THE 12 STEPS OR PARALYSIS RECOVERY
1. WE ADMITTED WE WERE POWERLESS OVER_____________, AND OUR LIVES HAD BECOME UNMANAGEABLE.
2. CAME TO BELIEVE THAT A POWER GREATER THAN OURSELVES COULD RESTORE US TO SANITY.
3. MADE A DECISION TO TURN OUR WILL AND LIVES OVER TO THE CARE OF GOD AS WE UNDERSTOOD HIM.
4. MADE A SEARCHING AND FEARLESS MORAL INVENTORY OF OURSELVES.
5. ADMITTED TO GOD, OURSELVES AND ANOTHER HUMAN BEING THE EXACT NATURE OF OUR WRONGS.
6. WERE ENTIRELY READY TO HAVE GOD REMOVE ALL OF THESE DEFECTS OF CHARACTER.
7. HUMBLY ASKED HIM TO REMOVE OUR SHORTCOMINGS.
8. MADE A LIST OF PERSONS WE HAD HARMED AND BECAME WILLING TO MAKE AMENDS TO THEM ALL.
9. MADE DIECT AMENDS TO THOSE PEOPLE WHEREVER POSSIBLE, EXCEPT WHEN TO DO SO WOULD INJURE THEM OR OTHERS.
10. CONTINUED TO TAKE PERSONAL INVENTORY AND WHEN WE WERE WRONG PROMPTLY ADMITTED IT.
11. 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.
12. HAVING HAD A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING AS A RESULT OF THESE STEPS, WE DECIDED TO CARRY THIS MESSAGE TO STILL SUFFERING PARALYTICS AND TO PRACTICE THESE PRINCIPLES IN ALL OUR AFFAIRS.
FOR MY FRIENDS, WHO HAVE NEVER WORKED A 12 STEP PROGRAM OF RECOVERY, TRYING TO UNDERSTAND HOW TO APPLY THESE 12 STEPS TO PARALYSIS AND OTHER ISSUES IS PERHAPS CONFUSING. . . . . .HERE IS A VERY BRIEF BEGINNING
Step ONE states "We admitted we were POWERLESS over_________ and our lives have become unmanageable. " Which at first glance, seems to say, we have no hope, when in fact, it says the opposite. If you look up the word admitted in the dictionary, it defines this as "Letting In" as on a theatre ticket, which says, "Admit One", so first off, we are letting in. Then it goes on to explain we are POWERLESS, which I have heard people interpret this as meaning, we have no power, however we must take this word as it is used and it actually says we have LESS POWER, not NO POWER. Then it says as a result our lives were UN MANAGABLE. Not worthless or hopeless. Again, looking in dictionary, the word MANAGE means to run things successfully. SO lets review, We LET IN that we had LESS POWER and as a result our lives had not been run UN SUCCESSFULLY. Regardless of what you fill in the blank with addiction, alcohol, paralysis, loss of hope, you can apply this step, which is the starting point for recovery from anything. Why because it identifies the problem and only after identifying the problem, can we begin to solve it. For instance, if a person is standing on a rail road track and there is a train barreling down the track, how can you tell if they have applied this step to that problem. Probably the first thing, would be that they jumped the hell off of the track to get out of the ay of train. If they were in DENAIL, they would just stand there, while stating, OH IT WILL STOP ! It will stop because I made up my mind, it should stop and I am sending that mental message to the train. Obviously anyone thinking that, would not be here much longer, to tell everyone, whoops, I was wrong, my mental power did not stop the train. Just like our mental power can not stop a medical problem or obstacle, it can assist us on moving the right direction, but it can not solve it on its own, why because we have less power. So the first step is truly taking a close look at the problem and then letting it in to our heart, soul, emotions and brain, once we have really let it in, ( as is letting the thought of the train heading our way and moving out of the way) then we automatically begin to be able to solve it, but HOW ? The answer is so obvious, that when we learn it, we almost give ourselves a head slap. if WE ARE POWER less, Then the solution must be to find A POWER that can give us more power, RIGHT ? Recovery programs suggest we find a GOD of our understanding, some of us already have a GOD, some of us do not. If you do not have a GOD that you can use, often times, using multiple persons trying to combat the same issue can work. What I mean is this, if you look at a piece of sewing thread, it is easy to break by itself, but if you take 10 pieces of that same thread and braid it together, then it will not break so easily. Just like the thread, if we take multiple persons and "BRAID" them together, then we have a stronger POWER or additional POWER to make up for the LESS POWER, easy, RIGHT ? I once had a sponsor that liked to explain these 12 steps in terms of auto mechanics, E described the first step as when you bring your car into the shop for the first time, the mechanics goal is to do what, to diagnose the issue, right ? If he does not diagnose the issue properly, then you end up spending a ton of money fixing things, that are not broken and you still have the issue that brought you to the shop. So the best auto mechanic shops, quickly and properly diagnose the issue that is causing problems and then give you a detailed list of what they plan to do to correct the issue. This is the first step, it is us, with the help of others identifying the issues, that are causing us issues in our physical, psychological and mental lives and clearly being able to be honest with ourselves about these issues and what they arte truly doing to us, so that, we are then able to apply a solution to the issues...That easy. But unfortunately, there is an invisible monster called DENIAL. DENIAL islike a human circuit breaker, anytime there is something emotional, physically or metanlly painful our brains tend to shut the thought down and so often times, when some issue is glaring to others and they ask us about the issue, we exclaim, OH, WHAT ISSUE, I DO NOT HAVE AN ISSUE ? That is where the help of someone elses help comes into play, those persons can help us see the things we are in DENIAL about. DENIAL is also the first tstep tot he grief process, there is a word DABDA that helps us learn the grief process, this word stands for DENIAL, ANGER, BARGAINING, DEPRESSION AND ACCEPTANCE. EVERYTIME WE EXPERIENCE A LOSS, WE GO THROUGH THIS MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL PROCESS. Sometimes, quickly and sometimes slowly, but if we ever get past DENIAL, the process does not complete and we do not get better.
NEXT, STEP 2
I know, "SANITY", what the hell are you saying, I am not crazy. The word SANITY comes from an ancient Greek word "SANITOUS" which means, to be whole or complete, so the word insanity actually refers to not being whole or complete, it does not mean CRAZY. I believe each one of us, can understand, NOT BEING WHOLE OR COMPLETE, RIGHT ?
For the past several weeks I have been discussing, just how parallel applying the 12 steps from what they are traditionally used for with paralysis recovery. So far I have only shared brief descriptions of steps 1 thru 3 and tonight, I went to hear my friend Justin, who went to Ken a week before me, tell his story to about 100 of his closest friends (not really) and he did a great job, but the last and final step came to mind. "STEP 12 - Having had a spiritual awakening as a ...result of these steps, we decided to carry this message to the still suffering paralytic.", which I guess is exactly what we have been doing, since receiving this incredible gift. You see after your various body parts get awakened, then the real work begins. You must have some courage, a little faith, some determination and then each morning when you wake up, you start all over again and seek guidance and strength for a power much greater than ourselves and you then go out and do everything in your power to re-build what was taken from us, when we were paralyzed. Unfortunately and very sadly, I am aware of one person who went to Ken and expected, everything to just pop back to what it was before they were paralyzed and decided they di not have to do the re-building work and so now, they can still move, but they sit in their chair and move their legs around but they are not walking, because it is much easier to throw a temper tantrum and pout, than it is, to get down to the work of recovery. When you have been paralyzed for any length of time, you suffer many levels of injury, you suffer emotional pain, mental challenges and obviously physical trauma and believing, even for second, that some magic wand will erase that is in sane. This would be like a chronic alcoholic believing, if they just did not drink today, all the wreckage of their past alcoholism would just go away and WE ALL KNOW, that just does not fly, it takes real work to clear the wreckages of our past, both from alcoholism and paralysis. But myself and others are evidence if you put in the work, then you get the positive results, you are looking for, if you sit around feeling sorry for yourself, then NOTHING will ever get better. I heard someone describing someone enjoying self pity the other day and they described a person sitting in big pile of carp and they had a ladle. They kept using the ladle to scoop up more crap and pouring it over their head and someone asked, what in the hell are you doing and the person responded, I like poring the crap over my head, over and over because I keep remembering how warm it is. Don't be a crap pourer ! ! !
