Ask An Addict: Explaining Step 3 of the program

Letting go absolutely is hard, especially for addicts who value control. For me, I check in with my body on a regular basis and find I am often uptight and tense.

Ask an Addict is a column penned by Helena Paivenen, a Kamloops scholar with expertise in addiction issues and someone who is also an addict. The column is meant to inform and help, which is particularly important as we remain mired in an opioid crisis that continues to claim thousands of lives each year. If you have a question you would like answered, email it to Anonymity is guaranteed.

Step three reads: Made a decision to turn our will and lives over to God as we understood him. 

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Many, including me, react to the words “him” and “God.” In the rooms, when people say they have trouble with the concept of God, we suggest Good Orderly Direction.

Often times it is heard “do the next right thing” and that would then be doing God’s will.

Turning our will over to anything is difficult for a society that values absolute personal control. 

Letting go absolutely is hard, especially for addicts who value control. For me, I check in with my body on a regular basis and find I am often uptight and tense.

My muscles are retracted, like a cat waiting to pounce for no reason at all.  Try it some time. Check in mindfully and see if your muscles are tense or relaxed. You might be surprised.

I found it frightening to let go absolutely, starting with my physical form. 

This is why many in recovery love yoga, the union of mind with the body.

Often times, our brain is disconnected, stopping at our throats, not going beyond.

The other word that causes many women trouble is “him.” In the 12-step literature, written by men, the words “he,” “his: and “him” are always in sight. It is very politically incorrect in this day and age.

It took me a while to determine which was more important to me —freedom from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body or fixation on a personal noun.

This reaction to the gender word is often merely my addiction speaking to me. It finds any excuse to keep me out of the rooms.

God or good orderly direction or group of drunks works well if we can use our imagination. 

Just think of how the idea of the internet would be viewed in the 1800s. Imagine telling people back then that I would be able to talk to you via video while you live hundreds of miles away or that I could use a small pocket device to make calls.

We are quite arrogant in thinking we know it all. Everything on the planet is comprised of atoms and molecules, including us.

Our thoughts are merely chemicals, protons floating within. Energy, positive and negative charges, cannot be destroyed; it merely changes forms. 

Even leaves that fall to the ground decompose into nutrients, bringing new life for the plants that follow. Try as we may, we can never disintegrate the body, even in acid, as the chemical components are locked in the liquid.

Thus the thought of God translates into energy, neurochemicals, atoms and protons locked in our head, which, when we breathe, go out into space. 

The air I breathe is connected to you. When people speak in the rooms, their words enter my ear, becoming chemicals inside my brain.

I become you.

This is step three, seemingly easy. But try it — you will find it difficult.

All that is required is a decision. There is no need to join a religious group.

Every morning, ask the universe to help guide you in good — good orderly direction. Every night ,say thank you if all has gone well. Rinse and Repeat. So easy, you see.

Thank you for the emails as they keep me motivated.

Liberty Ranch in Kentucky has written me.  Kamloops this Week reaches the American states.

Liberty is evidence-based and in its search of articles, the staff found Ask an Addict.

I am humbled by their enthusiastic response and will write more about them later.

© Kamloops This Week



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