Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Come to Believe...

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STEP 2
Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.


     "Many who contemplate this process or embark on the Twelve Steps take issue with this particular Step. One, they don’t believe in God or Divine Intelligence. Two, even if they do believe in something greater than themselves, how do they know it will restore them when they don’t yet feel restored? Admittedly, it’s difficult for us to believe something unless it has already happened. People collectively believed that man would never fly and the next day Orville Wright flew over the beach at Kitty Hawk. To make matters worse, we don’t like believing things that we can’t see, hear or touch right in front of us. Show me it works, and then I’ll believe. Third, we’re not so sure that we really need to be restored to sanity. Just because we are powerless, does that mean we are actually insane? Isn’t insane someone in a nightgown and hospital slippers, locked up in an asylum getting shock treatments twice a week?
     The 2nd Step also means that we have to talk about God and spiritual concepts, which can easily rub people the wrong way, but it doesn’t have to. For our purpose of personal growth and healing, there is no need for it to get too rigid or fundamental. It doesn’t have to be so hard and absolute. It also doesn’t have to be someone else’s conception or belief system. It is personal, and each of us is left to establish our own understanding and relationship with God and the greater powers that be. Truth be told, I really don’t believe our limited and largely untapped human minds can even fathom the totality of God. I’ll be the first to admit that I cannot fully understand this mind-bending power, nor do I especially care to try to bottle it up neatly in my own man-made conception. Who are we to know the secrets of the Universe? So I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
     In my personal memoir about addiction, I wrote that anybody who has taken a 1st Step has already taken a 2nd Step by extension. By taking a 1st Step, we acknowledge there are forces more powerful than ourselves - the compulsion to drink, the temptation of sex, the lure of money, the need to control… anger, depression, grief, food, violence… the list goes on and on. If we’ve already admitted that certain things have power over us, why is it so hard to believe there is also something more powerful that can get us better?
     Let’s face it, many things exist that are more powerful than we are. Anyone who denies this is surely suffering from some sort of delusion of grandeur, but we can simply call it denial. Many of us who want to ignore the fact that we’ve lost control will instead fill the gap with self-worship and grandiosity, with the false belief that we can do anything, that we know everything, that we are all-powerful. That’s interesting. I would simply question this frame of mind and beg of you to answer but one simple question I had to ask myself years ago: Why, if you have the power to do anything, are you currently powerless?
     It reminds me of a relative who called me while he was in detox to ask me why he needed treatment afterwards. He said it wasn’t necessary because he had power over drugs and alcohol. So I asked him, “Then what are you doing in detox if you have power over drugs and alcohol? If you look around find yourself locked up at an inpatient detox facility, chances are you don’t you drink and use drugs normally, wouldn’t you say?” My relative was so convinced he knew the truth about himself and then a single question turned his entire world upside down. In a moment of clarity, he responded, “Yeah, that’s a good point. I guess I don’t use in a normal way, especially considering I’m here in detox. Okay, I’ll go to treatment.” The question helped him to step back, open his eyes and see things from a higher perch. In doing so, he saw the greater reality of life. This process is asking us peel back the layers of a lifetime of preconceived beliefs, notions and attitudes. Sure we may have always thought of life and the world in a certain way, but does that mean it is always so? Are we open to the idea that we may have been wrong all of these years? Are we even willing to be wrong? These are important questions to ask ourselves from time to time.
     The fact is there are many things far greater and more powerful than we humans. Exhibit A = Mother Nature. No one can deny we stand at the mercy of the forces of nature. Our very existence lies in the delicate balance of our solar system and atmospheric conditions. We think and believe we are safe because we have always been, but nobody really knows what might happen. Are not our very lives at the mercy of nature and her powerful storms, tornados, tsunamis, wildfires or sudden lightening strikes? Or how about the simple yet inescapable cycles of nature, such as night and day, life and death, or the fluctuating output of the sun’s energy? The point is that it is really not so hard to admit a host of forces and phenomena that are more powerful than we are, so why is God so difficult?
     One reason is because science has been able to explain the workings or dynamics of many such physical forces, but not so much with God. But are there not several tangible things that we cannot fully explain as well? I know, for instance, that our Universe exists but certainly cannot explain why it exists, how it came to be, what existed before, what lies beyond, or how dark matter can literally bend time and space. People say that nothing existed before the Universe but what is nothing and what are nothing’s boundaries? I also know that cells divide and that our physical bodies involuntarily heal themselves upon injury, just as nature rebuilds itself, but I can’t explain how or why that happens, at least not without Divine Intelligence. I know that we humans are more than the sum of our parts but who can explain or even describe with any justice this intangible part of ourselves that makes us who we are, that drives us to create, and that allows us to glow with love and spirit. Think for a moment about the miracle of life and the sheer beauty of the natural world, let alone the mind-blowing immensity of the Universe. Sure science has been able to explain some of this, but isn’t science really just explaining an endless pile of miracles? Doesn’t science only prove the existence of God by showing us how amazing it all is?" - Anybody Can Take Steps, pp.29-32

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