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Have I Really Been Insane? – A Look At Step Two

The second step of the 12-steps says that we came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. It is difficult to get behind the idea that we were insane when new to recovery. We may have an idea that comes to mind when we think of what an insane person looks like. How could we be insane? It’s essential to take a look at what we really mean by this.

The dictionary definition of insane is “the state of mind which prevents normal perception, behavior, or social interaction; seriously mentally ill.” It may seem like a harsh word at first, yet looking at the definition, it is clear that we had experienced this our whole lives.

What Is Insane Thinking?

Insane thinking is a common problem we, as substance users, all have. There is a good description of what that looks like in the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous. The book says that we are similar to having a passion for jaywalking. The jaywalker gets a rush out of running through traffic or crossing the street when there are many fast-moving vehicles.

The jaywalker is injured a few times and is then hospitalized because of his passion for danger. His loved ones explain how his behavior is dangerous and try to get the jaywalking obsession out of his head. However, the jaywalker continues his behavior immediately after getting out of the hospital, and he is met with more consequences.

He tries to get away from the idea entirely and isolate himself to avoid this obsession. Still, the day comes that he finds himself doing it again. This time, he is met with severe consequences, and his loved ones plead for him to stop, yet he cannot.

It then goes on to say anyone would see this idea as insane. We suggest you take a look at your history and replace the word “jaywalking” with “using” or “drinking”. When we do this, we see that we relate to this story exactly. We kept drinking and using, hoping for different results. Time and again, however, we found that we could never achieve the first drunk or high.

We experience escalating consequences, yet are unable to change our behaviors. That is what we call plain insane thinking. We came to terms with the fact that our bodies were sick, but our minds are, too. Every attempt we made to relieve the obsession and stay sober on our own would end in relapse. We needed something that was beyond human aid to help us.

A Higher Power

Once we are at this step, we are faced with a dilemma. We have already admitted we are powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable. We have already stated we were willing to go to any lengths for victory over substance use. When we are told that a power greater than ourselves is what will restore our sanity, some of us become combative.

Some of us have a history of faith, while others have rejected spiritual concepts entirely. Either way, we must become willing to believe that something bigger than us exists. We must agree to at least this proposition. Once we agree to this, we can realize that we have been closed-minded about spiritual matters.

We come to this belief that something bigger than us is in control. We believe at once that with the help of that power, we can be returned to sanity. Our perception can change, and, over time, our behaviors follow suit. The key to having rational thoughts and thinking soundly is experiencing enough humility to admit that we don’t know.

For the first time, maybe ever, we are unsure how to stay sober and accept that someone else knows better. From there, we are open-minded enough to become willing and trust that recovery is possible for us. Even a small amount of willingness and trust is enough to make the first approach to recovery.

Ask Questions

If you have gotten to this point, yet are still unsure about it, asking questions will result in success. Many people in 12-step fellowships can share their experiences, obstacles they have met, and how they got through them. If you don’t ask questions, nobody can help you through the challenges of early recovery. Remember that you are not the only one feeling the way you’re feeling.

At the beginning of their recovery journey, every person has been uncomfortable, afraid, and unsure of what the recovery program is or what it can do for them. There are plenty of people that come into sobriety with ideas about what a higher power is or is not. We have all felt this way and were unsure of how this could even work for us. Reach out to people with more time sober and those who have taken the 12 steps.

Your perception and behaviors will change as a result of the action you take in regards to your substance use disorder. As long as you remain willing, open-minded, and humble to the experience, you’ll be able to follow in the footsteps of other sober people.

It’s a staggering blow to the ego to admit that we have been insane. For many of us, it takes time to understand our own behavior, but the first step is always to ask for help. If you’re ready to get sober, it’s time to lean on the experience and strength of others who have come before you. Sobriety is not as uncharted as it may seem. Through a holistic recovery program, you can heal spiritually, mentally, and physically – you just need the time to do so. At Camelback Recovery, you’ll find the community you’re looking for and the experienced guidance you need. Give us a call at (602) 466-9880. Step Two is just one of the steps you’ll take in recovery, but you never have to do it alone. If you’re struggling to find a recovery program that works for you, Camelback Recovery can help.

I Alone can do it. But I can’t do it Alone.

I alone can do it. But I can’t do it alone.
–Anonymous

We’re the luckiest people alive because we don’t have to do anything alone! Whether we have a new assignment to tackle, a new relationship to cultivate, a new boss to please, we’ll never fail as long as we rely on the program, our sponsors, and our Higher Power.

