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Lasting growth and change requires letting go, surrendering, giving up control. The very first reading at each of my 12-step meetings is a reminder of this: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” If this prayer is going to be answered—and if growth and change are my true desires—then I have to let some things go.
Surrender can have the image of me standing with a weapon over my head, ready to yield to an enemy. It implies defeat, capture, and a loss of freedom. But there is a positive side to this: the enemy that I am surrendering to may be better than the current ally that I am serving. It is said that in some wars, enemy combatants were surrendering in droves because they were fighting for oppressive regimes and knew that they were better off in the hands of their captors.
This picture is quite accurate in my relationship to God. It’s hard to...
Isolation. Hiding. Secrets. “In our own heads.” These are familiar concepts to us. There is a sense of comfort in them because we feel the illusion of safety and protection.
But alone. And separate. There is loneliness and desperation in isolation and hiding. We long for connection to God and others because that is how we were designed. Many of us are around families, friends, co-workers, and church members, but still hiding. Hiding in plain sight.
That is the beauty of the 12-step meeting: you start to come out of hiding just by being there; you don’t have to say anything. The other attendees know something about you that your loved ones may not know yet. That can be the first step in breaking the chains of addiction.
Attendance is only the start. As difficult as it may be, there will be a time when you will need to speak. Healthy relationships require communication and this is something you will have to learn. A meeting is a good place because when you...
A woman recently told me that she always seems to end up with oblivious men. We both laughed and I responded that oblivion may be a general feature of the gender.
Except I wasn’t really kidding. I have both been accused of being oblivious and have confessed to it, so I have given a lot of thought to the subject.
Google tells me that oblivion is “the state of being unaware or unconscious of what is happening.” I admit to using this as a comfortable excuse for my own relational mistakes and messes. It’s easier to admit to being clueless instead of selfish or evil.
Of course the dictionary doesn’t give us the “why” behind someone’s oblivion. Maybe it stems from ignorance, which sounds innocent until you consider willful ignorance. In other words, I am oblivious because I don’t care about you so leave me alone. The oblivious person may be a selfish, narcissistic bastard that is trying to hurt you. Oblivion can be a smokescreen...
I woke up the other morning in quite a bit of distress. I had expected a night of tossing and turning, but actually slept well; but I was just postponing the inevitable fear and anxiety. I was in a situation where I felt like I had painted myself into a corner. Except that the paint was battery acid and I had bare feet.
And of course the stress was all about a couple of particular relationships, specifically my clumsiness in navigating them. I can do almost anything when it comes to building and house repairs, I have done plenty of brake jobs, and taught myself how to write computer software. I am physically fit for my age and can easily knock off a Saturday 50-miler on my bicycle. I am proficient at a lot of things and am confident in most of my abilities.
But this relationship stuff is hard work for me. Being in an addiction and basically in isolation mode for the majority of my life has really taken a toll on the way I relate to people. I am not sure which is the cause and which...
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