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That Feeling of Emptiness

Alkys and Addicts, like Co-Dependents, are very familiar with that feeling of emptiness. Obviously, not all can actually recognize it, let alone see it as a major issue in their lives.

As I came into the fellowship and attended my first full week of meetings, I was quite elated and fired up. I had found the root cause of my alcohol addiction. And better still, I thought I knew the way out.

But as weeks passed into months, not only did that excitement vanish, but I started to become bored with 'the same old stuff' being regurgitated endlessly.

As months turned into years, the disenchantment turned into disgust..... at people, places and things. Was this all there is to the program? If this was all, then I've learnt it all and can now go my own way.... such thoughts were more than frequent, especially when it came to meetings and talking to my sponsor. It was even worse that my sponsor termed me an adrenaline junkie and reprimanded me for belittling 'this wonderful' program.

At that time, I did not see it as 'that feeling of emptiness' at all. Instead I thought none of these so call seniors had answers and just shut up people who asked uncomfortable questions!

The 'feeling' of emptiness never shows up 'I'm feeling empty' in our minds. It shows up, instead, as good questions, negative thoughts and most importantly, the absence of action and passion (aka energy).

By labeling it 'laziness' or even 'procrastination', all we succeed in doing is to lock the jail we're in and throw away the key to freedom from it.

In my 34 years in the program, I have found that this feeling of emptiness is a direct product of the absence of a future. Said another way, when one has not got a set og goals in life (not just projects!) then one is doomed to be listless, irritable, low energy, disgusted, etc, etc. In short, drifting.

There's only one "way out" I have found: Work on my recovery with my sponsor, instead of being satisfied with inertia of abstinence and comfort. In the first 10 years, I ignored this and remain convinced that abstinence was all the recovery that the program promised. Ofcourse I'd convince myself that I had been the beneficiary of the 12 promises!

Working with a Sponsor is as much an art as it is pure discipline. Afetr all, both are usually members of the same fraternity!

What's required?

1. Surrender to the program of recovery (not just abstinence).

2. Do as I am told by my sponsor, no matter what my blessed opinion is.

This Zen Koan shattered my mind in those early days.... I was an avid reader and my search 'for the purpose of my life' took me far and wide, not to mention deep. Till I found all the answers in the 12 Steps!

I have always been keen to work with sponsees who have some abstinence under their belt and have reached that stage where they're in the grips of 'that feeling of emptiness'....!!! But that's a blog for another time :)

@jsvasan

 

The 12 Step Workshop

The 12-Step Workshop - or SWS for short is the entry-level programme for people to work the 12-steps of AA. Coached by AAs, for AAs and of AAs, the SWS is a 3-day programme.

The PWS

The Promises Workshop, or PWS for short, is for people who've maintained long-term sobriety and have completed doing at least two SWSs. They need to have also actually worked all the 12 Steps in their entirety.

Train the Trainer

WSLB believes in the AA tradition of "give it away to keep it". Hence a Train the Trainer (T3WS) Course.