I am so grateful for the comments we got yesterday on how to work the 12 Steps of Recovery. They were insightful and made me think about how I’m living my own recovery one day at a time. Included in the comments was a list of musts if I want to live in true recovery from addiction.
Steven made a couple comments, both of which I could break down individually and write about. But I’ll start with this one.
It’s about being “thorough” and what that means.
In the AA book, they don’t just give recommendations on how you should work the steps; instead, they basically say, “Here’s what worked for us. If you want to get real recovery, you’ll follow our path. If not, do whatever and we hope it works for you.”
I like that perspective. No beating around the bush. No softening the message to not offend. Just straight up.
Examples from the Big Book
“We have concluded to publish an anonymous volume setting forth the problem as we see it. We shall bring to task our combined experience and knowledge. This should suggest a useful program for anyone concerned with a drinking problem.” Then, in “How It Works” it says, “Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a Program of Recovery.”
“…if you want what we have AND are willing to go to any length to get it.”
“To show other alcoholics PRECISELY HOW WE HAVE RECOVERED is the main purpose of this book” (page xiii), “If you are an alcoholic who wants to get over it, you may already be asking – What do I have to do? It is the purpose of this book to answer such questions SPECIFICALLY. We shall tell you what we have done” (page 20), and “CLEAR-CUT DIRECTIONS are given showing how we recovered” (page 29).
“…half measures avail us NOTHING” (and NO measures avail us less!)
And if I do what the AA Book says, fully, no holding back:
“…know happiness, peace, and usefulness, in a way of life that is incredibly more wonderful as time passes” (page 8)!
This is quite the promise.
It makes me wonder why people, particularly, the Church, have modified it, changed it, and made their own version.
- Why have they taken out the sponsorship?
- Why don’t they do a Step 1 Inventory (or is that just for SA)?
- Why isn’t reaching out, getting phone numbers, and connecting with other fellows an integral part of the LDS ARP?
I guess, at this point, I don’t have to know these answers. I can live my recovery, I can work the steps, and I can share with others what I’m learning that’s working for me.
I have highlighted a few areas that I feel the Church is leaving out of their program to get the desired result we’re all looking for – REAL RECOVERY and NOT White-Knuckle Sobriety. I also highlighted areas that stuck out to me.
103 50 Must’s from the Big Book about How to Live in True Recovery from Addiction
- Convincing testimony MUST surely come from medical men who have had experience with the sufferings of our members and have witnessed our return to health.(xxiii)
- “Doctor, I cannot go on like this! I have everything to live for! I MUST stop, but I cannot! You MUST help me!” (xxvii)
- Faced with this problem, if a doctor is honest with himself, he MUST sometimes feel his own inadequacy. (xxvii)
- Though the aggregate of recoveries resulting from psychiatric effort is considerable, we physicians MUST admit we have made little impression upon the problem as a whole. (xxvii)
- In the course of his third treatment he acquired certain ideas concerning a possible means of recovery. As part of his rehabilitation he (Bill W.) commenced to present his conceptions to other alcoholics, impressing upon them that they MUST do likewise with still others. This has become the basis of a rapidly growing fellowship of these men and their families. This man and over one hundred others appear to have recovered. (xxiii)
- In this statement he (Dr. Silkworth) confirms what we who have suffered alcoholic torture MUST believe that the body of the alcoholic is quite as abnormal as his mind. (xxiv)
- More often than not, it is IMPERATIVE that a man’s brain be cleared before he is approached, as he has then a better chance of understanding and accepting what we have to offer. (xxiv)
- The message which can interest and hold these alcoholic people MUST have depth and weight. In nearly all cases, their ideals MUST be grounded in a power greater than themselves if they are to re-create their lives. (xxvi) – (this is surrender!)
- I SIMPLY HAD TO believe in a Spirit of the Universe, who knew neither time nor limitation (10)
- I MUST turn in all things to the Father of Light who presides over us all.(14) (this is surrender!)
