March 18, 2011

Venting and Complaining as Ways of Holding On

I have found the most important part of 12-step recovery is being honest about my inner state of affairs.

As we learn a new honesty about ourselves, "complaining" may be our first step in identifying our concerns. It could be our way of  coming out of an emotional dark closet, and admitting those "oh-so-many" ways in which we are  powerless.  Seen this way, "complaining" could be part of the process of learning how to be honest with ourselves.  

But should I find myself constantly venting (or complaining), without working some aspect of the program... I might be getting caught up in the habit of worshiping the problem, and not reaching for lasting solutions. I might not be listening to my program companions in such a way that allows me to kindly and firmly use program tools,  between meetings. In this way, I could be denying myself the help of my Higher Power.  

I can also overfeed my problems by being critical and blaming, thus remaining stuck in the throes of powerlessness and unmanageability. We are not supposed to stay forever on step one, only admit that our way of handling ourselves was ineffective... and ask for and receive the help we need in order to change and heal. 

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