Forgiveness – The Final Blow To Addiction

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Cleaning Up The Wreckage Of Guilt and Shame

Step Nine – Made direct amends to all people we had harmed.

 I used to think that people only deserved my forgiveness if they asked for my forgiveness.I now live by the principle that I need to forgive regardless of who’s at fault it is.

 This is where the rubber meets the road! This is actually a very cool step to take. I cannot even begin to describe the miracles that have taken place in my life, and the lives of the people that I have made amends to. Making amends is not just about your own personal freedom from the bondage of fear and guilt, it is freedom for the people we have hurt too. When people are freed from the prison of their pain caused by others, forgiveness immediately clears the wreckage of everyone’s past and the slate is now clean. Who wouldn’t want that for themselves and others?

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The Final Step Towards Separation From Our Old Ideas

Step 9 is the final piece of the puzzle of completeness, the puzzle of internal freedom that has come together inside of us as we have worked our program step by step. I have discovered that the final piece of this puzzle is the shape of the God of my understanding and when the man is put back together his universe is complete.

There once was a businessman who always found it very difficult to balance his work pressures and family life. When he would arrive home after work, heavy laden with more work to get through in the evenings, his little 5 year old son would come bounding out to greet him and beg his Dad to play with him. The business man would get frustrated with his son’s constant badgering whilst he tried to get work done. One day upon returning home to the usual exuberant cries for attention from the little boy, the father saw a center fold map of the world in a magazine lying on the coffee table at home. Immediately he removed the map from the magazine, tore it into a multitude of small pieces and told his son to sticky tape the map back together. The little boy fascinated with his allocated projected ran off enthusiastically to get to work. The businessman gave a sigh of relief and got to work. You could have bowled the businessman over with a feather when his son returned 10 minutes later with the map perfectly reconstructed. “How did you do that so quickly?” The father exclaimed with dismay! The little boy replied “it was easy father, there was a picture of the face of a man on the back, so I sticky taped the man back together and the world came together on the back!”

God’s grace put’s us back together through our experience with the steps and our world goes from shattered to complete.

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No Apologies, Just Ownership Of Wrongs Done To Others

Step 9 amends are NOT an apology. Apologies are just words. We need action and the people we are making amends to need to know that we are all about action and not yada-yada.

Here is a simple template to follow:

I am here to make amends for the harms I have caused you as a result of my ____________and take full responsibility of my actions. I am prepared to take the consequences and am here to assure you that I will make right on my wrong doings to you.

Before we go into our amends meeting with each person, we make sure that our attitude is one of complete neutrality, and a willingness to take whatever comes our way. I can assure you that what usually happens when you lay all of your wrong doings in front of another human being, you completely disarm them of any kind of defensive or angry behavior towards you. In fact what usually occurs instantly is forgiveness. Remember that in that moment of your admittance of your wrong doings the other person is set free of their anger and resentment, this is the opposite and equal reaction of one of the laws of the universe.

Procrastination is the natural enemy of putting into action our amends. Do not let this happen. Even if you do not have the money at the time to pay back your debt, or you feel you are not in the right “emotional space” to make right on your past relationships, get going anyway! Make a payment plan to those you owe money, or a plan to change your behavior towards your ex. Whatever it takes should be your motto from hence forth. It’s liberating and empowering!

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Paul Nobes – Author and Addictions Specialist.

 

Unconditional Love

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Unconditional Love – Author Unknown

I love you as you are, as you seek to find your own special way to relate to the world, or the way that you feel is right for you. It is important that you are the person that you want to be, and not that I or others think you should be. I realise that I cannot know what is best for you although perhaps sometimes I think I do. I’ve not been where you have been, viewing life from the angle you have. I do not know what you have chosen to learn, how you have chosen to learn it, with whom and in what period. I have not walked life looking through your eyes so how can I know what you need? I allow you to be in the world without a thought or a word of judgement from me about the deeds you undertake. I see no error in the things you say or do. In this place where I am, I see that there are many ways to perceive and experience the different facets of this world. I allow without reservation the choices you make in each moment. I make no judgement of this, for if I were to deny your right to evolution, I would deny that right to myself and all others, to those who would choose a way I cannot walk. Whilst I may not add my power and my energy to this way, I understand that it is blessed by the light of God. I cannot always see the higher picture of the divine order, for it is the unalienable right for all life to choose their own evolution and with great love I acknowledge your right to determine your future. In humility I bow to the realisation that the way I see is best for me does not have to mean that it is also right for you. I know that you are led as I am, following the inner excitement to know your own path. I know that the many races, religions, customs, nationalities and beliefs within our world bring us great richness and allow us the benefit of teachings of such diverseness. I know we each learn in our own unique way in order to bring that love and wisdom to the whole. I know that if there were only one way to do something, there would need to be only one person. I will not only love you if you behave in a way I think you should or believe in those things I believe in. I understand you are truly my brother and sister though you may have been born in another place and believe in another God or Gods than I. The love I feel is for all of God’s world. I know that every living thing is part of God and I feel a love deep with every person and all the trees and flowers, every bird, river, ocean, and for all the creatures in all the world. I live my life in loving service, being the best me I can be, becoming wiser in the perfection of divine truth, becoming happier in the joy of unconditional love.

Author Unknown

 

Cut Ties With All The Lies That Addiction Keeps Us In.

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Humility – Without some degree of humility no alcoholic can stay sober at all…nor match calamity with serenity.

Step 7 – Humbly asked him to remove all our shortcomings.

 I used to think that if I didn’t manage and take care of my problems, who would?I now know that I am the worst person for problem management.