12 STEPS OF PARALYSIS RECOVERY
STEPS 1 AND 2
Coming NEXT, STEP 4
The MIRACLE of Walking by once paraplegic Joe Benintende
BELOW IS A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL 12 STEPS, DON'T WORRY IF AT FIRST THEY MAKE NO SENSE. WE WILL WORK FROM ONE, THEN TO 2, THEN TO 3, EACH STEP GIVES YOU WHAT YOU NEED FOR THE NEXT. HOWEVER UNTIL THEN, LOOK UP THE COLOR HIGHLIGHTED WORDS INTHE DICTIONARY AND TAKE NOTES OF WHAT THOSE ARE. MANY PEOPLE ASSUME THEY KNOW THE ACTUAL MEANINGS OF THESE AND FROM OUR EXPERIENCE, YOU MAY BE SURPRISED AT THE ACTUAL DEFINITION.
Aplying these steps becomes really easy, WHY? Because the 12 step approach teaches us, we only have to apply these principles for the 24 hours before us, not yesterday, not tomorrow, but JUST TODAY. This 24 hours is not actually that long, because we are sleeping at least 6-8 of those hours, so in reality, we are only looking at applying these principles for the next 12-14 hours. None of us, become experts as letting go of yesterday or not worrying about tomorrow at first, this takes lots of practice and lots of reminding ourselves to come back to only focusing on TODAY. It also helps to have a support group of others, attempting to going through the same issues together. As an example, alcoholics helping alcoholics, paralyzed patients helping other paralyze patients. Before moving on to Step 3, one more thing about STEP 2. Some say there are 3 parts to STEP 2, We Came, We Came To, We Came To Believe, meaning that at first we merely showed up, we began to open our heart and mind to the fact, that maybe our way had not been working the best way possible, then we began to identify that maybe we had been fooling ourselves, then we began to see that these tools could indeed work for us, like the others. The other really valuable piece of info is that these STEPS work best when we are working them in the company of others who suffer from the same dilemmas as ourselves.
STEP 3 - Made a decision to turn our will and lives over to the care of GOD as we understood him. In the original writings of this step, there is a prayer, that goes with this step, it goes like this. God, I offer myself to thee----to build with me and to do with me as thou wilt. RELIEVE ME OF THE BONDAGE OF SELF, that I better do thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of They Power, Thy Love and Thy way of life. May I do they will always. WOW, WHAT AN ORDER, RIGHT ? If you simply it down to the basics, it merely states, we put ourselves in the care of GOD. Most may think, it means we become missionaries and become preachers, it is not about that at all. If we go somewhere and have no pocket for our keys and we ask a friend to hold our keys in their pocket, have we given those keys to our friend to won, no, we have given our keys to them to take care of, until such time, we can hold on to them ourselves. STEP 3 is where we begin to explore what issues have caused us problems. Problems like FEAR, DOUBT, GUILT, SHAME and a lack of positive confidence. We have learned we can not do it by ourselves, so we reach out to others in with similar situations as ourselves. As anew comer to all of this, sometimes, the best way to begin this STEP is to begin our day, with a few moments of quiet, with whatever GOD you believe in, asking GOD to help us, see things clearly this day, helping us to use what ever gifts we have received to help others, especially others that may suffer from the same afflictions that we do, giving them perhaps the strength they need to make it through the day