It is interesting to me that in our discussion of “Lack of Power” the areas of powerlessness that I have pulled from Alcoholics Anonymous material have all been turned into fellowships of their own. The final one mentioned Work and Money is no different.
C. LACK OF POWER—IN WORK/MONEY (earning, debts, etc.) “Never was there enough of what we thought we wanted. …We lacked the perspective to see…that material satisfactions were not the purpose of living.”[i]
1) “The chief activator of our defects has been self-centered fear—primarily fears that we would lose something we already possessed or would fail to get something we demanded.”[ii]
2) “Although financial recovery is on the way for many of us, we found we could not place money first. For us, material well-being always followed spiritual progress; it never preceded.”[iii]
In these areas of powerlessness where other groups have sprung up we find that the intent of the Steps is sometimes either ignored or re-defined in ways that I wonder if they fulfill their original purpose? That purpose was to focus on what is the real problem, not the addiction.
The real problem has been, is, and always will be our discomfort with life itself. To learn to live with “life on life’s terms” is the key to a happy productive life. Once we have done that the need for our many different addictive substances and behaviors becomes mute. Now I certainly am not saying that the physical nature of our illness will be eliminated. The physical problem is handled simply by stopping the use of our addictive/obsessive behavior.
It is the mental and spiritual aspect that the Twelve Steps actually deals with and those are identical in all addictions. That does not mean that we are all alike. The identical aspect is that we all have mental problems that drive us to drink—so to speak. These mental problems are dealt with through what Chuck C. called uncovering (the fact of a problem with our thinking becomes glaring when we are without our “drug of choice”) discovering (through the first Five Steps we discover what those problems are) discarding (we then discard that problem thinking through Steps Six through Nine) and recovering (the process we learn for a daily treatment of those old ideas in Steps Ten, Eleven and Twelve).
Now these other groups have added a lot of tools for dealing with their specific addictions and those tools are very useful. However, they are not a replacement for the Deep Soul Cleansing accomplished via the Twelve Steps and their original purpose. Most of the Step work I’ve seen that has come from many of those groups seems to miss the point. Once we have handled the mental twists that has had us use our many addictions, the blocks to a truly spiritual life have been removed. Our spiritual life can then be practiced, practiced, practiced…