The key principle to Step 7 is humility. Without a certain degree of humility no alcoholic will stay sober. Greater humility is the foundation of each of the 12 Steps.

Humility is one of the most misunderstood words by mankind. The New oxford American Dictionary’s definition of Humility is – A modest or low view of one’s own importance; Humbleness.

Most addicts develop an exaggerated sense of self-importance  – we have to, who else is going to attached importance to us whilst we are in the depths of self-loathing and low self-esteem. This false sense of self importance must be crushed if we are to achieve any level of success in life, let alone stay sober or clean.

As far as achieving humility in my own life goes, my personal philosophy is “I know that I don’t know”.

The greatest noose around anyone’s neck is what they think they know will happen next in their lives. My motto is “life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you”.

It would be arrogant for me to assume that I will even be alive in 30 minutes. It is a false assumption to believe you know what is going to happen next in your life and the reason why it has happened. Let me elaborate:

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The Sweet Scent Of Humility

There is a wonderfully simple story from ancient times about a little Chinese farmer and his son. This farmer and his son cultivated a few acres of land which belonged to the Emperor. Their only asset that they owned was a horse they used to plow their fields. They would sow, plant and half of their crop would be paid to the Emperor as rent every month. The other half of their crop kept them alive. One day their horse disappeared and didn’t return home. It was a devastating blow to the Father and son as this was their only asset, and without the horse they had no chance to carry on farming. Their friends from neighboring farms around heard the news and came to the farm to console the father and offer their help. The little farmer replied to their condolences by saying ‘I don’t know if losing my horse is a good thing or a bad thing?” his friends were very confused at this statement, told him they thought he was crazy and left him to sort out his own issues. Three days later the farmer’s horse returned with a large herd of stunning wild horses. Suddenly this poor little farmer was rich in asset wealth and could plow his fields to his heart’s content. His friends rushed over to congratulate him at his good fortune and the little farmers reply to their compliments was “I don’t know if having all these wild horses is a good thing or a bad thing?” His friends were now totally fed up with the farmers nonsense, told him he was crazy and had no sense of gratitude or understanding of how good he had it now and they left him for good this time. A week later his son was thrown from one of the wild horses whilst trying to break it in, and was badly injured breaking his leg and arm. This was devastating to the farmer as the son did 50% of the work and without him for a few months they would battle to live off the land.

This time the neighbors decided that despite the farmers ridiculous attitude they would go and offer their condolences for the tragic accident and see where they could help. When they offered their sympathies to the farmer he replied by saying “I don’t know if my son’s injuries are a good thing or a bad thing?” To this his friends unleashed on the farmer of how disgraceful his attitude to his poor son was and how belligerent and stupid he was for making such a callous statement and they left him for good this time vowing never to return.

Three weeks later the Red Army marched through the whole valley of the Emperor’s farm lands to forcefully recruit every single young man in the land to go fight a battle that none of them would survive. The army didn’t want the little farmers son because of his injuries and disabilities. Therefore the farmers son stayed behind and lived whilst all the son’s of his friends went off to war to die.

The most precious asset that the little farmer owned was his humility to understand the one fundamental fact of life which can save lives “I know that I don’t know!”

If I understand the principle of humility and why it is so essential to life, sobriety and happiness, then surely I will have absolutely no problem with the God of my understanding coming in and sweeping me clean of all my defects of character.

When things happen in my life that I perceive to be bad, my immediate thought is  “I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing” and I leave it at that. No more noise in my head or raging debate during my mental committee meeting which used dominate my mind in times of crisis.

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The Wreckage Of The Past Left Well Behind

Surely the action of humility in itself is the mine sweeper of all our wrong doings, God is the one who directs the sweeping from now on. My job is to just chop wood and carry water while God controls the direction and outcome of my life.

When we are ready to humbly ask him to remove our defects of character we say something like this:

My creator I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here to do your bidding. Amen.

We have then completed Step Seven.

I have had times of happiness and abundance in my life, but they are always fleeting. That feeling of happiness is never permanent, it comes and goes. Abundance may not last, here today, gone tomorrow. But there is something special about usefulness, it changes your relationship with the universe. It seems to make everything just right. Usefulness to others gives us a God-confidence that is unshakable. It gives us firm and sure direction whilst navigating the mine field of life. Usefulness to others reverse engineers my mental blockage of my life always being all about me, to my life always being about serving others.

The blockages that I have discovered in my Step 4 inventory had always blocked my usefulness to God and other people. For usefulness to occur my life, I had to surrender to the FACT that I was incapable of giving these blockages up. I had to ask God to now come in and do the plumbing job for me. Asking and allowing God to remove everything good and bad that stands in my way of usefulness to others, is the ultimate freedom from te bondage of myself.

I came to realize that I had been divinely crafted by my own pain, misery, suffering, and mistakes to be uniquely useful to the person who suffers like I once did. I can do what a doctor or therapist cannot do, and that is to go experiencially into that place where I get that persons pain, that person who no one else could help, I get their pain, suffering and fear because I have been there and found a way out. That is being of maximum use to others and forming a life around it.

 

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Paul Nobes – Author and Addictions Specialist

 

 

 

 

 

 

A State Of Readiness For A Miracle

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The Gift of Goodbye To Pain

Step 6 – Were entirely ready to have God remove all our defects of character.

I used to tell God how big my problems are

I now tell my problems how big my God is

 There is a law of the universe that for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. For many years I thought Step 6 was all about me overcoming my defects of character. The more tolerant I tried to be of others, the more intolerant a person I became, the more patient a person I tried to be, the more impatience grew inside of me. These are just two examples of my many flaws that I tried to self-will away and all that happened is they got much worse.

