Ashley S is a recovered sexaholic/lustaholic and codependent from North Carolina. She found herself emotionally in bondage until she discovered a miracle of healing through the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. By working the 12 Steps as outlined within the Big Book through the power of a loving God and her sponsor’s patient guidance, she recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. She had a life-changing spiritual awakening, which resulted in a new relationship with her Creator and a way of living which answers all her problems. Ashley has walked a free woman with newly found inner power and peace since November 2nd, 2021.
With reliance upon Him, Spirit has shown Ashley how to create the fellowship she craved. The bright spot in her life is now sharing experience, strength, and hope primarily across AAA (All Addicts Anonymous) and AASS (All Addictions Step Study). Inspired by her sponsor’s men’s group called The Freedom Seekers, she formed its counterpart called The Serenity Seekers – an all addiction inclusive women’s lineage group. Ashley and her sponsor also founded an all addiction inclusive study of the Big Book called the “High Road to a New Freedom,” where by God’s grace they have carried the message for 30 weeks to numerous countries across the world.
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Transcript Reco12 Meeting 150
Ashley S – An Earnest Seeker
Welcome to Reco12. My name is Justin and I am a child of an all powerful and all loving God and a recovering addict, and I'm blessed to be the host of this meeting and podcast. Reco12 is an organization with the mission of learning and sharing the similarities of addiction of all kinds and gaining and sharing tools and hope from others who are watching a similar path. We come together from all places, faiths and backgrounds to gain tools and hope from others who are walking this same path. Speakers from our past meetings have represented many fellowships and identify with addictions with such variety as alcoholism, drugs, food, sex, gambling, theft, codependency, and the anon groups, just to name a few. Today is the 150th meeting of Reco12.
Thank you all for helping make this journey so adventurous and educational and inspiring to me and to so many others. I look forward to at least another 150 more. But in the meantime, I'm excited about today's speaker, Ashley S. She's been excited about doing this for a while, and the apparent energy and enthusiasm she has for the solution is outstanding. Before we get to her, just a little bit more housekeeping and announcements about an upcoming Reco12 project. And by the way, if you missed out last week on the Dopamine Nation book giveaway from Dr. Anna Lembke from last week's meeting, which by the way, was awesome, there are still a couple of books left to get in on that.
Please go and record a two to four minute solution based share for Reco12 shares at the link that will be in the chat and show notes, and you will be entered to receive one of the last few of those books. Now, Reco12 is a self supporting service, and we appreciate your help in keeping us working our 12th step in this manner. We gratefully accept contributions and recently we started a new subscription program called Reco12 Spearheads. Here's a little bit about one of the ideas that the Reco12 Spearhead program will help shape and fund. So, launching on March 1 of this year, just in a couple of weeks, will be a new open share meeting called Reco12 shares.
All are welcome to record a solution based share that will be uploaded into short 20 minutes recorded recovery meetings, available in podcast format anytime, anywhere. To learn more and to record a share of your own, please visit www. Dot Reco12.com forward slash shares and click on the link in the show notes or in the chat of a live meeting. And if you'd like to become a Reco12 Spearhead and help spearhead this or other missions that you think would fit in the Reco12 family of resources, please join in. You can learn more there in the I'll put the link in the chat and in the show notes. You can also contribute through PayPal. All right, we look forward each week to receiving the light reflected from our speakers. That light inspires hope, meaning, worth and growth in us, the listening audience.
Now I'm going to introduce today's guest speaker, Ashley S. Here's a little bit about her. Ashley S is a recovered sexaholic lustaholic and codependent from North Carolina. She found herself emotionally in bondage until she discovered a miracle of healing through The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. By working the Twelve Steps as outlined with The Big Book. Through the power of a loving God and her sponsor's patient guidance, she recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. She had a life changing spiritual awakening which resulted in a new relationship with her creator and a way of living which answers all her problems. Ashley has walked a free woman with newly found inner power and peace since November 2 of 2021. With reliance upon him, spirit has shown Ashley how to create the fellowship she craved.
The bright spot in her life is now sharing experienced strength and hope primarily across AAA, which is All Addicts Anonymous and Aass All Addictions Step Study. Inspired by her sponsors men's group called The Freedom Seekers, she formed its counterpart called The Serenity Seekers, an all addiction inclusive women's lineage group. Ashley and her sponsor also founded an all addiction inclusive study of the Big Book called The High Road to a New Freedom whereby God's Grace they have carried the message for 30 weeks to numerous countries across the world. Take it away, Ashley. The floor is yours.
