Unshakable Foundation, Part 2


Better late than never Part 2…….after the Inventory, then what? Well that is the other part of the unshakable foundation I have been working on for the last 2 years and a month. Thank you to AA for showing me how to be a woman of my word and giving me an ego that won’t let me be the ONLY one in my accountability circle that answers a consistent “no” to meditation on my nightly check-ins.

“There is a direct linkage among self-examination, meditation, and prayer. Taken separately, these practices can bring much relief and benefit. But when they are logically related and interwoven, the result is an UNSHAKABLE foundation for life. Now and then we may be granted a glimpse of that ultimate reality which is God’s Kingdom. And we will be comforted and assured that our own destiny in that realm will be secure for so long as we try, however falteringly, to find and do the Will of our own Creator.” 12 & 12 page 98

I was told to pray beginning on day one when I landed in AA by accident (God knew what He was doing and it’s a good thing He didn’t ask my for my opinion because I was already trying to run). My thoughts on the praying thing were all completely negative due to the fact I thought I had “neatly evaded and entirely ignored” the whole “GOD” thing for a while. But I was no FOOL! I saw the G-O-D in red on the wall in those cute little steps of theirs and I was not real happy about it!!!. The problem was that alcoholism had done its due diligence with me and had completely crushed me from the inside out. I was utterly hopeless and I had been granted what I know today as the “gift of desperation”!

They told me to Pray and I did. I was out of options and good ideas…. or bad ideas for that matter. Over time, God and I grew to be on better speaking terms, mainly because my perception of Him Changed. But that is a longer story for another day. But the whole meditation idea I completely ignored for almost 8 years of my sobriety. I just figured that was for more balanced folks. You know the ones that can turn their brains off for more than 10 seconds, and I was not that girl! Not by a long shot! I ignored the directions on page 86-88 of the Big Book and would hit and miss Prayer in the morning and at night. I prayed in times of trouble, not so much when things were good. I leaned on the fellowship for strength and on conferences for spiritually filling my cup instead of really trying to enlarge my spiritual life through truly seeking God.

Then came the day I wanted more, I needed more! I listened to a Mark Houston CD on steps 10, 11 and 12. He basically said if you aren’t doing 10, 11, and 12 then you aren’t doing AA!!! Talk about a stake in the heart, because I knew he was talking about me. I was doing step 12. I was working with newcomer women and I had service commitments. But If I was really honest with myself, I wasn’t great at step 10 because my ego was justifying a lot of behavior and I was very unapproachable. Just ask anyone in my homegroup, LOL!!! My 7 year chip Birthday night “roast” was brutal! I’ve never been called a Bitch in so many Politically Correct terms in my whole life and from the podium. Prayer, some…. Meditation, NOPE! I needed some serious work!

But thank God we are a work in Progress!!!!! Spiritual Progress not Spiritual Perfection!!! I was finally ready to acknowledge that I was ignoring these vital steps!!! I was ready to address them head on! I found some women that were ready like I was, not without some misgivings. I knew I needed accountability to help me remain motivated and stay the course. I am so grateful for these women that have been with me on this!

Texting nightly inventories and committing to what at first was morning meditation. Which has become daily meditation. I’ve learned that I can meditate whenever I want to! If I miss it in the morning, I can do it at lunch or before bed, because there is never a wrong time to quiet my crazy head and listen for God. I listened to guided meditations on youtube, I still do. I’ve read spiritual books. I read 86-88 most mornings….. It really is a WONDERFUL way to start the day!!!! I pray my way through it! I’ve done 21 day meditation challenges from Deepak Choprah. I don’t get upset with myself if I can’t keep my head quiet for 3 minutes or 5 minutes or 7 minutes. However long it is quiet is however long I meditate. Somedays longer and some days shorter. It’s not about the length it’s about the effort! I believe God is honoring my effort.

