Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Reality & The Spiritual Life

     The concern of the flesh is death, but the concern of the spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:6)

     I personally don't believe the spiritual life is about becoming 'enlightened' or achieving various states of rapture. I don't believe it's about leaving our bodies and minds and floating off into space. It's not about escape. Nor is it about trying to change the way we feel, which contradicts reality. Just as the cycle of the day involves both light and dark, so does human life, and the sooner we accept that and embrace the way things are, the sooner we will be free. We are here on earth in our bodies, for now anyway, and we should honor that reality with purity and humility. So spirituality, for me, is about being human, facing reality, being where our feet are, and taking whatever comes our way - inside and out.

     Many people do not understand things like addiction. An addict develops and maintains his or her addiction because of the people they are, and you've misunderstood if you think I'm saying that were all bad and evil. However, the fact is that we become and remain addicts because of our internal condition, which may (of course) vary from addict to addict. But when push comes to shove, it's really all the same. We are just not right.

     So why is it that doing the right thing and living by spiritual principles works so well to fix an addict? Isn't it obvious? And though I fail miserably to achieve this consistently, do we really have to prove the results of honesty, courage, service and right action? I think love speaks for itself, but regardless, there will always be some half-wit out there who calls me a new age satanist, or something equally insane... one of whom is currently a local principal for a conglomerate of taxpayer-funded, alternative schools for special needs children and adolescents, if you can believe it. What is it with people who feed off the public trough? But yes, your tax dollars are funneled liberally to all manner of filth.

     At any rate, AA was inspired by the conversion of Ebby Thatcher, an old friend of Bill Wilson's who had taken steps in the Oxford Group, a Christian organization founded by Frank Buchman, a Lutheran minister, after his own conversion in some chapel in Keswick, England. AA itself was a Christian program based on the Biblical principles of love, faith, kindness, service and humility, among others. Needless to say, right off the bat, and steadily through the last century, the language has been watered down to remove God, and more specifically Christ, from the equation. 

     This is actually a macro cultural shift to rid God and Christ himself from every aspect of American life and duty. When you swear an oath these days, you need not utter the word God. Children in school are being ridiculed, mocked, criticized and suspended for praying on campus, reading the Bible, and starting Christian social groups. My mom left a postcard at some artsy rehab place in the people's republic of Cambridge and I got a call from some woman asking me to come speak to the addicts there. She said, "But if this is some Christian thing, we can't have that... we're just looking for good AA people." Yup. That's what she said. And this is why you have lunatics out there calling me a devil worshipper, even though I am a Christian and love God. 

     The twelve steps of AA are a spiritual program given to us by our Lord. But based on some of the nonsense out there today, I can see how some of these recent assumptions may have arisen, despite the complete lack of humanity in the comments. The point is that we should get over the fact that we think we know so much. Who are we, the cesspool that is the human race, to pass judgment on anyone or anything?

     Bottom line, the twelve steps are a solution for drug and alcohol addiction. We don't need to get all bent out of shape about the details when the children of heartbroken parents are dying. And the gist of this solution is simply being a good person. And guess what? It works. When you are a good person, you can feel good about yourself and proud of who you have become. In fact, right and moral action has the power to turn your whole world around. So if you are trying to help an addict out there or you are an addict, stop fooling yourself about curing your addiction with some science project. You will never make it without changing who you are and becoming a better person.

     I remain recovered today because I am strong in who I am, because I can look at myself, others, and the world in the eyes, because I am proud of who I've become, and because I can sleep at night with a clear conscience. Trust me, that's something that suboxone and talk therapy and other secular remedies can't give you. When you are doing the right thing, you have no reason to use because you have nothing bringing you down, no heap of guilt and unfinished business to haul around.

     All that said, we can only maintain what God has done for us. We addicts cannot on our own power lift our obsession and save ourselves. We cannot take credit for restoring ourselves. That is the work of our Creator.
  
     He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:5)
 
     P.S. The book is going well, although it will take a while to edit because I refuse to put stuff out there unless it's good. I also don't have that much time anymore to write, so I'm hoping the universe will bring me some sort of literary agent so I can continue writing professionally. Finally, the treatment center is sorting itself out and I expect it to be underway soon. Will continue to update on all concerns.  

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