Well, thank you so much Justin. It is truly an honor and a privilege to be here with you and everyone else who's life and we'll be listening. Wow, 150 meetings so far. That is incredible. Again, so grateful to be here on 150. My name is Ashley S, I am from North Carolina and thank you so much for that introduction. Justin. As you said, I am a recovered sexaholic lustaholic and codependent and by God's grace I have been sober since November 2 of 2021. I have been through the process as it is laid out in the Big Book of Alcoholics synonymous. I have worked the steps to the best of my ability, making all of my amends and practice 1011 and Twelve every day as a new way to live. And with my title of the share being an earnest seeker.
I just want to spend the next 25 minutes talking to you about my experience with Step Two, what I used to seek, coming to find what I really needed to seek and finding it now. And if I read what Step Two says in the Big Book, we came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. Well, the first thing that implies to me is that I was insane. So I don't want to go into a sexologue, but I do want to just qualify myself as an addict for a few minutes. And I think in We Agnostics, it outlines it pretty clearly what my problem really was. It had never been sex and lust, and this was a process to really understood what that meant. It says on page 53 when we became alcoholics, crushed by a self imposed crisis.
And I now see that as a crisis that has been imposed by self, the ego, whatever term you want to use there. There was a lot of things that happened to me growing up. I went through emotional abuse, and as a child with my mom at a very controlling, strict religious household, I came with a lot of old religious ideas, and now I can see them all as fear based. I did things out of fear. For example, I got baptized at an early age just out of fear, not going to h***, doing an altar call, a pray in the center's, prayer just so I wouldn't go to h***. I had this idea, as Bill says it in Bill's story of a tsar of the heavens, god was something that was in the direction of up and outside of me.
Those were some of the old religious ideas I had. But growing up, I went to church every single Sunday, but had really no connection to the power that I didn't know was inside of me all of this time. And on page 50, it says it pretty well, we missed the reality and the beauty of the forest because were diverted by the ugliness of some of its trees. And that was so true of me. In going to church, I judged everybody there full of a bunch of liars. But then here's one of the biggest liars talking to you today. Being a hypocrite myself, there was so much judgment that I had growing up, and all of this led to a lot of insanity. Again, just to give you to qualify myself briefly, I went through some sexual abuse.
When I was 17, I attempted suicide. I turned 18, spent a week in a mental institution, and I was really seeking for love in all of the wrong places. And it just started a spiral that I could not control, I could not stop, could not moderate. I great. Just was obsessed about it all day long. Just the physical, emotional abuse that a certain sexual lifestyle brought to me from others. And I wanted to degrade my own self. I wanted others to degrade me, to be humiliated. I really thought my true purpose in life was just to have sex. I thought that was all that I was good for. Long story short, found a man, was with that man for nine years, and that's really where my codependency cooked itself into high drive. Didn't say no.
Did a lot of acting out with him, with other people. And again, I didn't voice what it is that I needed, so I played a huge part in that. And really what got me into Twelve Step was I saw my life going in three directions. I was either going to get into the p*** industry, which I didn't want to do. I'm a college educated woman. Why would I do that? Or I saw myself going to prison or dying. I really thought that those were my three options in life. So yes, when step two says that God could restore Susanity, the first thing I really needed to see was that I was insane. Page 53 actually spells it out really well too. It says at the bottom, without knowing it, had we not been brought to where we stood by a certain kind of faith?
And again, I kind of just want to focus my share on step Two. But really in step one I got to see self, the ego, that self imposed crisis, that it had been my thoughts, it had been all of these old beliefs that I had held on to my attitudes. All of that has what has been driving me to this point. And when I could first now get awareness of this, then I could start turning it over to a power greater than myself to get freedom from it. So I was seeking all the wrong things before. Now I'm at a point in my life where I'm actually seeking help. I want to get over this. I have no idea how or where to even start. And this is coming into twelve step.