The only action required in Step 6 is to position ourselves into a place of readiness for God to come and remove all our defects of character. The action of readiness is to lay down arms, lay down our sword of ego and shield of anger, and everything else in our defective arms cache and surrender them to God. Willingness is once again the vital key to the kingdom here.

Our Step 4 inventory was like opening the door of our hurt locker and discovering the pain of our existence. We uncovered the truth of how wrong we had been about life. The pain of our hurt locker experience now becomes the touchstone to a new freedom for us. The freedom comes from having no option but to be willing to let God take all our defects of character root and branch.

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Most of our character defects are grounded in the tenants of delusion.

We are about to enter a new kingdom and a new way of life. Unfortunately the one requirement to enter this new kingdom (and its non negotiable) is that we leave behind our own kingdom that we have been trying to rule for so many years. We have sat on the throne of judgement and opinion of others for so long, it has become the only way of life that we know. We thought nothing wrong about this, after all this is what life was all about wasn’t it? We have discovered how our judgements and opinions were killing us, not the other person and how crucial it was to now let God be the judge and juror.

So this state of readiness is in essence the act of being willing to let go. We once thought it extremely empowering to live in the root of judgement of others, but hated the consequences of our character defects such as anger, jealousy and resentment. I was more than happy to let God take the consequences of my drinking, but take away the comfort of my judgement? I don’t about that! For many years in recovery I suffered the delusion that I had completed Step 6 to the best of my ability and yet the pain of anger and resentment still came often to haunt me. In the midst of my delusion I had become ready to let go of the consequences of my character defects, but held on tooth and nail to my judgements and opinions of others. Step 6 had become the great betrayal for me.

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Having discovered my failure in Step 6 I now had to become ready to have God take away my roots, my judgement and opinions. I couldn’t imagine a life without my comfort of my opinions, my throne of judgements, I just couldn’t ready myself. This is when the penny dropped for me. Of course I was incapable of letting go, my lack of power being my fundamental problem rendered me unable to hand over my judgements, but God does have the power to take them away if only I will allow him to do so. The delusion I had suffered from was that my judgement and opinions were my power over others, but in reality they were destroying me. This is the insanity of this disease in full flight, I was terrified to surrender my false sense of power that didn’t even exist to a point where it nearly killed me.

Furthermore the only way that I was willing to relinquish my false sense of power, was to be assured that if I do surrender the power of my judgements I would immediately by awarded with another power, I would get a reward for abandoning my throne.

There is a story of a 4 year old girl who got her arm stuck inside a chocolate vending machine. She was starting to get frantic and her parents were unable to help her. The paramedics and fire department were called and started making plans to cut her arm out of the vending machine. Whilst the chaos was happening, one of the paramedics who had been carefully observing the whole event, knelt down by the terrified little girl and said ‘sweetie do you have anything in your hand? To which the girl reluctantly answered yes I have a chocolate bar in my hand”. The paramedic said “Sweetie if you let go of that old half eaten chocolate bar I will give you two brand new ones to eat right away!” The reward for letting go of her old chocolate bar outweighed the pain of letting go. She let go and her arm came out of the machine unscathed.

Our reward for letting go of false sense of power is gaining the real power, God’s power! It is a power that delivers the effect we so desperately seek just to exist, except God’s power delivers a life beyond our wildest dreams.

If all else fails and we still find we are holding on, we pray for the willingness to be willing!

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Paul Nobes – Author and Addictions Specialist

 

 

Admitting Our Faults – Freedom From Addction

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Admitting Our Faults To Another

Step 5 – Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

I used to think that sharing secrets about myself was to open up old wounds.

I now have experienced ultimate release from pain and fear by sharing them with another person and God.

 Now that we have discovered where we have been wrong about ourselves, others and our lives wouldn’t it be amazing to share this miracle of truth with another person and a higher being than ourselves. The key to the kingdom of freedom from self is admitting our faults to ourselves, to God and to another empathetic listener.

However for some of us this can be quite a daunting proposition to say the least. Every human being has dark secrets and some would rather die than admit them to another let alone a God they hardly even know.

The problem is that the consequence for skipping this step, or omitting any kind of dark secret is death by drinking or using drugs. Overwhelming evidence has shown us that those who avoided admitting ALL their exact nature of wrongs ended up drinking or using drugs. They thought they could get away with an easier softer way, but they could not.  I beg of you to be fearless here and the courage will come as a result.

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There is a true story in my country of a man who was sentenced to death by hanging for murdering his wife. This was at a time when the death sentence was about to be abolished in the country. Shortly after the crime took place the accused man asked a good friend and lawyer to defend him. After studying his case with a fine tooth comb, the lawyer advised his accused friend that the evidence was so overwhelming against him, that he would be found guilty and the lawyer would do his best to lighten the sentence from execution to life in prison. No promises were made.

Unfortunately for the accused man his lawyer friend did not win the court case and he was sentence to death by hanging.

On the morning of his execution, the lawyer went down to the cells a couple of hours before the hanging was to take place at dawn.  The two friends sat whilst drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and talking in casual conversation. The lawyer tried to convince his convicted friend to just admit the truth of his crime before he died. This would have at least freed the man of all the pain and guilt that he was about to take to his grave. For the last hour of his life on earth the man refused to admit to his crime and died a bitter and twisted soul.

To this man the pain of admitting his wrong doing was greater than the pain of dying. How sick does a man’s secret have to be to take it to the grave rather than admit it to a close friend who would listen without judgement or prejudice. Our sick secrets actually have the power to kill us and that is why nothing less than 100% admittance will free us from the alcoholic graveyard.

