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December 23, 2016
I have been homeless at this time of year – not for long, but enough to scare me out of my smugness. I’ve also known addiction, the dole, depression and a terrible spiritual emptiness.
I have felt that God, if he existed, had dumped me. Everyone else certainly had.
Yet today I’m clean and sober and happy. I’ve been like that for a while. It’s a Miracle. Nothing else.
The lunatic in the asylum who stops beating his head with a hammer is deliriously joyful. After thirty years of self-destructive behaviour, I know exactly how that feels.
How did this change happen? I don’t know, but spirituality was involved…
I needed help from others; to crush pride and dishonesty out of my ego with a ruthless zeal; to stop bad attitudes and behaviours. But change happened, it wasn’t just a nice idea. That is the Miracle. All I had to do was open my mind to one idea – spirituality.
I came to realise that spirituality could give me a power that was a mixture of inspiration, insight, unselfishness, self-worth, hope and motivation; in other words, a huge ethereal kick up the arse which empowered me to change from passive to proactive and from victim to winner.
Recovery is the end of a horror movie when the lights come on. American beat generation poet Allen Ginsberg used a lot of drugs in his life. He put the experience like this:I never dreamed the sea so deep,The earth so dark; so long my sleep.I have become another child.I wake to see the world go wild. (An Eastern Ballad)
Yet so many people resist spirituality. It seems a customary response whenever the word God comes up. Poor God – he’s only trying to help! Why not give it a shot? After all, ‘my way’ hasn’t proved too clever.
Perhaps people think that spirituality involves surrender and therefore a show of weakness. I felt that, at first. It helped me to see the opposite view, put by French thinker Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
AA introduced spirituality into addiction recovery for a reason: It takes us away from our self-obsession; we are not alone in our struggles - help is available. This discovery saved my life and I am grateful.
It gives us a brilliant new life where anything is possible and new worlds with names like hope, love and gratitude are there to be explored. Stop fighting spirituality, because it meets a basic need within us. We come from nowhere and we go to nowhere but just possibly, that nowhere might be somewhere. Would it be too gut-wrenchingly difficult to say a prayer of gratitude this Christmas?
Photo by Greg Weaver
Lots of addicts view Christmas time with fear and loathing often for very personal reasons. But it does not have to be so. Here is some advice on how to make the most of the holidays.