It’s Hard To Recalibrate Our Brains

In the beginning, many of us entered AA or NA or AA with the desire to stop using our drug of choice. That in and of itself was a tall order. We were suddenly committing to putting down a substance that we had often used for years or even decades. Initially, we faced the trials of physical withdrawal. Once our cravings had dissipated, we still had to deal with our emotional addiction to our substance. Over time, the emotional obsession to use declined as well. At that point, we found that we were really only at the beginning of our journey. All of our character defects now found space to inhabit our lives. In the past many of them had been crowded out by the more immediate issue of drugs, alcohol or food. Once we became physically sober, issues like resentment, fear, anger, jealousy, shame and lust confronted us head on. It’s not that these were new problems. They had preceded our drinking or drugging. We just had never had a way to effectively deal with any of them. In the program, we began to learn about a system of living that would help us address all of these human frailties. That system was known as the twelve steps. As we practiced those principles, even our neural pathways began to change.

Personal Reflection: What parts of my brain still need recalibration?

When I Ask For Patience, G-d Gives Me A Traffic Jam

Growing up, a lot of us developed a mistaken concept of prayer. Various traditions instructed us to pray to G-d with our requests. When our prayers weren’t answered, perhaps we went to religious representatives about our lack of results. Some of us were told that our prayers weren’t answered because we were being punished for previous sins. Others were told that on some level we hadn’t prayed hard enough, or we hadn’t used the correct words or formula. The end result was that many of us felt distant and alienated from G-d and prayer.
In the program we have developed a different understanding of prayer. As we work the steps we do ask our Higher Power to remove our defects of character. At the same time we have come to realize that we need to also do our part to identify and change our negative actions and thoughts. As we develop an intimate relationship with G-d; we often find that He has a great sense of humor. Our Higher Power will often send us the very obstacle we are praying for to be removed. How we respond demonstrates our growth.

Personal Reflection: What challenge has my Higher Power sent me recently?