The Hope Diary: Step Twelve: Helping Others

We have now arrived at the twelfth and final step of the recovery program. Congratulations! Give yourself a huge hug and relish how far you have come to reach this point. Your recovery is the cornerstone of the success for the rest of your life.

Step twelve touches on what is single-handedly the most important part of daily recovery. Although all of the steps are essential for a healthy soul, mind and body, the twelfth step is crucial because it instills the importance of giving away what you have been given. After all, where would we be if recovery, support, and guidance had not been given to us by others all along the way?

Helping other people get their life back on track by sharing our experience, strength and hope can be done in the form of sponsoring up to the level of your recovery or by being an accountability partner.  Just being kind to others and allowing positivity and love to flow through your personality to the world around you enables all kinds of continual healing to take place. When we don’t pass on the knowledge that we have received, we run the assured risk of falling back on our own recovery and becoming selfish and proud.

The steps need to be repeated for the rest of our lives. We never become “too good” for program; rather, our success in life is dependant upon our daily surrender to God and being willing to work on ourselves. Recovery is a beautiful thing; how will you pass it on today?

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop for the following questions.

Our Mission
Isaiah 61:1-3

1. How have I passed through the pain and despair of enslavement to addiction and moved into healing and freedom?

2. Having had a “spiritual awakening” after being set free from my addiction, am I excited or hesitant to share my experience, strength, and hope with others who are struggling with addiction? Why?

Our Story
Mark 16:14-18

Describe the story of your spiritual awakening and how the first eleven steps have brought spiritual principals, truth, and healing into your life. Describe what you were like, what happened, and what you are like now.

Sharing Together
John 15:5-15

1. Am I connected to the vine? How do the Twelve Steps help me to “remain” in him?

2. Is my recovery attractive to other addictive/compulsive people because I am becoming more loving rather than condemning those who need my help?

3. What am I doing to reach out with Jesus’ love?

Listening First
Acts 8:26-40

1. What is my attitude about sharing my story of recovery? Am I reluctant to tell my story, or am I the type that wants to share too much, too soon, with too many people?

2. From either extreme, am I willing to wait for God’s timing for sharing recovery?

3. Do I see my story as valuable to God’s plan? Describe how.

Talking the Walk
1 Timothy 4:14-16

1. Paul encourages Timothy to “throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.” What changes in my life can others observe since I have been sober and working the Twelve Steps?

2. Paul wanted Timothy not only to teach others, but to be an example. When I share my story with others, am I preaching, or sharing my experience, strength, and hope.

3. Am I able to let the other person make his or her own decision by relinquishing control and letting God do his work?

Never Forget
Titus 3:1-5

What do I remember about my last drink or my last binge? Describe that last time, including actions, feelings, behaviors, and thoughts that led up to it and followed it:

The Narrow Road
1 Peter 4:1-4

1. Peter pointed out: “You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy-their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties” (1 Peter 4:1-2) the pains of recovery.

2. Does the approval or judgement of others keep me from sharing recovery? Do I fear negative rumors?

3. How can I work the Twelve Steps on this fear?

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Step Eleven: God’s Will be Done

Step eleven of the twelve step program teaches us that recovery is a daily renewal of our minds, bodies and souls. Without surrendering to God’s Will for our lives it is impossible to have a successful and abstinent day. I tried to live my life in recovery my way for a long time until I finally became exhausted because I kept ending up in the same place: failure! I just said “Ok God You win I give up! Your Will be done not mine!” Now whenever I feel myself getting frustrated it is a warning sign that I am trying to live life on my terms, and so I have to 1. Stop and 2. Simply ask God for His help. Man what humble pie tastes like going down! But the rewards of humility and surrender surely are sweeter than trying to do things alone.
Prayer does not have to be fancy. God wants us to come simply as we are. I often pray “Father, your will be done, not my own. In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen.” God is a God of hearts.

What is your Step 11 Prayer that you can use throughout the day?

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook for the following questions.

A New Hiding Place
2 Samuel 22:1-33

1. How was addiction a hiding place from life for me? Compare this with having God as a hiding place.

2. Describe how I experience “conscious contact” with God:

Thirst for God:
Psalm 27: 1-6

1. What do I most seek from God?

2. What is difficult about trusting God with my requests?

Joy in God’s Presence
Psalm 65:1-4

1. What keeps me from accepting God’s forgiveness?

2. What scares me about knowledge of God’s will for me?

Finding God
Psalm 105:1-9

1. Is my life changing daily? Am I noticing when I am resentful, selfish, dishonest, or afraid today? Identify ways that I am changing:

2. Am I aware of others’ feelings, needs, and rights? What have I noticed today?

Powerful Secrets
Psalm 119: 1-11

1. What am I hiding in my heart–secrets of old behaviors and issues, or God’s Word?

2. List what I can thank God for today:

Patient Waiting
Isaiah 40: 28-31

1. How does impatience show itself in my attitude and behaviors?

2. Am I impatient about my progress in recovery? Do I expect myself to “get it” the first time? Do I expect perfection?

3. Why is it hard to “trust in the Lord”?

Friends of the Light
John 3:18-21

1. In what areas of my life am I still afraid to seek God’s will?

2. When I think I am hearing God’s will, whose power do I act on? Am I tempted to do God’s will in my own power?

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Step Ten: Taking Daily Inventory

Step ten is the first step that I take daily in order to keep myself in check. When I find that my character or food plan might be getting a bit sloppy, I try to immediately surrender myself to God and ask for His help to renew my mind In Him and take account for exactly where I am going wrong. In doing so, I am able to get back on track much faster and have a fruitful day. In the past before I found strong recovery I just kind of floundered around mercilessly inside and felt very lost. My mind was weak because I had let the eating disorder and other problems control it for many years. Thank God for His Grace and the twelve steps of recovery to bring daily help in every single situation that can arise.

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop for the following questions.

Personal Boundaries
Genesis 31:45-55

1. In order to restore trust in relationships, what particular weaknesses do I need to set boundaries around?

2. Is there a trusted person to whom I can clearly define my commitments? Who? What commitments am I willing to make?

Repeated Forgiveness
Romans 5:3-5

1. Do certain behaviors and character defects that show up in my Step Ten inventory point to a pattern? Which ones? What is being revealed to me?

2. Am I having trouble admitting these promptly and forgiving myself?

3. Do I give myself grace? Why or why not?

Dealing with Anger
Ephesians 4:26-27

1. What is my first response when I am angry? Lashing out? Stuffing down? Avoidance and covering up?

2. How was anger dealt with in my family? How did my mother deal with anger? My father? Which pattern do I follow?

3. When I am angry, can I promptly admit it? Why or why not?

4. Do I have support people who can help me learn to deal with anger more appropriately? Am I willing to ask for assistance with this issue?

Spiritual Exercises
1 Timothy 4:7-8

1. As this continual inventory is important for spiritual fitness, where in my daily routine can I set aside time to make myself self-assessment part of every day?

2. Do I have any resistance to evaluating my defects daily? What are my objections? What do I fear?

3. An example of a simple, daily, personal inventory:

Where have I been selfish, dishonest, fearful, inconsiderate, or proud?

What have I done right today?

What do I need God's help with tomorrow?

What am I grateful for today?

Perseverance
2 Timothy 2:1-8

1. How do I see my recovery as a war against addiction and as a fight for my soul?

2. How do I see myself as an athlete in training for the marathon journey of recovery and serenity?

3. Am I working in every season and situation? planting seeds of recovery by applying the Twelve Steps to my life?

4. Where do I lose heart in fighting, training, and working through the Twelve Steps?

Looking in the Mirror
James 1:21-25

1. Have I been quick to recognize but not take action in a particular area of my life or defect of character? If so, I can take action without self-criticism by going back through Steps Six and Seven, then Eight and Nine on that particular area or defect.

2. On what area or defect do I need to take action today? This week? This month?

Recurrent Sins
1 John 1:!-10

1. Have I hoped for immediate release from my defects as I may have had from my addiction? Have I perhaps unknowingly hoped that by doing all this step work I could attain perfection? Write any thoughts and feelings that arise from reading this meditation:

2. Am I clear that I still need inventories to continue my spiritual growth? In other words, have I developed enough humility to accept that inventories will be a regular part of my journey?
Explain:

3. Am I sensing that my conscience is returning or developing so that I more easily recognize my faults? Am I humble enough to admit them more readily? Record any progress you've noticed in your conscience:

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

Glory Dance Day

And in these quiet places
in the secret moments of our hearts
a garden blossoms
Long awaited
it is the arrival of hope
faith and love
cultivated by a prism of miracles
Tiny angels dance around
in sweet succulent honeydew
to announce the presence
of victories’ glorious overdue.

©2013 Nikki DuBose

 

The Hope Diary: Step Eight: Reflecting on Who We Had Hurt

Step Eight requires tremendous doses of humility and courage as we ponder over the courses of our lives who we have hurt while living in our addictions. Sometimes we have mistreated others and were not even aware that we had done so. As we begin to meditate on those who had been affected by our irresponsibility we quickly find that we can list a slew of of people we had hurt.

This was a tough step for me the first couple of times I went through early recovery and now I really try not to hurt others. I may not always be where I need to be but with God’s help thank God I am not where I used to be! Take heart and know that although your healing journey may seem difficult or like a long road to walk on, that it is a path filled with healing and with healing comes many blessings and happiness. And we all deserve to be happy! Most importantly we all need to learn how to treat other people with kindness and love so this is a very important step to accomplish but with God’s help you can do it one day at a time.

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop for the following questions.

Making Restitution
Exodus 22:10-15

1. How have I failed to respect the property of others.

2. Have I been so harmed or condemned by others that I have avoided responsibility for myself. By whom and when.

3. What excuses have I used for not looking at my behaviors.

Unintentional Sins
Leviticus 4:1-28

1. In what areas have I unintentionally harmed others with my words/moods/self-pity/depression/anger/or fears.

2. In what ways have I acted thoughtlessly without regard for others’ needs or feelings. When; To Whom;

Scapegoats
Leviticus 16:20-22

1. Have I been putting off making a list because I am afraid of some responses. Whose.

2. Have I held on to shame about a certain incident or relationships. What am I willing to do to let go so that I can become willing to make amends.

3. Is there someone I am having trouble forgiving who blocks my willingness. Who.

Overcoming Loneliness
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

1. How have I allowed isolation due to shame and guilt to keep me from supportive relationships.

2. What is the role of shame and guilt in my isolation.

3. Am I willing to forgive myself for the hurt I have caused others. Write a prayer of willingness to forgive and ask for God’s grace to heal these relationships.

Forgiven to Forgive
Matthew 18:23-35

1. Are there people on my list that I am having trouble forgiving for their part in our relationship. Who and Why.

2. What keeps me from letting others off the hook. Fear/Resentment/Caretaking.

3. What blocks me from forgiving others for the wrongs done to me.

a. Fear of what others would think of me. (Pride).

b. Fear of letting others see my hurts.

c. Fear of conflict. Protecting others feelings to avoid conflict.

The Fruit of Forgiveness
2 Corinthians 2:5-8

1. Is there anyone on my list whose behavior I do not approve. Who. Why.

2. Am I willing to let go of judgement and disapproval to open myself to working this step.

3. Have I been so afraid of rejection that I have delayed willingness to make amends. Who could reject me and why.

Reaping Goodness
Galatians 6:7-10

1. What “crop” did I sow while practicing my addiction.

2. Describe the correlation between healthy living and acceptance of the consequences for my addiction/behavior:

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Step Seven: Humility and Asking God to Remove our Defects

Step Six was all about getting ready for God to remove our defects in order that He may help us to be all that He has created us to be. Step Seven now is simply and humbly coming before God in prayer and asking Him to remove every shortcoming that stands in the way between us and our God-Given Purpose.

Being a humble person is so important because without it it is pretty impossible to recognize our defects and to be people that can ask God to help us. I daily come to God in prayer in the morning and all throughout the day and ask God for His help now because I know that I know that I know that without Him I can do nothing. Within myself I am weak addicted and a total mess but In Christ I am strong confident courageous and an overcomer. I am set free from every attack that satan tries to bring against me because God is with me and for me.

Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop for the following questions.

Clearing the Mess
Isaiah 57:12-19

1. Have I developed enough humility from my experiences in addiction to see that I need to let God work in my heart. Is there any doubt that self-reliance has kept God out.

2. Describe the difference between humiliation and humility.

Giving up Control
Jeremiah 18:1-6

1. Have I ever demanded to have circumstances changed for my benefit. When.

2. Have I ever become impatient with God’s timing in the process of changing my heart and character.

3. What keeps me from letting go so that God can shape my life better than I could ever imagine or create myself.

Pride Born of Hurt
Luke 11:5-13

1.Is it hard for me to ask anyone even God for help. What keeps me from sharing.

2. What experiences in my family of origin have brought about this self-sufficiency.

3. Have I held back from asking God for what I need because I am projecting my disappointments onto Him. Do I trust Him.

4. Am I willing to give up self-sufficiency and pride to persistently ask for God’s help in removing my shortcomings.

A Humble Heart
Luke 18:10-14

1. Have I ever compared my faults/problems/sins to blatant sins of others such as robbery/murder/adultery to justify avoiding deeper work on my own character defects. What does this do for me.

2. Have I ever justified myself because I attend church/sing in the choir/do service work. Do I judge others for their lack of participation or involvement.

3. After self-examination in Steps Four through Six have I been struggling with self-hatred and shame.

4. Do I realize that the “secret sins” of pride/judgement/comparison are just as serious as the more blatant ones.

5. Have addiction and adversities humbled me enough to open the door to God’s forgiveness.

Declared Not Guilty
Romans 3:23-28

1. Steps Six and Seven re one path to acceptance of this verse: all of us have fallen short not only of our own ideals but also of God’s glory. Have I been trying to “measure up” and show God that I can “be good” by doing good works. How have I tried to show him that I am okay.

2. Can I now trust in faith that Jesus will not only make up for my weaknesses but will also begin to remove shortcomings as I surrender humbly to his will. If not why.

Into the Open
Philippians 2:5-9

1. Have I disguised my addiction by covering it up with a good image. Have I hidden behind a good reputation.

2. Do I still fear that others will find out about my addiction. Will my pride be hurt if someone knows the extent of it. Am I willing to share it if it will help others.

3. Can I release to God my self-centered fears of being known and of losing my image. If so write a prayer to God expressing your desire to do so.

Eyes of Love
1 John 5:11-15

1. God already sees us as we will be when his work is done. Am I aware of any blocks that keep me from asking him into my heart to do that work. What are they.

2. Is my confidence in God’s willingness to remove my shortcomings renewed. How and why.

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose