Self-Will

How have I acted on self-will? What were my motives?

Inching away from the program after my leg broke, allowing and continuing contact with people from my past, relapsing. I give myself a pass for about a month, but after that I thought I could do it on my own and handle temptation.

I failed.

There goes my clean time.

How has acting on self-will affected my life?

It’s introduced more failure and setbacks then there needs to be.

How has my self-will affected others?

It’s hurt other people and driven people away.

Will pursuing my goals harm anyone? How?

No, pursuing sobriety and education will only help myself and others.

In the pursuit of what I want, is it likely that I will end up doing something that adversely affects myself or others? Explain.

No, because my goals are sobriety and education.

Will I have to compromise any of my principles to achieve this goal?

No.

Describe the times when my will hasn’t been enough.

Too many to describe. Staying away from my ex, staying away from drug use, self-control with a panoply of substances…anything involving the combination of self-control and dopamine generally doesn’t work out well for me.

What is the difference between my will and God’s Will?

God’s will goes beyond instant gratification, my tendency toward destruction, and my short sighted and inefficient ability to “help” others. By staying in my own lane and minding my own business, I am not contributing to the negative behavior of others or myself. I have this time to settle down and focus on repairing myself, so it’d be in my best interest to take it.

Have there been times in my recovery when I’ve found myself subtly taking back my will and my life? What alerted me? What have I done to recommit myself to the Third Step?

Yes, with my recent relapse and when my leg broke and my fall from the program started. A sudden move placed me away from my support network, and things started to fall apart.

I had subtle warning signs that I was relapsing on old behavior and old people, but I thought I was safe because of not being able to move and being physically separated.

I’ve reworked the first three steps and gotten close to people in the program and my sponsor. I work a daily program and stay vigilant.

 

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Making a Decision

Why is making a decision central to working this step?

An action step is necessary to progress after two steps of figuring out that you have a problem, and finding out there’s a way to fix it. Now you must decide to fix the problem or not.

Can I make this decision just for today? Do I have any fears or reservations about it? What are they?

Yes. No, I don’t have any that I’m aware of. My entire life is up to God now.

 

What action have I taken to follow through on my decision?

Staying away from men, staying away from people who use, staying close to the program.

What areas of my life are difficult for me to turn over? Why is it important that I turn them over anyway?

My romantic life – even though that seems to be the one that gets me in the most trouble. The more difficult it is to turn over, the more important it is to turn over seems to be the rule with me.

Spiritual Principles + Moving On

Why is having a closed mind harmful to my recovery?

It limits my speed and degree of recovery to what I can perceive and understand.

How am I demonstrating open-mindedness in my life today?

Living by suggestions from people in the program even if I feel like the suggestions are SCORCHED EARTH POLICY and DRACONIAN.

In what ways has my life changed since I’ve been in recovery? Do I believe more change is possible?

There’s a higher degree of peace, love, reliability, and stability. God, do I use those words enough?

What am I willing to do to be restored to sanity?

Anything, I’ve reached the end of my patience with my addiction.

Is there something I am now willing to do that I was previously unwilling to do? What is it?

Do things that seem over-the-top to maintain sobriety and stability. Pray. Meditate. Listen and FOLLOW THROUGH with what my sponsor says.

What action have I been taking that demonstrates my faith?

Praying, meditating, and acting in a way that reflects God’s will.

How has my faith grown?

It’s grown tremendously. I now trust God to take care of others as he does me.

Have I been able to make plans, having faith my addiction isn’t going to get in the way?

Yes.

What fears do I have that are getting in the way of my trust?

None that I’m aware of, but I’ll keep my eye out.

What do I need to do to let go of these fears?

Talk to my sponsor, talk to people in the program, talk to my best friend.

What action am I taking that demonstrates my trust in the process of recovery and a Power greater than myself?

Prayer, meditation, listening to those with more clean time than I have + those with less, getting outside myself more.

Have I sought help from a Power greater than myself today? How?