So step Two for me really has been an unlearning process from all of the things that wounded people had taught me. Their conceptions, their beliefs about God and other things. Page 49 and all throughout We Agnostics, really, it says, we beg you in the last paragraph to lay aside prejudice. And I've come to learn that prejudice are those old ideas that I've got against spirituality, against religion. And it gives example over example, and We Agnostics to set all aside these things that you think that you know. It gives some great examples, like on 51 and 52 about think about when this book was written, they didn't even have the rocket lunch about Columbus. Columbus at one point thought people were going to put Columbus to death because he thought the earth was round and it wasn't flat.
At one point that was just a belief. The earth is flat. But Columbus took action and he made it a reality to change that. It's the same thing with the rocket launch. It goes into that on 52. So why could I not apply that to my own self? I see I'm insane. So obviously these things that I've held on to a lot of for a long time are not working for me. And this is just my personal experience. But if I could just kind of imagine taking all those ideas and waddling them up into a piece of paper, I was ready to throw it out. There was just nothing I wanted to hang on to because I knew I can't recover over this addiction if I don't do that. And so really, we agnostics.
I came to see we just look at the title of the chapter. AG means without, and Gnostics means knowledge. I've literally been without knowledge for a very long time. I never saw myself. I had belief that there was a God. I wasn't an atheist when I came in here, but I never saw that I truly was agnostic. I didn't tap into the power that's been within me all of this time. I took no action to make things a reality. And there were some things that my sponsor and I went through as were going through this chapter. Just conceptions and examples that he gave me that I want to share that just really dramatically changed my recovery. He started to explain to me that everything that God has created has spirit.
If I look outside my window right now, there's a tree there, and I see the sky and I see the grass, all of that has spirit. I'm now able to see that God is everywhere. There is purpose, there is love. I just have to look for it. The outward reality, the thing, the outward appearances, I should say, and I think this is on 48, it says at the very bottom that outward appearances are not inward reality at all. So what step two in this process has been an inward change that needed to occur so I could see the world in a different way, see myself in a different way. And another thing he told me was, be very careful of the God that you pick and the God that you serve.
Are you going to serve the one of judgment and condemnation and criticism or the one of love and forgiveness? And I had very much been a worshiper of the judgmental version and not the one that was loving. That was forgiving of myself. He gave me this example. Justin, you might have seen her running around here before the meeting started, but I don't have any children, but I do have a cat. Her name is Lexi. And my sponsor picked up pretty quickly that I very much loved this cat. And he explained, is there anything that Lexi could do that would cause you to not love her? There was no question. No, absolutely not. She could scratch something. It would be okay. Might get a little upset in the moment, but I would still love her.
And why could I not apply that same conception to God in me? All of this, what I saw is that being a dirty sex addict, I could be forgiven. I can still be loved. And that was definitely a process of working the rest of the steps to see just really the depth of how I really saw and felt about myself and about God. But again, this book and this chapter in particular it says to throw out everything that you think you know. Page 56 says, is it possible that all the religious people I have known are wrong? And so there were some exercises that are in we agnostic that I was first exposed to that really helped me to dig into, okay, where's all the wrong thinking, the wrong belief spoon coming in.
And as the master teacher says, I had a mustard seed of faith. I didn't know how this process was going to work. My mind was trying to understand the whys. I didn't need to understand the wise. I just needed to do it. And so I had that faith that my sponsor had done it, and if I just followed what he said, that I could recover too. And that was all that I needed, was just that seed of faith. So one of the first things that I did was back on page 47, keeping an eye on my time here on 47. It says at the very top, do not let any prejudice. Again, those are those old ideas that we hang on to that you may have against spiritual terms, deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you.
And I've still got my original list here on a ratty scrap piece of paper. And I came at this prayerfully, and my sponsor told me to, you know, get a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle. On the left side, prayerfully. Ask God to show you all of the terms. That kind of made me bristle with antagonism, as the Big Book says it. And what are the prejudge conceived ideas that you have about spirituality, about religion? Put them all down. And I didn't realize how resentful and angry I was at a lot of terms. So there's 53 things that I'm looking here on this list, and I'm so grateful that I did this exercise, because on the right side, I wrote what they meant to me right now, honestly, on that day.
