Robin Williams Daughter Gets Tattoo for Her Father

Zelda Williams, Robin Williams Daughter, Reveals Her New Ink

robin williams daughter memorial tattoo

Without giving in to hyperbole, it’s safe to say that Robin Williams death shocked the nation. We lost an actor, comedian, and social critic with few peers.

In the wake of his passing, a conversation was sparked about mental illness, depression, and effective mental health treatment. That’s been the silver lining – a renewed and honest look at how we can help those suffering from mental illness.

Robin Williams daughter Zelda is keeping the conversation going. She recently revealed, via her Instagram, a touching memorial to her father. It’s a tattoo of a hummingbird with Robin’s birthday underneath.

Hummingbirds have a unique appeal to the Williams family. They can be seen throughout almost all of Robin William’s movies. His memorial service also featured wristbands with hummingbirds on them.

Thank you for reminding us about your father, Zelda. More importantly, thank you for continuing the conversation your father starter. We can all change!

The Risky Game: An Overdose Poem

An Unintended Overdose

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One of our wonderful fans, the talented Ariana Galante, sent us this poem.

Ariana’s a high school junior from Pennsylvania. She wrote “The Risky Game” after her school hosted a drug awareness seminar.

She was moved by this seminar, saying it brought back memories of her experience with a family member’s addiction. She lived in constant fear of losing her sister. Today, she says, her sister is doing great and has been sober for a few years.

Thanks Ariana! You rock!

If any other Sobriety For Women fans would like to send us work, shoot an email to info@sobrietyforwomen.com. Remember, we can all change!

The Risky Game

 

One time.
One chance.
I take the risk.
Will it be my last?

Heavy eyes,
dizzy head,
I lay down,
on my bed.

Hurry please!
Come get me now!
Find me!
I’m beginning to drown.

I doze off.
I drift.
Flying high,
but now stiff.

She enters.
Sees me lying here,
coming closer,
touches my hair.

I’m cold.
She falls.
Grabs her phone,
and makes that call.

That dreaded day,
we are now apart,
my mistake,
her broken heart.

But for me,
what seemed like a fun time,
careless actions,
turned into the way I died.

–Ariana Galante

Faith Facts Friday With Fiona

Written By: Fiona Stockard

The Big Book Broken Down – Part Seven

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who help each other to recover from alcohol and drug addiction. It was founded in June of 1935, just celebrated its seventy-ninth anniversary, and boasts over two million members.

AA’s central text is the Big Book. With a sponsor and a Big Book, AA members work the twelve steps, and “recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body” (title page).

Big Book

Today, I’ll be breaking down steps eight and nine from the chapter “Into Action”

Step Eight

Step eight is “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.” Sounds kind of scary, huh?

Steps eight and nine, much like the fourth and fifth steps, have this mystique of fear around them. We make a list of everyone we’ve harmed, go over that list with our sponsor, and make amends. That’s scary stuff for an alcoholic like me, who thrived on avoiding uncomfortable situations and lying to everyone!

We shouldn’t be worried, though. It turns out we already have our eighth step list. See, when we were doing the fourth step, we wrote a list of everyone we’d harmed. That’s our eighth step list right there.

Of course, having this list and working up the courage and willingness to face those people are two very different things! Fear not, dear readers, we just have to pray for willingness. It’ll come. The Big Book promises us that.

Step Nine

Step nine is “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

Now that we have the willingness to go out and make amends, how do we actually make them?

Well, the first thing Into Action tells us to remember is – “To some people we need not, and probably should not emphasis the spiritual feature on our first approach” (76).

Sounds good to me! When I was making amends, I was very hesitant to announce I’d found God. After all, I was living a spiritual life, but most people mistake that for a religious life. I didn’t want to make amends and have the person think I’d become some sort of religious monk!

Next, the book lays out one of the most important distinctions of the ninth step. We’re making amends, not simply apologizing. To wit, “[S]he is going to be more interested in a demonstration of good will than in our talk of spiritual discoveries” (77).

I love that! Making amends demands not only words, but action! Later in the chapter, this idea is once again brought up. “A remorseful mumbling that we are sorry won’t fit the bill at all” (83).

