it under a lot of strain.

Writing and then reading out the feelings on the back gives the listener insight into what is going on and also give you insights. All the words that our minds use to divert us because deep down our minds are afraid that the truth will kill us.
When Stephanie did this process she could not believe she had been so petty; the lies she told herself over and over again doing mean things to herself while she stayed in delusion and denial and kept pointing a finger, blaming others.

Self-seeking: Acted out with boys, overate, got drunk, etc. The more you expand about how you reacted the more you can take responsibility for the behavior. Then when you do any of those behaviors again you can say: OK this is an old pattern I did with, say, my mother. How am I putting this person in my mother role? What’s really going on here? I am afraid of… That will really help you to understand. You used these behaviors to cope whenever you were blamed and were afraid you were not loveable.

Very helpful to know how our coping mechanisms run our lives. At age four Stephanie picked up food to cope. Now she knows when she starts getting into unhealthy situations she is afraid.

When we tell somebody something and they get burned up, sore, or ticked-off, it’s because they’re living in fear and holding their victimhood very close, like a blanket. They’re afraid that
uncovering their Truth will kill them, so they want to stay in denial and delusion. They need us to not disturb their blanket.

Finally, see BB p.65 para3 sentence 1: “We went back through our lives.” Stephanie does not live in her past; she inventories. She does not wallow in or rerun her past mistakes. She is not a victim of her past. Once she has given her mistakes to God (Step Five) and asked forgiveness (Step Nine), she lets them go with no beating up on herself.
And if someone has the guts to say to Stephanie that Stephanie hurt and insulted them, she will quickly inventory her deeds and apologize.
We may say: I did not intend to hurt you but I’m sorry you got hurt.

Stephanie’s wisdom to us: The older I get, the more depth the Serenity Prayer has for me.
Now she realizes she’s asking God to grant others the serenity to accept the things they cannot change and to change her.
Says Stephanie: “Prayer is my salvation.”

P.S. Words are a diversion from the truth, used because of fear that uncovering the truth will kill us.
But NO – the truth will set us free!
Just/But, first, it will make us (very, very) angry.

Recording for January 22, 2015

(week 160) 22 January 2015 12-step Big Book All Addictions workshop

Stephanie has two groups both on the same number: 712 432 8816 pin no. 32450#
They also have the same callback number 641 715-3900 – different pin numbers:
(1) Tuesday 8am EST Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers pin no. 298913#
(2) Thursday 8am EST 12 Step Study (All Addictions) Big Book Workshop pin no. 95666#

Open buddy groups:

Sundays 11-12noon EST 712 432 0800 pin no. 587213#
Thursday 9.30am EST group has been disbanded.
(to be confirmed) new buddy group on Mondays 9.30am EST

If you need a buddy, email Sue at: sue7263@aol.com

You can have more than one buddy; in fact Stephanie recommends it. The more buddies you have, the better. They’re like insurance because people come and go like flies in this BB step-study process. So, if one buddy drops out, you still have other(s). And belonging to a buddy
group (or more than one), as well, can only enhance your insurance because, if you lose your buddy, you still have the group to read your work to. The greatest gift you can give yourself is by reading your work to another, a witness, and listening to someone else.

If anybody in a group makes you feel unsafe, call or text Stephanie on her cell 617/ 774-7916
or email her at: stephaniew324@gmail.com
These groups are for reading your writing, getting your feelings up and out, giving them to God and feeling safe.
You can read the back of your paper – your feelings – but you don’t have to. There are no ‘have to’s.

We could use donations.
We are now paying a very minimal salary to the person who puts up the recording on the website. It is work for which she deserves every penny. Plus we have to pay for security for the website and for voice box so you can hear on the website. We have expenses. Stephanie is free! Pray about supporting your Big book group. Send donations to:

Stephanie Whiting
P O Box 531
North Pembroke
MA 02358

Step Four.
Today we’re just listening to other people’s writing.
There’s no right and wrong way to do the writing. Stephanie is just guiding with her comments.
She is not God- she is just Stephanie. But she is not your God. Go to God with your feelings about what Stephanie has to say and He will answer you.

