Friday, June 14, 2013

Stepping Out

 Today is a Cleanse Day or Off-Day

Oh man. I noticed I screwed up my very first 'on-day/off-day' thing! Yesterday I said it was a Cleanse Day when it was actually a drinking day. I've fixed it now, but that must've been confusing! Sorry!

Anyway, it's Friday today. My first non-drinking Friday since finishing my cleanse just over a month ago. All good though! Tons to do - and last night was fun with pasta and vino! 

I mentioned that I'm trying to illustrate how manageable a lifestyle cleansing can be. Key word here: 'manageable.' Because the very first step in A.A. is admitting that you're powerless over alcohol and that your life has become "unmanageable."  I know abusing alcohol can make life unmanageable. I've been there. But I can honestly say cleansing has helped me feel in control again.

It's still interesting to take a look at the steps and refresh your memory about them (below). A lot of people object to the religious overtones of A.A. But the steps would sound religious even without all the direct references to God. The guilt these rules must entrench in members is pretty astounding. Then again, alcoholics are accustomed to guilt, so it's a good fit.

More than the references to higher powers, I personally have a problem with the self-critical nature of the steps. Take a look especially at #6 and #7. They both refer to God removing our 'defects of character' and 'shortcomings.' I really hate that! It's so self-punishing. That's one thing the plan will never do. Make you tell yourself you have some fault or defect of character. Nope - the plan is all about self-love and forgiveness. 

Which sounds sort of religious, too, doesn't it? Huh. 

Anyway, I think the steps should read more like this: 

Step 7 - Humbly asked God to remove the GABRG3 gene on chromosome 15 that makes us more susceptible to alcohol abuse - which, I may humbly remind Him, He put there in the first place, God knows why!

Of course, they didn't know much about genetic research in 1935 when A.A. was founded. ;)

So here they are, from 12step.org:

  • Step 1 - We admitted we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable 
  • Step 2 - Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity 
  • Step 3 - Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God 
  • Step 4 - Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves 
  • Step 5 - Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs 
  • Step 6 - Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character 
  • Step 7 - Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings 
  • Step 8 - Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all 
  • Step 9 - Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others 
  • Step 10 - Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted
    it
     
  • Step 11 - Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out 
  • Step 12 - Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs