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We are talking about the spiritual principle of unity. What is unity? Is it everyone agreeing all the time? Is unity when some people sacrifice so that everyone can get along? How is unity different than uniformity? Does unity have anything to do with fidelity? What other spiritual principles does it take to practice unity? Do we need to know our authentic self before we can be united with others? We try to address all the questions and more in our conversation about unity. Listen in as we explored the spiritual principle of unity, and then share your thoughts with us.
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We are talking about the spiritual principle of unity. What is unity? Is it everyone agreeing all the time? Is unity when some people sacrifice so that everyone can get along? How is unity different than uniformity? Does unity have anything to do with fidelity? What other spiritual principles does it take to practice unity? Do we need to know our authentic self before we can be united with others? We try to address all the questions and more in our conversation about unity. Listen in as we explored the spiritual principle of unity, and then share your thoughts with us.
In this episode:
How to find us and join the conversation:
recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery and addiction topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or Fellowship the views expressed here are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature
welcome back it’s recovery sort of I’m Jason a guy that would love to be United and I’m Billy I’m a person in long-term recovery and it’s spiritual principle time we’re talking about Unity yay I honestly like looking at this list of spiritual principles that we have Billy it’s like this extensive list that I’ve tried to pull out of all the literatures and and just random things online and and we’re getting low right there’s the ones left I look at them and I’m like are these actually different than something we’ve already talked about we’ve done acceptance and there’s like self-acceptance I’m like is that really that I mean I guess kinda but uh and they just seem a little tougher to talk about but you know Unity even though it doesn’t seem interesting to talk about reading through it this morning it seemed a lot more interesting to me I guess yeah it’s definitely a principle that applies in a lot of areas of our life you know that is more than just recovery or just personal like it does affect a lot of people around us well to start with a definition I got a couple that seemed kind of like what we were going for um one the state of being united or joined as a whole I think is kind of partially what we’re going for with the practice of unity as a spiritual principle the other one I got was continuity without deviation or change as and it says in parentheses as in purpose or action that reminded me more of like a fidelity thing which is something we’ve kind of mentioned recently but but I kind of think that’s part of what we’re going for with this spiritual principle of unity like this continuity of purpose almost is part of what we mean well definitely in recovery that should be the guiding force I guess of our Unity is is having like I guess you would say Fidelity in our message and our purpose like within Narcotics Anonymous we say you know we have our primary purpose you know and things like that um and if we aren’t sure what we’re United on then we get a little mixed up yeah right like maybe we’re United on the concept of uh abstinence is the only way to recover like if we get locked into that like that can be not where we want to be United and I wonder if that’s why they use the word Unity here for continuity of purpose instead of like uh where we’re saying Fidelity because that’s more continuity of what it looks like being delivered I guess so like if we had Fidelity you and I would sponsor by giving the same reactions and answers and responses to our sponsees but continuity of purpose we could both be striving to sponsor to help this individual who’s struggling and yet do that drastically different ways right you could work steps I might take them to Six Flags who knows like right so maybe that’s why they’re it’s a the unity is the continuity of purpose but not necessarily it doesn’t have to look the same yeah that’s interesting because I hadn’t thought about that and the definition that I had looked at I liked but now I’m like oh maybe that’s so the one I had said you know that I thought oh this is it was the state or quality of being in accord or Harmony but I don’t know that that is the right Unity that we want in recovery because if we’re just all about like being in harmony like are we keeping in line with what our primary purpose is you know we can easily get lost falling into the group going along with a group of people that we don’t agree with yeah well and we know like groupthink is a thing right like 90 of the people all believe one thing the tendency is that the other 10 will fall in line like so yeah that is kind of interesting and there were some readings in our literature about Harmony and like I liked that idea but I I do see like almost the Dark Side of where that could go right if if we’re like wait a minute I thought we were here to help the still suffering addict but everybody in the home group is voting for the pool party that doesn’t allow people with less than a year because they might steal from the person’s home or something like yeah am I gonna just oh well for sake of harmony let’s do it and exclude all the newcomers right or you end up with people that end up in like service positions me being in this spot at one time like being in service positions begrudgingly because you feel like you have to you know what I mean to keep everything moving and and then you’re doing things that are maybe inconvenient or not what you want to be doing you know right and you easily find yourself in places where you’re you’re doing things in this Spirit of unity that aren’t necessarily in your own best interest and I feel like when I do that that ends up breeding resentment in me right Unity I don’t feel United after that I feel angry and there is a balance of those two things right so how do we balance out like what is good and healthy for me and then what is also good and healthy for the group you know that I’m trying to demonstrate my Unity with or right be in unity with something you just said reminded me of what we were talking about before we came on here and just that idea of like that’s kind of something that I’ve been working on for me is understanding that if I’m doing something that I know later I’m going to be bitter and resentful about towards somebody I just want to choose not to do it up front right like I I don’t want to do that harmonious or Unity looking action if it’s going to produce this disunity or or disconnection later down the line for me at least and I can know that usually because typically I have an idea of like I don’t want to be doing this thing right about it and it’s interesting I’ve had oh I’m sorry no no no so I’ve had two incidents like that recently and I I guess hopefully this will help me clear some of that up like balancing out that idea of unity versus I guess they’ll call it self-care or self you know love and one was with my wife there was a day we were here on I think it was a Sunday and we were supposed to go to the grocery store and I didn’t feel well and you know she’s like oh don’t you want to go to the store with me and the truth was no I didn’t I didn’t want to go I felt like [ ] and then I went and was kind of a jerk the whole time that I went you know with that same thing like I’m going and I’m having this attitude of like being an [ ] and then we got home that night and she’s like yeah you know you’re just we’re in a terrible mood all