Here we are, the last day of the Labor Day Holiday Weekend. The official end of summer here in North America. It is September. In a matter of weeks, Thanksgiving will be here, and that yearly crazy push for Christmas begins in Montreal.
The fun here is .. To see who puts up Christmas decorations up first ???
More on that later.
Rafa said to me the other night, that I haven’t been writing very much, and that is true. Spending inordinate time in M.A. does not lend to writing about sobriety so much, because of the few people we are and the sameness of every discussion we have had over the summer.
Not to mention, I curtailed my A.A. meetings, because my time was necessary to keep three meetings open all summer long.
Today I have a treat for you.
We are going to talk about Step Work. But before I do, a quote …
“Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol. The sensation is so elusive that, while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false. To them, their alcoholic life seems the only normal one. They are restless, irritable and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks – drinks which they see others taking with impunity. After they have succumbed to the desire again, as so many do, and the phenomena of craving develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to drink again. This is repeated over and over, and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery.”
“One feels that something more than human power is needed to produce the essential psychic change. The aggregate of recoveries resulting from psychiatric effort is considerable, we physicians must admit we have made little impression upon the problem as a whole. Many types do not respond to the ordinary psychological approach.”
The Doctors Opinion
We read this section of the Doctor’s opinion last night. And very soon after the discussion began, it took a serious turn when one of our guys asked some questions about “when is it going to happen for me, because right now, nothing is happening, the second question was when are these damned promises going to start coming true for me ???”
We shifted from the topic of the book, to sharing experience, strength and hope with him.
When these two questions come up, people laugh, because we know what the answers are, and it is the same answer for both … T.I.M.E.
I know for me, that in total, all The Promises took 13 years, THIRTEEN years, to all come fully round. When is it going to happen? well, root yourself to a meeting, commit to some service, SIT and STAY for a while, (well really, a LONG time) and watch other people come in, sit down, and get sober.
I believe that there is genetic information in my body, one chromosome, that is four letters long, and that gene is M.O.R.E. Do we have the MORE gene, some of us?
Because I sure as shit do.
They say we need an entire psychic change to get sober and it stick.
I can say without a doubt that when I had my first drink, there was a psychic change. I was an alcoholic from the get go, because it started with one, but always turned into MORE.
I love MORE.
I mean, really, ONE, is that it ? No, give me MORE.
When I started using drugs, it was the same thing … One joint? No, MORE please !!!
Just the same, when I came to the end of my slip, and had had my last drink, I prayed for the first time, in like forever, to be honest. I really did not think about God at all, nor did I utter one word in prayer, up until that point.
But when I did, I experienced a psychic change.
I really have not desired for a drink, in a long time. But today, in 2016, yesterday, in fact, I said, during my 5th, that I felt like I had just put the drink down, in the sense that, certain shifts and changes in my life recently, give me that feeling like I am at the beginning all over again.
How Free Do You Want to BE ???
The great thing about a best friend, is that we can talk. About anything and everything. And Rafa and I did that, often, and for hours at a time. So my Step Four was very short.
A few resentments to speak about. What was more prominent was my FEARS list. That took much longer to suss out.
In working on the program I am on, with my sponsor, she has unique wisdom and cheat sheets she uses to mine my step work for GEMS. She has what is called a “TURN AROUND” sheet that expands feelings, defects and shortcomings. This sheet has each root word, and listed below them are the expansive list of associated terms that go with those words.
This was a great help. And from start to finish, 3 hours later, I had had a psychic shift, because when we finished, she said the look in my eyes was different than when I had first walked in.
I was FREE !!!
This walk towards freedom has been long in coming. And started with Rafa, long ago, and continued with him, and my spiritual director. Not to mention, my discussions with another spiritual mentor here in Montreal, who helped me in understanding the minutiae of Forgiveness.
So, I am in this space of “Change.” Letting go of those final vestiges of the past, meaning people, places and things, and learning what that feels like to once in for all,
LETTING IT ALL GO …
I don’t know what that feels like, but I am in the first stages of finding out, and like I said, it feels like I just put the drink down, again. I know this feeling, from the past. Yes, it is unnerving, but getting sober is a long term proposition and also, nobody said this was going to be easy.
The only thing you have to change when you get sober is EVERYTHING !!!
It is just NOT a One Off event.
The longer we are sober, and each time we work our steps, from different directions and methods, if we are diligent and work hard, and be honest, psychic changes will happen, again and again.
It is all very humbling to be honest.
I want to be the right man, the man I want to be. I’m not sure what that looks like, but if I had to be honest, the man I am, is directly related to the men I have in my life today.
Those eternal questions men ask of themselves, and of others ?
- Who am I ?
- Am I doing this right ?
- How do I know when I have arrived ?
- What is a real man, in who he is, what he is, how he becomes who he is ?
- And my favorite, “When does a boy become a man?”
Step work really works.
I am seeing things I have never seen before, but I am now feeling feelings I have felt before, in a new context. Scary, but good in the same way.