Dec 18, 2007
1. What does "the disease of addiction" mean to me?
Addiction has always been my enemy and my friend. I'm not sure if I'm an addict or not to tell the truth. I have demonstrated some control in my past drug use. I've quit doing drugs a lot in my life; I've functioned while I was on drugs also. Addiction means the inability to stop once you’ve started to me. I have trouble stopping once I start. I can go through a couple of scripts of pills in less than a week. I can take so many pills that I'm scared I'm not going to wake up, and start stuttering, passing out, falling down in front of my kids. I never wanted them to see that kind of behavior, but I was demonstrating it for them quite recently, and making excuses for it. I felt bad deep inside, but my "addiction" was protecting me from feeling the guilt that I should have felt. Addiction is the part of me that makes excuses for my use. The part of me that tells me it's ok, and it's part of my "family tradition” I was a heavy pot-smoker for a lot of years, even though growing up I was humiliated by the smell of pot in our house. I hated it; it was a symbol of my family's worthlessness, and dysfunction. I used drugs against my will. I hate drugs, yet they almost always were a pretty big part of my life. I am an addict. I was looking at the stopping part of my life, more than the using part. I have done some insane things while on drugs, wasted a big part of my life, and hurt the people I love many times. My disease tells me that I don't have a disease, but I know in my heart and soul that I am an addict.
2. What is it like when I'm obsessed with something? Does my thinking follow a pattern? Describe.
What is it like when I'm obsessed with something? Does my thinking follow a pattern? Describe. When I'm obsessing with something, it's like I'm constantly arguing with myself, or not trusting my gut instinct. I try to lie to myself, and make myself feel certain things that I don't. If I have doubt over something, like a relationship I'll try to convince myself that I'm wrong. When I'm obsessing over drugs, and I've made the decision that I'm going to do them, then nothing can stop me, and everything in my life is completely secondary. I've even skipped work so I could go to the doctor. I've made up a lie and left work early so I could go home and take some pills. I've spent grocery money on pills, and not really felt guilty about it. I was if I was obsessed with protecting part of me from part of me. My thinking can go one of two ways; either it can start with a thought, such as, "Man I sure would like to have some fun tonight, then it will lead to financial reasoning. After that it’s like an angel and a devil on opposite shoulders. I’ll feel a feeling of dread deep in my stomach, fear of not being able to stop at just 20 pills. I’ll feel sad, helpless. Then the devil makes me feel better and tells me “You can stop, you will stop after these 20 pills Monday morning you’ll stop, and just do them every once in a while” Then it’s as if the devil injects the angel in me with a poison tranquilizer, and shuts her up for good. Now her voice is weak if I even hear it at all. It’s as if I made my choice and am now forced to live with it regardless of Jennifer’s will to do so or not. I’m like a puppet after that, going through the motions of relapse yet again, and paying to attention to the feeble voice deep inside me that knows it’s wrong. From that point on I’m completely irritable and impossible, and can think of nothing else until my dealer shows up with my pills. If its pot I’m chasing then I can think of nothing else but who to score from. So basically the pattern is 1. Thought or desire 2. Argument with self 3. Addicted self wins 4. Tunnel visoned actions until I get pills My obsession that is not really drug related takes one little thing that bothers me, and twist and turns it around in my head until I’m so sick of thinking about it that I get very bitchy and irritable. I leave a big area open for doubt and fear when I do this. Sometimes my doubts are unwarranted and I give them way too much credit. Sometimes with much resignation I accept doubt as reality and tell myself things such as if it seems too good to be true it probably is. I let myself get depressed, and don’t want to do anything except sleep. Every thing around the house is a major chore. I just want to escape. Today through prayer and meditation I am learning how to let things go.
3. When a thought occurs to me, do I immediately act on it without considering the consequences?
When a ‘using’ thought occurs to me, today I do not immediately act upon it without considering the consequences. There have been times in my past that I have done this. As part of my recovery, I’m trying to change a couple things about me that I don’t like. One is lashing out at my children, and another is gossiping at work. When a gossiping thought occurs to me, 8 times out of 10 I will act upon it. When an angry thought occurs to me regarding my children, I will also act upon these 8 times out of 10 as compared to 10 times out of 10 before I re-accepted God into my life.
4. In what other ways do I behave compulsively?
I behave compulsively by always worrying and dreading the immediate future. I don’t like to clean and will make a sport of procrastinating until my house is a total wreck or we have no clean towels. When I do finally start cleaning, I’ll have to play some type of game with it, like turning the radio on and switching rooms when the song switches, or reading and cleaning the number of things, corresponding with the page number that I’m on. I’m compulsive about trying to go back to sleep in the mornings for as long as I can. I’m a compulsive doubter. I’m compulsive about running with an idea full force only to get burnt out on it later. I’m compulsive about not seeing things through. I’m compulsive about isolating myself.
