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Honest and fearless is a way free from shame.

Domestic life for predators. In life—including in recovery—security is a “first thing first”. We remember that the word “domestic” means “in the home.” Home is where we feel safe. We need a nest—a den—a place secure where we return to rest and eat, make love, do private things. This is a need that’s biologically non-negotiable. Functional families, communities and fellowships recognize that satisfying the need for domestic tranquility we all have is a priority. Good parenting provides security and also models behaviors and outlooks that are passed along to the newcomers in these groups. Twelve Step programs offer a way to reparent ourselves—fix mistakes and fill gaps—and then pass this along.

Human beings are self-centered—born that way—helpless, needy, taking a long time to grow up. Parenting care isn’t something we can do without, but it is something we also must learn to do. Self-control and self-discipline develop when the benefits are modeled by authority. All human societies are sets of agreements for getting and giving back: Babies must get total care. Children must move on to learn self-care, share in tasks, finally to being examples.

We are the resources—the parents, teachers, models of skills—for each other. When parents (or bosses, or rulers) don’t know or lose touch with these common welfare principles that recognize our need for each other, they don’t model them. Human beings adapt to survive. The Laundry List of traits are adaptions people make when their needs are not recognized or are invalidated. Doing what it takes is self-centered if parenting doesn’t teach the benefits of cooperation.

Domestication occurs when those in my care trust and depend on me, but this can be a deception. Human beings are clever: We learned to keep herds of sheep and flocks of chickens thousands of years ago, to sheer them, milk them, have eggs and meat. We made them safer than they would be in the wilds, but exploit them. We need to be honest about our own motives—with ourselves, with God, and at least one other person, in Step Five—to model “walking our talk.” We aren’t saints. We are flesh and blood people.

Kathleen S.

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