There are four types of addictions

There are four types of addictions


Substances include alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine, nicotine, heroin, prescription drugs, caffeine, and marijuana.


Process addictions include sex, work, exercise, video games, food (anorexia, bulimia, and binge), money (gambling, shopping, and e-trading), and internet and/or cybersex.

Compulsive Attachments

Compulsive attachments include seeking and staying with troubled people; pathological giving, rescuing, and becoming a hero; intensity, drama, and crises; impression management; codependency; co-addiction; and trauma bonding.


Feelings include rage, fear, self-loathing, intensity, and love.

Carnes, P. J. (2009). Recovery zone (vol. 1). Carefree, AZ: Gentle Path Press.

Sponsors Notes on Step Four (AA)

The following is a list of tips and tools that may be helpful when doing your 4th or assisting your protégés with Step 4:

Keep It Simple!

During early sobriety, I heard much negativity spoken about the 4th Step that scared me. No wonder why people are scared to do this vital step. Shouldn’t we try to encourage new people to do this step, which will put them on the path to freedom, rather than discourage them from doing it by making negative comments and instilling fear in them? Just a thought.

Emphasize the importance of writing the 4th Step inventory. There are a total of 17 references in the Big Book that suggest our 4th Step should be written. The word “written” is used 2 times (pages 70 & 75). The word “paper” is mentioned 3 times (pages 64, 68, & 69). Some form of the word “list” is given 10 times (pages 13, 64, 65, 66, 67 twice, 70 twice, & 76 twice). Page 67 says we placed our faults before us in black and white. And finally, page 65 gives an example of a written inventory.

Gee, I guess it’s pretty important that we instruct our protégés to WRITE their inventory, huh?

Step 4 is the beginning of the treatment for our “spiritual malady”, which is the root of our problem in Step 1. Other branches (symptoms) of Step 1 that stem from the root (spiritual malady) are the physical craving (which deals with the body) and the mental obsession (which deals with the mind). Page 64 says, “When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.” Upon completion of Step 4, we are well on our way to carrying out the solution (described to us in Steps 2 & 3) to our problem (in Step 1).

The Big Book instructs us to inventory three “common manifestations” of self-will: resentments, fears, and harms done to others (with emphasis on our sexual misconduct). (Remember, page 68 says we need an “overhauling” in the area of sex – not a minor tune-up! Honesty and thoroughness are key – the $19.95 Jiffy Lube Special won’t fill the bill.)

Resentment inventory is most easily done in columns, as illustrated on page 65 of the Big Book. Experience proves that a 4-column-inventory format is the best. Even though page 65 gives an example of three columns, the instructions for writing the 4th column of “faults and mistakes” where we see the truth of our behavior are found on page 67. The column format allows the protégés to see patterns more easily. Most people benefit from writing their columns vertically. We write inventory vertically, but read inventory (during Step 5) horizontally. (NOTE: I used to instruct my protégés to use the 4-column format for all the inventories. Having done many 4th Steps over the years, my experience has been that the column format is best suited for resentment and fear inventory.

I now prefer writing sex/harms inventory by just answering the 9 questions found on page 69 in paragraphs. It has been easier and less restricting for me to do this part of the inventory in a horizontal “mini-essay” type format.) But beware: don’t get caught up in technique and formats. When it comes to writing inventory, as Nike™ says, “JUST DO IT!”

“Should I put my name in column 1?” is a question often asked by protégés when doing Step 4. There is much debated on this subject over what is the “right” or “wrong” answer. I don’t debate this issue. Some people need to list themselves as part of their inventory, others don’t. How do I know if a person needs to put his/her name on their resentment list? If I tell them “No, you can’t!” or “You MUST put your name at the top of the list!” aren’t I “playing God”? In the 3rd Step I made a decision to quit playing God. So, I don’t tell protégés who they should or shouldn’t list on their inventory.

If I’m asked the question of “Should I list my name?” I ask the person, “Do you resent yourself?” If they say “yes” I then ask them “Why do you resent yourself?” Providing they can answer that question, I then tell them, “Well, I guess you should put yourself on the list because your first two columns are already complete. You’re halfway finished. Why stop now!”

