Introducing a 12 step program from Captain Awesome.

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If you’re like me and grew up with alcoholics or druggy parents then this title might be a bit confusing or funny.….I think its hilarious and I hope you will too. If you haven’t heard of the 12 step program from AA or NA it’s basically a “how to” for when you become sober. It’s a great program for some and can be really helpful when you’ve made a complete mess of your life. My experience of these steps was when my father would binge drink, then suddenly coming to his senses, finding religion and the 12 step program. It was awful. My brother and I had to endure his suddenness of finding Jesus, going to church and listening to him apologize, then he would get his shit together for awhile. Soon we stopped going to church and he slowly became a dick again. Then….the whole process starts anew.

There was this one time my younger brother Tracey and I went up in the attic, I’m not sure why we did this but we were kids…..we found a whole tray of PILLS. Holy shit! We brought them down and showed Dad when he got home from work. He was like “don’t show Maxine…..” my step mom. Ohhhh…..we got it. Church was gonna start again soon…..

So why a 12 step program? Well part of me wants to reclaim the 12 step AA program. It never worked for my father and I know many people it didn't work for either. I also went to ACA, Adult Children of Alcoholics for a few years. It didn't work for me either….that’s not to say it doesn't work. It’s hugely successful and really a great program….for those who identify with it. But what if you don’t? Then what?  There really isn’t an alternative except counseling or short term programs. Which I did and loved. But I've realized throughout the years, that I DO have a program I follow. One in my own head that I didn't even know was there until recently.

It all started for me when I was searching for my personal mission…..Which is to inspire greatness within everyone I come into contact with so that we can all learn and grow from each other. I can only achieve this by being the best version of myself I can be and this requires a lot of thought and strategy….something I love. This is partly why I started Awesome People and how Captain Awesome came into being.

This whole train of thought started with the ‘elusive happiness’ goal everyone, including myself, seems to want….but happiness is not tangible or concrete, it’s not something we can achieve like a goal. But how often do you say or hear “I just wanna be happy.” Happiness is not a goal! It’s the thing that happens when you reach harmony. Plain and simple. So we need to get that whole ‘I’ll be happy when...’ out of our heads. Right now. Too often we forget that happiness is a choice. Honestly it really is. If you rely on other people to supply you with what you need to feel happy, you will be waiting a long time…..nobody is responsible for your happiness but you and you will never be happy without finding harmony and balance.

Having said that I know how hard it is to get there. We are taught from day one that we need to rely on other people or expect them to make us happy or fulfill some kind of emotional need. I think especially as women. We are taught to put our life in the hands of our husband or partner, put our kids first, our family first, someone first but not us. I know I’m speaking from a different generation and I hope things have changed but I don’t think they have changed that much or enough. I'm hoping that the women today feel differently. Of course being a lesbian threw a wrench in the whole thing…..

When I was 6 yrs old I remember asking my Dad why there were so many more male singers than female singers. Just for clarity it was 1973….he gave me the deer in the headlights look….and then said “men had stronger vocal cords.” Blink blink...Ok….what about Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Barbra Streisand, Cher….

That didn’t fly...but we both believed in ‘the elephant in the room’ and carried on. Then my dream of being a hockey player was crushed when I figured out I was a girl. Not that I didn’t know but I didn’t think there would be a difference. Do you see any female hockey players making millions? Not even today…..

The inequalities started then and the whole thing about relying on others to make me happy was getting more and more complicated as I got older. Lesbian or not I was not the one in charge of my life. And to be honest I don’t think I really got it, I mean really got it until I was about 45. But as women we are constantly fighting this word battle of putting other people first. We know we will have to work twice as hard as men to get the same rewards and 3 times as hard if your a women of colour.

It’s a constant battle of mixed messages and concrete examples of inequality and unjust situations. There is constant reinforcement that other people come first. Constant. I see too often women working full time, taking care of the kids and looking after the house while their husband goes to the gym. However I am occasionally hearing women at the gym in their 20’s saying things like ‘if he wants to get some tonight the kids better be bathed and in bed before I get home.” They aren’t being bitchy, these women are making a statement, “I’m not going to do all the work”, This is awesome!!

And the whole #metoo movement is crazy!! And about time. Honestly… need to change as much as we do. We all need to be in charge of our own lives and be better. Stand up for ourselves and live with the consequences. I'm so tired of women staying in relationships when they are unhappy. I’ve done it! We all have...but eventually we need to have and take a long hard look at ourselves and say ‘is this the person I want to be?’

As women we are fighting 2000 years of being looked over. Treated as second class citizens and not given power over our own lives. Don't think this doesn’t affect us now. It affects all of us. That’s why being the Captain of your own destiny is so important. When we treat ourselves like we matter then we do matter and the world will follow suite. But it has to come from us first.

I've always done my own thing, paved my own path, walked away from things that seemed like they could be great but didn’t feel right. I thought I was independent and in charge of my life. And I was to a point. But there is s difference when you are 100% responsible for your own life. One hundred percent.

My partner is never going to fulfill any need for me. Nor will kids, or my job or my friends and not even my family. Everything and everyone DOES contribute to my well being. I am not an island and if I don’t recognize that then I’m an idiot. But they are not and never will be responsible for any part of my life. Not money, not peacefulness, not habits or my career. As soon as I put someone in a power position in my life it becomes a lose lose situation.

Life should be a win win. If at any time this is not the case then I need to look at what I’m doing to facilitate in the win lose or lose lose. Again I’m responsible 100%. Recently my wife and I went through a hard time. Really hard. She had broken her leg a couple years ago, put on some weight and lost her fitness. The break was quite bad and the first year of recovery was really hard. I’m a patient person but after another year she should’ve been on a more healing path, I felt. I started to get concerned…. We had to have some major talks and see a Counsellor. If she can't be the person she wants to be and I can't facilitate her in this then what? I had reached my limit of being able to cope and she wasn’t ready to deal with some of her personal demons….

The possible loss of our marriage snapped us both out of our funk. She started communicating again and seeing a Counsellor and I had to look at my own behaviour. Relationships are not a one way venture. What am I doing that is not helping her? What can I do or not do to be a better partner? Turns out I just needed to shut the fuck up and let her deal with herself. Herself. Let her become her own captain. It was hard believe me. I'm a fixer, I like to plan and set goals and get shit done. She’s a feeler and likes to feel her way along until she gets to her place. Sounds inefficient to me, but she is the captain of her life not me!

Relationships are tough...all of them. And we are social animals that rely on relationships for our happiness. This can sound confusing but it’s not. When we are the captain of our lives from the ground up, relationships actually become easier. Kids throw a wrench in life. They do have to come first. But that doesn’t mean we forget about ourselves. We can't. Because when we do they actually suffer. Everyone suffers when we become second class citizens.

Remember happiness doesn’t exist. It’s a feeling that comes when we are in true balance and harmony. That’s why I’ve come up with this 12 step program. A reminder of my personal obligations to myself. When I’m in harmony I am happy and when I’m happy I can be the best version of myself I can be. Which I think will eventually bring world peace… least that’s what I’m hoping :)

Follow along with me!

This 12 step program will bring you to Captain Awesome status! We will go through twelve steps for one full year. One a month to give you time to learn, grow and ponder. I hope you come with me. We will write every day, or every other day, or even once a week depending on your desire. Consistent reflection, for one month, then I’ll post my thoughts for that step. Please feel free to comment and post yours too. Don't be in a hurry, take your time and remember to have fun along the way and enjoy the journey we are on.

Here are the twelve steps laid out in advance so you know the direction we will be going.

  1. Be the captain - you are in charge of your life. Nobody else. Don't rely on anyone for your happiness.

  2. My body is my temple - you get one shot, make looking after your body a priority.

  3. Find your people - we are all connected, but who are the people who lift you up, see things in the same light, who will be there when you’re down. These aren't drinking buddies, they are your extended family. Make sure you cultivate these relationships.

  4. Find a passion that is only yours - something that you do alone. Autonomy is important for self reflection.

  5. Manage money well - money management is a reflection of how you manage your life. Learn and be smart. Dont be a fuckhead.

  6. Combine your heart and your head - logic alone is selfish, feelings alone are madness. We need both so we can follow our heart correctly.

  7. Imagine your death - when you know how you want to die you will live your life accordingly.

  8. Procrastination is your friend - when you procrastinate it means what you are doing is not in alignment to the larger goal, to yourself or is the wrong timing. Don't fight procrastination.

  9. Find your purpose - without knowing our purpose we will not have a direction and waste valuable time. You don't have to know your exact purpose but at least the direction of your purpose.

  10. Establish good habits - key, you can't get shit done by being a lazy.

  11. Spend time alone - if you can't spend time alone you have a problem. Not tv time but alone time. The goal is to be your own best friend.

  12. Balance - all this needs to be balanced. Not fill in parts here and there. Equal parts to all of this. You can't spend 2 hours a week working out and expect to be fit.

So that’s it...simple but not easy. I wanna do this with you so we can support each other and grow along the way, share our experiences and move towards Captain Awesome status!! Are you with me?

Be Awesome

- lisa