You’re right I was sorry…I was living a pretty sorry life! Amend means to change, to alter. We can’t alter past wrongs with an apology. If I stole my mom’s Rolex, saying I’m sorry isn’t enough. Not even close. I need to get her a new Rolex or at least start giving her money (Rolex’s are expensive!).

To really drive this point home, that our amends consist of action and more action, the chapter contains another wonderful quote. It reads, “Our behavior will convince them more than our words. We must remember that ten or twenty years of drunkenness would make a skeptic out of anyone” (83).

Don’t listen to my mouth, watch my feet. Whatever direction they’re going is the truth, is my truth.

Getting back to how exactly to make amends, Into Action offers some great suggestions. I had to make amends to quite a few people I disliked. They cover that. “It is harder to go to an enemy than to a friend, but we find it much more beneficial to us…His faults are not discussed. We stick to our own. If our manner is calm, frank, and open, we will be gratified by the result” (77-78).

Yeah, making amends to people I disliked sucked. It was SO necessary though. The feeling of peace and spiritual alignment I left those amends with? It was nothing short of pure freedom and serenity.

What about making amends to someone who doesn’t want to hear us? Into Action has that covered, too. It reads, “In nine cases out of ten the unexpected happens…It should not matter, however, if someone does throw us out of his [or her] office. We have made our demonstration, done our part” (78).

My sponsor made sure to point that out before I started making amends. “Not everyone is going to take your amends well,” she said, “you may get cursed out a few times.”

Dang! You know what though? It doesn’t matter. I made my amends anyway. I cleaned up my side of the street. I cleared away my wreckage of the past. The rest is in God’s hands. If someone doesn’t want to accept my amends, they have the right to refuse it.

The chapter goes on to give specific examples of owing money, domestic problems, having committed crimes, and generally having been an a*shole. The consensus is that we check with God, our sponsor, and other trusted friends before making amends. After all, sometimes we shouldn’t make a direct amends. Sometimes (and I can’t stress this enough, only sometimes), making a direct amends hurts someone more than it helps.

What do we do in cases like that? Simple. We make an indirect amends. That’s when we do some other sort of good deed to make right the past. In my case, in high school, I stole money from a Hispanic classmate. I didn’t know her name or where to find her. So, I donated the amount of money I stole to a Hispanic charity. This was after a lot of discussion with my sponsor and praying, of course!

Step nine in the Big Book ends by listing the ninth step promises. I’d write them out here, but I think they deserve a more thorough examination. Look for that article soon! And look for the next installment of Faith Facts next week!

Big Book Thumper: Work Steps or Die!

Written By: Fiona Stockard

Hardcore Sobriety

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I was lucky enough to get sober with a bunch of Big Book thumpers. Actually, scratch that, I don’t know if I’d have gotten sober without them. Really, I was graced enough to be given the gift of sobriety from a bunch of Big Book thumpers.

If you’ve been sober for any length of time, you probably know what a book thumper is. If you haven’t, let me tell you!

Big Book thumpers are individuals in recovery who stress the importance of working the twelve-steps and spreading a message of hope, straight from Alcoholics Anonymous, more commonly known as the Big Book.

These are the women at meetings who aren’t afraid to call bulls**t when they see it. They’re the one’s who’ll crosstalk, giving newcomers the advice they so desperately need to hear. They’re the ones you see smiling and laughing until the conversation turns to the steps, then they get deadly serious.

In short, they’re the ones saving lives.

Going to Rehab & My Introduction to Book Thumpers

I didn’t get sober the first time I tried to. Like many alcoholics, it took me a few tries. That isn’t to say it’s impossible to be a one-chip wonder, plenty of people are. Still, most alcoholics I know needed to be beaten up pretty good before they became willing.

I was living in a halfway house in Delray Beach. I was going to aftercare and twelve-step meetings everyday. I also couldn’t stop drinking and drugging. Eventually, I ended up back in rehab. This was the definition of a blessing in disguise!

While in treatment, a group of women heavily involved in H&I (Hospitals and Institutions) brought meetings in. These were hardcore book thumpers! I didn’t take their numbers, or even talk to them really, but a seed of hope was planted.

