When I am facilitating Family Program sessions I often ask participants to think of a family affected by addiction like a mobile floating over a child’s crib. When you imagine a mobile, there are a few things that instantly come to mind. You’ll see a bunny, bear, frog, and bird: rotating around and helping the mobile to maintain balance. There’s often quiet music playing in the background.
The Presidential campaign this year may appear to be uniquely trashy. It isn’t that unusual, set against the full sweep of American history. The 1884 campaign of the Democratic President Grover Cleveland against the Republican James G. Blaine was trashier. Blaine was accused of profiting from sales of railroad bonds and Cleveland was accused of fathering a child out of wedlock. Crowds at campaign rallies shouted down each candidate: “Blaine, Blaine, James G. Blaine, the continental liar from the State of Maine” and “Ma, Ma, where’s my Pa? Gone to the White House, ha! Ha! Ha!” Ugly politics is nothing new.
The Big Book, 12 x 12, sponsors, meetings and the working history of AA used as a template — it had come to seem repetitive and endless to me.
You might remember the famous “Last Lecture” given a few years ago. Well, this is my last blog and so I am going to share with you three of the most important realizations I have been blessed with in my years as a twelve-stepper. My recovery date is May 1, 1979 and so I consider myself a mere beginner in The Climb, but here is my humble offering.
My sobriety date is July 4, 1989. I planned it that way. It became clear that I needed to get sober, but I was taking a lot of drug as well as drinking a lot, and detox was difficult, at age 40. I chose to detox myself, gradually, over a period of six weeks. The timing worked out to July third, but I stretched it a bit, because I thought that the Fourth of July, Independence Day, would make a better sobriety anniversary.
So there I was, preparing to present to my home group, praying that I might learn something new, at least for me, in the very preparation. You would think I would have learned by now to be careful what I pray for – how often have I gotten it! Yes, the Divine struck yet again and here is what I learned:
Easter time –the great awakening for Christians –seems like a good time to reflect on the phrase “spiritual awakening” of the 12th step. Christians believe that Easter is the answer to the questions: Is this life all that there is? Is death the end of life? For Christians, the resurrection of Jesus is the statement that there is a fullness of life waiting for us beyond death.
When I was drinking I was always angry about something. I just got off the phone with the new car dealer. I dropped off my new car to have a plastic sealer applied to it, because there wasn’t time to do it on Saturday when I bought it. The service manager called to say there was a tiny dent in the bottom of the door, which needed a paint touching up. He said I must have hit something with the door. I don’t think I did. I think the dent must have been there when I got the car and I just didn’t see it when I looked it over.
I recently had the opportunity to present on Step Six in my home group and I was blessed with a way of presenting Defects of Character that were true to both our tradition and to my personal spirituality at this time.
Tony DeMello, a great spiritual teacher, used to say that in the spiritual life only three things are necessary: “Awareness, awareness, awareness.”
He might as well have said that all we have to do to live spiritually is, “Wake up, wake up, wake up.”