I Can’t Do It Alone!

12stepI hesitate to write this post because my life has been so filled with changes and transitions that to say anything runs the risk of having the ground swept out from under whatever assertion I make, as the Sacred Source continues to inform, reform, and transform my being. Certain understandings, however, have been emerging that I would like to find words to express.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am addicted to Western Civilization. As I have begun to explore the ramifications of this realization, I have come to more fully understand the motivations behind the classic 12-Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous. I taught counseling at the college level for many years, including a class on “Addiction Counseling.” As has been true with much of my life, my verbal and expressive abilities usually exceeded my deeper understandings. I was a good teacher and was helpful in many ways, I am sure. But it is only as I come to understand the pervasive and insidious evil of addiction for myself that the principles I taught for so many years shine with a bright light in my mind.

There are many fine programs to help the addict, but I have reexamined the classic first step in the 12-step recovery program and found it profoundly helpful. It has always been an admission that one’s life is out of control and that no amount of will power or good intentions will ever stop the descent into complete self-destruction. At this point, in a second step, the addict understands that only a Source of Energy or Power greater than oneself can possibly heal the addiction and its associated wounds. In the third step the addict becomes willing to turn one’s life over completely to this Source, however one understands it.

This has been my journey the past few months. From being a wise teacher, a respected counselor, and a widely-read author I have found myself hitting a personal bottom as I faced the nature of my addiction – and I believe it is the addiction we all face – to the almost infinite and tenacious power of our civilization. It pervades my conscious and subconscious mind and dictates my every move. I buy, consume, fear, want, strive, feel shame, strive some more, fear some more, consume some more, feel more shame, always trying to live up to the “rules” which brook no objection; rules that are ground into the very economic and social fabric of my being.

Like the classic addict, I have come to see that this addiction will kill me and the Mother Earth from which I emerged. Also like the classic addict, I find that, by myself, I am powerless to change. I can make superficial tweaks to my life and fool myself for awhile, sometimes even years, but I am powerless to create a truly transformed life of my own willpower.

This is about as far as I can go right now, but it is a tremendously energizing realization. When I left traditional Christianity I discarded some essential truths of the Cosmos. I would never return to traditional religion, but I find I must return to a trust in, and total commitment to, a Source greater than my own understanding and will. For the moment, I am understanding this Source as the fundamental Energy of the Earth, the Sky, and the Cosmos. This has been my understanding for several years, but the shift has occurred in my willingness to turn my life over to this Source and ask Its Energy to live through me, to transform me. By myself, I can’t recover from Western Society. But with this fundamental connection to the Source of Earth, Sky, and Sea, I have returned to the one Home from which I can truly live in freedom, simplicity, and joy.

There are so many implications of this trust that I have yet to understand. They will come moment-by-moment to my consciousness, where I will ask that they be healed and transformed. No great plans. No resolutions whatsoever. Just a willingness to take one step at a time and see what comes next. I must confess that I see no hope for humanity without a general awakening to the depth of our addictions and a return to the fundamental Sources of our Being. We are all addicts, deeply mired and without hope of pulling ourselves out by our bootstraps. Nature, the Mother Earth, the Source, whatever we want to call the fundamental Reality, waits for our return home, patiently and without blame or shame. There we will find the hope for which we long.