LET GO: of the “why me’s” and the “what for’s?”
PRACTICE: transforming spiritual/ psychic /physical pain into lessons learned and growth experiences
REMEMBER: “Suffering is no longer a menace to be evaded at any cost. When it does come, no matter how grievously, we realize that it too has a purpose. It is our great teacher because it reveals our defects and pushed us forward into progress. Bill W., Grapevine, 1958.
“In every case, pain had been the price of admission into a new life.” 12/12 p. 75.
We hear about “pain management” and think of physical pain; but, there is also psychic pain that can be debilitating as well. I don’t really know how some people endure constant physical pain. Nor do I have any cliches to pass along. The alcoholic is familiar with mental and emotional pain. A Twelve Step process is aimed at addressing this sort of distress.
“Many say pain is merely physical discomfort, but suffering comes from our resistance to, denial of, and our sense of injustice or wrongness about that pain. This is the core meaning of suffering on one level or another, and we all learn it the hard way.
As others have said,’ pain is the rent we pay for being human, but suffering is to some degree optional.’
Our secular world has almost no spiritual skills to deal with this now, so we resort to addictions, and other distractions to get us through our pain and sufferings.”
Richard Rohr, Adapted from Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi, pp. 21-22
The “still suffering alcoholic” knows about self-inflicted pain/suffering. “As we redouble our efforts at control, and continue to fail, our suffering becomes acute and constant.” 12/12 p. 53.
” If we do not transform our pain, we most certainly will transmit it.” Richard Rohr
”Someone who knew what he was talking about once remarked that pain was the touchstone of all spiritual progress. ” 12/12 p. 93.
“Until now, our lives have been largely devoted to running from pain.” 12/12 p. 74.
“it brought a measure of humility, which we soon discovered to be a healer of pain.” 12/12 p. 75.
We have received “rare gifts which have their true origin in a kinship born of common suffering and a common deliverance by the grace of God.” Grapevine, 1959.
“He will also report that out of every season of grief or suffering, when the hand of God seems heavy or even unjust, new lessons for living were learned, new resources for courage were uncovered.” 12/12 p. 105.
Life lessons were learned in the moments of suffering (couldn’t understand it, fix it, change it, or control it) that could never have been learned in the books and lectures. Letting go of unworkable life plan, bad ideas, awful attitudes, flawed perceptions, and wrong thinking is a painful process that involves suffering.
Transforming suffering isn’t for wimps or lone rangers.
When confronted with the intense pain and suffering of active alcoholism, my favorite line has been: “It would be a shame to waste this pain.” Ken H.
Early recovery featured the pain of emerging emotions (long repressed) with no anesthetic to dull the pain (spell that: untreated alcoholism). Healing takes place through the process of working Steps. Later, a Twelve Step template enables us to face and surmount other challenges, afflictions, and adversities.
“Good is always available to us but we often can’t bring it within until we let go of the old ways. We let go of the old ways by suffering. Suffering is only letting go of things that don’t work anymore. On the other side of suffering is a new world.
Creator, help me to let go of old ways. Let my old thoughts and beliefs be abandoned. Every change is preceded by struggle. Help me go through the struggle.” Elder’s Meditations.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
What lessons were learned in the tough times?
Where have I been able to empathize with pain of others today?
Just how “well” am I anyway?
What has been the role of pain in my recovery?
LOOK FOR: and/or remember lessons learned in suffering.
Finding out what I really believed in the midst of pain/suffering
Learning lessons from experience–no easy answers from back of book
Discovering strength and power beyond self-sufficiency
Being able to empathize and be present for the pain of others
Being able to share with others trapped in fear and even terror
Experiencing the power of “one day at a time”
Having the tools to transform rather than transmit suffering
Freedom from being a “victim” of anything, anybody
Freedom from the “why me’s”
Freedom from the “dark side”
Freedom from fear of the unknown
Freedom from physical, mental, emotional pain
Faith that works