My SA program isn't Twelve Steps, it's a million and Twelve steps: the Twelve Steps themselves and a million steps as I pace back and forth before taking them.
I was scared to take the First Step because I knew Eleven more followed. They stretched out before me like the two rows of men in the ancient punishment of the gauntlet, who rained down blows with whips, rods, and blades as a captive was forced to run between them.
So I delayed the path of the Steps for a year until the pain was greater than the fear. I felt nauseous before almost every Step in the program. It's interesting because I had grown used to queasiness with lust but resented pain in the treatment.
I arrived at the dreaded Fourth Step: to right my wrongs I'd have to write my wrongs.
One time my siblings and I were exploring an abandoned house and we opened a rusted refrigerator that probably hadn't been used for half a century. Inside was a quivering wall of large rats, squirming and spilling out in every direction. I knew looking into the refrigerator of my past was going to be worse.
Each step has reminded me of getting a injection as a kindergartener. I sweated and shook and was ill beforehand in the waiting room, and in the end, it wasn't fun, but in the relief afterwards of it not being that bad, I bragged that I couldn't understand why people made such a big deal about it.
The world I saw before and after the first go-round of the Steps are simply two different worlds. The previous one was black and white and the new one is color.
I'm still afraid of the steps, having done them for two years. Not the Twelve Steps, which are easy, but those million nervous, painful steps of delay beforehand.