Thomas…Part 2

Over the years the road to recovery was developed into a journey through 12 steps. A journey that is taken again and again. Fr. Rohr calls these 12 steps the essence of spirituality and America’s great gift to the school of spirituality. The twelve steps are like all spiritual schools of spirituality a journey into “absolute powerlessness.” But who wants to go there, we all want power not powerlessness. This changed for me when I read or heard these liberating words of Fr. Richard when he spoke of “The powerlessness of power and the power of powerlessness. “This reflects St Paul’s great statement, “Of myself I can do nothing, but I can do all things in Him Who strengthens me,” “With God all things are possible.” The acceptance of that reality is a process which has no short cuts. It is “painstaking work.” The spiritual journey demands ongoing hard work. There is no time to cruise. When one is cruising one is going, DOWNHILL !!! This is our choice to make. Eternal vigilance is required. Why? Alcoholism is a disease that is cunning baffling power-full insidious and above all patient. AA does not go out and actively recruit new members. AA depends “on attraction rather than promotion.” When one is afflicted with the disease it will take a recovering alcoholic to offer the sufferer, hope. How is this hope offered?, through an encounter with a person who has had and does have ongoing moment to moment personal battle with the disease. The person or persons, (it is recommended that a 12 step call is shared by two) share honestly their story. They share from their gut what it was like, what happened and what it is like now. Nothing is held back. In this hard-difficult-sharing something wonder-full awe-full happens. The suffering alcoholic is gifted with the hope that what happened to those two sitting before him/her can happen to the suffering one as well. In the mystery of sharing of their experience strength and hope, strength is engendered and Hope bubbles up from the depths of hopelessness. Hope was and is always within our depths but we need someone, some event to trigger its release. The two in recovery become wounded healers after years of being the ones who wounded. This is the miracle resulting from grace which is aptly described as, The Higher Power’s Love in action.

In sharing their story of recovery they are, may I suggest, repeating the events of The Paschal Mystery as they experienced them in their lives. They make The Paschal Mystery a contemporary relevant event. It has real touchable flesh and bone. As the story is shared, which is a story of suffering death (loss) emergence of new life and the living of that new life to the fullest, a new gospel is being written. This is what happens in all recovery and support groups. Today there are so many gatherings of wounded healers modeled after The Twelve Steps, which in turn represents that encounter between The Risen Christ and Thomas.

To be continued…

Comments

  1. Patricia A Chittendon says

    You are speaking to the Christian Community, am I correct? Are there any words of wisdom for those who work the 12 steps but are not Christian and wounded by addictions be they different than alcohol ? Richard Rohr is correct about the 12 step program as are you. Having held Spirituality Groups at a treatment center it is hard to see the repeats over and over. Thank you for your work.

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