Fundamentally, humans want a reason. They want to know why something is the way it is. Over time we’ve become remarkably adept as a race at researching, scientifically scrutinizing, and assigning reason to an infinite array of concepts, peoples, behaviors, places, and things. Why does the Earth rotate around the sun? What determines the comings and goings of the tide? Why are wars fought? Why do some individuals act out in ways that others don’t? When we encounter something that we don’t understand or comprehend, I believe a disconnect occurs; when whatever it may be at that given time just doesn’t click, or we can’t reason it away, a byproduct of anxiety, and sometimes delusion, can be borne of it.
There are thousands of things people can do, choices they can make, or behaviors they can engage in that we don’t understand. In my disease, I’m certain that I acted out in ways that befuddled people unfamiliar with addictive disorders. While I can sit here today and attribute these issues to a psychological and spiritual malady, I could just as easily throw a rock and hit someone who “doesn’t get it”. And that’s ok. There are some things that some folks will just never understand. There are some things that I’ll personally never understand. This leaves us with a couple of choices to make. We can assign meaning to something through our best effort, i.e. take a look at the record, the information on hand, the opinion of learned individuals who came before us, and settle on whatever that may be. Sometimes this is the best option. Sometimes the inherent facts will ring true with us and we’ll be satisfied. But sometimes, all the knowledge in the world will leave us mired in deliberation, and even more confusion.
To me, this then becomes an exercise of acceptance. Of faith. I can’t for the life of me begin to tell you how I’m sitting here today, with a beautiful, loving family, a job, peace of mind, serenity, and sobriety. By all accounts, I should have been dead hundreds of times over. My impulsive, unnecessary risk-taking behavior should have been the end of me. Instead, I was miraculously rescued from a hopeless state of mind and body. Despite all the best efforts my frail, weak mind could conjure, I could not will my own salvation into existence. I could not “reason” my way out of my addiction. Ultimately, through an avalanche of pain and misery, I surrendered. I accepted the fact that through my human knowledge and logic I had failed. I was placed into a position where God was able to instill in me the will to move forward, take suggestions, and learn.
I could spend the rest of my life studying the Bible, spiritual literature across cultures, the history of man, belief systems, the written record of it all, and I firmly believe I still could not explain to you how this came to be. Salvation. I can’t know the mind of God. I will never know why He does the things He does. But what I will say is that this entire experience has been a lesson in my personal ability to accept, and even embrace, the unknown, and unexplainable. I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. I stumble and fall into anxiety, unnecessary speculation, and don’t always make the best decisions. Sometimes I say the wrong thing. There are times where I could have done more. My human nature remains fallible, as it always will be.
I understand that. I am far quicker than I used to be, however, at recognizing the anxious thoughts created by uncertainty, and giving them to Him. Of turning it over – surrendering. I’ve known countless people in my life who are by all accounts extremely intelligent individuals. Learned men and women with all the reason in the world to succeed. Ultimately that knowledge, in the face of something like addiction, meant little. While I’m not discounting the importance of intellectualism, discernment, and furthering the scope of our worldview through learning, I want to remind you today that knowledge isn’t everything. Some things are just never going to make sense. When we can supplement our human knowledge with the gift of spiritual faith and acceptance, of our own shortcomings, or those of others, we can begin to transcend the spiral of negative thinking that zaps our vital energy. We can rest. We can learn to accept ourselves and others, and in turn, work on leaning on our fellows, or being the one whom others in our lives can lean on. At the end of the day, being present, being of service, loving our brothers and sisters regardless of whether or not we comprehend their behavior, is the movement. In a time of such hardship and adversity, possibly more so than ever before. Be an example to the people around you today; while knowledge is indeed power, acceptance and faith are salvation. Peace be with you.
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