For the last while I have been angry.I look at myself and ask: "why then Ann, are you calling other people out on their anger?"
Perhaps because it is time I look at myself and stop projecting this all out onto you.
This is what the program is about, it tells me that when agitated or angry, it is all about me. But what if it isn't, what if it is truly about the man who hits me or about the person who abuses kids? I pause to reflect.Which part of the hit or abuse is all about me?
I am not responsible for how someone chooses to enact their way of being. Perhaps I might contribute by being present or not taking a stand but in reality, I can't take responsibility for anyone but me.I can't change your behaviour, your thoughts, your actions or way of being.I can only change mine.Thus if a man hits me, I am permitted to feel what I feel but when I act out in anger towards him, I only increase more pain in this world.It is not my feelings that matter but how I act out in this world.
I can feel anger, but it's what I do that matters.I need to ask if my words or deeds contribute to healing or only to more suffering and pain in this world.
The truth about anger is that it initially arises from being hurt (or being scared).
I was at a recovery celebration yesterday. A young woman was taking a cake to celebrate her one year of not drinking. Her family was there: her parents, boyfriend and best friend.They all cried when they shared, then apologized for tears.
I was in awe of their honesty, for being strong enough to share their vulnerability with us strangers. To me, tears indicate healing, the power of God as I understand this power to be in my world today. Whenever I am in the presence of love, tolerance, compassion and understanding, I stand in the presence of God.It is that simple for me today in my program of recovery.
This program works not only for me, but for all in the world who suffer from a spiritual unease. I believe we all have an unconscious, spiritual (not religious) malady. It is reflected in our world pain, in our anger, racism, our jealousy and fear.
This is what the 12 steps are about.They are not about alcohol or drugs but rather a spiritual illness which impacts us all.Alcohol and drugs are merely manifestations of my disease, my disease on this planet.I have a disease in my way of being and when I take a drink, my dis-ease is eased, I feel at peace.But then, the drugs turn on me and once again I find myself in more pain, more dis-ease in my way of being.
With the 12 steps I have a solution, one which does not disappear the moment I stop drinking.It stays with me forever, but only if I work the steps.
Many people rage against anonymous 12-step programs because they believe them to be religious.These programs are not.This is a common misunderstanding about AA (or NA). When alcoholics or addicts say they cannot work the steps due to a God word, it is addiction lying to them about their life-threatening disease.
I encourage the whole world, including you, to consider working the steps.It is a gift which costs us nothing and there are no expectations. It only promises to bring something incredibly powerful and magical to your life today. If it is to be, it is up to me. If you expect someone in your life to start recovery, then why are you hesitating or not starting your own?
- Questions for Ann? Send your submissions (anonymously, if you choose) to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll pass them along.