I relapsed....do I rework the steps?

The 12 Steps are the AA program of recovery from alcoholism.

Re: I relapsed....do I rework the steps?

Postby Stepchild » Mon May 16, 2016 1:59 pm

Patsy© wrote: I don't get it when I hear others sharing with newcomers that ONCE is enough, its the only time we need to do the Steps.


Hey Patsy....I'm curious what you base this on? Is this something your sponsor shared with you?....Or just personal preference?

Because I don't see anywhere in the Big Book where this is ever suggested...Or even discussed. I do see things that would suggest that the first nine steps are a one time deal...Followed with three steps we should practice to maintain and improve on our spiritual condition. I do believe we should redo the steps after a relapse....Starting with the first step. But if you are spiritually fit...I don't really see a need. A few examples from the book...

Almost none of us liked the self-searching, the leveling of our pride, the confession of shortcomings which the process requires for its successful consummation.
page 25

Here are the steps we took...
Page 59

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps
Page 60

These all sound like things we have done...Or have had happen...Resulting in a successful finish. Do you read that differently?

As far as the line from the 12 and 12 goes...

Many A.A.'s go in for annual or semiannual house cleanings.

It's like saying...

Many AA's need a meeting everyday...

That's all fine...But not suggested or required.
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Re: I relapsed....do I rework the steps?

Postby aaforever » Tue May 17, 2016 7:33 pm

You don't have to rework the steps if you attend a meeting you can start on whatever step the group is doing or you can find a sponsor and 'rework' them that way. Since my sponsor had me work the steps by myself first then shared only the one that that I was on depending on how far I was in my stepwork.
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Re: I relapsed....do I rework the steps?

Postby Patsy© » Wed May 18, 2016 12:58 pm

Some of us are concerned about putting new people off when this is mentioned in meetings, as the book says 'at some of these we balked,' and from my own experience and listening to others, it was 4 & 5 we were most afraid of. Then if someone speaks of redoing these, especially if they say every year, well they might more than 'balk,' they might bolt.


The simple truth is this, that when someone wants to get sober, there is nothing we can do or say to stop them. If someone wants drink, there is nothing we can say or do to stop them. I don't worry that they might bolt over anything I share with them. If they do, its what they wanted and if they don't, its what they wanted.
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Re: I relapsed....do I rework the steps?

Postby Patsy© » Wed May 18, 2016 1:19 pm

Stepchild wrote:
Patsy© wrote: I don't get it when I hear others sharing with newcomers that ONCE is enough, its the only time we need to do the Steps.


Hey Patsy....I'm curious what you base this on? Is this something your sponsor shared with you?....Or just personal preference?

Because I don't see anywhere in the Big Book where this is ever suggested...Or even discussed. I do see things that would suggest that the first nine steps are a one time deal...Followed with three steps we should practice to maintain and improve on our spiritual condition. I do believe we should redo the steps after a relapse....Starting with the first step. But if you are spiritually fit...I don't really see a need. A few examples from the book...

Almost none of us liked the self-searching, the leveling of our pride, the confession of shortcomings which the process requires for its successful consummation.
page 25

Here are the steps we took...
Page 59

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps
Page 60

These all sound like things we have done...Or have had happen...Resulting in a successful finish. Do you read that differently?

As far as the line from the 12 and 12 goes...

Many A.A.'s go in for annual or semiannual house cleanings.

It's like saying...

Many AA's need a meeting everyday...

That's all fine...But not suggested or required.



I am basing that on 27 years of continuous sobriety and watching so many people during that time who have gone back out because they tried to do the steps when their mind was not even close to being clear yet and were told that once is enough.

I am not sure what any of those things that you posted has to do with only needing to work the 12 steps once.

In the example from the Twelve and Twelve on page 89 Many A.A.'s go in for annual or semiannual house cleanings. has nothing to do with AA's attending a meeting daily. Meetings are the Fellowship and we can sit in 4 meetings all and night, and still stay a very sick alcoholic.

