Years ago when I was active in the local recovery community (Mainly Alanon) I sponsored many men and women through the 12 Steps which, as many may know, IS the heart / core of the program set forth by AA founders Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob in the 1930’s.
In the process of working through the 12 Steps (which I typically moved sponsees through in 12 weeks) there was a key concept that had to be grokked in Step 1 before moving forward into 2-11. This concept is the recognition of powerlessness. Step 1 says “We admitted we were powerless over (fill in the blank – alcohol, drugs, other people etc) – that our lives had become unmanageable”.
The recognition of powerlessness is really just the recognition that we’ve lost the power of choice over our particular form of suffering (whether that be using substances, acting out behaviors or, in the case of Alanon, codependency) – which we now know is due to our programming (or ego) and emotional repression.
The working of the 12 Steps is a bit like a non-embodied deprogramming for beginners. Ideally, it removes just enough of the surface level blocks (resentments, guilt, fears etc) to awareness (and regulates the nervous system) to allow us to put down our drug of choice – which, of course, was simply just the most effective way we’d found to temporarily regulate – through numbing – our repressed systems and feel at least an inkling of safety.
And that brings me to what I really want to illuminate…
During this time in Alanon I crossed paths with several people who, because of a variety of reasons like childhood neglect, abuse or abandonment, had, to varying degrees, developed an addiction to people – or more accurately, they carried a deep and intense need to be loved, connected and protected by someone outside of themselves – even if this meant enduring abuse, neglect or emotional unavailability. I even recognized some of this in myself once I got into KI and the embodiment process.
After making the mistake of trying to take several of these folks through the 12 Step in 12 weeks, only to have them start fighting the process halfway through (usually right around Step 4 where were asked to write out a list of lifelong resentments) I began to wise up and take them back to Step 1 where I had forgotten to ask them a very important question – maybe the most important question; “What do you truly want?”
The reason this is the most important question in working the steps and even moreso in working KI is that due to the covert nature of Landings, repression and codependency we can easily fool ourselves into thinking that we want true freedom from our programming, repression and identification (aka embodied awakening) when deep down in the unconscious what we’re really looking for is what we never got in childhood; to be loved, accepted, taken care of and kept safe.
I started recognizing that my sponsees were working the steps not for them but FOR ME! (For my approval). Yikes. I was unknowingly enabling them to stay addicted to their seeking / needing / codependency (which just like any other addiction is underlaid and driven by repressed emotions like anger, hurt and fear) even as I took them through the steps that were supposed to be freeing them from that very addiction!
Several of them were able to reset and really grok this when I took them back to this recognition in Step 1, but several disappeared never to be seen again. They weren’t done “using”.
A good sponsor in Alanon – and a good facilitator in KI – will recognize this when working with someone and have these important conversations. Asking “What do you want? Safety / love or freedom?” and I really exploration into it is essential as we embark on deprogramming and repression reversal. Otherwise we’re “putting the cart before the horse” as they say recovery circles.
This work is not for everyone. Not everyone is done “drinking” / “using” yet. Some have not suffered enough under the weight of their programming and repression to want to get free of it. Some still want to saved vs doing the necessary work of to save themselves. There’s no judgment around this, only a pointing to it as a pitfall in our experience in deprogramming.
If you are or know someone who is still seeking safety / love / connection over freedom then you’ve got one of two choices; 1. Bring the unconscious programming in the body that’s driving the seeking into awareness through use of the tools – or 2. If you’re resistant or against utilizing the tools in this way, put them down and go on with your life as usual. Don’t give a second thought to KI.
Anything else is counterproductive and frankly, stupid. It would be like trying to work the steps in order to stop drinking when all you really want to do is keep drinking.
We can’t make ourselves want something we don’t truly want. But more “drinking” / “using” / suffering may eventually bring us around to the true desire for freedom – and probably faster than any phoned-in spiritual or therapeutic work could ever do.
The Kiloby Inquiries & Natural Recovery from Suffering
Co-Developer, Trainer & Certified Facilitator