The Unshakable foundation is this…… Emotional balance!!!! What the hell!!! If you would have told me that when I started this process, I would have said BS!!! No Way!!! Crazy-ass girls with heads that run like mine don’t ever get to a point where they obtain emotional balance……But it is true! Higher Highs and Not low lows…..Does that make sense? Less anger! The ability to keep my Big ‘ol mouth shut! The ability to appreciate the sunset in Puerta Vallarta for 30 minutes. To be able to pause my day for that long to watch it! I highly recommend it, if you haven’t tried it! God continues to reveal more and more to me and more about me! I’m so so grateful God gave me the willingness to give this a shot! I only wish I would have tried it sooner!

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Unshakable Foundation, Part 1


Hey there blog-peeps! Long time – no type! Just living the dream or trying to…. I guess. Not even gonna attempt to catch you up on all that madness!!! I will just jump right in with something that I have been working on, towards and putting in to practice in my trudge over the last 17 months.

“There is a direct linkage among self-examination, meditation, and prayer. Taken separately, these practices can bring much relief and benefit. But when they are logically related and interwoven, the result is an UNSHAKABLE foundation for life. Now and then we may be granted a glimpse of that ultimate reality which is God’s Kingdom. And we will be comforted and assured that our own destiny in that realm will be secure for so long as we try, however falteringly, to find and do the Will of our own Creator.” 12 & 12 page 98

So first off, If you have done more than just the 1, 2, 3, waltz around the rooms of AA, then you have had an introduction to the self-examination that this piece of literature is referring to. We learn to inventory our behavior at step four, confess to another in five, identify character defects and become willing to have or HP remove those in 6, ask our HP to remove those objectionable to us in 7, decide who was harmed in 8 and make restitution to those harmed in 9. We begin to continuously monitor our thoughts and actions with the practice of step 10, while we our cleaning up the wreckage of our past. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I am not the greatest at telling you that I am full of fear while I am in the middle of a knock-down drag-out fight with my husband. It looks like rage on the outside but is truly more like insecurity and self-centeredness. Which is why I have become extremely grateful for step 11 for several reasons.

See, I miss stuff during the day that I am supposed to catch in step 10 when I  “continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear.- Big Book(BB) page 84” I will still lie to myself in the moment. So, our literature gives us a backup plan of sorts on page 86, “when retire at night…” under step 11. Just in case I miss it in the moment, because, lets face it, I will miss it!!!!

I have been going through and answering those questions on page 86 in the BB in writing form and sending my invertory to an accountability circle of women for 17 months. Much different than just reading over them and answering them in my head. Or what I did for the first 7 years of my sobriety, which was not look at those inventory questions at all. I can look back at my written inventory and see what I need to bring to my Higher Power for corrective action in prayer. I can see where I have been intolerant of others or unkind and unloving. I can see which character defects have been activated once more due to my selfish, self-centered behavior.

It is not to something I use to make me feel terrible about myself but to see what I can do better tomorrow. I want to grow in understanding and effectiveness like the BB says at step 10. To understand where I have been wrong and what I have done good so that tomorrow I will be able to a better instrument for my HP. After all, He did grant me this gift of GRACE in sobriety. I do try, however falteringly, to do His will daily…

Drunk Dialies


Have you ever been guilty of drunk dialies? I sure have….. more than I care to admit! This should clue you in a little on my age of sobriety! Notice I didn’t say drunk texting or drunk posting on Facebook or Twitter. Drunk posting probably even has some cool name in the Urban Dictionary.

Kinda like Pregame:
n. To drink before going to a party. This most often happens because they party where you are going to will be carding and you are under or because you want to drink something hard to start your night off. Often pregaming happens at the house and involves taking shots.

See back in my drinking days, this didn’t have some-sort of cool name, it was just drinking. Most of the time to save money, in my case, because I have never been a cheap drunk. So drinking at the bar was very expensive for me or for whoever was buying my drinks (usually some poor fool who thought I was interested in more than just lightening my financial load). I digress….

I would somehow get home from the bar, I blacked out a lot so it was rare for me to know how that happened at times. Apparently, due to said blackouts, I had no recollection of the phone calls I would make at 2, 3, 4, in the morning. I would pick up my phone, after I “came to”. I was most often panic-stricken due to the amount of blackouts I had. I never knew where I was going to wake up, how I got there, who would be with me or not with me for that matter. I would eventually get around to checking my phone and find that I called any number of people. It was often some old boyfriend or guy I dated(I use that term very loosely) or perhaps my ex-husband. I would never remember what we talked about when I looked at the length of the call or what kind of craziness I left on their voicemail.

I needed someone to take my phone from me when I started drinking, but that was NEVER gonna happen!

So I have been downloading new songs from iTunes, more appropriately, new songs to me or new to own. I was listening to the lyrics of “Should’ve Gone to Bed” by Plain White T’s. Best song about drunk dailies I have heard to date! Here’s a sample:

All day long I’m over you
Never really think of you
I keep you out of my head
But some nights when I’m striking out
You’re all I can think about
Just gotta have you again

So I down my cup
And then I hit you up
Saying way too much

Oh, I should’ve just gone to bed
I should’ve never called you
I should’ve listened to my head
When it said leave it alone
No, a few drinks in
Here I go missing you again
God only knows what I said
I should’ve just gone to bed

I should’ve turned the lights out
I should’ve called it a night
You should’ve never picked up my phone call
If you’re not sleeping here tonight

LOVE THIS! Brings back memories! Not fond ones but memories, nonetheless!

Video

It’s a WE deal!


You ever get the feeling that you just aren’t helpful or effective? That no one hears what you are saying? That they just don’t get the point? Well I do! But I have had it beat into my head that feelings aren’t facts! I’ve been told that since I got to AA. None of my sponsors have coddled me or listened to me whine about my “so-called” problems! It always been “where did you start the ball rolling”, or “what is your part in this” or “Man you really are sicker than I thought!”. I’m just kidding about the last one! Although it has been said to me and it is a realization I have come to myself!

But I am not the first one in the program to feel useless or it wouldn’t have talked about it in the bedevilments on page 52 of the Big Book. But God has always provided what I needed, as long as I have been wiling enough to look for it and to give Him credit. There was a period of time that I sponsored no one, truly I didn’t have what anyone wanted or what I wanted either. But when I finally started doing the work again and quit isolating myself from the people that had the answer and from the program, fellowship and service…..I began to get better.

Well that period of time was a while ago and I am not devoid of sponsees anymore. I actually went from 2 to 4 in one day! My first thought was…. “Man, God must think I’m real sick right now!” Truth be told, I love these women I sponsor! It lights me on fire when I see the light bulb come on! It’s better than any high I ever got off dope and booze! The book even tells us about it!

“Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends — this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives”.- Big Book page 89

Man has that been my truth! What a blessing and a promise! To go from a self-absorbed, self-centered, “me and mine” girl to wanting to help someone else…… I am amazed! Of course none of that would ever happen if I didn’t have God to reduce all the self, self, self! That was and is definitely a Big part of the equation!

“You are going to meet these new friends in your own community. Near you, alcoholics are dying helplessly like people in a sinking ship. If you live in a large place, there are hundreds. High and low, rich and poor, these are future fellows of Alcoholics Anonymous. Among them you will make lifelong friends. You will be bound to them with new and wonderful ties, for you will escape disaster together and you will commence shoulder to shoulder your common journey. Then you will know what it means to give of yourself that others may survive and rediscover life. You will learn the full meaning of “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Big Book page 152-153

I have found them! I have made lifelong friends! I am bound to them, for they are my people! I have escaped disaster because they showed me the way out! I journey with them! I have experienced giving of myself, my time, my experience so that WE can not only survive but live! I have learned the meaning of “Love thy neighbor as thyself”! And I have been shown how to do this by some of the most wonderful people that were once hopeless just like me! It’s a WE deal! I get it!

It is freaking AMAZING!!!

