Diet & Weight Magazine

Recovery: Sober Without the Strait Jacket!

By Sobrfit3
Written By:  Cathy Shuba
"Happy Thursday!"
When I was growing up I always looked at myself as though I was living in a strait jacket.  When I was growing up I had no say, no direction unless it was out of fear or anxiety.  When I was growing up I went to Catholic school that taught me fear of God, do not speak, sit down, stop that, be quiet and mostly humiliation from teachers who's personal issues were never dealt with, which in return, used us innocent kids as their punching bags...those teachers lived in strait jackets!  When I was growing up I was restricted to go any where or do anything because my mother's fear of the unknown was too great to let me breathe as a child or as a mother's strait jacket affect me.  When I was growing up I lived in a strait jacket from my thoughts, feelings, emotions and needs.  My strait jacket taught me to not have my own opinion, not to trust others or myself, feel no comfort within myself and mostly did not allow me to grow spiritually, mentally or physically.  I lived as though I was in a strait jacket!  Trapped, controlled and stuck!
When I became a teen I turned to drinking and drugs...the strait jacket allowed me to feel numb.  When I went to college my drinking progressed and with that my liquid courage allowed me to speak my mind...the strait jacket allowed me to become obnoxious, angry, embarrassing and mostly disruptive in places and in situations.  When I drank the strait jacket seemed to feel tighter than usual...I could not feel and recognize any of my true emotions.  I no longer had myself when I wore the so called...strait jacket!  I depended on the strait jacket!  The strait jacket was all I knew, all I allowed myself to know and feared of what would happen if I let go of it!
The day I went to my first 12 step meeting I was frightened but my strait jacket kept me safe.  The day I spoke at a discussion meeting my strait jacket became loose around my body.  The day I chose a sponsor my straight jacket began to bother a good way that is.  The days I started to work the steps, do service, sponsor and straight jacket started to fall off.  The day I had my first spiritual awakening I chose to give all my fears, worries, anxiety and character defects to a God, of my understanding, and for some reason, strait jacket came off...permanently!  I was recovered!  I am recovered that is from the obsession of the disease to drink again, use again and want to be consumed by it again.  My recovery seems so peaceful, yet exciting, still scary at times but I am full of life, love, acceptance of myself and others, full of compassion with a touch of balance and detachment with love,...all added to the mix.  I am able to live outside the rooms of a 12 step meeting and know I can trust myself.  I am able to cope independently in my life and not depend so much or be so codependent of the 12 steps in order to make a decision, live life and know that I am free!  Furthermore, I am still recovering and still attend meetings and will always work the 12 steps on a daily basis,...but my life without the strait jacket has given me a recovery of freedom, joy and grace.  On the other hand, if I was to go to a 12 step program and still wear that strait jacket, the result of my recovery today would have been living every moment through the Big Book and not allowing myself the freedom to know me, my likes, my dislikes, my boundaries and mostly the real world outside of a meeting and how to cope with it without a manual.  I would have felt insecure to speak my feelings, my emotions or opinions without checking in the Big Book for answers or solutions.  I would have never felt free or be able to feel recovered from the obsession of the disease.  I would have lived as though I was a Stepford wife or some type of robotic state whenever someone approached me in a meeting or even outside of a meeting!  In my opinion, some are happy and feel proud to be known as a Big Book Thumper,...but for me you are just living in a strait jacket!  When I hear or see a Big Book Thumper at a meeting or online I automatically think of that strait jacket and what it does to their recovery.  That strait jacket does everything to their recovery as I had mentioned above.  I think of what it does to the new comer who is vulnerable, scared and not able to speak there own mind...yet, hopefully that is, if they do not become a Big Book Thumper, themselves!  The Big Book Thumpers say they are proud to be called that yet how can you be proud of yourself when you preach, control and manipulate others of the 12 step program in order to feed your ego, pride, self righteous and arrogant behavior.  What has come of the 12 step program in our society today?  Who is sponsoring these Thumpers?  When did it change?  Who decided this was the way?  Why did it become such a vast majority of Thumpers today in AA?  Lastly, I disagree with all this and it saddens me to know what Bob and Bill Wilson would think of this widely spread Big Book Thumping group they so claim to represent or belong to the 12 steps,...better known as AA.  There's even a group on Facebook called The Big Book Thumpers and they even changed the name of the Big Book in their profile those exact same words,...this to me is how and why so many people get the wrong impression of the true meaning and purpose of AA itself.  Can you try to take that strait jacket off and ask yourself what is the pay-off for leaving it on?
Today, I am proud of the fact that I allow myself to feel, have emotions and live a life of love in my heart and soul for all who are sober, trying to stay sober and those that are sober but still live in that strait jacket.  Today, I am glad I have acceptance in order for me to have compassion and understanding for those who still will not allow themselves that gift.  Today, I am grateful for all those I have met, learned from, grew from and shared from in the 12 step program which allowed me to take off that strait jacket and live a life outside of a meeting and book.  Today, I am inspired by so many people and things even if they wear a strait jacket...I will just pray for them.  Years ago, I chose to take off my strait jacket in order to free my recovery to so many wonderful people, places and things in my life...I will never wear a strait jacket on my soul!
Do you know people who still wear strait jackets?  If so, how do you feel about yourself when you are in their presence?  Today, I will run free and independent in my recovery and know that I do not have to preach a book in order to feel better or confident in my recovery!
When I chose to work the program, stay sober and recover from the obsession of the disease I became free!  I know that my recovery will always be in progress but I no longer live in that strait jacket. 
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Sobriety Fitness by Cathy Shuba is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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