There are actually four inventories we should be writing as part of the 4th Step: “Resentments”, “Fears”, “Sex”, and “Harms to Others”. There are some people on my inventory that I harmed but I didn’t resent them, fear them, nor have a sexual relationship with them. So if I hadn’t done a “Harms to Others” inventory as page 70 suggests (“We have listed the people we have hurt by our conduct, and are willing to straighten out the past if we can.”) then I would have missed important truths that needed to be on my inventory and shared in Step 5. And besides, when we get to Step 8 page 76 says, “We have a list of all persons we have harmed and to whom we are willing to make amends. We made it when we took inventory.”

According to the Big Book, we do not write our “life story” in Step 4. It suggests we tell someone all our life story in Step 5 – NOT WRITE IT. As we’re reading our 4th Step inventories to someone in Step 5, what we’re actually doing is telling them our “life story”. Looking back, my “life story” was as simple as this: Because of my selfishness and self-centeredness (the spiritual malady) I caused harms to other people. This caused me great fear. Because the fear became too intense for me to handle, ego caused me to “turn the tables” and become resentful toward those I had harmed, which made it look like others harmed me and I was innocent. This allowed me to block-out the harms I did to others and all I remembered were the resentments I had toward them. Most of my harms were caused within relationships. There’s no wonder in my mind why this is true. What other “tools for living” do fearful and resentful people have? (No, suicide and homicide don’t count! They’re not “tools for living”. They are “weapons of destruction”!) We do what we know best. So, I harmed others because of resentments, fears, and other defects stemming from selfishness and self-centeredness (spiritual malady). There! End of life story! Can I go home now?

Avoid inventorying your “assets” in Step 4. Our assets never got us into trouble. Our defects block us from God’s Power, not our assets. Many people over the years have confused the first sentence from the following quote on page 46 of the 12 & 12: “The sponsor probably points out that the newcomer has some assets which can be noted along with his liabilities. This tends to clear away morbidity and encourage balance. As soon as he begins to be more objective, the newcomer can fearlessly, rather than fearfully, look at his own defects.” Somehow, we alkies, who are experts at interpretation, have turned that statement around to justify an “assets and liabilities checklist” for the 4th Step inventory. That may be a handy tool for Steps 6 & 7, but many alcoholics are dying because they never come face-to-face with the truth in Step 4. My sponsor has always insisted that I remember it was never my “assets” which got me drunk.

Don’t forget: Praying is a part (a big part!) of Step 4. The prayers in the 4th Step are just as important as the actual writing of the inventory. Chuck C. used to say that the Steps are about UNCOVERING, DISCOVERING, and DISCARDING. The writing of Step 4 helps us to uncover. The prayers help us to discover. Steps 5 through 9 enable us to discard.

We write inventory to discover the TRUTH… about the LIE.
(NOTE: You may need to meditate on that statement for a while before you really understand it. I had to. Of course, getting lots of experience by writing inventory helped me understand as well. Experience is the name of the game when it comes to working with others.)

Step 4 helps us to discover truth by working from the outside, moving inward. In resentment inventory we discover that our troubles are not of someone else’s making (columns 1, 2, 3); but instead, as mentioned on page 62, our troubles are of our own making (column 4). Quite often a protégés will discover that the first 3 columns of his/her inventory are based on a “lie” by the time they begin working on their 4th column. In inventory, I write about “who I am not” to discover “who I am”.

A thorough 4-column-inventory will give your protégés all the information they need for completing the rest of the “housing-cleaning” steps: He/she will use all four columns for Step 5. They’ll use columns 3 & 4 for Steps 6 & 7. And column 1 will be used for Steps 8 & 9. So, if this is true, then you may not want to burn your inventory, as we are sometimes told to do by members of our fellowship. If you must discard your inventory (which is necessary for some people), then wait until you’ve completed Steps 5, 6, 7, and have made a separate and thorough list for Step 8.

(NOTE: I am occasionally faced with the old “dog ate my homework” excuse from protégés who don’t want to complete their 9th Step amends. So, be careful with the “burn your inventory” suggestion. Believe it or not, it’s NOT in the Big Book.)