Keep the front page of the inventory for facts. Leave the painful feelings for the back.
Get the feelings out and let them go- up and out, to God. Only God can take these hurt feelings;
they’re too big for us.
Just remember: the more wordy we are in the turnaround, the more we get diverted into our negative feelings. Try to stay succinct and specific.
And know: the lies we tell ourselves ( LITM) are what keep us in the resentments, what keep us sick.
If you get stuck writing step four: say the Third Step Prayer over and over again. And ask your Higher Power: Please guide me. Help me to set aside my ego and set aside what I think I know about this resentment, this situation.

Turnaround: The only way to see the truth and recover
The more words we write on the front for the turnarounds, the less specific we are. Too many words diverts us and makes us crazy.

Lie of omission: Have you told him/her how hurt you were? No.
What did you need to say that you didn’t?
Do you feel you need to say something to make this right, that you haven’t said?

Lies we tell ourselves
Tell God what lies you tell yourself.

e.g. You don’t know your friend will never love and trust you again. It is a lie you are telling yourself. Are you telling yourself there is something you can do to make it right?

e.g. What do you want from your friend? The same trusting relationship I had before the incident. Bring that request to God.

I will get back the relationship the way I want it.
I told myself I was….
(Fantasy is a behavior we may do to get what we want).

We have lived in this garbage for so many years. Now it is time to give it to God and move on.

After you have done the turnaround
If you still have feelings write them on the back and take the turnarounds to your Higher Power.

Facts
It is hard to find the truth if you haven’t written your feelings on the back.

The facts are not awful. Facts don’t have feelings. You are respecting your feelings by writing them on the back. Then turn the page over and get into the facts which is where the solution is. With the facts and your Higher Power you can get well. If you remain in the feelings you will keep being a victim with every situation except for rape, molestation or murder where you don’t have a part initially. Afterwards your part is: I held onto the resentment and it is killing me. That is the only part you played if you were raped, molested, had an act of terrorism, a murder, etc.. The only part we play is after all is said and done we stay in the resentment and un-forgiveness. We never get well when we keep going over and over the hurt. Resentment means re-feel. You already felt it when you were raped. You have already gone through the hurt, why keep re-hurting yourself?

Just keep saying: I am giving this to God. I cannot handle it. It is going to make me sick and go back to my addiction. If you want to say: God you punish them, that’s OK. Give it to God so you can move on and have a good life. We do not need to stay in fear. All it will do is make us have negative self-seeking behavior.

If more resentments come up while you are listening or writing
add them to your initial list. Then pray about how important each is to do right now. Make sure you have done all the important resentments first i.e. those that are currently bothering you big time. Then do the others. We have time as it won’t be until June that we move onto fear.
We are learning how to do this for a lifelong process. We all get resentments every day which why we have the 10th step.

Write a minimum of 15-30 minutes a day. If you cannot do 30 minutes daily you are probably too busy and not making your recovery a priority. You can of course, do an hour, devote a whole week-end. Do as much as you want.
Write on a daily basis to bring issues to your higher power in Quiet Time. Write on the back all the feelings you have today about what happened in the past.

Examples of the three types of dishonesty:

Direct Lie: You tell someone exactly what is not the truth. e.g. I didn’t go to the Thursday meeting. I wasn’t there. Or you ask: Stephanie did you did your workshop today? And she replies: No.

Lie of omission: What I need to say to bring the truth to the relationship.

For example Stephanie says if her husband didn’t take out the garbage (his responsibility) and she said nothing it would be a lie of omission.

