Addiction happens when we no longer want to feel our feelings. Addiction happens when we don’t want to know our own thoughts or feel our own pain. But you know what? Addiction doesn’t work. in the long run addiction brings ten times more pain than you would experience by accepting the legitimate pain of being a human being. Religion needs to be teaching this upfront and without apology. – Richard Rohr
locked up tight
like a cloister door
a splinter of light
opens the sky
a crack before
the nurse with red hair
is there with your
for God’s sake
close the door and
put on your clothes
I wake to doze while
beyond the walls
And yet, each time we are on the way to follow our addiction, there seems to be a second of clarity when we see what we are doing and where we are going. We feel a flash of freedom, and then, if we neglect it, the darkness of our addiction descends again, and we go onward to our “fate” like sleepwalkers.
(Grateful that I’m no longer sleepwalking)
The language of descent is either learned by mid-life (normally through suffering and the experience of powerlessness), or we inevitably move into a long day’s journey of accusing, resentment and negativity, circling our wagons as the hurts and disappointments of life gather round us: “I am right and others are wrong. I have a right to my judgments and I will continue to use valuable energy to justify them.” I have visited too many old men and retired priests in nursing homes to doubt this common pattern. When mid-life no longer allowed them to ascend or to deny their dark side, far too many men shut down or kept running. The price is a world of men who do not age well, who are emotionally, spiritually, intellectually unavailable – or just eccentric. These are the dads, priests and leaders we all laugh about but seldom take seriously.
– Richard Rohr, from The Wild Man’s Journey
Our suffering today is psychological, relational, and addictive; it is the suffering of people who are comfortable on the outside but oppressed and empty within. This is a crisis of meaninglessness, which leads us to seek meaning in possessions, perks, prestige, and power-all things that lie outside the self. When these things fail to give us meaning, we turn to ingesting food, drink, or drugs, or we become mass consumers to fill the emptiness within. Bill Wilson and his Alcoholics Anonymous movement have shown us that the only way to stop seeking, needing, or abusing outer power is to find the real power within. The movement’s twelve-step program walks us back out of our addictive society. Like all steps toward truth and Spirit, the twelve steps lead us downward, to the power within, which the program rightly refers to as our Higher Power. – Richard Rohr
No one heals himself by hurting another.
To gain that which is worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else. – Bernadette Devlin