Taking a Spiritual Dump


My introduction to step 4 the first time went something like this….. My sponsor asked me, “Are you powerless over alcohol?” I said, “Yes!” (I know now I didn’t even really know what she was asking nor what my answer meant). She then asked, “Do you believe in a Power greater than your self?” I said, “Yes!” The we prayed the 3rd step prayer and I started writing a 4th step. I was less than a month sober at the time. I went to the library and defined every possible word I could on those worksheets that she gave me. Selfish, Self-esteem, Pride, Ambition, etc. I wanted it to be perfect. I thought it had to be or I would get drunk!

It really didn’t take me to terribly long to do the 4th step in this way, the check off form worksheet method. I got it all completed and prepared to do my 5th step and was nervous as hell. I had never said a lot of these things out loud nor admitted them to myself much less to another person. But I was willing to do whatever it took to get over this life threatening disease that I had figured out that I had. It was on a Sunday and I will never forget it! I told her all that garbage that I had been carrying for 27 years. We laughed, cried, and I realized that I was a very petty person.

She gave me the instructions for my hour of meditation & prayer and I went to do 6&7. I don’t know what the hell happened! I can’t even write well enough to explain it! I was free! I have never felt that light in all my life and I am not sure I have felt that way since that day! I think I could have floated away on a cloud if the just the right wind had blown by. I was lighter than air. I wanted to sing and I AM NOT a good singer. I am a car/shower type singer and I couldn’t have cared less if the whole world could hear me sing. I might have auditioned for American Idol had they been in town. It gives me chills to even think about it!

Knowing what I do now about the information that I didn’t know about the book or my disease, I missed a lot doing the steps in this manner. But I got the effect promised to me in our literature anyways!

“Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.” Big Book page 75

See, I was willing, honest, and open-minded! These, it tells me are indispensable. I have since, been through the book many times; line by line, word for word, with a sponsor. I have never done another 4th step in this manner. They have all been fully written out with all the columns not a check off form My sponsors have made me write not just what was affected but how. They have also made me look at not if I was selfish but how I was selfish. A lot more in depth, but that’s ok because……

“We have been trying to get a new attitude, a new relationship with our Creator, and to discover the obstacles in our path.” Big Book page 72

If that is the point, then if I want more, I must look deeper and I must do more. Don’t get me wrong it’s not like every time I get to my 4th step again I jump for joy and do back flips! But I do know that God always has something in store for me on the other side! My Sponsor tells me the greater the doubt, the greater the awakening! I believe her.

I get the privilege of listening to my sponsee 5th step tonight. When I was telling my sponsor I was nervous about messing up she reminded me that I am just there to listen to her take a spiritual dump so that she can walk a way a little lighter because all that baggage is gonna be gone. I laughed! So here’s to my sponsee and her spiritual dump! I am so grateful I get to be a part of her walk into the Sunlight of the Spirit!

Jose Quervo


When I was growing up, we cleaned house every Saturday morning while listening to country music either on the radio or on our vinyl records. I have fond memories of singing The Oak Ridge Boys, Alabama, Kenny Rodgers, Neil Diamond and many others with my mom on Saturdays while cleaning. One song I particularly liked as a child was Jose Quervo by Shelly West. Of course when it topped the charts in 1983 when I was 6, I had no idea that it would 21 years later it would almost be the story of my daily life.

It came out 30 years ago and I heard it on the radio today. I cannot tell you the last time I actually heard it….. probably years ago, but when it came on today I sang every word!!!

Well its Sunday morning
And the sun is shining in my
Eye that is open
And my head is spinning
Was the life of the party
I can’t stop grinning
I had too much tequila last night

Jose Quervo
You are a friend of mine
I like to drink you with
A little salt and lime
Did I kiss all the cowboys
Did I shoot out the lights
Did I dance on the bar
Did I start any fights

Now wait a minute
Things don’t look to familiar
Who is the cowboy who’s sleeping beside me
Well he’s awful cute
But how’d I get his shirt on
I had too much tequila last night

Jose Quervo
You are a friend of mine
I like to drink you with
A little salt and lime
Did I kiss all the cowboys
Did I shoot out the lights
Did I dance on the bar
Did I start any fights

All those little shooters
How I love to drink them down
Come on bartender lets have another round
Well the music is playing
And my spirits are high
Tomorrow might be painful
But tonight we’re going to fly

Jose Quervo
You are a friend of mine….. You get the picture!