day and it’s like well I told you I didn’t feel well and I didn’t want to go to the store and she’s like well you actually you didn’t I just asked you if you wanted to go to the store and you said you would like and so we had that conversation of about you know it would have been better for me to just be honest and say look I’m not feeling well I don’t want to go sorry it’ll be best if you did this by yourself you know and then she’d win and we wouldn’t have been in that argument but for me the idea is oh I have to go I want to help you know and be a part of doing something that neither of us want to do it’s annoying it sucks going to the grocery store you know whatever so that was one area and I was like weighing that out of like huh is it is it good for me to put myself in this position of suffering for the whole or for the group by doing a bunch of [ ] that I don’t want to do that I don’t feel like doing and then I do it and act like an [ ] right and that’s like my life story you just you just told my biography there Billy with that yeah and that’s I think what I’ve been learning is I need to find that place where I do the right thing for me so that I can stay in a good enough place to be able to do the right thing for others right and that sounds a little you know convoluted as you go through it sometimes but like if me and my wife say hey we’re going to share this duty of of you know this thing around the house this drawer we’re going to split it down the middle and then it comes out at the end of every week she only does it once and I do it six times that’s not Unity for US unless I feel okay with that right and I gotta speak up and even though it’s hard I gotta somehow make it even and if she’s not willing to do it more than one maybe I just got to be not willing to do it more than three right you know what I mean like I have to hold my line of what’s right for me regardless of what’s right or wrong for that other party and I think that’s where some of this unity in the literature was telling you know or I guess speaking to me this morning when I was reading through it was this idea of like this only works when we’re all being authentic and saying what will work for us to be in that Harmony because when you went to that store or when we’re doing that thing that doesn’t feel like it’s our fair share that’s not Harmony on our end yeah and the harmony has got to be equal for everybody right maybe it is I Gotta Give A little but so does the other person in the equation yeah and again every time we talk about these I feel like I say the same thing but I figure I learn it again you know in in harmony it’s not just Harmony as a spiritual principle stands alone by itself like it works in accord with these other spiritual principles and like honesty is one of them and if I’m not being honest about how I feel am I really working in harmony you know because if I’m if I’m not saying you know my truth and I’m just going along because I don’t want to make waves that you know is the absence of some of those principles we talk about you know right not standing up for myself I’m not having any love right it’s not the ones that keep skipping right you know I’m just I’m just giving in and uh submitting to something that I don’t want to do and then calling it Harmony right you know and so it’s missing out on these other spiritual principles that you know work together to form Harmony well and I think that’s a that’s a teaching or a programming or a modeling or however you want to refer to these things that I keep bringing up but like if you think about my childhood at least I was expected to do what the the bigger stronger people wanted me to do to keep Harmony that was the message I got right because when they weren’t harmonious with me that sucked I got punished I got yelled at whatever and so yeah why why wouldn’t I grow up and go into the world and think that the goal is to like Tamp out what I need for everyone else’s Harmony right and a minor uh I’m gonna use the word disagreement but like a minor disagreement or working through some areas of conflict like in my mind immediately that’s oh that’s disunity that’s lack of Harmony and all that but it’s really not like if you can talk those things out if you feel safe to like express your opinions and talk about things maybe if it does even get a little bit heated like hopefully you can continue communication work to the other side of it and then come out you know better and stronger versus you know stuff in your feelings being quiet and getting you know years down the road having all these resentments and feeling like you’ve given up you know your life let’s say to like a fellowship you know oh I’ve given and sacrifice my time and my energy and my efforts to this fellowship and now these people aren’t doing for me what I think they should be doing right and then you know all of a sudden all this work that we thought we did supposedly for harmony really just led to a resentment that separated us from the group in the end yeah and how do you know like that’s tricky I feel like early on because everything sounds miserable early all these ideas I don’t know maybe let’s get into some of our literature some of the the Narcotics Anonymous literature I should say um so these first pieces are from the basic text this one is a little long our members come from every Walk of Life we are not contained within political or geographical boundaries nor are we limited by any individual differences in faith or philosophy no matter what conflicts are unfolding in the World At Large we aspire to an ideal of unity our common welfare should come first our text explains that this Unity of purpose helps us quote to achieve the true Spirit of anonymity and quote where all of us are equal as members of the group with that is our foundation we as individual recovering addicts are each able to find our own distinct voice and sing a song that is uniquely ours this new edition presents some of these voices I don’t know why that last part was in there I mean when you read that so it gets exactly I think to what we were just talking about it’s like the idea of unity isn’t that I just become a cyborg that goes along with the flow of the group and does whatever everybody tells me to do it’s that I find my unique and authentic voice as a member of that group to express myself freely you know it’s it’s interesting yeah I hear that in there too and I’ve even heard I might I might have pulled it out this morning or just I’ve heard along the way that whole Universe Unity is not uniformity yes kind of saying right like we can all be working towards the same purpose and yet all again look very very different and I think it even says in our maybe it’s a step working guide I gotta keep saying our Narcotics Anonymous step working guides that each of us has a unique personality that is sure to be an attraction to many right and like basically talking about when we’re giving back to others or sharing of ourselves it’s best to do that as authentically as possible because that’s what’s going to reach some of those people that need to hear us being authentic as possible you know what I mean people that are like us but I I do feel like and this was the first piece that reminded me of this because I hadn’t thought about this for a while but like my general idea of unity along the way in the program of Narcotics Anonymous was this feeling of like that the literature kept pointing at Unity as like a cult don’t second guess this Unity is the most important thing and you won’t survive if we don’t have unity and it’s like oh that feels yucky well unfortunately I think that’s the way that it comes across at first and for many of us including myself like we think what we’re doing is the best rightest way and with good intentions like when I would say you know oh you need to be you know working steps at this pace or doing this at