Over the past several months the world has been plunged into the depths of fear and uncertainty with the COVID-19 pandemic. The unpredictability this situation has foisted upon us, as people, tends to exacerbate some of those more “negative” character defects we harbor as part of the human condition. Anxiety, paranoia, anger, and resentment seem to be running rampant. The 24/7 news cycle doesn’t seem to help. Monitoring the situation closely, the endless statistics, the unfortunate politicization of the entire thing, just seems to make things more difficult, at least in my own experience. I know people are struggling greatly. I’ve struggled too. I’ve vacillated between complicated emotions on a daily basis. But one thing has remained clear to me throughout this entire ordeal; diving in and embracing that fear will not serve us. It will not help your brothers and sisters to live in a state of panic and unsteadiness. On the contrary – positive acts of growing yourself, rising to the occasion, and spreading love, acceptance, and kindness will transform that apprehension into faith and trust.
I firmly believe that all spiritual and emotional growth is borne out of hardship. This immense fear we may be dealing with daily, when viewed in this light, could just be another part of the mold that shapes and gives strength to our spiritual walk. For years I battled the darkness and oppression of drug addiction. I felt like a slave to my most base natures. I essentially discarded anything meaningful in my life in the pursuit of oblivion. Despite my best efforts I just couldn’t see the point of living any other way. But through the exposure to concepts, and ideas of spiritual living in AA, I was able to see that another way was possible and worth working for. It was only through enduring the madness, navigating the pitfalls of addiction that I was able to become exposed to true faith in a Power Greater than Myself.
Now, I know that not everyone is going to have the same experience. They say wise people learn from the mistakes of others, rather than their own. Not everyone’s path to spirituality, grace, and salvation will be as intense as this. But I’d like to think that anyone could take away something from it. The current world situation seems dire. It can seem hopeless at times. It can seem like despite your best efforts you just can’t see the light. My hope and prayer today is that this ordeal we are all living through will expose us to positive healing processes, the same way addiction led me to God and AA. If we could stop reading the news incessantly, stop watching (or participating) in the arguing and bickering on social media for even a day; instead focusing our strength and effort into helping others, our lives could be transformed. Service is part of the foundation of spiritual strength. It is the easiest, most simple way to get out of the madness of our own heads. By resolutely turning ourselves toward a mind frame of what we can do for our fellow brothers and sisters in their own time of crisis, we work to subvert ours into that growth we desperately need.
This isn’t always going to feel easy. There are going to be bad days where self-pity seems like the best option. Where those depressive states take over and we just can’t muster the strength. Do yourself a favor; during these episodes, please, reach out. Call your friends, mentors, pastors, sponsors, your family. Give them the blessing of being of service to you. Accept and receive encouragement and the love you deserve as a beautiful child of God. My hope is that you will witness God work through them and be inspired by it; in turn returning the blessing and support of service to others. This is fundamentally how recovery works – returning the gift that was so freely given to you.
Don’t let yourself get caught up in the negativity online. Instead, let’s pray today for the people who are sick. Let’s turn our thoughts toward them. Let’s pray for the families grieving the loss of a loved one to this illness. Pray for the addict in your life, or the family member suffering alongside them. Pray that God gives them strength and restoration. Pray that he inspires us to live our best lives in service to others. Pray that, as a people, we can not only endure and survive this dark time but be transformed by it; into a collective nation of loving, caring, compassionate, kind, and giving people.
With all the love,
Sean – In Recovery
You can read, comment and ask questions for Sean to address in his blog on the PAL website, home page – www.Palgroup.org