Yes, I prayed and meditated and asked that I do His will.

Have I sought help from my sponsor, gone to meetings, and reached out to other recovering addicts? What were the results?

Yes – I got the help I needed and felt of service.

What action can I take that will help me along in the process of coming to believe?

More prayer and meditation.

What am I doing to work on overcoming any unrealistic expectations I may have about being restored to sanity?

I don’t think my expectations are unrealistic. I realize my life will never be as it would be without addiction, but I do know my current potential is much higher than my current situation.

What is my understanding of Step Two?

We realized we were limited and unable to control our addiction or our lives.

How has my prior knowledge and experience affected my work on this step?

It’s taught me that I must completely surrender my thought process and will to God and those that know better than I do.

Restoration to Sanity

What are some things I consider examples of sanity?

Paying off debt, living within your means, being thoughtful and honest. Responding rather than reacting.

What changes in my thinking and behavior are necessary for my restoration to sanity?

I need to place recovery and myself first, and need to live in a way consistent with my values and my place in life.

In what areas of my life do I need sanity now?

Every aspect.

How is restoration a process?

It doesn’t happen all at once, and takes much effort. It happens step-by-step.

How will working the rest of the steps help me in my restoration to sanity?

It moves me bit by bit closer to having a loving relationship with God, and restoring me to who I am beneath all this damage, and will add stability and love to my life.

How has sanity already been restored to me in my recovery?

I’ve made good decisions with the help of those in the program, and regained my faith in God and the program. I know that I will need to stick close to the program for my life – within a few months of deviating from my program, I relapsed.

What expectations do I have about being restored to sanity? Are they realistic or unrealistic?

If I continue to do my share of the work, I will reap the benefits of a more stable and sane lifestyle. I will have more dependable people in my circle, and end up in less crisis situations. I will also be placed in situations where I feel responsible for other adult’s well being less often.

Are my realistic expectations about how my recovery is progressing being met or not? Do I understand that recovery happens over time, not overnight?

Yes, my expectations are being met. I need to do the work in order to recover, and I know this is only the beginning of a long process.

Finding ourselves able to act sanely, even once, in a situation with which we were never able to deal successfully before is evidence of sanity. Have I had any experiences like that in my recovery? What were they?

Yes, turning down drugs, and most recently walking away from drug use and drug users. It was difficult, but I managed. Resisting temptation to return to people that only cause me problems.

A Power Greater than Ourselves

Do I have problems accepting that there is a Power or Powers greater than myself?

I have in the past, but I’m ready to surrender now.

What are some things that are more powerful than I am?

God, The laws of nature, a lot of stuff, man. The government, the army, really rich people, my addiction…

Can a Power greater than myself help me stay clean? How?

It gives me something to feel a part of and remind me of my place in the world – a small particle in a larger organism.

Can a Power greater than I am help me recover? How?

By loving and treating me with the kindness it does everything else.

What evidence do I have that a Higher Power is working in my life?

My recovery, and the gentle lessons I keep learning –  I’ve had so many chances to get this life thing right.

What are the characteristics my HIgher Power does not have?

Hatred and exclusion.

What are the characteristics my Higher Power has?

Love, gentleness, curiousity, general benevolence and good will.

Coming to Believe

Do I have any fears about coming to believe? What are they?

No, releasing my will and life can only bring me freedom from my self-destructive will. I’ve fought with this part of this step for over a year and realize on a deeper level that there is just something inside me that runs contrary to that which is good.

Do I have any other barriers that make it difficult for me to believe? What are they?

Years of atheism, a negative experience with a Catholic upbringing.

What does the phrase “We came to believe…” mean to me?

After exhausting self-will, we have realized that we must rely on something outside our narrow views and preconceptions of the world.

Have I ever believed in anything for which I didn’t have tangible evidence? What was the experience like?

Unpleasant initially, but eventually a relief. My best friend realized my ex was cheating on me before I did, purely on what I described on her. I rely on her judgement a lot more, and this and other things have brought us closer.

What experiences have  I heard other recovering addicts share about the process of coming to believe? Have  Intried any of them in my life?

Talking to God, meditating, “acting as if”, turning the issue over to God – currently my favorite.

In what do I believe?

There is a God that we are all part of that has an indefinable plan for everything. We are all beloved parts of the universe.

How has my belief grown since I’ve been in recovery?

It’s grown tremendously, especially since my relapse. There’s something out there watching over all of us.

Letting Go

Love has a hundred gentle ends.

-Leonara Speyer

Letting go to me means turning the subject or person over to God’s care. It’s only a recent development in my life that doing this is easier for me – I used to fight to cling to things that hurt me and provided no benefit. Now I admit that God can handle these things better than I can, and help people in ways that I can’t.

What a blessing and relief! I used to feel like I was the person that had to be there for others, especially when it seemed like no one else was in that person’s corner. Don’t get me wrong – I still help and care for others, but I limit myself to things that I can actually effectively help now, and if I can’t physically help, I pray.

Not only can you let go of people, but you can let go of the past, and worries for the future. There’s any number of things that you can turn over to God to better be in the present moment. It’s difficult to do and understand at first, but once you realize how well it works – and how everything was originally in God’s control, anyway – you’ll love it.

Insanity

  • Did I believe I could control my using? What were some of my experiences with this, and how were my efforts unsuccessful?

    Earlier in my life, yes. I’ve detoxed and withdrawn on my own, to great failure. I kept picking up, time after time, lesson after lesson.

  • What things did I do that I can hardly believe I did when I look back at them? Did I put myself in dangerous situations to get drugs? Did I behave in ways of which I’m now ashamed? What were those situations like?

    Picking up strange men is a start, ouch, going to get high with strangers, sleeping with strangers, basically I’ve known a lot of strangers quit well in brief, momentary relationships while exchanging felonies and other sins. They were teneous, straining, and strange, and I just went on acting like a little ray of sunshine.

  • Did I make insane decisions as a result of my addiction? Did I quit jobs, leave friendships and other relationships, or give up on achieving other goals for no reason other than that those things interfered with my using?

    Yes. I became a full-time user of drugs and people for several months, and lost my ambition to have a career or education for several years.

  • Did I ever physically injure myself or someone else in my addiction?

    I’ve bruised and mildly injured myself, but I’ve never hurt someone else physically.

  • How have I overreacted or underreacted to things?

    I tend to keep a straight face during crises, and don’t allow myself to have emotions.

  • How has my life been out of balance?

    Too much focus on maintaining negative relationships, not enough on building up my future.

  • In what ways does my insanity tell me that things outside myself can make me whole or solve all my problems? Using drugs? Compulsive gambling, eating, or sex seeking? Something else?

    Everything except gambling? I have a whole panoply of addictions which interact and exchange dominance with each other. It’s a difficult beast to fight – it’s like the hydra. Schlickety-Schlick one head off, and all of a sudden two other problems get worse. Now I’ve decided to let go of the fight and let God decide.

  • When we’ve acted on an obsession, even though we knew what the results would be, what were we feeling and thinking beforehand? What made us go ahead?

    It’s a build up of anxiety, and feelings of low-self worth, and the feeling that things can’t get worse or will get worse if I don’t give into the compulsion.

 

Hope

What do I have hope about today?

I have hope that my higher power exercises the same kindness and goodwill toward everyone, and I don’t need to interfere with His will. Natural consequences taught me, they will teach others.

As long as I place nothing above sobriety and stay close to God, my life will continue to improve. My life is open and free, and I choose to pursue education and solid, mutually beneficial relationships. Soon, I’ll be in a different part of the state, and have a new circle of recovery friends. 🙂 There is nothing in my way but my own shadow, and as I learn its details and inner workings, I move close to wrangling it under control with the help of my Higher Power.

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