Step One

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, and our lives had become unmanageable.
Ego Deflation – Acceptance of Life on Life’s Terms

The founding members of Alcoholics Anonymous found sobriety in the Oxford Group. This Christian group thought the Church had lost its way and was looking for what was transformational about the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. The first step of the Oxford Group was surrender, ego deflation, and accepting God’s creation as it is. It had nothing to do with alcohol. Recovery is more than stopping our self-destructive behavior (that does have to come first, though). It is an invitation to an abundant life. It is an awakening to the truth of the gift of life we have been given.

We start with a power assessment. Make a list of the things you can stop from changing. Make a list of things you can make happen with certainty. If you are honest, you will end up with an empty list. If you want to be philosophical, ask yourself, what is this self that is busy thinking about all this stuff?

Step one calls us to accept a profound truth. We are part of an unknowable whole, a flow of life, energy that we can’t understand or control. We are born, and if we are lucky, we will grow old, and then eventually, we’ll die. No amount of will or effort will change the nature of life. Step one invites us to accept and align ourselves with this truth.

We like to think of ourselves as the potter molding the clay of life. A better analogy is that we are the clay continually molded and evolved by powers greater than ourselves. A flow of energy moves through us, develops us, and carries us through the stages of life. To quote the French priest Teilhard De Chardin, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” [1]

 I want to say, as strongly as I can, that the transformation that he is talking about as an addict is the very same transformation that Jesus is talking about that we call salvation. But you know what we did? We pushed it all off into the next world, which took away most of its transformative power. You didn’t have to change now. You weren’t expected to be transformed or enlightened now. You just kept paying your dues and hoping you would get a little reward after you died. That is absolutely innocuous religion. Don’t waste your time. It’s really not anything Jesus was talking about. And yet, so many people have been offered that pablum in lieu of the real Good News.”

                                                                                                         -Fr. Richard Rohr

  “When failure meets you, it is surely a place of paradox. Failure, in whatever form, breaks down the carefully constructed ego tower that has provided you with a sense of identity, security, or purpose. With this tower in shambles at your feet, the choice becomes yours—is this tower worth rebuilding?”

                                                                                                         -Fr. Richard Rohr

The Gospel of Thomas, Saying 2 – Jesus said, “He who seeks, let him not cease seeking until he finds; and when he finds he will be troubled, and when he is troubled he will be amazed, and he will reign over the All.”[2]

[1] Teilhard de Chardin in Le Phenomene Humain (The Phenomenon of Man) 1955 Bernard Wall translation First HARPER COLOPHON edition published 1975 Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc.

[2] Doresse, J., The secret books of the Egyptian Gnostics: An introduction to the Gnostic Coptic manuscripts discovered at Chenoboskion, Viking/Hollis & Carter, New York/London, 1960.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *