Disclaimer: NO major changes till after step 9. Provided you have completed the steps competently! As you may know already I do not think that everyone who is sober in AA has 'recovered'. Even those who have been sober a while. To me, some are 'accidents waiting to happen'. But that is MY opinion. So when I say after step 9, I mean only if you've done it 'properly'.
Ok here we go...
This is more of a post step 9 thing. Usually only affects those who are making GENUINELY positive improvements to their life. And who also have developed a good capacity to 'feel'. Pursuing success while still numb will not have quite the same effect im afraid. Lots of people (in AA and out of AA) are dissociated and numb to some degree. Denial is the root of all dissociation and numbness. If you have successfully become a 'stronger vessel' (as a result of completing the first nine steps) you will have a MUCH greater capacity to experience 'the whole catastrophe', as they call it. Which is a GOOD thing! Great joy and great 'everything else' can be on the menu, if you have 'cleared a channel' with the help of the first nine steps.
If you 'stay where you are' and not venture out of your comfort zone, you will not see this 'stuff' nearly so clearly.
Some people come to AA with GREAT jobs or great houses or partners already, so they have no reason to make improvements in those areas.
But we ALL have own own pathetic, weak places. And if we TRY to make improvements in THOSE areas, then yes, we will enter a very high level of spiritual growth.
Dealing with success and the pursuit of success will show you your 'stuff' like NOTHING else. Its a VERY powerful, respectable spiritual path.
A better job
A more satisfying job
A more satisfying career
A more fulfilling relationship
An improved style of relationship
Trying to be happier
Having a makeover. New hair new make up new wardrobe.
Betting a better body by going to the gym
ALL these things will VERY QUICKLY show you ALL the cracks in your armor.
Also, you MAY (if your life finally starts turning around for the better) start believing that now that you are FINALLY getting the life you always wanted, that you might die.
Fear of Death.
Hard to explain. But if you discover how wonderful life CAN be, you begin to understand the reality of how death can snatch it all away in an instant.
Basically you start to value life. And you see the fragility of life and the possibility of loss much more clearly.
The possibility of loss and death was always there, but you never cared much for life, or cared whether you lived or died, so you never really got to learn this lesson till now.
So don't be alarmed by suddenly fearing death. It doesn't mean something is terribly wrong. It means you are finally realizing that you want to be alive, now that you are learning how to live well.
Even for non alcoholics, when they stumble across a wonderful, life changing partner, they fear death for the first time in a new and powerful way. I see this as a HEALTHY appreciation of life.
Getting in touch with your inferiority.
If you seek improvements, (and are not numb), you will feel strong inferiority, despair, hopelessness, pessimism, bleakness, lack of confidence.
Again this does not mean that something is 'wrong'. Feelings aren't facts. It just means you are no longer numb and you are getting to see your 'stuff' around the area of success. A reflection of your old programming about what you can and can't do, and what you do and don't deserve. Its your 'stuff'. If you behave better than you feel, and do the next right thing anyway, you will come out the other end of the 'tunnel' eventually.
Remember this programme is all about ACTION. Not thinking.
If you get fed up with these waves of negative feelings and thought forms, you can 'treat' them by the usual stuff of going to meetings, communicating your internal environment to your (informed) peers, and helping others. Mainly newcomer women. All these actions will soften the impact of these 'psychic terrorists' on you, and make for a more comfortable ride.
Personally I can turn around the most devastating emotion is less than 2 minutes by talking to a newcomer. Why do you think I love newcomers so much!!
I hope you get an idea of how much 'stuff' I've HAD to process, by how many newcomers I talk to. Hahaaa I have LOADS of 'stuff'. But ultimately I think we ALL have our mountains to climb.
Anyway. Just so you know. Trying to improve your life (if you are not numb and have cleared a channel using the steps) brings you in touch with difficult and uncomfortable internal beliefs and habits. And when you DO finally see how wonderful life CAN be, death becomes a new 'fear' for want of a better word.
All these things are do-able if you are in 'fit spiritual condition', so don't worry about it. Don't be alarmed, or think you must be doing it 'wrong'. Yes they are 'uncomfortable'. But that's all. Its like having a bruise on your leg and you just have to be patient while it gets better and stops hurting. Its nothing to be alarmed about. You just keep on keeping on and it gets better!! Trust me, I'm a doctor!! Hahahaa
Can you see now why its so important to be 'comfortable being uncomfortable?' This is why Patient Endurance is SUCH a valuable skill post step 9. These things REALLY can be NO BIG DEAL. That's my experience! It might feel like being stuck in a whirlwind sometimes, but thank God for newcomers. They save us from ourselves.
- An Irish Friend of Bill
- I have recovered from the disease of Alcoholism. I believe there is only one person really,.. everybody. And that peace of mind is everything. -So treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself, because your neighbor IS yourself. I think most of recovery is what I would call common sense, but that learning to be ordinary is a true gift very few people acquire. My ambition is to accept everything unflinchingly, with compassion, and therefore be intrinsically comfortable in my own skin, no matter what. I am comfortable being uncomfortable and am willing to go to any lengths to improve my life. I believe the Big Book was divinely inspired, and is extraordinarily powerful. Unfortunately AA's best kept secret a lot of the time. (In my opinion). I just try to do what works, no matter what it is.
Monday, July 03, 2006
The pursuit of Success and a 'better life' is a VERY high teaching
Posted by An Irish Friend of Bill
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"But if you discover how wonderful life CAN be, you begin to understand the reality of how death can snatch it all away in an instant"
I find most of what you said in this post to be true for me too, and working with newcomers always stabilises me in a way thinking, or inventory or prayer doesnt do.
Although together they all fit for me. I get to process new stuff, because I am not thinking about it.
Now I am so much better, there are NO LIMITS so nothing is unacheivable, if I work for it. Then the FEAR is that life will end before I have done it all... am glad for acceptance, and that I notice and take opportunities faster thesedays, not in a grasping way, its just becoming easier to try new things because I am worth a try, put in the footwork today, and see where the old stuff is no longer working or becoming ? out of date.
The negative thoughts (red herrings) have very little Power these days, although being the eternal analyst, I find them interesting how they cunningly attack from the oddest of angles.
I will die at somepoint, at the moment its like I could go on til am 150 years old :) NO LIMITS. Thanks for your post
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