Date rape: Stephanie says: I was 26 and a man who was one of a group of us who had been drinking all evening in the bar offered to drive me home as I did not have my car. He then followed me inside and date raped me. Lie of omission: I saw him afterwards and said nothing. I never said: ‘What you did was wrong. I am going to press charges.’ I lived in resentment because I never got honest with him.

The lie I told myself: What do I expect, I was drunk? I put myself in that situation because I am an alcoholic. I was drinking and so I somehow led him into believing that he could have sex with me without asking.

The lies we tell ourselves keep us in resentment.
Go to the different lies: they are very, very important. The truth will set us free so we can bring it to God, our buddies and sponsor.

Rape is rape. It is not my fault and it is not acceptable. My part now is if I am still holding a resentment. This incident happened when I was 26 and I am now 65. Thank God I could let go of it fifteen years ago when I did this Big Book process. I stopped carrying the shame and the guilt (that were his) and I no longer don’t have a resentment against him. I feel sad for him.

Read the feelings to your buddy so they can see the context and understand the resentment. Hopefully it will be the last time you will ever need to share it.

If there were feelings on the front Stephanie’s sponsor would say: This is the crap you have been living in since it happened. Don’t you think its time you let it go?

Stephanie says: I don’t have to live in that any more. I am free. I have cut the ties. Write out all the feelings and then put the facts down. Its like cleaning up and throwing away all the dirt. I don’t have to re-feel all that awful stuff. Its a choice. If I don’t let go then I am choosing to be my own victim. Now I can take responsibility for my part and let God be responsible for the other person.

Ends

Recording for January 15, 2015

(week 159) 15 January 2015 12-step Big Book All Addictions Workshop

AA Big Book page 64.
The whole purpose of doing this fourth step is to have a spiritual experience with the God of your understanding. If you don’t invite God into this process then when you get to the 12th step you will not have had a spiritual experience and this will be just another empty attempt that you tried to do yourself to get well. If you don’t bring God into this experience then you are stuck (as written on page 60) in a) and b) and are not in c) – seeking a partnership with God.

If you are not doing it with God you will probably get so frustrated or so freaked out by answering the questions that show you your selfishness and your self-centredness, dishonesty and how your life is lived by fear that you will stop doing it. That is what Stephanie has experienced as a Big Book sponsor: without a Higher Power the fruit of your labour is sour and you either leave in frustration or you leave because you don’t want to come out of denial.

Therefore we started upon a personal inventory. This was step four. A business which takes no regular inventory usually goes broke.
Write: human being above business.

At the top of every page of your step four write:
This is a fact finding and a face facing process

We stay in the facts and out of the judgment, out of the drama. We want the facts. Write the drama on the back as you need to feel the feelings before you can deal with them. Then read it over with your higher power and ask: Tell me what the facts are. Doing a turnaround on a feeling will mean you are going to try to defend yourself and get into more denial. Or alternatively try to demonize the other person so you come out right while they come out bad. Without the facts your turnaround is not going to tell you the whole truth.

Circle: It is an effort to discover the truth.

The facts are truthful. Share what you have written on your feelings with a sponsor in your step one fellowship, your friends in Big Book. You need to deal with the feelings so can tease out what the truth is. The truth is facts about the stock in trade.

One object is to disclose damaged and unsaleable goods.
The truth will show you your damaged and unsaleable actions and the other person’s actions. To get rid of them promptly and without regret or moralizing. The purpose of writing the facts is so that you can discover the truth and disclose how you have either made yourself out as a hero and the other person is the bad guy or you made them the hero and you the bad guy or somewhere in between. You are new at this so have patience with yourself.

With each new person: no matter how often you have previously written about them, write out your feelings about the resentment on the back to give you a much better chance of really getting to the facts.