this pace or you need to be doing this you know like I said those things from a place of like at the time caring and compat thinking that I was really doing the right thing and helping someone but a lot of that is like self-righteousness almost not even recognizing it but it’s self-righteousness and not giving people autonomy to have different voices and if you there is a large group of people that have a common voice that I don’t think always agrees with what I would say the fellowship is or represents now you know 20 years later right in my recovery but early on you know it’s it’s easy like that’s what I did most of my life whatever I think is right that’s what everybody else should be doing and if everyone would just do that things would be great you know just do it my way that’s cool and there’s a lot of people that feel that way I think early on sounds exactly like one of my caregivers that’s all I’m saying I wonder where I got that yeah attitude from yes yes I agree but I you know even you labeling it is self-righteous which I don’t disagree like I’m looking at the behavior in you early on and me early on yes what you just described is self-righteousness right but labeling it that and then following it with I didn’t even know it was because I wasn’t aware that any of that was happening which same is true for me I had no idea man it feels bad to be labeled as some negative quality like that when I really just wasn’t even aware of what was going on inside of me or around me you know what I mean like I was in such a state of confusion and to feel like and we’re doing it to ourselves and I’m sure others are too but just to feel labeled for that when I really just didn’t know feels so harsh yeah and I mean again I hope people find their way to some of this information earlier than I did but what I realized as you just talked about like a lot of that was in my upbringing as a child that’s the message that I got go along with whoever the authority is do whatever they tell you to do your feelings and opinions don’t matter in fact you could just get stuff that [ ] down and do what you’re supposed to do and that makes everything okay or good somehow you know so like that was just a and I mean it was is sometimes still just a living skill for me like that’s just how I that’s a mode of operation that I live most of my life from unfortunately bad up bringing right um and not owning you know I don’t say not owning that because I didn’t even recognize it but it’s taking a long time to get to a place of recognizing that and then unraveling some of the bad information and unfortunately a lot of people end up in addiction or 12-step fellowships because they didn’t get these good living skills early on in life you know like we lack them so we come in you know as a group of uh usually I’ll say damaged people like our emotional skills aren’t where they should be our relationship skills aren’t where they should be so at least what I’ve seen anecdotally is that most of us come in and our idea of uh Unity is just let me just follow the herd let me just do what everybody else says I should do even though the literature clearly says we shouldn’t we just like we ignore that and just go along with the hurt well and I feel like from that and and not to say that this is like a a tried and true scientific evidence kind of thing but just thinking about that idea and this idea that we kind of all have these different attachment States right and there’s the the insecure anxious and the insecure avoidant and like that to me not that there’s only two types of people there’s a [ ] ton of types of people but just thinking of these kind of pieces being in people and some degree or level right you’re going to have the people that say oh I’m here I’m finding myself capable of doing all the things the herd is doing awesome I’m gonna fit in I’m gonna tell everybody else how bad they are when they aren’t fitting in right like this is great and then you got your other half of people who who maybe struggle to get on board or or be able to entice their body to do the thing that their body doesn’t really want to do and they just feel like the outcast and get out of the 12-step world or feel pushed out of the 12-step world and it’s like damn could it be that we’re only really accessing half of the people that feel like they have the ability early on to jump on board and I know you can think of that character it was me for sure that that you know Rookie of the Year Narcotics Anonymous member right like that’s checking all the boxes look at me getting on board I can share just like them and intentionally like me intentionally like what are the boxes I need to check to get the approval of everyone around right right so and when you’re saying I’m like yeah that’s definitely true within at least you know the fellowship that I was in and other 12-step fellowships but then I’m like taking that out even further I mean isn’t that a major problem even in like politics nowadays or religion or you know with kids in school like which cell phone that you have like we all you know seem to like have this Drive I don’t know maybe it’s a cultural thing like why does it feel so natural to like pick a side and be right and then work towards disunity like why does that feel so tribal you know tribal is is the word and you know unfortunately we can do that within our 12-step fellowships a place where obviously most of our guiding principals tell us we shouldn’t but yet we still find ourselves doing that [Music] thank you
[Music] yeah yeah I just looked it up there’s 331.9 million people as of 2021 in the United States do you think we all actually fall in two or three categories of politics like do you really think that we’re all that similar and not to get off on politics but and I found this in probably recovery too like most of the time if I talk to people and get rid of all the labels and like sort of talk on like base level stuff like what most people are upset about in our society are very similar things we’re all upset about the same things we’re all upset that our politicians aren’t representing Us in you know within this democracy framework we’re all upset about feeling like we’re paying too much in taxes whatever being overcharged we all feel like we gotta work our asses off just to get by why somebody else over there is getting tax breaks and handouts and everything and that doesn’t matter which party and then how we approach that is to like blame it on somebody else and then attack this other group of people yes and uh you know yeah and it’s it’s sad it’s like how do you get people to sort of look towards these spiritual principles to to look at how we can come together to solve problems and I don’t know it’s a big issue right right so what I’m picturing there not to get us way too off topic is like this idea of when you’re in this uh Lower State of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs or when you’re in a more elevated or escalated and disregulated nervous system we’re gonna need a group we’re gonna need a clan right because we’re in a survival State we’re saying the world is about to come crashing down and our life is going to end I mean we saw this in in you know lower socioeconomic status communities a long time ago they joined gangs because they were [ ] terrified of not having enough food right of not surviving till the next day it was a dangerous place and then you know maybe people started uh affiliating with their teams at their sports teams and getting mad at other you know Rival Sports Teams and having fights in the stadiums and now on a bigger level we’ve all decided to join a a tribe or group or gang that protects us and it’s Democrats and Republicans you know because we’re all living in that fear response and I feel like that’s exactly what’s kept me from being able to maybe live some of these higher level ideals that we’re talking about like