Getting Sober Thanks to Book Thumpers

Seeing these women and their passion for spreading the message of recovery, gave me hope. Plus, they were saying things I’d never heard before. They didn’t rehash the same old “don’t drink and go to meetings” slogans. Good things they didn’t! Not drinking and going to meetings kept me sick! If I could simply not drink, I wouldn’t need twelve-step recovery in the first place!

Instead, they were saying things like “Selfishness – self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles” (Big Book, p. 62).

Or, “Instead, the problem [alcoholism] has been removed. It does not exist for us” (Big Book, p. 85).

They were calling themselves recovered alcoholics. What an idea! You mean I had a chance to recover? To get better? Not to sit around, miserable as f**k, until I inevitability drank again?

The 12-Steps & Staying Sober in the Real World

And then came the fateful day when I got out of treatment. I wasn’t in the safe and protected rehab bubble anymore. I was in the real world. Was I going to stay sober?

Well, a close friend took me to a meeting she described as “different.” Turns out, it was a step-study meeting, packed with book thumpers! They weren’t the same women who’d brought the H&I meeting into my rehab, but they preached the same message.

I got involved almost immediately. I asked a woman to sponsor me. A few days later, we sat in Moe’s (great burritos, btw!) and worked the first three steps. It took a total of about fifteen minutes. Then she got me writing. The dreaded fourth step!

It turns out the big bad fourth step wasn’t so bad after all. Neither were steps eight and nine. None of the twelve-steps were scary or hard! Maybe I had that gift of desperation people talk about. I don’t know. I just know that I started to feel better and I was going to do whatever I could to keep that feeling going.

Being a Book Thumper Myself

Six years later, I sponsor women the same way. I’m a book thumper! I get girls into the steps quickly. They get better quickly. Of course, very little of their success or failure has anything to do with me. It all has to do with their level of willingness.

When I was first getting sober, my book thumper sponsor asked me, “are you willing to go to any length for your sobriety?” I had no idea what she was talking about, so of course I said yes. I thought she’d have me go to a lot of meetings or something like that.

Today, I know what she really meant. Going to any length means exactly what it sounds like. It means doing what my sponsor asked. If your sponsor is a book thumper, she’s going to ask you to get into the Big Book. Do it. Trust me, that simple book is the key to a whole new life!

The Top Five Signs Your Co-Worker is a Recovering Alcoholic

By: Tim Myers

How To Tell Your Co-Working is a Recovering Alcoholic

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Almost four years ago I stopped drinking. I have no idea why I did, I just did. I’d tried for many years to quit, but for some reason on December 6th 2010, I stopped.

Now, my problem wasn’t stopping. My problem was figuring out for the love of God how to stay stopped! I’d tried the girlfriend maintenance program. I’d tried the white-knuckle roller coaster. I’d tried the “non-alcoholic” beer club. Nothing worked, until everything worked.

For years and years, my co-workers suffered as my alcohol fueled body roared through their lives, making them work longer and harder, while I got drunker and drunker.

Today, I try to treat those I work with better than that. I try to be an asset instead of a liability. Recovering alcoholics who work a good program are the nicest and hardest working people in the office. You’d have no idea they used to sleep in the bathroom of a strip club.

So, if you’re thinking, “Man, I wonder why Jim from the mail room is such a great dude?” It could be because he’s a recovering alcoholic. Before asking Jim, look for these five signs.

5) They’re on the Phone A Lot Having Secret Conversations

 

It’s not a job interview or a mistress. Nope, they’re called sponsees.

After I had one year sober, I was always bouncing to the stairwell to answer a call. Sponsees call five times a day or never at all. They could be calling to tell you they drank, calling to discuss the Doctor’s Opinion, or just calling to tell you their calves hurt from the 5K they ran in. No matter what the reason, every call helps us stay sober.

So yeah, he may be on the phone a lot but, he’s getting pretty sober.

4) Everything Always Seems to Work Out for Them

 

You know that guy who always seems to be in the right place at the right time? That guy who always seems to get what he wants? Well, that guy may be a recovering alcoholic.

