Recovery is painful. Now, that statement is not what it seems. I am not in recovery. I have recovered. I periodically have to go back into 'recovery' to clear out build-up, but I do not stay there. Where I have to live if I want to be happy and sober is Steps Ten–Twelve and all three sides of the triangle in the AA logo. I do not hang around in the recovery stage, because Steps One–Nine hurt!
Life is not painful—my reaction to life: the filters through which I perceive the world, my 'ideal' for what I think (in delusion) would make me happy and satisfied, and the gap observed between the two are what make me unhappy. Whatever the situation, health, harmony, happiness, peace, joy, connection, and love are possible. All that stands in the way is what is in my mind.
Recovery is the process of having my mind dry-cleaned, if you will excuse the pun. And that, too, is painful, because the ego fights it every step of the way and kicks back in retaliation as it perceives me, the person taking the Steps, as the instigator of the change, the culprit. That is why recovery is ideally quick. Not hasty. Quick. Now, I periodically go back into 'recovery' (the process of Steps One–Nine), clean everything out, make all the amends necessary, and then get on with Steps Ten–Twelve. Only if momentum is great enough does the joy of release outweigh the pain of the unhooking from ego. In Steps One–Nine I deal with heavy luggage. I come back for the hand baggage as I go through Steps Ten and Eleven.
It takes a short, sharp burst of energy to get a rocket into orbit. Once it is in orbit, very little energy is required. I cannot get into orbit slowly, because gravity will drag at my momentum, and the rocket will never make it.
If the process is conducted too slowly, all of the work to unpick the ego is undone as the ego is always in the process of rebuilding. And I can get to the end of the process and discover I'm still on the earth rather than in orbit. Bang in the three dimensions I started in rather than the fourth I was heading towards.
I do indeed drift out of orbit and start heading back down to earth, sometimes, and need another jolt to get me back into orbit, but that is the nature of being inside the human condition. Nothing stays quite the way it is. Nothing wrong, therefore, with spring-cleaning. Nothing wrong, therefore, with the annual overhaul of the car.
Where happiness lies is being a channel for God's power.
The purpose of the work on myself is to generate the willingness in me to have God get me out of my own way, to get the channel unclogged of resentment, fear, and guilt (which are the only three problems I have, and which all derive from a forgetfulness of the love and totality of God). It is not to manage my life better under my own steam. It is to have God lift me up out of the muck and the mire—to flick the God switch and let God do all the heavy lifting. Then, my action feels effortless.
A business which takes no regular inventory usually goes broke.
A business which only takes inventory usually goes broke, too.
Get in, get out, get free, get on with a life of action.
"I felt lifted up, as though the great clean wind of a mountain top blew through and through." (14:2)
"Many times I have gone to my old hospital in despair. On talking to a man there, I would be amazingly lifted up and set on my feet again." (15:1)
"… working together toward an undreamed-of future." (119:0)
"We have found much of heaven and we have been rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence of which we had not even dreamed." (25:1)
"Yet we had been seeing another kind of flight, a spiritual liberation from this world, people who rose above their problems." (55:1)
"We have come to believe He would like us to keep our heads in the clouds with Him, but that our feet ought to be firmly planted on earth." (130:1)