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Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: ARE YOU IN RECOVERY BUT STILL SMOKING THEN YOU ARE NOT CLEAN ADAPTING THE 12 STEPS OF A.A. TO ANOTHER LIFE-THREATENING ADDICTION SMOKING
Author: Fraser Trevor
Rating 5 of 5 Des:
Many people believe that having joined a 12 Step program but still keep smoking saying that they are clean.They are not and consequently ca...
Many people believe that having joined a 12 Step program but still keep smoking saying that they are clean.They are not and consequently cannot enjoy the full experience of the clean and sober life. They say things like, I feel like I really haven't done the steps and they are being completely honest they haven't. They have swopped one addiction for another. They are not in touch with the life saving emotions that come with complete abstinence from all mind altering chemicals.ERRRRR..DUM....Nicotine is a mind changing chemical. Perhaps one of the strongest .So lets get with the program start a new life, gain the promises and move on. Constant relapse is often fueled by smoking. Nicotine as an addiction is powerful and surrounded by denial.
STEP 1
WHO’S POWERLESS? WHAT UNMANAGEABILITY?
We admitted we were powerless over nicotine—-
that our lives had become unmanageable.

     Admitting powerlessness over smoking is really not so tough. All I need to do is count up the number of times I “quit” smoking, promised myself I’d quit or promised others, and I know I am powerless. Admitting it, like laying down arms after a long and futile battle, can be a great relief and liberation.
     By accepting our nicotine addiction and all of its consequences, we open the door to change—-or at least we stick a toe in the door and prop it open a bit. In order to begin this exciting recovery process, the 1st order of business is to lay out the problem and look at our helplessness in the face of it.
     It’s OK to admit the powerlessness--deep down we know it anyway. And we hate it because each time we take it on and fail, our estimation of ourselves drops another point. It’s debilitating battle we fight many times each day--and lose over and over because we’re fighting without resources. Those little white rolls of tobacco are stronger than all of our best efforts. So who’s powerless? We are!
     And what unmanageability? Well, have you ever avoided nonsmoking people, places, or situations? Avoided sports or other physical activities because you’d be breathing like a freight train and probably wouldn’t perform well? Have you totaled up the cash spent each year--money perhaps needed for other things? Ever been late for appointments because you had to catch your 1st smoke before getting there? Ever gone out at very odd hours because you realized there wasn’t a cigarette in the house? Have you ever secured your supply, making sure you wouldn’t run out unexpectedly? Ever stashed extra packs in the glove compartment, at work, or around the house?
     Can you make a phone call without lighting up? What happens when you face a tense situation like an argument with your spouse or a confrontation with a co-worker? Can you start the day without a cigarette? Or finish a meal without one? When was the last time you sat in the nonsmoking section of a restaurant?
     What unmanageability? The list is endless. When we prepare the 4th Step inventory later on, we’ll see exactly how unmanageable our lives have been. For now, we need only admit that we are not able to control our nicotine use, and as a result, we do things and become people we don’t especially like.
STEP 2
LAYING DOWN ARMS
Came to believe that Power greater than
ourselves could restore us to sanity.

     Much of the battle is won when we lay down our arms. To learn about Step 2 and the healing power it holds for us, we simply have to stop fighting. The Step asks only that we accept the idea that something outside of ourselves can help.
     The path I am using to help me with this Step is a simple inventory of all I’ve done to control or quit smoking. And what a huge list I’ve assembled! I didn’t bother to go back 15 years, or even 1 year. Just an honest look over the last 6 months or so gives me a perfectly clear picture: I left my pack at home; stopped buying cartons; gave myself an allotment per day or hour; tapered down to down to some planned quitting date; changed brands.
     None of my methods worked. But the tremendous time and energy I spent on controlling my addiction is staggering. And of course, each failure made the battle harder, fiercer, with my strength weakened and the addiction simply growing firmer the harder I struggled.
     This battling is rich experience for us to draw on, to help with Step 2. We have no more tricks to try--we’ve tried them all, except 1--we can look outside ourselves for the productivity, our breath--our lives.
     What an irony, after battling ourselves for so many years, the struggle is won the day we just quit fighting.

STEP 3
OUTSIDE MYSELF
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over
to the care of God as we understood Him.

