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Not starting again....
By iamstrong
2/9/2012 9:28:27 PM
I was reading my SA white book and one thing really stood out to me last night. It said that we will face temptation and tribulation. It will never end. But our reaction can change. It said that we are not learning how to stop using. We are learning how to not start again. I know for me I've stopped a million times in the past 10 years. I've lasted a while too. But I start again. My problem isn't stopping, it's not starting. I didn't really realize that. These are the parts I read and highlighted.

"The program doesn't tell us how to stop-we had done that a thousand and one times-it shows us how to keep from starting again. We had it backwards; before, we always wanted the therapist, spouse, or God to do the stopping for us-to fix us. Now, we stop; and then, in our surrender, the power of God becomes effective in us."

"So the realization slowly dawns that we may always be subject to temptation and powerless over lust. We come to see that it's alright to be tempted and feel absolutely powerless over it as long as we can get the power to overcome... We can look forward to the time when the obsession-not the temptations-will be gone. We begin to see that there's no power over the craving in advance; we have to work this as it happens each time. Therefore, each temptation, every time we want to give in to lust or any other negative emotion, is a gift toward recovery, healing, and freedom-another opportunity to change our attitude and find Union with God. We didn't get here in a day; it took practice to burn the addictive process into our being. It takes practice to make our true Connection."

"Surrender is a constant thing. Practice. Day by day, hour by hour. Put into practice so often, it becomes habitual. That's how we get the attitude change that lets the grace of God enter to expel the obssession!"

"Most of us felt that if only the problems would go away, we would be okay. What we did not realize was that it is because of and within these very problems that the program works! The program doesn't work in a vacuum; it only works in the day-to-day ebb and flow of our lives. Trial, tribulation, and pain are the soil in which the steps can germinate, take root, and find fruition in our lives. Thus, every problem, no matter how small or great; every crisis, resentment, pain, illness, stress, conflict, depression-any and all of them, without exception-can be turned into good. Every time we feel overwhelmed, our sponsor can point the way out of self-pity, resentment, or fear and onto right thinking, helping us say 'I thank God for the good and the seemingly bad as necessary for my growth. Thy will, not mine, be done.'"

So often people would tell me to stop. And I felt like I couldn't. And then I realized I could. But I tried doing it on my own and I would just fall again. And then I felt hopeless. Then I would get clean and the temptations never went away, the problems kept coming. And I would fall again. And meanwhile everyone would just tell me to STOP. And yes, I need to stop. But what I also need to address is my real problem. I need to not only STOP. But STOP STARTING.

I am powerless. I can't win this fight. But every day when I am faced with temptation, I will resolve to surrender. Not surrender to temptation. But surrender to God. Surrender to help. As SA has taught me, you call your sponsor BEFORE you give in. Not after.

I welcome the seemingly bad so that I can grow. So that I can be stronger. So that the obsession will be gone. My attitude is changing from "I've got to have it or I'll die" to "I'm willing not to have it, even if I do die". That is how bad I want recovery.

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"Brothers and sisters, stay on the straight and narrow path. No, stay in the middle of the straight and narrow path. Don't drift; don't wander; don't dabble; be careful. Remember, do not flirt with evil. Stay out of the devil's territory. Do not give Satan any home-field advantage. Living the commandments will bring you the happiness that too many look for in other places. "

— Larry W. Gibbons

General Conference October 2006