once I could calm my nervous system and see that I’m not in that survival mode like it’s not really survival around my physical person right now I have the ability to say you know what I don’t want to act from this place of the just I need protection I need to hoard things to stay safe I need like I don’t want to be there and I have the ability to not and that’s what I think it’s going to take for all of us we got to calm down we got to slow down we gotta understand that Unity is not just following the herd it’s like saying oh wait a minute that part doesn’t sound that good maybe we need to rethink that like I agree with some of your ideals political group but like maybe not all of them are yeah and I think in the spirit of unity you know the way we get oursel ourselves guided back towards Unity is is really to focus on like what are we really trying to accomplish what are we really hoping to get done you know and within our 12-step fellowships hopefully that’s should be a little more clear I mean they spell it out pretty clearly in our literature although sometimes our actions don’t match up with that but also you know I can take that and be like all right well when I’m at you know my particular meetings involved in my particular Fellowship you know we have a pretty guided purpose but when I get outside of that and I look at let’s say the recovery community at large that might include you know people that are on mats or people that are doing different Pathways of recovery or people that are on you know any any different you know some maybe a Christian pathway or recovery like I can look at what is our Unity well for me A lot of times it’s like well I don’t want people to die I don’t want people to suffer I want people to find a path that helps build them up in their life and get them to a New Direction so my Unity when I’m working with a larger recovery Community is slightly different than it is when I’m within my particular 12-step Fellowship you know and need to be like aware of that I’m like needing to be like hey I’m you know this is a different setting in a different group when I’m in this group you know these are our values and beliefs in our Unity here and it doesn’t mean I change it doesn’t mean I completely throw out you know the fact that I’m abstinence base and I think that’s a great pathway of recovery and that you know it’s willing to help um that I’m willing to help people but at the same time you know I don’t I shouldn’t be so self-righteous as to say that’s the only way to help people and all these other people are doing it wrong you know like right It’s Tricky yeah this uh I’m gonna get us back on this next reading into the longer one uh even longer than that first one but it also speaks to I think a piece of what you just said of how even though this is clearly spelled out in our literature this had a very different feel for me reading it early on and throughout my recovery than it does now so this piece is our survival is directly related to the survival of the group and the fellowship to maintain Unity within Narcotics Anonymous it is imperative that the group remains stable or the entire fellowship perishes and the individual dies our personal experiences while using differed from one another as a group however we have found many common themes in our addiction one of these was the need to prove self-sufficiency we had convinced ourselves that we could make it alone and proceeded to live life on that basis the results were disastrous and in the end each of us had to admit that self-sufficiency was a lie this admission was the starting point of our recovery and is a primary point for of unity for the fellowship we had common themes in our addiction and we find that our recover in our recovery we have much in common we share a common desire to stay clean we have learned to depend on a power greater than ourselves our purpose is to carry the message to the addict who still suffers our Traditions are the guidelines that protect us from ourselves they are our unity and like that’s an interesting and complex paragraph right but just the start of it where it like digs into how our survival is dependent upon the fellowship or the group’s survival or the program survival and like we’ll die if and if Narcotics Anonymous doesn’t survive like that always felt so much like a culty statement like well you better do what’s right for the group over top of you or you won’t make it anyway and it’s like I never liked that early on I hated it yeah and I I don’t know maybe I just heard it a little different now and I don’t know that I even paid attention to that [ ] early on but like when I hear it now what I hear is is what I recognize is that I alone was never good at solving my addiction problem I can’t just take this book and go sit in my bedroom somewhere and read it by myself and figure it out you know I need something outside of me now where I’ve grown in my recovery is to say maybe it is Narcotics Anonymous but it also could be Alcoholics Anonymous it also could be some of these other things too for me what’s worked is this but that you know I I need help solving this problem and if I keep trying to do it by myself I will probably kill myself you know that’s interesting in one way or another I didn’t hear that at all in there now well so that sounded like I don’t know maybe just we’re talking about Unity so that’s where my head is but yeah well I feel like I definitely experienced reading this paragraph different this morning than I ever have and I was more in tune with like yeah this is kind of what I’m doing in my life and my family this is great right but I guess just this feeling of like what it always felt like for me was I’m not allowed to question Narcotics Anonymous that’s what it always felt like you can ever question and say what what you think in this moment is the most important is actually is because of people over there in that program are saying it ain’t then you better get on board or you’re gonna die that’s what it felt like to me and I hate I like it I could not stand that trapped in a corner or like you don’t have any options feeling so it just always pissed me off yeah and I guess it comes back to you know we need Jenny the talk about the Buddhist middle path somewhere it’s like you know we gotta we gotta figure out like you know with unity and again with that statement it’s like there’s a there’s a middle path somewhere it’s not like I completely lose myself and my whole identity and everything that I am to become totally uniform with this group right but at the same time if I go sit there and chastise everybody and act like an [ ] and stand on the outside and do everything alone I’m probably not gonna feel like I fit in and I’m not going to be very welcome even though our principals tell us we should that’s pretty difficult to you know do to someone who actively is pushing you away yeah and uh you know yeah it’s easy to hear like I just I should just conform and I go along with and I’m not allowed to challenge some of these ideas but as I’ve stuck around and grown in my understanding of these principles and how they work together like I’m like yeah I question everything question everything that you read and hear in here you should question all of it and make sure that it’s in alignment with your values in the person that you want to be don’t take any of it for you know you just gotta do it because like you really need to understand my experience has been that’s the only way that I’m Really Gonna apply it when I’m just doing it because you told me to do it I’m going through the motions without reaping some of the benefits yeah yeah and I’m not really getting anything out of it and then it becomes a resentment because I feel like I’m just putting in and not getting anything back yeah and if anything I feel like I’m putting in and maybe I’m getting like negative Returns on that because