The comments I got earlier about getting to grips with seeming paradoxes in AA, (The apparent SELFISHNESS of being UNSELFISH in the AA tradition for instance) reminded me of a time when I thought there was only ONE answer to things. A RIGHT answer and a WRONG answer.
It took a while to see the existence of contradictions. Seemingly contradictory 'truths'. Not just in AA, but in life generally. I cant remember when it happened exactly, but there did come a point when I stopped looking for the ONE AND ONLY right answer. Now I see many (seemingly contradictory) 'right' answers to any ONE problem.
Part of my desire to find only ONE answer to things was fuelled by a deep lying insecurity that I would not find the 'right' answer. In truth this was a reasonable fear, as I HAD spent many years trying to find a solution, and failing. Simply to become more and more agonized in the process. So it is hardly surprising that there was a lot of anxiety about finding the 'right' answer!
As I became more secure in my recovery, I just stopped being threatened or offended by other world views. My 'house' wasn't build on sand anymore. It was built on rock. So it was safe to explore other interpretations. I no longer feared extinction if I got it 'wrong'.
I find rigidity both in myself and in the other people I come into contact with seems to be rooted mainly in FEAR. A DEFINITE view just doesn't seem rational to me any more, as I simply could not subscribe to the view THAT ALL OTHER INTERPRETATIONS ARE WORTHLESS. So instead I see a degree of truth in many different viewpoints.
It takes time and work to create a 'safe place' in ones own recovery, that allows us to consider new ideas without fear of extinction. But I much prefer being free to think in many different ways. Being secure enough in myself to be flexible I suppose.
Some other contradictory AA 'truths' would be
Surrender to win
Give it away to keep it
It is in giving that we receive
- An Irish Friend of Bill
- I have recovered from the disease of Alcoholism. I believe there is only one person really,.. everybody. And that peace of mind is everything. -So treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself, because your neighbor IS yourself. I think most of recovery is what I would call common sense, but that learning to be ordinary is a true gift very few people acquire. My ambition is to accept everything unflinchingly, with compassion, and therefore be intrinsically comfortable in my own skin, no matter what. I am comfortable being uncomfortable and am willing to go to any lengths to improve my life. I believe the Big Book was divinely inspired, and is extraordinarily powerful. Unfortunately AA's best kept secret a lot of the time. (In my opinion). I just try to do what works, no matter what it is.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Paradoxes in AA: The apparent SELFISHNESS of being UNSELFISH. And others..
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I am truly grateful for the knowledge offered by those that have done this already -- one that is significant is what you describe "It takes time and work to create a 'safe place' in ones own recovery" -- I want to be fixed yesterday, but my soul has many wounds and only time will bring complete healing to them. I still need to build on trusting this, for now, I will keep listening and learning.
Oh yes what a great topic to explore. I am always most comfortable when I settle into that safe place, and stay out of fear. I have have almost no tolerence for rigidity ( and I have to remember I can only control this in myself ai yi yi!) Understanding the ignorance of "contempt prior to investigation" certainly broadened my view of life. I will spend time this week exploring questions that may have many "right" answers. Thanks for the guidance.
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