Chaos and catastrophe were our lifestyle choices. Accepting the unacceptable our default attitude. ‘Oh f***, I’ve done it again’ our waking thought. No wonder we got happy when it all stopped – miracles do that to you.
The lunatic in the asylum who stops beating his head with a hammer is deliriously joyful. After thirty years of self-destructive behaviour, I know exactly how that feels.
I have a deep fellowship with that lunatic, because I am one myself. I will always be a lunatic and I know how to find that hammer, if I choose to. I am an addict and I will always be an addict but miraculously, I am now a happy addict.
“You are never welcome in my life again. I already know what you’re going to say because I’ve heard it before: ‘what about the fun we had together?’” (From an alcoholic’s goodbye letter to addiction – ‘The Fun We Had’ is not euphoric recall, but the Siren Call of our addiction that never ceases.)
How did that happen? I have absolutely no idea.
It certainly involved a process of change and acceptance; it needed help from others – their example, experience and empathy; it required converting pride, dishonesty and ego into humility, honesty and unselfishness; it included some education and listening; but the fact that it actually happened, rather than being just a concept of how change might one day occur, is why it is a miracle. And miracles come from God – a God of our understanding, perhaps an Unknown God in many senses, but crucially, a Power Greater than Ourselves.
But it does not stop there. By opening our minds in this way, spirituality shows us a brilliant new life where anything is possible and hope, love and gratitude are there to be explored. Discovering this is like awakening from a nightmare, like being reborn. American beat generation poet Allen Ginsberg used a lot of drugs in his life. This poem of his says it all to me:
I never dreamed the sea so deep,
The earth so dark; so long my sleep.
I have become another child.
I wake to see the world go wild.
The 12 Step Programme pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous is highly effective and unique in that it introduces the idea of spirituality into recovery from addiction. By doing so, it takes us away from our self-obsession and selfishness; we realise not only that we aren’t alone in our struggles, but also that help is available. It is a journey of discovery that saved my life, and for that I am grateful to it.
This book covers some points on the journey from ‘terminally unwell’ to ‘better than well’. You don’t have to be an addict to read it but if you’re not – this is what you’re missing.
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