5. How does the self-centered part of my disease affect my life and the lives of those around me?
Well, being a self-centered addict is very harmful to me and my kids. My kids have seen me act ways they shouldn’t even see on T.V. I didn’t care what I had to do to get drugs, and if my kids happened to be along for the ride, then so be it. I risked going to jail and losing them every time I had drugs in the car. I spent our grocery money, and our rent money on drugs. I stayed in bad relationships, which affected them, because I liked drugs. Being self-centered means that in my addiction I isolated myself from friends and family. I pushed people away, and used that pain as a reason to use. It was as if I was healing my ‘poor wounded self’ with a bag of dope. My kids had to go live with my mom, because I couldn’t quit smoking crack long enough to feed them. My self-centered addiction has the power to fiercely push aside all feelings of guilt, long enough for me to score some dope. Also I think a big part of my self-centeredness is my obsession with my inner pain. Because I hurt inside, it was easy for me to baby my poor little self with dope, because that’s the only thing that makes it all better.
6. How has my disease affected me physically? Mentally? Spiritually? Emotionally?
Physically – I’ve lost weight. I’ve gotten sinus infections that were so bad that my face swollen up unrecognizably and my nose ran for weeks. I’ve been hospitalized for breathing problems after coming down off crack. I’ve had bladder infections from taking too much vicodin. I’ve had bad rashes all over my body from doing ecstasy. I’ve drank way too much and I’m sure that I’ve had borderline alcohol poisoning before. I have scars on my face from smacking my head against a table while being drunk. I’ve gotten in fights, been beat up. I’m sure I’ve destroyed many brain cells because of my disease.
Mentally - Mentally I’ve let my addiction grow unimaginably. I’ve exposed it, fed it, and nurtured it. As a direct result, my self-esteem, my self-respect and my self-worth have suffered. I’ve consciously let my dreams pass me by in favor of drugs and having a good time. I’ve passed up so many opportunities for intellectual growth. I’m confused a lot now. A lot of the time I don’t know right from wrong, or what I want and what I don’t. It’s almost as if I have a bunch of different people inside my head all bickering and fighting with each other. My addiction was friends with all of my different egos. By nurturing my addiction, and listening to its evil voice, it has befriended me in ways that are incomprehensible. It was my best best friend, and at one time I honestly loved drugs, more than my life, and more than my kids. I resented them for making me feel guilty about doing drugs. My thinking patterns now need a total transformation, that I’m not even sure is possible. I still isolate myself, procrastinate, and am complacent with merely paying my bills and putting groceries on the table. I can’t reach a decision to save my life, and I have no self-discipline. As soon as I decide to do something positive with myself, there I am telling myself all the reasons why it’s not a good idea, and all the reasons why failure is most probably inevitable. I’m constantly second-guessing myself. I’m constantly making the wrong decisions. I’m not as smart as I once thought I was I was just around some really not smart people! I lose my train of thought easily, and am uncomfortable around people. I don’t know what I want out of life, I’m never happy.
Emotionally – I’ve contemplated suicide more than a dozen times, and tried it more than a few. I feel worthless, and full of guilt, shame, regret, and dread. I feel like I’m a walking disease that no one would love if they knew about my past. I’m an attention junkie. I don’t feel worthy of being a mother, or worthy of God’s love. Although I’m growing daily I don’t let myself be proud of that. I don’t think I’m pretty even though other people say that I am. I don’t let myself love fully, because deep inside I feel like its all ********. No one could really love me, they must just want to **** me or hurt me. I rush into things without thinking it through because it’s a quick fix. When I’m alone my favorite thing to do is sleep, and my least favorite thing is waking up. I feel like no one likes me, and I isolate myself out of pain, and anger. I don’t feel like I’m important or that I’ll have anything even remotely interesting to share. Growing up drugs affected me second-hand because of my parents. I was abused, and the cycle began, or continued, who knows, who cares. It’s become so hard for me to feel good. I thought happiness was reserved for special moments in time, like when your kids do something funny or you get a big raise at work. The rest of the time, life pretty much *****. If it weren’t for my kids, I’d rather be dead. I don’t know if drugs are to blame for my ****** up emotional state, but I’m sure they didn’t help. They kept the pain at bay, so I never looked for another way to ease it. I never developed any hobbies, because drugs were my hobby. To sum it up, emotionally I’m so very sorry about the past, so very discontent with the present, and so very much dreadful and apprehensive about the future.
Denial is the part of our disease that tells us we don't have a disease. When we are in denial, we are unable to see the reality of our addiction. We minimize its effect. We blame others, citing the too-high expectations of families, friends, and employers. We compare ourselves with other addicts whose addiction seems "worse" than our own. We may blame one particular drug. If we have been abstinent from drugs for some time, we might compare the current manifestation of our addiction with our drug use, rationalizing that nothing we do today could possibly be as bad as that was! One of the easiest ways to tell that we are in denial is when we find ourselves giving plausible but untrue reasons for our behavior.
7. Have I given plausible but untrue reasons for my behavior? What have they been?
Yes I have, such as,
“There’s nothing wrong with taking a couple pills in the evenings to relax, I’ve worked all day and I can deal with the kids better with something to take the ‘edge’ off.”
I’ve worked all week, and I’m not an alcoholic, it’s ok to go have a few drinks with my sister.
“I promise I’ll quit after this script”
“My back hurts”
“I have my disease in check now”
“My back hurts, or my tooth hurts, or my period hurts”
“There’s nothing wrong with smoking pot”
“Doing drugs isn’t really wrong, as long as you don’t over do it.”
8. Have I compulsively acted on an obsession, and then acted as if I had actually planned to act that way? When were those times?
9. How have I blamed other people for my behavior?
I’ve blamed my kids for making me use, and drink because if they would just calm the **** down then I wouldn’t have to drink/use. If Charlie didn’t have pills around me I wouldn’t take them. If my boss wasn’t on my *** I wouldn’t do drugs. If I and Charlie weren’t fighting I wouldn’t drink. If I wasn’t abused/teased as a child I wouldn’t want to do drugs.
10. How have I compared my addiction with others' addiction? I’ve compared myself to other addicts I saw when scoring pills who couldn’t even get up off the couch. I swore I’d never be like they were. One of those addicts died shortly after that incident. I’ve compared myself to my brother’s girl friend, because she abandoned her kids, and I still have mine. I compared myself to my sister because she sits at home and smokes pot, and I have a job. I’ve compared my alcohol use to my sister because she drinks every day and I only drank occasionally. I compared myself to other crack heads I see because I didn’t smoke crack anymore, I did different ‘better’ drugs. I compared myself to my friends because at the time she was sluttier than me for drugs.
11. Is my addiction "bad enough" if I don't compare it to anyone else's? Yes
12. Am I comparing a current manifestation of my addiction to the way my life was before I got clean? Am I plagued by the idea that I should know better?
12. Have I been thinking that I have enough information about addiction and recovery to get my behavior under control before it gets out of hand?
Yes at times I do catch myself thinking this way. I can hear the voice of my addiction telling me that “I got it now” That I’ve heard enough to convince me to quit, and to quit for good. I know this is all ******** though. I’ll never be done with drugs, I love them too much. I’ve never ever felt in my life as ecstatic as drugs made me feel. There is no way I can control using drugs, which is why I’ve stayed away from white stuff for 3 years now. I messed with drugs that I thought were ‘safe’ but now I realized they’re not safe. There are no safe drugs. I have enough information to know that I will never stop recovering, and that if I do, it most defiantly will get out of hand. It’ll start with pot, then alcohol, and pills
13. Am I avoiding action because I'm afraid I will be ashamed when I face the results of my addiction?
Not really at this point. I’ve already delved a little into my fourth step, and although I most certainly did not like what I saw, I’m ok with it today. I already remember the horrors of my addiction, and I can’t say that I ever forgot them. I carried them around like a tumor in my heart. As soon as I start to feel loved and accepted by someone there’s this nagging voice inside me that says “Yeah right” I wonder what he would think of you if he knew this... or that…
14. Am I avoiding action because I'm worried about what others will think?
Yes and no. I avoid calling my sponsor because I don’t click with her, and she always wants to get off the phone quickly. I don’t call woman in the program even though plenty of them have given me their number and urged me to use it. I guess I don’t call them because I’m scared of sounding like a fool, and because I feel like it’s just a charade. I prefer to keep a few close friends, not many fake ones. I’m afraid to talk in the meetings, because I don’t feel like I have anything profound to say, or that anyone will get anything out of my words. My words come out confused anyway. A lot of times I forget what it was that I wanted to share on in the first place. I avoid befriending people, because I know that I’m a hurtful person, and that I will probably just hurt them as well. I feel like a burden to people, and that keeps me from working on my isolation issues.
Hitting bottom: despair and isolation
Our addiction finally brings us to a place where we can no longer deny the nature of our problem. All the lies, all the rationalizations, all the illusions fall away as we stand face-to-face with what our lives have become. We realize we've been living without hope. We find we've become friendless or so completely disconnected that our relationships are a sham, a parody of love and intimacy. Though it may seem that all is lost when we find ourselves in this state, the truth is that we must pass through this place before we can embark upon our journey of recovery.
15. What crisis brought me to recovery?
I’m not sure I understand this question, because my rock bottom is not what made me decided to get clean this time around. I got bad on pills, but I wasn’t as bad as I was on crack. Which time should I use?