I’m getting pissed um so one of the things I feel like has Twisted for me is being able to realize that I I am my own human my own person I can choose what I want I don’t have to necessarily do the thing that’s going to make other people happy in order to be okay with myself at the end of the day and that has like changed this whole [ ] paragraph for me because this is what I’m doing in my family this is what I’m saying I go home and it doesn’t matter what the situation is it doesn’t matter if one of my teenagers has broken the rules or if my wife has said something to me that was offensive or mean like the point that I’m keeping in mind is that we’re here for Unity we’re here as a family system that all loves each other and working towards the greatest goal for all of us the greatest benefit for all of us right that might not be the greatest thing for Jason at any given moment right but it also has to fit in what’s acceptable for Jason in any moment right if my family really if what’s best for them is something that’s not good for me I cannot do it I cannot be a part of it right and it’s just this idea of like the unity and our cohesion and our caring about each other that’s our primary purpose that comes before whether you fail to class whether you stayed out too late whether you said something to me in a mean way a couple hours ago the important thing is that we can come back together because our purpose is to love each other and know that that’s hard to do right and like that feels really warm and great and it’s working awesome and like man I wish I’d had that when I was uh a more attending member of Narcotics Anonymous so that I could have gave some of that to them too yeah and there’s a part of unity that requires that the individual not be completely self-centered you know like it’s it’s in like a part of unity is me also understanding that it’s not all about me though you know and the same with my family like yeah I could just come into my family and tell them what I want to do every weekend and what I want to do you know with our free time and how I want to take our vacations but is that really in a sense of you know working in a sense of unity or a sense of purpose within our family like that everybody just do what I want to do all the time I mean maybe I could bully them into going along and it would look like Unity or sound like Unity because they’re not allowed to question or have any opinions or whatever but that’s the upbringing that I got right right and uh I’m sure my parents felt like there was a lot of unity because there was a lot of like falling in line doing what you were supposed to do because you were afraid of the consequences so there is a little bit of uh a requirement of us as the individual to be able to look at like our family well what is best for my family at this point you know right you know maybe I don’t I don’t ever want to go to the grocery store but somebody’s got to do it and can I can I suck that up within a reasonable you know framework and and what is my reason for not wanting to go I just don’t like it you know then maybe I can do it and it’s not such a big deal but when I’m making those conscious decisions then I find that I don’t have those resentments and that anger and that bitterness underneath of it all it’s like no I’m doing this because I believe in it and it’s in alignment with my values so I think when you say the piece about the person or it requires the person to not be totally self-centered right what I’m looking at from that and this is I’m not trying to give anybody else a program that will work for them I’m just saying of what it felt like changed for me uh it felt like when I committed to a sense or or the idea that I’m gonna give myself and my body whatever the [ ] I need in this moment to feel comforted better not as miserable I I don’t even know how to encapsulate what I’m doing exactly but just I’m willing to stop everything else and take care of me right and once I got there and I started doing that and my body started feeling better because it felt like it could count on me anytime [ ] felt terrible for it I’m gonna do something it might not be the right thing but I’m gonna give it something maybe I just lay the [ ] down under the covers for 20 minutes I don’t know but from there and feeling better the whole world looks different Billy right like my wife says do you want to go to the grocery store and I don’t feel terrible in my body so there feels like there’s space to do that right and not only space to do it but it’s like there’s space to say ah you know I really don’t like using my time to go to the grocery store it’s a pain in the ass but I do like eating that’s cool and also like I could probably have fun with my wife and kids while we’re here and goofing off at the grocery store and I can right and it’s like I don’t think that ability existed when my body didn’t feel as good because it needed the optimal conditions around it to just be okay and and I don’t know how to like I don’t know that it takes people not being self-centered I think it takes people feeling better yeah or just being healthier yeah sorry yeah and that’s what I mean immediately when you said that I’m like yeah I think in my life now I am doing a lot more I mean what sometimes I’ve been told is selfish things for myself you know and just being like hey it’s important to me that I get to the gym you know a bunch of days during the week maybe not five but at least four maybe five um that helps with a lot of my anxiety it helps with you know attention um it’s important that I meditate take some time for myself for certain things like I gotta I can’t work in a spirit of unity when I’m all [ ] up inside right right it’s impossible you know right yeah there’s chaos in my brain so we got to some shorter things these will be easier to talk about hopefully because we can remember what they said oh one of the things searching through these all digitally and and you know control f look for the word Unity the word Unity is in our text quite a bit but the words community and opportunity holy [ ] a lot yes oh my God every four out of five of every Unity search that came up was mostly just opportunity in community because the word unity’s in there but that was interesting um this book is not meant to be an exhaustive study of Narcotics anonymous’s steps and traditions nor is it meant to be the final word on any aspect of recovery or na Unity uh that was from it works how am I and I just found that fascinating because I’ve been using that literature to try to prove people wrong for a long time yeah it says right in there so it’s amazing like we’ve had the opportunity to travel and spend times in different areas and see how different recovery communities just do [ ] different stuff that here would be so like maybe frowned upon or people would be like oh you can’t do that like we were in one area in Massachusetts and they didn’t have a lot of people with a lot of time and you know they just they did their step work at a meeting like they had a what they called a flat book meeting and you went and you did your step work like they read the question out loud and three or four people within the room answered it and that’s they considered that working you know and I still will say they considered that working steps that’s how they work the steps because there just wasn’t enough people we had a conversation with a lady after the meeting that had some time she’s like yeah man people are coming in in droves and we just she’s like how many people can I sponsor like I can’t sponsor 30 people I think it’s just impossible and so it was like huh so they have found something within that community that works for them but in a different area like this area you’d be like oh you can’t that’s not working steps like you need a [ ] we have a spelled out like specific picture of what we think that looks like right