For most of my sober time I have not really been able to identify with the Steps as AA has laid them out. As a Bipolar person with ton’s of PTSD, here is how using the Steps makes sense to me today. I don’t apply then to drinking anymore as 34 years of recovery from alcohol has pretty taken this off the table. Now I have the ‘left-overs’ from the drinking to deal with… my ugly, messed up feelings that make life so hard for me.
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Step 1: Get a deep realization that I can’t control any of my royally screwed up feelings and my life is really, really screwed up because of them. Know to the bone that I absolutely can’t control them. Going through great pain is usually involved here. The pain coming from no longer running (through addictions and obsessions) from these crazy feelings anymore. Surrendering to having them. Allowing them to just be with me while being open, honest and authentic about them to others who I know will be supportive in my trial.
Step 2: Reach for a God of love to a point where I can begin to trust Him to fix these messed up feelings I can not control myself, and that are making me crazy in the head.
Step 3: Get the hell out of the way and let God (and only God) handle these feelings, with wisdom, power, and ability that only He has. I know I’m doing this right when I have a feeling of being deeply, deeply relaxed. Letting go of all worries, about my messed up-ness. Mentally handing all my bad crap over to Him for fixing. Deep breathing is part of the deep letting go process. Fully accepting of all He does – and doesn’t do – to me.
Step 4: Looked at what these feelings and self-messages are. But not so that I can take over God’s work. Realizing that He will always be the main man as far as fixing me goes. So that I can see what He has fixed in me.
Step 5: Self explanatory (?) But not in a co-dependent way.
Step 6: Continued not obsessing or addicting to anything in order to bottom out in pain, and thus become willing – and humble – enough to offer myself fully to Him for fixing.
Step 7: Made it official by, on my knees in humility and giving up, ask Him to “fix me however I need to be fixed” with absolutely no agenda in mind about what I think needs fixing. Doing this often to remind myself that He is in complete charge of my healing and not me at all. Leaving the defects He knows I need to be fixed entirely up to Him. Developing great patience is necessary here as my particular problems are usually hard to get to the bottom of and rooted out.
Step 8 and 9 (???)
Step 10: do what I can to participate in my recovery by apologizing when I discover I’ve done something that hurt someone. Asking others for forgiveness… if they are willing to give it. If they are not willing to forgive, continue to do my best to connect to God in order to make living amends as I can’t do this myself – See Step 3
Step 11: Where the rubber meets the road. Start and maintain a relationship with this God of love so that I can continue to develop this trust in His ability and willingness to fix me. Do whatever feels right to make the connection (meditation / writing / singing / other). This will exercise my ‘spiritual reaching’ muscles which have atrophied due to lack of use as I continually reached only for earthly things to fix me. Deep relaxation shows I am doing this connected surrender ‘right’. Writing down the crazy feelings and thoughts can help a great deal.
Step 12: Continue doing all these things as a regular way of life. Give to others the best I can while always reaching to this God for help to assist others without being co-dependent with them. Being honest & authentic with them; never telling them what to do, but telling them only what I did in a similar situation. Practice this honesty and authenticity as much as possible so as to practicing not participating in co-dependency… a very tricky obsession God must handle, so as to overcome it.