And, wow, what a transformation it is to see what my thinking used to be like. And now on this new level of consciousness that I have today. Just to give you an example, the first biggest one on the list was prayer. I had no idea how to pray, didn't practice it, didn't do it. And just how that's changed today for me, worship heaven and h***, there's many terms, but that was one of the first exercises that I did to try and see and ask God to remove all those old prejudices. There's a few more exercises on page 52. We call these the devilments. And there's, I believe, nine of them. And it says in the second paragraph, were having trouble with personal relationships. And I can pause right there and ask myself that question.
Yes, we've established I'm insane, so I've been having some trouble with my personal relationships. Couldn't control my emotional natures, prayed to misery. And depression and so on. And I won't read them all. But again, a very similar exercise. Take a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle and prayerfully come at how was I really having trouble in my personal relationships? What did it all boil down to? This wasn't the time for me to get into a story which my mind very much fought very hard to do. And actually I still got that piece of paper here written with me. Just to give you an example. What I wrote down with personal relationships is I lust after everyone and everything and being the best perfect, including myself.
And on the right side of the page I was supposed to write, what would this look like from the eyes of a recovered person when I worked all twelve steps? What did I want this to look like now? I love my answer here. I help others to become their best selves in and outside the fellowship based on my experience, strength, and hope. And I can look through all of these, and I did before this meeting to see where there's still some things that I want God to help me work on. Really the transformation that's taking place in my life. I'm no longer suffering from anxiety and depression and have to take medication or see certified sex addiction therapist every week. I don't have to do those things because I work my program. I work exactly what's in the book.
I don't go outside of the book. So I don't need to medicate the same way I used to. There's a couple more things I'm keeping an eye on time. There were a couple more exercises that I did to look at those old prejudices. I looked at the God idea, powerful people in my life, how I didn't see that I had made other people out growing up to be God. My mom, my dad, my preacher. There were people who I deemed was more powerful to me. And they really had an impact on me that I didn't see until I put it all down on paper. And then I was able to see how I had applied all of those negative things to God as well. That God would punish me, God will condemn me, and so on and so forth.
But if I can just talk about real quick one of my favorite pages that I just wept when I went over this with my sponsor, it just always stuck out to me. On page 54, in the middle of the second paragraph, it says and then with a better motive, had we not worshipedly beheld the sunset, the sea or a flower. And he gave me a couple of things to start thinking about. He asked me, Ashley, is the waves and the sea or the ocean, are they separate or are they one thing? And before this process, I answered that they're separate. And now I'm able to see that there is oneness. There's unity. Like I mentioned before, I look outside my window and I see the sky, the tree and the grass. All of those things have spirit. All of it's one.
And thinking about water too. Water can be in different forms. It can be a gas, it can be a liquid, or it can be a solid. And all of these things that I just mentioned, they're different forms of love of God. And I am one of those forms as well. You who are listening and on this meeting today are another form of that. I just couldn't see it again. Nothing has changed in this outward appearance, but the inward reality. My thoughts about you and about God, everything else has changed on the inside. He gave me another example. Think about the sun at night. You can't see the sun at night, but you know that it still exists, it's still there. And it was the same way with me and God.
I had such a problem with prayer and with God because I couldn't see it. But I needed to have all those prejudices and those perceptions changed. And that's what the twelve steps has brought me. So that's just a little bit about the process of coming to seek. And today I have really found what I have been looking for. I know that I think it says on page 51 at the very top, it says when many hundreds of people are able to say that the consciousness, that's a key word for me of the presence of God is today the most important fact of their lives, they present a powerful reason why one should have faith. That is what has changed for me. My consciousness, my thoughts are now on a higher plane because of doing this work.
Step two was a very important part for me to become ready to move on to step three, to turn my will, which I now know is my thoughts and my life, which are now my actions, over to the care of a loving God. Not the control of a judgmental God, but the care of a loving God. I now am able to see that I am the witness to these thoughts that come into my mind. I am not, as we've looked at the self imposed crisis, I am definitely accountable for all of the actions that I took, but I'm not responsible for them. I've been driven here by hundreds of forms of fear. So this has helped me to have a complete liberation of my thinking.
As I think it says on page 52 at the very top, I've been able to brew steps ten and eleven, been given a way to rise above my problems, to just have more awareness. Now it's been nothing less. But towards the end of 56, it explains my experience that I had. In step one it says, this man recounts that he tumbled out of bed to his needs and I just crossed out the word bed and replaced closet, because that in this entire paragraph, is exactly what happened to me. I had all of these questions that I was asking my sponsor, where is God? What are your thoughts? What's your conception? And I found it. It's here in the book. And once I was able to see it in the book, it's like any other spiritual text.