but that’s not n a across the world practice right we think it is because that’s all we know and look at this healthy ass lady in Massachusetts set in her boundaries like I can’t sponsor all them that’s impossible I’m trying to help them the best I can I’ve created this unique thing here like I’m like damn she did great so yeah it’s like it’s and and we’ve had other experiences like that too how they do you know anniversaries oh different areas do anniversaries some it’s not all about you you don’t get a [ ] cake like it’s you get up at the end of meeting you get your coin you get a hug that’s it like and it’s you know not that it’s not a personal celebration or whatever but we just do it different here and it’s fine that’s what’s worked for our community but sometimes we do get tied into this rigidity right this is the only way this is the way that it’s supposed to look and we get lost in you know the unity of of what serves to bring people together and in that aspect I will say you’ll hear a lot of like old-timer people will say like how you know they would tell people to like sit down and shut up and take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth like we don’t say that kind of [ ] anymore like we don’t it’s like no come in we love you you’re welcome you know sit down talk to people like I think something slowly change hopefully for the better um It’s Tricky yeah I feel like the old-timers came in and they found the the freedom from active addiction or drug use whatever we want to call that and then just kind of got to that scared point of oh I got a grip on this I can’t let it go and now I can’t do anything further than that I just gotta stay here with this information of cotton out of my ears in my mouth you know what I mean like well I’m not gonna say some people don’t need to hear that right some people probably need to hear that some people need a sponsor that tells them you need to [ ] do this this this this if you don’t do that get a new sponsor you got 30 days like I don’t know that people need that well I’m just saying like that well it might work for some people like whatever like there’s just different ways of doing it than the way that I think that it needs to work I could see that like getting the the behavior you want out of someone almost if if maybe that’s the caregiver relationship they grew up in being mistreated but I don’t know that It ultimately helps to transform them into something different you know thinking about what you said earlier like that we didn’t necessarily get these principles or ideas in our you know childhood homes when we were growing up are we recovering or are we just covering at this point like we’re learning this [ ] for new mostly yeah well not to get too into that because that’s not even the way that I sponsor people but it’s if someone’s only ever lived one way and only knows one way of behavior like where do you start to begin that change like you know the the wording that I always heard was like bring the ass and the mind will follow or whatever so it’s like maybe if you just start acting some of these behaviors eventually the understanding and thinking comes along with it you know as you do the right things but you have to start you know doing some of the basic [ ] first I mean I think that’s the basis behind it again that’s not necessarily the way that I instruct people or sponsor people but [Music] thank you
[Music] I was trying to think I’m like well on one hand I spent a lot of years and that did not happen just trying to do the thing and you know the mind would follow but on the other side like I don’t know I got here yeah so [ ] it I guess it did something to help get me this far yeah who knows like say I just I just TR in the spirit of unity I try to remember like my way doesn’t [ ] work for everybody and I’m not the end-all be-all and got it figured out I just I do what works for me there’s been enough people that I’ve sponsored that didn’t stick around or don’t do half the [ ] I suggest to them or whatever and I’m I don’t know I’m just doing the best that I can you know showing up doing the best I can and and trying to help people in the ways that I think they could be helped yeah letting other people have that same freedom [Music] that sounds nice there’s a lot of pressure off of me yeah I wanted to be right about everything that’s what I think the solution is for all of us just take that [ ] pressure off it’s useless um the importance of our Unity encourages our groups to look beyond their own little worlds to the common needs of the worldwide n a fellowship placing the welfare of the whole Before Their Own this bothers me some I just don’t know that it works that way it feels backwards to me for what has worked for me like I I I tried to put everybody in front of me that’s basically the story of my life that’s what I was told as a kid that’s the message I got you know take care of my adult feelings little son like that’s what I was thought I was supposed to do so I continued to try to put Na’s purpose above mine and you know the world’s purpose above the groups and my family’s purpose above me and like I was miserable and I just don’t know that that was the thing I needed to read at the time I read it yeah or the practice I needed in my life when this was the information I was getting I guess yeah I mean it without a whole lot more context I don’t necessarily agree with that statement either you know like it’s really important that I you know have my own sense of value and purpose and do what’s in alignment with that I mean it takes some time to figure out what those things are and to do the work to figure out what my values are and how do I practice them and that sort of thing but it’s like even now like I limit my involvement in service you know at an area or Regional level because I have a family and kids and some things that I want to do and so you know I try to balance out my self-care my family care and my recovery care like they need to work together I don’t think that I throw recovery at the top of that list unfortunately yeah I don’t even know unfortunately I don’t know yeah I don’t throw it there you know yeah this sounds culty placing the welfare of the hole before their own I yeah no my my welfare is as important and that’s I think part of what I missed and and you know what this brings up for me this part of the place that I think and this isn’t a knock on a 12-step program of any sort but just kind of a observation or criticism of our society as a whole we don’t talk about feeling bad we don’t [ ] say hey I’m doing this thing like y’all are asking me but it feels like [ ] right right we’re just like yep I’m doing it and everybody’s telling me I’m great for doing it and what we need to tell people right whether this is in a Narcotics Anonymous some other programmer recovery just the world in general we need to say hey I’m doing these things and they don’t feel good is there any other options and and on the other end of that we need to be open to not just say just [ ] keep doing it because that’s what I feel like the answer is right now so I don’t know I don’t know all right the strength of our mutual commitment to n a creates the unity that binds us together in spite of all that may divide us I mean I think that has more in line with doing with it’s important for us to all work within our Traditions to represent you know the fellowship and sort of not get to astray with you know what we think you know like say either getting into oh we think this type of Recovery House is best or we should open these types of recovery houses or we think this recovery path is wrong like right you know I think it gets into some of that hmm yeah I could see that I feel like I want to say more about that but it’s not coming to me uh the unity described in our first tradition is not the same thing as uniformity uh the unity that supports our common