Posts Tagged ‘12 Steps’

A Thought on Addiction

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Addiction ravages lives and, paradoxically, creates after years of painful work around sobriety some of the most spiritual beings one can know.

Even having known countless folks who made it through the darkness to the other side, such knowledge does little however to mitigate the tragedy active addiction visits on individuals and their families.

Clear boundaries may well be one of the hardest lessons for the loved ones of addicts to come to terms with.

The serenity prayer encapsulates much of that paradox around a boundaried sense of holding on and a letting go.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

For me, I had to get clear that we never have to accept unacceptable behavior.  And I likewise had to get clear that I could not control others.  That meant learning to take stands from love and not from an ego-based sense of demand.

We all are called to live a life beyond a living death.  Some types of suffering are redemptive.  Other forms of suffering are not.  At times, what we can change … “the things I can change” … are finding ways to construct a healthy separation from an unhealthy situation.



Facing What You Absolutely Cannot Overcome

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Evil is illusion.  It has no “reality” per se in much the same way that darkness is nothing in and of itself but instead is the absence of light.   That being said, boy, at times it sure feels powerful, often overwhelmingly so.

So what can we do?

Maybe we start from the counter-intuitive notion that facing evil for which we have no defense, may in its own way be perfect.  Our evils, as a starting point, are perfectly attuned to our own weakness.  Restated, we don’t face the evils for which we have the strength to overcome.  Their pain is perfectly attuned to our sensitivities, their threat perfectly menaces what we value most.  They grow organically right out of the most uniquely debased parts of our particular beings.

Maybe “we can’t/ I can’t” is then the perfect blessing, something those involved in the 12 Step program have known for decades.  And another form of surrender is important beyond the surrender to powerlessness and to God.  After surrendering to God, we have to surrender to another.  Surrender to the powerlessness, surrender to God, surrender to another.

This is a hard surrender to speak of.   Surrendering in this regard is fraught with serious challenges, surrendering to the wrong person being chief among them.   The wrong person is one who points to him or herself as the “answer.”  It is the person with whom co-dependent attachments readily form.

The right person is a fellow traveler.  It is a person who regards themselves with the healthy and helpful humility that allows the spacious God needs to accomplish His aims.

Evil must exist within darkness and secrecy.  Shining the light of our own powerlessness, of God’s love and wisdom, and of a trusted fellow traveler on that evil over which we have no power inevitably leads us away from evil simply by seeing the evil for what it is in a way that stresses rigorous honesty as well as accountability.  From those lights we see truth, we know power.  We also settle deeply into the love that is the Divine.  As the book “Heaven and Hell” phrases it, “Love is what is receptive of every heavenly quality — that is, of peace, intelligence, wisdom, and happiness. Love is receptive of everything that is in harmony with it.”