The 12 Steps are the Program and as it says on page Page 85 in the Big Book: It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.

And yes, there are the maintenance Steps.... but as it says..... many AA's go in for Annual or Semiannual house cleanings. Those are the AA's that I have seen up close and personal, who Live Life on Life's Terms, one day at a time.... Happy, Joyous and Free. Thank God :)
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Re: I relapsed....do I rework the steps?

Postby Brock » Wed May 18, 2016 2:43 pm

The simple truth is this, that when someone wants to get sober, there is nothing we can do or say to stop them.

Someone may want to get sober, and throughout our literature we are reminded to keep it simple, these words were also the last Dr. Bob spoke to Bill, telling him if we don't we 'will louse this thing up.'

In the sixties I was a well respected soccer player, (we call it football), and later a coach. How would one of you Mum's feel if your child wanted to play, and the coach had then running laps around the field, doing dribbling and passing drills instead of letting them play the game and enjoy it. You would be so annoyed with the coach “my child wants to play but you are putting him off with boring drills, making it look so hard to do” you might shout. Then he could say well that's what it takes to be a good player, and he would be absolutely right.

In my experience and that of some others here, who can not get this simple truth driven home to some others, what we say and do can very much influence the chances of others, and I find it very sad that they refuse to see that. Just like the soccer coach should, we can introduce the harder and less fun parts when they start to enjoy the game, in this case the program.

Some people are sitting in a meeting for the first time, nervous, hard seat, bad coffee, looking up at a scroll on the wall, and it says we will tell our darkest secrets to a stranger. Isn't that enough pressure, without some unthinking clown standing up and saying words to the effect that, 'I come to meetings each day and this year I will do my # 5 step again.' Will that person not get the impression that this is what they will be required to do, when in fact the majority of recovered alcoholics don't do those things. Really there is nothing we can do or say to stop them ?

Another point, the 12 & 12 speaks of 'housecleaning' in various steps, assuming they mean on an annual basis we do 4 & 5 or any particular steps for that matter, is guessing at the writers intent. The word 'retreat' also comes in just below the housecleaning idea, where we go for self overhaul and meditation.
I am basing that on 27 years of continuous sobriety and watching so many people during that time who have gone back out because they tried to do the steps when their mind was not even close to being clear yet and were told that once is enough.

I have been around a good few years and have never heard someone tell another that once is enough, also on this forum every contributor has gone out of their way to mention that what any individual does is their own business. I also have seen some go back out, and several have come here to say they have. In almost every case they report letting the spiritual side of their program slide, as was said - “What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.” If anyone believes that maintenance of that condition is dependent on doing the steps over and over, well I have no more words.
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Re: I relapsed....do I rework the steps?

Postby Patsy© » Wed May 18, 2016 3:23 pm

Brock, I got to AA because I had lost the ability to choose to NOT DRINK. And when I came to AA, I came (unbeknownst to me) with the Gift of Desperation, thank God. I heard many things that would have made me run out those doors of AA, even a few days before. I was lost, and had no clue how to stop drinking...so....I stayed!

I have no clue how boring drills or not being allowed to play soccer as a child can possibly be equated with alcoholism.

Yes, keeping it simple is vital. For instance, no where on those scrolls hanging on the wall does it say we will tell our darkest secrets to a stranger. Its been my experience that the truth is pretty simple, and the truth is that there is not one of us in the halls of AA or here at this site, that knows what another drunk needs to hear, how they need to hear it or when they need to hear it. Because that is just not our job, we are simply not that powerful and the truth is that is God's job.

I have been in the halls of AA long enough to have seen many many different ways that drunks reach their hand out, so that they may stay sober and help another alcoholic to achieve sobriety. I may or may not agree with their way of reaching their hand out, but that's not my job, because I have seen those who got sober and are still sober today, who heard what they needed to hear from those who are sober, happy and free, and not willing to co-sign BS.