welfare is created not only by working together but by playing together this is something that has never stuck out I have read this book before that’s new to me I was like oh oh how come I’d have missed that playing together yeah I I think it’s important now uh looking at this and a lot of this Unity stuff was bringing up my family um in my mind this is like how am I approaching my family and what am I doing and like there was a time we weren’t having a ton of fun together because I wasn’t feeling good inside the whole atmosphere of our household necessarily kind of followed that Vibe and there wasn’t much room for play or fun and I mean this is something on a personal level that like this is kind of what led me on the journey I’m on right now my recovery is somebody asked me when do you have fun and I didn’t have any [ ] answers Billy like and I and I thought on it for like a year like I still didn’t come up with anything and it’s not look my life was not like I wasn’t walking around crying or with a cloud over my head but I would have moments of like entertainment or humor or Smiles but they just didn’t feel like they stuck to me because the overall general feeling of my life was just and so I mean I think this fun piece and playing together like this is talking about is actually more important than than we realize like we gotta be we can’t just all be out uh doing the hard work of sweating and feeding the homeless and all like you’ve got to go out and play some softball and have some good conversation at cookouts and you know cornhole or whatever the hell people are doing yeah for sure and then um I was just thinking of this in the opposite way as well like there is still some times in my life if I’m working within my family that I can’t all just be about me having fun because I struggle with that sometimes in my life I’m like well I’m getting older we’re all gonna die should I just be like [ ] it and do whatever I want that’s gonna bring me the most hedonistic pleasures and not give a [ ] like and then I’m like oh that sounds dangerous well well like okay right now uh your son and I guess that’s his buddy yeah or you know uh power washing your fence right you want your fence power washed that means something to you it’s going to feel better to sit around when it’s power washed it’s going to look good it’s going to give you a good feeling inside but can you play while you’re doing it can they take the power washer and spray each other a little and make cool designs on the fence and like can it be fun while we’re doing it that’s just the question you know what I mean yeah can it not be such a drag yeah and I will say when I do things with more intention even hard things it’s much more maybe even not enjoyable but it’s much more tolerable and way less like I’m not fighting myself so much to do it you know what I mean it’s like projects around my house like I’ve learned like oh I like when things are done and they look the way that I like them to look like I’m way more relaxed you know we just did some stuff in the living room it’s like oh man I like like I sit in there I feel relaxed it’s nice it’s comfortable and it’s like yeah you know I had to do a little bit of hard work to get there but the work you know hopefully pays off in the end right um and again we our idea behind funny enough our idea behind that was based in like Unity like we said hey we don’t really sit in our living room very much we all kind of come home and then we run off to our individual rooms and we let’s create a space that we all like to be that’s come comfortable where we want to hang out and spend time together where we can spend time with our pets like because they sit out there in the living room and we’re off in our bedrooms so you know we’re trying to find work towards ways to bring us together I mean I guess I could have paid somebody to do it but it took some work to be able to get to that place it didn’t just we didn’t just wish it into existence right well and even if you paid somebody it would take some work to get there all right still take some work right your backyard’s awesome by the way I love it um and we’ve worked on that as a place like we want a little Oasis to be able to come back and hang out yeah and it looks like that it looks just like that it’s great um so thinking about that idea of unity in my family what I’ve been doing more of is putting my phone in a different room or just somewhere honestly around the same room that I forget where it’s at because that happens quickly enough but like this idea of I want people to walk in the room and see me ready and available to give them my attention because that’s more important to me than whatever stupid [ ] news article I’ve ever been reading that I’m right I’m scrolling for like refresh is there any new [ ] news in the middle of a Sunday like why right I’m not even interested in half the [ ] I’m reading and I’m like and it just annoys the [ ] out of me right and I’m and I feel so much better having this this Unity idea like I’m just open like yeah walk in the room I’ll [ __ ] listen to you let’s talk about whatever not all the time sometimes I’m annoyed and don’t want to talk but like right yeah just these things these intentional behaviors like what can bring us closer together it’s been on my mind and trying to do things like that just like you’re talking about yeah and we do have you know hopefully within our fellowship or whatever Fellowship you’re a part of they have some sort of activities or events or whatever and you know over the years like those are things I’ve tried to actively be a part of you know when I can and things that I like to do because I want to be a part of my recovery community and promote them and you know let people know like hey we are out you know playing softball or there’s a picnic coming up or there’s a thing going on you know if anybody wants to come I’ll give you a ride stuff like that because it is important that you know we they even enjoy our life without the use of drugs yeah
so this last one kind of feels like a a way of looking for Unity I don’t know if it’s a way to practice it but it’s a way of looking for it in our actions it says many questions can be answered simply by determining how the action we contemplate will affect the unity of our fellowship will it serve to divide us or will it bring us closer together when am I asking that to myself yeah [ ] never I’ll tell you the never right but like that’s a great question even in my family system like yeah is this thing I’m about to do actually gonna bring us together or not and that’s yeah great way to evaluate it right and and again back with most of these spiritual principles I feel like we say this a lot or I say it a lot it’s like it’s really important that I understand and apply it in the ways that are meaningful for me in accordance with my other values you know like it’s not important that you think that I am Unity or you know you think that I’m practicing Unity or not or that what that it looks to you like my family’s practicing this or that I’m practicing in this but that I’m actually doing this principle to the best of my ability in accordance with my values and beliefs with the caveat that I need to always be open that my beliefs and values can change with new information but yeah it’s like uh you know I talked about there was two situations recently that it came up in my life and the other one you know where I was trying to figure out unity and the other one was at work there was a situation that came up where you know we had some time to cover for some evening shifts at something and you know I felt like somebody volunteered to do some of these nights and then when it came time he kind of backed out and was like oh I really can’t I can only do like two and it I felt like it fell on me to cover a large majority of stuff that I didn’t agree to cover but for the sake of you