Pain: The Path to Peace

The healing necessary for life’s pain comes through taking the 12 steps. I believe the AA program is effective because these steps lead us to truth. Truth heals us; untruth keeps us wounded.

Eventually untruth causes pain: emotional, psychological and sometimes physiological pain– the pain of woundedness. You know what I mean or I can’t imagine why you would want to read a blog about addiction. Woundedness is the broken-hearted pain of anguish. The kind that takes away your ability to think, eat, sleep or even smile.

We alcoholics have suffered pain from rejection, neglect, abuse and emotional manipulation at the hands of people we thought we could trust. Equally, I believe I had often been the instrument of such injury to others, which brings guilt, regret, self-condemnation and issues of shame and remorse.

Pack all of this into a human psyche and it is no wonder we turn to our addictions for numbing and escape. But learning to stop numbing, to stop running and to lean into the pain of our experience is the power of the AA program. The power of truth.

Kneeling cushions in Castle Comb, England

Through taking the steps I learned to lean or better yet, kneel, into the truth. Kneel because it is no longer my own power that I trust. By the time I got to AA, I had lost belief in my ability to fix myself. All I could count on was my ability to numb and my ineffective plan to escape the pain by drowning it. Drink ‘tiI I drop was my solution.

So numbing the pain didn’t work and I needed guidance to help me stay in the pain long enough to experience it deeply–long enough to face the truth I was running from and the facts of my life, my horrors, my woundedness.

The very last thing I wanted to do was to examine the source of my pain and despair. Too bad.

Staying in the pain instead of running or numbing is exactly what has to happen for healing. By being in meetings with others who were at various points of the healing process, I was able to sustain the focus on truth. What I heard in the meetings was truth I could accept. It was experience I could relate to, even though our lives were all different. I found people in each meeting that I could relate to. They talked to me about their recovery and I saw it was possible to overcome woundedness by facing the causes. Pain was the path to peace.

In the face of collapse and despair, in the face of the total failure of their human resources, they found that a new power, peace, happiness and sense of direction flowed into them.  ~ AA page 50

Peace and Light

First I sat in the meetings and absorbed the stories, the readings and the faces of recovery. Then I kneeled into my step work, giving the best I had to each step and examining the truth of my life– the good and the bad of it. Then I stood in the ranks of those who are experiencing recovery and walking in the path of those who have handed this beautiful, if hard, program to others. I love Alcoholics Anonymous and I’m grateful to have found this sincere healing fellowship of the wounded.

There was a sense of victory, followed by such a peace and serenity as I had never known. ~AA page 14