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If you want freedom from the pain and loneliness that has haunted you mercilessly during the desperate years of your drinking, I can assure you that there is no other way for people like us. This Step is morale liberation and the stage when the power you now have access to will start to flow through you once you have admitted your wrongs. Our wrong doings to others are like that weir in the river that halts the flow of life. Once removed the river of life flows with a new and powerful sense of direction and purpose.

There are three separate stages to this Step and it is important to do this the correct way it was meant to be done.

 

  • Stage One – Admit the exact nature of your wrongs to God. Simple – read out loud to God the exact nature of your wrongs from the final column in your Step 4 inventory.
  • Stage Two – Rinse and repeat Stage One except read out loud to yourself.
  • Stage Three – Rinse and repeat Stage Two except read out loud to someone you trust, someone who has a tight tongue and will not repeat to anyone what you have admitted.

Immediately after you have done this go to a quiet place where no one can find you. Turn off all your devices and pick up this book, read through the first five steps that you have now completed and ask yourself these questions:

Have I worked these steps to the best of my ability?

Do I understand the meaning of powerlessness and a life unmanageable?

Have I started to experience the process of “coming to believe” through working the steps?

Have I made a firm decision to hand my thoughts and actions over to the care of God?

Have I deliberately omitted anything about myself in the Step 4 inventory?

Did I take any short cuts in admitting my wrong doings to God, myself and another?

If you can answer to your satisfaction that you have achieved a job well done so far then thank God from the bottom of your heart that you know him better. You are about to walk through the archway to freedom from the bondage of your addiction

Paul Nobes – Author and Addictions Specialist

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The Sexual Conduct Inventory

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Relationships and Addiction

We need to take inventory on our past and current relationships with anyone we may have had sexual energy with. The Step Four sexual conduct inventory is about selfishness, dishonesty, fear, selfish inconsideration, its about unjustifiably arousing jealousy, bitterness, suspicion. This is about developing a vision of what you can do better in your relationships with the opposite sex.

So we make a list of all the people of the opposite sex that we have had a relationship with whether sexual or plutonic. All the people I have been with, or pursued, or maybe the one’s who have pursued me. We are doing the inventory to look at how self (me) has defeated me in the relationship.

Every human has three basic instincts, the things that drive us – The instinct for sex, the  instinct for emotional and financial security and the instinct for a place in society, in other words what other people think of us.

In the sexual relationship scenario this is where all three basic human instincts can be severely threatened. If you have gone through a divorce or beak up, in most cases your financial instinct is threatened immediately by law of community property. Your instinct for sex is threatened by the instant lack of sex, and your place in society is threatened by what people will think about your divorce or break up. Ask anyone who has experienced divorce or break up on multiple occasions of how their three basic instincts were threatened and they will give you a list of how those instincts were severely disturbed.

If all our three basic instincts are threatened what usually happens is self-centred fear becomes the prominent character defect which drives our thoughts and actions within any current or future relationships. Self-centred fear is the chief activator of all our defects of character.

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These are the questions in the Step Four sexual conduct inventory:

Who was it? – We list the names of people we experienced sexual energy with.

We ask ourselves what we did? – What actions did we carry out in that relationship

What is the exact nature of my wrongs?

 

  • Was I selfish? – Where did I put me first? Did I dress it up to look kind just to get what I wanted in the end? When push came to shove was it all about my security and comfort?
  • Was I dishonest? – There is a pathological dishonesty that alcoholics are capable of. Its called self-delusion when your lying and you don’t even know it. I would get into relationships with women who were totally wrong for me, but my mind would have started imagining from day one that she was the right one for me. I would start suffering from delusion about her. Most couples need multiple levels of compatibility, and I would identify just one (usually good sex) and then delude myself into believing I could invent the other levels of compatibility as the relationship evolved. This was usually the basis I would carry out my insane pursuit of relationships with the opposite sex. Needless to say they would all end in tears. In this state I was always seeking relationships with broken and abandoned women that I could fix up and convert into my ideal of a loving partner and they would be so grateful to me forever.
  • Dishonesty causes more problems in relationships than anything else. This is grounded in the old core beliefs we have that if you knew everything about me that I know about me, then you would feel the same way I feel about me and I hate myself. You would reject me. So I have no option but to hide and lie about the true me. My fear of rejection was so intense it would drive me to misrepresent myself to others. As a result of this anyone who ever fell in love with me was falling in love with a facade. The old adage comes to light of when someone falls in love with me, I immediately loose all respect for them as I wanted someone with good taste. It was bizarre behaviour. I came to realize how laughable my behaviour had become whilst taking this inventory and have since become my own greatest comic and critic. If you can learn to laugh at yourself and your ridiculous behaviour like I  have then life becomes wonderfully entertaining moving from one adventure to the next.
  • Was I inconsiderate? – Self-centred people have an awful degree of inconsideration towards others especially in relationships and they not aware of it. They are so wrapped up in themselves that everything else is of little importance. Its nothing malicious, its just that we have so much of me on top of me that I cannot see you! We would hurt people without knowing it or meaning to do it. It is just the way it goes with self-centred and self-focused people. We don’t see ourselves the way other people see us. What the step 4 inventory does for us is wake us up to what our actions look like to the rest of the world. When this happens the world starts to change for us for the better. It is being reborn to a new vision of life and its a wonderful and entertaining world to be embraced and enjoy. There is no more mystery, now you know why she left you because you can now see it from her point of view for the first time ever. You stop looking at life through the excuses and justifications and start looking at life through the truth of your reality. Its a great life when its God’s life but it’s a terrible life to try control.
  • Was I self-seeking? – In all relationships I was obsessed with how I was feeling at any given time. Always seeking inside myself for that good feeling of being loved and adored. It is almost impossible to have a meaningful relationship with someone who is so obsessed about feeling good about themselves all the time.
  • Was this relationship selfish? – Did I enter this relationship for selfish reasons? Did I continue in this relationship for selfish reasons despite the fact that I was hurting and damaging my partner? Was this particular relationship all about me, my needs and wants, my need to seek approval and acceptance regardless of the consequences to her?

