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Announcements: Writing Workshops: Sundays, March 29 & April 5, 1:00 – 5:00 PM Home of Mark & Barbara Papamarcos Bring laptops, workbooks and dialog books.

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Presentation on theme: "Announcements: Writing Workshops: Sundays, March 29 & April 5, 1:00 – 5:00 PM Home of Mark & Barbara Papamarcos Bring laptops, workbooks and dialog books."— Presentation transcript:

1 Announcements: Writing Workshops: Sundays, March 29 & April 5, 1:00 – 5:00 PM Home of Mark & Barbara Papamarcos Bring laptops, workbooks and dialog books Next CORE: April 10 starting at 7:30 PM. We will be watching the movie “Fireproof” Formation Weekend: April 17-19th in St. Clare’s Retreat Center (Santa Cruz). Let Mike and Jolon know ASAP if you plan to attend

2 The Serenity Prayer God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen.

3 Spiritual Transformation Parallels between Retrouvaille and the 12 Step Program

4 The process of working the 12 steps is intended to replace self-centeredness with a growing moral consciousness and a willingness for self-sacrifice and unselfish constructive action. In twelve-step groups, this is known as a spiritual awakening or a religious experience that is believed to develop slowly over a period of time. Why do the steps?

5 The 12 Step Program: History A 12 step program is a set of guiding principles outlining a course of action for recovery from addiction, compulsion, behavioral problems or various other pathologies The program emphasizes recovery from the specific malady which brought the sufferer into that fellowship Alcoholics Anonymous was the first twelve-step program founded in 1935 Later adapted and became the foundation of other 12 step programs for 200+ fellowships (on next slide) “WESOM” (We Saved Our Marriage) – is one support group that utilizes the 12 Steps for couples who have experienced the pain of adultery and want to heal their marriages

6 Examples of 12 Step Versions  Alcoholics Anonymous  Gamblers Anonymous  Cocaine Anonymous  Crystal Meth Anonymous  Sexual Compulsives Anonymous  Codependents Anonymous  Marijuana Anonymous  Narcotics Anonymous  Depressed Anonymous  Dual Recovery Anonymous  Emotions Anonymous  Overeaters Anonymous  Workaholics Anonymous  Debtors Anonymous  200+ other fellowships References:    “Courage to Love When Your Marriage Hurts” by Gerald Foley  Alcoholics Anonymous “Big Book”  Retrouvaille Post Program Workbook

7 The 12 Step Program: Overview The process involves the following: admitting that one cannot control one's current situation (addiction, compulsion, pathology, dysfunction) recognizing a greater power that can give strength examining past errors with the help of a sponsor (experienced member*) making amends for these errors learning to live a new life with a new code of behavior helping others that suffer from the same thing * A sponsor is not a therapist or professional counselor but simply another person in recovery who is willing to share his journey through the 12 Steps The sponsor’s purpose is to help another person recover from the same problem that brought him to 12-step. This, in turn, helps the sponsor on his own recovery Likewise, Retrouvaille is also a peer ministry

8 12 Step in a nutshell according to it’s founding fathers: Trust God, Clean House, Help Others Retrouvaille: Trust in God, Tie the Camel, Help Others Tie their Camels

9 1.We admitted we were powerless over the effects of (marital) dysfunction, that our lives had become unmanageable 2.Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity 3.Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God 4.Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves 5.Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs 6.Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character 7.Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings 8.Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all 9.Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others 10.Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it 11.Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out 12.Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other couples who still suffer, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. The 12 Steps (adapted for Retrouvaille)

10 Step 1 - We admitted we were powerless over the effects of marital dysfunction; that our lives had become unmanageable “Nothing changes if nothing changes” I admit to myself that something is seriously wrong in my life I have created messes in my life. Perhaps my whole life is a mess I have hit rock bottom Admitting powerlessness is absolutely essential to breaking the addiction or dysfunction cycle. The cycle is made up of five points: 1. Pain 2. Reaching out to an addictive agent, such as work, food, sex, alcohol, or dependent relationships to solve our pain 3. Temporary anesthesia4. Negative consequences 5. Shame and guilt, which result in more pain or low self-esteem

