Saturday, October 1, 2011

Gimme three steps...

There was an anonymous comment on the last post that asks, if I summarize correctly, if commitment is a critical factor in mountaineering or  in overcoming an addiction, what role does it play with respect to love.  If the topic is romantic love, those who know me would vigorously advise me to ask to take my leave with a head start and a promise never to return.  This would be wise counsel.  So, when I'm talking about love, make no mistake, I'm not talking about romance.  Of course, that's not all there is to love.

Sobriety is a gift.  It's not a gift that is like love; it is a manifestation of love.  I think it's rare that anybody gets sober by themselves.  Certainly, I think the core of getting sober is contained in the first three steps of the twelve-step programs:

  • Step 1 - We admitted we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable
  • Step 2 - Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
  • Step 3 - Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God

Early in my sobriety, when I was looking at these steps, I was mystified.  Step 1 was easy enough; it was irrefutable.  I had no problem believing that God could retrieve me from the life I had led. I wondered about the third step.  What does that look like?  Ultimately, they seemed to be platitudes, mere assertions.

One Friday afternoon, I went to a meeting.  The leaders discussed the first three steps as newcomers to the program often hear them:

  1. I can't.
  2. He can.
  3. I think I'll let Him.

I had heard these over and over again, but they had no power for me until it flashed on me that there was something that ties these together, underlies them all, gives them strength:

He wants to.

And that is love.

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