Step 6: Crux of the Program

To me, Step 6 is the crux of the program. This is where the actual change starts to happen. It’s like we get the diagnosis in steps 1-5, then we start working on making the changes — and immediately realize we need a lot of help with this, which is what step 7 is about. Then, once we start living a new way, we can realize how far off track we were. And it’s this awareness, plus the new behavior, that allows us to go back and clean up the mess in steps 8 and 9. Then, as my sponsor likes to say, we’re all caught up with where normal people are! Continue reading “Step 6: Crux of the Program”

On Acceptance

Hi, folks.

It’s already been said here very well, but acceptance is the point where recovery starts to happen.

I could not get sober on my own. I couldn’t get sober until I came to MA. And I couldn’t come to MA until I accepted two things: that I had a serious problem with marijuana, and that I couldn’t solve that problem on my own. Once I accepted those two things, I was given the humility and courage to come to MA, which is where and how I got sober.

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Defining our Higher Power (part 2)

I’ve been through a few versions of a higher power. The first was just the meeting I went to: whatever those folks were doing in there was obviously more powerful than anything I could come up with, since they were sober and I wasn’t. So that was a good start: turning it over meant going to the meeting and trying whatever they were doing.

Next, when I started working the Steps, my sponsor encouraged me to come up with something more specific, more personal. I went with that “inner voice” which, even in the depths of my disease, was telling me to quit pot, reminding me that I hate it. I decided then that “turning it over” meant listening to that voice. I came to think of it as tuning in the Gad Radio Channel, over all the noise and static in my head. Continue reading “Defining our Higher Power (part 2)”

Why MA?

I’m Paul, and I’m an addict.

I was lucky enough to live in a place where Marijuana Anonymous was pretty strong, and I plugged right in. I occasionally hit an NA meeting just for the scheduling, and I have no problem “translating.”

What I am struggling with lately is being an old-timer. Most MA meetings I go to in my hometown have only one or two people with more time than me, and it seems I hear very little about people working the Steps with a sponsor. Maybe the key is that I don’t hear it, as in I don’t listen, but it seems like if you put a bunch of new people in a room, you get a lot of “checking in” and war stories. So that’s been a frustration for me.

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Simple vs. Easy

Written in response to a testy, defensive newcomer online:

I didn’t meant to imply that quitting pot was easy. There’s “easy” and then there’s “simple.” What I was trying to say is that for me, thinking about the rest of my life leads to some pretty complex thinking that distracts me from the present moment. So, for me, a simpler path to sobriety is to just do it one day at a time. Sometimes, early on, I had to do it an hour at a time.

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I like to (but choose not to) smoke pot

For me to make real progress in this program, I had to realize that I wanted to smoke pot — was good at it, craved it, etc. — AND I wanted to quit. Both of those things are true. When I realized that, I was able to accept the fact that I was an addict, and I quit beating myself up for wanting to get high. I was able to say, “Okay, I want to get high, and I want to quit, and for today I will choose, with the help of others and my higher power, to not smoke pot.”

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Just posed this one on the Recovery Pipeline, where the topic this week is Anonymity — which, by the way, is as difficult to type as it is to say.

I think one of the original reasons AA adopted this tradition was that a pretty famous person (a baseball player, I think) got sober and told the world he was part of AA. Then he relapsed, and the credibility of AA took a blow.

Continue reading “Anonmyity”

The Importance of Recovery Friends

Friends were among the first gifts of the program for me. I came in lonely as well as depressed, sick, freaked out, etc. The first thing I saw was a room full of sober potheads. Their existence gave me hope, and I quickly figured out that I needed to hang out with them — in meetings and after meetings and at events — if I was going to stay sober, because most of my other friends were either not sober at all or had no idea what I was going through. Continue reading “The Importance of Recovery Friends”