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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Why Do So Many of Us 'Balk' At Sharing Our Inventory With Others?

Why do so many of us resist the 4th and 5th Steps? Is it because we are ashamed and fearful of what we will find, let alone having to disclose it to "another person?" Are we afraid that if we share what we might find, we will be more alone than ever?

Bill W. insightfully writes in the "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions" that we tend to suffer from a sense of "anxious apartness."  Ironically, it is this sense of "anxious apartness" which seems to keep us from taking a deep, honest and thorough 4th Step, yet it is precisely this sense of "anxious apartness" that the Fourthth and Fifth Steps are designed to eradicate.

In an insightful, 'must-see video' from, one of those 'so-called normal people',  Dr. BrenĂ© Brown (a researcher professor at the University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work), talks about everyone's  sense of connectedness, shame, worthiness, courage and vulnerability. She notes that we are wired biologically for "connectedness, and that"shame" is really "the fear of disconnection," and an almost-universal emotion.

We are afraid, Brown says, that if someone really "saw" us they would find us unworthy of being connected to. The "courageous" among us, however, she says are those who are willing to embrace their vulnerabilies and their fear of being disconnectedness and ostracized if they allow themselves to really "be seen."

Ms. Brown takes us through the story of her intensive research into "shame,"  shares how this research took her into her own dark places, and tells how the resulting nervous "breakdown" led her to her own "spiritual awakening."

The truly "courageous" are those, she observes, who believe (or, presumably 'come to believe') "their vulnerabilities are what make them beautiful."

The video may perhaps be an explanation to those of us going through the 12 Steps for the first time why Alcoholics Anonymous does not suggest but, rather, begs us "to be fearless and thorough from the very start." And, perhaps it will serve others as a reminder that we are not bad people trying to be good, but that we are sick people striving to get well.

1 comment:

  1. "At some of these we baulked"

    When I see that I have a FATAL illness in step 1, and fully accept that my unmanageability (=spiritual malady = my agnosticism in step2) predated my drinking - i.e alcohol was my solution until it stopped working. And that at a CERTAIN time I will have no defense against the mental obsession - I hit an extreme of hopelessness, at the bottom of step 1.

    That's when I really become teachable -hopelessness is my teacher and it leads me to the hope I can find in step 2 - I believe THAT God can restore me to sanity - not IN a God that will restore me to sanity. I make a decision and offer a prayer in step 3 and I'm given the power to take me from 4 through to 9. Completing each step gives me the power to do the next as described in the big book. What I understand 'we beg you to be fearless and thorough' on the 1st page of 'how it works' means is the first 100 (or so) recovered alcoholics are literally "begging you" to follow the instructions - sentence by sentence from how it works on p58 to the end of p88 - 30 pages that's it - all the actions required to recover from alcoholism in 30 pages. And if you are a real alcoholic as described on p22 the only requirements are willingness and honesty. You are given the power. If I'm balking at step 4, isn't it because I haven't seem my 'futility and fatality' in step 1, or came to believe 'THAT' in step2 and that I haven't been given the power in step 3 because I don't really believe that it, or that I really need it?

    If this worked for cancer sufferers they'd be biting your hands off to be shown what's in the book.

    The book predates the explosion of 12 step recovery, though not many people are still using it as the recovery manual it was intended to be. If the 12 and 12 had never been published (Bill had to wait til Bob died), a lot more people would be recovered instead of trying to stay sober one day at a time by going to meetings. To me, "If you want what we have" means: follow these instructions or die an alcoholic death. Which may be why what is it 75/85/95% of AA members don't get sober and stay sober......and I don't want whet they have.

    Our program has NOTHING to do with keeping myself sober, its about accessing the power that removes the problem, conditional on fit spiritual condition.....I don't suffer from unmanageability when I'm in fit spiritual condition: I when I'm God Conscious.

    If we ever got power over alcohol back we'd be able to drink normally, now wouldn't we? As an alcoholic I can't even 'Not Drink' like normal people.

    Of course there's the alternative that the book which single handedly spawned the entire 12 step phenomenon is nonsense - and we can never recover, but just carry on struggling to keep ourselves sober for a maximum of 24 hours.