Here’s why – as alcoholics in recovery, we help other people stay sober. We live our lives honestly and justly, by helping others stay sober and by living a life of service. Through doing that, we’re making the world a better place. God likes that.

When you help others, good things happen to you. If you punch you sister in her stupid face, steal twenty dollars from your Mom, and then ask Dad to borrow the car, he’s going to say no, you’re an a*shole.

If you help your sister with her homework, kiss her stupid face, and help mom with the laundry, then Dad’s probably going to give you the keys, and few bucks for gas.

The same thing applies here. Help others and good things happen to you. So, if everything in your co-worker’s life seems to be star-spangled awesome, he might just be making the world a more sober place.

3) They Seem to Admit They Were Wrong

 

It’s called direct amends. It’s one of the things we do on a daily basis that keeps us from being a total a*shole. It’ll probably garner a lot of attention in the office, since most people like to stuff that humility and responsibility down their pants.

This isn’t a sign of weakness. They’re not being a push over. They’re just showing you what integrity looks like.

2) They Make Your Life Better

 

You know that person that just makes you feel better by being there? That person who always seems to have your back? They’re funny, kind, and give great advice. That’s how it feels to have a true and honest-to-goodness recovering alcoholic in your life, or at least that’s how the ones in my life make me feel.

1) They Never Drink Ever

 

Period.

The Top Five Signs Your Co-Worker is an Alcoholic

By: Tim Myers

Recognizing One of Your Own

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If you wanted to know if your classmate was gay, you’d ask the opinion of your gay friends. If you wanted to know if your cousin was a tiger, you wouldn’t ask a monkey. You’d ask another tiger. If you’re wondering if you’re hot enough to be a stripper, you wouldn’t ask your priest. You’d ask another stripper. So, if you’re wondering if your co-worker is an alcoholic, just ask another alcoholic.

Only a tiger knows what it’s like to look, walk, stalk, and smell like a tiger. Only a striper can let you know if you really have what it takes to be a stripper. If you’re trying to figure out if your classmate is gay (why do you even care?), you’ll only get an unbiased and non-judgmental opinion from one of your gay friends.

Now, assuming all the above is true, and lets just say it is – than I’m the perfect person to tell you the top five signs that your co-worker is an alcoholic. Guess why? Because, yep, I’m an alcoholic.

5) They’re Late to Work 90% of the Time

 

I can count on one finger how often I was on time for work when I was drinking. It almost never happened.

Ten alarms were set, but I never woke up. I put my work uniform on before I went to bed. It didn’t matter. I even slept in my car, in my work uniform, parked outside the front door of my work, and I still punched in late!

That lack of care for anything other than alcohol did it. Drinking and nursing a hangover were the only things I cared about. Since they weren’t selling alcohol in the footwear section, I didn’t give two s**ts about being on time.

4) They Always Look Like They Just Got Out of Bed

 

Alcoholics always looks like they’re just getting out of bed because they are always just getting out of bed! Or they’re getting off the sidewalk or out of jail.

Even when I didn’t have to be to work ‘till three in the afternoon, I still managed to sleep until 2:45. “This is great! I’ll sleep until 11, go for a jog, read a little, eat a healthy lunch, and go to work.” The alcoholic never does that. I’d always plan to, but at one in the morning that hooker on the corner, and that twenty-four hour Taco Bell, look like heaven on earth.

3) Their Car is Dented All Over

 

Normal people hit a pole, stop the car, and get it fixed soon after. Alcoholics hit a pole, back up, turn, hit the pole again, back up, go a block, hit another poles, smoke a cigarette and sleep until morning.

Do we get the car fixed? Nope! I’ve only got twelve dollars ‘till next Friday…that gallon of vodka costs five bucks and cigarettes cost six and my dog needs food.

2) They Call Out of Work and Claim Their Grandma Died

 

I feel like I need some sort of counseling or something, do you know how hard it is to give the eulogy at all fifteen of your grandmothers’ funerals? I mean, I know I should just be thankful that I’m the only kid in the history of the world who got to enjoy fifteen different grandmothers, but man! Saying goodbye to Dorothy, Sofia, Blanche, Rose, Anne, Roseanne, AnnRose, Martha 1 and 2, Dotty, Fran, Bella, Anna, Annabelle, and Dot is hard!