Even though this is not mentioned specifically in the Big Book, by completing a searching, fearless, honest, and thorough inventory we are examining the 4 dimensions of our life: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. (BUT only the fourth dimension, “spiritual”, is rooted in Truth. But set that aside for a moment and read on…) Column 1 of resentment inventory deals with the physical – Who or what we’re mad at. Column 2 deals with the mental – What we think they did to us. Column 3 deals with the emotional – What we felt when they supposedly wronged us. (Clarence S. used to say that alkies don’t think, “THEY EMOTE!” which means we feel our way through life.)

And finally, Column 4 rockets us into the spiritual dimension, revealing the “exact nature of our wrongs” – the truth about what really happened. It usually reveals to me how my faulty thinking caused me to take actions which got the “ball rolling” in the first place. With 99% percent of the resentments I see (both in myself and in those I work with) the first 3 columns can be turned into a lie when the truth of the fourth column is revealed.

Consider this: Is it possible that the 4th column of inventory, which reveals to us the “truth”, is the “fuel” that enables us to be rocketed into the “Fourth Dimension of Existence” that the Big Book describes on pages 8 & 25? This “Fourth Dimension” is later described on page 84 as the “World of the Spirit” as we begin to commence daily spiritual living with Steps 10 & 11. The “World of the Spirit” is a constant because Truth, which we first discover in the fourth column of Step 4, is a constant. Truth is always present at the core of our Being even when covered up (or blocked) by a lie.

Show your prospect that inventory can be fun! Don’t treat inventory as if you’re going to a funeral. Treat it like your witnessing the birth of a new child… because you are! Of course Step 4 is a serious life and death matter; but it will be encouraging if you can show your protégés to have fun with inventory. And above all, “Keep It Simple!”

Attracting Negative People

Laws of Attraction are clearly defined. What comes back is a reflection of the energy you are radiating. If negative people are being attracted to you, then be self-assured that you are sending out energy that appeared on their radar screen.

Instead of focusing on not trying to attract them. Be thankful you are.

Okay, you say, that might be pushing it a little. Not really. You see, whatever you are attracting is giving you a clear projection of the energy that you are giving off. Or it could be something that you need to heal first in order to clear your energy. Most times, we could not see how we are radiating without this attraction.

The answer is awareness. The key is seeing it quickly so that their negative energy doesn’t change or shift your energy and pull you down along with it. However, it’s best not to leave until you have a sense of what is showing up. Yet, sometimes, that isn’t possible until hindsight mode.

An excellent example of this occurred to me just this week. A quick background in case you don’t know me — I’m very careful of my energy and have practiced the laws. I am also a master practitioner and move with the laws 24/7 which took years to master. Something I’m very proud of and very aware of.

Well, anyway, moving forward to the illustration.

Eating dinner at my favorite restaurant, sitting there writing after a good meal, just finished a marketing story for one of my syndicated columns. Before leaving I thought I would duck into the ladies room. I was sitting on the john — oops, maybe too much information (TMI) — when I heard this lady talking to me from the other stall. Actually feeling awkward and caught unaware, it took a few minutes before I could really make out what she was saying. By then, I was walking towards the sink to wash my hands. It wasn’t until then did I get the gist of her story, language and negativity. It was a victim story about how the world is out to get her. Let me spare you the details. I know you’ve heard this before and can easily relate to the energy heaviness created in the room.

I smiled and commented about I enjoy coming to the restaurant. She was too much into her story to hear anything but herself. Yet, she wasn’t even hearing herself, I believe. She followed me back to my table and stood over me as I sat down. A few more minutes of this and trying to ignore her and because I was ready to leave anyway, I got up to leave. She walked back to her table and sat. This time I walked to her table and towered over her.

I continued to listen, not getting a word in edge wise for another five minutes or so. I smiled and nodded sideways repeatedly in disagreement. She never paid attention. Finally, I held up my hand in a stop-sign format. This caused a pause. With a deep sigh of thank goodness, I remarked, “I’ve listened to your story and would like to share with you — you are attracting exactly what you don’t want because that is exactly what you want. Everything that has occurred has been what you have asked for. If you want to change what you are attracting, start by seeing and making new choices. This and only this will change what occurs in your life.”

As you suspect, and probably have already experienced yourself, she didn’t even hear the message. She continued right back into her story. My immediate and last comment was, “I hope you have a wonderful life and sometime soon learn to see that you’re choices are what you are attracting.” Not waiting for a response, I quickly turned and left the restaurant.