11 Step 1 - Similarities to Retrouvaille Marital problems & crisis leads to unmanageable lives: Never-ending pain, anger, disappointment, resentment, fear, sadness Hopelessness Battleground at home Children become the victims Strained relationships with friends & family Failing health: physical, mental and emotional Failing careers: poor performance, layoff, fired Addictive behavior (“parasites”): infidelity, drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography, sexual addiction, overeating, workaholism Abuse: emotional, mental, physical, verbal, sexual Lies, deceit, vulgarity Loss of family values & moral values Loss of integrity, self-esteem and self-respect Step 1 for a Retrouvaille FNC: I must admit to myself that something is seriously wrong with me in my marriage

12 Step 2 - Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity “There are no atheists in foxholes” "Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself?" It has been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built. Step 2 is a step of hope, faith and realization There is hope because there is a Power greater than myself. Whether agnostic, atheist, or former believer, we can stand together on this Step. We don't have to be religious to accept this idea. The point is that we open our minds to believe. We may have difficulty with this, but by keeping an open mind, sooner or later, we find the help we need. True humility and an open mind can lead us to faith, and every 12-step meeting is an assurance that God will restore us to sanity if we rightly relate ourselves to Him. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God... (Eph. 2:18)

13 Step 3 - Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God Step 3 is where I decide to trust God with my recovery I trust that God can restore me to a right mind, sane and healthy behavior and a life filled with greater serenity, personal power and even joy. I let God be the overall manager of my life. I "let go and let God". Faith is necessary, but faith alone can avail nothing. We can have faith, yet keep God out of our lives. That's what Steps 4-12 are for: the way to turn our whole lives - past, future, and present - over to God. For the recovering person, that means turning over to God's care not only the major, conspicuous issues but also over every other aspect of life, even the small frustrations involved in handling children, trying to make a faulty appliance work or dealing with congested freeway traffic. Breaking out of this bondage of self does not mean we ignore or deny our needs. In fact, quite the reverse is true. If we can discover healthy, God-directed ways to meet our emotional and physical needs, then we become less needy, less selfish, less self-preoccupied individuals. This is another recovery paradox. All of us have needs, and all of us have choices as to how those needs are to be met. Addictions, compulsions, and codependencies are counterfeit means of trying to meet our basic physical, emotional, and spiritual hungers. With God's help we can find genuine ways of satisfying them.

14 Step 2 and Step 3 - Similarities to Retrouvaille “You have invited God to your wedding. Now invite him to the rest of your marriage” Retrouvaille has key emphasis on upholding the ‘sacrament’ of marriage which was established and blessed by God Few people can forgive others and themselves without God’s help Spirituality is a means of affecting change in our marriage Father Gerald Foley says... “Faith is an experience of God rather than a knowledge of God.” Faith happens in key moments of life, when we are most in need and somehow conscious of God’s presence in our lives: falling in love, childbirth, near death, doubt and hopelessness, pain and suffering The above often lead to a faith experience

15 Step 4 - Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves Step 4 is personal housecleaning We get real and sort out who we really are. We ask ourselves... “Exactly where have I been, what have I done and how far did I go in my destructive behaviors? When and where did they start and where have they led me?” We gain the necessary strength and insight which enables us to grow This is a vital step away from chaos and insane behaviors towards a conscious life filled with personal power and serenity We compile a list of both: bad traits and behaviors that have transgressed our highest or moral values. good traits and the good behaviors that represent them As a result, we may discover some dysfunctional behaviors that once worked in childhood, but are out-of-date, self-defeating, and destructive in adulthood The 12 Step Program has 6 components of the moral inventory (and we compare this to Retrouvaille in the next slide)

