By Jamie Moon
Why is it that so many diversified solutions work for so many people and seemingly have little lasting help for addicts? What have we tried already to improve or fix these “Problem areas”? (E.g. churches, therapy, positive thinking, mind control, acupuncture, hypnosis, NLP, EST, Zen, etc.). Did any of these have lasting success? Is there anything we have left to try? Why don’t they work? There certainly is nothing wrong with any of them. Many people use these techniques to great success. So, what’s the problem?
Since we already know everything we know, and have tried everything we have, where do we go from here? “Even a man with everything from the material standpoint, a man with tremendous pride and the will-power to function in all ordinary circumstances can…find himself as hopeless and helpless as the man who has a multitude of worries and troubles.”[i]Now I personally have witnessed people who “just quit” their addictions—though I must say I wouldn’t want their lives.
We all know how we want to be but we can’t or don’t, act on it. Why? Lack of Power is our dilemma. We only turn to God or a Higher Power if you prefer, when we have unbearable pain, pain over some want, weakness or failure. Only at those times when we believe we have lost the battle of life, one more time, do we try God. We don’t understand that the very ambition to change ourselves is in itself the problem. Where does the actual struggle lie? It is in our lack of acceptance of ourselves. Who or what is doing the struggling? The ego (the committee), that’s who. But we cannot trust the ego.And what is this ego anyway? A definition that has brought relief too many of us who thought that the ego was some kind of entity, it is not, is that the ego is simply a set of beliefs that defines the world in which we live. These beliefs have convinced us that we need them—and not only that we need them, but that we are them.
This is probably the greatest benefit found in the Steps—a new way of life. Not just the same life without an addiction but a new healthy, vital life. We find a life of healed relationships, a life of possibility instead of lack, a life of happiness instead of misery. And most importantly we find a life of Higher Power instead of powerlessness. And guess what? We find that all the things that we were unable to use to get out of our addiction we can now use to great benefit. As long as (in my sad experience) we do not try to replace the Twelve Steps with those things but fit them to our Program.
[i] Experience, Strength, & Hope – Page(s) 34.3