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Did I unjustifiably arouse the following:

 

  • Jealousy – Again jealousy is another defective defence mechanism when I felt threatened by my partner’s affectionate attention towards other people. I had to be ruler of her world and therefore all her focus should be on me and my needs. Jealousy was the root of my insecurities in all my relationships. I therefore had to retaliate to my perceived need to gain complete focus of affection from my partner. I would jump at any given opportunity to create jealousy and justify and validate this behaviour as a result of her attending to others needs above mine.
  • Bitterness – I had no option but to cause bitterness, misery loves company and my miserable and needy soul would eventually bleed the life out of the relationship leaving an empty hole of bitterness and regret
  • Suspicion – In his quest to be the centre of his partner’s universe, the alcoholic will manipulate the odds of any situation in his favour. It is the only way we know how to survive. A small white lie here and there backed up with a subtle comment with a sting to it was enough to cause suspicion in the most trusting and kind type of person.

Who did I harm in this relationship? – I never took an equal partner in a sexual relationship, I would take a hostage and hold them ransom to my manipulative emotional wreckage. Of course it was the other person who was harmed. Self-harm would go up the scale with every partnership encounter.

What should I have done instead? – This is where we need to take a very close look at developing a new vision for our sexual relationships. This is when the art of living a God directed life is the only way we are survive in this world. Up until now we have been living a self-directed life and this has nearly killed us. It is plain to see now that a thorough reverse engineering of our thoughts and actions are require in the arena of romance, love and compatibility with our fellow human beings.

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Paul Nobes – Author and Addictions specialist.

 

 

 

 

Fear The Evil and Corroding Thread of Addiction

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Fear – Get Rooted In Your Life, Not Your Mind

Fear is because you are not living with life, you are living in your mind. Fear is always about what is going to happen next, that means your fear is always about that which does not exist. Therefore if your fear is about what doesn’t exist, then your fear is imaginary. It is a level of insanity, a socially acceptable level of insanity. People are always suffering from what happened yesterday or what might happen tomorrow, suffering is always about what does not exist simply because you are not rooted in reality, you are always rooted in your mind. One part of your mind is memory, the other part your imagination. Both parts are really just your imagination, but if you are rooted only in your reality there will be no fear – Sadhguru

Fear is a thief, it robs everything bad that has happened to us in the past and presents it in our perspective of the future. This is how most of us live and remain in fear.

Fear is a toxic and corrosive poison flowing threw just about every channel of our lives. It is the mighty sword of the ego and the indestructible shield of pride and the alcoholic is driven by a hundred forms of fear.

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Alcoholics don’t lie because they are liars, they lie because they are afraid. Afraid of being found out, afraid of consequences, afraid of being exposed as a fraud and therefore being rejected and abandoned.

Fear owned me! I allowed no one on God’s given earth to know everything about me. I would present to the world the edited version of myself at his best, Myself without his hidden secrets stashed in his closet. After all if you got to know everything about me, then you would feel the same way about me as I feel about me and I don’t like myself very much. So I can never ever present the honest version o myself to you or you will dislike me and reject me. Just to walk this earth feeling okay about myself, I desperately needed to feel loved and adored. I would wake up every morning, look in the mirror and think “loser!” Fear would then consume me as who would ever like or love a loser? I had no option but to role play once out there in the big bad world. My life was a lie of living a double life just to get through the day. I was a walking contradiction of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde split personality. No wonder I had no chance of deploying honesty. I had to live a life of dwelling in underground behaviour and deceit to feed the beast in me that demanded a chemical that delivered sanctuary from the fear that drove me close to the edge every day.

We put our fears down on paper. For many of us we thought we didn’t have many fears to list. However when prompted a little the fears came oozing out of my petrified soul. Here are a few possible fears you may have:

 

  • Fear of rejection/abandonment
  • Fear of ending up alone
  • Fear of never being loved
  • Fear of what others think of you
  • Fear of the future/the unknown
  • Fear of growing old alone
  • Fear of terminal illness
  • Fear of being found out to be a fraud/liar
  • Fear of economic insecurity
  • Fear of the consequences of your wrong doings to others
  • Fear of the dark
  • Fear of failure/success
  • Fear of losing a loved one
  • Fear of your kids leaving home
  • Fear of not providing for your family
  • Fear of missing out

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When all is said and done, fear was usually just my defective defence mechanism when I felt threatened, exposed or hard done by.

What is anger? It is my defective mechanism to defend my fear when threatened.

What is guilt? My defective mechanism that defends my fear of consequences.

What is lust? My defective mechanism that defends my fear of not having possession of what I so desperately desire.

What is greed? My defective mechanism that defends my fear of not getting what I want, need or desire out of life.

Fear drives low self-esteem and it’s almost like my self-esteem and my ego are diametrically opposed. When my self-esteem is low, my ego is way high and that’s not a good thing. Low-self esteem + huge ego = separation from God and other people.

So let us make a thorough examination of our fears in order to be rid of this resident evil.

