Coming into belief we bring with us bitterness, disappointment, and disillusionment. Things were not going our way and then someone presented another option. Faith. We consider that something different could transpiring if a connection with an unseen God can be achieved. Usually, what has happened to a new believer or those who have believed there is a God for years, is that something devastating happens and we have run out of resources and ideas to fix.
Questions emerge: If God wants what is best for me how come this happened? Where was God when my loved one died and I was praying for a miracle. Why did employment not come? Why did I have to lose my home? Why did my marriage fail? Why was I abused and no one rescued me? These are valid questions.
The answers come later after the connection to God has taken hold and been deepened. The process feels like a wrestling match. But when we go through it we find a surrender, the ability to let our small ideas go and to better see God’s bigger picture. We find that our Creator was in all of our moments. Our Creator was active in the unseen realm and is able to comfort and heal no matter the loss. We find our perspective changes and we find a piece that surpasses anything we have previously known.
If you have been following along, you know that I, unknowingly, began life under the power of the shadow. Spiritual bondage formed by deception and secrets that I had witnessed and internalized. I did not know how much darkness surrounded me, as I saw no one in the light. I was taught to be dishonest by my parents and the whisperings of the shadow. I took what I learned, continued to listen to the destructive voice in my head and used to hurt myself and others.
Spiritual freedom does not happen by accident. It comes from following the spiritual voice found inside. However this is no easy task for those born into evil or thrust into abuse. We hear a combination of our own condemning inner voice and the abusers threats. Upon spiritual examination we find the shadow of death in the mix. The clamoring voice that actively manipulates our inner messages.
Attempting to break free is trial and error. Prayer is used more as a test rather than true conviction, in the beginning. Pray, wait, ask for guidance and protection and then repeat. Through this, prayer by prayer, practice we learn to separate harmful critical thoughts and exaggerated emotions from God led inspiration and guidance.
” the spiritual voice inside us (that leads to freedom and life) speaks of care and love. It will never tell us to hurt others or ourselves. It is our Higher Power’s voice. It’s what Step Eleven (Big Book) calls “conscious contact.”
Sometimes the voice tells us to do things we’re afraid of. For example, if we’re lonely and the voice tells us to call someone on our phone list, we may make excuses to not do it. Again, the voice may say, “Just make the call, It will be okay.” of we follow this guiding voice we’ll find happiness.” (and Spiritual Freedom!)
excerpt from “Keep It Simple: Daily Meditations for Twelve Step Beginnings and Renewal (Hazelden Meditations) Paperback – October 1, 1989
Step out of your circumstances for a while. Observe others who seem to know how to live. Perhaps observe people who are not living in anger or endless drama. There are people around us in recovery that have unlocked the door and found a way out.
People-watching can be a beginning, but offers little assistance to a struggling soul until the process of surrender occurs from within. The AA principles lay out the process from self-reliance and unmanageability to surrender and freedom. Hindering the process are swirling obsessive thoughts and knee jerk reactions. These traits may have not been of own making, but rather have been modeled to us by caretakers, parents, or an abuser. Although proven time and again to be harmful and faulty, as long as we believe them to be truthful, valid and appropriate we will stubbornly stay unchanged.
Stepping out of victimization or personal addictive behaviors requires a surrender so we can watch and listen for new information. Lack of faith and trust is our dilemma. We could not trust our ourselves while in active addiction. Taking the substances out of our system we can now listen and choose a different path. We have a Creator who is available and is continually trying to reach us. This Creator would like to reach us and change our thinking and behaviors. There is restoring power beyond our imagining. A new outlook awaits.
The key to this door, that opens to a path into the beautiful new unknown, is surrender. That key is found when we can sit quietly and dare to think outside of what we believe is our reality. The key begins to turn. There may be clutter in front of the door, or the door may slam shut again and again. Then one day it stays open. We awake to new information, new possibilities. Needed resources and strength present themselves.
The most common version of the Grail myth takes place in a medieval kingdom. The King is tragically wounded, and the kingdom is in disrepair. Father Richard describes the situation:
Most versions of the Grail legend begin with a wasteland kingdom, ruled over by one called the Fisher King. Crops are dying, monasteries are empty, and the people have no hope. All the king can do, because his wound refuses to heal, is fish all day—that is why he is called the Fisher King. This name has Christ connotations, since Jesus too was the “fisher of people.”
Fishing is the appropriate symbol of dipping down into one’s own unconscious. The sea is the natural image of the vast unconscious. I think this is the reason we can sit by the ocean for hours and watch it with fascination—waiting for the gift from the sea, waiting for something to show itself.
For author and depth psychologist Carol Pearson, the Fisher King is an archetype connected to inner places of suffering and longing:
When I became aware that there was a hold on my thinking, I was given the freedom to change. Without awareness, I was lost in an endless cycle of disillusionment, hurt, and discouragement. Awareness brings clarity and our natural desire to better ourselves. Be a chick and break out of your shell, knowing that with hatching there is a struggle. Whether an egg, a flower, butterfly, or newborn, all struggle. Without the struggle, they cannot be born, survive, or seek their full potential. Even after birth, there is a need to stretch and grow built into all living things. Whether it is physical strengthening, mental cleansing, learning something new, or spiritual freedom and growth. Applying knowledge, based on a new truth or a behavioral change, brings it a struggle. Counter to this, when lost, we feel the struggle and brace ourselves, attempting to block out the fearful unknown and resist discomfort. By accepting that there will be a struggle and it is in the natural course of life, the struggle then becomes tolerable. When we accept the struggle, change unfolds in us and through us.
There is no autonomy or self-governing; control is exerted over the other’s movements, money, sexual activity, or friends; through emotional, psychological manipulation, or physical abuse. Adult children of alcoholics easily fall into the same patterns as their parents: picking a partner or raising their children, in the same manner, they were, remaining trapped in the cycle.
Life itself will offer moments of clarity.A crossroad, a breaking point, or outside intervention. A realization that something could be different. That one may enter a recovery program, peer support at a church, or counseling center. To break free and recover, emotional detachment is vital, while new information is taken in. There is always an emotional separation from the other co-dependant, if there is physical or psychological abuse a physical separation is needed until both can seek help.These are forms of detachment. Detachment simply allows space to breath, rest, and reevaluate. For most it is frightening and progress may be delayed out of a fear that something is being lost.
I am weary. I have been writing and revising my manuscript for four years now. In writing a memoir, there is the apparent need to go back through the trauma experienced. I have found continued healing while going through this process of writing. The positives are that this going back also reinforces the lessons, techniques and prayer practices that have brought me out of darkness into a world of recovery and true freedom.
For survivors of trauma and addiction, roadblocks were put in place before we realized it. We remain unaware that a roadblock exists, believing we are just like everyone else, until we try to expand ourselves into an adult individual. If we have successes great! But such is life, and there are challenges all along our way. There is illness, loss, death, lost jobs, financial uncertainties, or isolation from families.