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  • Juan Moscoso

5 Ways Of Recognizing If You Are Still Living In The "Bondage Of Self"

Updated: Feb 28, 2019

And what to do about it.



Abstinence is foundational to a life in recovery. The search for it fuels our entry into a 12-step program of recovery. In fact, the desire to stop is the only requirement for membership. But most of us desire more, much more than mere abstinence. We desire a life that is not only free from compulsivity, but one that is rich in scope and experience. We desire to recover our capacity for intimacy, and to live free from unnecessary fear. For many of us, despite attaining abstinence, the path to the life described above remains riddled with obstacles and detours. 

Most of us desire more, much more than mere abstinence. We desire a life that is not only free from compulsivity, but one that is rich in scope and experience.

What gets in the way? Self will- "the bondage of self!"

To fully grasp the importance  of "the bondage of self" within the context of a 12-step path to transformation we must closely examine the AA methodology  (the foundation of all 12-step programs of recovery) within the framework other available paths to desired change- what I call the Four Paths Of Transformation. Secondly, we need to understand what the bondage of self is and where it comes from. Lastly, what to do about the bondage of self- beyond the scope of tools and practices offered by our program- requires a new consciousness from which to confront the difficulties that emerge from it.

In upcoming posts I will review and discuss all of the notions presented above. I will also introduce you to a novel way of conceptualizing your sense of "Self" that will grant you opportunities to transform your bondage of self that you DO NOT CURRENTLY HAVE ACCESS TO.

.......................

So, are you still living in the bondage of self (even if sober)? You are, if you can identify with any of the following five traits (there are many other manifestations of a fear-based self-concern that can paralyze a recovering person's march toward authenticity; here I've listed just a handful of them):

1. You are "otherated," performing, creating, sacrificing for others, driven by an impulse to please in order to avoid pain. You have come to prefer doing for others as an antidote to the fear of doing for yourself and of authentic self-expression.

2. You are disconnected from your innate worth; you doubt your value and the merit of your talents and accomplishments. You fear being seen and thus avoid marketing your talents and skills. You minimize or discount acknowledgments or acts of love and kindness directed at you.​ 

3. You have developed professionally and may have amassed numerous career accomplishments, yet feel you "don't belong," or you fear being seen... discovered. You secretly feel like a fraud and fear success as much as you crave it.

4. You feel incapable of resolving relational conflict- you fear speaking your truth, saying "No," disappointing or angering your partner, or expressing your wants and needs. Perhaps you are unsure of what your wants and needs are. You are torn by an internal struggle- longing for partnership, for someone to connect to, yet also doubting yourself or quickly finding something to criticize in any potential partner.

5. Your life is ruled by fear, your solution...avoidance!

If the above list is at all descriptive of your life in recovery, I have good news! 

Yes, it is possible to achieve abstinence and still find ourselves stuck. In fact, the change in consciousness that grants us a shot at abstinence is often insufficient to free us from feeling stuck, the fear of being fraudulent, or the anxiety that can inhibits us from pursuing what we say we most desire in our lives in sobriety. What we need is a quantum leap in consciousness in order to Live and Love free from unnecessary fear.

Stay tuned- In future posts I will reveal the link between our self-concept and the unresolved issues in sobriety that can interfere with a lasting freedom from  self-sabotage, and other blocks to a fulfilling, abundant and connected life. We will explore the link between these seemingly disparate issues  through the lens of our relationship with our addiction (or "addict"). As recovering people, our relationship with our addiction is typically experienced as a battle. This oft-defined adversarial relationship naturally emerges as a result of how have "learned" to think about our "self," how we have come to conceptualize our sense of identity. Thus, the exploration of this relationship is an ideal vehicle for the introduction of a transformative new way of knowing yourself with the potential to help you overcome the various impediments to a fulfilling life in sobriety already mentioned...YOUR bondage of self!

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