|The AA Big Book on the left, along with other recovery literature|
This is the second idea I’ve had for a ‘series’ (along with the Literary Inspiration one), in order to give areas of my writing some focus, and to hopefully help with the issue of continuity on my blog.
As I have alluded to on numerous occasions, I use the 12 Step Programme of AA to stay recovered, and to help me live my life (more effectively in some areas than others). It is the primary framework around which I have built my world, and without which I would be completely lost (as opposed to only vaguely so).
My original intention when I started the blog, back just after I’d acquired my Asperger’s diagnosis, was to write about my life as an autistic, but with a focus on applying the principles I’d learnt within the Programme to this new facet of my life.
It didn’t quite turn out that way, mostly because I kept struggling to try to fit autism within my literal interpretation of the parameters of the illness and recovery model of the 12 Steps, as written down in the Big Book. Instead of adapting the Programme to fit it, I was constantly trying to adapt the autism to fit the Programme: it didn’t work. It doesn’t work. It’s not meant to work like that, even when using it for its original purpose of dealing with alcoholism. And even there, I had a hard time getting to grips with it, because of my rigid, literal-minded, autistic brain. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a way to work it, just not like this.
And what that way is, I’m not really sure: I have no definitive answers, and I’m still frequently bothered and bewildered by it all, but I thought that a way of dealing with it might be to investigate the Big Book (and other relevant 12 Step literature), but in a different way. Rather than approaching it in my typically rigid manner (ie believing that the only ‘right’ way to do it means starting at the beginning, and working in chronological order), I would work organically, and go with the flow of how my own brain works; and it doesn’t work linearly, much as I might try to force it to do.
|Inside of each of my well-used books|
So to clarify, this is not meant as some kind of blog version of a traditional Big Book Study Group (which would be difficult anyway, given that there’s no way to interact as I don’t have a comments section. There is a reason for this, but I won’t go into it here). I’m not trying to teach anything (not my understanding of the Programme, as it applies to alcoholism, or overeating, etc, of which I do have long-term experience).
I’m simply trying to share - which may include some of my experience and knowledge about what works for me in those areas (as prompted by the literature), but mostly I’m hoping that it can help to shed light on the areas of difficulty I have; how to deal with the business of living with the WHOLE of me on a daily basis; and inspire me to change what I can, and make peace with myself for what I can’t.
Most of all, this is the experience of an AUTISTIC alcoholic, compulsive overeater/undereater/bulimic, general addict, social anxiety sufferer, with adhd (have I forgotten anything??!) I have no idea what the non-autistic version of all of these things feels like, though I’ve seen a lot of examples of them, and they seemed strangely ‘normal’ - less intense. You have been warned.
I’m doing this primarily to help myself, but I hope that it will be of benefit to anyone out there reading it. You also need to know that I won’t be following a schedule (just another word for a plan!), so expect them when they arrive - hopefully more than once a year.
May you find hope, peace, joy, and love, and a simple path through the often confusing mass that is life - one day at a time.