Thursday, April 9

What would you do if you were Special?

“The truth is, with so many billions and billions of people on the planet, most of us can't be unique or important in any meaningful way.”
- Les - Special

I hope that, if you’ve been following the latest series on the 12 Steps, that you are focusing on working through your 4th Step. To that end, I’m going to throw in this little interlude and give you a bit more time until we move on to the 5th Step.

Today I want to talk about an awesome movie that I recently watched.


Here’s the official movie summary.

“LES FRANKEN (Michael Rapaport) leads a painfully unremarkable life as a metermaid until he enrolls in a drug study for an experimental anti-depressant. An unexpected side effect of the drug convinces Les he is developing special powers and must quit his job to answer his new calling in life... Superhero. A very select group of people in life are truly gifted. Special is a movie about everyone else.”

The beauty of this movie is that it poses the question, “What would YOU do if you were freed from all self doubt?”

Les decides that he is going to be a hero and become SOMEBODY. Special. But that’s really the tip of the iceberg if we want to take the time to look a little deeper into this movie.

Think about all the things you DON’T do, simply because the little voice inside your head says you can’t. That’s the internal voice that we all hear that comes from our own self doubt. WE end up holding ourselves back. It’s not because of anything or anyone else. It’s because of us.

So, what do you think you could do if you didn’t have that little voice? Think that your life would look different from what it is right now?

The answer is a definite YES!

We are socially raised to have that niggling little voice in our heads by a World that doesn’t want to see us rise up to our greatest potential. You see, people that BELIEVE in themselves are a threat to the current status quo. They are the ones that go against the grain and buck the norm. They don’t usually accept “No”…at least from themselves and they are willing to put themselves out there to try and make things different.

The funny thing is…you ALREADY have the potential inside you. You can actively make the choice of whether or not to listen to that shitty little voice that holds you back. You can BE one of those people that go beyond themselves and others.

Want to know the difference between you and them?

They are willing to believe in themselves. They believe that no matter what happens, they can handle it. They believe, in short, that they are ENOUGH.

That’s where you need to get to if you want to make a difference. That’s what you need to KNOW if you want to become more. That’s the secret to learning how to fly. :-)

So I’ll leave you, for now, with this movie trailer for “Special” and hope that you watch it soon.

Special Trailer

Tuesday, April 7

Step 4 – The List

“Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves”

“A business which takes no regular inventory usually goes broke. Taking commercial inventory is a fact-finding and a fact-facing process. It is an effort to discover the truth about the stock-in-trade. One object is to disclose damaged or unsalable goods, to get rid of them promptly and without regret. If the owner of the business is to be successful, he cannot fool himself about values.

We did exactly the same thing with our lives. We took stock honestly.”
- A.A. Big Book

It makes sense in any sort of personal growth plan to periodically take stock of where you are, and where you want to go. That’s what Step 4 is all about.

This is NOT a step of beating yourself up, judging yourself, or finding all the different ways to blame yourself for anything or everything. This is simply a step of enlightenment.

Notice that the moral inventory comes AFTER the admission of problem and the partnership with a Higher Power. This is because you are NOT fixing anything at this point. You are identifying the places and problems and how they are impacting your life and the lives of those around you. You are identifying them to yourself so that, with the help of your Higher Power, you can start to change behaviors and make things better in your life.

Step 4 is all about the blinders that you have been wearing. Oftentimes, we prefer to justify our bad behaviors and find any excuse that will keep us from truly dealing with issues. That is where the fearlessness of this step comes into play. We have to be ready to make this list and willing to step back and objectively look at yourselves WITHOUT any justifications or excuses.

A good point to remember is that this is just a list. There is NO judgment associated with this list. There will be good and bad listed here. And that’s OK.

“In Step Four we call it a "moral" inventory because we compile a list of traits and behaviors that have transgressed our highest, or moral, values. We also inventory our "good" traits and the behaviors that represent them. In our life's moral inventory the defects or dysfunctional behaviors might include some that once worked; some dysfunctional behaviors may have saved our lives as children, but they are now out-of-date, self-defeating, and cause us a great deal of trouble when we use them as adults.”
- A Hunger for Healing

We have to write it out, we have to be as thorough as possible, and we have to be honest, otherwise, you’re just wasting your time. You can’t keep it all in your head anymore than you can wish it all to be better. Writing the List is a vital part of this step. It keeps you focused and gives you something to refer back to. If you decide to repeat the steps for the same issue (only less now, right?) then it’s a good spiritual and ego boost to see the progress that you’ve made. And it’s always easier to get working on something that you’ve written down. It gets it out of your head so you can REALLY start the work.

“Step Four will help us toward our recovery more than we imagine. Most of us find that we were neither as terrible, nor as wonderful, as we supposed. We are surprised to find that we have good points in our inventory. Anyone who has some time in the Program and has worked this step will tell you that the Fourth Step was a turning point in their life. Some of us make the mistake of approaching the Fourth Step as if it were a confession of how horrible we are-what a bad person we have been. In this new way of life, a binge of emotional sorrow can be dangerous. This is not the purpose of the Fourth Step. We are trying to free ourselves of living in old, useless patterns. We take the Fourth Step to gain the necessary strength and insight which enables us to grow.”
- Narcotics Anonymous Basic Text

This is probably one of the most intimidating and daunting step of the program. Let’s be honest…it’s HARD. Sometimes it’s painful and hurtful to remember. I won’t lie to you about it. But you won’t be rushed in any way. That’s self-defeating to this step. Take your time; there is NO time limit on this step. If you find yourself just sitting there, not writing anything, put it down for a while. Since this step is SO heavily emotional it will naturally take time. Remember, the whole purpose of the Steps is to HELP you. Don’t make this too hard, don’t try to tackle everything at once, you can ALWAYS come back. Just be honest with yourself. No one needs to see this list, in fact, DON’T share your list with anyone else right now. It’s sacred to you and for you. Treat it as such.

I’ve found a couple good references and workbooks for this step. Here and here.

Take heart and be brave. And know that you can do it. I have faith in you.