~Recovery Is A Protracted Process~
Real recovery from any negative addiction is a protracted process of spiritual healing that develops in different distinct stages: from early recovery when we first overcome our denial and admit the fact of our drug addiction, learn the basics about progressive recovery and related issues; to the mid-term stage when we are getting into the natural daily routine of being involved in the recovery process by going to meetings, getting a sponsor to help guide us, working the 12-Steps on a daily basis and helping others; to advanced recovery when we have a solid foundation in our recovery, a firm grasp of the fundamentals of living life sane and sober and continue to work hard on our spiritual healing as we promote our general wholistic health.
In general, progressive recovery is a process of positive change, spiritual growth and humane development, not a sudden spiritual awakening when we are all well and wonderful overnight. It takes time, hard work and total commitment to heal the wounds, traumas and disorders caused by our past drug addiction and evil ways, especially in the spiritual realm.
A big part of our inner spiritual healing is sharing our own personal testimony with others in our lives, especially at our recovery group meetings when we discuss our past experiences, present sources of inspiration and hopes for a bright future free from drug addiction and any serious relapses back into our dark deadly disease.
Sometimes recovery can be a terribly lonely affair. On an individual existential level, no one has gone through what you have, seen what you have seen through your own eyes and personally witnessed your own version of the insanity of drug addiction except your own conscious inner self.
“Amazing grace How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see."
In our recovery, we need others around us who are working their own recovery program to help us combat any individual isolation that leaves us vulnerable to a relapse; to help keep us strong in the spirit of peaceful serenity, progressive recovery and spiritual liberty; and to help us create a collective community of unity with all those who share our core beliefs, central concerns and spiritual principles. In our efforts to heal ourselves from the affliction of drug addiction and our desire to heal ourselves once and for all, we are not all alone.
“For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falls; for there is not one to lift him up.”
Ecclesiastes 4:10 ~ Ancient Eastern Text
Thus, we meet together at group meetings when and where we can come together, learn from each other and help each other heal. If one of us slips and falls down into a relapse we help him get back up and carry on in the struggle, not rush to judge and condemn anyone. We learn the most from our own personal mistakes and from witnessing the examples of others battling their own demons and struggling on in their own continued recovery.
~Sharing Is Caring~
Remember that sharing is caring. At group meetings the main way for us to share is to open up and give our own personal testimony about our past history, our present situation and our future vision for our lives. Sharing can become very personal and even painful, but it is important for us to share our testimony in order for us to hang up our hang-ups, get better each day and heal our souls. It is a kind of an open public confession, knowing that we are often as sick as our secrets. None of us should pretend to be perfect. All of us have made bad critical decisions that brought pain, misery and suffering into our lives. As we hear more and more testimonies we can see common themes and threads running through all our stories in the tapestry of life. We come to understand that we all suffer alike and clearly see our common survival interests in helping each other heal.
When somebody shares at a Group Meeting it is important for those who are present to listen up and pay attention, not get distracted by others or our own internal dialogue. Many times we may not want to pay attention to speakers who speak up because some of the subjects that come up make us feel uneasy, uncomfortable and can pop up shameful memories, especially for the one giving his testimony. It is not always easy just to open our minds, our hearts and bare our souls in a room full of other people who may be strangers to us. It takes bold courage to share with others. Nevertheless, it is essential for our own personal spiritual healing for us to share our stories with others. Remember that it is all ultimately between the Creator and us, not them.
A big part of understanding our disease is to understand that it is not merely a chemical dependency issue in terms of being dependent on alcohol, street drugs or prescription drugs, it is ultimately a disease of the soul. The inner soul grieves inside when we do things that harm our inner serenity, our physical body and our mental state of mind. Sharing is a key element in our healing, it helps us to let go of the burden of all the useless baggage we carry around, helps us to dump out the dirty trash we haul around from one spot to another, and helps us to get things off our chest and out into the open so we can get better, brighter and sharper with our recovery tools. Sharing with others helps keep us clean, sane and sober
~Honesty Is the Key~
HOW a recovery program works is to be Honest, Open and Willing to change, to learn and to mature as humane beings who have care, concern and compassion for others. We need to be totally honest with ourselves, admit the whole truth about our lives and own up to the bad critical mistakes we have made in our lives that caused us harm, grief and suffering in order for us to proceed on our spiritual path, work hard on our spiritual healing and achieve spiritual liberty from all the evils of addiction. A lot of recovery involves closely examining our past, how we were raised from our childhood up to the present and being able to identify critical turning points in our lives that led us astray into our addiction.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
Isaiah 53:16 ~ 21st Century King James Version
We can blame our environment, our parents or our relationships and point an accusing finger at others, but to be totally honest we must admit the truth and face the fact that we ourselves are the ones who made the bad critical decisions that got us caught up in a whole life-style centered on boozing, doping and partying without really being conscious and mindful of its many negative consequences, including being addicted to a life-threatening disease that is a real killer.
Before one gives an open testimony it is good if he or she has already worked the basic 12-Steps Program with a sponsor or guide, has at least one month of good sobriety time in and is strongly committed to the whole recovery process of spiritual healing.
However, sometimes it can be hard to find someone with the honest courage to even stand out and speak up about their personal recovery struggles. Thus, whoever has the honest open willingness to do so should be allowed to share at a group meeting as long as they are sincere about getting well. We are not here to judge; we are here to help in the spiritual healing of ourselves, others and, indeed, the whole world outside.
“The only work that will ultimately bring any good to any of us is the work of contributing to the healing of the world.”
~ Marianne Williamson
When a Group Member has shared his own personal testimony the rational responses and/or emotional reactions from others who are in the Meeting Room can have a profound impact on the one who has shared his testimony with lasting results. We are here to help each other, to learn from each other and not to stupidly judge or condemn anyone. Nevertheless, being able to accept loving caring criticism from others who are into recovery is a part of the whole spiritual healing process. No one has cornered the market on truth. Each of us has our own truth and our own way of looking at life and its core issues. After the personal testimony is given the meeting can open up with a tangible relevant topic and we can open up the meeting for general discussion, questions or comments related to the main topic.
A good meeting is made up of people who are present in the here and now, who pay close attention and who actively participate by sharing their own knowledge, asking relevant questions and help to further develop group consciousness. Merely having a lot of bodies present at a meeting does not necessarily mean it is a good meeting. Some are there just to get their Meeting Cards signed for one program or another. Others are around for their own selfish egocentric gratification, another manifestation of the old ‘dope fiend’ mentality that we need to root out of our consciousness.
“19 Again I say to you, that if two of you are worthy on earth, anything that they would ask will be done for them by My Father who in Heaven.
20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
Matthew 18:19-20 ~ Ancient Eastern Text (from the Aramaic)
When appropriate to the situation, we should share the gospel or ‘good news’ about our progressive recovery with others in the community, with our family and with our good friends. We were certainly not anonymous in our lost drunken dope fiend days, why should we pretend to be so now when we are involved in the spiritual healing process of our recovery?
Share your own personal testimony with others when it can help, write it all down for your own reflection and come out of the closet of your confusion into the clarity of cosmic consciousness. We are creatures of the Creator of the cosmos. We have a birthright to be here now and when we work at it we can enjoy the blessings of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
● Progressive Recovery Today!
● CASA 12-Steps Program Blog
● CASA 12-Steps Program Yahoo Group