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Paul Nobes – Author and Addictions Specialist

 

An Affirmative Declaration To Turn Away From Addiction

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A Decision To Inhale and Embrace Sobriety

I used to think that making a decision was taking the action. I now know that a decision is only an affirmative declaration of commitment to action that is about to follow.

Step 3 – Made a decision to turn our will and our lives to the care of God as we understood him.

 All Step Three requires of us is to make a decision. No action is required in this step. The decision we are being asked to make is to turn our thoughts and our actions over to the care of God (as we understood him). There is a second part to this step that I strongly suggest. Once you have made this decision, be sure to keep this decision in check for the rest of your life. Most people make the decision and promptly forget about it, and of course that won’t work. We need to make the decision and then fly with that decision like our lives depend upon it!

In other words we do NOT make the decision just for today or one day at a time, we make the decision for keeps, for good, for the rest of our days on earth. There is a permanent foundation of depth and weight in making a decision for the rest of your life compared to making a decision just for one day. We keep that decision in check one day at a time.

Once again please do not misunderstand this step. Step Three is NOT asking you to suddenly achieve the impossible by turning your will and your life over to the care of God this very moment. This would be almost impossible to achieve even for those who already have some kind of faith in a higher being. Step Three only requires you to make a DECISION to take the action necessary to turn your will and your life over to God as you understand God. And once again the program is designed to enable you to make this happen through the action you are about to take through all the steps.

For the purposes of Step Three a decision means to make an affirmative declaration of your intent to turn your will and your life over to new management. Our lives had become unmanageable and therefore we required new management and had to become willing to place our thoughts and actions under the governance of that new management.

There are however a few requirements before we take step Three:

First of all we needed to be convinced of these 3 crucial facts about ourselves;

A/ That we were indeed alcoholic.

B/ That no human power could relieve our alcoholism.

C/ That God could and would if he were sought.

If you are not convinced of these 3 pertinent ideas then there is no use in you proceeding any further. It’s that simple. By now you either are convinced you are alcoholic or not. You are convinced that all the so called human solutions to your drinking problem that you have tried in the past have failed. Things like only drinking beer, or clear spirits, only drinking in certain places with certain people, only drinking on a full stomach, spending more time in the gym or at work, or playing sport, or sorting out your relationship problems first, or going to church, or seeing a therapist and visiting your doctor more. The list could go on and on!

And having discovered that no human solution has worked for you, are you now convinced that God can relieve you of your alcoholism?

The other crucial idea that you need to be convinced of is that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success.

First of all we have to understand what the term “self-will” means:

The New Oxford American Dictionary definition is: Obstinately doing what one wants in spite of the wishes or orders of others.

A 50 Pound Ball of Self-will White Fanged Muscle

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 I love to use the African Honey Badger as an example of a life run entirely on self-will, fearless self-will to a level that’s hard to believe to be true.The Honey Badger is a fearsome and fearless creature of monumental proportions. He takes what he wants, when he wants without question. I have seen video footage of a pride of Lion bumping into two honey badgers face to face on the same pathway, and the Lions deliberately changing their direction and avoiding the fearsome two at a healthy distance.  Self-willed beyond belief These monstrous animals are virtually indestructible and will survive even the venom of a Cobra’s bite, come back and kill the Cobra after they have had a 2 minute pass out period from the venom. They are prepared to be stung by hundreds of bees swarming to protect their honey from this relentless predator. Covered in a blanket of stinging bees the Honey Badger will relentlessly raid the bee hives without a hint of fear.

The Honey Badger will kill or destroy anything that gets in its way in its ravenous quest for survival and dominance. It not only steps on the toes of its fellow creatures, it is a tornado ripping through the lives of others around it leaving a wake of destruction behind. A more profound example of selfishness you will be hard pressed to find.

These creatures are highly intelligent and very manipulative in the animal kingdom. They will leverage anything at their disposal to get what they want. They control their personal kingdom with fear and shear belligerence, and have no respect for who or what they destroy along the way.

 This description of the Honey Badger sums up the nature of the alcoholic perfectly. In fact the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot. In my experience self-will was my desperate need to dominate and control anyone or anything that entered the arena of my life including the outcome of any given situation. I would go to any lengths to get what I wanted. If you are genuinely willing to go to any lengths to recover, then take a deep honest look at how you have run your life up until this moment.

Self- propulsion – What Goes Up Must Come Down!

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Most people live on self propulsion. It’s all about my wants, my needs, my desires, my plans and designs, my pain and fear, my dictating how other people should behave towards me and others, it’s all about me controling the final outcome of all circumstances and situations that revolve around my existence.

Any life run on self-will really boils down to “my life my rules”. My life was my kingdom and no one dare alter or change that! This thing called life has to be run my way and the odds must always be stacked in my favor even at the expense of those in close proximity to me. My life, my kingdom, my rules!

In other words I was God of myself, of my life and those around me. The only master I was willing to serve was alcohol. Everyone and everything else in my life eventually became irrelevant. I lived to drink and drank to live. If anyone attempted to threaten my alcoholic way of life they were either manipulated, controlled or expelled from my life. I took no prisoners along the beaten track of my morale disintegration. What a hopeless way to live!

The resultant behavior of a life run on self-will is driven by extreme self-seeking. We become obsessed about how we are feeling at any given moment in time. I came to realize that I had spent my life running away from the situations and circumstances that didn’t make me feel good. I had never learned how to face and take on the situations that made me feel bad, fearful or disturbed. As a result of this behavior I had no idea who I really was!

