Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Power of the Steps


     I know I write some rather scathing indictments of the medical Establishment when it comes to addiction and recovery. And though I've also tried to describe the power behind a rigorous Twelve Step process, allow me to elaborate on the profound workings of this solution. Words on a page or screen are totally deficient here, and despite the fact that it's impossible to truly describe something you haven't experienced yourself, we should nonetheless attempt to do so for the very future of addiction treatment.

     There is a reason doctors don't suggest this and send you on your way, and it is precisely because they have no idea of the sheer power and mystical events that can take place when one embarks on a thorough, rigorous, and fearless Twelve Step process, as it's laid out in the original AA text, published in 1939.

     Since recovering 9 years ago, I have been fortunate to see a few others do this work, and let me tell you, it is something you don't want to miss. It reminds and reassures me of the power of this solution, the power of God. Having seen it in others, I know that it is real, I know that my own experience wasn't just some aberration, just some isolated, mystical flash... perhaps even a hallucination.

     While the first two Steps are largely educational, despite the presence of humility during a 1st Step experience, you begin to see the mettle of a man (or woman) after he takes a 3rd Step and begins to write a moral inventory of his entire life. Remember, this is a life exorcism - every single resentment we've ever held towards every family member, friend, girlfriend, spouse, teacher, colleague, boss, bank, school, institution, norm, moral, platitude, random person, you name it. All of it.

     Then your man has to find his own self-seeking, selfishness, dishonesty and fear in each resentment. Say you have 2000 resentments, that's 8000 answers you must dig for. And forget about being done as you then must embark on an entire fear inventory and an entire sex inventory. That's a nice little stack of notebooks filled to the brim with every bit of poison you have stored up inside over the course of your life, and you will soon spill your guts of all of it.

     As you see your man read his inventory, if he has been brutally honest, you will see him change before your eyes. You will witness physical changes. You will witness bio-chemical changes. You will see a jaded, hurt and damaged soul become vulnerable and then become an innocent child - red in his face, a softening of the eyes. You begin to see him filling up with something very powerful, something other-worldly.

     The man meditates and then once again asks God to remove it all from him, and after this 7th Step prayer, miracles can occur. The man becomes lit up with Spirit. It is a material change. He looks different. His posture is different. His eyes are aglow with the knowledge and serenity of God within. His bio-chemistry is different. Serotonin and dopamine levels have returned to normal. His depression has vanished. His mental illnesses have vanished. His fear has vanished. He is free and without limit. Drinking and using drugs suddenly sit last on his list of problems. The obsession to use is just gone. He has no thoughts to self-destruct. All he cares to do is make things right, help others, and get closer to God.

     The man returns home with a new attitude and a new understanding.  He goes around on a mission from God, making it right with everybody he possibly can. There is nothing he won't do to get better and stay close to the Source. He has suddenly become a better husband, father, son, brother, friend and colleague. People can trust him. People being to count on him, even look up to him. He is a changed man.

     This is the power of the Steps, my friends. Tell your doctor about it so he can prescribe something other than synthetic opiates to a drug addict. Tell your so-called treatment specialist about it to help them with their ignorance of addiction. And tell those other bloggers and dual-diagnosis pumpers out there who haven't a clue in the world about addiction and the Twelve Steps.

3 comments:

  1. Would you define God? Describe your religious experience?

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  2. How does someone find a sponsor who can properly help you go through the steps? Many sponsors haven't done the steps completely themselves. Do you even need a sponsor to guide you or can you do them yourself? I'm in awe of your spiritual awakening, but would like to know how you got to experience those steps so completely. I've read your book (and sent it to a sober home of young men) and was really captivated by your story.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for reading the book and sending it along to the sober home. I am completely grateful to you.

      Personally, I was removed from my environment and took the first seven steps in treatment. However, I have also seen many take steps out in the world, working individually with a recovered sponsor. I'm afraid the results are less a function of the sponsor and more a function of the sponsee's willingness and thoroughness in the work.

      That said, it is certainly necessary to instill confidence and to break down the process for the sponsee, and to do this, one must find a recovered sponsor who has taken steps as they are laid out in the Big Book and who has experienced a psychic change. It is useless to work with someone who has nothing (internally) that you want. It is best to find someone who has what you want, so to speak.

      All that said, the profound experience I had was the direct result of the work I did. I put every fiber of my being into it because I wanted this thing more than anything. I saw others transforming and glowing with Spirit. I wanted that.

      So when I first sit down with someone, I try to first gain their confidence, tell them how I used and felt (so they know I know what I'm talking about) and then I try to inspire them to embark on the steps by describing my inner experience now - the fact that I no longer suffer from thoughts or desires to drink or use, the fact that I am okay without distraction, the fact that God doesn't bring me anything I can't handle, and most importantly, the fact that God is now doing for me what I could not do for myself, like live life ;-) I may not get too God-heavy, but you know what I mean.

      Hope that helps.

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