     There’s a kind of eerie silence on the battlefield when the fighting is over. Some would take it as peacefulness, but for those of us who are so used to the wars, it can be disturbing at 1st.
     But we haven’t time to pause here—there’s work to do and a great sense of joy and relief to be had when we turn the tattered baggage we carry over to someone else.
     Those of us in a 12 Step Program have already laid the groundwork. We only need to reach out and trust once again that when we turn our addiction over, a strong hand will be there to take it from us. It happened once, why not now?
     Turning our will and lives over means using anything outside of ourselves to help us. Telling others about our struggles helps a great deal. Social acceptance of smoking, as with alcohol use, means that people around us do not interfere and we are not aware that we are struggling with and addiction. We can hold the secret in forever if we choose to. Doesn’t that sound like the denial/enabling syndrome that operates in alcoholism?
     Telling people what you’re struggling with is a big step in turning it over. Naming it and sharing it gets it up and out, and allows for help to flow in. Turning it over can also come in the form of seeking out a group, contracting a smoking clinic, listening to the stories of others who have quit, or finding a sponsor who is willing to help during the hard times.
     And of course, whatever Higher Power you have come to believe in is with you constantly offering a solution within every problem you confront--if only you remain quiet enough inside to sense the gentle nudges in the right direction.
     After searching within ourselves for solutions, the decision to turn it over is pure relief. We are tired, beaten, and ready to take directions, to grow again, to be alive.

STEP 4
REFLECTIONS IN THE MIRROR
Made a searching and fearless moral
inventory of ourselves.

     The 4th Step inventory, 1 of the greatest sources of help within the 12 Steps, allows us to see where we’ve been and where we want to go. The inventory though painful, unlocks all the secrets that keep us prisoner and sanction the addiction. If we do it honestly and thoroughly, we create a mirror in which we can see exactly who we are, but only for the sake of determining our future Steps.
     There are many ways of preparing a good 4th Step. Perhaps you already know which you want to use. But use pen and paper and write it down. I’ll share my method with you to give you some ideas in working out yours. I asked myself 4 questions, then listed examples under each 1.
1. How does my smoking affect myself?
Physical/medical problems
Self-image
Emotional balance
Vitality/energy
Preoccupation
Financial
Spiritual
2. How does my smoking affect others?
At home
At work
In social situations
Preoccupation
Financial
Role modeling for children
Safety at home, in the car
3. What situations kick off the need to smoke?
Phone calls
Boredom
Confrontation/anger
Anxious times
Emergencies
4. What character defects feed into the addiction?
Insecurities/fears/anxieties
Self-image/confidence
Pride
Controlling behavior
Impatience
Anger
     Be honest in thinking about how smoking affects you. Think about activities you avoided because you didn’t have the “oomph.” Think about preoccupation--how you felt when you discovered you were out of cigarettes at 11:00 at night. Or hoarding cigarettes by buying a carton for home, 1 for work, and maybe 1 for the car just to make sure you wouldn’t run out. Add up what you think you’ve probably spent every day of each year you’ve been smoking. And think about how you’ve felt when you’re had to spend an evening with nonsmoking friends, or sat through a day-long seminar in a nonsmoking environment.
     Be equally honest about how your smoking has affected others. Beyond the obvious, think about the subtleties. What kind of role model have you presented for children and teenagers? Did you pass up any family or other shared activities for lack of energy? Did you sit and watch TV instead of going swimming or biking with the kids or with friends or spouse? How has your physical condition affected your activities and the kinds of friends you have?
     Lastly, think through the habit itself. When do you light up? List the specific situations in 1 column and then list the character defects that feed into the situation in the opposite column. Example:
     Phones calls----insecurity about my ability to                               
                     control/please the person I’m talking to.
     Chris----fear of losing control, of not responding 
              ”correctly” to the situation
     When you finish your list, you’ll have a clear reflection of where you stand with you addiction. But don’t stop just yet. Pair up you character defects with your assets--this is the pool you’ll draw from to change the behaviors you’ve listed above.