To get rid of them promptly without regret.
If you can write your feelings and see that it really affected you and you don’t want it to, you will want to get to the facts and learn the truth. And to realize whenever there are two people who don’t agree there is blame on both sides .You want to see where you are responsible for your self-seeking, dishonesty, selfishness. That is your whole goal – and it is very painful. You have a higher power, you have a buddy, you have friends. You share and have it witnessed. Then you take the pain to your higher power and Quiet Time. Don’t try to get rid of it at an open meeting or with your buddy. Know that the only way you can walk through this is going to God.

If the human being is to be successful you cannot fool yourself about values. Black and white thinking hurts you. Herbert Spencer said: ignorance is prejudice prior to investigation. You are doing the investigating but if with an attitude of: I am right; they are wrong, you will end up rubber stamping your own denial. Don’t be ignorant or prejudiced.

Set Aside Prayer
This is one of the most important prayers for the rest of our lives.

We own our feelings and we deserve them, but they will lie to us. Stephanie has seen some of the lies that set her up to be a failure in her relationships. We need to really let go of the prejudice of ‘I know’ and I say: ‘God I don’t know.’ That’s the whole purpose of the Set Aside Prayer: ‘I don’t know. Please God can you show me.’

Once we say ‘I’ve already done the fourth step’, we close a door. Ignorance is prejudice prior to investigation. Stephanie finds every time she does the fourth step something else comes up. We are blinded by our own denial and we don’t even know we are lying. That is why it is so important to put aside what you have already done and go to the work like you are absolutely brand new, that you never before seen the resentments. Remember resentment means re-feel. Something that happened to you fifteen years ago which you wrote about five years ago, means you have now had five years of growing and maturing, so it is guaranteed that you will look at it differently – that is the key.

We took stock honestly.
If you are in the feelings it may be sincere but it cannot be honest. Have to be in the facts to be honest.

The flaws in our make-up that caused our failure.
We are not trying to search out the flaws in others. I am powerless over my flaws and the flaws of others.

…which caused our failure.
Stephanie says: “I really was a failure at relationships. I wanted you to say I was so caring, so loving. The fact was I did everything to get people’s attention. When they didn’t love and respect me I chopped them off at the hip. I was barely civil. I had a lot of failures. Thank God I put them all down and made amends to everyone.” Being convinced…

There is black and white in this process. We have to be convinced that human powers cannot relieve us of our selfishness, self-centredness, dishonesty and fear. We have to be convinced that we have to search out the flaws in our make-up. but we not soul searching on our own will. We are seeking our Higher Power in Quiet Time. We don’t have to say: I am just a failure at everything. God doesn’t make junk. He made a beautiful human being. The problem was we turned away and stopped asking God for help. Need to see how we messed up and how with God’s help we can make it right, but we cannot make anything right and make amends until we are willing to see how we messed up.

This fourth step needs to be truthful and honest. If you do five people you will see a pattern in your life.

b) That probably no human power could have relieved us of our alcoholism and c) that God could and would if He were sought. Came to believe that a power greater than us could restore us to sanity.
Doing the same thing over and over is insane, but our feelings keep telling us the other person is hurting us, that it’s their fault. We have a pattern whereby we set people up so that things turn out badly.

Being convinced that self manifested in various ways was what had defeated us.
That is what you have to be convinced of. With God we can look at the defeat without blame and judgment. Look at our own behavior not that of the other person. If we don’t have a relationship with a Higher Power we cannot do this.

This is the key, we consider its common manifestations.
I doesn’t say: ‘we considered our feelings around this’.

And here we stepped on the toes of others and they retaliated.
That is why you have them listed under resentments. We started the ball rolling by a look, a word, an attitude, we somehow some way. All except for rape, armed robbery and being molested where we did nothing. As a child you were a victim and nobody can ever say it was your fault. But that happened many years ago, and what you are doing today is re-living being a victim. You now have a choice. Are you going to keep saying to yourself: I am a victim, they did this to me? They victimized you once and now they are still victimizing you, but with your participation.

