Monday, 09 April 2012

Welcome to the Big Book

by Boruch, GYE (See all authors)

In the past we brought a poem by "Momo" called "I will not disappoint". Well folks, I am sorry to disappoint. After another series of falls lately, Momo posted another poem on the forum called "I am Tired":

I'm tired.

I'm tired of struggling every day with this addiction.
I'm tired of people who don't know me commending me on being "so strong" when I'm really not.
I'm tired of reading about people (including myself) rising and falling all the time.
I'm tired of fighting.
However, I remember how low I become and feel when I don't fight,
And that's even more depressing and upsetting to me.

I'm tired.

Dear Momo,

Welcome to the "addicts" club. We understand you perfectly. You are finally admitting that you can't do this on your own. Now you are only one step away from bringing Hashem into your heart in a way you never believed was possible. Momo, please hear me out. You are tired because you are fighting something larger than yourself. But when you learn how Hashem fights for you - if only you just want him to and need him to enough, you will finally know peace and serenity as you have never known before.

Let's see what our 12-Step expert "Boruch" has to say about this:

In SA, the working assumption from the beginning has been that whatever is true for alcohol and liquor is true for lust. They commonly read directly from the Big Book, replacing the words alcohol and liquor with the word lust, and replacing the word alcoholic with sexaholic.

I would like to share with you something I found in the AA Big Book describing the experience in the late 1930s of the newcomers who joined AA and worked the steps, p85 (I replaced Alcohol with Lust):

"And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone--even lust. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in lust. 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 lust has been given to 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."

So that's the claim printed in 1939. Is it true? Well, I was most certainly fighting my addiction. I had been for 36 years. And losing. Then, before I had seen this piece in the Big Book, came SA and the day I called my sponsor. He told me to stop fighting, to surrender to my Higher Power and in a moment of temptation just work steps 1-3.

Of course, as many people on the forum have written, the last thing on their minds in a moment of temptation is 12 steps, let alone the presence of mind to use them. And I was originally no different.

But I have since found that when I made my recovery the single most important thing in my life and I joined SA, when I took part in a weekly "Back to Basics" Step meeting that works through all 12 steps in 4 weeks in addition to a regular meeting, when I met and learned from people with 15 years of sobriety and more, when I was working the steps together with everyone else, much the same as soldiers march in step and find it easier to march together, then doing the steps became the most natural thing in the World. And before I had seen the piece in the Big Book I already had experienced that I no longer needed to fight.

Are there other methods that are so effective in turning a losing fight into no battle at all? I can only tell you of one method like that; doing the 12 steps by working them with a sponsor and active 12 step group meeting attendance. If anyone else has another method with the same results, I would certainly be interested to hear about it. (Not because I am looking for another method. The 12 steps are helping me change in many areas of my life and I would not trade them in. But recovery from addiction is extremely important to me and I am interested in all things Recovery).

Now you may ask. Are the groups for everyone? Is the SA 12 step program which is directly and totally modeled on the complete AA 12 step program for everyone? The best way to know the answer to that is to read the first 164 pages of the Big Book. You can download it as a PDF.