#NOFILTER, by Stephanie Shockley

#NOFILTER, by Stephanie Shockley

I thought I knew the meaning of love until my first grandchild was born. Grandmothers told me it would be indescribable and even more amazing than having my own children and not until I held my grandson have I felt a joy this intense.

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Your Life and It's New Meaning, by guest blogger David Saffold

The following is my final entry in a series about the 12-step spiritual program of recovery.

Step 12:  “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”
 
Step 12 is found in Chapter 7 (Working With Others), page 89 through page 103 of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  “Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking (relapsing into addiction) as intensive work with other alcoholics (others with like addictions).  This is our 12th suggestion: Carry this message to other alcoholics!  You can help when no one else can.  You can secure their confidence when others fail.  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.”

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Prayer and Meditation in Recovery, by guest blogger, David Saffold

The following is my eleventh entry in a series about the 12-step spiritual program of recovery.

Step 11:  “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”
 

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Love and Tolerance of Others, by guest blogger, David Saffold

The following is my tenth entry in a series about the 12-step spiritual program of recovery.

Step 10:  “Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.”
 
Step 10 is found in Chapter 6 (Into Action), page 84, third paragraph through page 85, third paragraph of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  I will let the literature do most of the talking here. “Step 10 suggests we continue to take personal inventory and set right any new mistakes as we go along.  We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past.  We have entered the world of the Spirit.  Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness.  This is not an overnight matter.  It should continue for our lifetime.  Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear.  When they crop up, we ask God at once to remove them.  We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone… Love and tolerance of others is our code.

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Following Through with Amends, by guest blogger, David Saffold

The following is my ninth entry in a series about the 12-step spiritual program of recovery.

Step 9:  “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”
 
Step 8 and 9 are combined in the literature and are found in Chapter 6 (Into Action), page 76, third paragraph through page 84, second paragraph of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  This time we will focus on Step 9 which is the step where we actually clean up our past so we can go forward into freedom.

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Making Amends, by guest blogger, David Saffold

The following is my eighth entry in a series about the 12-step spiritual program of recovery.

Step 8:  “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”
 
Step 8 and 9 are combined in the literature and are found in Chapter 6 (Into Action), page 76, third paragraph through page 84, second paragraph of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  However, I will focus on Step 8 in this blog entry, which is, like Step 6 is to Step 7, a preparatory (willingness) step for Step 9.  “We have a list of all people we have harmed from Step 4.  Now we go out to our fellows and repair the damage done in the past.  We attempt to sweep away the debris which has accumulated out of our effort to live on self-will.  If we haven’t the will to do this, we ask until it comes.  Remember it was agreed at the beginning we would go to any lengths for victory over our alcoholism (addiction).”

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Your Humble Request, by guest blogger, David Saffold

The following is my seventh entry in a series about the 12-step spiritual program of recovery.

Step 7:  “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”
 
Step 7 is found in Chapter 6 (Into Action), page 76, second paragraph of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  “When ready, we say something like this:  My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad.  I pray that You now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows.  Grant me strength as I go out from here to do your bidding, Amen.  We have now completed Step 7.”

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Letting Go, by guest blogger David Saffold

The following is my sixth entry in a series about the 12-step spiritual program of recovery.

Step 6 is found in Chapter 6 (Into Action), first paragraph on page 76 of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  “We have emphasized willingness as being indispensable.  Are we now ready to let God remove from us all the things which we have admitted are objectionable?  Can God now take them all – every one?  If we still cling to something we will not let go, we ask God to help us be willing.”

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Admitting Our Wrongs, by guest blogger David Saffold

The following is my fifth entry in a series about the 12-step spiritual program of recovery.

Step 5:  “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”

Step 5 is found in Chapter 6 (Into Action) page 72 through page 75 of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  In step 4 we discovered the deeper causes in our nature that were creating our problems.  Now we need to start the process of healing by telling them to another person.  We have to stop hiding from life and others, we have to finally find the courage to remove our mask and be entirely honest with another person.  The book gives the reason why this is so important on page 73; “More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life.  They are very much the actor.  To the outer world they present a stage character.  This is the one they want others to see.”  This mask or “stage character” is the lie that is presented to the world and the alcoholic is terrified that the lie will be discovered.  This makes for a life of constant fear and tension which empowers the addictive behavior.

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Fully Facing Ourselves, by guest blogger, David Saffold

The following is my fourth entry in a series about the 12-step spiritual program of recovery.

Step 4:  “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”
 
Step 4 is found in Chapter 5 (How It Works) page 63, last paragraph, through page 71 of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  We are to take a personal inventory in order to “face, and be rid of, the things in ourselves which have been blocking us.  Our addiction is but a symptom.  We had to get down to causes and conditions”.  Searching and fearless means thorough and honest.  We cover our entire life, past and present, leaving nothing out, exhausting everything we can bring to consciousness.  Having set a firm foundation in Step 3, we now have the courage and strength to look within and shine light on the true causes of our problems.  What we discover we write down.  We search through every emotional aspect of our lives, resentments (anger), shame/guilt (I am a bad person/what I did was bad), fear (stress, tension, anxiety, terror) and all of our life situations: relationships (sex/people/institutions), work/career (people and institutions), finances (beliefs and fear around money), spiritual (God/religion), health (physical/mental health problems).  We look at our life events, real and imagined, how and why we were threatened by what we believed was happening, and how our actions and reactions created or contributed to the destructive outcome for ourselves and others.
 

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