A Recovery Blog

This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Eleventh Step

11.  Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Step eleven is a very, very important step.  An individual cannot turn his or her will and life over to God until he or she reaches out to try and form a conception of God.  After meditating on it and finding some kind of orientation be it towards Jesus, Buddha, Allah, Mother Nature, a group of recovering addicts or any other creative alternative, it is time to call out to that spiritual power, to pray for guidance.  Remember, whatever orientation you have, this power that you pray to knows absolutely everything about you and loves you unconditionally.

So, on the one hand, you have to come to realize that you are totally vulnerable with God and there is nothing that you can hide, no matter how much you might like to.  The reason why this is okay, more than okay really, wonderfully healing is that God is also always sending you unconditional love.  All the  shame and guilt, all the resentment, all the abuse, everything that makes you tighten up in your spirit, is put in the presence of this inexplicable force, that is here at the moment you turn your awareness towards it, to heal you, not just a bit, but entirely.  The key is to train yourself to turn to the Higher Power as much as you are able to, in good times and in bad times alike.

Very simply, turning towards God heals you and turning away from God makes you sick.  For all people, the language of God is in the words patience, tolerance, open-mindedness, kindness, healing humor, acceptance; it doesn’t matter whether you are a conscious believer or not, we all know the same language and know that it represents what in our heart of hearts we want for ourselves and those we care about.  Most of us move towards and away from God each day, which is why we need to improve our conscious contact with God and allow God to guide us by turning our will and lives over to something infinitely wiser.

Every time we pray, (and a prayer can be as simple as “Please guide me”) and every time we meditate (and meditation can be as simple as reading one small page of a daily reader and reflecting on it) we are admitting our powerlessness, our need for help and our willingness to reach out and do our part.  The big message is that we must learn to put ourselves in our proper place, a place of humility.  How could it be any other way?  And how often do we fall flat on our faces when we try to assume God’s position in relation to others and parts of our own more vulnerable personalities?  We have to stop taking on other people’s responsibilities, avoiding our own responsibilities (mostly towards taking good care of ourselves) and avoiding having faith in and reliance on the Higher Power.  We also need to acknowledge that in trying to be God we perform a terrible interpretation, sick and distorted.  People who try to believe that they are God, or the only Higher Power around, are very controlling, perfectionistic, judgmental, unforgiving in their relationship to others, but much worse, in their relationship to themselves.  This is the world of the using addict, a world of self hatred that gets projected out onto whatever target the addict attaches to.

The addict, however compulsive and miserable, is never outside God’s realm, though he or she can feel sometimes to be caught in a Godless place, a Godless world.  Using addicts walk around sometimes in a dream and other times in a nightmare, and the reason they hurt themselves so often is because they are blinded by the negative, destructive force of their addiction.  The main thing that restores vision is developing a belief in God that you reach out to and abstinence.  Every time I removed myself from the person I was codependently addicted to my connection to myself and the Higher Power grew and my vision began to return.  The magnitude of how much I had been hurting myself grew in my mind and with it the need to face it and gradually move towards changing myself.

God’s will may seem elusive, but it is not.  Keep in mind, the overall goal is peace on earth for all of us.  Who hasn’t thought at one time or another - what an amazing, beautiful planet we live on, a place fit to be called, in the places where humans have not been set on the destruction of it, heavenly.  The block to that possibility is not the planet and not God, but us.  The only way to heal the damage we have done and are still doing is for every individual to turn towards healing in whatever way or form that takes.

Don’t you know we are destroying the life sustaining qualities inherent on this world?  There is no way we can get out of this web we have woven without turning to a Higher Power and that means turning inward, doing our part by working on our own spiritual development and letting go and allowing God to take on the rest.  God will show us what we have to do, where we have to go, who we have to connect with in order to form a whole, functioning human organism that can overcome the sickness in our spirits that we have been spreading all around us.
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