Friday, September 4 reading and leader share

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Penny
Posts: 26
Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2006 8:24 am
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Friday, September 4 reading and leader share

Post by Penny » Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:37 am

Our reading today is taken from Step 8 in the Co-Dependent's Anonymous Workbook.

The first part of Step Eight asks us to list all the people we have harmed, regardless of the circumstances. The Step work we have done to this point can be helpful and supportive as we identify those we have harmed and realize how our behaviors have hurt others and ourselves. Often, it is easier to see how we have harmed others. Sometime it takes a spiritual 2 x 4 in order for us to admit just how harmful we have been to ourselves.

If shame or guild overwhelms us, we can rely on our Higher Power and remember out decision to live God’s will. We find peace when we let go and trust our Higher Power. We no longer waste energy pushing down the memories or the feelings.

If we feel frightened being vulnerable and honest, we can rely on Steps One, Two and Three to support us, as we become willing. We can ask our Higher Power to help us let go of obsessing over making our amends, and with the support of our Higher Power we can let go of the belief that harm will come if we tell the truth.

The fear of being wrong or of being judged can be offset with positive affirmations such as, “We are not a mistake, we just made a mistake.” If resentment, anger, and feelings of others seem to be holding us back from working this Step, we remember that we are powerless over others. Believing in a power great than ourselves will restore us to sanity.

As we write our list of those we have harmed, we remember out Higher Power and acknowledge our Higher Power already knows everything we have done. We may want to make lists from different perspectives, like the harm that we have caused ourselves, the harm that we have caused others, or the resentments that we hold.

The following may be ways we have harmed others or ourselves: holding resentments, acting out, fearing intimacy, manipulating others, needing to be right, cheating, lying and stealing, obsessing or worrying, blaming and judging others, emotionally abusing ourselves or others, physically abusing ourselves or others, neglecting our responsibilities, creating financial stress, abandoning ourselves, separating from our spiritual selves

The list we make in Step Eight acknowledge our harmful behavior in a new way, and we become accountable to ourselves and our Higher Power for what we have done. We begin to understand how important it is to see our harmful behavior. We no longer have to hold on to the secrets of our past or live in denial of our past. We understand we have harmed because we were harmed. With this kind of honesty, change can begin and we can start to restore our relationships with others and ourselves in a healthy and loving way.

The list may grow as more is revealed and awareness is gained. When we acknowledge we no longer wish to ignore our feelings, we work this Step and find the possibility of relief encourages us to continue. Our recovery continues to bring awareness of old behaviors and ways we have harmed ourselves and others. We also become aware of how we continue old behaviors in our lives today. We stay open to what is revealed and we acknowledge we do not know everything about ourselves. We recognize our behaviors have an effect. This is why we work in the Steps over and over, to remain in the truth as it is revealed.
***end of reading***

As many of you know, I have been actively involved in online meetings for almost five years. It has been an amazing thing. Yet, step 8 has been a thorn in my side for most of this time. I had been granted the ability to make amends for a few things in the past and for new things as they came up, but that was as far as it went. Every time I tried to begin writing it felt like I was up against a thick impenetrable wall. My wall included the things discussed in the reading - the fear of being honest and vulnerable was so real because it caused me such intense pain to think about having hurt another. The fear of being wrong and the fear of being judged were also very real. I also was stuck in the idea that it had to be a list. I naturally write in story form. I simply couldn't do a list.

A few months ago I was suddenly able to start writing my step 8 inventory. I began writing things as a story and it has flowed. This has been quite a journey. It is slow, but it is happening and I am learning. I know from doing step 4 that admitting to things is the only real way for me to release them. I'm finally beginning to be able to let go.

Right now the part of step 8 I'm working on is sins against myself. I already have written 4 pages and there is so much more to write. I'm so grateful that the Lord has granted me the ability to begin writing. This isn't at all what I thought it might be, but it is good. God is good!

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