Back in 1988 when I first created the Playground: It is never too late to have a happy childhood, I’d just come out from participating in a 12-step program, similar to AA, but for people who suffered from the behavior of the alcoholic.
It turns out, that a troubled household with troubled parents creates the same symptoms as one with an alcoholic parent: a lack of safety. My parents weren’t alcoholic, but their behavior was erratic. One day I was beaten up for a behavior, the next it was ignored… Nerve wrecking. There was nothing I could count on to be quasi permanent and reliable. It’s a miracle that I didn’t withdraw into schizophrenia.
What’s good about 12-step programs?
Anyway, I liked the environment of a 12-step meeting: the meeting had principles, but it had no coaching, no rebuttal, no arguments, it was a very adult and equals program, as opposed to any other place in the world.
I am not good with arguments, and I was even weaker then. And I am definitely not good with being coached by someone who think they know everything… lol, or that they are better than me…
I wanted to create a program that was so simple, that any new person, after a few meetings, would be able to “get it” and become an active participant.
Obviously the 12 steps of AA were not quite what work for people who are not alcoholic, or for people who don’t believe in some deity. But here are the 12 steps of AA:
THE TWELVE STEPS OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Very Christian, makes my stomach churn. At my first meeting back in February 1988 I chose, for my Higher Power: “Whatever works”… I had no idea what I meant, but it worked for me. I can invoke that to support me… wouldn’t you? lol
I was tempted, back in 1988, to simply rewrite the steps to match the steps what I considered would bring up the most issues that plague a human being.
The job of this program is to slowly and effectively ferret out the incidents and influences in the root, on the seed level, that are now running our lives in a predictable way, so we are fat, broke, sick, and unhappy
None of those incidents and influences can stay effective once they are aired, once they are looked at, directly, without the anger or fear we felt when they hypnotized us to become less than who we were meant to be.
Airing – a very effective, albeit politically incorrect step
Airing means something very significant. When you air your blankets, for example, you unfold them. You allow them to be seen from any and every angle. And even if you fold them back in the same way, something happened, and the change is irreversible.
When we air out the incidents and influences in your life, especially your early life, we take them out of their habitual context, where they are stuck and fixed. And in the unfamiliar context that we look at them, their power over us diminishes, over time, and we are set free from them.
The “trick” is how we speak.
I have watched people tell and retell their story. Every time they tell it, it becomes stronger. It is because how they speak.
Every time I retell my story it gets weaker. Every time you retell your story, it gets stronger.
What’s the difference between you telling your story and me telling your story?
My telling airs out the story, allows new elements, light, reflection, to enter into it. I use only elements that don’t repeat my conclusions, don’t repeat my interpretation, and that is why the story can change, air out, get weaker, less dramatic, less gripping, less fixed.
In the Playground: It is never too late to have a happy childhood, the only rule we have is to use that same way of speaking: just the facts, madam.
Rules of the Playground Program
There is no coaching, there is no rebuttal, just a simple symbol drawn on a cardboard gets raised, when someone deviates from the one rule.
If a person is not willing to keep the rule: they are asked to stop talking. They won’t be allowed to talk until they commit to the one rule.
Simple? I think so.
At this point I am not set on the 12 topics we’ll cycle through, but by the time we begin.
It’s a paid program
This is a paid program: you pay per sessions. Sessions are weekly. You only pay for sessions that you come to. No prepayment. It is important to go through the agony of choosing to come to a session, instead of allowing inertia to bring you there.
You can bring guests to any session, and they have to pay too. I will post the payment link on the site.
At any time you can choose to speak or pass. Speaking off-topic is not allowed… hm. that is a second rule.
For every session I’ll attempt to train a new “meeting facilitator”. The training itself is in a private call, and can be considered a private coaching session, worth $200-$300, no extra charge. I pick the facilitator by their adeptness on the calls. No newbie is picked to be a facilitator: I need to know you to pick you.
The private session is to train the facilitator to tell their own story inside the topic of the week that 1. effectively airs out their story, 2. demonstrates how it’s done 3. pulls everyone’s attention to that particular topic to make it easy to find the memories.
I do not interfere in the facilitation of the group, unless the facilitator needs help. On certain topics where I need some airing to do, I may act as a regular participant. I know I have some issues with religion that I haven’t been able to access on the seed level. It’s going to be great.
Areas of life
Possible topics, as of now
- love: loving and being loved
- caring, being cared for:
- sex and other transient and addictive pleasures
- control wanting to, needing to, having to, should
- gratitude: being grateful, being appreciated
- giving, taking, earning
- personal responsibility
- growing, expanding
- learning, intellectual growth
- change, making changes, handling change
- health, well being
- close relationships, intimacy, trust
- your place in the world
- vocation, avocation, passion, making a living
- environment, your home, your office, your wardrobe
- world view: entities, past lives, angels, devil, and such.
- communication: being ineffective, being misunderstood
- Please give your suggested topic in the comments section
If you have suggestions, please say in the comment box: “suggestion:…” to properly set the context of your comment, so I know what you are talking about. Please.
Oh, here is a third rule: Unless there are at least 3 paying participants plus me on the call, the call is canceled 5 minutes after it was supposed to start, and the money paid is refunded.
Being an Expanding Human Being is to be willing to examine and re-examine the beliefs, and the actions at any time, diligently, and often… the Playground Program is the perfect path to become an Expanding Human Being.