Selfishness, self-centerdness that we think is the root of our problems, driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-pity and self-delusion. The nature of this disease called alcoholism has no option but to promote selfish behavior, as the only way it can exist is to feed off the joy and happiness in the lives of the alcoholic and his loved-ones. It has to feast off something to survive.

Above all we must get rid of this selfishness, if we don’t it will kill us. Through our selfish and self-centered actions towards others, we had stepped on the toes of our fellows until they retaliated. This left us hurt and feeling unwanted but didn’t we set ourselves up to be hurt at a later stage even if some of our intentions were good?

In this state the wrong doing of others imagined or real had the power to kill us. When hurt or offended did we not reach for the bottle and engage in yet another drunken spree?. And to drink is to die. All along it was our own behaviour driven by self-will that upset others around us to a point they had no option but to take the required action to stop our selfish onslaught on them.

So we think our problems are of our own making, they arise out of ourselves.

Remember the requirement here is to be convinced that our lives run on self-will can hardly be a success. How do we become convinced? The answer to that question comes in Step Four as we take a fearless look at the truth of our reality and where this all went wrong for us. Step Four paints a vivid picture of how selfishness, self-centerdness and many other defects of character came to manifest inside and threatened to destroy us.

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Paul Nobes – Author and Addictions Specialist

Discover, Uncover and Discard – Freedom From Addiction

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Searching Fearlessly To Discover The Blockages That Addiction Manifests

I used to insist that the past should stay in the past. My past has now become my greatest asset and is a conduit of God’s power within me.

 Step 4 – Made a searching and fearless morale inventory of our selves.

This step has changed my life beyond belief. This is where a dramatic change of perception takes place in the life of an alcoholic. This is where I discovered that alcoholism above all is just a disease of perception. This is where I started to look at life and people differently.

oliver-sjostrom-626042-unsplashI discovered at an early stage that all though I was attempting to hand over my screwed up life to God, I was still holding on to my will. In other words I was still holding on tooth and nail to my judgments and opinions of other people. It was like saying to God “here is my life and here is a list of demands of how it ought to go”. From this action I had remained in a state consumed and worried about myself and stressed about how God may not deliver in my life exactly what I expected.

I needed to dismantle the judgement machine which was my ego, the greatest blockage from God known to mankind. I still had this opinion of how my life should go, and this is what was killing me. This opinion is what had separated me from God and other people just about all my life. Untreated alcoholism is a very lonely business. Through my ego and self-will I had to always be right about everything. I liked being right. People who like being right a lot are very lonely people. I had become self-righteous and had developed an exaggerated sense of self-importance. In essence I had ended up being an awful person to be around without knowing it. For the life of me I couldn’t understand why all the good people in my life had abandoned me. This desperate need to be right about everything is what eventually chased everyone who ever cared about me out of my life and I found myself alone in the wilderness of resentment and anger towards those who had betrayed and deserted me. On top of this the alcohol I was consuming (by now in copious amounts) to remove the pain of rejection was no longer working. It was no longer delivering the effect of ease and comfort that I yearned for. In fact all alcohol was delivering to me was fear and bewilderment. That is when I came to experience the loneliness that only an alcoholic can know. And I had no idea of why or how this could of all happened. At this stage thoughts of taking my own life became as regular as changing my underpants.

So I needed to get down to the causes and conditions of where this all went wrong which is taking personal inventory. This is Step Four.

Taking inventory is taking stock of all the components that make up an entity, whether that entity is a business, a service or a person.

An entity that does not take regular stock usually goes bust including people. To be successful regular inventory is needed. Most humans have never taken personal inventory in their lives let alone regular stock take.

For a business it is taking stock of all valuable, redundant and damaged goods. In an alcoholic it is taking stock of our personal liabilities and assets. During this personal stock take, the alcoholic will discover what has been blocking him from God and the truth of his reality. Through personal inventory he will discover and uncover where his perspective on God, life and other people has been warped by his disease. To put it into simple terms our personal inventory is going to point out to us the obvious facts about ourselves that we could never see whilst existing in a state of untreated alcoholism.

Our inventory will point out to us where we have suffered from the delusion of processing our thoughts through the filter of lies and fantasy. It will expose where our thoughts are completely out of sync to our reality.

Why could we never see the truth of our reality before? Why does it require drastic action like a personal moral inventory to point out how wrong we have been about almost everything?

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The Great Delusion of Addiction

Alcoholics do not suffer from denial. Denial is far too weak of a word. Alcoholics suffer from something a lot more insidious than denial. We suffer from a delusion. In the case of the alcoholic, the delusion can be any kind of lie about our reality that we build up in our minds to be the truth. The classic lie that an alcoholics mind tells him every day is that he can control his drinking. Although its plain to see to those around him that he cannot control his drinking, the mind of the alcoholic demands of him to believe he can. When eventually the alcoholic comes to know that he has a problem with his lack of control over alcohol, the next delusion he suffers from is that he can bring his drinking under control by his own means.

The delusions that the alcoholic suffers from are endless. The only way to smash these delusions is for the alcoholic to take a fearless and thorough inventory of where his thinking has become delusional versus the truth of his reality. Only his truth can set him free.

 The resentment inventory

Resentment is public enemy number one! It destroys more alcoholics than alcohol itself. From resentment stems all forms of spiritual disease, above all we must get rid of resentment, if we don’t it will kill us. Even 17 years of sobriety does not guarantee immunity from me catching one or many resentments. If I stay in resentment too long I will eventually drink vodka. For some inexplicable reason, my alcoholic mind does not possess the skill or ability to process resentment in a healthy manner. I cling onto resentment like iron filings to a magnet, and as a result anger, fear, jealousy, self-pity, self-delusion and a host of other defects become a seething cauldron of toxic mass in the very annals of my soul. In this state irrational thoughts can quickly convert into a hundred angry conversations going on in my head with people who as far as I am concerned owe me apology or some kind of restitution. Before I take inventory for the first time in my life, my perspective is victim mode without me even realising it. My anger is justified no matter what. My side of the story is that I have been hurt tremendously by many others and that’s as far as I have got in life.

