Sunday, 21 October 2012

Stream of life

Recovery is about building a life about serving God as an alternative to drinking ourselves to death. In less theological terms, it is about discovering that the universe is more interesting than our so-called needs and wants and engaging in it fully as an artless, contributing active participator.

We’re individually neither terribly interesting nor important. All Steps from Three onwards are built around the idea that we have to be free of self. This is no loss, as there is the rest of the universe to concern ourselves with.

We can get involved in the universe politically, or take an interest in charities, or learn a language, or develop an interest in a particular subject matter, or engage in a sport, or learn a musical instrument, but we need a life. The Steps will prepare us for this by stripping us of self. The last Step—showing others how this is done and then engaging in life fully—is the fruition and automatic fulfilment of the first eleven Steps.

The dark side of this is that, if Step Twelve is not brought to fruition, alcoholics will tend to drift back into self and then into drink.

The positive side of this is that the Steps, if approached with the deliberate attitude of wanting God to free us from self, will propel us into a life far bigger than we could have imagined.

God is everything, page 53 of the book Alcoholics Anonymous perhaps suggests. If that is the case, a life spent inside a half of mirrors would be a wasted life and a denial of God.

The last lines of the Step Eleven review suggest we examine whether we were thinking about what we could pack into the stream of life.

It is not asking whether we were packing a lot into the stream of life—we are asked to examine what the focus of our thought life is.

It is the nature of our thought life that is the wellspring from which our life flows. If that thought life is turned inwards, no amount of willpower will turn our lives outwards consistently. If that thought life is turned outwards, no vicissitude will pull us back into self.

Page 15 of the book Alcoholics Anonymous implies that the solution lies in the abandonment of self by losing oneself in our role in the world.

In my experience it is that that is the solution to all of the low self-worth, depression, anxiety, and loneliness that was ultimately the source of my alcoholic drinking.

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