In the last few months I have watched three beautiful people enter into the physical release of their death. Those of us left behind are devastated with loss and profoundly missing their physical presence. Sadness and loneliness fill our days.
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.
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.
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.
Recently while watching the morning news, I heard a story about two climbers who ascended a vertical rock, the Dawn Wall on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Known to be the one of the most difficult rocks to scale with few footholds and ropes being used only for when climbers fall, family, friends, and supporters from around the world watched and waited for 19 days as these men reached the half-mile summit. When interviewed about their experience, one of the climbers responses “I hope it inspires people to find their own Dawn Wall.”
This is a letter written to Estuary Founder and Executive Director, Susan Austin-Crumpton from Molly Brown, her student of many years:
I have felt compelled to write you all morning so that’s what I’m doing. I just have to share my experience with you and the second phase of what I believe are new beginnings. Last night when I got home I felt the most profound peace, warmth and gratitude that I have had in a long time thanks to The Estuary.