As I sat in the car, I asked myself, how in the heck did I attract this energy? And in the ladies room of all places? I wasn’t radiating anything negative, was I? The answer from the universe arrived immediately. It directed me towards my story that I wrote. When rereading, my attention was drawn to the number of “don’ts” in the article. They were every other sentence it seemed. Then I turned to other articles I had written at earlier in my notebook. The “don’ts” were many. Embarrassingly many.

Tracing my thoughts to when my energy had changed, I realized that it shifted when I started reading other people’s ezines that I brought along. I saw it as clearly as the sun rising on this morning’s horizon. All the don’ts that people were writing in order to try to sell their products or services. My energy level began to shift with the reading. It continued to spiral into my writing. Their attraction to the negative words moved into my use of negative words. How this and that was hard…finding the target market was hard…and the list went on.

This in turn created me to write in that same tone. My lesson — be fully aware of what I was reading and its influence on my energy and my writing.

As I look back, I see patterns of where this occurred more than once. And as I continue to trace further, I also remember what I was reading.

If it wasn’t for this experience, this negative encounter, I may not have seen this at all. I like to think I would have seen it anyway but in reality, probably not.

Yes, yes, yes. I do wish I had caught it earlier. But let’s not go there, huh. That will zap the energy of this story for sure.

The point is, be glad negative people are being attracted to you. Be aware of their appearance. Ask what is radiating from you that attracted them. Be the fly zapper at a picnic and ask why your light was on that attracted the fly. See any patterns and quickly make any adjustments.

Rest assuredly, that when you are no longer radiating negative energy, you will not attract those negative experiences or people. I promise this to you based on experience.

I also always recommend that you share your experience, through writing, speaking engagements, or just with friends and family. There are three people waiting to listen and learn from the valuable lesson.,-Be-Thankful&id=3184

Dealing with our Dragons – Self Growth

Become aware of the dragons and fears inside you. If you understand
your feelings and allow them to just be there without judging them,
they’ll move on, heal, and become transmuted.

If you fearfully resist them, labeling them bad/wrong/ugly, they’ll
stick to your mind and grow. Acknowledge your feelings. You don’t
need to act on them, just see them. Invite your dragons into the
light….take a dragon to lunch. Then accept them. Feelings aren’t
right or wrong; they just are. A gentle climate of love and
acceptance fosters healing and growth.

Change is action; old habits are reactions. To change and transform
we must consciously choose new actions. All the buried patterns we’ve
talked about are ingrained, passive, fixed, change-resisting reactions
to people and circumstances. The only way to be free of them is to
create fresh, new actions to replace them.

We need to act rather than react. As we learn to break out of the
cycle of reaction we become better able to be who we really are.

As I have been discussing, the steps outlined in this book are the
basic tools of change. Now let me share with you a somewhat wider
perspective on self-change.


Step l. Awareness, Acknowledgment, and Acceptance: Bring into the
open old patterns, reactions or fears,

Step 2: Pause.: Before you act, step back, take time out…a
breather…to gain perspective. You can’t see much with your nose
pressed right up against what you are looking at. Examine your
feelings; then compare your options: remember how you have reacted in
the past. Is it appropriate now or would you rather choose other
deliberate, creative, healing actions?

Step 3: Choose: This step is crucial. By pausing, you’ve taken
yourself off automatic

pilot so you are free to decide on a new course of action. How would
you like to act? If the old reaction isn’t working, choose to act a
different way. You don’t have to continue old patterns. You are now
in the driver’s seat.

If you take a single word out of this book and make it your own on
a day to day basis, I hope it’s choose. If you can choose to act in a
different way, even while feeling the old way, yu will find it
tremendously liberating.

Once when my ex and I were having a confrontation in which I felt
judged and rejected, I recognized an old reaction pattern, a 3 phase
dance I used to go into whenever I felt threatened. First, I’d feel
guilty and wrong for “making” him unhappy, so I’d become jovial and
conciliatory in order to jolly him out of his mood.

When that didn’t work, I became the counselor-in- residence and (oh, so
calmly) pointed out the error of his ways, reasonably citing the
various psychological bases of the misunderstanding.

That never worked.