STEP 5
TALKING IT OUT
     Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another
human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

     In 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, Step 5 is introduced with these poignant words:
     All of A.A.’s 12 Steps ask us to go contrary to our natural desires . . . they all deflate our egos. When it comes to ego deflation, few Steps are harder to take than 5. But scarcely any Step is more necessary to longtime sobriety and peace of mind than this 1. A.A. experience has taught us we cannot live alone with our pressing problems and the character defects which cause or aggravate them.
     In a nutshell, this is the essence of Step 5. It’s the opening up in Step 5 that allows a power greater than ourselves to enter in, stepping between us and our addiction. This opening up is also a powerful means of quelling the loneliness and sense of isolation--that feeling that we didn’t quite belong--that feeds our obsession with smoking. Just as alcohol or other drugs gave us a false sense of security, so does smoking medicate our fears, giving us the illusion of something to fall back on in every possible situation.
     Talking this through with another person throws out a bridge that allows other people and a Higher Power to enter and help. Talking it out also helps us correct any rationalizations of side-stepping we may have done in preparing the 4th Step inventory. This corrected version reflects as honest a picture as we can achieve--and the truer the reflection, the stronger our recovery will be.
     Remember that exposing the defects saps the power they have. If you’re a gardener, you know that turning your mulch aerates it and makes it rich; if you don’t expose it to the air and sun, it decays slowly and is useless for making things grow.
     Find a friend and talk it out.

STEP 6
PERFECTION IS THE DOWNFALL
Were entirely ready to have God
Remove all these defects of character.

     Read that again. It says, “entirely ready.” We may as well let go or our perfectionism right now and admit that practically no one is entirely ready to give up an addiction. We realize the incredible power of our addiction to smoking when we see that even though it is life-threatening, we still would rather not give it up just yet.
     But even if we can’t claim to entirely ready, we can try to be. And that’s what Step 6 is about. It’s a process of readying ourselves. Honesty is essential. We must be honest in admitting that perhaps we aren’t entirely ready to give up smoking. We must also be honest about our willingness to have the character defects we identified in Step 4 removed. If there are a few defects we are unwilling to give up, we must work at saying, “I’m not ready to give that up just yet” rather than saying “I’ll never let go of this.”
     If we approach the Step as though we’re going to be perfect at achieving entire readiness, we won’t succeed. Perfectionism is the downfall. All this Step requires is readiness. It asks us to work at willingness to give up our shortcomings.

STEP 7
STRENGTH FROM WEAKNESS
Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

     Humility has never been 1 of our strong points. Self-sufficiency and self-centeredness are the 2 traits that block humility and feed our defects. Requesting help rather than demanding satisfaction is the difference between humility and selfish pride.
     Let’s go back to the 1st 3 Steps for a moment. First, we had to admit powerlessness over smoking. That requires humility. Then we came to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, and we made a decision to turn over our wills and lives. The humility necessary in taking these giant Steps can help us quit smoking. Step 7 asks us to draw on that same humility to help us overcome our other shortcomings--all of those behaviors we identified in the 4th Step inventory.
     We’re all familiar with the idea that simply putting the cork in the bottle does not guarantee recovery. The same idea applies to smoking cigarettes. We need to replace smoking as the center of our lives. This means we must work on our shortcomings--remove them--to make room for growth and change. We must learn other ways to meet our needs and replace our addiction with a new center of dynamic living. From our weakness we find strength.

STEP 8
JOINING OTHERS
Made a list of all persons we had harmed,
and became willing to make amends to them all.

     It’s far too easy to pretend that our smoking hasn’t hurt anybody. And, social attitudes reinforce our denial by condoning our smoking, ignoring it, looking right past it, even though we’ve killing ourselves. But, if we’ve done our 4th and 5th Step work honestly and thoroughly, the list of those we’ve harmed by smoking will come to us with little difficulty.
     Making the list requires that we go a bit beyond what we did in the 4th Step inventory--and for good reason. It asks that we be specific about how many people we have hurt and in what ways. Through painful, this process gives back 2 great rewards--it gives us back to ourselves and helps us relate to other people.
     In preparing our list, we’ll learn of the harm we’ve done to ourselves; we’ll explore our relations with others; and we’ll gain tremendous insight about ourselves and our problems-—life-giving insight that allows growth and change. When our list ends, so will our isolation.

STEP 9
REACHLING OUT
Made direct amends to such people whenever possible,
except when to do so would injure them or others.

     Before you get scared away, consider the heart of Step 9. It asks that we “take the full consequences of our past acts, and take responsibility for the we--being of others . . .” Those are really some pretty good goals to work toward and the rewards are many.
     Only we can know who we should make amends to, when we should do it and how. Making amends doesn’t have to be complicated or laborious--a simple straightforward approach is all that is necessary.
     We should do some preparation however, in developing a good attitude and an appropriate sense of timing. We must remember that our mission is to make amends--not to predict the outcome. That is in the hands of our Higher Power. Timing is also important, but again, if we’ve quiet enough inside, that same Higher Power will nudge us when the time is right.
     Step 9 helps us by improving our relations with others and by righting us with ourselves.

