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 . . .

Recovery and the Wounded Healer

bornagain

 

By their wounds, we are healed.  We often speak of the ‘wounded healer’, the person who is able to be an instrument of healing because of her own wounded and the way in which those wounds have been used.  In my experience, many of those who have endured great pain and have transcended its damaging effects have a remarkable power to draw others to them when they are in need of strength and consolation. – Kenneth Leech, We Preach Christ Crucified, p. 25.

The Twelfth Step of AA goes “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and practice these principles in all our affairs.”  I realize discussing this very simple statement could consume many, many blog posts.  A quick rewrite for me goes – “Through the process of recovery, I live in a world of gratitude, solutions and possibilities.  I want to share this message of experience, strength, and hope with others who came from the same place as I.  As well, in claiming my place in this world, I also want to live this message in everything that I do.”

I recollect saying in a recovery meeting once that I really enjoyed that folks in recovery were highly qualified to be a part of recovery solutions of others.  A trained counselor shot back about the need for their professional expertise and training.  To me, this is where the wounded healer concept comes in.  Professional services, counseling, and so forth are great – I have used them a bunch – but I also know that having lived through addiction and into the process of recovery provides one with a sense that cannot be obtained except through the experience.

This understanding is one reason I am attracted to the idea put forward in messages like the Anonymous People film.  If the significance of the wounded healer is true, then those in recovery have an obligation to live into the Twelfth Step.  It’s not a matter of ego, it’s a matter of doing the next right thing.

 

 

To Transcend the Damaging Effects . . .

eliz

“We often speak of the ‘wounded healer’, the person who is able to be an instrument of healing because of her own wounds and the way in which those wounds have been used.  In my experience, many of those who have endured great pain and have transcended its damaging effects have a remarkable power to draw others to them when they are in need of strength and consolation . . .” Kenneth Leech, We Preach Christ Crucified, pp. 24-25

This type of thinking is often discussed in the context of working with other addicts. I have often thought how incredibly blessed we are to be able to share our experience strength and hope.

But I think this type of service goes much further than discussions of addiction.  Some years ago I made the acquaintance of a woman who at the age of 50 was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  She commented to me that the diagnosis was the first challenge that she faced in her life.  She had an idyllic childhood, married her high school sweetheart, raised two perfect children, was financially secure, etc. But with the ms diagnosis she soon became confined to a wheelchair and miserable.

I was recently sober then and suggested that she consider a support group.  She refused saying that she could not relate to “those” people.  Instead, she had all the fillings in her teeth replaced and tried every new medical treatment on the market.   She seemed unwilling to “transcend the damaging effects” of her disease.

I counter that with a friend of mine who is facing a lung transplant at the age of 40 after a life with cystic fibrosis.  Long ago she seemed to “transcend the damaging effects” of her disease.  She lives a vibrant life.  Although clearly anxious with her unknown future, she is anything but miserable, despite hospital stays that are becoming more frequent.  She is a poster child for living into what is possible.

I think too of my granddaughter who at the age of 13 has marked her 5th year in remission from a four-year bout with leukemia.  She too “transcended the damaging effects” of her disease.  She plans to be an architect and has for the past several years.  She has followed in her mother’s steps excelling in sports such as softball and soccer.

I think of how when my granddaughter and friend facing a lung transplant share their experience, strength, and hope, they too are carrying an incredible message of recovery.