Friday, February 05, 2016

In Case of Relapse


By daniel j schwarzhoff sr

One of the best-kept secrets of the Big Book, "Alcoholics Anonymous" is the one place (and only one) where the co-authors directly confront the issue of relapse in-as-far-as what to do "in case" of one.

Considering the enormity of the subject it is incredible that many people aren't aware of this, or where to find it in their Big Book - so many skimp or skip entirely, the Chapter where it appears.

(Apparently, the Title of this particular Chapter is not too appealing to may AAs and so its coverage is played down.)

Those directions are very specific, very clear and very simple. I have never seen it fail. Not once. Not ever, and I have seen it tried a hundred times at least and heard of many more.

I’ve seen the most chronic relapser survive - who would follow the advice.

<   "Psssst! It's on page 120."   >

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Sunday, January 03, 2016

Keeping Your House Clean

Inventories. Once a Year? Once a day? Once every five years? In the Big Book, "Alcoholics Anonymous," the co-authors use a business metaphor conveying the idea of a regular inventory in the Step Four introduction. But beyond that crucial Step, in the ongoing personal lifestyle of a recovered alcoholic, just how, Regular," do they really mean that should really be? Step Ten begins to bring together the answer. Step Eleven cinches it handily.

by daniel j schwarzhoff sr

If in your own house you live a dirty life, not cleaning up after yourself as you go along, you could find yourself needing an annual housecleaning.

The episodic cleanup, perhaps once a year is better than none at all. But what a slob you become to live with all the yearlong. Depending  upon the severity of your slovenly habits, even a daily tidy-up may not be enough to keep up with your piggishness.

Likewise, going through daily life executing a recovery “program” that has been poked full of holes, permitting continued harms to others, ongoing indulgences that feed emotion such as anger and fear to a ravenous dark self—makes for a terrible, self-nurturing existence. 

You become a self-centered lout, over time evolving the creation of a monster that only those closest to you may know. 
There is loss of patience, tolerance and good will - making one a poor spouse, a terrible parent, an unreliable and perhaps even dishonest employee or employer and just a phony display of narcissistic attitude and behavior for others.  

If that weren't bad enough, a lack of personal spiritual hygiene also breaks apart the body and mind inducing all sorts of immune system illnesses and mental conditions like depression and anxiety.
Fear is one of the top flavors on the menu of resentment categories plaguing humankind today. It is a feeble, slow killer.
Alternately there is cleaning up after yourself as you go along, keeping a, “regular,” inventory – moment-by-moment in the stream of life.   

In early sobriety this isn’t likely to be very close to picture-perfect – and there is a Step Ten procedure to immediately help keep up with repairs as you go along. 

But in a short time, after practice, ‘crop ups’ of negativity becomes less and less; as the temptations toward selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear no longer overwhelm you as they once did.
You find you don’t even sully your own nest anymore.  Life becomes full of ease and peace.
You become resilient to resentment and the character defects which were once your trademark no longer exist in you. They have been removed – just as you had asked God, in Step 7. (What? Did you think the Big Book co-authors had proposed asking God for something He would never deliver – that they hadn’t themselves received?)

The utter simplicity of watchfulness as per Step Ten - with nothing more added - is the most powerful tool in the spiritual toolkit. Every Step preceding it has been leading up to its continual practice.  It is the single device in the box that allows the recovered, spiritually awakened individual to travel successfully forward into life free of anger. 

Being conscious, present and aware protects the alcoholic from the metaphysical harms of the specific dark forces mentioned on page 84 of the Big Book, "Alcoholics Anonymous", preserving his emotional freedom; permitting usefulness to God and his fellows.

The capacity for carrying “this message,” passing on this discovery to others in the Twelfth, and power to help others through that final Step, are fully enabled.

He succeeds at its conveyance free form the auspices of sponsors, coaches, counselors, gurus - not accountable to anyone except his Creator. And for this reason, “watchfulness” is also reviled by ego and the most snubbed aspect of all the Steps. 

By redirecting alcoholics into an all-consuming distraction through inventories, deeds, studying, and reading - Steps Ten and Eleven have become the flyover steps in 12 Step fellowship. It is like a cancer in AA and many of the other 12 Step fellowships, proliferating uber-sponsors upon pedestals, a New Thought spirituality encroach upon the original spiritual principles—remolding AA into some sort of religion lead by New Age ministers waiving Big Books.

The answer to all of humanity’s problems does not lie in inventories – the constant attempts to reprocess and repair one’s broken self. That sort of life only leads to unrecognized and suppressed anger, physical deterioration, mental instability and finally an early grave.
The answer is found through God-consciousness – going within and allowing God to discipline our lives so we progress, becoming more and more perfect, making less and less error as we go along.  

We’ve each only got roughly 100 years to get on the path and make the journey. Some of us are going to make it.

If you like what I wrote and think I may be onto something, then please allow me to pass on how I do do it. With my compliments:

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