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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in recovery

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Helper: Help Thyself

Step One is "We admitted that we were harming ourselves and others and that our lives had become overwhelming."

When I am overwhelmed, my primal brain is in control, and all it cares about is survival.  I've been under the control of my primal brain for most of the year so far, even when things were going good.  I was aware that something was wrong, but I kept putting off examining myself to find my problem while I helped other people find and work out theirs.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Michele L Warch
    Michele L Warch says #
    Thank you. That was very helpful to see them side by side. I think I've always understood the wording in my own head to be in keep
  • Michele L Warch
    Michele L Warch says #
    Thank you for your review. Its funny the way the world works -- not really, just synchronicity. I was having a conversation, last
  • Ashley Rae
    Ashley Rae says #
    Thank you for your insight, Michele! I have to admit that Christian wording turns me off. I can't get through A Course in Miracl

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

At the time of writing, several friends of mine are engaged in formal initiation proceedings, leading me to consider my own experiences with initiations.  It was easy to pinpoint those formal initiations such as being initiated into the National Honor Society, or being initiated into a co-ed social group at my college that I can only explain as being modeled on the Merry Pranksters.  But the experience that first came to mind when thinking of initiatory experiences was working the Twelve Steps.

Anyone who has a desire to stop using can become a member of a Twelve Step group.  You do not have to work the Twelve Steps.  However, the process of working the Twelve Steps is the manner in which one draws closer to the program or becomes truly initiated.  It is how we begin to view fellowship as family.  Since we work the Twelve Steps with a sponsor, we are forced to reach our hand out and ask for help.  No longer are we able to sit in the back of the room, not talking to anyone.  We must make connections in order to move forward.  As we reveal ourselves to our sponsor, we learn how to become open and more vulnerable.  We become open to taking suggestions, and learn about humility.  These are essential elements for being part of a society instead of being a party of one.  Not only does the process of the Twelve Steps change us into better people, but we also learn how to be with people as we work the steps.

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One of the main signifiers of many Pagan traditions are the way in which they seek to reframe the material and specifically the body as holy and sacred.  Unlike other religions which might cast the affairs of the flesh as sinful or of a base nature, Pagan traditions seek to break up these associations and honor things like sex, desire, and pleasure. Many traditions today still do their rites naked, as a way of proclaiming their freedom from the slavery of shame modern society places on the body. 

I will just put this out there:  I struggle with this embrace of the body, and I suspect my history as an addict and an alcoholic play no little part in this.  Addicts and Alcoholics historically have problematic relationships with our bodies.  Our addictions are embodied obsessions.  We experience them as physical cravings that crawl through our nervous system, scrambling our brains ability to think clearly or cogently.  The fierce need to experience pleasure becomes a thirst that drowns out all other concerns, a strong steady drumbeat that gets louder and more insistent until you finally feed it.  I’ve often experienced my body as a prison, a needy demanding egocentric organism that keeps my spirit-which in my ignorance I think is my TRUE self-- from being truly free.  

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  • Alay'nya
    Alay'nya says #
    You've written an amazing and thought-provoking blogpost, Hope, and I'm so glad you've given this topic so much depth - and have s
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you for your wise words.
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    Good article. I find that this rings true and that its something not overtly addressed in general.
  • Hope M.
    Hope M. says #
    Thanks for reading Taylor!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 “Made the decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” Step Three of Alcoholics Anonymous

 

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  • Patrick Califia
    Patrick Califia says #
    I wanted to thank you for this whole series. I have been struggling in a 12-step program in the Deep South. I am the only pagan. M
  • Melanie Swaim
    Melanie Swaim says #
    Thank you. You said a lot of great things here and in your column. I really appreciate the insight that this is about there bein
  • Melanie Swaim
    Melanie Swaim says #
    This is where I am with this process. I am struggling to know how much of my will, choices, etc. is given over to a Higher Power.
  • Hope M.
    Hope M. says #
    I would say all of our will and choice needs to be given over to a higher power. The program says that we have to practice these

