Putting Evil in the World)
I’ve spent the last few posts speaking to those who recognize that part of their life is amiss, but who are reluctant to call their behavior an addiction. I’ve made the case that all of us need to strive for shameless authenticity, own our failings and admit where we need help.
I have also made the case that everyone is fundamentally flawed in one way or another. That is a claim that we immediately agree to when we hear it, but rarely do we consider the real weight of what those words mean. They mean we are going to hurt ourselves and also those around us. They mean that we are going to deny our better nature and live beneath our potential. They mean that we are going to actively put some evil out into the world.
Most of us are naturally flippant towards any serious accusation levied against us. Even if we agree that the complaint is valid, we’ll shrug our shoulders, say “no one’s perfect,” and quickly move past the issue. We don’t face the very real damage that is being done. We’re all genuinely screwing the world up around us, hurting each other in real and terrible ways, and virtually none of us own this fact. We just smile, shrug, say “no one’s perfect,” and keep our hearts sealed off.
Are you willing to start taking ownership for the evil you put into the world? Are you willing to face it with eyes wide open? Are you willing to hear the complaint of those that have been hurt without trying to justify or minimize your actions?
If your answer to the above is either “yes,” or even just “I want to be able to do that,” then you are ready to belong to the community of the awakened and striving.
A Community of Striving)
That community of the awakened and striving exists all throughout the world, intermingled with every culture and society. Its members live in broader organization, but often identify one another and coalesce together. Inside the churches is the subgroup of those who are truly faithful. Inside the non-profit charities is the coalition of those who are sincerely serving. Inside the government institution is the cabal of those who are genuinely trying to improve the world.
One place I have found where these awakened souls congregate is in the twelve-step programs scattered across the world. These communities are full of men and women who are willing to face the reality of the evil they are putting into the world and are seeking the help of a Higher Power to stop doing so. They come into this way of thinking because of their addictions, but then expand it to address all other forms of evil in their lives as well.
I have seen people drag their feet at the door to a twelve-step program because they weren’t sure whether their problems qualified as a full-on addiction or not. But we in the group aren’t going to be checking your “addiction credentials” at the door. There is no “group police” who are going to kick you out because you aren’t messed enough to be here. All that we ask is that you are sincere about facing your flaws and obtaining a life that is sober from your negative impulses. If you’re willing to do that work, then you are ready to join the crew.