Recovery from Alcoholism and Codependence
"Besides the invaluable gift of sobriety that AA has given to millions of Alcoholics, it also started a revolution in Spiritual consciousness.
The dramatic success and expansion of AA facilitated the spread of a radically revolutionary idea which has traditionally, in Western Civilization, been considered heresy. This was not a new idea but rather a reintroduction and clarification of an old idea, coupled with a formula for practical application of the concept into day-to-day human life experience.
This revolutionary idea was that an unconditionally Loving Higher Power exists with whom the individual being can personally communicate. A Higher Power that is so powerful that it has no need to judge the humans it created because this Universal Force is powerful enough to ensure that everything unfolds perfectly from a Cosmic Perspective.
This reintroduction of the revolutionary concept of an accessible Loving God has been clarified to specifically include the concept that the individual being can define this Universal Force according to his/her own understanding, and can develop a personal, intimate relationship with this Higher Power.
In other words, no one is needed as an intermediary between you and your creator. No outside agency has the right to impose upon you its definition of God. . . .
The Twelve Step program of AA provides a practical program for accessing Spiritual power in dealing with day-to-day human life. A formula for integrating the Spiritual into the physical. Even though some of the steps, as originally written, contain shaming and abusive wording, the Twelve Step process and the ancient Spiritual principles underlining it are invaluable tools in helping the individual being start down, and stay on, a path aligned with Truth.
It is out of the Twelve Step Recovery movement that our understanding of the dysfunctional nature of civilization has evolved. It is out of the Alcoholic Recovery movement that the term "Codependent" has emerged."
In late December of 2008, as I was working on some of the new sites we are launching in relationship to Robert Burney Live.com, I decided to make some changes in the index page for the Alcoholism and Twelve Step Recovery section of my web site that will be reflected in this home page of twelvestepmiracle.com I am adding an excerpt from an article that I published in November of 2008 on the Law of Attraction, because in the first part of that web article I talk about the Twelve Step recovery process. I thought that this excerpt was very appropriate for the home page of the site on which I share my writing about recovery and the miracle of the 12 steps. What follows is that excerpt.
"On January 3rd of 2009 I will have 25 years in twelve step recovery - a quarter century clean and sober. An amazing miracle. I have scheduled one of my Intensive workshops for that day - because it is the Saturday after New Years and fits into my practice of scheduling the workshops on Holiday weekends. When I discovered that Saturday was the 3rd, I smiled and took it as a perfect part of the Divine Plan. Perhaps some of you will join me on that day to celebrate that anniversary.;-)
Anyway, when I first got into 12 step recovery in January 1984, I didn't want to hear anything about God or anything that sounded religious because of the shaming religion that I had grown up in. It was the twelve step concept of a 'Higher Power of my own understanding' that made it possible for me to start learning how to live life based upon Spiritual Principles - aka Metaphysical Law.
"Basically, the reason that life as it is experienced by humans is so messed up, is because we have been dancing to the wrong music. We have had our dance of life defined by fear and shame, by lack, scarcity, and separation. The Twelve Step process helps us to change our relationship with life and self - it helps us learn to dance with music that is aligned with Love and Joy and Truth. That is what is so miraculous and awesome about the twelve step recovery process - it helps us to enjoy our dance.
The True meaning and purpose of life is Spiritual in my opinion. I know that when I started living life from that perspective - the perspective I learned from working a 12 step program - was the first time that life made any sense to me. The twelve steps work to help us align with what I believe is Metaphysical Truth. The basic steps of that dance are 1, 2, 3, - and once we start to get into the rhythm of that Spiritual dance we start to live life in alignment with the Metaphysical Truth contained in the Serenity Prayer. It is the beginning of transformation. It is the path home to Love."
Unfortunately there is still wide misunderstanding about the 12 step programs - including people who claim it is a cult. I received a hate e-mail last week (October 2008) from someone who said I should be taken out and shot for misleading people - and included a link to a site that claims Alcoholics Anonymous is cult. It is sad that someone has been so wounded in their experience of AA that they would send this kind of profanity laced threat. Unfortunately the way the 12 steps are practiced in AA - and sometimes in other 12 step programs - can manifest in ways that are not aligned with the Spiritual Principles that are the True foundation the 12 step process.
