I used these steps and emotional recovery tools to treat the most chronic, psychologically disabled, homeless veterans, and miracles happened. These veterans learned to say the Five Steps repeatedly until they acquired the confidence necessary to overcome any unanticipated problem or stressful event.
Deeply caring about ourselves (self-esteem) despite having a negative side, is the first piece of three types of mental equipment needed to produce any form of internal change or healing-the armor, shield, and sword.
Armor metaphorically speaking, is a pervasive and positive attitude of caring so much for ourselves that we refuse to hurt ourselves or others, even when tempted by the cravings of the old ways, negative habits, or the influence of negative people.
The shield ( known as the Emotional Recovery Card ) is used to stop and think over alternative ways of coping with pain, pleasure, and conflict. The sword, ( known as Love-Light) refers to our spiritual connection, which we can use to slay any internal or external dragons or monsters that so often returns to us as the negative style of living.
Many years ago, it dawned on me that the same Five Steps used to help homeless veterans at Transitional Living Program in Battle Creek, Michigan can also serve as a framework to help anyone solve personal problems, or even mold our “armor” to focus on broader social reform issues.
For example, I can see reform applications of The Five Steps to school issues, prisons, reduction in the welfare roles, relief for step-families and dysfunctional relationships, treatment for all addictive behaviors (including losing weight), hope of recovery for emotional illness, and even relief from serious physical illness or injury.
For now, let us apply The Five Steps to making and improving our own self-esteem, and self-caring attitudes. Once we learn to wear our protective mental equipment, the dark secrets can’t touch us, and our healing and personal freedom begins.
The Five Steps In Action
STEP 1: ADMIT THE PROBLEM.
To honestly face a problem, or admit a weakness is something we all find very difficult to do. If we over work, eat, drink, and smoke too much, take too many medications, or have sex that is harmful to others, we probably have a problem. But we don’t like to admit this, and that’s called denial-part of our dark secrets.
Our response is to get so caught up in day to day survival that we easily forget about our own personal problems-the only things we can really change. Everything becomes basically-the other guys fault, right?
Healing and recovery begins when we are honest and open enough to say, “My life is a problem; there are serious problems in this country too; and I am willing to look at what I can do to change things.”
Maybe individually we can’t change society or the “system” but we can change ourselves. If enough of us make these personal changes, from the leaders of corporate America to the every day person on the street, then social conditions will change too.
We can begin this process by working on one personal weakness or character defect at a time. As weakness is overcome and transformed into strength, then we can turn our attention to improving the social conditions around us.
I suggest you try to begin this process of change today by simply choosing one problem to work on that is particularly bothersome for you.
STEP 2: MAKE A PLAN.
Getting honest about our own weaknesses is only the beginning. After we face one problem, we must make a plan to do something about it or nothing changes. There are four basic parts to a good plan: set goals; anticipate steps necessary to achieve the goals; face barriers to the goals; and develop a game plan to get around the barriers.
Goals define clearly what we want and when we want it. Focusing on steps, help us to see the importance of anticipating what we need to do to obtain the goals. The term barriers, brings us again to our dark secret side.
Inside barriers are those things within that stop us; like anger, sadness, fear, doubt, false beliefs, rationalizations, justifications, guilt, and shame. Outside barriers, refer to lack of resources, opportunities, environmental, and situational problems that our dark secret uses to try to convince us to give up.
The term game plan refers to formulating the strategies necessary to overcome the dark secret whether inside or outside of us. Game plans include facing feelings, thinking positive, and using appropriate recovery tools to facilitate success.
Let us begin this process today, by making a plan to do something positive about a problem, and then change one weakness into a strength by accomplishing an important goal.
STEP 3. REACH OUT FOR HELP.
Now, sometimes despite our best plans, our lives can get stuck or the unexpected happens. When life hurts and nothing seems to work, it’s time to reach out for help. Yes, this can be hard to do.
I know it can be difficult to trust another person, or a group, or a church, or even God, because most of us have been let down by other people, groups, church, and even our belief in God.
You may ask, “How can God help when prayers remain unanswered, and I still feel defeated, sick or miserable?” I believe the answer is, we can’t heal until there is a letting go of that dark secret-ego, that stops most of us from reaching out for the help that is always available. Others know this beast as false pride.
We can not always do it alone. We must reach out when we are hurting and draw strength and love from others who are around us. If we do, the healing begins; if we don’t the suffering continues.
Stop putting off asking or reaching for help. Reach out today, and let the healing process begin. Then use Rhonda Byrnes, The Secret, to super size your recovery by implementing that Law of Attraction process: asking, believing, and receiving.
STEP 4: CELEBRATE STRENGTHS
The greatest pain of all is to feel we are not good enough. Before we can effectively celebrate our strengths, we must face that pain. Some of us feel we are not good enough for love, so we hurt ourselves or we strike back at others.
This dark secret can carry over into the work place, where we settle for dead-end, low-paying jobs, instead of going for our wonderful dreams.
Sometimes, we might not feel good enough for this society or culture, because of physical appearances; so we isolate our engage in violence, rather than learning to love ourselves more.
And then there are those who have been abused and neglected by parents, a spouse, society, or war; when this happens, some of us run from one town to another, never looking in the mirror, never finding better ways to handle hate and despair. We can also relate to getting super stressed out, and worrying excessively or obsessively.
We can worry about not enough money, not enough clothes, not enough leisure time, little recognition, fleeting love. So, some of us work our lives away, and too many of us die lonely in sterile hospital wards, nursing homes, prisons, jails, or homeless shelters.
Take the time today to celebrate who you really are. Find the positives about yourself, and shout to the world, “I am always good enough and more!” Look at your strengths, talents, and abilities.
Strengths are the good qualities you like about yourself. Talents are your special abilities to do something better than others. Abilities comprise your potential to be better at something if you work harder at it.
Proclaim your positive side daily for this is your Light within. Recognize the weaknesses and the dark side, but build health on what you like about yourself; that’s a recovery attitude built on a rock hard foundation.
Affirm your uniqueness, when the negative thoughts, feelings, and experiences begin-called “stinking thinking” the wisdom of the 12 Step Programming. Strive to sense the Love inside of you; feel your Light.
Then, let It grow where you can actually start giving It away to others. The more you give, the more you receive. This is our Love-Light, and It forms the corner stone of all prosperity principles-even The Law of Attraction.
Celebrating ourselves in an open and humble fashion is probably the true measure of success. We have a right to feel good about ourselves despite our weaknesses, disabilities, or limitations.
For me, real success is not just about making more money-it’s about being happier, having more good ideas, and showing more love and compassion. Success is all about living in the moment, and appreciating the joy of life all around us. Of course we deserve to have wealth and prosperity too.
It’s finding the comfortable balance between the mind, body, and soul. Let us find this balance daily before we slowly harm ourselves with negative feelings, thoughts, and self-destructive behaviors. We can begin today by celebrating our strengths, talents, and abilities, over all the illusions our dark secret tries to send our way.
STEP 5: BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF THE POSITIVE.
We can no longer survive in a society, culture, or world without having a practical and workable value system-let us make it our Truth within. Every day we make choices about ourselves which impact on the lives of others.
There is a purpose in living, and it has to do with reaching our true potential. I think this actual purpose is a spiritual transformation. But, you decide what makes sense to you.
Let us believe in the power of Good, and life will improve-it has to. That’s what I call the journey to my Love-Light. What do you call your spiritual connection?