A Recovery Blog

This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Working Step One - Powerlessness & Unmanageability

This is how I have been rewording the First Step of the Twelve Steps to fit myself and my situation:  "We admitted we were powerless over social and emotional anorexia and poor self-care, that our lives had become unmanageable."

I have been working on Step One for over 6 months since I asked a friend to become my sponsor.  I've gone from support book to support book with my sponsor trying to move through the step and I have been getting repeatedly stuck.  I'm only realizing that what I've been coming up against is my own self-will.  Where there's self-will, there is no surrender and this step is about surrendering to the truth, becoming vulnerable.

My addictive pattern is one of avoidance.  Even as I do my best to confront the truth about myself or, at least, make a dent in my denial system here, I am still avoiding other responsibilities, such as - cleaning my home, paying my bills, washing my clothes, cooking, exercising, going out of the house, calling someone in recovery, calling anyone.  What I do here in reflecting and communicating is good and useful, but it is not enough.

I embraced Al-Anon years ago because I was living with an alcoholic who was abusive to me.  Through reading their daily readers, I began learning the Twelve Steps, the slogans and the concepts of the group.  I began to believe in something greater than myself.  I reached out for a Higher Power.  Eventually, I went to some meetings.  I got a lot out of those meetings, both comfort and insight.  But I did not stay and would return sporadically over the years.  I did not call people from the meetings and most of the time, most of my life, I stayed in isolation from others.

I began calling myself an adult child decades ago and I continue to be one.  I began an addictive pattern of self isolation decades ago and I continue to practice it.  My ability to care for my physical needs and home declined rapidly after I went into psychosis in 1998 and I continue with that addictive pattern today.  Intellectually I see the pattern, but without connection to my heart I don't really learn the lesson; I don't change.

Not changing and not only seeing it, but feeling it and labeling it "Addiction" is me moving towards the temporary completion of Step One.  (I believe the the Steps are meant to be repeated throughout one's life as a process of deepening one's understanding, highlighting insight and facilitating intuition from the Higher Power.)  I'm yearning to move on to Step Two - "Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."  The truth is that I need to sit in awareness a bit longer.  I need to own the powerlessness and unmanageability of my life.

I need to do more Step work; I need to write it out and look at it, read it and review it.  I need to brand it into my mind, heart and spirit.