If your co-worker’s grandma dies and your co-worker doesn’t come in to work the next day – they’re an alcoholic and their Grandma is just fine.

1) They Always Smell Like Alcohol

 

That’s just what we smell like.

Faith Facts Friday with Fiona

Written By: Fiona Stockard

The Basic Text Broken Down – Part Six

Narcotics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who help each other recover from drug and alcohol addiction. It was founded in July of 1953, just celebrated its sixty-first anniversary, and boasts over 60,000 meetings worldwide.

NA’s central literature is the Basic Text. With a sponsor, the Basic Text, and a workbook, NA members work the twelve steps. Through working these steps, NA members learn that “Just for today, you never have to use again!” (xxiii)

NA Basic Text

Today, we’re going to examine the Step Three section of “How It Works.”

Step Three

Step three is “We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him” (p. 25)

Putting aside the fact that having a male pronoun for God is sexist, that’s a profound sentence! This simple step completely encapsulates the rest of the program.

It sounds kind of hokey though, right? Why do I need to turn my will and life over to God? Can’t I just go to meetings and be okay? Well, I’d been turning my will and life over long before I entered recovery.

This section opens by stating, “As addicts, we turned our will and our lives over many times to a destructive power. Our will and our lives were controlled by drugs” (p. 25).

My mind was blown the first time I read that sentence! In active addiction, drugs were my Higher Power. Accepting that fact made it easier to begin to have faith in a spiritual Higher Power. It also made me understand the need for turning my life and will over to that Higher Power.

The section goes on to say, “We don’t have to be religious…” and “The right to a God of your own understanding is total and without any catches” (p. 25).

Again, these ideas blew my mind. I was free to pick any sort of Higher Power that made sense to me! I didn’t have to subscribe to any religious principals, although those may help some. I didn’t have to have a specific belief. I simply had to believe!

And I did. I believed the twelve-steps would change me. That was enough to start. That was enough to offer me the chance at a life beyond my wildest dreams!

After we’re convinced that God is worth seeking, that we should turn our will and lives over, how exactly do we? It sounds kind of vague, right? Well, lucky for us addicts, NA explains in detail how to work step three.

One way is explained as – “We simply realize there is a force of spiritual growth that can help us become more tolerant, patient, and useful in helping others” (p. 26). Simple enough!

This section then lays out the third step prayer. “Many of us have said, ‘Take my will and my life. Guide me in my recovery. Show me how to live’” (p. 26).

This is the prayer many addicts say with their sponsor. This is the prayer many addicts say every morning. This is the prayer many addicts say, time and time again, when in emotional turmoil.

After saying the prayer, we need to live on spiritual principals. NA breaks this down, too! “Most of us feel open-mindedness, willingness and surrender are the keys to this step” (pp. 26-27). That’s simple, but not easy. It’s a lifelong process incorporating spiritual principals in our actions. The good news is that we begin to get results as soon as we start!

Another way of working the third step is to simply complete the rest of the steps. After all, by going through the steps, we turn our will and life over to God. Of course, this requires action!

The Basic Text says, “The word decision implies action” and “The proof of this step is shown in the way we live” (pp. 26-27).

Okay, makes sense to me. A decision is just a decision, but a decision coupled with action? That’s life changing and life affirming. That allows spiritual principals to shine through us. That allows women to heal.

In fact, this section of How It Works echoes this statement. It says, “We are no longer fighting fear, anger, guilt self-pity or depression” (p. 27). That’s the kind of life I want to live. Guess what? Through working the steps, that’s the kind of life I do live.

I’m Sober, but my Brother’s a Junkie: Dealing with Family in Active Addiction

Written By: Fiona Stockard

Addiction is a Family Disease…So What?

First, let me say that my brother isn’t a junkie! He’s a great guy with absolutely no substance abuse problems. It was just a catchy title, I swear!

It’s 2014. By now, we all believe and accept that addiction is a disease. More than that, we believe and accept that addiction is a family disease. That means it’s partially genetic in nature and can be passed down through generations of a family. No shockers there. None of that’s a revelation.

