"Let us be very clear on this - religion is not the narrow gate.
Being a Catholic, a Baptist, a born-again Christian, a Mormon, a Buddhist, whatever, is not the narrow gate.
It is the wide path.
The wide path is for the weak,
those who follow someone who claims to be the ‘leader.’ "
Before you begin to read, please take a moment and ask God or your Higher Power for Eyes to See and Ears to Hear so that you might hear His Voice speak to you in this message.
Now let us proceed.
I first would like to point out that what I offer in these messages is an extension or sharing of my experience, strength and hope as it pertains to my own recovery process from the dis-ease of alcoholism and co-dependency. This is to say that I am not here to tell you or anyone who reads these messages how to think, how to live, what to do, what not to do. However, often there will be times that it will appear so. Suggestions will be made. You will be asked, invited to be an active participant. Still, it is important to understand that the message is more for me than it is for you. What that means is the more I share my recovery with others, the stronger it becomes in me. And should I rather share my sickness, my alcoholism and co-dependency, this too will strengthen in me. This is the appropriate use of application of the principles of recovery. It is the living of the lesson, “I cannot keep what I have unless I give it away.”
Recovery is like anything else in our lives. For someone who is new to the process of inner correction, it is very strange. But is not anything the first time we try it? What we do not know and come to learn is weak in us. What we practice on a daily basis becomes stronger AS we practice it. But the key to recovery is one must practice, one must apply the teachings. We cannot stay sober or sane without application. We are not going to stop the addictions, be it the addiction of drinking, or the addiction of enabling, by giving half measures to the program and its teachings.
I look at my life and I say, “What am I good at?” And I see that the things I have been taught I have utilized to live in this world, be it a job, or some skill, a hobby, a preferred way of looking at myself and the world. I become good at something by doing it over and over again. And as I become skilled in the craft, it becomes almost automatic. This principle is the same for recovery.
Are you, M, good at being a diesel mechanic? I used to overhaul aircraft engines. I worked with the turbines and compressors. I did not know anything about jet engines. Ironically, I frequented a bar in Hialeah, Florida back in the 70’s and met an older gentleman there who worked in a shop. We became close and he offered me a job. He had no children but was married, and so I was like a son to him. But we both drank a lot. I went to work for him but knew nothing of the trade. Day after day he would teach me, first the basics, then give me more duties to perform, and gradually, over time, I became very good at what I did. I went to the job on a daily basis, picked up the tools of the trade, and applied it to the task of repairing and rebuilding engines. It was very rewarding.
One day the company hired a new man, and put him in our shop. He was fresh out of one of those schools where they teach you how to build jet engines. And although they had hands-on training, it was still a school. So he never worked in the field. Initially I felt intimidated because he was educated about what I did not have any background schooling in. But I began to realize it is not just schooling and books that will provide the real education one needs in any field. We have to get out and do that work. I was given the task of showing him how I was taught, first the basics and then more and more until finally he was able to do the work himself. He had some difficulties because the method my teacher showed me was in conflict with what he was taught at the school. But eventually he was able to integrate both sources of learning to the job.
I became good at what I did because I practiced. And I hear that you are good at what you do, M, with diesel engines, and you also, J, in your duties, because you practiced what you do on a daily basis. But this principle can be applied also to our addictions and our enabling. And you both are good at what you do; M with his drinking and lying about it to J, and J about her protecting M and pampering him.
Now you may think that the disease of co-dependency and alcoholism is imposed on you. But it is not. You may think, “Why is God doing this to me?” And the answer is, “God is not doing anything TO you. You are doing it to yourselves. The Universe is free. You are allowed to linger in your illness as long as you wish.” But there is a point in every one of us that is reached, although we may not realize it, where we reach an impasse, and it is in that moment the Gift of Recovery is Given.
The Universe is abundant. There is unlimited supply. In actuality, God ‘takes away’ nothing. To think God takes away anything from you is the teaching of sacrifice. God does not ask for sacrifice. God asks for willingness to wake up.
Spirit gives us as much as we desire, even if it makes us sick. Recovery, then, is the action of willingness on the part of the aspirant, you and I, to let go OF what we have had enough of. ONLY THEN can God ‘take away’ because we no longer are clinging to it. In this way we never miss what is removed from our lives.
