What if alcoholism were simply a message to the sufferer that it was time to move into the next greatest expression of being?
I've been reading The Spirituality of Imperfection by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketchum. In it, they talk about the admission of powerlessness, the first step, really being about a thirst for something more in life.
We have a thirst, but we misunderstand the message, and so when we thirst, we drink instead of seeking spirituality.
What if we looked at any sort of pain or challenge in our lives as a thirst, instead of something to be ashamed of, or something to learn from? I've long thought that any sort of pain or challenge that we experience in life is not a punishment, nor evidence of a belief that the only way to learn in life is to have challenges. Instead, life's challenges are simply a call from our higher selves to move into a greater expression of living.
We are constantly being called to move closer to a god like state, and that is what the challenges of life are all about. That is what the thirst really is. It isn't telling us to drink, or do drugs, or get involved with people who need fixing, or any other sort of addiction. That's just a manifestation of the truth: that we are here to live our greatest lives, and any pain or challenge we experience is simply a call to move beyond that and into the next realm of being.
It is why I love the 12 steps so, because they provide us with a process to move us from unsatisfactory living to very satisfactory living indeed.
So when trouble happens, the key is not to fight it, or deny it. The key is to embrace it and discern what the real message is.
This is why I advocate that the first step is not about admitting powerlessness. It is about admitting that we are ready for a change. It is about listening to the messages that our life is bringing us and heeding them.
So the first step is about looking at our life and admitting that we are ready for a change. That's it. As I explain in my book, it isn't about exploring why we are ready for a change, or even about saying, "I don't want to do this anymore!"
The story is irrelevant, and affirming that we don't want something merely affirms the not wanting it.
Instead, we recognize that that we want a change, and then turn the focus of our thoughts to what we do want. In the case of an addiction, it is then time to have some fun. Although I realize that it doesn't often seem so at the time.
That recognition that we want change is called a moment of clarity. For me it came one bright crisp November day as I was being driven to a treatment center. It was Thanksgiving Day, although I did not know it at the time. And as I was attempting to make myself look presentable (an impossibility at the time) and wondering where on earth I was going, it occurred to me that my life was not working. My higher self said, "I don't really know what the problem is, but something has to give. This isn't what life is about." And because I didn't really know what the problem was, I didn't know what the solution was. So I became open. I was open to hearing about the problem, and I was open to hearing about the solution.
This is what spirituality is all about. Being open to the fact that the problem might not be what our intellectual minds think it is. And that the solution might be something different than what we usually come up with: fix something outside of ourselves and it will all be ok. Spirituality is about going within, and listening to the messages, and being open to consider something different.
This applies in all aspects of life, and, so far, it has stood the test of time. I used this principle in early recover (although I didn't realize it at the time) and I use it today, many years into recovery.
So consider that the dissatisfaction, the hole inside of you, the challenges, all of it, may just be a call to move you into a greater expression of who and what you are...a beautiful expression of what some people call god. Go there.
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