At this stage it is plain to see that some kind of powerful action is required to shift this painful and potentially fatal mindset to a place of serenity and peace. The Step Four resentment inventory is the first part of a divine mechanism which will provide sanctuary and restitution from our self-inflicted crisis.

Paul Nobes – Author and Addictions Specialist

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Why Is It So Hard To Reach The Addict?

Addiction – A collapsed Perspective on Life

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In this blog I have decided to share with you part of the forward to my book Spirit On Fire The Journey Back From Addiction that I am currently writing. I have done this to hopefully inspire you into taking the first mighty step towards understanding addiction and recovery from addiction. Below is a quick video I shot to explain why families and loved one’s struggle to reach and make sense of the chaos in an addicts mind.

Below is the excerpt from my soon to be published book Spirit On Fire The Journey Back From Addiction. I hope you enjoy!

This book is dedicated to the ones who suffer from the incomprehensible loneliness that only an alcoholic or addict can know. The ones who wish for the end like I once did.

 Forward

“There is science and there is medicine…….and then there is something called heart! There are some things in life that science and medicine just don’t have the answers to, but the heart given the power and right direction can make the impossible possible” – Paul Nobes

I wrote this book to help separate you the reader from your suffering. Every chapter I write is designed as a mechanism of healing, a deep and rich experience of reverse engineering your perspective from dark and grey to a light and warm place in the sunlight.

I love stories. I love listening, reading, watching and telling stories. Stories bring the written and spoken word alive. Recovery from addiction is a live event. Recovery is an experience with a live event called healing. Stories are not an academic exercise. Recovery is not an academic exercise. I write my stories to entertain you and pull you through a profound experience called recovery from your addiction whatever that addiction may be. We all suffer from some kind of addiction. Each and every human being has developed some form of dependency whether it be dependency on a chemical, a person, or a type of behavior, no one is immune to this fact.

The global ignorance of what addiction really is fascinates me and distresses me at the same time. In the case of addiction, ignorance does kill. But what really blows my mind beyond belief, is the ignorance towards recovery from addiction. Just like cancer and diabetes, addiction is a primary disorder. There is no cure to addiction that I am aware of. I am not even going to consider going down the rabbit hole of argument and debate about who is wrong or right, what works and what does not work as far as addiction and recovery goes. What I will do is share with you a very powerful solution that has worked for me for 17 years, and has worked for millions of others around the world. I will leave it up to you the reader to take or leave what I have to offer. I am an extremely practical person, who detests time wasting. I would not have wasted my time writing this book if I thought I was wasting your time. That is the fact of my simplistic attitude towards recovery and life itself.

I have a story to tell the world about my addiction and my recovery from addiction. But first I need to share with you what kind of person I used to be. I do this so as not to waste your time. Once you know what kind of person I was and what kind of person I am now, Then only you can decide whether to read this book or not.

Through my addiction I have done the following:

I have broken the hearts of nearly every person that ever cared about me. Stolen from my employers, loved ones, my children, my parents, my creditors, my friends, whether it was money, time, emotional security or their trust, the list is endless.

I have lied to just about every person who has come in close contact with me.  I lied because I was afraid. Afraid of being found out, afraid of consequences and above all afraid of anyone finding out the real me, the ‘me’ that I detested with a passion.

I have driven drunk or high or both, many times in a state of functional black-out more than I dare to mention.

I have put alcohol and drugs before my family, my work and all the decent people who came in and out of my life.

I have manipulated sympathy and charity out of innocent people who had no idea of the morally corrupt individual they were dealing with and cared so much about.

I have on many occasions abandoned my children, family, and partners in far too many ways to mention just to get my next high, drunk or instant ease and comfort from a chemical.

For many years I behaved in such a selfish and self-centred manner, that people close to me had no option but to distance themselves entirely, and all I could do was blame them for my problems. I used to retreat into resentment and anger whilst plotting and carrying out revenge in subtle and manipulative ways. As far as I was concerned my problems were usually of other peoples making, and if it was not them, it was always circumstance, anything but me was the root of my problems.

I was a brooding perfectionist with psychopathic and narcissistic tendencies, and would take no prisoners in order to hold loved ones as emotional hostages I desperately needed to validate my existence as a human being. I would seek approval and acceptance from just about anyone who entered the arena of my life, and devour in some form or manner those who did not give me what I wanted.

I am an alcoholic and addict of the chronic type. A real alcoholic who was once a hopeless case.

What kind of person am I now? I am still an alcoholic and addict of the chronic type. However I have been sober and clean for 17 years as I write this book. I am an alcoholic who has recovered from the seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.

So what does this mean. It means that by nature I am no longer selfish and self-centred to the extreme. As a result I live my life based on principles directly opposed to my behaviour whilst I was drinking and using drugs. The man I have described previously no longer exists as long as I continue to put into action certain principles of integrity and honesty in my life.

I have had a complete change of perspective on life and my view of the world.

I would like to share with you how I have achieved this. I have written this book to serve you and the many who still suffer from intolerable pain.

For those of you who have been following my blogs, you would have been introduced to the solution to the primary disorder called addiction. I will continue to write and share more about addiction and the solution to addiction – my passion!

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Paul Nobes – Author and Addictions Specialist