A teacher once said to me, “That to which you give your mind’s energy is what you value.” So what does this mean? It means the attention we give something, the time we give it, the effort we expend on doing something, the money we invest, the justifications we use and excuses we make for maintaining a certain type of behavior in our lives is due to the fact we give our power, our attention to it. It means we VALUE IT. This may come as a shock, and many to whom I have introduced this idea have resisted it greatly. But it is true - the time, attention we give to something is because we value it, because we want it, we desire it, it does something for us, and we do not wish to let it go even when it may be inducing great harm into our body, mind, spirit and lives.
So, going back to what I said earlier, that which we are good at is what we have practiced. We like our job, and the work we do. It brings satisfaction, financial reward, a sense of belonging, a sense of fulfillment. We feel good about what we are good at. We give value to it, attention to it, time and effort, and we may even go as far as say we love what we do. And it is the SAME FOR THE ADDICTION.
So this is where the concept of rigorous honesty comes in.
So we have to start to see, “Yes, I love my addiction. I give attention to it. I give more attention to my alcoholism or co-dependency than I do to my recovery from them. I give more energy to my enabling, to my cunning ways as to how I will get away with drinking and I give more time and more money and more effort to my addiction than I do my program.”
My program IS addiction. This is not ‘negative thinking.’ This is the truth. And truth is painful to those who do not live by truth. So we have to see these things.
We have to be honest with ourselves. If we lie to ourselves then we are living a lie. And as liars, we lie to each other, we lie to our friends, we lie to our family, we lie to our boss, we lie to our children and we teach ourselves to be good liars. Then our children lie to us, and our friends lie to us, the religious leaders lie to us, and those who we elect to guide us in government lie to us, and we are shocked when this is exposed. We act surprised when we find out others are lying to us. We are more shocked when we discover WE are living a lie AND that we protect our lies and we protect liars. And we live a miserable existence and do not have the slightest idea how to end this sickness.
We cannot go about telling ourselves OR OTHERS about how great we think our recovery program is while we give half-hearted measures to it. You sit and you read this and you say, “I know, I know….” but you do NOT know. We do NOT know. If you knew you would be LIVING this and you would fully realize this and it would not be a shock. So we need to remove the words “I know” from our vocabulary.
We have to begin by seeing, “Yes, I love my addiction. I say I love my program, I say I love my family, I say I love my job, I say I love my wife, I say I love my husband, but these are JUST WORDS. I do not even know what love is. But I do know I give more attention to my disease than I do the ending of it. I therefore LOVE MY ADDICTION MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE.”
You may not agree with this, and you may even get angry and resist it greatly. I do not care. We have to see our love for our sickness is more important to us than anything else, and we have to be honest about it or nothing is going to change.
We have to see, “I love my addiction more than I love my wife. I love my addiction more than I love my children. I love my addiction more than I love my husband. I love my addiction more than I LOVE MYSELF. I love my addiction more than I love God or a Higher Power that could restore me to sanity.”
Until we can come to admit this fact, very little will happen. And the sickness will grow, because we value it, we practice it, we give attention to it, we pamper it, we hold it in high esteem, we put it on a pedestal.
OUR ADDICTION AND OUR SICKNESS IS OUR GOD!
WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER.
As we continue to practice the sickness, as we continue to give more time to the addiction and less time to our recovery and those who HAVE recovered, the harder it will become to break free of the addiction. As the addiction grows stronger, and as we love it and cater more to it by acting out in the various ways our addiction demands we act out, we will begin to lose what we THOUGHT we loved.
We will begin to give more attention and power to the addiction. We will listen to the voice of the addiction and it will become our god. IT WILL COMMAND OUR EVERY ACTION, OUR EVERY BREATH, and it will dominate our every thought. And it will be the thing we love more than our lives and ourselves. And we will LOSE the things we THOUGHT we loved.
We will lose self-respect, respect of our friends and family. We will lose our jobs, our homes, our husbands, our wives, our children, our hobbies, and all the things we thought we wanted more than our addiction. This is not a joke. This is very serious, and I am a very serious person.
They call addiction the great SOLUTION. As any solution, it solves our problems by dissolving them. Our love for our addiction will dissolve our marriage, our family life, our home, our friends, our work, and eventually our life.
So where do we go from here? Do not be discouraged.
If either of you think that you can put your respective addiction in check by giving a few minutes in the morning to reading your literature, and by going to a meeting an hour a day, or an hour a week, then you can begin to see, honestly, that this is how much you think of your recovery. It is not really important to you.
