Asking the Why Question, Part 2

eckoFollowing up on the last post . . .

Only those who go through something of Calvary and of the descent into hell, not alone but in solidarity with Christ who has been there, can find that life which comes through deliverance from the captivity of the false self.

Kenneth Leech, We Preach Christ Crucified, p. 83, Cowley Publications.


Death is not just physical dying, but going to full depth, hitting the bottom, going the distance, beyond where I am in control, fully beyond where I am now . . . When you go into the depth and death, sometimes even the depths of your sin, you come out the other side – and the word for that is resurrection.

Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond pp. xx-xxi, Josey-Bass


To qualify my use of the above quotes.  I don’t mean them as bible thumping tracts of crucifixion and sin.  Rather, I use these examples as a hitting bottom and a surrendering to the reality of addiction.

So, I wonder if that action of hitting bottom is something that is not unique, but certainly prevalent, in addiction recovery or the reality of dealing with any extreme trauma/issue.  And hitting bottom means making a decision to engage something along the lines of the first three steps 1) admitted we were powerless and unmanageable, 2) recognizing the need for a reliance on something outside ourselves for recovery, 3) made a decision to develop a relationship with that entity to start the recovery process.

And that process can result in a resurrection with such a profound feeling of rejuvenation and gratitude that when asking the Why question, a prominent focus is Why am I so blessed to be in recovery when so many others continue to suffer?

So, is it the resurrection that allows one to prioritize the positive over the negative when asking the Why question?  Is it because those who have been resurrected and released from their bondage of addiction know the negative but want to live into the positive?

Just some thoughts . . .

Asking the Why Question

luminoussunriseI was in a discussion group of non-alcoholic folks the other day.  The topic for the discussion was asking the “Why” question along the lines of “Why do bad things happen to good people?” and so forth.  All of the questions focused on why negative stuff happens.  The leader of the group noted we tend to only ask the question why bad things happen.  The negative focus struck me as odd. For the past 10 years or so, the “Why Me?” thought has been in my head as well.  In fact, I have a half-formed series of essays for a book I had already titled – “Why Me?”  But the “Why Me?” I had been thinking about was asking why I have been blessed with now over 30 years of sobriety through the 12-Step recovery process of Alcoholics Anonymous.

I am reasonably new to the discussion group of folks and wondered if I was somehow missing the point.  I hesitated at first, but then I decided to speak.  I noted how fortunate I considered myself, when noting that the success rate in addiction recovery is notoriously poor.  I continued about how I knew recovery had nothing to do with intelligence or even an objective need – there were plenty of smart people who were dying of the alcoholism.

I like the odd person out.  Only one other person out of 20 commented along a similar positive line, and noted their activity in an Alanon Program.

On reflection 24-hours later, I am more convinced than ever of the correctness of answering the question in the affirmative as well.  I certainly don’t want to dismiss my co-participants as somehow only dwelling on the negative, but giving priority to the positive is an incredible gift I have been given in recovery.  For that I am grateful.