I’ve been reading your blog having learned about you from The Gardener’s Cottage. How would you describe the God you/other addicts need in order to recover? I work with addicts…
Lol. Forgive me, and no offense at all, but it sounds as though you are assuming that God is some sort of man-made concept or idea, one of many, that we use to somehow recover. Sure mankind, because we are so limited, tries to conceive of God and reduce God to some academic concept, but this has nothing to do with God. God is/was before any of us. God is Power. How would you describe power? Just the fact that we can have this conversation is the result of divine Intelligence and Power. And just as cause and effect is not an idea but a universal law, so is God also not an idea but simply truth.
I suppose if you want to understand God on some sort of practical level, then establishing a relationship with God can be equated with establishing a relationship with one’s conscience. Growing spiritually occurs when we develop, listen to, and act on our conscience. The more unselfish action we take, the closer we get to the source. Humility is essential for an addict for the very thing that keeps him sick is his refusal to get underneath anything. He worships nothing but himself and the world and his intellect, and rejects the natural fact that God is more powerful than any of his or her worldly faculties.
A good sponsor will hook another addict up to God (Power) and then get out of the way. This can be done by guiding an addict through the spiritual actions of the Twelve Steps, and I’m sure there are other ways as well. Doctors and classroom-trained clinicians etc. are quite powerless to help addicts in any sort of real or lasting way, in my view. I’ve never seen a true addict work with a non-addict and recover in any meaningful way. It is only recovered addicts who are filled with spirit and who can effectively carry this message that are capable of opening this door for another addict, whereas atheist clinicians with no direct experience as an addict in the real world cannot. For me, addiction is just so clearly a spiritual problem.
And this is off-topic, but most intellectuals do not believe in God, or rather, they are disconnected from themselves, because a) they’ve had no direct experience with the spiritual realm, and b) they are blinded by their own intellectualism and what they think they know. Thinking we know something and that everybody who disagrees with us is wrong is quite delusional, if you ask me. And yes, I am willing to be wrong, too, and I am willing to re-learn what I thought I knew. However, I know my experience pretty well, and therefore I understand addiction and recovery pretty well.
At any rate, there is nothing worldly that can fix an addict and restore him or her to sanity. I would know because I am recovered from addiction and all chemical/mental illness, and nothing earthly can be credited for doing that. It happened instantaneously as a result taking a set of actions based on spiritual principles. And believe me, I tried everything under the sun and couldn’t produce a mere percentage point of real change.
We have to do our part. We have to do the work. No therapist or pill can fix us. While I’m sure somebody will throw some scientific study at me to try to disprove this, in the real world, it doesn’t matter because science has never been able to restore an addict’s mind to sanity or restore his body such that it begins to react normally to alcohol once again. Once he crosses that line, there is no coming back, physically speaking. But hey, I always tell my sponsees, feel free to go try if you don’t believe me (unless maybe your thing is speedballing into your aortic valve;-)
Charlie everything you speak of here is true for the people who love addicts too. It wasn’t until I began to realize that I was not having any luck whatsoever with trying to heal my son and finally finally turning that job over to God that I began to see improvements in my life. It is heartbreakingly hard to do and feels so wrong as a parent but it must be done to save our lives and if they ever are to have a shot at saving theirs. Us letting go is essential and knowing that God is in control has been the only answer for me. So really it’s the same for all of us. 🙂 Again, thank you for your tireless work here. x
Also see, God Isn’t a Concept.