Unlike substance abuse or gambling, the addiction to our way of thinking remains fairly easy to hide. We pride ourselves on being logical and normative, even when others would disagree. We can’t seem to help it. The insane repetition of thought patterns simply drags us along, even if the resulting behavior isn’t working!
That is the self-destructive, even “demonic,” nature of all addiction and of the mind, in particular. We think we are our thinking, and we even take that thinking as utterly “true,” which removes us at least two steps from reality itself… It seems humans would sooner die than change or admit that they are mistaken. ~ Rohr, Richard. Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps . St. Anthony Messenger Press. Kindle Edition.
Recent politically sparked mayhem is proof enough for me. We are unable to accept or listen to others as soon as our core thought patterns are obviously challenged by another party. (Pun intended) In my case, I found my own reaction to the perceived values and thoughts of others. Yes, it was only an assumption on my part. And frankly, I was in no shape to discover whether my erroneous thinking was based on any truth or not.
I was angry and disbelieving and taking a poll. Who voted for whom? My family and my friends were predominantly defensive and becoming angry even though some of them were on each side Here is where the assumptions ran rampant. If you voted one way then that means… If you voted the other way then that means… Just check almost any news source or blog. Rampant assumptions.
I used the above picture because I felt broken. This was my Election Reaction and when I’m broken, I feel angry.
I’ve become very uncomfortable being angry, so much so that I knew I needed to look beyond the surface of current events and dig into my subconscious. I want to be able to listen to others and help them heal. My heart’s intention is not to blame or ridicule or be churned up over external events. I lived that way far too long.
My experience with the 12 Steps has shown me that His grace is sufficient for all circumstances. I will break the process down into parts. Here is how it works for me with the Not So Scary 15 Minute Solution of Step 10.
Question 1: Which am I experiencing: fear, resentment, guilt, remorse or some other reaction or emotion?
Fear is behind most of my reactions. It displays as many other emotions, but beneath all the noise and intensity is fear.
Mahatma Gandhi says, “The enemy is fear. We think it is hate, but it is fear.”
Identifying the range of emotions and digging to the primary one is key. For one friend this week, fear presented as numbness and for another it was despair. Find yours.
That’s enough work for starters. What do you feel? How would you describe your brokenness? Accept that. Sit with it.
The next post will continue the work of Step 10.
PS: If you’ve never really tried the 12 Steps, you might finish this and see if the method appeals to you and then go to the bottom of the Steps and really climb. I can tell you millions of others have found freedom in this process. Don’t take my word for it. Do your research.
For those who aren’t addicted to a substance, I challenge you to think outside the bottles! The drive to compulsive behavior is fueled by far more than liquor or drugs. If your current thinking is working perfectly. Forget this. If there are tears in your heart, then you might give this a try.