The Antidote To Addiction – Take Care Of Others and God Takes Care Of Us.

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Carry This Message

 I used to expect reward for helping others – I now live a life of serving others whilst expecting nothing in return. It is by giving that we receive.

Step 12 – Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of working these steps, we tried to carry this message to the alcoholic who still suffers and to practice all these principles in all our affairs.

 Living A Life A Life worth Living

An overwhelming sense of satisfaction and completeness is the effect delivered by helping another person without expecting reward. It is in my experience the most powerful currency a person can posses is Living a life of serving others above serving their own selfish means.

Step 12 instantly awarded me my life’s purpose. Most people go to the grave without ever discovering the joy of living life driven by a powerful purpose. Helping and serving other people without expectation, is the catalyst to a life worth living. Step 12 is the why I get out of bed every morning, is the why I am excited about life,  why I am driven to succeed and why I go to bed feeling a sense of accomplishment.

In order to remain sober for the rest of my days, helping the alcoholic and addict who still suffers is mandatory. If I do not help other drunks like me I will eventually drink again. This is the truth of my reality. Notice the words intensive work with others. A part-time, now and again approach to working Step Twelve will not do! I have witnessed the majority of addicts in recovery taking this step far too lightly, and ending up miserable, separated, full of ego, drinking or dead. There is a price to be paid for the freedom we have been given through this program. What we have been freely given (our lives), we keep by giving away. There is a misconception that this miracle solution to addiction comes for free. It does not! The very essence of human nature quickly discards the value of anything given for free. Bill. W wrote – Unless the alcoholic continuously seeks to enlarge his spiritual life through constant self-sacrifice and intensive work with other alcoholics, he will not survive the low spots that lie ahead.

This is the price we pay for our sobriety, self-sacrifice, intense work with others and living a life serving others.

I am not going to go into the many intricacies of how to go about a Twelve Step call. The chapter “Working with others” in The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is a masterfully written chapter on how approach the man who still suffers. Follow the precise and clear cut instructions in this chapter and you will have everything you need to equip you with the knowledge and skill of how to practice Step Twelve correctly.

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The second part of Step 12 suggests that we practice these principles in all our affairs, what principles are they talking about? The principles outlined throughout this journey of working the previous 11 Steps, which has now started to become a manner of living. The correct way to practice these principles in all our affairs is to grow in understanding and effectiveness of Steps Ten and Eleven. Spiritual fitness is our goal.

There is no better spiritual work out than practicing the strict disciplines of Steps Ten and Eleven. Why do we need to keep spiritually fit? A great state of spiritual health promotes and insures permanent conscious contact with God. This is called living in an undisturbed state. If we slide down the slippery slope of separating from God again, by not engaging and living in the principles of Steps Ten and Eleven, or not making this way of life our priority, we will become diseased once again, and relapse will be imminent.

Above ALL our recovery MUST come FIRST, it must or we shall perish. Now what would above all look like to you? To me it means my recovery comes first above my career, my family, my partner, my hobbies, my friends, my sport, my TV, my entertainment, the list could go on to the moon and back!

So you have been suitably warned, put your recovery anywhere but in first place in your life and you can eventually look forward to a life NOT worth living, a life of misery and pain and the horrible fact of this awful half hearted way of life is that most of you will know that going back drinking and drugging is just not an option and that will slowly drive you back to the edge of insanity where the real darkness and death of addiction lurks.

The first part of Step Twelve states – “having had a spiritual awakening as THE result of working these steps”. This means just what it says. Unless the alcoholic has a complete psychic change, he is doomed to die the alcoholic death. A spiritual awakening is that complete psychic change, it is a dramatic change in the alcoholics perception of his situation  and of life indeed. It is the revolutionary inner shift in the alcoholic that brings about miraculous changes in the life of one who used to suffer from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. It is a rebirth of possibly one of the most broken types of human beings that walks God’s given creation called earth.

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I have had a spiritual awakening during my incredible 12 Step journey and find it less than easy to put into words how it feels, except that if heaven was ever a place on earth, the massive shift in my perspective on this world would be a quiet place in the warm sunshine of God’s everlasting kingdom where broken people like me can finally find peace and shelter from the raging storm of addiction.