16 Step 4 - Similarities to Retrouvaille “The most significant battles are waged within the self.” “Man in the Glass” poem asks us to take a hard look at ourselves first When I don't like myself, I don't’ expect another person to like me either Take responsibility for our own shortcomings, not our spouses, and our part in the breakdown of the marriage Shift from ‘you’ to ‘I’ statements. Retrouvaille advocates that each spouse takes personal stock of himself/herself and stays open to change Practice Healthy Self-LoveLook for the good in ourselves Forgive OurselvesAddress our guilt feelings Examine Relationships in Family of Origin Examine Relationship with our spouse Look back at our relationship history with the people who were significant in our lives Do the Personality Style Assessment Explore Attitudes and Behaviors Confront and assess the full extent of our dependencies Examine Family of OriginDiscover the Roots Write the Personal IntroductionTell Our Stories (e.g. through journaling) Retrouvaille12 Step Components of the moral inventory

17 Step 5 - Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs The ‘confession’ housecleaning step Must share all of the story Aimed at deflating the ego and learning humility Leads to freedom. Such practices produce intrinsic modifications in the person—exonerating, redeeming and purifying them—it unburdens them of their wrongs, liberates them, and promises their salvation It is common to choose a therapist or pastoral counselor to hear this confession vs. a spouse or immediate family member Trying to avoid this humbling experience leads to repeated failure Without it, addicts only thought they had lost their egoism and fear; they only thought they had humbled themselves. But they had not learned enough of humility, fearlessness and honesty, in the sense we find it necessary, until they told someone else all their life story.

18 Step 5 – Similarities to Retrouvaille “Forgive me Father for I have sinned” Retrouvaille offers the sacrament of reconciliation (confession) with a priest during the initial weekend Dialogues can open the door for a disclosure of wrong-doings between spouses “Digging Deeper” weekend offers the ‘Forgiveness Letter’ as a means of admitting the exact nature of our wrongs to our spouse Sharing the personal introduction to the Retrouvaille community serves as a sort of group confession

19 Step 6 - Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character Step 6 is a step of preparation and reflection It might mean letting go of other things in my life in order to allow God to do the work that needs to be done. I need to determine if I am truly ready. We must let God control the how and when If we still cling to something we will not let go, we ask God to help us be willing. We should not place unrealistic expectations on ourselves. This is a step of willingness. It is as if to say that we are now willing to move in a spiritual direction. We must be specific in our identification of individual defects of character, and we must be specific about the changes required to recover from them We must avoid self-shaming and self-condemnation The goal here is spiritual release, not spiritual self-punishment.

20 Step 7 - Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings “My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen.” The whole emphasis of Step 7 is on humility We need humility for three reasons: So that we can recognize the severity of our character defects. One aspect of our addictions is that we tend to deny and minimize the pain they inflict. Therefore as we try to assess our character defects, we may, unless we take a very humble approach, underestimate their severity. So that we can acknowledge the limits of human power in addressing these character defects. We cannot do it on our own, by sheer willpower, by our own intellect or reasoning. So that we can appreciate the enormity of God's power to transform lives. It is on this pathway, where we humbly ask God to remove all these defects of character, that the tools of recovery bring the healing, happiness, and security we have dreamed of

21 Step 6 and Step 7 – Similarities to Retrouvaille Retrouvaille emphasizes the desire and decision to change The 5 D’s, including oDesire : recognize a need for change oDecide : compromise, find the what/how oDo : action to create the change Examples include the desire, decision and action to: let go of ‘married singles lifestyle’ activities shed friends end third-party relationships seek professional counseling for addictions & compulsions

22 Step 8 - Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all Step Eight is a social housecleaning You need to face what you have done and own your part in hurting each person in your life We begin to make amends and heal the past with others We set out to clean up all the bruised relationships and the pockets of guilt, pain, fear, resentment, and sadness that are stored inside, stuck to our shameful past deeds. Undealt-with material blocks us from loving other people, ourselves, and God in the present We have become ready to understand rather than to be understood This step is not about judging others. Whether our "enemies" ask for it or not, it is our responsibility to forgive them in our hearts and then apologize for our wrongdoing. We don't follow the philosophy of "an eye for an eye" and cross off the list those who have gotten revenge or those whom we feel "deserved" our ill treatment. We need to pull back into out humility and learn to replace judgment with attitudes of mercy and forgiveness. This is the only attitude that will lead to emotional resolution.