15. What situation led me to formally work Step One?
I’ve bought and read the basic text twice. I’ve started my fourth step. There is a voice inside my head that says “**** NA, you don’t need this place” I have felt stagnant with my sponsor, and have recently stopped calling her. I feel like it’s a sham anyway, she doesn’t have time for me, and I’m not just saying that out of self-pity either. I need to find a new sponsor. I shared in a meeting last night, about being frustrated standing still, and a girl came and talked with me after the meeting and told me about the 70 or so ?’S in Step One. I found out it isn’t as easy as saying “I’m powerless over my addiction” I’ve said it before, and may have even believed that it MIGHT be true, but there was always a lingering doubt in the back of my head. Am I powerless?? I’ve quit using so many times. I’ve supported three kids by myself. I got myself off crack, and stayed off of it for 3 years now. I quit doing X. Am I powerless? I realize I can’t just say it and have it be so. Step 2 and 3 didn’t work for me this way. If I’m going to believe that God can restore me to sanity, I must first believe that I’m insane. If I’m going to give my life to God, then I must admit, that I’ve done a pretty ****** job of it thus far, and have an honest sincere desire to change my ****** up ways for the right reasons.
16. When did I first recognize my addiction as a problem?
When I was 16 after shooting some dope I realized that this was my destiny, and that I didn’t care about anything except for that feeling, and that I would do absolutely anything to get it. I didn’t see this as a problem however, because I didn’t care if I lived or died at that point. It came to be a problem, after I turned 18 and had a son that expected me to feed him.
17. Did I try to correct it?
If so, how?
After almost every bag I bought I told myself I wasn’t going to buy anymore. I didn’t use; I said no dozens of times to the girls at the club. But there I was flirting with the devil. This stuff ruined my childhood. Every time I did it I swore I wasn’t going to do it again. But I did, again, and again. I tried tapering off vicodin, I ate my last 9 pills in one day. I’ve tried quitting all drugs several times, only to find myself a few months later scoring.
18. If not, why not?
The times that I did not try to control it was because I didn’t give a ****. I was tired of fighting, tired of trying to care, and I hated who I was and where I came from. I no longer cared about anything; all I could concentrate on was the pain. I was mad at God, mad at my Family, mad at my Son, and mad at myself, why should I try to quit the only thing that ever made me feel good?
As addicts, we react to the word "powerless" in a variety of ways. Some of us recognize that a more accurate description of our situation simply could not exist, and admit our powerlessness with a sense of relief. Others recoil at the word, connecting it with weakness or believing it to indicate some kind of character deficiency. Understanding powerlessness - and how admitting our own powerlessness is essential to our recovery - will help us get over any negative feelings we may have about the concept.
We are powerless when the driving force in our life is beyond our control. Our addiction certainly qualifies as such an uncontrollable, driving force. We cannot moderate or control our drug use or other compulsive behaviors, even when they are causing us to lose the things that matter most to us. We cannot stop, even when to continue will surely result in irreparable physical damage. We find ourselves doing things that we would never do if it weren't for our addiction; things that make us shudder with shame when we think of them. We may even decide that we don't want to use, that we aren't going to use, and realize we are simply unable to stop when the opportunity presents itself.
We may have tried to abstain from drug use or other compulsive behaviors - perhaps with some success - for a period of time without a program, only to find that our untreated addiction eventually takes us right back to where we were before. In order to work the First Step, we need to prove our own individual powerlessness to ourselves on a deep level.
20. Over what, exactly, am I powerless?
I am powerless over my drug use. When I drink I want to drink too much, and end up doing something incredibly stupid that I’m ashamed of. When I take pills I’m powerless to stay out of them. I take so many in one day or at one time, that inside I honestly worry about overdosing. Yet the next day I do it again, after having a quick argument with myself that my disease always wins. It’s like a well meaning angel being injected by the devil with a fast-acting tranquilizer. When I smoke crack I am a complete monster that doesn’t deserve to breathe oxygen. When I take X I lose all sense of morality. With all of these drugs I’ve put myself in sitations that could have killed me. I was unable to quit smoking pot, and taking pills on my own for any length of time. I am powerless to change my past. I am powerless to change other people.
30. I've done things while acting out on my addiction that I would never do when focusing on recovery. What were they?
1. Prostitution 2. Sex with strangers in my home (while my kids were there) 3. Stripped. 4. Spent all my money on drugs. 5. Gave my kids to someone I didn’t know was safe, but was safer than me. 6. Other indecent immoral things I have outlined in more detail in my fourth step. 7. Bruised my arms trying to inject myself 8. Stole money from people that were just trying to help me. 9. Ripped people off 10. Abused the same way I was abused.
31. What things have I done to maintain my addiction that went completely against all my beliefs and values?
Jesus Christ! Isn’t this a little redundant to step one question 30?