I can now read those books because that consciousness, that belief came to me. God disclosed himself to me. And just to help anyone who is still seeking, it tells us two times here on 55, to help answer some of those questions that you may still have. It says deep down, in every man, woman and child, everyone here today, everyone listening, is the idea of God. Now, it's blocked off by self, by the ego. It says here, calamity, pop, worship of other things we worship sex, drugs, alcohol, fill in the blank, but it is there. It says in another paragraph, we found the great reality deep down, not outside of us, not in you or anybody else. Just think about it within us.
It says it another way in 570 and spiritual experience, that with few exceptions, our members find that they have tapped and unsuspected again, not outside, but inner resource, which they presently identify with their own conception of a power greater than themselves. So I found exactly what I was looking for. I have now found love. I've found purpose. I know that my purpose in life is to not be of maximum service to others, but to fit myself to be of maximum service to others. This is what I was always called to do. It was to share my experience, strength and hope so that others may recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. So again, Justin, thank you so much for asking me to be here today. I'm so grateful for the opportunity and I'm looking forward to hearing what questions people have.
Awesome. Thank you so much. Ashley man, you are fairly new in the rooms of recovery, but to hear the maturity of your experience with this shift in your perception of your higher power is just miraculous and I love it. Thank you for sharing that I was sober in the rooms for nearly five years before I discovered this filter that I was seeing God through that had to be changed. What an awesome experience you had to share for us. We have several questions that have come in from the live audience and I've written down several. Also, we'll get to as many as we can during this talk. First question comes in from Ryan. Ryan says, ashley, thank you so much for sharing your faith, experience and hope. I'm so grateful that your higher power is so apparently working in your life.
Can you talk a little bit more about overcoming any fears you had and letting go of your old beliefs and what helped you to let go and be completely open? And how do you handle situations when old beliefs come back if they do?
Thank you so much. Ryan. There were three questions there, so I think I got the first one, which I'll write them down and I'll follow.
Up with the second and third one. You're ready? Yeah.
Okay. All right, well, I don't want to spend too much time one, but to overcome fear, let's flip over to 67. Well, really, let's flip over to 68 for time. There's a very simple process that I looked at with my fears and inventory. First part, it says on page 68, we put them on paper. So prayerfully, I just made the list. What is everything that's still going on up here that I'm afraid of? And then I was able to see and whittle those down to just twelve root fears. And I'm happy to share those with you, but I was able to see really there's three big ones for me. I have a huge fear of failure because I'm a perfectionist. Huge fear of abandonment, sex addict. And the third one is really a lot of times it's the unknown.
I want to control the uncontrollable. So I saw those constantly. Then we asked ourselves why we have them. And this process was to get me to see that I'm seeing something that does not exist. This is just my mind creating an image or a false reality. And then I buy into that and I take action on it. And so no wonder I'm sick, no wonder I'm insane. So I see that now on paper. And there's more. If we go down to the bottom here, it says there's a prayer. We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what he would have us to be. And so that's what exactly I did during the process and what I do every single day. Right before this meeting, I spotted the fear spears speaking in front of people.
I see that it's from self, it's from the ego, and I ask God to remove it to direct my attention to what he would have me to be. Not always do. I just need to be present, I need to be aware, be loving to myself. I'm just here to share my experience. If I mess up on a couple of words, I will. That's how I get over or not I get over. But I asked God to help me remove the fear today. And so what was the other two questions?
The other two questions, what helped you to let go and be completely open? And you may have touched on that. And how do you handle situations when old beliefs come back? If they do?
Of course old beliefs come back. I won't say every day, but yeah, they crop up on page 84. We flip over there. This is our 10th step.
Says when these crop up, not if. So when. Selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear. And for me, I add in lust. With that crops up, I ask God at once to remove them. So just to give you an example, I started a new job. So there's a ton of fear that's been coming up. Those insecurities like I don't know what to do. I want to control the uncontrollable, I want people to like me. All these people, pleasing people, approval seeking things. And so I spot that and instead of doing what I used to do, which would have been avoid, avoid, I asked God to remove it to see that I am in the presence of love.