- Particularly was it IMPERATIVE to work with others.(14) (sponsorship, fellowship, not working on my own, not just coming to meetings once per week)
- Of NECESSITY there will have to be discussion of matters medical, psychiatric, social, and religious.(19)
- Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers, DEPEND upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs. (19) (the power of Step 12)
- Almost none of us liked the self-searching, the leveling of our pride, the confession of shortcomings which the process REQUIRES for its successful consummation.(25)
- There was NOTHING LEFT FOR US but to pick up the simple kit of spiritual tools laid at our Feet. (25)
- It is only by fully disclosing ourselves and our problems that they will be persuaded to say, “Yes, I am one of them too; I MUST have this thing.” (29)
- We learned that we had to FULLY CONCEDE to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, HAS TO BE smashed. (30)
- If we are planning to stop drinking, there MUST be no reservation of any kind, nor any lurking notion that someday we will be immune to alcohol. (33) (overcoming the addiction, being done, graduation – this doesn’t happen)
- But after a while we had to face the fact that we MUST find a spiritual basis of Life – or else.(44)
- We HAD TO find a power by which we could live, and it HAD TO BE a Power greater than ourselves. (45)
- DO NOT let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you. (47)
- Many of us have been so touchy that even casual reference to spiritual things made us bristle with antagonism. This sort of thinking HAD TO BE abandoned. (48)
- We HAD TO ask ourselves why we shouldn’t apply to our human problems this same readiness to change our point of view. (52)
- When we saw others solve their problems by a simple reliance upon the Spirit of the Universe, we HAD TO stop doubting the power of God. Our ideas did not work. But the God idea did. (52)
- When we became alcoholics, crushed by a self-imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade, we HAD TO fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn’t. (53)
- Sometimes we HAD TO search fearlessly, but He was there. He was as much a fact as we were. We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found. It was so with us. (55)
- The first requirement is that we BE CONVINCED that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success. (60)
- Above everything, we alcoholics MUST be rid of this selfishness. We MUST, or it kills us! (62)
- We HAD TO have God’s help. (62)
- First of all, we HAD TO quit playing God. (62) (I can’t fix others – I can only worry about myself and surrender my will and my desires to God. He will direct my path and the path of others.)
- Our liquor was but a symptom. We HAD TO get down to causes and conditions. (64) (negative emotions: fear, pain, anxiety, anger, resentment, hurt, loneliness, agony, procrastination – these are the core issues for me)
- If we were to live, we HAD TO be free of anger. (66)
- We saw that these resentments MUST be mastered. (66)
- Whatever our ideal turns out to be, we MUST be willing to grow toward it. We MUST be willing to make amends where we have done harm, provided that we do not bring about still more harm in so doing. (69)
- We MUST be entirely honest with somebody if we expect to live long or happily in this world. (73)
- Those of us belonging to a religious denomination which requires confession MUST, and of course, will want to go to the properly appointed authority whose duty it is to receive it. (74)
- The rule is we MUST be hard on ourself, but always considerate of others. (74)
- It is important that he be able to keep a confidence; that he fully understand and approve what we are driving at; that he will not try to change our plan. But we MUST not use this as a mere excuse to postpone. (75)
- We have emphasized willingness as being INDISPENSABLE. (76)
- UNDER NO CONDITION do we criticize such a person or argue. (77)
- We MUST lose our fear of creditors no matter how far we have to go, for we are liable to drink if we are afraid to face them. (78)
- We may lose our position or reputation or face jail, but we are willing. We have to be. We MUST not shrink at anything. (79)
- Before taking drastic action which might implicate other people we secure their consent. If we have obtained permission, have consulted with others, asked God to help and the drastic step is indicated we MUST not shrink. (80)
- Sometimes we hear an alcoholic say that the only thing he needs to do is to keep sober. Certainly he MUST keep sober, for there will be no home if he doesn’t. But he is yet a long way from making good to the wife or parents whom for years he has so shockingly treated. (82) (sobriety is NOT recovery – it’s only a step in the right direction)
- Yes, there is a long period of reconstruction ahead. We MUST take the lead. (83)
- The spiritual life is not a theory. WE HAVE TO LIVE IT. (83)
- We MUST remember that ten or twenty years of drunkenness would make a skeptic out of
- Every day is a day when we MUST carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities. (85) (one day at a time, surrendering to God, doing His will in ALL things)
- “How can I best serve Thee – Thy will (not mine) be done.” These are thoughts which MUST go with us constantly. (85)
- If we have carefully followed directions, we have begun to sense the flow of His Spirit into us. To some extent we have become God-conscious. We have begun to develop this vital sixth sense. But we MUST go further and that means more action. (85)
I’m going to stop at 50 for now. The next 53 will come in another post.
What do I get from these musts?
I have to be honest with myself and others.
I have to submit my will to God, one day at a time.
I have to acknowledge that without Him, I can’t do this.
I have to admit that I can’t do this on my own.
As I feel the grace of God, I have to be willing and want to share these feelings with others – live Step 12.
Recovery is a life-long pursuit; not something I check off a list and move on.
Surrendering negative emotions is the core issue I’m giving to God.
I can’t think, at any time, that I’m “out of the woods.”
I am grateful for this study. Although I didn’t study the scriptures today, I feel this is good for my soul. I feel this is scripture in its own right – this is truth.
I looked up “seek ye out of the best books” and found a talk about it. The scripture appeared:
“… seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom. …” (D&C 88:118.)
It went on to say:
Probably the most important habit you need to acquire if you are going to take the counsel of the Brethren seriously is the habit of reading, not sporadically but consistently.
I’m grateful for the desire I have today to learn, to grow, and to apply what I’m learning.
I look forward to a good day. It’s a scary day but one I’m willing to surrender to God – His will be done.