I have seen some in the halls of AA who were "loved" to death.....literally. I have seen some who had the message of hope passed to them from some pretty tough as nails AA members, and they heard what they needed to hear to put the booze down, and began taking the suggestions for the first time in months or years. I have seen some in the halls of AA who got it the first time, and I have seen some who didn't, and I have attended the funerals of some who simply refused to hear anything at all.

We are not there to get anyone sober, that is simply not possible, no matter what we share. In my experience we reach out to help another alcoholic so that WE ourselves get to walk away sober...whether they do or not!

Yes, its wonderful when the newcomer or any alcoholic WANTS to stop drinking, but there is nothing we can say or do to stop them or to get them drunk.
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Re: I relapsed....do I rework the steps?

Postby Reborn » Wed May 18, 2016 8:48 pm

If we can just stick to what the Big Book says things would be alot simpler. While I have no problem with anyone who does the steps over and over...that is not in the Big Book and not something a new comer needs to hear. I hear folks talk about doing a 4 and 5 every year....my thoughts are if you're doing a 10th on a daily basis(steps 4 through 9)why the need for a yearly inventory? I believe if we just follow those directions thoroughly and honestly we shouldn't have anything to inventory. Just read and FOLLOW the directions...pretty simple.
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Re: I relapsed....do I rework the steps?

Postby Patsy© » Thu May 19, 2016 3:29 am

Reborn wrote:If we can just stick to what the Big Book says things would be alot simpler. While I have no problem with anyone who does the steps over and over...that is not in the Big Book and not something a new comer needs to hear. I hear folks talk about doing a 4 and 5 every year....my thoughts are if you're doing a 10th on a daily basis(steps 4 through 9)why the need for a yearly inventory? I believe if we just follow those directions thoroughly and honestly we shouldn't have anything to inventory. Just read and FOLLOW the directions...pretty simple.


The Big Book brings us to choices, the entire AA Program is all about choices. Following the directions brings us to who we really are, what we really want and how to get that without hurting anyone, including ourselves. I think they call it being Human :)

To Thine Own Self.... Be True...

No one said to do the Steps over and over and over.....what was said is the following.

Although all inventories are alike in principle, the time factor does distinguish one from another. There's the spot-check inventory, taken at any time of the day, whenever we find ourselves getting tangled up. There's the one we take at day's end, when we review the happenings of the hours just past. Here we cast up a balance sheet, crediting ourselves with things well done, and chalking up debits where due. Then there are those occasions when alone, or in the company of our sponsor or spiritual adviser, we make a careful review of our progress since the last time. Many A.A.'s go in for annual or semiannual house cleanings. Many of us also like the experience of an occasional retreat from the outside world where we can quiet down for an undisturbed day or so of self-overhaul and meditation.
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Re: I relapsed....do I rework the steps?

Postby Spirit Flower » Thu May 19, 2016 5:18 am

Frequently doing a "searching and fearless moral inventory", regardless of whether you call it step 4/5 or 10, brings tremendous spiritual growth. It is a trusted spiritual practice: self examination. In fact someone famous said "The unexamined life is not worth living." The new people in meetings all feel some trepidation at telling someone else their secrets; the successful ones get over it and do the action. And they keep coming back.

To be so resistant to my sharing that I did more than one 5th step, even including in my 30th year, is perhaps your own projecting of your own fears.

No need to dogmatically quote the big book AT us. Some of us have been sober decades longer than others. We are sharing decades of ESH, and not interested in debating the matter.
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Re: I relapsed....do I rework the steps?

Postby Brock » Thu May 19, 2016 6:08 am

The new people in meetings all feel some trepidation at telling someone else their secrets; the successful ones get over it and do the action. And they keep coming back.

Of course they do, and then they start enjoying life the way recovered alcoholics do, and think, maybe even ask, what can I do to enjoy this even more, then we may put the idea that - “Frequently doing a "searching and fearless moral inventory", regardless of whether you call it step 4/5 or 10, brings tremendous spiritual growth.”
To be so resistant to my sharing that I did more than one 5th step, even including in my 30th year, is perhaps your own projecting of your own fears.

