My purpose in this post is to summarize the themes of each of my previous posts and to draw out whatever lesson(s) and/or principle(s) the progressive nature of those posts might demonstrate.
On January 11th, I wrote about how I had been struggling with despondency and wallowing in victim-hood and woe-is-me mode. I concluded that the answer to this dilemma was to work the steps more diligently. And that is what I tried to do.
On January 12th, I explored the concept of how having “faith” is not enough to be healed. Faith must be accompanied by action and humility in order to result in healing. Humility means that I am willing to pay the price of the healing. Action means that I actually pay it. And, the price of being healed is to do whatever God asks me to do, which is to work the steps, or, in other words: clean house so that His grace can enter me and expel the obsession; take deep and meaningful stock of myself; make amends to those I have harmed; freely give to other human beings without any demand for reward; and pray “Thy will be done” instead of “grant me my wishes.”
On January 13th, I recognized and admitted that I am powerless to be a good dad—that I am powerless to not get angry, overreact, lose my cool, throw “adult” tantrums, etc. At this point, I didn’t know why I had this overpowering defect; I only knew that I had it and was powerless against it.
On January 18th, I admitted that my natural, God-given instincts had grown out-of-proportion and had been tyrannizing me. I realized that I had put satisfying these instincts above obedience to God’s will. To say it another way, I had put the fulfillment of my natural instincts before obedience to spiritual law, obedience to God, and character development. I recognized that it was this confusion of priorities that has resulted in my current difficulties and character defects, and I committed to reversing and correcting this error one day at a time.
On January 21st, with the help of my wonderful wife, I discovered the primary—or at least one of the primary—root causes of my character defects and my continued inability to overcome them: my overpowering need to feel safe, which resulted in me trying to satisfy that need at all costs. Having finally identified this tyrannical dictator, I surrendered it to God and immediately felt free—free from the compulsive, overpowering need to do whatever my addict though was necessary to feel safe. I was finally free to put obedience to spiritual law and God’s will above the need to feel safe.
On January 24th, I wrote about this need and re-surrendered it to God.
So, to sum up:
I recognized and admitted that I was miserable and struggling; but, believing that the solution was in working the 12 steps, I renewed my commitment to do so, and tried to do so with renewed vigor.
This decision was then reconfirmed as I tried to apply the principles of the steps with renewed vigor—I realized that the price of being healed was the action of doing what God required, which is working the steps.
This confirmation that working the steps was the solution was followed by me recognizing my inability to be a good dad—my inability t o be gentle, meek, patient, and loving. It was a working of steps 1, 2 and 3 on this defect.
This was followed by a general recognition that my God-given instincts had been running amuck and I had placed them above obedience to God. I committed to correcting this error in prioritization.
This general recognition was followed by the specific realization that one of the most tyrannical, natural instincts was my need to feel safe. I realized that it was the primary reason for my inability to be a good dad, because my need to feel safe always trumped my responsibility to help my children feel safe.
For me, this short history shows the progressive nature of recovery and how God is able to build upon each right step I take and by small means work mighty miracles. I am excited to see how my recovery continues to develop as I strive to continue working the steps and applying their principles in all my affairs one day at a time.