There is an old axiom in Alcoholics Anonymous that goes something like this:
I = which translates to mean EGO driven, self-willed and running riot.
I CAME = what more do you want from me, I’m here aren’t I, get off my case!
I CAME TO = Holey S**T, I can’t believe all the bad stuff I’ve done.
I CAME TO BELIEVE= There is a GOD and I’m not HIM and in that process I become just willing enough to stay still, take some direction and start getting [ever so slightly] out of my own way. That, my friends, is a very difficult thing for an active addict to do. The addict in you has be there hijacking your brain for years if not for decades and He/She/It is not going into remission without a fight, the fight of your life, the fight FOR your life. Your history says that you can’t do it alone, no matter who you are, how smart you are or what position in life you have attained. Simply put, you’re going to have to lose in order to win. Now that’s a scary concept for anyone to wrap their arms around, at least in the beginning. Bill W., the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, said: first of all we had to quit playing God!
What does playing God look like? It means living under the delusion that life is controllable. It means lying to yourself all day, every day, insisting that with enough effort you can get life to do what you want it to do. As Rami Shapiro says in his powerful book Recovery–the Sacred Art: The Twelve Steps As Spiritual Practice (Art of Spiritual Living) “the real disease from which most of us suffer is the disease of playing God.” That translates into overt acts of coercion and more subtle acts of manipulation, and when that happens, life gets and stays messy and no one heals.
The eternal antidote to all this mess is faith, not going-to-church faith but rather a sense of a Higher Power who can guide and sustain us on our recovery journey. I once heard a sponsor say to his faith struggling sponsee: I don’t care if Mt. Rainer is your Higher Power as long as it just not you! I often say that I have tremendous compassion for children who are afraid of the dark but I have little compassion for adults who are afraid of the light. The word Guru is the blending of two Sanskrit words, gu, meaning “dark” and ru meaning “light.” A Guru is one who shifts our consciousness from the ignorance to the light of wisdom. The same can be said for any enlightened person whether clergy, coach or not. Addiction can only exist when fear runs the show from the bowels of darkness. Addiction fades away in the light. Active addicts commit great sins and it is said that a great sin requires a great God to forgive it.
I meet people every day whose lives have been ravaged by the disease of addiction whether they are the perpetrator or the victim. In that confused and hurt state one tends to want to squeeze the steering wheel of life even harder. It’s like watching a car wreck in slow motion. It’s excruciatingly painful to even watch it, no less live it. I always find it curiously amazing when someone who professes a relationship with an observant form of a traditional organized religion struggles to practice the tenants of their own faith when it comes to letting go and letting their God work in their life.
I have also experienced men who have come into recovery with no formal connection to any religion or even a deep seated manifestation of atheism that would seem to make this 12 Step Program not do-able for them yet many of them are able to find a way to work a recovery program where seven of the twelve steps have to do with a High Power. It has been inspirational for me to witness what the human spirit can accomplish when there is willingness just to be willing. I have watched one of my alumni men come into No More Secrets five years ago as a flaming atheist, and I watched him become willing to be sponsored by an observant Orthodox Jewish man, and I watched him participate in a group with a practicing Mormon who wore his religion on his sleeve as they became great friends, and I watched him today be in the process of becoming a Roman Catholic, wading through an annulment and all the rigor it brings. Not only is he in remission from his addiction but his entire essence has changed. He came into No More Secrets to save a relationship, stop sexually acting out and preserve his family. In the end he has received much more. He gets to stand in the Light. His story can be yours, with or without the conversion. All it takes is enough courage to fight through the fear to make the call or just email me here at No More Secrets. The Light of a better life is waiting for you. Come find it now! You too can come to believe.