23 Step 9 - Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others Step 9 is the ‘penitence’ step We ask that we be given strength and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences may be. We may lose our position or reputation or face jail, but we are willing. We have to be. We should make amends when the first opportunity presents itself Amends can be these things: Sincere efforts to offer apology for past harm. Wonderful bridge-builders for more positive future relationships. Effective agents for removing the tremendous weight of guilt, shame, and remorse. The one thing amends should never be, though, are installment payments on false guilt or false shame...

24 Step 8 and Step 9– Similarities to Retrouvaille In Retrouvaille, we seeking forgiveness from our spouse We seek forgiveness from our children and others who may have been impacted or harmed by our marital problems We examine our family of origin, which entails both seeking and granting forgiveness from various other people from our childhood We are encouraged to write the full extent of wrongdoings in the Forgiveness Letter

25 Step 10 - Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it Step 10 begins laying the foundation for the rest of our lifetime. We have entered the world of the Spirit. Continually monitor my life with honesty and humility, and grow in understanding and effectiveness Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, pride and fear. When these crop up, we ask God to remove them at once. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code. Inventories become a regular part of everyday living This step is a prevention, and the more we do it, the less we will need the corrective part of this step Our daily inventory certainly needs to assess the status of our relationship with God WARNING: the Sin-disease, which its denial and delusion, is always hovering "just a decision away" to throw us back into fear and confusion. Its tactics are to convince us in various ways, "You're 'well' now and don't need a stupid program to lead a normal life.

26 Step 10 – Similarities to Retrouvaille “We did the best we knew how to do. When we knew better; we did better.” - Maya Angelou Retrouvaille teaches that we are never fixed. We must continually make the decisions to love, trust, forgive Retrouvaille encourages us to continually ‘work’ on our marriage and ourselves on a daily basis Recovery is a process, not a cure that can be accomplished and forgotten Relapses are inevitable (the cycling of our marriage through the 4 stages) Progress versus perfection is what counts WARNING: “You can always have your old marriage back.” “It is well with me only when I have a chisel in my hand.” “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” Michelangelo

27 Step 11 - Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out Step 11 provides daily spiritual maintenance - my continual reality check and compass. It keeps me grounded in the reality that I know has brought me out of my addictive behaviors. It keeps me in a safe place by keeping my conscious contact with God. Through prayer and meditation I maintain this conscious contact with God and continually try to carry out what God leads me to do. In that sacred path, I find the sanity, serenity and joy that I have been seeking. God's will for us becomes our own true will for ourselves. This happens in an intuitive manner which cannot be adequately explained in words. We become willing to let other people be what they are without having to pass judgment on them. We should pray simply and forthrightly to God as a loving Father, not worrying about what we should and should not say. Over time, as we become comfortable with God, we will talk with Him as with a trusted friend versus a philosophical Higher Power. He will be the Person with whom we can conduct our daily inventories of grief and confession issues. And we will begin to sense His answers... When this change takes place, we often see miracles happening in their lives. After much fear of losing control, we discover insight, wisdom, power, and courage that we didn't have at all two weeks before. At that point many say, "I surrender, I give up." We begin to communicate with God about what is happening to us. And that's when we’re ready to receive the help of Step 11.

