Steps in the right direction
Addiction. The word sounds matter of fact. The seductive, self-destructive slope of addiction seems less ominous, less harsh, once you've begun a trip into that territory.
Who is likely to be or become an addict? Science has leaned more toward a biological basis for addiction: Jane is more likely to become an alcoholic because, for generations, the very roots of her family tree were, more likely than not,habitually inebriated. Then why is it that some members of the family are far more susceptible than others? That word alone is the clue; susceptible: able to be emotionally affected by. Addition in my heart is inextricably connected with interior pain and the addict's quest to cover or avoid that pain or lack of control of their world.
If you have sustained some interior pain - often in childhood - you realistically have two option of dealing with that pain: get to the bottom of it (with help), vent, give it critical examination, decide to let it go, forgive,heal... or avoid it/cover it at all costs. Unfortunately, when we are younger we don't have much power over our environment and fewer skills in doing this hard work. Instead, we develop ways to cope with the pain. Sometimes we overachieve, sometimes manipulate. Rarely will these skills translate well in adult life.
The cost of avoiding revealing that initial pain in a lifetime is a diagram of the addictive process. Layer after layer after layer of additional problems, complications, disasters, losses that the addict heaps upon her/him self instead of going to the seat of the pain.
Oh, we can use any number of substances to dull the pain: alcohol, illegal drugs, prescribed medication, tobacco,food. Or turn to certain behaviors: gambling, lying, irresponsible sexual activity. The list goes on.
In there sophisticated days, we have many tools to address addiction, including therapies of many varieties and occasionally particular controlled medications.
Yet there is one tool that has has enormous success and has been around from 1935. Noone has become rich because of the technique; no one has become singularly famous. In fact, they would rather remain anonymous.
Two addicts met in Akron, OH in 1935. Bill W. and Dr. Bob started talking to each other then about the trainwreck of their lives. Dr. Bob had heard Dr. Sam Shoemaker, an Episcopal priest from NY, speak about a program to incorporate universal spiritual values into daily living. The end result of developing and applying these points, values and principles to the daily life of an alcoholic: Alcoholics Anonymous. In the 70th year since that fateful meeting there are over two million estimated members today.
The radical truths of AA gave alcoholics somewhere to turn, some healthy framework for daily life to replace the fragile, makeshift illusion they had constructed for themselves. Since that time and place, the message of AA has spread and been adapted for those who suffer from other addictions.
AA has been misunderstood as a 'cult' or a religion. It is neither. Go to www.aa.org. Type in "12 steps" under search. Read the steps and come back here.
Even if you are not plagued by addition in the truest sense, is your life out of balance? Do you think you are in complete control? Do we depend way too much on the admiration, attention, approval of others? Does your emotional life resemble a lake or the newest ride at Six Flags Great Adventure?
There is an incredible amount of stability that comes when you invite God/Your Higher Power to be an integral part of your life. I have thought - at times - that our churches would be full to overflowing if we intentionally applied a version of the Steps and the Traditions to our spiritual practices.
I try to apply them to my life and I do fail from time to time, but both my God and my fellow pilgrims support my efforts and dust me off when I fall short back into the muck of my past ill-conceived behaviors and self-centered schemes.
Try them - they may be exactly what the Divine Doctor called for. If nothing else, they will be steps in the right direction.
Copyright © 2005 K.L.Joanna Depue and Deacon J