32. How does my personality change when I'm acting out on my addiction? (For example: Do I become arrogant? Self-centered? Mean-tempered? Passive to the point where I can't protect myself? Manipulative? Whiny?)
Different drugs do different things to me, but some of these personality changes are, 1. Demoralization 2. Cocky 3. Loud 4. Arrogant. 5. Self-Centered 6 Slutty 7. Sexually passive, 8. Manipulative 9. Suicidal, 10. Depressed 11. Lonely 12 helpless 13. Hopeless 14. Whiny 15. Bitchy
33. Do I manipulate other people to maintain my addiction? How?
I lie, cheat and steal from them. I lie about taking pills, or needing them, or having a problem with them.
34. Have I tried to quit using and found that I couldn't?
35. Have I quit using on my own and found that my life was so painful without drugs that my abstinence didn't last very long?
36. What were these times like?
These times, I was bored and miserable out of my mind. I was treating life like a chore. I was lonely and depressed. I tried filling this void up with men only to find that once they knew me, they usually weren’t interested in anything more than just sex.
37. How has my addiction caused me to hurt myself or others?
I can’t begin to put into to words the horrors that I know will accompany me to my grave. Things I’ve done, people I’ve hurt, that no amends can erase. I knew long ago that this road would be long. Too bad that voice that said so wasn’t very strong. There’s a fungus in my soul that grows larger with each evil deed. There’s a monster inside me that demands to feed. I’ve been cut, bruised, beaten, humiliated, degraded, spit on, discarded, and laughed at. All of these things should have been clues, but I was a doormat. You could rape me, if you’d hold me after. Somehow drugs could even drown out your laughter. I hate you for not loving me; I hate me more because who would love me? Who could?
The First Step asks us to admit two things: one, that we are powerless over our addiction; and two, that our lives have become unmanageable. Actually, we would be hard pressed to admit one and not the other. Our unmanageability is the outward evidence of our powerlessness. There are two general types of unmanageability: outward unmanageability, the kind that can be seen by others; and inner, or personal, unmanageability.
Outward unmanageability is often identified by such things as arrests, job losses, and family problems. Some of our members have been incarcerated. Some have never been able to sustain
any kind of relationship for more than a few months. Some of us have been cut off from our families, asked never again to contact them.
Inner or personal unmanageability is often identified by unhealthy or untrue belief Systems about ourselves, the world we live in, and the people in our lives. We may believe we're worthless. We may believe that the world revolves around us -not just that it should, but that it does. We may believe that it isn't really our job to take care of ourselves; someone else should do that. We may believe that the responsibilities the average person takes on as a matter of course are just too large a burden for us to bear. We may over or under react to events in our lives. Emotional volatility is often one of the most obvious ways in which we can identify personal unmanageability
38. What does unmanageability mean to me?
When I was swallowing pills my life was pretty manageable, as compared to the time I invested in crack cocaine. But some things about my recent past that prove unmanageability to me are:
a. I couldn’t quit taking pills, if I had more I swallowed more until I went to sleep worried that I wasn’t going to wake up, and vomiting the next morning.
b. I’d spend money I didn’t have on pills
c. I’d commit felonies by using multiple doctors a month.
d. I’d lie to doctors
e. I’d miss work to go to the doctor
f. I’d shun my kids
g. I’d avoid my responsibilities, such as watching my kids, or cleaning my house.
h. I’d bite my tongue and be a doormat, so my x boyfriend would give me pills.
i. I let him control the kids and the house, even though his way of doing so was very ****** up.
j. I didn’t do a good job at work, and ultimately ****** up a new position I had earned.
k. Didn’t pay my bills, electricity got shut off, I got evicted from my apartment
l. Didn’t watch or feed my kids, I ended up sending them to my mothers
m. Wrecked my car drunk on night, and never even fixed the tires on it (because all my money was for crack
n. Ashamed and humiliated myself to get crack
39. Have I ever been arrested or had legal trouble as a result of my addiction?
Yes, I have been arrested 3 times for public intoxication, and once for a DWI.
40. Have I ever done anything I could have been arrested for if only I was caught? What have those things been?
Yes, Selling, using, possessing, and growing drugs, prostitution, child-neglect, child endangerment. Robbery, Theft, Assault.
41. What trouble have I had at work or school because of my addiction?
I quit college because of my addiction. I messed up the respect my boss had for me, and messed up a position that I had earned with hard work
42. What trouble have I had with my family as a result of my addiction?
My mom and my sisters have both told me that I was ****** up and threatened to take my kids away from me. I’ve hurt my kids, especially the older one pretty deeply. I’ve cheated on my X’s because of my addiction
43. What trouble have I had with my friends as a result of my addiction
Well as a result of my addiction, or my personality or a little of both, I don’t have many friends today. The friends I did have were just using buddies.
