Steven's Journal Chapter 4
As I begin this process, I learn that sixty days, the first set of steps, changing attitudes, actions, and deeds will not magically transform me. It is only a beginning of the process. It took forty-one years to become who and what I am, God will accelerate the change, but it has to happen in His time. I have to be open, honest, and willing to give a real effort. To want it with all my heart and soul.
We will reach the point of wanting to change, or die. We cannot say, “I’ll do anything, but.” Unfortunately, I’ve seen myself put limitations on recovery as I start to feel better. I take back self control, allow my ego to get back in the driver’s seat, and distance myself from God again. This is the path to failure and relapse, that are never far behind.
So for those of you that don’t know or understand the twelve steps of AA and recovery, I’ll sum them up.
The first few are to admit, recognize, and accept addiction has taken over our lives, causing life to become totally unmanageable. We are unable to stop, and no human power can fix us. Only God can save us, change us, and give us peach and the lives we so desire.
Next is taking responsibility for our past, admitting our faults, character defects, and sins, leaving nothing out. Anything and everything must come out or this will not work. The great thing about rehab and AA is you feel safe, and there is no need for embarrassment. You are surrounded by people who have all done the same or worse. Love and support abound, and everyone works together so we can all succeed.
Next you need to admit to yourself, to God, and to another person, all your sins, faults, and the wreckage of your past. This is one of the hardest parts—asking God for His forgiveness, and harder yet, forgiving myself. We are always hardest on ourselves. If you can forgive yourself, and truly believe in God’s grace and forgiveness, the great weight of darkness, shame and guilt will start to be removed, then you can continue.
Next is examining your past, taking responsibility for it, seeing your part in it. If this is done thoroughly, it will become self evident that it was mostly our fault. We have a self destructive attitude that undermines our whole life.
Now upon listing and seeing all the evil, hurt, damage, pain, suffering, abuse, we have done and caused, we pledge to make up for it as best we can. With God’s help, we ask those we have wronged to forgive us, and to tell them that we are willing to change. We are now clearing the wreckage of our past, shedding light on it, and ultimately removing its power over us.
We address our resentments, and the resentment of others towards us. Basically, a house cleaning of mind, spirit, and emotions.
Now we can make a plan of action to continue to change, to hand our lives over to God, to improve our lives, and the lives of those around us. To strive to be the people we want to be and should be. Happy, content, contributing, productive members of society. With this plan in place, God in our lives, the program, and tools we have learned at our disposal, we start doing daily maintenance through prayer, new actions, thoughts, and deeds, admitting when we are wrong, asking for forgiveness, and living a life we no longer have to be ashamed of. Forgiveness only comes if you don’t intend on doing the offensive action again. Forgiveness is not a free pass to continue on the old path.
Finally, and most important, is to pass along our grace, change, hope and program of recovery. It is the ultimate statement that for us to continue to receive God’s blessing and the blessing of recovery we must give it away.
The great sense of satisfaction and fulfillment we get after helping another alcoholic is unlike anything I have ever felt or imagined.
So as you can see, there is a lot to deal with. We only begin to scratch the surface here. It is a live-long journey with only a daily reprieve, but the process has started. In all the steps God is the integral key, because without Him, there is no hope.
Only He can save us.
Stay tuned in the weeks to follow how God continues to work in Steve's recovery.