We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanagible.
It is called to my attention that the first of the 166 or so words in the twelve steps is "We." Bob W; learmed early on that one hopeless drunk could not stay sober unless he could find another hopeless drunk to talk to and encourage. And community is important for Al Anon as well. We are told to go to meetings (with other people); we are told to get a sponsor (another person); we share our experience, strength and hope (with other humans of course).
I thought that if i wanted to avoid dogmas, superstitions, outworn traditions, prejudices, and rules, my path might have to be a solitary one, drawing on the interspiritual treasures of the world and the ages, without feeling bound to any specific religious tradition. I forgot that the solitary life might not carry an opportunity for community when community is desired and needed. The unattached solitary, as i would be, today does not have a desert full of hermit monks that she or he can commune with on Sabbaths to test private perceptions of reality against those of other members of the species.
I am beginning to feel that by coming back to Al Anon, i have made a proper choice, I am relying on the groups, on my sponsor, and on individual AA and Al Anon friends to do for me what i could not do by myself, i;e. form a community.
I tend to treat "admitted" as a sort of throwaway word that is less important than the others. I think this is a mistake. The word can mean nothing. A person may admit something over and over again with no subsequent chage in attitude or behavior. Conversely, an admission may have enormous consequences positive or negative. An admission of guilt may lead to forgiveness or incarceration.
When i have admitted my powerlessness over my loved one's alcoholism, what have i accomplished? Anything? Well,i guess that is what the other steps are for. I must think more about this word and its place in the First Step.
"Who would ever want to admit powerlessness?" one first step discussion begins, "Alnost nobody.." Well, maybe that would depend upon how power is defined and on one's perspective. In the dualistic illusion that is called the real world power has many meanings. A somewhat middle of the road definition is "the ability to obtain one's objectives despite the resistance of others." Boy, does that ring a bell from the perspective of someone who wants to try to control the drinking of an alcoholic person! Because alcoholism is a disease, one of whose symptoms is denial that alcohol is a problem, the attempt to exert power as defined above is fruitless.
In the world that mystics sense beyond this vail of illusion, power does not exist and everythings becomes one thing. becomes nothing, becomes everything. It is possible to choose to live in that other world right now. Many spiritually awakened people have at least one foot in that world now. I believe that many 12-step people have at least one foot in that land of promise. I want what they've
got. Power is irrelevant to me, meaningless. I don't need it. I don't want. If there is such a thing as "spiritual power," it deserves another name.
(To be continued)