People who are just going to try and help me, but I can't get help from them if I avoid them and run away from my fears and my problems like I used to. So I ask God to remove it. I discuss it with someone immediately. I send a text to my sponsor. I make amends quickly if I harmed anyone. And then I resolutely turn my thoughts to someone that I can help. And how this was explained to me and how this has been so incredibly powerful and different than what I used to do before is I can just close my eyes and visualize helping someone. I like to cook so I can think about cooking my dad burgers. He loves it. And so it kind of just gets me out of whatever problem is going on.
It helps me think about somebody else or what I can do for somebody else. Doesn't have to be in the fellowship, doesn't even have to be someone. You know, I think about taking something to a stranger underneath the overpass who's homeless. I mean, literally, that really takes me out of me sometimes. So that's how I handle things that come up. And I think I might have missed the second question, which was about just being willing to let go. There is nothing special that I can tell you that I did. That is just the way that I came into this process. I was able to see clearly from the writing that I did in my bedevilments. In step one, going through the doctor's opinion Bill story, I'm powerless over a lot, I'm insane over a lot.
So I'm just willing toss it all out so I can't say anything other than just going through the book with a sponsor and being willing at every step to do whatever he told me to do.
Love it. And this next question kind of goes to that sponsor question and I'm going to mix it with one of the things that I have here. So as a sex addict, often I think that maybe a person should get a sponsor of their same gender if they are not same sex attractor or whatever. What is the process you went through to find the right sponsor? And this is from Sam. And in combination with my question, what is the process? You went about to find the right sponsor that was able to guide you in this enlightenment that you're describing and also was there any fear in picking that someone of the opposite gender?
Yes, excellent question. I get asked this probably every time I share and the first time that I let me back up and just kind of say how this all came about. Nothing short of a miracle of God. I was in an S fellowship when I first came into Twelve Step, got 87 days of white knuckled, sobriety and relapsed and my first sponsor let me go. And then I found another sponsor who had some Big Book experience and I worked the steps in 18 days and I can now laugh about it because I got nothing from it. You know, I completed a worksheet for my resentments and just crossed off some X's and there was no healing there that was just bringing up all the resentment and just seeing it all on paper.
There was no forgiveness that took place during this process and I knew I got to Step Twelve and my sponsors like, you're ready, you can sponsor other people, you've worked the steps. But that's not been my experience. I need someone who has had a spiritual awakening, who's been as sick as I have been to help guide me through this so that I can have a new relationship with my creator and a new attitude towards myself and others. And a couple of months into being in Twelve Step, I was passed along some recordings from a Big Book study that my sponsor had done and I listened to every single one. There were 26 of them at this time. I was married and I was driving my husband crazy.
I was listening to them when I was cooking, I was listening to them when I was driving, when I was working. It was the first time I was hearing the Big Book and I could not get enough. He carried a message of depth and weight like I had never heard before and I knew that I did not have what he had and I wanted it and I was willing to go to any lengths to get it and it just so happened that somebody had given me his number. I texted him about another question, not with the expectation of him sponsoring me and very quickly saw, yeah, I don't know anything about The Big Book. I have not had an awakening like this is described and he was willing to sponsor me and I'm so glad. I come from a wonderful lineage.
I'm really blessed with the lineage that I've come from the best of the best of AA. And of course I did have fear when I first started working with him, but he was able to help me say just write them all down and do exactly what we did here that I just went over a few minutes ago. And so again, I just kept trusting him. He's been through this and he can help me and that's exactly what happened. So it's been the biggest blessing of my life. So thanks for that question.
Yeah, awesome. And your sponsor has been a previous speaker on Reco12 and is scheduled again for later this year, but if you're willing to share a link to maybe those tapes, those recordings that I can put in the show notes in the podcast at a later time, that would be fantastic.
Absolutely. And just to speak to that really quickly, Justin, again, it's a huge blessing that I heard him on a big book study and then now I'm currently doing a study with him every single Tuesday night. So it was, as you mentioned in my introduction, so would love to get that information to everyone. They can go back and listen to it on YouTube, Google Drive, or join us live. Thank you.
Awesome. Thank you. I put links to some resources you shared with me earlier in the chat and I'll put those in the show notes also. And then if you have any other things, just email those to me here after the meeting and we'll get those in there. Perfect. We have another question from live audience. This is from Anna says, can you please share more about being accountable for, but not responsible for your past?