44. Do I insist on having my own way?
Yes at times, I don’t feel right unless I’m in control.
45. What effect has my insistence had on my relationships?
I argue, and nag a lot, I’m not happy unless things are going my way, then I’m still not happy. My relationships never work out, maybe that’s why.
46. Do I consider the needs of others? Sometimes What effect has my lack of consideration had on my relationships? I’ve hurt some people pretty bad. I’ve been cruel, selfish, sarcastic, I’ve deeply betrated someone’s trust. I’ve used people and discarded them when I got tired of them. I’ve abused and battered their self-esteem.
47. Do I accept responsibility for my life and my actions?
Yes and no, I’m starting to learn how to quit blaming others for my problems. Delving deep into my core pain, I realized that I caused most of it. I made the choices that kept me active in my addiction and all the ‘reasons’ I had were just empty excuses that I manufactured. I used drugs; I tricked myself into using drugs. I accept responsibility now for being stagnant in my career. I accept responsibility for the mistakes I’ve made as a parent. I accept responsibility for making my life get better; I can’t just sit around and wait for it to happen.
48. Am I able to carry out my daily responsibilities without becoming overwhelmed?
No I get very mad, very fast at my kids. I scream and yell at them, and threaten them with violence. I get stressed out about finances a lot. If something is bothering me, I’ll obsess about it for hours on end until its’ resolved.
50. How has this affected my life?
I’m mean to my kids. In my desperation, I give into my disease. I’ve given up on a lot of things. I’ve shirked my responsibilities, this not only affects my self-esteem, but it could have a negative affect on my kids, because now they may grow up messy, and they may mirror my bad habits, or may deal with life, the way I dealt with it. I have ill prepared for life’s problems because of my lack of planning.
51. Do I fall apart the minute things don't go according to plan?
Not really, if things don’t go according to plan, I’m usually ok. I don’t like being late, and can get really frantic about it, but as for falling apart... No.
52. How has this affected my life? -NA
53... Do I treat every challenge as a personal insult?
No. How has this affected my life? NA
51. Do I maintain a crisis mentality, responding to every situation with panic?
No. How has this affected my life? NA
52. Do I ignore signs that something may be seriously wrong with my health or with my children, thinking things will work out somehow? Describe.
Yes, Jaden has a cavity right now, that’s almost all the way to his gums. I’ve been having breathing problems for almost 2 months now (I’m an HD survivor) Speaking of the Hodgkin’s Disease, I waited until I was in extremely bad shape, before I ever sought treatment for my cancer, even though I knew something was wrong. This affected my life because I could have died from Cancer. I’m not sure if I thought that it was going to go away, and I know Jaden’s cavity isn’t going to go away, I guess it’s more of a ‘don’t sweat the small **** and it’s all small **** kind of thing” it’s easy for me to look the other way, and avoid my responsibilities.
53. When in real danger, have I ever been either indifferent to that danger or somehow unable to protect myself as a result of my addiction? Describe.
Yes I’ve put myself in danger by going to peoples houses that I didn’t know. Any one those people could have hurt me. I’ve kept myself in dangerous relationships. I’ve used drugs not knowing what they were, or what they would do to me. I used drugs knowing that they could kill me. I abused the same drugs I saw an acquaintance die from. I’ve driven under the influence and wrecked my car. I’ve had passengers in the car with me while I was doing this.
53. Have I ever harmed someone as a result of my addiction? Describe.
I was really mean to my X boyfriend Tyler. I continually abused him. I’ve neglected my children because of my addiction. I’ve stole from and lied to well-meaning people. I’ve verbally, mentally and physically abused my children. I’ve taken my boss to human resources because of my inability to accept that I messed up. Because it was his fault, not mine. I’ve abandoned people when they needed me. I’ve unfairly thrust my responsibilities on my sister or my mom, and put them through a bunch of stress. I’ve said hurtful things to many people. I’ve gotten in fights and beat people up. I’ve verbally abused police officers while I was in jail. I’ve lashed out at my family members, my mom, my grandma.
54. Do I have temper tantrums or react to my feelings in other ways that lower my self-respect or sense of dignity? Describe.
Yes, I scream and yell at my kids all the time.
55. Did I take drugs or act out on my addiction to change or suppress my feelings? What was I trying to change or suppress?
I didn’t like the emptiness, and guilt I felt. I was running from my past, and trying to change the way I felt every second of every day. I didn’t like the stress of life, or the way it seemed to snowball me. I could never get ahead it seemed.