28 Step 11 – Similarities to Retrouvaille Retrouvaille teaches the importance of an intimate relationship with God Daily prayer = daily ‘dialogue’ with God Prayer is our way to tell God how we feel, what we need and to express our gratitude and need for forgiveness We also need to listen in prayer as God speaks to us through each other or to our hearts, minds and wills Prayer helps us confront our dividedness, to be open and vulnerable Prayer opens us to the presence and will of God Too often spouses avoid prayer because they feel too vulnerable or embarrassed Praying together invites God to become part of our marriage God loves each spouse more than we can ever love each other Through intimacy with God, we achieve an intimacy with our spouse “The family that prays together stays together” Studies show healthy married couples have a shared spirituality, which gives meaning to live

29 Step 12 - Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others who still suffer, and to practice these principles in all our affairs Step12 is considered to be so important that it takes up much more space in the literature than any other step. Selfless service -- it now becomes my duty as well as my joy and privilege to find others suffering in a similar way and to help them in the best way that I know how. It completes the cycle of life and I get to play a wonderful part in it. Life will take on new meaning - the kind of love that has no price tag on it. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends - this is an experience you must not miss. Sometimes the only message necessary to make the suffering addict reach out is the power of example. There is temptation to give advice, but when we do so we lose the respect of newcomers. This clouds our message. A simple, honest message of recovery rings true "You can't keep it unless you give it away." Having received healing and spiritual renewal, we can retain them only as we offer them to others... The premise is that people who have suffered from an addiction and have found spiritual healing from it are in better positions to understand and help others with similar problems.

30 Step 12 - continued Although we enter recovery to heal a particular problem, we find that, in the end, we have received far more than a specific healing of one thing; we have received the gift of a profound spiritual awakening... In the 12 Step community the word spiritual usually doesn't mean the same thing as the word religious. For many, spiritual refers to being in touch with and living on the basis of "reality". In that sense a "spiritual awakening," whatever else it might include, is an awakening to seeing and dealing with reality in one's own life and in relationships with other people and with God... There is no need to "persuade" with theology or verbal arguments. Pain does the persuading, because we know that it is only through pain that we hunger for healing and therefore we’re ready to admit our powerlessness. We know that until the pain of our lives was greater than the fear of swallowing our pride and going for help, we were not hungry enough for healing. When we first read that we were to "practice these principles in all our affairs," some of us didn't understand. How could we use the 12 Steps to deal with conflict in a personal relationship or a decision about buying a house? Gradually we realized that "practicing principles" means taking specific usable pieces of truth out of larger truths and applying the smaller principles to a different situation...

31 Step 12 – Similarities to Retrouvaille “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without also helping himself.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson Retrouvaille teaches us that we are all wounded healers Our pain can be turned into a gift for others Get involved in the Retrouvaille community Many couples get stuck in the 3 rd phase of marriage (misery) Retrouvaille helps us to get to ‘awakening’ We must ‘pay it forward’ to others We have an opportunity (a responsibility) to help other Friday Night Couples By witnessing to others, your appreciation of the program and the program's impact on your life deepens. By hearing the stories of FNCs, you are reminded of where you were when you started. By modeling to others, you become aware that you need to practice what you preach. By giving to others, you develop bonds with new people who really need you By helping others, you give what you have received. By supporting new beginnings, you revitalize your own efforts.

32 Summary of Step 12: "Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary." St. Francis of Assisi (aka ‘Walk the Talk’)

33 Personal Sharing: Martin’s 12-Step Joanna’s 12-Step

34 Dedicated to Andre Sosinski, my loving brother who took care of me every day since I was a toddler. Andre - you got me out of lots of bumps and scrapes and you picked me up whenever I fell down – in childhood and in adulthood. I always loved, respected and admired you. I am very proud of you for climbing the 12-step ladder. Don’t look down! - Your loving sis

35 Group Sharing Question: How do I see the 12-step fundamentals relevant to the recovery / healing in our own marriage?

36 Dialogue Question: Have I experienced a spiritual awakening as a result of Retrouvaille? How do I feel about that?


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