I am not my own hero

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When I was in recovery for alcohol addiction and my eating disorder we learned about powerlessness. I self medicated my bipolar and sought control with through anorexia.

I was ordered into outpatient rehab and was required to attend 12-step meetings. I have never been fond of A.A. for various reasons so I requested to attend Celebrate Recovery. Besides, I had attended A.A. in the past and it did nothing for me. Nor did I agree with its philosophy.

What I wanted and knew I needed was a Biblically based 12-step program.

We all face hateful destinations that we are powerless to escape. The first step in recovery was accepting we were powerless. Powerless not just over addictions but also over any tendency to anything wrong (Romans 7:18).

Failure to do so leaves us in danger of denying the enormity of the things which we do not have power to change and become locked into “fantasy” or “magical” thinking that given enough time, energy and resources we can succeed in changing them.

The first step is admitting powerlessness. It’s big and scary and feels a lot like giving up, but it is terrifically good news, and ultimately, ironically, it’s the only way to escape despair.

Admitting powerlessness is anything but adopting passivity. What’s new to me is that powerlessness is not the same thing as failure, or at least that failure is not the same thing as shame. Recognizing powerless is a lot like the moment when God asked Adam and Eve, “Who told you that you were naked?” They hadn’t been blind previously; it’s just that previously their nakedness had never been cause for shame and hiding. Admitting powerlessness to God is a lot like stepping out from the fig leaves.

But what’s our alternative? Becoming so full of self-pride that we believe that only we can be our own “savior” for the all the ills or problems we are facing. Becoming so self-preoccupied that you become incapable of reaching out to ask for other’s help and support in facing these problems which are beyond your power and control.

Self-control is one of our most cherished values. We applaud those who have the discipline to regulate their appetites and actions, and we try to instill this virtue in our children.

Those dreadfully frustrating days where you have just had enough of all the crap and you say the words, “I’M DONE WITH ALL THIS!”

The pressure has been building. The grind has finally worn you down. You feel empty inside. You want to quit.

The marriage is loveless, sexless and you’re tired of fighting…so you want to walk out.

The job and the boss suck and it doesn’t pay you enough to do the ridiculous crap you’re told to do.

You have devoted every waking second to make your dream happen and you’re not getting anywhere.

You’re sick of the criticism from the vocal minority at home, friends, work, etc., and all those suggestion on how you can improve your actions are well passed pissing you off.

I’m not sure what your situation might be but I know these days are real.

I’ve had way too many of them in my life. In fact here recently I’ve experienced my own days. You feel powerless. The situations, problems, circumstances, issues, or whatever you want to call them are in control.

Where in spite of ALL the incredibly compelling reasons to give up the fight…you stay the course.

You keep working it. You reframe your thinking. You do whatever you need to do to get you through this day. You give yourself and the situation a second chance.

I realize the world says different. That powerlessness means weakness. I also know we are all the same and everyone is equal and we all struggle but we still create this silent line everyday that categorizes our differences. Some of us classify our own selves.

And those lines create distance…frustration…fear..that we will never be enough, that someone will always be better. That we are relegated to an existence of living powerless, invisible as we journey through life.

But we are not powerless. I am not powerless. I know that good things will come. I have learned much about myself, and about the grace of God. I have been left a better person, and I’ve learned an important thing. When trials come, cling to hope and use those trials as opportunities to learn, grow and seek truth.


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