The effect delivered by my spiritual awakening is proof enough to me that all I was seeking in the first place through my addiction was God and his power that is to be accessed in living his way of life.

I pray many times throughout the day “thy will be done not mine!” and I can feel his power flowing through me and washing all my doubt away.

I used to pray only two different types of prayers – God help me and God give me. I only pray one prayer now – God USE me.

The Step Twelve Promises

  • You can help when no one else can.
  • You can secure their confidence when others fail.
  • Life will take on new meaning.
  • When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands were better than anything we could have planned.
  • Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!
  • Assuming we are spiritually fit, we can do all sorts of things alcoholics are not supposed to do.
  • … God will keep you unharmed.

 

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Paul Nobes – Author

Forming and Staying In The Habit of Emotional Sobriety

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Forming and Staying In The Habit of Emotional Sobriety

I used to think spirituality was the way of weakness
I now know that it is the way of courage and strength

Step 11 – Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of his will and the power to carry that out.

Step 11 is a seeking of unity with God. If followed correctly, the process in this step will keep our will aligned to God’s will. Alcoholics will always have this chronic spiritual condition, this propensity to obsessive self-involvement and self-concern, but we don’t have to live like that anymore – it’s too painful. We align ourselves with God’s will and we let him demonstrate through us what he can do, all day every day.
In Step Ten we discovered that we have entered the world of the spirit which is not some magical mountain in an exotic location. The world of the spirit is living in the now, being present in the present.
In Step Eleven we discover that we now have conscious contact with God and need to improve our conscious contact with God through prayer and meditation.

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The Evening Review

The very last task of the day just before we go to sleep is the evening review:
• First of all we constructively review our day. Were resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid?
• Do we owe an apology to anyone?
• Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once?
• Were we kind and loving to all?
• What could we have done better?
• Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could contribute to life instead of take?

These are sometimes pretty tough questions to answer. However we should not beat up on ourselves if we fail to achieve perfect adherence to these principles. Our willingness to progress towards perfection is what is important here as anyone can achieve progress if they are prepared to put in a bit of work every day.

After making our review we ask God for forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.

Morning Prayer and Meditation

Upon awakening, in other words when your eyes open in the morning it is hugely beneficial to focus on God and not the usual committee meeting that has been held in your head every morning ever since you can remember. The day I truly discovered internal freedom was the day I stopped listening to my mind. So many of us exclaim in dismay “I cannot silence the voices in my head!”. Well of course you can’t, that’s not your job. Your job is to stop listening!

Let us think about the 24 hours that lay ahead.
• We look at our plans for the day. If we don’t have a plan for the day, now is the best time to make a plan(s).
• Before we begin our day we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives.
• Beginning the day by clearing our thoughts of wrong motives will enhance our assurance in our mental faculties, and our thought life will be placed on a much higher plane than usual.
• During the day when faced with indecision, we may not be able to determine which course to take, here we ask God for inspiration, a intuitive thought, or a decision.
• We relax and take it easy knowing that the right decision will come if we follow God’s will and not our own self-will.
• In concluding our period of meditation with a prayer that all throughout the day we be shown what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems. We ask especially for freedom from self-will, and are careful to make no request for ourselves only. We may ask for ourselves however, if others may be helped. We are careful to never pray for our own selfish ends. Many of us have wasted time doing that and it doesn’t work. You can easily see why.
• As we go through the day we pause when agitated or doubtful, and ask God for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves that we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times a day “thy will be done”. We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We do not tire so easily burning up energy foolishly like we did when we were trying to run the show and arrange life to suit ourselves.

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If the situation warrants we ask our wives, partners or friends to join us in morning meditation.

The simple method of morning meditation mentioned above is what I still use to this day. Once I have completed this, I have certain prayers of my own choice that I pray. One of them is very special to me and is a powerful summary of what we are trying to achieve by making the 12 Step program a way of life.

“Lord, make me a channel of thy peace—that where there is hatred, I may bring love—that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness—that where there is discord, I may bring harmony—that where there is error, I may bring truth—that where there is doubt, I may bring faith—that where there is despair, I may bring hope—that where there are shadows, I may bring light—that where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted—to understand, than to be understood—to love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life. Amen.”

