Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
—Kathleen Casey Theisen
How awesome is our power, personally, to choose our attitudes and our responses to any situation, to every situation. We will feel only how we choose to feel, no matter the circumstance. Happiness is as free an option as sorrow.
Perceiving our challenges as opportunities for positive growth rather than stumbling blocks in our path to success is a choice readily available. What is inevitable – a matter over which we have no choice – is that difficult times, painful experiences will visit us. We can, however, greet them like welcome guests, celebrating their blessings on us and the personal growth they inspire.
No circumstance demands suffering. Every circumstance has a silver lining. In one instance you may choose to feel self-pity; in the next, gladness.
We do not always feel confident about our choices, even when we accept the responsibility for making them. How lucky for us that the program offers a solution! Prayer and meditation, guidance from our higher power, can help us make the right choice every time.
I will relish my freedom to choose, to feel, to act. I and only I can take it away.
One thought on “Reflection – Each Day A New Beginning For November 14th”
As I read this reflection, it left me uncomfortable … like something was being said that had some truth but was missing something important. As I thought more about why I felt uncomfortable, I think it has to do with some old ideas, very dangerous ideas, I carry around about control. The danger in this reflection , to me, is that I can believe I have a power I don’t have over my addiction and even some of the character defects we deal with in Steps 6, 7. This reflection can easily support (at least in my mind) this idea that ‘self knowledge’ can get and keep me sober and happy. Remember what the Big Book says about self knowledge on page 39 … I believe it is one of the most central tenants of the program:
“That may be true of certain nonalcoholic people who, though drinking foolishly and heavily at the present time, are able to stop or moderate, because their brains and bodies have not been damaged as ours were. But the actual or potential alcoholic, with hardly an exception, will be absolutely unable to stop drinking on the basis of self-knowledge. This is a point we wish to emphasize and re-emphasize, to smash home upon our alcoholic readers as it has been revealed to us out of bitter experience.”
The above quote comes from the chapter ‘More About Alcoholism’ that begins with his ominous warning about the delusion that we have about control that is at the heart of our problem in getting sober. It says:
“The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death. We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed.”
So, accepting my lack of control (of choice) is essential in the 1st step and fundamental to the whole spiritual journey of reliance on a Higher Power that needs to replace my reliance on my knowledge and self sufficiency. For me personally, many of my character defects were very resistant to the ‘better choice’ idea and required a reliance on a Higher Power to begin to experience anything meaningful and sustaining in terms of real change and transformation.
The phrase ‘let go and let God’ can also be thought of in a way that creates a lot of confusion but for me, this is at the heart of the ongoing spiritual struggle that reflects the really revolutionary idea proposed in the 3rd step. Ultimately, I need to really strengthen my reliance on this Power greater than myself if I want to be in a place of better choices … and these better choices need to be guided not by my perception of their outcomes but by my fidelity to the spiritual principles embodied in AA and the steps.
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