Powerlessness over what?

Powerlessness over what

Powerlessness over what?

Talk 5: Powerlessness over what?

Hi, my name is JS and I am an Alcoholic, A Co-Alcoholic and A Compulsive Overeater all rolled into one and I live in Bangalore.

<< Serenity Prayer>>

As soon as we enter the fellowship, we’re told of the 12 Steps to Recovery. And in the very first glance on these steps, we spot that first part of the first step that says “We admitted we’re powerless over Alcohol...”

By the time we came into AA, we’re more than ready to make that admission, though grudgingly at first. We’re beaten black and blue and having hit bottom, there was nothing to lose. So this admission comes much more easily than what I call the *real powerlessness*.

Today I’m going beyond the easy admission regarding alcohol to explore the underlying powerlessness.

Mind you I am NOT saying we’re NOT powerless over alcohol. I’m saying there’s an even more dangerous powerlessness lurking below that. And I’m going to start exploring that with you.

Have you ever stopped to wonder how these 12 steps work for so many other fellowships? Al Anon? Overeaters? Gamblers? Narcotics? Etc. etc. How come it works when they have no conclusive connection with alcohol? Think!

The answer lies in the fact that the *real powerlessness* is a human issue and not a substance issue.
AA simplified it for itself as the members were dealing with Alcohol. I think, though, it is an oversimplification but works given the state in which we arrive in AA.

In the previous three talks I touched upon (a) WHAT (b) HOW and (c) Going Beyond Unmanageability. This talk builds on those, so if you haven’t listened to them, please do so and then come back to this topic. http://www.wslb.in

The real powerlessness lies over our lack of control on that Inner Voice or that Voice in Our Head which we mistakenly think is our thinking. It is not. We just have thoughts, almost all the time. And since, like Gopal said in the previous Talk session, we simply love the juiciness of these thoughts, we’re *welded* together with them!

Real thinkers can divorce themselves of the ownership of these thoughts and explore the unthinkable, even voicing them with no attachment.

Having said all this, let me come to step 1 part 1 – Powerlessness over alcohol.

At some point in time, well before we’re over the cliff edge, we had a sense that we must stop drinking. Yet we did not stop.

In those moments we were not drunk or even drinking. Perhaps we were coming out of a mother-of-all hangover! And yet we could not stop ourselves from picking up a drink. Why?

It starts with a thought – or as I prefer to call it – a voice in the head. The voice says, it may be a good idea to take a drink. We do not *reject it* but at the very least, set it aside for later consideration. At worst, we grab the thought and act on it.

What we really lack is any control over the so-called thought. The drink comes much later. This is where our true powerlessness lies. The inability to discard or reject thoughts out of hand. We’re welded to the voice in the head as we mistakenly believe it’s us thinking!

AA teaches us to pray every time such a disastrous thought occurs to us. It’s a way to distract ourselves from a gripping thought, converting itself into a desire that turns irresistible.

Now you can see why other fellowships use the same 12 steps. Just replace alcohol with drugs, gambling, sex, food etc. and you’re in the fellowship! Dealing with something else, not alcohol!

What about Al Anon? They don’t replace Alcohol with Alcoholic. Not at all! Then how does it work for them?

A Co-Alcoholic is one who shares all the very traits of an alcoholic. That’s why. Like it or Lump it, a co-alcoholic doesn’t even have to drink. Just the alcoholic drinking is enough *trigger* the co-alcoholic!

It unleashes the very base instincts of fear – Anger, Verbal Violence, Ill-treatment, Revenge, Scheming, Pretense, Manipulation, Control, etc.

Just the sight of the alcoholic is often enough to trigger the worst in any co-alcoholic. The mood swings set in motion, and there’s no saying where they end up.

In conclusion, the real powerlessness lies in our inability to discard the thoughting that takes place every second in our minds. The fellowship we belong to is irrelevant in as much as they’re only the focus of our current fight against a specific addiction.

As long as a person is human, they’re a potential casualty to this powerlessness.

This is my message on Part 1 Step 1 – and I propose that we simply say We’re powerless over our thoughts.

For me that was the beginning of a recovery. I learnt that I must simply discard or reject all the thoughts in that barrage before I can actually start thinking.

Sobriety for me has meant more than not drinking. It’s meant a better relationship with my Alky and an unbelievable freedom from compulsive over eating!

I think I will and stop here for today and take any questions that may be there for you. If you want to ask a question, post in the chat box. I’ll unmute your audio and then you can go ahead. Everyone else please keep your audio on mute all the time. Thank you. Any questions?

<< Serenity Prayer>>

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