You can argue with me that it IS important to you, but your life, your husband, your wife, your family, your friends, your job would be SECONDARY to your recovery. It never was your primary purpose. When your recovery is the most important thing to you then you will begin to understand something about Self love, love for yourself, love for your mental health, love for your own welfare, love for your life, and detach yourself from the other person’s addiction.
When we want recovery as much as a drowning man wants air then we will begin to understand what is important in life.
It is very difficult to be in a relationship where the addiction has ruled your lives and make the turn around, but it is not impossible. There is that tendency to focus all your attention on the other person:
“If he stopped relapsing WE could have a good life.”
“If she stopped checking up on me I would not feel pressure and would not drink.”
“If he went to his meetings and called his sponsor I would not have to baby-sit him.”
“If she stopped nagging me I would not have to walk on egg shells around her.”
J, you may say, “I am tired of this crap, M!” But you, J, enabled M. You ALLOWED it. And to say, “Well I did not know” is to not accept the responsibility for your part.
You, M, may say, “I love you, J, and I do not want to lose you. Do not leave me,” but you used J. So what are you afraid to lose? You are afraid to lose someone you can lie to, someone who will believe your lies, someone who you can deceive. And you think this is part of loving someone. It is not love, M.
It is difficult to not put the attention of one’s own need for working one’s own program on the other person. But that is what the addiction WANTS. It WANTS you to focus on the other person. It HOPES you will not attend to your own recovery. It EXPECTS you to look at the other person rather than yourself. It is the life blood of the addiction to keep you distracted from your need for your own recovery by making all your problems someone else’s fault. And as long as YOU are not important to yourself, and YOUR RECOVERY is not important to ONLY YOURSELF, the god of addiction will rule your life with an iron fist.
Your addiction will show you no mercy. It will demand from you everything, all your time, all your money, all your attention, all your energy. It will TAKE IT ALL FROM YOU. Then when it is done taking that, it will take your life.
And as I said before, death does not resolve anything.
So we have a lot of work to do because how we think and live affects ALL of us on this planet. You both can start off very easily just by asking yourself, “What DO I love more? Is it my addiction? Or is it myself and the Gift of Recovery that a Wise and Gracious Spirit has freely offered me in His Mercy?”
I would ask you to go separately, when you are alone, to a mirror, and stand and look at your face, look at yourself, look into your eyes, look closely at yourself in the mirror. Then look for awhile. Then say TO YOUSELF, “My addiction is more important to me than I am important to me.” And begin that way.
Find out if TRULY recovery is more important to you than your addiction. If you are honest with yourself, and you discover that your addiction is more dear to you than recovery, that you are just not willing or able or ready or have the time for your recovery, then go the way of the addiction. Throw the books away. Throw the phone numbers away. Throw the meeting schedules away. Throw it all away, and go back to that mirror and look at yourself and say, “I am going to love my addiction more than my recovery, and I accept the consequences of whatever will be the outcome. I am just not ready for a new way of life.”
There is a shift that occurs in the mind when we become honest with ourselves. We cannot define when we are TRULY being honest with ourselves because honesty is not of the mind, or the brain. It is not an idea. To say, “I am an honest person” is a lie. It is a lie because it is YOUR idea about what you think honesty is, and what honesty means to you. And everyone’s idea of honesty is different. So we are not joined in honesty. In fact, our individual ideas of honesty SEPARATE us.
Honesty is in the heart. Honesty IS the heart. And only God can see the heart and where our true love lives.
The word HONESTY or HONEST actually means CONSISTENCY.
As I began this sharing, I said that what we offer ourselves and others is increased in strength in us. Consistency means we have been consistent in living a certain way, based on how we think. Our thinking for the most part has been taught to us by others. And so one of the functions of recovery and the process of inner correction is looking inside ourselves for where we have been consistent in thinking and therefore living a certain way.
With the assistance of the Steps and a Higher Power these things are brought into the open, examined and then redefined, or corrected. In recovery this process brings about what A.A. calls ‘a psychic change.’ I have previously shared this with you. It is a change in the mind. It is a shift in the mind where one’s old values are replaced with new values.
The value we have placed in addiction is changed, or removed, substituted for the value we place in recovery. But we have to demonstrate TO Spirit that we do value His Gift of Recovery. Otherwise we are saying recovery is not valuable to use and addiction is. If recovery is not valuable to us, then God is of no value to us because God is the Giver OF Recovery. God is the Gift of Recovery. God IS Recovery.
In other spiritual teachings the psychic change is called, ‘transformation.’ In the Bible it is written, “Be renewed by the transforming of your mind.” So it is obvious that changing behavior without changing our thinking about our recovery, ourselves, and our place on the planet is not going to accomplish anything.
We all have been living the great lie and have been oblivious to it. It is written that we have been living “the dream of forgetfulness.” What that means is we have forgotten what we truly are, spirits that are inhabiting a body. The spirit is the life force that moves the body in action.
The spirit is the life force that comes to fulfill what it, the spirit, has come to do on this plane. We are spirit, created in the image of the Great Spirit. We have forgotten all this. And the Gift of Recovery is about awakening to this great fact. This Gift has entered YOUR lives, J and M. Do not neglect It. Do not devalue It. Do not ignore It. Do not discard It as if It is something you think is “not for me.”
This is not a hobby. It is rebirth, into a new way of thinking and living. It is Life Itself.
Your spirit has come to this plane to do something great and important that has nothing to do with raising a family or practicing a career so you can retire contented in your old age. The Great Spirit has come to awaken you in this time in your lives to realize this. Man’s consciousness is being raised. Many are being called to come to begin the work the Spirit has come to this plane to do. ALL OF US are Chosen for this work, but very, very few will take on the responsibility and answer the Call. As it is also written in the Bible, “The gate is narrow, and few ever find it.”
We each have a part to play. I have found the narrow gate. That is what my part is, as well as introducing it to those who are sent to me, and to whom I am sent. And so my part is also to offer the narrow gate to you.
Let us be very clear on this - religion is not the narrow gate. Being a Catholic, a Baptist, a born-again Christian, a Mormon, a Buddhist, whatever, is not the narrow gate. It is the wide path. The wide path is for the weak, those who follow someone who claims to be the ‘leader.’
Come discover the narrow gate, J and M. The program of recovery does not promote followers. It promotes independence of the spirit in those who pick up the tools and use them. You know nothing of my recovery. Why? Because it is the narrow gate that few ever find.
The body that you both think you are is not the spirit that you are. The body is a costume, a cover, that hides the spirit. Like a Halloween costume that hides the person inside, the body hides the spirit. The spirit is here to bring its gifts to mankind. You are spirit. Your spirit is attempting to break free of the addiction to the flesh, but it first has to break the flesh free of the addictions OF the flesh.
In recovery it is said, “We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” The human experience you have come to break free from is your idea of who you have been, who you are, and how you have lived. The Gift of Recovery offers this. Do not be afraid of the spirit that you are. It is far superior than any idea you have ever held of yourselves.
When you are free of the addictions of the flesh, you will begin to grow in awareness and understanding of the tasks you each have come to do on this plane. For now, let it suffice to say your greatest challenges will be to identify for yourselves what is more important to you. Is it your addiction, or your freedom from it? And remember this if you remember nothing else; it must be important only to you, regardless of what the other person does in his or her life.
Church will not end your addiction. Religions will not help. If they did, you would not be here, reading these words. Your place for your recovery has already been Decided by a Higher Power. It has made it easy and clear for each of you. There is nothing to decide, or choose. Your place is in your respective recovery programs.
Those who are there need your presence as much as you need theirs. Your need for recovery is important to them. It is important to me. I would not be extending four or five or six page messages if it were not. And your recovery will be important to you when you realize that YOU will soon help those who also suffer from their addictions.
Only an addict can help another addict. This is what your recovery is for. Higher Power will train you to carry the message of recovery to other alcoholics and co-dependents who still suffer when you begin to apply this to your own life.
I am available to each of you, J and M. I would like for each of you separately to sit down and exercise your recovery, practice it. Give the attention to me that I have given to you in the writing of these messages. Give me the same respect I have shown you.
Find a quiet place, sit down, call upon the Spirit in you and ask It to give you the words to write to me. Then mail it to my PO BOX on this letterhead. Give importance and value to your thoughts that you wish to share with me. For it will be a step in demonstrating to YOURSELVES that recovery IS important to you, and that you cannot strengthen it unless you are willing to share your experience, strength and hope with another.
I am perhaps the ONLY person yet who has asked you to do this. I may be the only person yet who has asked you to take time out of your very busy lives to sit down, ask Spirit to guide you, and write your thoughts to me. For then we can actually say we have a real relationship. It will be the first tangible proof that you truly wish to implement a new way of life, a new direction, a new way of living, a demonstration that recovery is important to you.