What I want to talk about is a little different. I want to talk about are the dynamics of being sober and having family members in active addiction.

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Now, I’m the oddball out in my nuclear family. Neither my mom, dad, or brother are addicts or alcoholics. My parents don’t even like to drink. My brother’s a social drinker. If he’s at a party, he’ll have a couple of beers.

However, I do have uncles and cousins who’re active alcoholics. I’ll tell you a little bit about how I’ve dealt with them in my sobriety.

My Experience with Family Members in Active Alcoholism

I come from a large family with a ton of extended relatives. Of these, several of my uncles and cousins are alcoholics. That’s my take, anyway. I have one uncle who, in his forties, still lives with his dad. I have another who, despite being a successful banker, drinks everyday.

As for my cousins, oh man, they’re wrecks. I have two guy cousins who can’t stop getting into trouble. I have a girl cousin with severe anxiety issues who medicates with weed.

My Uncles

My family gets together for every major holiday. That’s mostly where I see my uncles. Being honest here, I haven’t seen either of them drunk or high more than once or twice. Yeah, they’ll drink, and occasionally smoke a joint in the backyard, but they rarely get really loaded.

That isn’t to say they aren’t drinking. They literally always have a beer in their hands. The second they finish that beer, they get another. They’re not shotgunning beers and getting rowdy, but they’re never without alcohol.

My Cousins

When I was younger, I’d get drunk and high with my cousins. My guy cousins love to smoke weed. They’re about the same age as me, so when I was younger, we’d smoke before school. Then during the day, we’d sneak out to smoke more. Basically, we were always blazing. My girl cousin is a bit younger, so we never used together.

Things are different with my cousins than they are with my uncles. I have a history of getting loaded with them. Today, it’s strange to see them at family gatherings. They’re all over twenty-one, so drinking at these gatherings is accepted.

Much like my uncles, my cousins are rarely without a drink in their hands. However, unlike my uncles, they’re actively getting as drunk and high as possible. My guy cousins will smoke weed in the backyard constantly. My girl cousin grew up to love weed, so she’s out there with them. By the end of the night, someone has to drive them home because they’re far, far gone.

Dealing with Family in Active Addiction

It’s important to note, seeing family members use and drink isn’t triggering at all. It definitely is uncomfortable to see them behave in stupid ways, but it isn’t triggering.

But Fiona, you may be asking, why doesn’t it trigger you? Well, dear reader, it isn’t triggering because I’m spiritually fit. See, the Big Book tells us that if we’re spiritually fit drugs and alcohol won’t bother us. To quote a wonderful passage –

“We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality—safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition” (Alcoholics Anonymous, p 85).

Once I get in contact with a God of my own understanding, I don’t have to worry about being triggered. I don’t have to worry about alcohol and drugs making me uncomfortable. I do have to worry about keeping in fit spiritual condition.

Staying spiritually fit’s accomplished by helping others, taking a daily inventory, making amends when needed, praying, meditating, and staying honest. So, as long as I do those things, I don’t have to worry about my cousins and uncles drinking and drugging. I pray for them, but I don’t have to be bothered by their use.

It’s that simple! There’s no trick or life hack that makes us okay with others drinking and drugging. Nope, it accomplished through old-fashioned hard work!

More on Michael Phelps – the Famous Swimmer Enters Treatment

Written By: Fiona Stockard

The Saga of Michael Phelps

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Last week, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps was arrested for drunk driving. That story made me ask the question of whether Michael is an addict and alcoholic.

After all, this isn’t his first run in with the law. He was arrested in 2004 for a DUI. In 2009, an infamous picture of him smoking a bong surfaced. It seems like Michael certainly exhibits some classic alcoholic tendencies. He continues to drink and drug in spite of negative consequences.

Ultimately, the only person who can say if Michael Phelps is an addict or alcoholic is Michael Phelps himself. Well, he may be identifying as one of us sooner than expected.

Michael Phelps Decides to Enter Rehab

On Sunday, October 5th, Michael announced via his twitter that he’d be entering “a program.” Sounds like treatment to me. Good job, Michael! I think that’s a pretty mature decision.