Whichever of the objectors to the idea of talking to new folks about redoing 5th steps, that this comment is directed at, taking other peoples inventory is a basic no no.
Some of us have been sober decades longer than others. We are sharing decades of ESH, and not interested in debating the matter.

In my book talking down to others is worse than debating, it's called a discussion forum, someone makes a point others may agree or not. And maybe because some people were new to the program 'decades' ago, they have forgotten how it feels to ponder 4 & 5 for the first time.
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Re: I relapsed....do I rework the steps?

Postby Layne » Thu May 19, 2016 7:31 am

Whichever of the objectors to the idea of talking to new folks about redoing 5th steps, that this comment is directed at, taking other peoples inventory is a basic no no.


In my book talking down to others is worse than debating, it's called a discussion forum, someone makes a point others may agree or not. And maybe because some people were new to the program 'decades' ago, they have forgotten how it feels to ponder 4 & 5 for the first time.


Couldn't help but smile at the oxymoronic nature.
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Re: I relapsed....do I rework the steps?

Postby Brock » Thu May 19, 2016 7:55 am

Yes when one takes two quotes and strings them together, without the benefit of what is written in between, it is cause to smile.
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Re: I relapsed....do I rework the steps?

Postby Reborn » Thu May 19, 2016 9:27 am

Well I don't see anywhere in my post that "dogmatically quotes" the Big Book. I also said I don't have a problem with anyone who wants to do muliple 4th and 5th steps...I simply said that is not what the program laid out in the book says. This is not about my "own fears" I take my inventory on a daily basis...I follow the directions in the book. I asked a pretty simple question...if you do a daily 10th step why the need to do an extended 4th and 5th. Maybe I'm not understanding what this actually is...I would love one of you with "decades" of sobriety to explain it to me.
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Re: I relapsed....do I rework the steps?

Postby Spirit Flower » Thu May 19, 2016 9:51 am

Reborn wrote:Well I don't see anywhere in my post that "dogmatically quotes" the Big Book. I also said I don't have a problem with anyone who wants to do muliple 4th and 5th steps...I simply said that is not what the program laid out in the book says. This is not about my "own fears" I take my inventory on a daily basis...I follow the directions in the book. I asked a pretty simple question...if you do a daily 10th step why the need to do an extended 4th and 5th. Maybe I'm not understanding what this actually is...I would love one of you with "decades" of sobriety to explain it to me.



Frequently doing a "searching and fearless moral inventory", regardless of whether you call it step 4/5 or 10, brings tremendous spiritual growth. It is a trusted spiritual practice: self examination. In fact someone famous said "The unexamined life is not worth living."
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Re: I relapsed....do I rework the steps?

Postby ezdzit247 » Thu May 19, 2016 11:26 am

Reborn wrote:If we can just stick to what the Big Book says things would be alot simpler. While I have no problem with anyone who does the steps over and over...that is not in the Big Book and not something a new comer needs to hear. I hear folks talk about doing a 4 and 5 every year....my thoughts are if you're doing a 10th on a daily basis(steps 4 through 9)why the need for a yearly inventory? I believe if we just follow those directions thoroughly and honestly we shouldn't have anything to inventory. Just read and FOLLOW the directions...pretty simple.


I agree. It is pretty simple.

Here's what the Big Book suggests about personal inventories:

Therefore, we started upon a personal inventory. ...This was Step Four.... A business which takes no regular inventory usually goes broke. Taking commercial inventory is a fact-finding and a fact-facing process. It is an effort to discover the truth about the stock-in-trade. One object is to disclose damaged or unsalable goods, to get rid of them promptly and without regret. If the owner of the business is to be successful, he cannot fool himself about values.


Bill's compared the work of doing personal inventories to that of businesses doing REGULAR inventories. What Bill explained in Chapter 5 made sense to me. Doing REGULAR inventories, whether annually or semi annually, just like healthy, successful businesses do, will also help me to be healthy and successful in this thing called the "business of living". Works for me.... :wink:
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