“PEACE” The other greatest gift
EVERY COURAGEOUS ACT STARTED FROM A FEARFUL BEGINNING.
I did not know just how valuable Peace of mind was until I found it. Alternatively….I did not know how valuable Peace of mind really was until I lost it. Either way there is no doubt in my mind that peace of mind is one of the most wonderful things a person can possess and that lack of Peace is at the core of the addicts malady. When one has peace of mind, they are not in a wanton state of craving, obsession, or intense need. Peace of mind stirs through our being and shoots out from us touching the lives of everyone around us, When we are at-peace we have no need to be mean, or sarcastic, we have no need to belittle our fellows with snide remarks. We are not in fear because the presence of fear is the absence of peace. It is said that Love is the greatest spiritual gift and that hope, & faith are next in value. However, mixed into all three of these greatest spiritual gifts is Peace, which lingers amidst each one of them. Peace is the by-product of the greatest spiritual gifts.
The absence of peace of mind can happen in different degrees. We can be extremely fearful to the point of anxiety, panic attack, and even complete emotional paralysis, which is the absence of not only faith but of peace as well. Mankind seeks out many destructive devices to outrun its torturous fears. Seldom if ever does the fearful and miserable man admit or even realize that he is afraid or that it is fear that tortures him. For he has been taught that to admit fear would be admitting that he is weak, bad, and not as good as his peers so, much of mankind (not just active addicts) choose denial over truth. Moreover, we all know what we were taught about those who fear when we were young and impressionable…scaredy-cat, chicken-shit, pussy, pansy, yellow belly, yellow, woosy, and any other negative descriptive word that would shame us for being who we are….human and afraid. I must remind myself that without fear there would be no courage and that every courageous act started with a fearful beginning.
So it’s ok to be human and afraid but we need to have a way to get out of fear. We need to forbid fear from taking power over our actions. We must step out of the box and deploy Love in defense against fear so we can experience that wonderful thing called spiritual peace. How in the heck do you “deploy Love?” You might ask. We deploy Love by looking fear straight in the eye and walking, or taking action in spite of how we feel. We walk through the fear! If it is sobriety and reality that is paralyzing us then we get up, put on our shoes, and we go to a meeting. We work the steps and do a fifth step in spite of our survival instinct which screams “keep your shortcomings a secret! We deploy Love by doing service work, Step twelve. We pray to our Higher Power when we feel like we have better things to do. We write out our Fourth Step because we want to feel and get better. We put the things on our fourth step list of which we are most ashamed. Deploying Love does not necessarily feel good at the time but it is what is good for us and will bring us peace. By the same token Love tears down our character flaws. Working the Twelve Steps cuts flaws like false pride, self-loathing, lying, sloth, procrastination, lust, wrath, gluttony, envy, and greed to the quick.
Character flaws within us have a life of their own and when we begin working the steps they cry, scream, claw, and scratch at us from the inside. Our character defect patterns do not want us to change and they will tell us all the good things that we need to do instead of working a program because the bad that we would do won’t work to trick us into not working the steps. Meaning, our brain will tell us “you need to take you children bowling because you should spend more time with them, or you need to clean the house, or you need to job hunt or you need to work. Yes all these things are good to do in recovery but if we do not have the foundation of the twelve steps we can easily slip. Doing ninety meetings in ninety days will expose us to the program enough to get us started with a sponsor and some new sober friends to hang out with. If we are going to stay sober and do the responsible thing for us and our families we need to do first things first. All the other “good” things should come after our daily meeting, getting a decent sponsor, one who shows respect and emotional maturity, and working the steps.