It also strikes me as funny that I remember liking that song so much as a child. I was 6 and I know I had NO clue what it was about. It was just a fun song that pretty much could have been my anthem, now that I read the lyrics in black and white. Its not like I think it predestined me to be an alcoholic anymore than my potty training did, I just find it funny.

I’m a song lyric girl. I like beats too, but I love lyrics. I always have! Just asked my husband! He makes fun of me all the time for what he says is terrible taste in music but it is mine!!! It’s not hip, it’s not really cool, but most of the time it does have meaning to me. That being said I like the lyrics to Aerosmith’s Amazing

It’s Amazing
With the blink of an eye you finally see the light
It’s Amazing
When the moment arrives that you know you’ll be alright
It’s Amazing
And I’m sayin’ a prayer for the desperate hearts tonight

Today, I can’t imagine living my life like the lyrics of Jose Quervo! Not that I think it could never happen again for I am not cured of alcoholism. But I do know what to do to keep my disease in an arrested state. To keep “the beast” on lock down it does take work. The Big Book says, “Simple, but not easy, a price had to be paid.” So I will keep paying the price because it is far cheaper than what I would pay for “blotting out the consciousness of our intolerable situation.” This sober life is the greatest gift I have ever been given, thanks to Gods grace, willingness, honesty and open-mindedness. I am truly blessed!

The Living Christmas Tree


I didn’t really want to “belong” in AA as well as I did. It’s not like when I had that “AAAHHHH” moment, when the noise in my head was finally quiet the night I took my first drink did I think that 10 years later I’d end up knocking on AA’s door. But I had gotten to the point that the person I saw when I looked in the mirror, I didn’t know or recognize. There was no light in my eyes, just darkness and pain. The more I learned about this disease called alcoholism, the more I knew that I had it. Before I got sober, I used to joke that I was a drunk and that alcoholics go to meetings.

I sat in meetings knowing that I had alcoholism for 13 months. With every little monthly medallion I picked up including my year chip, I thought I was really doing something. I thought I was special. I’d listen to people share about their selfishness and I would think to myself, “thank God I am not that bad.” What happened was this….. I have had some reoccurring health issues for the majority of my adult life which has afforded me the awesome experience of 3 surgeries and a handful of hospitalizations. One of these surgeries and hospitalizations happened around this 13 month mark.

In my mind God had, one more time, ignored my requests and I was ate up with untreated alcoholism. In the matter of moments what I had learned about the mental obsession gripped me. I lied, manipulated and conned my mother into handing over pain meds that I knew that she had and I took them. I was completely unaware of what I was doing or the consequences of my actions at the moment that it happened. I was gripped by this obsession and until I was so stoned and nodding out while sitting in a church watching a Christmas pageant, I didn’t know I’d done anything wrong. Then my thoughts were ” What have I done? How did this happen?” It happened just like the Big Book warned that it would without a thought of any consequence!

So great!!!! I got to re-establish and not even get drunk and I am a drinker, a drunk, a sot! That’s even what I told my friend that picked me up the night I went to pick up my new desire chip and claim my new sobriety date. I was angry at first, I’m not gonna lie! But, the truth is this, what I had learned about the mental obsession prior to the first drink was mainly academic at that time. My last few years were just flat out spree drinking with not even a desire to slow down much less quit.

The anger subsided when I realized a few things…. 1) If I’d taken a drink after those pills I’m sure it would have been a much longer time before I would have returned to sobriety. 2) God’s grace saved me from a worse relapse but ensured me that I absolutely had experience with the obsession. 3) I’m extremely selfish and was delusional when I thought that I was better than the other people in AA. 4) Someday, what I thought to be such a humiliating experience  will help someone else. That was almost 8 years ago and I thank God for the grace He showed me in that experience and what I have learned about myself since.

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