know what I would say is for the sake of unity I just did it um but it was important that I sit down and like way out all that before I finally made a decision to be like yes I’m gonna do it or no I’m not going to do it and I talked to my wife and was like Hey you know am I letting this person off the hook should I hold them accountable you know should I bring it up and and talk about about it or should I just do it and not say anything like what is the best way to alleviate this situation what’d you come up with for me I had to understand that he had a different expectation on what it meant to cover these extra shifts than I did and that my values on the way I wanted to represent the company made it fall on me um I still feel like there’s going to be a time if this like if this comes up again I won’t get myself in the same situation I need to be more clear on my expectations of what it meant you know so there was some things that I learned about myself um and understanding that you know again when we hear this stuff like I have a very specific way on what you just said what I think you meant by what you just said and then it’s not necessarily Fair of me when you say oh no that’s not what I meant to be like well that’s what I heard so now you got to live by what I heard you just said interesting you know so that’s kind of where I landed which and I gotta watch this too for me most of the time is like how do I avoid conflict or any kind of Confrontation and it’s just to blame it on myself and just do it okay so there is some of that there too but that’s getting way deep well yeah and I was picturing like when you were first telling me about the story I was like there’s like 10 days to cover uh uh you know the one person’s gonna end up doing two of them what would I do and I was thinking I would just go the nights that it was right for me yeah I wouldn’t worry about whether it’s covered or not or who is or isn’t doing their job I would say I’m committed I can do two maybe I could do three probably three because I want to be better than that person but but yeah and then I’ll just do that and then from there maybe that creates a discussion about oh [ ] nobody covered it I didn’t know why and we can talk about why or maybe it doesn’t and I just did what was right for me and I’m not mad and that’s kind of where I fell because there was a couple of things that I had to do that week I had some commitments on certain days and all those days were able to be covered by other people that wasn’t me and really all the nights that I went I didn’t have anything particular going on it wasn’t a major inconvenience it just I didn’t want to necessarily do it that’s a major inconvenience to me I didn’t want to so there was some give and take there but you know I I don’t know that I would have sacrificed the what I would have called the there was three particularly important things during the week like I can’t do this night this night or this night and it doesn’t matter if nobody [ ] does it I can’t do those nights so I did have some boundary for myself but good but yeah it’s it’s interesting to kind of weigh that out and again I didn’t just sit with myself and make all these decisions I actually talked with my wife about it and we kind of talked through like well what are your values what do you think you know and she agree with me on some and said she would handle some things maybe a little differently and you know but that’s that’s the point of having people within my recovery Network and my support group are like how do we best exemplify these principles within our life and practice them with people around yeah you know well and thinking about Unity uh as we kind of come to a close here just I’ve been saying that like love is the thing that’s the most important for me or my top priority or Compassion maybe or Grace or but Unity could also qualify for this this is like what I’m going into my family system with I’m saying this Unity between us and US relating to each other as humans that care about each other is the top [ ] priority and anything else that’s gonna stop that needs to go that’s my standpoint right now like anything that comes between that right am I getting mad about something well let me really examine this here’s one um we have between my wife and I three cars we have an older car we kept doing to it when we got her a car so that the kids could use it as they became of age to drive and get licenses so I have twin daughters they’re 17 almost 18 they share this car that’s enough of a conflict on its own but frequently instead of doing it the way my wife and I wish they would which is you know coordinating making sure that if they need it right they have it what they do is there’s other vehicles at our house uh so there’s I don’t know five in total or something so they just assume if my wife and I aren’t using vehicles that they can just use it so if one takes the car that they share and the other one just uses one of ours and like in general we were not really okay with that like I want to keep my [ ] safe right new drivers are going to [ ] my [ ] up and I don’t want that but that’s what I was given growing up right and when I really step back even though I’m highly uncomfortable with this idea Billy the truth is I believe I should treat my kids the same way I treat myself I want for them the same way I want for me the best right why would I not let them use my car yeah am I putting the car is more important than my love for my kid and I really had to think about that and I don’t [ ] stuff crash my car I love you anyway and like that’s where this Unity idea my relationship with these humans is more important than anything that can come between us that’s what it is for me and like I can’t say I got that necessarily from the 12-step program or that I was able to very well apply it there I wish I coulda but man what a great concept to carry in our lives wherever we’re going and whatever groups we’re in like us loving each other is more important than anything that could divide us yeah I mean I think that’s super important and I don’t know I guess I feel like I did get to most of that through recovery you know but I also have a a wife that’s you know been in the same process and she’s helped me a lot she’s been a huge uh motivator of change through conflict you know just giving me different ways of looking at things and and practicing and pointing out like hey this is the way that you were brought up and you didn’t [ __ ] like it very much or that wasn’t you know so how do we give our kids something different yeah that’s all yeah that’s awesome so go out there practice unity be United in your love for Recovery sort of and we will see you next week [Music] did you like this episode share it with people you think might get something out of it check out the rest of our episodes at recoverysortup.com also while you’re there you can find ways to link up on us on Facebook Twitter Instagram Reddit YouTube anything we’re always looking for new ideas got an idea you want us to look into reach out to us [Music]
and practicing and pointing out like hey this is the way that you were brought up and you didn’t [ __ ] like it very much it wasn’t you know so how do we give our kids something different that’s awesome that’s awesome so go out there practice unity be United in your love for Recovery sort of and we will see you next week
- 54: Narcan and The Right To Breath (Sort Of)
- 48: The Disease Doesn’t Discriminate, But Does Recovery? (Sort Of)
- 57: Relationships – To Date Others in Recovery or Not? (Sort Of)
- 47: Step Nine – Made Direct Amends to Such People Wherever Possible, Except When to Do So Would Injure Them or Others (Sort Of)
- 56: Adverse Childhood Experiences – Knowing When to Hold Your ACEs and When to Fold ’em (Sort Of)
- 49: What The Program’s Really Saying In Its New Informational Pamphlet About Mental Health (Sort Of)