That doesn’t mean we won’t have trying times and some failures. But the companionship we need for handling the difficult periods will never be denied us. Perhaps we think it will. Maybe that’s why we try to do too much alone.

We didn’t end up in this Twelve Step program as the result of living peaceful, productive lives. We’re here because we got scared. Our lives weren’t working. And they won’t work now if we insist on doing it alone. This is our second chance. Let’s take it.

I will seek the support I need from friends and God today. I’ll have a good day because of this.

I have no clue where I would be without my sponsor, people at 12-step meetings, and my friends in recovery. My support network means the world to me. Throughout every single day I find support at 12-step meetings, talking with my sponsor on the phone or meeting him in person, phone calls, seeing friends in recovery around town and in yoga, and helping a newcomer. When I am alone, I am left to my own devices. Being left to my own devices can easily lead me down the wrong path. I want to stay on my path of long term recovery and I am going to keep coming back. 

Letting go of Worry

What if we knew for certain that everything we’re worried about today will work out fine?

What if . . . we had a guarantee that the problem bothering us would be worked out in the most perfect way, and at the best possible time? Furthermore, what if we knew that three years from now we’d be grateful for that problem, and its solution?

What if . . . we knew that even our worst fear would work out for the best?

What if . . . we had a guarantee that everything that’s happening, and has happened, in our life was meant to be, planned just for us, and in our best interest?

What if . . . we had a guarantee that the people we love are experiencing exactly what they need in order to become who they’re intended to become? Further, what if we had a guarantee that others can be responsible for themselves, and we don’t have to control or take responsibility for them?

What if . . . we knew the future was going to be good, and we would have an abundance of resources and guidance to handle whatever comes our way?

What if . . . we knew everything was okay, and we didn’t have to worry about a thing? What would we do then?

We’d be free to let go and enjoy life.

Today, I will know that I don’t have to worry about anything. If I do worry, I will do it with the understanding that I am choosing to worry, and it is not necessary.

Everything always works out the way it’s supposed to. Prior to getting sober and prior to working the steps, I always had to be in control. I thought that it was up to me to make things happen the way that I wanted them to happen. I have learned through the 12-step program that I don’t need to be in control. I have learned to have faith. I have learned to have faith in my Higher Power and faith that everything will work out. And things always do end up working out much better than if I was in control. Being in control is exhausting and overwhelming. Being in control means that I am consumed with thinking about the future. If I just do the next indicated thing, surrender and trust my Higher Power, and let things play out, there is no need to worry. This also frees me up to be available to the present moment.

Trust

An attitude of helpful expectancy can serve me very well today. My Higher Power has my day in His hands. Whatever happens, it will go most smoothly, and I will feel best about myself, if I am open to what the day brings, and at peace with whatever it holds for me.

I can give my best if I do not get bogged down in hurt, anger, and resentment. Instead, I’ll try to trust in my Higher Power. I’ll have faith that good will come my way.

Help me today to be flexible and willing in my work. . . Help me to learn trust in a new way.

Living New Lives

If we thank our Higher Power each day for the problems in our lives, we will find that we can live and cope with them. And if it is our Higher Power’s will, our problems will be transformed in ways we cannot comprehend. We don’t fully understand our lives.

If we become willing to let our Higher Power handle each situation in its way, we will see that we are living ourselves into new ways of being. We will experience a freedom and joy that we could not have understood in our old ways of thinking and being.

We cannot think ourselves into a better life; we must live each day into better thinking.

Am I living myself into a new life?

Higher Power, I am grateful for the problems in my life; they help me change myself into a new being.

Avoiding Blame

It is not uncommon to hear in group, “Why do these things always happen to me?” If “these things” are always happening to us, the obvious answer is that we somehow bring them on ourselves. We are largely unconscious of what we’re doing wrong until, slowly, eventually; we manage to dig ourselves out from the results. (It seems incredible that we actually seek to be hurt, but in a way many of us do so, with regularity.)

But blaming others for our problems and indulging in self-pity don’t move us along in our program.

Am I still blaming others?

Higher Power, help me take responsibility for myself and my actions, because blaming others will only keep me stuck.

I am responsible. I am responsible for everything in my life. I believe that is the only way to live. When I start blaming and I stop taking responsibility, then I turn into the victim. Then I start feeling sorry for myself. Taking responsibility for everything in my life gives me freedom and happiness. I am not reliant on anyone or anything else for my happiness. After all, I am powerless over other people, places, and things.