Flip over to page 64. This is after the third step. Right before the fourth step, it says first we searched out the flaws in our makeup which caused our failure. So this is not my sexual acting out. These are flaws in my makeup that have caused me the insanity, the failure that I've been looking at, being convinced that self, I've got that word circled, manifested in various ways. The ways that self can manifest in a common form of resentment was what had defeated us. We considered and I've got that word circled, we considered its common manifestations. So I see that those words are not the same. Self, us and its. If I can see that again, a religious member may call it the devil. To me it's a lower form of consciousness.
Self, the ego, these thoughts that come up in my mind like I'm no good, I'm fat, I'm ugly, my mom doesn't love me. Those are some of the principles that I've held on to. If I can just see that's not a reality, it's just something that's come up in my mind, ask God to remove it, turn my thoughts to helping others, then I can get freedom from it. I want to make sure to kind of answer the question, but that to me was part of the process to how I could see that I was separate from this, but I was not this. It was about accountability. So, yes, this is my body.
I took these actions and I am certainly I have a lot of long period of reconstruction ahead to make amends with my brothers and have forgiveness through the rest of the Twelve Steps. But I'm not accountable for these thoughts that have come into my head that I've been driven. Says back on 62, selfishness, self centeredness. That we think is the root of our troubles right there. It is driven by 100 forms of fear, self delusion, self seeking, self pity. We step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate and we see it again. We invariably find that at some point in the past we have made decisions based on self, which later placed us in a position to be hurt. One last thing, I get on fire when I start talking about this.
If you flip over to page 63 in the third Step prayer, it does not say, relieve me of the bondage of alcohol, of lust. It says relieve me of the bondage of self. That's been my problem. So I hope that answers that question.
Love it. Thank you, Ashley. All right. You mentioned a miracle that has happened in your life through working the steps in recovery. You mentioned that you've been released from anxiety and meds and different therapies through application of these principles. Now, I don't know that you well, I wouldn't say, hey, this is the fix all, end all for all of those things, but you've experienced that miracle in your life. Tell us a little bit more about that and why you think that's the case.
Well, Justin, back in March 2021 was the start of the rock bottom, and my husband had found out that I was cheating on him. I became somewhat ready. I remember going to better help to find a therapist, and I wanted it for myself. He was not ready. He did not want it. He didn't see that he had a problem and I'm not here to take his inventory. And so I started that process of wanting to get help for myself. Wanting to do couples therapy didn't work. It wasn't really going anywhere. It was just causing more problems. And then it says it in the Big book, it's like the gates of h***, I'm messing it up here. But they shut with a clang. And that's exactly how I felt, because I would go to one therapist and they say, I can't help you.
Like, your problem is too serious for me. You're going to have to get better help. And then that kept happening. I kept going from therapist to therapist, and then it seemed like it was happening in Twelve Step. Once I found Twelve Step, I can't help you. You need someone more experience than I am. And that's why I felt I just continued to feel hopeless. I'm like, I don't think I'm ever going to get help or relief from this. And so, yeah, people tried different things. They diagnosed me with PTSD, OCD, anxiety and depression. They tried different medications. I was spending so much money on therapy, I was literally spending what some people probably pay on a mortgage in a month for therapy. And it didn't work because I was just constantly bringing up the past.
Everything that was in step four that I needed to look at, but there was never connecting with my higher power, with God, with love, my cats agreeing with me, she's me that there was no healing that was ever taking place. It was just bringing up all the resentment, all the fear. So I really was able, once I found the Big Book, I was able to see, I can use steps 1011 to get me through this. That's what helped me to get sober. And working the rest of the steps is what helped me to recover. So, no, I don't have to do all those things that I used to do, which I am so grateful for, has definitely been nothing short of a miracle.
Thank you for sharing that. You said I don't have to do those things anymore to achieve that piece, that relief. What do you have to do now? And I think you've touched on this, but I want you to specify, what do you have to do now to achieve that piece, that connection, or what do you choose to do now?
