I'm talking about basic survival instincts. Some of these include the social instinct that forms a society...To harvest food, obtaining emotional, financial, and material security. Cash, and lots of it, to making babies, even companionship.
These are normal instincts. However if these instincts exceed their proper function, they can end up knocking us out of balance. They can drive us, dominate and rule our behavior and lives. I am looking at Step 4 here of the 12 Step program. Step 4 reads: "Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves."
How instincts can exceed their proper function. Step Four is an effort to discover our liabilities. Basic problems of extremes in instinctive drives. Misguided moral inventory can result in guilt, grandiosity, or blaming others. Assets can be noted with liabilities. Self-justification is dangerous. Willingness to take inventory brings light and new confidence. Step Four is beginning of lifetime practice. Common symptoms of emotional security are worry, anger, self-pity, and depression. Inventory reviews relationships. Importance of thoroughness. (this is from the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, of Alcoholics Anonymous.)
Step 4 is critical. Alcoholics and addicts, Alanons, Naranons, anybody in any Twelve Step program of course has to do the steps, if they want their life to change. If nothing changes, nothing changes right? I have to approach this step with humility and courage, and of course with help from my Higher Power. If this step is done correctly, it will bring some significant emotional pain. That's okay. I have always said, without a wound, there will be no healing. Having been more "in" that "out" of AA since 1978, this will be my second attempt at a Step Four. I started it the night before last. I was up all night writing, and was awake until 1:00pm the following afternoon. I was on a roll you might say. I have approached this step differently this time writing an autobiography of sorts. I started with my earliest childhood memory, then using school as my guide. What was going on in my life in the first grade, second grade, all the way through school. Experts at the oldest institute of alcohol study in the world would argue this approach, especially if dealing with "family of origin" issues if they are painful memories. I know, I attended that university. They would suggest not to write such a story unless there is a minimum of two years of abstinence from alcohol. Something about remarkable deficits in cognition studied in the first two years of abstinence. There is a danger of an acute relapse episode if these memories bring pain too difficult to cope with. I will have remarkable deficits in cognition that I know will not improve, even if I remained abstinent from alcohol for 100 years in AA. So I shall proceed with this modality. Yes, I have found some painful memories during this exploration. I use a technique I call SBP. This is Stop, Breathe and Pray. It works. When my pain subsides, then I PBW. This is Pray, Breathe and Write. I will probably be a real asshole for a while. Maybe I have been a "nice guy" too long. Yes, I am a people pleaser, and people pleasers are liars. I have been living on my defects of character far too long. These things do not work for me anymore. So today I will continue to write while these defects of character continue with the pajama party they are having in my alcoholic brain. I am curious to know if they realize they are about to get laid off? The poor bastards won't even qualify for unemployment insurance, or anytype of compensation...