What to do as your cravings, emotions, and triggers come to a head?
Surrender. That is the beginning. A willingness most have never before been able to muster to absolutely let go. For those of us suffering from physical addiction (alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling addiction, sexual addiction, eating disorders and food addiction, and more) as well as many mental and emotional disorders-recovery is possible, there is a Solution. You are not alone! During this Covid-19 Pandemic many of you have been given an opportunity to have your delusions of control taken from you and the beauty of it all is there is one who has all Power that is waiting to heal all of your suffering. Financial insecurity has been brought to the surface, our reliance on our therapists, 12-step meetings, whatever peace we thought we had may not be holding up as sh*t hits the fan. We get it.
“An illness of this sort…involves those about us in a way no other human sickness can. If a person has cancer all are sorry for him and no one is angry or hurt. But not so with the alcoholic illness, for with it there goes annihilation of all things worth while in life. It engulfs all whose lives touch the sufferer’s. It brings misunderstanding, fierce resentment, financial insecurity, disgusted friends and employers, warped lives of blameless children, sad wives and parents-anyone can increase the list.” (Taken from the original printing of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous-Chapter 2, There is a Solution)
There is so much silent suffering, guilt, shame, fear, hopelessness, and resentment associated with the disease of addiction which goes far beyond the physical allergy to a substance. In the 12-step program of Recovery alcohol or the substance being abused is only mentioned in the first half of the first step. The other 11.5 steps deal with the emotional and mental disease and emotional disorders that we are just as powerless over. Those of us living in the light of our Recovery are here to help you understand and surrender to being completely Powerless over your disease and there is no amount knowledge, science, medication, or therapy, that can remove from you your suffering. Always remember there is a Solution.
In order to determine whether or not a person is suffering pathologically (relating to emotional, physical, and mental disease), we must answer for ourselves once and for all these three puzzling questions –
- What is the disease of addiction and what is a spiritual malady?
2. Who is an afflicted with the disease of addiction and a spiritual malady?
3. Am I suffering in and with the disease of addiction or a spiritual malady*?
To get the right answer the prospective member must start this course of direction with:
- A willingness to learn and experience their truth.
- An open mind. Forget any and all ideas or notions we already have been taught and are holding on to. We must set our opinions aside.
- Complete honesty. It is possible – not at all probable-that we may fool somebody else. But we MUST be honest with ourselves, and it is a good time to start being honest with another recovered being.
The 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, spiritual in nature, will cure the suffering of ALL of our afflictions which is why one of the programs founder Bill W. gave the charge to all of us gifted with recovery- that for all those suffering he wanted the hands of AA to be there, especially alcoholics- not only alcoholics. Many changes have occurred within the program that has unfortunately brought a beautiful program to needing to be “sobered up” as Dr. Gloria M. , founder of our Recovery Center with over 62 years of Recovery so appropriately puts it. No matter who you are or why you hurt, if all other methods have failed and you’re ready to be open minded to receiving this spiritual gift, then you are ready. Let go of all ideas, methods, and directions you have been given and be willing to accept divine direction from within. Consider the answers to the following questions:
- Do you or have you ever required a drink or outside source of fulfillment in the morning?
- Are you uncomfortable when you are alone?
- Do you lose time from fulfilling personal goals and responsibilities due to drinking, worrying, fear, or other emotions?
- Is your suffering and/or drinking harming those you love in any way?
- Is there a definite time daily that you crave relief?
- Do you get the inner shakes (restless, irritable, and discontent) unless you get a drink or another form of relief such as a meeting, direction from a sponsor, the next bit of good news, therapy session, or any outside source of fulfillment to ease your suffering?
- Has drinking or your emotional and mental afflictions made you irritable?
- Has your suffering with your emotions, addictions, fears and mental state of mind made you careless of your family’s welfare?
- Have you harmed or neglected loved ones while suffering with your afflictions?
- Have your afflictions changed your personality?
- Does your afflictions cause you bodily complaints or have negative physical effects?
- Are you restless?
- Do you have difficulty sleeping?
- Have you become more impulsive?
- Have you experienced less self-control?
- Has your initiative decreased?
- Has your ambition decreased?
- Have you lost/ or lack perseverance with achieving a goal?
- Do you need outside assistance with obtaining social ease?
- Do you suffer with feelings of inferiority? Do you use alcohol or an outside substance for self-encouragement?
- Do you suffer from feelings of inadequacy?
- Has your sexual potency suffered?
- Have you shown noticeable dislikes and hatred for things as your suffering continues?
- Has your jealousy increased?
- Have you experienced noticeable moodiness as a result of your suffering?
- Have you experienced a decrease in your efficiency?
- Have you become more sensitive?
- Have you noticed yourself to be harder to get along with?
- Do you notice yourself in environments inferior to your morals and standards?
- Is your suffering endangering your health?\
- Is your suffering effecting your peace of mind?
- Is your suffering making your home life unhappy?
- Is your suffering jeopardizing your business or finances?
- Is your suffering clouding your reputation?
- Is your suffering disturbing the harmony of your life?
Note: The foregoing Test Questions were a guide used by John Hopkins University Hospital in deciding whether a patient is alcoholic and in need of the 12 Steps of Recovery.
What can our spiritual suffering look like?
- Needing to escape from situations of life which one cannot face.
- Covering up feelings of a maladjusted personality (including sexual maladjustment).
- Developing from social drinking and using to pathological drinking and using.
- A symptom of a major abnormal mental state.
- A need to escape from a seemingly incurable pain.
- Hopelessness and feelings of incurable depression, self-hatred, regret, remorse, or the like.
- Experiencing a certain vague restlessness that comes from the friction between your biological and emotional make-up and the ordinary strains and demands of life we give power to.
If, after carefully considering the foregoing with myself or another recovered member of our fellowship, we can fully concede to our innermost selves we are either suffering from the disease of alcoholism/addiction, or we are suffering from a spiritual malady which is the root of our pain and discomfort- then you may be ready to surrender and begin your journey to recovery.
We ADMIT to our innermost selves that once a person finds themselves living in their powerlessness over their emotions, their finances, their deep and nagging spiritual misery and suffering inside then – from that point on, we are limited to two alternatives:
- Total surrender to belief in accepting spiritual help.
2. Chronic suffering with all of the handicaps and penalties it implies. In other words – we have gone past the point where we HAD A CHOICE.
All we have left is a DECISION to make.
After admitting to ourselves that all other methods have not relieved our suffering, not the financial success, meetings, rehabs, detox, self help books, meditation, religion, all of our “working” the 12-steps, and whatever else we have tried has not helped the suffering we find ourselves in.
WE RESOLVE TO AKNOWLEDGE THERE IS A PROBLEM AND TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
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