“This short word somehow touches about every aspect of our lives. It is an evil and corroding thread; the fabric of our existence was shot through with it. It set in motion trains of circumstances which brought us misfortune we felt we didn’t deserve. But did not we, ourselves, set the ball rolling?” – Alcoholics Anonymous, page 67
I never considered myself a fearful person. In fact, the opposite. I liked to brag about being brutally honest and unapologetically adventurous. Of course, most of the time this just meant that I wanted to be able to be careless with my words, thoughts and actions and disguise cruelty as an asset. The cold manipulation and calculated betrayal of my friends wasn’t to be held against me because I was ‘being real’. This was a way to distort my reality and hide my truth. I was terrified of NOT treating others poorly and I was terrified to let them know just how much power they had to hurt me. Just like I used to think believing in God was a shortcoming, I thought vulnerability was for the weak. I would be the “hole in the donut” as they say if I let go of these behaviors. I wasn’t ready to let go of those mechanisms I used for survival.

The truth looking back is that I was afraid almost every day. Of what ‘he’ thought of me, of how I looked next to ‘her’, of other people’s judgements, of others finding out who I really was. This fear paralyzed me. I wasn’t able to make decisions about who I would date, who I was friends with, what food to eat, what music to listen to, and on and on. I thought one wrong move would spell the death of me. In my core, I knew I was “less than”. Eventually, I knew everyone close to me would find that out and reject me anyways so I didn’t feel compelled to be loyal to them. It was a belief system that allowed me to act however I wanted and not feel guilty. This caused immense harm to my friends and family. My actions created reactions in others and my beliefs were solidified over time.

It never occurred to me that I was simply afraid to be alone, afraid to be loved, afraid of being abandoned, afraid of being rejected. Doing my 4th step, I uncovered that almost every single resentment I had was rooted in these fears. I had a choice to make: either continue to turn my life over to the care of God or continue doing it my way. The choice was pretty easy after seeing how difficult I had been making my own life. I didn’t want to be alone and I was now ready to be 100% honest about it. I need human connection and that’s normal. I’m not superhuman, I’m one amongst many with the same needs as any other person. But I was never going to get what I wanted by continuing to act the way I used to. I learned the fear prayer and use it whenever I feel afraid, anxious, defensive or panicked. I’ve never been let down when I ask for God to remove my fear and show me who God would have me be. I’m always given the next right thought or action to guide me into becoming my best self. This is what it looks like for me to let God into my life. While I’m not 100% free of fear as an emotion, I have the choice to be free of its influence in my thoughts, words and actions.

Please join us for an afternoon of networking with friends and colleagues at our newest home, Raintree House. Located off 92nd Street and Raintree in North Scottsdale, this home can house up to 7 women in early recovery. You will have a chance to tour the home and meet our team. We hope to see you there!

 

RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/804753213005631/

I recently moved. With that came the boxing and unboxing of old journals and step-work. Before I put these valuable materials in a private place, I took some time to read over them. Some of what I read brought me to tears while other writings made me so grateful. I am free of so many of the old resentments that kept me in bondage. I am grateful I can look back and see how far I have come and what I have survived. Examples of areas of my life that I have seen growth in are: my old beliefs about what it means to be a “real” man or a “real” woman; what markers I use to define worth and value for myself and others; beliefs about the nature of humanity, the universe and God. The Big Book talks about getting down to “causes and conditions” and I truly believe step 4 is where we take the first steps towards emotional sobriety.

My most recent fourth step had less than 30 resentments, the one before had over 60. I just don’t react to life in the same way I used to. I attribute that to maintaining a spiritual practice, spot check inventories and building relationships around me with my sponsor and fellow alcoholics who can give me reliable feedback as to my behavior and thought process. My sponsor always reminds me “you can’t do better until you know better”. My experience with the fourth step shows that to be true. I don’t have to be perfect either; because I have a way to improve and change my internal condition on a day-to-day basis.

Yesterday, I was speaking to a fellow alcoholic about shame. I was able to share with her that I don’t really have much shame about my past behavior anymore because I’ve done inventories and amends. Essentially I’ve treated my shame with the 12 steps. And fundamentally, I know that most of the wrongs I did, I did because I simply had no other choice (powerlessness), I was too afraid to do anything different (fear) or I just didn’t know any other way to act (lack of inventory). But most importantly, getting all of these old patterns and beliefs down on paper gave me experience that I can articulate with a fellow alcoholic to enable us to connect with our Higher Power through our shared brokenness and begin the journey of healing.

Sojourn Open HouseWe are busy this weekend getting ready for our special open house event on Wednesday! In partnership with Foundations Recovery Network, we are opening the doors of our exclusive men’s community, Sojourn at 11:30am. We will be providing a delicious lunch catered by Pita Jungle and an opportunity to network with fellow professionals. Our one acre Sojourn property is a gorgeous sanctuary located off 52nd St and Osborn. Hope to see you there!

The question we most often get asked by our clients is “Why?”

Why do I have to follow curfew?

Why do I have to go to a meeting every day?

Why do I have to make my bed when I get up?

Why do I have to get a sponsor?

Why do I have to work the steps?
While the easy thing would be to say “because it’s the rules”, we find it is much more helpful for our clients to explain exactly why we hold them to such a high standard. Research shows that just three months in a structured sober living reduces relapse rates by up to 40%. And our experience shows that working the 12 steps ensures long-term success. The mind, body and spirit need time to realign and learn new behaviors that cannot be achieved during the course of a 30-day inpatient stay.  What we commonly see is individuals who are very eager to continue living a sober life and working on their program while they are in treatment. However their vigor can wane once they realize their life has gotten a little bit better and things are starting to improve externally. This is a very dangerous time for people who are newly recovered. If the individual has returned to “normal life”, they often don’t have a support system that truly understands their problem and how to solve it. This can result in an unnecessary and possibly fatal slip. Sober living homes provide an important step down from inpatient treatment before the individual moves onto full independent living. Learning how to structure their lives again in a healthy way is a process and it doesn’t have to go any faster than what is best for the client. In fact, Camelback Recovery often sees clients stay for 2-3 times longer than they originally intended once they begin to enjoy the benefits of living in our homes. If you or a loved one is interested in sober living, please give us a call at 602-751-4866 and we would be happy to help in any way we can.