Another question I get sometimes is,
“Charlie, why don’t you take credit for your recovery? I don’t understand, obviously it was you who did all this work and accomplished what you have accomplished.”
Thanks, but no. I take no credit for what happened to me, for the ability and the power to do good, and for the blessings in my life that have occurred as a result of taking Steps and trying to get closer to God. Yes I did some work and gave it my all, but you have to separate the work we do from the work God does. And no, this does not conflict with cause and effect. Sure I believe that if we work hard, we will yield positive results, but that doesn’t mean we are the source of the results.
So yes I made the effort, but the actual changes that occurred inside of me was the work of God. And yes I continued to make the effort and fight through some tough feelings, but the blessings that materialized because of this effort and consistency was the work of God. In fact, even the power that I had to work hard and fight and walk through pain and persevere, that is God as well. Everything good that I do and that I have is from God and is God. I of my own faculties am not capable of what has happened to me and how my life has turned out since, and it would be a grotesque and arrogant distortion of reality to think otherwise.
Now listen, even if you don’t believe that, trust me, it’s a better attitude to have. Thinking that we are responsible for every good thing that happens to us is grandiose. Patting ourselves on the back and giving ourselves credit for our recovery and the blessings that ensue is a dangerous game, for that is the kind of thinking, the kind of attitude and frame of reference that got us into trouble to begin with. The arrogance, the presumed invincibility, and the almighty power we are somehow delusional enough to attribute to ourselves is precisely the sort of thing that drives our addiction and our painfully annoying addict behavior.
So even if you don’t acknowledge the existence of God because you are caught up in the facade of words, symbols and ideology, get over it, because believe me, it is the kind of attitude that is crucial for us to adopt if we are to not simply get better but STAY better. Being an addict and all that accompanies addiction is an exercise in arrogance and grandiosity. True recovery, on the other hand, is an exercise in humility. The more self we can take out of the equation, the better.
And this is not a way to beat ourselves up and self-deprecate! Today, you have endless nonsense and misinformation from the status quo trying to twist and contort the notion of powerlessness, as if you are all really that stupid. Understanding our powerlessness over drugs and alcohol is just a simple biological truth. We can’t drink or use normally. We can’t stop once we start. That’s it. It’s just an allergy, so to speak, and one that we gave to ourselves by using too much and one that we will now die with (great job). But it has nothing to do with seeing ourselves as some worthless piece of shit.
The purpose of understanding our character defects is not to incessantly judge, criticize and ridicule ourselves. Quite the contrary. The point of that is to simply identify some of our more maladaptive attitudes, patterns and behaviors so we can LET THEM GO and move on. It allows us to identify when we are making mistakes in the future. It allows us to become better people. Contrary to the ignorance of not seeing the forest for the trees, this process actually builds confidence and strength. It actually rids us of self-hatred and insecurity. It allows us to stand firm and look the world in the eye.
I have nothing but confidence and self-acceptance from understanding that I am powerless over drugs and alcohol, and that I had some pretty powerful character defects that needed to be unearthed, understood, exorcised and changed into a more positive and right way to see self and others. There is nothing wrong with understanding that we make false assumptions about others. There is nothing wrong with finally seeing that we have been falsely blaming other people for circumstances that we alone have created. There is nothing wrong with coming back down to earth and working to dissolve the myriad of false perceptions we have acquired over the years.
There is nothing wrong with a little reality.
So don’t listen to the Step bashers for they really are absolutely clueless. They don’t understand the most simple and basic of concepts such as powerlessness and moral inventory, despite seeing themselves as intellectual powerhouses and authorities on the subject. Do yourself a favor (if need be) and remove the pile of bullshit that you have been fed and have mistakenly stored upstairs as if it is some sort of sacred cow. We don’t need pacifism and coddling when it comes to addiction. We need activism (self-less action) and no bullshit.
P.S. Done with 8 rough chapters of the new book. I’m also publishing Privileged Addict Quotes for those who just need a quick dose, which will literally summarize the best of all this stuff. I also have a fiction story that is almost done, Anjer’s Awakening, which is a long version of a short story I wrote back in college. Once I get everything copyrighted and edited properly, I’ll put it all out there. I know it takes a while, but it has to be done right. I hope you guys can pick these up when they do finally come out… and of course that you find them useful… and oh, right, that you enjoy them 😉