Reservations are places in our program that we have reserved for relapse. They may be built around the idea that we can retain a small measure of control, something like, "Okay, I accept that I can't control my using, but I can still sell drugs, can't I?" Or we may think we can remain friends with the people we used with or bought drugs from. We may think that certain parts of the program don't apply to us. We may think there's something we just can't face clean-a serious illness, for instance, or the death of a loved one - and plan to use if it ever happens. We may think that after we've accomplished some goal, made a certain amount of money, or been clean for a certain number of years, then we'll be able to control our using. Reservations are usually tucked away in the back of our minds; we are not fully conscious of them. It is essential that we expose any reservations we may have and cancel them, right here, right now.
Have I accepted the full measure of my disease?
56. Do I think I can still associate with the people connected with my addiction?
No Can I still go to the places where I used? No. Do I think it's wise to keep drugs or paraphernalia around, just to "remind myself" or test my recovery? No If so, why? -NA
57. Is there something I think I can't get through clean, some event that might happen that will be so painful that I'll have to use to survive the hurt?
I don’t know, I hope not, I guess it’s always a possibility, I always said if anything happened to one of my kids, I’d find the fastest way to kill myself. Maybe if my children died I’d use. I hope not though.
58. Do I think that with some amount of clean time, or with different life circumstances, I'd be able to control my using? No
59. What reservations am I still holding on to?
That I can still drink and control it or smoke pot without relapsing on dangerous drugs. That I’m not an addict. That I don’t need NA. That no one likes me. That it all really doesn’t matter anyway.
There's a huge difference between resignation and surrender. Resignation is what we feel when we've realized we're addicts but haven't yet accepted recovery as the solution to our problem. Many of us found ourselves at this point long before coming to Narcotics Anonymous. We may have thought that it was our destiny to be addicts, to live and die in our addiction. Surrender, on the other hand, is what happens after we've accepted the First Step as something that is true for us and have accepted that recovery is the solution. We don't want our lives to be the way they have been. We don't want to keep feeling the way we've been feeling.
60. What am I afraid of about the concept of surrender, if anything?
I guess surrender scares me because of the amount of doubt I still have in God. If I surrender, I’m scared of a failure that will make it that much harder to surrender again. If I surrender I’m scared of being dependant.
61. What convinces me that I can't use successfully anymore?
I’ve tried to quit, and couldn’t. I’ve completely flushed my life down the toilet (a few times actually!) I’ve hurt people I loved, I’ve hurt my self-esteem, my self physically, put myself in danger, acted insane. Been to jail, lied cheated, stole, prostituted. Lost jobs, lost people, had to live without my children. Went hungry, stayed sick, and lived without electricity in the cold. My disease is strong, tricky and progressive and will never leave me alone. No matter how wise I think I am.
62. Do I accept that I'll never regain control, even after a long period of abstinence? Yes
63. Can I begin my recovery without a complete surrender?
Yes, I think I am surrendering more and more everyday. But the minute, I stop surrendering and take my will back, my recovery stops and the beginning of my relapse starts.
64. What would my life be like if I surrendered completely?
I think my life would be better, and I’d be happier, less stressed out.
65. Can I continue my recovery without complete surrender? I can continue, but it is dangerous to do so without surrender. I think surrender is a daily task, and is the most important thing I can do with my life.
In the First Step; we will focus on honesty, open-mindedness, willingness, humility, and acceptance.
The practice of the principle of honesty from the First Step starts with admitting the truth about our addiction, and continues with the practice of honesty on a daily basis. When we say "I'm an addict" in a meeting, it may be the first truly honest thing we've said in a long time. We begin to be able to be honest with ourselves and, consequently, with other people.
If I've been thinking about using or acting out on my addiction in some other way, have I shared it with my sponsor or told anyone else?
66. Have I stayed in touch with the reality of my disease, no matter how long I've had freedom from active addiction?
Yes, and no, I am still in denial in some aspects that I’ve mentioned earlier. I still lease space in my head for the part of me that assures me I can use successfully.
67. Have I noticed that, now that I don't have to cover up my addiction, I no longer need to lie like I did? Yes
68. Do I appreciate the freedom that goes along with that? Yes
69. In what ways have I begun to be honest in my recovery?
If something is bothering me, I share it with someone or I write it down. I no longer have to live in fear of what people will think about me standing up for myself. I’m starting to share more in meetings. I’m honest when I do. I have honestly accepted my past, and accepted responsibility for the monstrous things I have done. I’ve honestly reflected on what made me do these things. I’ve honestly forgiven myself for my evil deeds, but then again, I must continue to forgive myself whenever I think about them.
Practicing the principle of open-mindedness found in Step One mostly involves being ready to believe that there might be another way to live and being willing to try that way. It doesn't matter that we can't see every detail of what that way might be, or that it may be totally unlike anything we've heard about before; what matters is that we don't limit ourselves or our thinking. Sometimes we may hear NA members saying things that sound totally crazy to us, things like "surrender to win" or suggestions to pray for someone we resent. We demonstrate open-mindedness when we don't reject these things without having tried them.
