Sunday, April 12, 2009


From ODAT, page 103:

"Despair - how many of us suffer from it! Yet we do not realise that it is purely the absence of faith. We cannot despair as long as we are willing to turn to God for help in our extremity. When we are troubled, and can't see a way out, it is only because we imagine that all solutions depend on us. We must remind ourselves that our human wisdom and ingenuity have often failed to bring the hoped-for results."

Before Al-Anon, I spent most of my life feeling trapped - in an abusive childhood, and then in my first marriage. As a child, yes, I was at the mercy of the adults, but when I became an adult myself, that feeling of trapped despair was an illusion. My absence of faith coloured my ability to see my life with any clarity.

Faith requires effort in the beginning. Later, we may have times where it's an effortless joy, but for many of us, we must do the laborious slog to arrive at that place of ease. This entails reading the literature, getting a sponsor, reaching out to others, working the steps, and practising these principles in all our affairs.

Those of us who have felt the hand of our Higher Power working in our lives, may have times where we falter and stumble, but what we have, that newcomers may not, is the experience of God's grace along our journey.

We may feel distant from Him at times, but we know that's a false impression. He hasn't moved away, we've just built up an obstruction between us - perhaps a fabrication constructed of our willfullness. Past failures, using our own methods, can sometimes recede so far into memory that they are temporarily irretrievable. In that state of forgetting just how awful it was before 12-step, we may slip into the deep rut of old habits, and backslide into the grey dusk of despair.

We may need to do this repeatedly, in order to truly grasp the depths of our own powerlessness.

Faith is not something we are granted, it is hard work. We need only be willing to do the work.

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