No one, especially our mate, is ever very receptive to being
“enlightened” concerning the reasons for his or her irrational
behavior while they’re in the midst of feeling hurt, angry, or frustrated.

When neither of those tactics worked, I became frustrated, lonely,
and discouraged. I would withdraw into righteous anger and slog
around in a cloud of resentment and disappointment. Obviously my mood
was his fault. Why couldn’t he be different? I had fallen into my
victim mode.

During this particular episode, before the familiar pattern got into
full swing, I paused and asked myself some very important questions:

l. Have these reactions worked in the past?

2 Do I feel better when I react in these ways

3. Is our relationship better after I’ve gone through the old,
familiar reactions?

In each case, the answer was a resounding “no”. So the next
question was obvious:

4. Do I still want to react this way?

Now, having paused and stepped back from my feelings, I could choose
how I would act.

I decided to detach myself…to withdraw from the events that were
taking place…not in anger, resentment, or with a feeling of
rejection, but in order to let him take responsibility for his own
feelings. Instead of trying to convince my husband to change, I
changed. I stepped out of the victim role, the overly responsible
role, and the I-must-be-wrong emotionally dependent role and took care
of myself.

I felt still guilty, rejected, scared, and lonely all at the same
time. I talked to my body and to my scared inner child, telling them
that I would take care of them. I encouraged myself to relax and kept
assuring myself that I was safe and that I no longer needed the old
feelings to protect me.

Very slowly, my body began to get the message.

After a few hours, the exhilaration in my head percolated through my
entire body and I felt great.

From the book: “The Courage To Be Yourself” by Sue Patton Thoele.

10 Suggestions to Help Develop a Healthy Self-Image

10 Suggestions to Help Develop a Healthy Self-Image

Here are 10 suggestions to help you develop and maintain a healthy self-image. Read them slowly. Meditate on them regularly.

1. Hate your sin, but never hate yourself.

2. Be quick to repent.

3. When God gives you light, walk in it.

4. Stop saying negative things about yourself. God loves you and it’s wrong to hate what He loves. He has great plans for you, so you’re in conflict with Him when you speak negatively concerning your future.

5. Never be afraid to admit that you’ve made a mistake and don’t always assume that when things go wrong, it must be ‘my fault’.

6. Don’t meditate excessively on what you’ve done, right or wrong; both of these activities keep your mind on you! Center your thoughts on Christ.

7. Take good care of yourself physically. Make the best of what God gave you to work with, but don’t be obsessed with your appearance.

8. Never stop learning but don’t allow your education to become a point of pride. God doesn’t use you because of what’s in your head: He uses you because of what’s in your heart.

9. Realize that your talents are a gift, not something you have manufactured yourself; never look down on people who can’t do what you do.

10. Don’t despise your weaknesses they keep you dependent on God.

See the SIgns – Spiritual Story

A traveling preacher finds himself in a tremendous rainstorm.

Within a few hours the hotel he is staying in becomes flooded. As the water rises, the preacher climbs to the roof and starts praying.

“Lord, save me so I can continue on my mission of preaching your gospel.”

Just then, a coast guard rescue party floats by in a rowboat. “Let’s go mister. Into the boat.”

“I’ll stay here,” says the preacher, “The Lord will save me.”

An hour later a second boat reaches the scene and the water is close to the roof of the hotel. “Sir, you better get in. the water is still rising.”

“No thanks. The Lord will be my salvation.”

Toward evening, the hotel is almost completely under water and the preacher is clinging to the satellite dish on the roof. A helicopter is spotted and on a loudspeaker is heard “HSir, grab on to the line and we will pull you up. This is your last chance.

“I’m all right,” says the preacher, as he looks heavenward. “I know the Lord will provide sanctuary.”

As the boat departs, the satellite dish is hit by lightning and the preacher is killed. When he arrived at the Pearly Gates he was furious.

“What happened, ” he shouts. “I thought the Lord would provide!”

Moments later a thunderous voice is heard. “Gimmie a break pal. I sent you 2 boats and a chopper”

Surrender and Self Examination (daily recovery reading)

My stability came out of trying to give, not out of demanding that I receive.

Thus I think it can work out with emotional sobriety. If we examine every disturbance we have, great or small, we will find at the root of it some unhealthy dependency and its consqquent unhealthy demand.
Let us, with God’s help, continually surrender these hobbling demands. Then we can be set free to live and love; we may then be able to Twelth step ourselves and others into emotional sobriety.
The language of the heart pg 238

Years of dependency on alcohol as a chemical mood-changer deprived me of the capability to interact emotionally with my fellows. I thought I had to be self-sufficient, self-reliant, and self-motivated in a world of unreliable people. Finally I lost my self-respect and was left with dependency, lacking any ability to trust myself or to believe in anything.
Surrender and self-examination while sharing with newcomers helped me to ask humbly for help.

Pg 207
Daily reflections
ISBN 0-916856-37-2

7 Wonders of the world

The Seven Wonders

I heard about a group of Geography students who studied the Seven Wonders of the World. At the end of that section, the students were asked to list what they each considered to be the Seven Wonders of the World.

Though there was some disagreement, the following got the most votes: Egypt’s Great Pyramids, the Taj Mahal, the Grand Canyon, the Panama Canal, the Empire State Building, St. Peter’s Basilica and China’s Great Wall.

While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one student, a quiet girl, hadn’t turned in her paper yet. So she asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list.

The quiet girl replied, “Yes, a little. I couldn’t quite make up my mind because there were so many.”

The teacher said, “Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help.”

The girl hesitated, then read, “I think the Seven Wonders of the World are, to touch and to taste, to see and to hear . . . ” She hesitated a little, “and then, to run and to laugh and to love.”

It is far too easy for us to look at the exploits of man and refer to them as “wonders” while we overlook all that God has done, regarding them as merely “ordinary.”

May you be reminded today of those things which are truly wondrous!

– Author Unknown

Greed & Guilt

Greed and Grace

Author: Unknown

The old movie, “Stars in My Crown” is a story about a man who showed amazing grace in the midst of incredible greed.

Many years ago there was a movie titled, “Stars in My Crown.”

It told of an elderly black man who owned a little farm outside a southern town. Some very precious metal was discovered in that area, and suddenly there was pressure on him from many people to sell his land. But he would not sell. He wanted to stay exactly where he was. However, the people in the area would not take “no” for an answer.

They did everything they could to make him move. They burned down his barn, shot through his house one night, and eventually threatened to hang him by sundown the next day if he did not agree to sell.

The local Methodist minister heard about the trouble and went to visit the old man. At sundown of the next day, all the leading citizens of the community came to the farm dressed in their white hoods. They were ready to hang the black gentleman if he refused to sell. The farmer came out on the porch to meet them wearing his best clothes. He said that he was ready to die and that he had asked the minister to draw up for him his Last Will and Testament, which he wanted to have read at that time.

The minister read the will, and those present realized quickly the old man was giving everything to them. He willed the farm to the banker who seemed so hellbent on having it. He gave his rifle to another of the men there who had first learned to hunt with it. He gave his fishing pole to another. In fact, that old man gave everything he had to the people who were prepared to kill him. He killed them first with love and affection.
The impact was incredible.

Seeing goodness given in the face of such animosity was more than any of them could tolerate. One by one, in shame, they turned away, and the entire lynching mob disappeared. The minister’s grandson had watched everything from a distance, and as everyone departed, he ran up to his grandfather and asked, “What kind of will was that, Granddaddy?

The old minister answered, “That, my son, was the will of God.”

Acceptance – Never give up on LOVE

The Song of Solomon, Chapter 8, Verse 7, reminds us, “Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.” In other words, no matter what happens, love will stand. We often forget this when we are hurt or disappointed by someone we love. We may strike out or say things which we later regret, because under our hurt and anger, there is love. Even when the time comes to end a relationship, under the pain, fear, confusion, there is love.
If you love someone, do not deny it. You can be angry or hurt or even ready to move on, but let the love come through your words and actions. If you are leaving someone, do it with love. Be mindful not to allow shame, guilt, or anger to drown out the love you have shared. If you are being left be someone, stay in love. A departure of the person does not mean the end of love. Like water, love must flow. It changes forms. The tides of love must change. Always remember the way love brought you into a situation, because that same love will get you out of a situation.

The healing flow of love moves through me at all times.

Page 272
Faith in the Valley
Iyanla Vanzant