Forgiveness is the answer and it takes a long, long time to forgive someone who robbed you of your innocence. In Al-Anon they say to put a bandage around the person’s head that says ‘sick’ and give them to God to deal with. If you re-victimize yourself then because that is your script, eventually everyone will victimize you. Feeling sorry for ourselves we set ourselves up to be victimized over and over again.

Remember we are considering our common manifestations, not theirs. People do awful things to other people. Are you going to move out of the feelings of being a victim of other people’s terrible behavior or are you going to stay being a victim? Stephanie has seen many people leave this work because they want to be a victim and don’t want to look at how they are now victimizing themselves.

Re. resentments from childhood.
Remember how you felt as a child about the person and write that down.
You have got to know how you felt as a child. And you have to do a turnaround on whether there is still any lingering feelings about that. Do you still have feelings of fear that, for example, your brother will go back to the way he was when you were growing up? If you are writing about something which happened in childhood write out on the back your feelings about it. You are looking at it how you responded as a kid since only in that way can you see the facts. Need to discover if there is any residue of that resentment in your relationship now.

Resentments and Feelings:
Stephanie encourages us to write about our feelings on the back of the page and do this before we write how the resentment affects us.

Soul work.
Writing your fourth step is your soul work. Take what Stephanie says, listen and re-listen to it on the callback or the website and put it into your writing.

If you are really stuck, write out your resentment and send it to Stephanie. Similarly, if you have a question on the format and need a comment. For example as someone already asked about a resentment from their childhood. I would ask: How did you react as a child? In what way is this reaction impacting on your relationship and expectations with that person today?

Quiet Time

Quiet Time gave Stephanie, ‘a powerful Higher Power that I am very intimate with. ‘
Are you skipping your Quiet Time or rushing through it? Are you putting your heart and soul into it or is it just another rote exercise and if so, how are you really going to search out your resentments? You will be too scared at the fear of seeing yourself.

We have been together for over three years which is three years of a relationship with God in your Quiet Time. You are going to trust God to give you deeper insights, so go to God, with your resentments. It doesn’t matter if they have dogged you for seventy years, you are not the same person, so keep bringing them so you don’t have the victim mentality.

Stephanie says: ‘I gave you the example of the victim mentality believing I was not smart. I had four degrees yet I never earned over $30,000 a year. I victimized myself with the lie: I am stupid. I cannot go to graduate school. I cannot apply for that teaching position because I am not smart enough.’

Keep doing the work. Fact-finding means getting out of the feelings of being a victim and into the facts so you can see your own victimization of yourself.

Ends.

Recording for January 8, 2015

(week 158) 8 January 2014 12 Step Study Big Book workshop

stephaniew324@gmail.com

Resource:
If you want a pocket-size dictionary of words in the Big Book and one of the AA 12 x 12 they can be purchased from this address: www.bigbookdictionary.com
e-mail address: info@bigbookdictionary.com

Buddy Group guidelines:

You must announce that you are there. You do not have to share but you must tell the group you are there otherwise if you are listening and not telling anyone, it is stalking. Say: Hi. this is Stephanie, Grateful to be here. I won’t be sharing. Fine. no problem. You are part of the group. |When there is a lull, you give latecomers the chance to identify themselves. You are sharing really intimate feelings and situations and you do not need to feel there is someone listening and they are not admitting they are there. The No.1 guideline is for us to feel safe and to protect the safety of others.

You do not bring anything to a buddy group that is not the work. You don’t bring in outside books you don’t even bring reading the Big Book. What you bring is your written work. It is not off the cuff. Off the cuff is not recovery. You can go to your step one fellowship and share off the cuff there. You can talk off the cuff at the end of the workshop. When in the buddy group or one on one you are reading your writing. And if you don’t have any writing then you show up and say: I don’t have any writing I will be listening and witnessing. And I would prefer until we are done that buddies keep to buddy time and let go of fellowship.

You are really vulnerable and open conversation tends to get messy and people misinterpret. So keep it to buddy time. Believe me you have the rest of your life to make friends with your buddy, see each other, visit each other. I know buddies from years ago and are still dear friends. Do yourself a favor and wait until it is over. If you need a buddy, request one at the end of this workshop. Leave your number. Remember you can have more than one buddy and more than one buddy group. But you follow the guidelines.

Staying with the writing:
The writing sometimes gets put on the side. I encourage you not to do this. Just as you don’t get too busy for your Quiet Time, don’t get too busy for your writing. Stay current. Even if you write for 15 minutes every day and have 15 minutes Quiet Time. If you are really committed you will do it. If you are not, you will find a hundred excuses. I am not going to condemn you, push, pull, prod, dictate or command. Just going to encourage you the best I can. It is between you and your higher power and if you have a buddy, all the buddy says when you say: I don’t have any writing, I am witnessing your work, the buddy replies: thank you. Make no comment. It’s between them and their higher power. If you are stuck, talk to me. It is not up to a buddy to get someone unstuck.

Big Book goal

Having had a spiritual experience.
The goal of the Big Book workshop is not to lose 50lbs, to save your marriage, or get a promotion, it is to have a spiritual experience with the God of our understanding. The second goal of this process is to practice recovery in all our affairs. The third goal is to do service and help others.

Being convinced

The first requirement is that we being convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success. On that basis we are almost always in collision with something or somebody, even though our motives are good.

The two very important words being convinced that we were at Step Three, which is that we decided to turn our will and our life over to God, as we understood Him.

We have already looked at how one resentment affects your self-esteem etc. and the devastation of one resentment. Being resentful and angry wrecks a person and we cannot be our best self. It is impossible. And we can do a lot of covering up. We can over-achieve or become victims and have people rescue us. There are a billion ways that we try to run our life on self-will and be a success. I know I did it.

When I named and claimed that I was an agnostic, nothing would convince me until I saw it on paper through doing this process. And it brought me to my knees. God I want to trust in you. I don’t trust in you. Help me to trust in you. I was humble and teachable and three years later I had a white light experience that changed my life. I am not an agnostic. I trust and rely on Him with everything. I have to. My way as an agnostic brought me back to the food, a divorce from a wonderful man in recovery – the list goes on. I wrecked our home. I was a tornado in other people’s lives.

I am resentful at Joe. The cause: left my home, me.

This affects my:

self-esteem – took it away (on the back of the page write why)
pride – bad mother (needed to write on the back on that)
ambition: best mother ever (on the back wrote I had to be a better mother than my mother)
personal relationships – shattered (write on the back how they were shattered. With my son leaving, every relationship was shattered. I wanted to go to a mental institution. Wanted to get shock treatment. Did not want to feel the pain.)
personal security – no trust in anyone. (The one person I had given heart and soul to had abandoned me. So again wrote out the emotions on the back).
pocketbook – could not work
sex relations – I was shattered as a human being (How am I going to have sex with my husband when shattered?)

I could not relate to other mothers, I was shattered. I could not go to PTO: I was shattered. I could not even relate to Al-Anon. I sat there and cried and cried. I would listen to parents and I would be jealous. Their kids were sober, doing well. I was shattered. Can you use the same word twice? Sure. And I would write all that on the back. How I couldn’t talk to my girlfriends when they talked of how good their children were doing. Could not talk to my husband. Thank goodness I never blamed him. (I blamed myself)

Write all the garbage on the back. Pages and pages of feelings of he did this and said that. All my hurt, all my longing, my character defects – I wrote about them all. And then I got to the facts. Only the facts, not my feelings, are going to give me the ability to get well.

Write this down: If I do this fourth step and stay in my feelings, I will not get well.

Feelings are very important. I never discount them. Feelings are not facts. They are a gift from God and tell us we need to go to God. Happy sad or glad I need to go to God. We need to put our feelings in proper perspective so we can get well. We have got to see the truth.

Underneath the very last entry: write: Turnaround.

After you do your five people you can use the format on the website. Don’t do this until you have finished with the five. Want you to get into your brain what the next step is. So if you don’t have the website format or your writing with you, you can still sit down and help somebody.

Turnaround: The only way I am going to see the truth and recover the turnaround is to see the truth of the stock in trade, see my character defects.

Write this down: To get rid of these properly (that takes God). But have to know what you need to take to God.

TURNAROUNDS: Looking at our part – the only way to freedom from this resentment.

1. Selfishness

2. Self-seeking

3. Dishonest:
a. direct lie
b. lie of omission
c. lie I tell myself
(always a lie of omission & always a lie we tell ourselves)

4 Fear.

We have every resentment because:

I am afraid this person I resent does not like, love or respect me.

If you want to, write ‘fear’ beside each of the seven emotions: self-esteem, pride etc.
Fear is at the bottom of every resentment – fear that you are not going to be loved, liked or respected. It is our innermost need as a human being.

People can love you but not like you. Some of you have parents that loved you but they didn’t really like who you were. I lived with that. And I brought this fear into every relationship.

Turnarounds are the only way you are going to see the truth and the only way you are going to recover.

You have got to get to the truth because you cannot do the turnaround and think you are going to get well if you are telling yourself a lie. e.g. I could pretend I didn’t resent Joe because he is my son. It would be a lie: I was very resentful.

It takes awhile to uncover the lie. We lie to ourselves saying: It is not that bad. Or we lie and say: It was awful and I will never be able to get over it. We lie: I will never be able to forgive them.

1. Selfish: a) What I wanted from this person. You write : I wanted ….then write what your HP tells you to write. Selfishness has two parts. b) Why? For me I wanted them to give me attention, to be my friend or my boyfriend. It always had something to do with getting attention. Esteeming me. Why? I did not esteem myself as valuable. I did not esteem myself until my white light experience. Then I felt God really loved me and didn’t care whether or not humans did. e.g. What did you want from them? A raise. Why? A raise would show I am worthwhile.
You have to dig deep.

2. Self-seeking: the behaviors you did to get what you wanted.

This was such an eye opener. I people pleased, manipulated. Used my sexuality. I did for others what they should be doing for themselves. I cried, lied. I pretended I really like them when I did not. I gossiped. I back stabbed. The list goes on and on.

3. Dishonest:

a) Direct lie.
b) Lie of omission
c) Lie I told myself
(we always have b and c)

Lie of omission is not saying what you need to say to bring honesty. I would break my food plan. I lied to my group through not telling them. They assumed I was clean with my food and I was not. Or I needed to tell a friend something really hard like: You really hurt my feelings. Instead I held a resentment. Not telling a person the truth and bringing honesty to a relationship. I was a bold faced liar. I lied when I could have told the truth.

Write down:
FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real

Fear: I was afraid of:

a. Not getting what I wanted
b. Other people’s opinion of me.
c. Financial insecurity.
d. Put whatever else you were afraid of

Does your answer have to be restricted to 6-9 words? No. You can write whatever you need to on the turnarounds. Try to get to the facts and put feelings on the back of the page.

Do Five. Why? If you have really done five resentments thoroughly, you will see your pattern and you will see that every resentment has basically the same elements. If you want to, do more.

Radical thought: if you only do five resentments you will only be making five amends. So if you feel you need to clear up a lot of wreckage you need to write. No writing: no amends. Why? You will make amends and not know the truth. You will make amends on feelings. It’s important to cut through the feelings and tell the truth. Without writing you will make a mess of making amends.

Stephanie quoted pg 67, fourth paragraph, (fear)…”was an evil and corroding thread” that makes us lie to ourselves and others.

She said that Resentment comes from fear. All the 6 ‘affects’ are based on fear; i.e., self esteem would be: fear of how other people see me, or how I see myself.

