Steps to Serenity

Steps to Serenity

Here are different steps that I have found helpful from a book that was shared with me. I would like to  share these steps, one step each month.

Step 1

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol.. Our lives had become unmanageable.
Admitting powerlessness runs contrary to many our cultural messages that say, "Be strong"! Be the master of your own destiny! The admission of powerlessness also conflicts with the addictive message becase the addiction itsef tells us, "you have a high tolerance! Use more of me! You can handle it!
Nevertheless, the central paradox of step 1 is that the admission of complete defeat permits a life-transforming victory through recovery. The admission of pwerlessness over an  addiction acturlly becomes the foundation for the strength to eventually overcome the dependance. Admitting powerlessness is absolutely essential to breaking the addiction cycle, which is made up in 5 points.
1) Pain
2) Reaching out to an addictive agent, such as work, food, sex, alcohol, or dependent relationships to solve our pain.
3. Temorary anaesthesia
4) Negative Concequences
5) Shame and guilt, which result in more pain or low self-esteem.

For example, the workaholic who has low self-esteem (pain begins to overwork (addictive agent) which resuts in praise, success, and achievement (relief). However, as a rule, family relationships and his personal relaitonship with God suffer terribly because of preoccupation with work (negative consequeences) . The result is an even greater sense of shame and quilt because of inadequacies, both real and imagined, which brings him back to point 1 in the a ddiction cycle. Now the workaholic feels compelled to work even harder to overcome his guilt. Understanding the addiction cycle is important because it helps explain why the admission of powerlessness is the first step to recovery. Otherwide, we remain caught. If we rely on will power along, then the only thing we know to do is to escalate our addiction to get out of the pain. Step 1 calls us to do less-to yeild, to surrender, to let go.
2 factors that keep the addiction cycle going are:
1) The fear of withdrawal 
2) Denial
First, in order to take step 1, we have to move beyond the rear of stepping off the addiction cycle. We may fear withdrawl and the pain that goes with it.  Doctors historically thought that withdrawal in drug addiction was maily biochemical and physical. It is true that when the heroin addict stops taking heroin, for example, the mind and body literally rebel as they struggle to restore balance. However addictionologists now believe that the emotional and spiritual components of withdrawal from addiction are of far greater signifiance than the physiological demensions. The workaholic, for example goes through withdrawal when he tries to cut back on work activities. The real fear in this case is probably the emotional fear of losing control. The paradox of Step 1 is that the act of surrendering addictive control will actually bring us back into the states of healthy control.
Second, we have to break out of denial about our addictions. Denial is a cloak of self-deception that blinds us and shields us from an honest assessment of our own dependencies. Some of the common denial messages with which we may delude ourselves are." I can stop any time I want to." "Things aren't that bad." "I only practice my addiction because I want too." "When things get better(or worse) then I'll quit." We may even project blame onto someone else, saying, " You make me do what I do!" All of these messaged deny the force the addictions impose on our lives.
Breaking our of demial often requires a painful encounter with the consequences of our addiction, called " Hitting bottom." Hitting bottom forces us to admit our powerlessness over our addictive lifestyes. The three major bottoms we hit are:
1)A physical bottom
2 An emotional bottom
3)A spiritual bottom
Common specific examples of "bottoms" that precipitate recovery include:
1) A marital crisis
2) A physical health crisis (as in thecase of the workaholic who suffers a heart attack)
3)Confrontation by a family member or loved one.
4) Vocational or life-purpose crisis(a pink slip that forces one to look at their addicion)
5) A financial crisis
6) A spiritual crisis, a feeling of alienation from God.
The addiction cycle, as a rule, cannot be broken without yielding to a power outside ourselves. We may have to surrender again and again. As we admit our powerlessness over, not only the primary addiction, but over various other aspects of our lives. We must recognize wehn we are powerless over people. places and situations and learn to let those things go. For example, when we are caught in f reeway traffic, instead of allowing axiety and anger to buld, we admit that we cannot ulter the situation. In even the most trivial issues we face, we must learn to become flexible. We may also find ourselves switching addictions or transferring obsessions, and will need to apply the first step to tesenew dependncies as well.
For codependents, control or lack of it, is central to every aspect of life. As we admit our powerlessness, we embark upon the antidote for our control addiction, an addiction characterized by extreme of both over control and undercontrol. For example, workaholic may overontrol efforts to achieve and accomplish. What tends to be undercontrolled is the quality of spiritual life and the investment of time and emotional intimacy with family members. By admitting powerlessness, he opens the door to allow God to create a healthy, new balance in which he can lessen the compusive contrl excerisized in the work arena. He can then begin to experience greater positive control over his contribution to family relationships and his creation of quality private time.
We should not be fearful that powerlessness will result in passivity. On the contrary, to admit powerlessness is to subordinate our human wills to God's will so that we can become the most effective and potent instruments were created to be.

Use these scriptures to undertand about admitting the unmanageability of our lives:
Matt. 9:36
Romans 7:18-20
Pssalm 6:2-4
Psalm 31:9,10
Psalm 38:1-9
Psalm 44:15,16
Psalm 72:12,13

Taken from 

Jon Rogness
Co-founder of P.P.R.

Step 2

Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

The step two phase "Come to Believe" suggests a process and a progression of faith that evolves over time. A portion of AA's oral tradition defines this as a three-part unfolding. First, "we came" that is, we showed up and stumbled in the door. Second, we "came to" that is, we sobered up, came to our senses, and began to experience emotional sobriety. Third, "we came to believe". We began our real recovery process and our spiritual growth. This style of spiritual growth closely parallels the strong Christian tradition that  each person must come to an individual knowledge of God.

Step 2 is a logical out growth of step 1 because, if in Step 1 we have admitted our own powerlessness, then the next step is to seek a new source of strength or power to take charge focus and to make us sane (well and whole). For some people, spiritual conversation is dramatic as it was for the apostle Paul on the road to Damascu. Foremost, however, it is very gradual. As one grows and matures emotionally, one also grows spiritually.

Before we can welcome in a new Power to restore us to wellness, we will probably have to engage in some emotional and spiritual"house cleaning".
1) We must bring into abstinence or balance all the addictive agents through which we have sought to meet our deepest needs, Money, sex, career, chemicals, anything and everything about which we have become excessive, must be put into proper perspective- not lifted onto a pedestal to be worshipped.
2)We must transcend the god of reason if we have been worshipping God through and exclusively intellectual approach.
3) We must renouce the tendency to play God ourselves. We must grow beyond selfishness, narcissism, and grandiosity.
4)We must also renounce putting other people or human institutions in the roles of gods.

Not only must we be rid of false gods, if we a re looking to the Judeo-Christian God as our higher power, but we may also need to overcome old sources of bitterness toward Him.
1) We may have identified God with an abusive parent.
2) We may have had negative experiences with the church (hypocrisy, bi otry, condemnation).
3) WE may be struggling with a sense that God has failed us-that He has allowed us to become codependent.
4)  We may be angry that God has not instantaneously healed us of our addictive illnesses.

As we commit ourselves to a lifetime of recovery, our starting point may be our recovery literature. And that literature makes valuable contribution toward he opening of spiritual doors. But if we really want to fill the void, if we really want to break down the barriers hindering our progress, we need to turn to the ultimate source of God's word, and discover what the scripture have to tell us. By exploring the Bible, we will learn more about God, we will draw closer to Him, and we will discover more about His will for us.

Use these Scriptures to better understand ab out God's power to restore us to wholeness:
Matthew 12:18-21
Mark 9:23,24
Luke 13: 10-13
John 6:63
John 12:46
Psalm 18:1-3
Psalm 142

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