"The underlining dynamic of codependency is black and white thinking. Drinking or not drinking is a black and white issue. Thus many recovering alcoholics can stop drinking while still empowering the black and white thinking of codependency. Many recovering alcoholics are rigid in their perspective and don't ever do the emotional healing of their childhood wounds because they tell themselves it is not necessary to sobriety - and they are scared to death of their own emotions on a subconscious level. Some of the most wounded codependents I know have 30 or 40 years sober and have never addressed their emotional issues - while justifying their rigidity as doing AA the "right" way.
According to this "old time" AA perspective, "outside issues" should not be discussed in AA meetings. There are many suffering codependents in AA who are not open minded enough to realize that Bill Wilson - one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous - would have loved to have had the tools we have available to us today. He would have run to an Adult Children of Alcoholics or Co-Dependents Anonymous meeting where he could have found the roots of the depression which tormented him. The suffering codependents in AA are terrified that if they don't follow a rigid formula - the "right" way - in their recovery, they will end up drinking again."
There are also people who don't understand the concepts of powerlessness and surrender - which in the 12 step process are applied in a way that helps people align with Metaphysical Law.
"Twelve step recovery is a program of empowerment. Many people erroneously assume that the fact that first step involves admitting powerlessness means that 12 step recovery disempowers people. The Truth is exactly the opposite.
It was only when I admitted that I was powerless to control my drinking that I gained the power to stop drinking. As long as I was trying to control my drinking out of ego and will power, I was powerless to stop drinking alcoholically. It was when I opened up to getting help from a power greater than myself that I gained the power to transform my life. . . .
. . . . If I had been told in January 1984, at the beginning of my recovery from alcoholism, that the only way I could quit killing myself with alcohol was to accept the standard version of "God" - I would never have gotten sober. I would have been dead long ago. But what I was told, was that I needed to find a concept of a Higher Power that worked for me - a Higher Power of my own understanding. That was what saved my life - the revolutionary concept that I could develop my own idea of a Higher Power, and develop a personal relationship with that Higher Power that did not have to conform to what anyone else believed."
As I state so often in my writing and in my book, in order to change our relationship with anything, we need to change our perspective of it.
"Perspective is a key to Recovery. I had to change and enlarge my perspectives of myself and my own emotions, of other people, of God and of this life business. Our perspective of life dictates our relationship with life. We have a dysfunctional relationship with life because we were taught to have a dysfunctional perspective of this life business, dysfunctional definitions of who we are and why we are here."
"The thing that made it possible for me to start getting honest with myself and to start being willing to surrender was the possibility that there might be a Loving Higher Power. When I first came to the program I would not even use the word God - and thought that these people must be a bunch of religious fanatics. I wanted nothing to do with God because I had been Spiritually, emotionally, and mentally abused in childhood with a concept of God that was vengeful and punishing. I had my sexuality abused by a shame based religion that taught me that God would send me to burn in hell forever for even thinking about sex.
Is it any wonder that I didn't want to surrender to God as I understood 'him.' "
I count my conscious codependency recovery as starting on the day that I realized that my relationship with myself and life was still being dictated subconsciously by the image of God as I had been led to understand 'him' in childhood - even though I had personally discarded that concept consciously in my late teens. The religion I was subjected to in childhood taught me that life was about sin and punishment - and I was a sinner who deserved to be punished. (The Story of "Joy to You & Me") That day (June 3rd, 1986) was the day that I really got on a gut level something that I had heard and known intellectually - that the Law that governs life is cause and effect, not sin and punishment. That was the day that I made a conscious decision to do whatever it took to change the subconscious and emotional programming that had caused me to live life in a really painful, unloving way.
Given the freedom to search for a concept of a Higher Power that was Loving and on my side - instead of lurking in the shadows waiting to punish me for being human - started me on a quest to find out how there could possibly be a Loving Higher Power in the Universe."
to alcoholism, and the principles and tools of the twelve step process.
Alcoholism and Codependence - Two Fatal Diseases