Pray before you write. And thank God after you write. If you get up, pray again before you restart writing. Pray, pray, pray to the point where prayer becomes second nature because prayer is all about steps 10, 11 and 12. So practice praying.

Ends

Recording for January 1, 2015

(week 157) 1 January 2015 12 Step Study Big Book workshop

Step 3 is all about being honest with yourself and how much you need the Higher Power/God.

Definition of God: there is a God and not only am I not it, but neither are other people.

On page 59: Half measures availed us nothing, We stood at the turning point.
We asked God’s protection and care with complete abandon.

You want an answer to all your problems? You don’t depend on people, on yourself but instead depend on God.

Write down:
What do I do when I put up and shut up and try not to manipulate a situation?
I ask God to take the situation and I live in my own action plan. That’s what you do.

Very simple. This is a simple program.

The program is to stop trying to control and let God be God.

Page 63:

This is the how and the why of it.

(i.e. the answer): We had to quit playing God. It didn’t work.

Resentment against God/lack of trust in a Higher Power

Stephanie explains: When people have trouble with God it is all self-centeredness. They had expectations: i.e. resentments in the making. I never argue with anyone ever. The one thing you never argue about is God. I don’t know (for example why horrible things happened to someone) but I do know in my life nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. I may say I don’t have any answers for you but you can use Good Orderly Direction (GOD). Teach them about an action plan. God is in this action plan. Explain that if they want to get well this is a proven way to do so. You need to have a God of your understanding: Good Orderly Direction. Keep having Quiet Time and you will find a Higher Power.

If you stay in the negative your life will be negative.

Whereas an Action Plan helps you focus on the solution rather than the problem.

Quiet Time

Recommend reading The Reflections book, As Bill Sees It, or The Big Book, Al-Anon book Day By Day, etc.
1. Ask God to come into it.
2. Read a paragraph.
3. Write what it means to you.
4. Reflect on what you have written.

Often people who are antagonistic won’t even try Quiet Time. So it is getting them over their resentment to stick with. If they are desperate enough they will do it and they will get a HP.

Half measures availed us nothing. Just going to AA meetings is a half measure. If someone does not like the word God can say Higher Power or Good Orderly Direction. That is a very non-threatening way to have Quiet Time. Give them an action plan and say its OK to have a resentment against God. Stephanie says she had one. It was my own selfishness and self-centeredness as I wanted God to do everything. I wanted this and that perfect e.g. perfect parents. It was not reality. Parents are really sick people. I was a sick parent and I had eight years of sobriety and six years of abstinence and Al-Anon when I became a parent. I was not a healthy parent at the time.

So its taking them through the reality that they cannot have life the way they want it. And accepting that and letting go. They may not have had a perfect childhood although once they get over their resentments they can have a darned good life now. Resentments are the greatest robbers of peace and serenity.

Soul work

Next week bring at least one resentment written out with the cause and how it affects you so you can read it to the group and participate. [We may spend a couple of weeks, or whatever is needed, on this before moving onto the Turn Arounds].

Ends

Recording for December 25, 2014

(Week 156) 25 Dec 2014-12 Step BB All Addictions Workshop:

In Depth review of Step Two

Next Week: Step Three Review & any Step Four Questions
Jan. 8, 2015: Back to Step Four

Again, do not hesitate to contact Stephanie
by text/ phone @ 617/ 774-7916 or
email her @ stephaniew324@gmail.com

with any questions/ feelings of being stalled in progressing with doing your Fourth Step work/ fears
that may be coming up while inventorying yourself

Soul Work:

INVESTIGATE your own personal relationship with a Higher Power.
It’s okay if you don’t have one.
Just keep being Willing, Open, and Honest,
keep inventorying every day,
have an action plan,
and if people around you
( your buddy, buddy group, sponsor, etc.)
are not supportive
(of your desire for a relationship with One)
just change people.