70. What have I heard in recovery that I have trouble believing? I don’t know
71. Have I asked my sponsor or the person I heard say it, to explain it to me? No
72. In what ways am I practicing open-mindedness?
I’m trying to not be so judgmental. I’m trying to have blind faith, and to feed and nature my faith in God. I’m learning to listen to my conscience, and to trust the voice of God in my life. I’m learning to trust my decisions, and to believe that everything is going to get better. I’m trying to work on my isolation issues (but I need to try harder) I am learning that pain shared is pain lessened, and I’m really listening to what people say in the meetings. I am learning to recognize when I do the right thing, and the wrong thing.
The principle of willingness contained in the First Step can be practiced in a variety of ways. When we first begin to think about recovery, many of us either don't really believe it's possible for us or just don't understand how it will work, but we go ahead with the First Step anyway-and that's our first experience with willingness. Taking any action that will help our recovery shows willingness: going to meetings early and staying late, helping set up meetings, getting other NA members' phone numbers and calling them.
73. Am I willing to follow my sponsor's direction?
My sponsor isn’t working out for me. Theoretically I would listen to her suggestion, weigh it in my mind, and if I thought it was best for my recovery, then yes I would.
74. Am I willing to go to meetings regularly? Yes, I’ve made 43 meetings in 43 days so far.
75. Am I willing to give recovery my best effort?
Yes and No In what ways? I need a sponsor, and I need to build a support group. There seems to be something inside of me that is scared of rejection, or of making the wrong choice that won’t let me get past these obstacles. On the other hand I’ve worked the program pretty hard since I’ve been in recovery. I’ve read the basic text twice. I read and post everyday on recovery forums. I’m reading a faith-based book by Joyce Meyer. I found a sponsor and was calling her everyday. When I wanted to use, I called someone. I will do whatever I should. I don’t know that I’ve ever given anything 100%. But I’ll work as hard on this as I have on anything. I’ll work harder, for longer.
The principle of humility, so central to the First Step, is expressed most purely in our surrender. Humility is most easily identified as an acceptance of which we truly are - neither worse nor better than we believed we were when we were using, just human.
76. Do I believe that I'm a monster who has poisoned the whole world with my addiction? Do I believe that my addiction is utterly inconsequential to the larger society around me? Or something in between? Definatly something in between. I don’t know that I’ve done the world as a whole any great harm. The person I’ve harmed the most is myself. I’m sure that something I’ve said or done in the past has affected someone negatively, and that my children have been negatively affected also. There’s nothing I can do about the past now, all I can do is try to make tomorrow better for them, and hopefully I can help more people than I’ve hurt.
77. Do I have a sense of my relative importance within my circle of family and friends? I’m important to my children In society as whole? I’m important at my job, and when I’m coaching baseball What is that sense? Insignificant in society.
78. How am I practicing the principle of humility in connection with this work on the First Step?
To practice the principle of acceptance, we must do more than merely admit that we're addicts. When we accept our addiction, we feel a profound inner change that is underscored by a rising sense of hope. We also begin to feel a sense of peace. We come to terms with our addiction, with our recovery, and with the meaning those two realities will come to have in our lives. We don't dread a future of meeting attendance, sponsor contact, and step work; instead, we begin to see recovery as a precious gift, and the work connected with it as no more trouble than other routines of life.
79. Have I made peace with the fact that I'm an addict?
No, I still feel bad about it, and feel like I was cheated because I grew up in a dysfunctional addicted family.
80. Have I made peace with the things I'll have to do to stay clean?
No, I’m scared of Step 5, scared of showing this to my new sponsor. Scared of getting a new sponsor, scared of being rejected by the women in this program. Scared, scared, and scared.
81. How is acceptance of my disease necessary for my continued recovery?
If I don’t accept it, then I’ll believe that I don’t have to do all this work, that it will be as easy to quit everything as it was to quit my 9th grade boyfriend.
As we get ready to go on to Step Two, we'll probably find ourselves wondering if we've worked Step One well enough. Are we sure it's time to move on? Have we spent as much time as others may have spent on this step? Have we truly gained an understanding of this step?
Many of us have found it helpful to write about our understanding of each step as we prepare to move on.
82. How do I know it's time to move on? I do not.
83. What is my understanding of Step One?
I am a powerless addict, and my in active addict my life quickly spirals out of control.
84. How has my prior knowledge and experience affected my work on this step? I don’t know
we’ve come to a place where we see the results of our old way of life and accept that a new way is called for, but we probably don't yet see how rich with possibilities the life of recovery is. It may be enough just to have freedom from active addiction right now, but we will soon find that the void we have been filling with drugs or other obsessive and compulsive behaviors begs to be filled. Working the rest of the steps will fill that void. Next on our journey toward recovery is Step Two.