Following Instructions

When all else fails, read the instructions.

–Agnes Alien

The instructions for recovery are in our Twelve Step program. Yet, there are times when we feel our program isn’t working. At these times, we need to read the instructions.

Have you followed the “instructions,” the wise words found in The Big Book, The Twelve and Twelve, and other recovery literature? When we do, we recover.

It’s hard at times and easy at others. Our problems go deeper than just staying sober. No matter what our problems, our program can help us start fixing them if we follow the instructions. Don’t use alcohol or other drugs. Go to meetings. Talk often with sponsors and program friends. Work the Steps. Think. Easy Does It. First Things First. Listen. Let Go and Let God. One Day at a Time.

Prayer for the Day

Higher Power, tell me which instructions to read today. If I’m headed for trouble, help me out.

Today’s Action

I’ll read the instructions today.

This is such a great reading for me today. Life is so much easier if I just follow instructions. Life is so much easier if I continue to work a program of recovery. When I stay clean and sober, follow the instructions of the Twelve Step Program, and stay connected to guys in the program, life is easy. Life is easy, more fulfilling, more fun, and I never have the desire to drink or do drugs. I love my life today and I don’t ever want to give it up. I know that continue to work a program of recovery and staying connected is the best way to stay clean and sober.

Being Open

Sometimes we think we’re supposed to have more recovery under our belts. Perhaps we feel the need to impress our peers with our success in staying off mind-altering chemicals. But perhaps we are really just trying to convince ourselves. We know how difficult recovery is, and surely our Higher Power is not fooled by our pretense of well-being.

If we try to hide our problems, we cannot get help for them. To get help we must tell people where we’re really at. No one can read a closed book.

Am I open with others?

Higher Power, help me believe in the saying, “Ask and you shall receive.”

I have been sober since March 2011, and I plan on keeping my sobriety date. I do not have the desire to drink or do drugs today, and as long as I stay connected to the program of AA, I keep on working a program of recovery, and I stay spiritually fit, it will be unlikely that the urge to drink or do drugs will resurface. I do have problems today and I have learned to live life on life’s terms. I have lots of friends in recovery that I can turn to when I need feedback or support. My friends in recovery give me the suggestions that help me make the right decisions. I need my friends from AA. I need my sponsor. And I need people to tell me what to do.

Accepting Change

 

 

The winds of change blow through our life, sometimes gently, sometimes like a tropical storm. Yes, we have resting places – time to adjust to another level of living, time to get our balance, time to enjoy the rewards. We have time to catch our breath.

But change is inevitable, and desirable.

Sometimes, when the winds of change begin to rustle, we’re not certain the change is for the better. We may call it stress or a temporary condition, certain we’ll be restored to normal. Sometimes, we resist. We tuck our head down and buck the wind, hoping that things will quickly calm down, get back to the way things were. Is it possible we’re being prepared for a new “normal”?

Change will sweep through our life, as needed, to take us where we’re going. We can trust that our Higher Power has a plan in mind, even when we don’t know where the changes are leading.

We can trust that the change-taking place is good. The wind will take us where we need to go.

Today, help me, God, to let go of my resistance to change. Help me be open to the process. Help me believe that the place I’ll be dropped off will be better than the place where I was picked up. Help me surrender, trust, and accept, even if I don’t understand.

This is a great reading for me today! The path of least resistance is always easier. The path of least resistance is easier than change. However, change is sometimes needed. Change is how I get from point A to point B. I have to leave point A to get to point B. It is uncomfortable and scary to leave point A. When I leave point A, I am all alone. Being all alone can be scary and stressful. However, I need to remember to have faith. If I surrender and have faith that everything will work out the way its supposed to, then life is much easier and I am much happier. Staying in an unhealthy relationship can be the path of least resistance. Staying in an unhealthy relationship means that I have the comfort of being with a person that is familiar. We already have a connection. It is less work because we already know each other, we know about each other, likes and dislikes, etc. However, in the long run, staying in an unhealthy relationship is not good for either party. We all want to be happy, joyous, and free. Prayer and meditation, getting feedback from my sponsor and other guys in the program, and following my intuition will help me make the tough decisions to make changes in my life. Sometimes change needs to happen in order for God’s will to be done. I don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year, I just need to surrender, trust, accept, and do the next indicated thing.