STEP 10
MAINTAINING BALANCE
     Continued to take personal inventory and when
we were wrong promptly admitted it.

          Steps, 10, 11, and 12 help us maintain the balance we need to remain abstinent from smoking.
     Step 10 is a joyous Step, because through it we take the whole program and apply it daily. It asks us to continually survey our assets and defects, to accept what we find, and to change or correct what is wrong. This continual assessment helps us maintain the kind of emotional balance necessary to maintain our abstinence from smoking. Like a ship at sea, this balance helps us stay on course, and provides the kind of stability that allows a directed, purposeful journey. Without balance, our ability to remain free of our addiction to nicotine will be jeopardized repeatedly--perhaps often enough to succumb.
     Step 10 helps us to be right with ourselves and with others. It gives us the opportunity to check our attitudes and behavior throughout the day. In this way, it gives us a great opportunity to make the most of every minute of the day--giving us the gift of dynamic, rewarding change and growth. What more can we ask?
     Through this Step, we learn to stop, check, correct, and move on. As this skill develops, the pool of resources we need to draw on in harder times swells. And our ability to remain abstinent during good and bad times is strengthened. Thus we find balance.

STEP 11
FEED YOUR SOUL
Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious
contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

     Another important aspect if maintaining abstinence from smoking involves feeding our souls. Spiritual balance is essential. And balance means cultivating a steady spiritual relationship or sense of spiritually. We’re no longer praying hard when in a bad situation and then promptly losing contact when the heat is off.
     This Step calls for a sustaining, nurturing kind of contact with a Higher Power that requires cultivation and discipline. Initially, “acting as if” often helps to develop regular, conscious contact.
     And what does this conscious contact do for us? It raises our minds and hearts, takes us out of ourselves, opens us to strengths that we simply do not have within ourselves. It reinforces our humility, gives us a kind of grace that levels life’s bumps, and helps us maintain balance. We often focus our gaze on our toes, which, of course, only gives us a clear profile of our feet. Asking for knowledge of the will of our Higher Power, and the strength to carry out that will gives our feet movement and direction.
     By feeding our bodies, hearts, and souls, we can give ourselves the last remaining element we must have to survive—air, and the ability to breathe it.

STEP 12
PEOPLE NEED YOUR MESSAGE
Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to smokers, and to
practice these in all our affairs.

     Awakening. Really working on these Steps awakens us. As though from a very deep sleep, our senses come alive because we have tapped a deep well of resources that enrich our every move. We have a vast array of tools available, learned by practicing each Step repeatedly. These are tools we can share with others.
     Remember how you’ve done 12 Step work with others? Well, now there’s another group of people who need to hear your message. We all know a least 10 other people who are in trouble with smoking. We’ve probably looked past their smoking problem, just as others ignored our problem in the past. Offering help and support to others in need requires action and gives back rewards. We find out what we have learned, how we grown, when we offer a helping hand.
     Remember the maxim that says the more you give, the more you receive? This is the heart of Step 12. Our spiritual awakening give us a sense of joy, of life. If we practice these principles in all our affairs, we can safely spread that joy around with not fear of diminishing that ever-renewing pool. We give it away in order to keep it.
     Thousands of other people have successfully struggled through addictions--only to suffer and die of yet another dependency. Let’s not look past that other killer. There’s nothing sadder to see than a recovering person who has achieve peace and has become a productive, joyful, giving person--with only a few months to live.  I’ve seen it happen. You have probably have too. Let’s help ourselves and each other. Let’s cherish some of our best resources--let’s cherish ourselves.

QUITTING TIPS

     Tap into everything you’ve learned about recovery from addiction in 12 Step programs.
     Apply each of the 12 Steps to your smoking addiction.
     Find a sponsor, someone who has quit smoking and can offer you support when you need it.
     Avoid perfectionism in breaking the habit.
     Identify your smoking patterns, choose 1 patter a week, and break it (put off that 1st cigarette in the morning; quit smoking in meetings, in the car, after meals, on the phone)
     Don’t quit forever--just quit for a day.
     Tell your family, friends, and co-workers that you are quilting.
     Make each cigarette a decision--bring it to your conscious mind, rather than allowing the unthinking, repetitive behavior.
     Start working each Step of the Program and use your Higher Power to the best of your ability.  
     Pick a day to quit--and quit. It’s time to enjoy life!

Brief description: The AA 12 steps apllied to Nicotine addiction
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