The swimmer tweeted that “…right now I need to focus my attention on me as an individual, and do the necessary work to learn from this experience and make better decisions in the future.” His agency later confirmed that he’d be going into a six-week, inpatient treatment program.

Rock on, Mike! I’d like to applaud your commitment to self growth, even if this is only a public relations move. I entered treatment unwilling and learned a lot of important information. In fact, even though I drank after treatment, seeking help was the first step in my recovery journey.

I wish you nothing but the best, Michael. If you learn you’re an addict and alcoholic, know that there are so many resources out there. You have a ton of fans, many of whom are in recovery themselves, rooting for you. Get help and return to the public eye as a story of inspiration and hope. Show the world, Michael, that we can all get better!

Faith Facts Friday With Fiona

Written By: Fiona Stockard

The Big Book Broken Down – Part Six

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who help each other to recover from alcohol and drug addiction. It was founded in June of 1935, just celebrated its seventy-ninth anniversary, and boasts over two million members.

AA’s central text is the Big Book. With a sponsor and a Big Book, AA members work the twelve steps, and “recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body” (title page).

Big Book

Today, I’ll be breaking down steps five, six, and seven from the chapter “Into Action”

Step Five from Into Action

Into Action opens by talking about step five. It reads, “This requires action on our part, which, when completed, will mean that we have admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs” (72).

That’s the fifth step. Let’s be honest, no one wants to tell someone else everything about themselves. I didn’t. It’s about as uncomfortable a situation as can happen.

There are reasons we need to, though! Without working the fifth step, we usually don’t stay sober. Case in point, the chapter reads, “The best reason first: If we skip this vital step, we may not overcome drinking” (72).

There it is, laid out plain as anything. If we don’t get honest and tell another woman everything about ourselves, we may not be able to stay sober. That was enough to convince me. Well, that and the pain of not trying to change!

Into Action addresses this idea of emotional and mental pain, too. “[S]he is under constant fear and tension – this makes for more drinking” (73). Our actions in active alcoholism are selfish and, usually, harmful to others. This makes our lives pretty tense! I know that was the case for me.

So, to stay sober we need to do a fifth step. Or, to put it another way, to stay sober we need to get honest. What about happiness, though? Turns out we also need to be honest if we want to be happy! “We must be entirely honest with somebody if we expect to live long or happily in this world” (73-74).

So, if we want to stay sober and have any level of happiness, we need to work a fifth step. There’s good news, too! Once we share our story, 100% honestly, with another woman, we get this sense of relief.

It’s hard to describe what happens after the fifth step. The best way I can describe it is to say that, for the first time in years, I felt like I could breathe. I felt a different sort of high than I was used to. I felt free.

Into Action describes it this way, “We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but we now begin to have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly” (75).

Sounds appealing, right? Remember, though, we need to keep on doing work! After all, it says “the feeling that the drink problem has disappeared…” It doesn’t say our actual drinking problem has disappeared! That only comes after we complete all twelve of the steps!

Step Six

Before we get into steps six and seven, we need to be sure we’ve completed the first five to the best of our ability. The book reads, “Returning home we find a place where we can be quiet for an hour, carefully reviewing what we have done…Carefully reading the first five proposals we ask if we have omitted anything…” (75).

Once we can say that we’ve worked the first five steps to the best of our ability, being as honest and open as possible, then we’re able to move to step six.

Step six is when we become willing to have God remove our character defects. Remember, we’ve identified a rough outline of our defects through writing a fourth step. For step six, we need to ask ourselves one simple question – “Are we now ready to let God remove from us all the things which we have admitted are objectionable?” (76).

Once we’re willing, the sixth step turns into the seventh step.

Step Seven

The seventh step is as simple as asking God to remove our character defects. The cool thing about this step is that we don’t have to 100% mean it when we ask God. As long as we’re willing to acknowledge we have these character defects and continue to ask God to remove them, until we do mean it, we’re good to go.

At this point, we say the seventh step prayer, or some form of it that expresses the same ideas. The seventh step prayer from the Big Book reads,

“My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go from here, to do your bidding. Amen” (76).

And just like that, we’re done with the seventh step. Of course, like many parts of AA, this is just the beginning of a lifelong process.