b2ap3_thumbnail_homeless-2.jpg

She’s looking at herself in the bathroom mirror of a motel on Van Buren and 24th. Her friend is staying next door. It’s early and the sun creeps between the ripped curtains and missing blinds. A man is in the bed, another on the sofa. She hid a bottle last night and pulls it out from the pack she carried through various parts of town. Her hands are dry. Her mouth cracks. There is no water and the fan makes annoying sounds. Her head has hurt for two weeks. A few pills line her jean pocket. Lovers speak in muffled sighs and sentences she cannot fully make out. She can no longer look into her eyes, only at her hair, an eyebrow, the curve of her shoulder. The wrinkles are showing up in every inch of skin, a world map of miles she never intended to travel. There’s never enough time, yet all she has is time. Limitless time. Time like a knife killing minutes. She’s stopped wondering what happened. Now all she must do is move. There’s a word from the bed. She knows it’s time to go again.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ms. Sato, Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I've not seen the things you've seen, nor is my life probably very much
  • Aleah Sato
    Aleah Sato says #
    Thank you for your comment and for the work you do. It seems we are coming from similar perspectives and approaches, although perh
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Ah, I see, thank you for correcting my intial impression. Yes, giving addicts only one option is stupid if not abusive. As to yo
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Lol, that was supposed to read onward in the good fight, not good fit! :-)
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Hi, I like your piece a lot. There are many commonalities I share with it, but here are two. 1) My work as a shamanic guide help

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Step Two- We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity

The First Step leaves us in a terrible position.  We are utterly beyond human assistance. Our lives are unmanageable no matter what we do.  We will never be able to control our drinking.  Certainly this is a stance of hopelessness. 

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  • Hope M.
    Hope M. says #
    What a beautiful story, Brian, and I thank you for sharing it. Your experience in understanding a Higher Power as a non-divine en
  • Brian Nelsen
    Brian Nelsen says #
    I have come to really identify with the term "Higher Power". When I found out my son was a drug addict I was first shocked and co
  • gary c. e.
    gary c. e. says #
    hi again and again, let me say the 12 step program in not a silver bullet (not that you were saying that), and it is not for ever
  • Hope M.
    Hope M. says #
    Glad to see you here again Gary! The Twelve Steps may not have been something I was familiar with at that moment when I was lying

We live in an over-culture that tries on a daily basis to annihilate the sovereignty of the individual.  So many of us are carrying wounds from a childhood and adolescence where we suffered humiliating and confusing experiences in the religion of our birth.  No wonder then, that at least initially, many of us were attracted to Witchcraft because it celebrated an independent, rebellious spirit. We found Gods and Goddesses here that did not demand that we act servile or scraping or deny ourselves pleasure.    We found deities who invited us to empower ourselves through tools that were brought to our communities through many brilliant teachers.  Witchcraft is not a collection of traditions that denigrate humanity and humanness. Rather, by acknowledging the divinity immanent within our own selves, we work with our innate powers to affect great change in ourselves, and through ourselves, in the world.

Witches thus adopt a way of viewing the world that understands humans as being fundamentally powerful beings. So what then, of helplessness? Of powerlessness? What then, of submission and surrender in the face of defeat?  What then, of the addict or alcoholic Witch who awakens one morning, hangover piercing their brain, withdrawals fogging their thoughts, who finally understands that life cannot go on this way any longer but who has utterly failed in every attempt to exercise autonomy over themselves and address their addiction problem ?  Whether they go to rehab or enroll in an intensive out-patient program, or look for recovery support on their own, they will likely at some point be directed towards Twelve Step recovery where they will learn that the program revolves around the following concepts; Powerlessness, Surrender, Submission, Dependence, Humility, Willingness, Open-mindedness and Honesty.

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Over many years of witnessing witches and pagans participating in 13 step programs, i have seen that most have succeeded in substi
  • Hope M.
    Hope M. says #
    I've heard this argument many times before and it always makes me smile. Have some people been so sick, suffered so much, been so

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