Whatever method of prayer and meditation you may choose is entirely up to you. The 12 Step program is no one’s religion. Simple as that. However whatever method you follow, my suggestion is to keep it as simple and highly focused on conscious contact with God as possible. Simple is power!

Welcome to the juicy part of this incredible program. Welcome to freedom!

Paul Nobes – WordPress Blogger

A place of Neutrality Safe and protected From Addiction

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A place of Neutrality Safe and protected From Addiction

I used think blaming my past and fearing my future was all there was to life

I now know that life has just begun for me living in the now

Step 10 – Continued to take personal inventory and when wrong promptly admitted it.

“A continuous look at our assets and liabilities, and a real desire to learn and grow by this means, are necessities for us. We alcoholics have learned this the hard way. More experienced people, of course, in all times and places have practiced unsparing self-survey and criticism. For the wise have always known that no one can make much of his life until self-searching becomes a regular habit, until he is able to admit and accept what he finds, and until he patiently and persistently tries to correct what is wrong.”

The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions – Alcoholics Anonymous

 Step 10 suggests we continue to live in the truth of our reality by taking regular inventory on a DAILY basis. We need to be vigorous about our efforts to clean up the past. We have entered the world of the spirit. But what exactly is the ‘world of the spirit” and what happens there?

In my case it was pretty simple, there was a loud popping noise in my ears when I finally pulled my head out of my ass and showed up in the present for the first time in my life. This was when It finally dawned on me that I had been asleep in the spirit all of my life. Asleep to the present. I went to school asleep, started work asleep, got married and divorced asleep, had multiple relationships in my sleep, had children in my sleep, up until now I had never experienced life living in the now. I had always been living in the guilt and shame of the past or fear of the future. Anything but right here right now is where I would dwell.

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Being present in the present is where we need to live our lives from now on. Living in the present is living in our reality and therefore the fantasy and lies of our past and future that used to haunt us, cannot exist in our minds at all.

You may or may not have by now observed that this process of spirituality that you have been experiencing whilst working these steps, has been nothing more than a process of elimination. In Step One we eliminated the delusion that we were in control of our drinking. Step Two we eliminated our prejudice against God. Step Three we eliminated the need to play God in our own lives and the lives of others. Step Four we eliminated the desperate need to be right about everything once we discovered how wrong we had been about our lives. Step Five we eliminated our sick secrets that we had clung on to for so long. Step Six we eliminated our toxic need to cling on to our ego’s. Step Seven we eliminated our pride by letting God take full control of the wreckage of our past. Step 8 we eliminated our belligerent stubbornness that our problems were of other peoples making. Step 9 we eliminated the guilt and shame of the past.

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In essence the 12 Step program is a gradually deflation of our ego’s. Our lives up until now have been the tale of the tragedy of the ego. Ekhart Tolle describes the ego as nothing more than a man made false sense of self. How tragically true this is for the alcoholic. Our ego’s have tortured us into a life of self-loathing and intrepid fear of what others think about us.

How stunning and simple life is without our ego’s there to dictate and drive our self-destruction. At the end of the day all we are up against everyday is ourselves and our to perspective on life, nothing else!

So now that we have entered the world of the spirit how do we stay there and progress in understanding and effectiveness.

The Step Ten promises state that we have ceased fighting anything or anyone, even alcohol. In other words we are now living in an undisturbed state of conscious contact with God. We need to remain in an undisturbed state if we are to maintain our conscious contact with God. Step Ten gives us an extremely simple but powerful tool of practicing self-restraint and then honest analysis as follows:

Firstly we continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up we ask God to remove them. We discuss them with someone else immediately and make amends if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to helping someone else. Love and tolerance is our code.

The Step Ten Promises

  • And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone – even alcohol.
  • For by this time sanity will have returned.
  • We will seldom be interested in liquor.
  • If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame.
  • We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically.
  • We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it.
  • We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation.
  • We feel like we have been placed in a position of neutrality safe and protected.
  • We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us.
  • We are neither cocky nor are we afraid.

Paul. N – Author and Blog Writer

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