I guess it's very simple. Well, it's simple. It's not always easy, especially in the moment, but the first place I turn is step ten. And if you really break it down, step ten is working all the steps. So we watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear. That's taking inventory. So I spot that thought that comes up, that's step four. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. That's step six and seven. I'm becoming willing for God to remove it. I ask him to remove it. Then we discuss them with someone immediately. So that's step five. Today, that looks like sending a text to my sponsor. If it's something that's really not going away, then I'm going to pick up the phone and talk to someone. We make them ends quickly. If we've harmed anyone, there are steps eight and nine.
I see that now as I make an apology. I set right the mistake. What can I do to make it right with that person? And then we resolutely turn our thoughts to some way can help love intolerance of others as our code. And that's eleven and twelve. So I work all of those steps every single day to the best of my ability. There's a lot more prayers that are in these next couple of pages all the way to 88. So, yeah, whenever indecision comes, I ask God on 86, it says, we ask God for inspiration, intuitive thought or decision. When on page 87, when I'm agitated or doubtful, I ask for the right thought or action. And so all of this is this wonderful book is an instruction manual for how to have peace in my life. It's been a process.
It's not just like it was, boom. I just knew how to do this. It was a practice of saying no to people. I don't always get that right. I say yes to everything, but it's in that moment where I pause and then I can feel that intuition or that guidance. No, you need to say something. You're going to regret this if you don't say something. And that is what has brought me peace, listening to that voice, letting it guide me. So that's what's been miraculous change in my life now.
And this is from anonymous attendee. And I'll just cut this back into the body of the meeting. If, when you get through the steps and haven't had all of the promises, what do you do?
Well, I have definitely had that experience before. By working the steps in 18 days, I did not have those promises fulfilled. My advice is to go where you feel lead. If you hear somebody who has what you want, reach out to them. If they're not available, they will know other people or will point you in the right direction. Again, I can only speak for myself, but nothing other than the big book will ever do for me. It is the book that helps me to recover. So I would just encourage you to be willing to set aside your prejudices and your old ideas and try something new.
Awesome. Thank you so much. Ashley, I've received a couple of requests from people who may want to reach out and contact you. Is it okay if I share our email address here and then connect you to them through that so we don't get your personal stuff out there? Perfect.
So if you would like to contact Ashley, please send an email to Reco12pod@gmail.com And I'll connect you with Ashley that way. Very good. I think that is all of the questions that have come in. Do you have any final words of wisdom before we close this meeting down?
Final words of wisdom? Yes. Continue. Wherever you are at in this process, my advice is to continue. If you are not experiencing total freedom, peace, happiness today, there is a better way. This is just my experience. I couldn't find it in the fellowship that I was in. I went to different fellowships, couldn't find it in the literature that I was in. Went to different literature. Maybe what you're doing is working for you. Great. But this was my experience. And if you're reading with your sponsor, keep reading. If you're doing the writing, keep writing. It says, like in we agnostics, the consciousness of our belief is sure to come to you. So God will disclose himself itself to you through this process. And thank you so much again, Justin. I really enjoyed being here today.
Thank you, Ashley. All right. That was a great Reco12 weekly speaker meeting. If we didn't get to your question or if you have another questions, please consider joining our WhatsApp community by sending an email with your WhatsApp. Number to Reco12pod@gmail.com, same address that I can connect you with Ashley there and join in our community and ask those questions and answer others questions that may come up. I invite the audience to come back next week. If you have not yet rated and reviewed the podcast and Apple podcast, please go do so now. It's a great way to help us work our step in sharing this message with others next week, right before this meeting, I got word that our speaker next week got COVID and is delaying.
So I am going to be rounding up a speaker who is on deck, who's always available, but I got to confirm that. But I'm excited about this. We will have somebody here next week that will have a great topic. I'm looking forward to hearing about what that person has to say. Now let's launch off into the rest of this day with a prayer that Ashley has chosen. Ashley, do you have that prayer handy so you can say that for us?
This is the prayer protection that I've recently been given. The light of God surrounds you. The love of God unfolds you. The power of God protects you. The presence of God watches over you. The mind of God guides you. The life of God flows through you. The laws of God direct you. The peace of God abides within you. The joy of God uplifts you. The strength of God renews you. The beauty of God inspires you. Wherever you are, God is and all as well. Amen.
Amen. There's one who has all power. That one is God. May you find God. Now. Keep coming back, everybody. Let's trudge this road of happy destiny together.