…The 12th Step, like 10 and 11, goes on forever. We never stop helping people and working with others. Why? One, because it helps us to maintain our mental and emotional health and stability. Two, when we sit down with another person, we are bringing God into the room and perhaps into the other person, and anything that expands the presence of God within heals us and keeps us sane. Three, because it also lifts us up emotionally, which is perfect for those of us who are somewhat preoccupied with feeling good. And four, because it sets in motion the law of cause and effect, so any selfless action all but guarantees a good return.
The opening quote of this book by Neale Donald Walsh asserts that “life begins at the end of our comfort zone.” This is perhaps the single most important thing for us addicts and alcoholics to understand if we truly want to recover and conquer ALL of our demons. It was by doing the very things I didn’t want to do that fixed me and made me stronger. Doing what scared me or made me uncomfortable, insecure and self-conscious is what repaired my mind and soul, enabling me to go from recovering to recovered. Making a tough amends, running a group or speaking publicly are good examples.
At times, we all feel like isolating, shutting off, going inward and avoiding people, places and things that push us out of our comfort zone. But this is exactly why the most important part of this process is to go work with other people. When we get up and force ourselves to sit with another addict who is suffering, it thrusts us out of isolation and lifts us up. It shifts our direction from the small and narrow world of self-focus to the colorful and limitless world of service. Giving, sharing and being with others is perhaps the greatest contributor to personal strength and adds the most to our reservoir of inner peace, relief and freedom.
More importantly, helping others to change changes the world. Since we are all inter-connected and made of energy, when someone is altered, the world is altered. In fact, the entire universe is altered, and this shift in the energy of the person you are working with will also have a positive effect on you. And that’s not fluff, that’s science. So try some service. It is like injecting spiritual medicine.
Taking Steps is just one of many spiritual traditions and programs of action that help to clean us out with honesty and humility so we may see things clearly, move forward and find some purpose. What’s most important is that we simply take right, positive action and grow along spiritual lines, Steps or not. If you find another method or program of action that works for you, that is wonderful. The point is to understand that if we are to walk away from the darkness and into the light, action will be required, not simply talking, studying, believing, or even praying for it. We cannot will ourselves better. We must act our way better.
The choice between the expansive, colorful world of growth versus the narrow, miserable world of stagnancy and selfishness should be easy. We can ingest emotional poison or we can ingest the magic of loving service. We can evolve and expand spiritually or we can remain shackled, narrow and mundane. We can work hard, do the right thing and make a difference or we can remain preoccupied with our selves and our concerns. We can walk backward or we can run forward. The choice is yours. Really, it is. Thank you for reading…
You will never know how much I appreciate you.
Your blog has helped me dramatically as a daughter of an alcoholic. So many people say it's a disease & that confuses me! That takes the accountability off the person & they are only the victim….hmmm? It is extremely painful to watch the one you love be so destructive & you are powerless to help them…except to walk away & let go & let God, then you have helped them. Because ultamently God is the way to recovery. He sent his son in the world to save us from sin. And that's what addiction is- sin! Jesus is the way the truth and the life! I wanted to share this link about alcoholism & the Biblical view~ https://www.biblicalcounselingcoalition.org/2012/02/27/is-addiction-rooted-in-a-disease-demon-or-decision/
God bless you, Suzy.
Hello Charlie your blog has helped my aunt & I with my mom's 30+ yrs of alcohol addiction more than I can say. We're standing firm in our faith and trusting in God! I used to help my mom with every need she had, including things she could do for herself. She is housebound and has health issues, thus she does need some help. However, she would try to make me feel guilty when I couldn't do something. She would manipulate me so much that I didn't even realize she was doing it until my aunt showed me. I've had to step back and let her go. Her church helps her with her basic needs and takes her to church and other social activities. My aunt still talks to her every day and helps if it's necessary. I'm not communicating with my mom right now. I'm praying for her and releasing. My mom is a binge drinker, so she can stop for awhile. It's a false sense of sobriety for weeks, months and sometimes years. During this time she's in manic mode, and still manulipating while playing the victim role. It's been a vicious cycle for decades. I'm at peace now knowing I'm doing the right thing due to God's direction and your blog. My grandmother, my mom's mother, has been enabling from the beginning. She paid most of her bills for years. She doesn't do that anymore, but she thinks we should take care of my mom. She believes my mom can't help it. Now it's all about how I've abandoned my mom. My mom is the victim accord ing to my grandmother and my mom. My grandmother is enabling by taking the attention off my mom's addiction problem and placing it on how awful I am. My mom manipulates my grandmother into believing she doesn't have anyone to help her when the church is helping her. My mom needs a heart change in order to recover. Her mindset is in victim mode and everyone else is the problem. My aunt and I have tried to help my grandmother to see the truth, but she only feels sorry for my mom. I don't mind if my mom and grandmother are mad at me, but I know this does not help the situation. I can't control what other people do or think. I will continue trusting in God & reading your blog for encouragement. I would like any further advice you can offer. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It's changing lives for the better.
Excellent article… so much that I am starting a new piece on this today. Many thanks for reaching out and sharing this. Many thanks for your words… God bless you.