I don’t know about you, but I really struggled with the spiritual basis of the Twelve Step program.
Fortunately for me, and I suspect for many of us, I was desperate.
And I was also hearing people tell my story. And for the first time, I knew I wasn’t alone.
I understand today that that experience right there IS an experience of a Power greater than myself, but I didn’t see it that way at the time.
So I want to talk about one of my blocks, just in case it could be helpful to you.
My biggest block to the spiritual basis for this program was my relationship to power. More specifically, this block was my experience with people in my life who had power over me.
Needless to say, those people did NOT use the power they had over me in loving ways.
Which meant that coming to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity was a huge leap. It was a chasm I struggled for a long time to cross.
If you’re facing this chasm, here are some suggestions for making the leap.
- Pay specific attention to people who do loving things for you.
- Write that shiz down!
- Collect all these notes in a box, or keep them all in a notebook.
Do the same thing for any kind of small blessings, and of course big miracles, that happen in your day-to-day life. Pay attention to them. Write these occurrences down. Collect them all in that same box or notebook.
Then regularly go back to that box and read them aloud.
This practice is what I call a God file. And it does wonders the for the negative subconscious messages that sabotage the spiritual work we’re trying to do in this program.
(In fact, as your coach, it’s important for me to insist on the reading aloud part, especially if you can do it with emotion – that’s what makes it so beautiful for reprogramming the subconscious!)
If you’ve ever heard of a Happiness Jar, this is a similar concept. But it’s important to call it a God File – or Higher Power File if you prefer because we’re using it to learn to trust that Power.
So, now I’d like to hear from you. What actions have you taken to help you better trust in a Higher Power? Share them in the comments below. I read every one.
One of my favorite quotes is “Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone,” by Robert Allen.
Which means, I have to accept being uncomfortable if I want to change and grow.
The challenge for me is, the discomfort triggers fear.
As a coach, I read A LOT about personal growth, and one of the books I read recently gave me a very helpful insight on the distinction between discomfort and fear.
The book is called Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead, by Tara Mohr.
In one of her chapters Tara Mohr draws on Judaic scripture and explains that the Hebrew Bible uses two different words for fear: pachad and yirah.
The distinction between these two fears can be very helpful. (more…)
You know the saying: “Waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
And I know many of us are very, VERY, familiar with that feeling.
After having lived with so much chaos and trauma, it can be really hard to trust the calm.
It’s an attitude that can be a real challenge to shift because the distance from where you are to trusting calm and good things can feel so great.
So here’s a quick suggestion that can help you make the shift. It’s based on the tested principle of taking things one step at a time.
Rather than expect yourself to trust the calm, and to feel comfortable when things are going well, simply ask yourself any forward looking question that starts with “What if…?” (more…)
Do you struggle to believe God will help you with your challenges?
I sure did. Sometimes I still do.
But my struggles went beyond the Second Step, “Came to believe a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
After spending a fair amount of time in the rooms, I was no longer struggling to believe God could help me; I was struggling to believe God would.
This is what terminal uniqueness looked like for me: God would help you, but he’s not going to help me.
My reasoning went something like this: “If God was really going to help me, why hasn’t he already?” (more…)
As anyone who uses Facebook has seen, the tributes to Prince started showing up fast and furious the minute he passed.
One really spoke to me in particular, and that one pointed out how Prince had such amazing success against all odds.
Obviously, I was not alone in being really shaken by Prince’s death, but with that post, I understood what was really stirred up in me.
I suspect that as people affected by addiction or the family disease of addiction, we all know something about the odds being against us.
The obstacles in these circumstances, or in the face of any kind of trauma, are immense.
And I could really see a parallel here.
It’s easy to forget what Prince started with. A 5’2″ effeminate black man born to a broken family with very little means in the rough and tumble neighborhood of northeast Minneapolis.
If the circumstances were any indication, this man was not supposed to succeed.
One of my biggest challenges with trusting my Higher Power is accepting when I don’t get what I want.
Let me give you an example. I have struggled my whole life with procrastination. It was bad, really really bad. And man, the shame that went with it was enormous. Seriously, my self-esteem was just getting crushed by this defect because I truly believed I’d never amount to anything because I struggled so much to get the things done that I needed to get done.
Work was piling up. Laundry was piling up. Dirt was piling up in my house. Phone calls and emails weren’t being answered, I just felt so overwhelmed.
I just couldn’t stay on top of any of it.
And OMG, I did everything I could to end the procrastination. I did counseling, I read books on productivity and planning, I’d create study groups when I was in grad school.
And nothing changed.
It even seemed that not even the program could touch it.
I was really frustrated and really pissed at God.
I mean, I’d looked at that 7th Step Prayer and I was pretty damn sure that procrastination was getting in the way of my usefulness, so why wouldn’t God take it away?
I talked with a program friend about my procrastination and she said two priceless things to me. One was a firm belief she had about God, the second was a question.