freedom and fire

I've been trying to spend less time around the house, so I go to my usual prayer place at the Methodist student center each morning for a few hours. Mostly studying the 12 step material.

And I'm continuing to find interesting connections with things I've written about in the past months. Because so much personal commitment is required to follow the steps, everyone must enter into it voluntarily. So there's a great respect for the freedom of each person. This has been ignored sometimes in practice, however, especially when people are forced into these programs by law enforcement. But it's only supposed to work if people enter in freely.

There's also the understanding that the failures and sufferings of the addict are the primary means of bringing that person to the point where they enter in voluntarily. The recommendation is to offer help, but if the person rejects it don't push them, let the downward spiral of their problems convince them that they need help. This makes me think about what I wrote about love as fire. We hate to see these sufferings, and tend to categorize them as purely negative. But the experience of many in 12 step programs reaffirms that people often only seek help when their sufferings push them to the point of desperation. Only then are we willing to admit our powerlessness and reach out to God.

I can certainly see how my own sufferings over the past months have pushed me hard, to reevaluate my own path and re-adjust it, find the motivation to take a big next step, and also be more open to the guidance of others (even when I'm skeptical).