Up until the late 1930’s, many people died of alcoholism. Some still do, but 12 step programs have changed the face of treating the once hopeless disease. There is only one requirement for AA membership: the desire to stop drinking.
I am going to borrow their 12 steps and apply them to every day problems of enough-ness.
Many of us have at some level a sense of I Am Not Enough, There Is Not Enough, Whatever It Is, It Is Not Enough. Whether you shop too much, work too much, eat too much, smoke, volunteer too much, clutter too much — the only requirement for change, for this moment, is the desire to change. And that includes the flip side: you may not eat enough, sleep enough, work enough, love enough, volunteer enough. In other words, if something is in the extreme and you cannot change it, this series is just for you. We live on the edges – of overdoing and underdoing. Finding a middle path is awfully un-American.
That said, the first step is admitting we are powerless over ______, and our lives have become unmanageable.
What have you tried to change and can’t? Do you hate the five pounds (or more) of belly fat you, like many Americans, are dragging around? Do you hate how disorganized your office is? Do you hate someone else for your own unhappiness but cannot change them?
Pick something you have tried to change. You may have had some success in the effort, but you always wind up back at the beginning.
Great. You just accepted something: the first step in change.
Came to believe a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. Simple: you cannot change this thing you are stuck with because of a complicated myriad of ego defenses. But there is another part of your psyche, the unconscious, that is a power greater than you; greater than your ego. Promise. It’s holding you together so you are not completely insane right now. And it can do even more if you ask it.
Remember, it says Came to Believe. You don’t have to believe anything. You can suspend disbelief and be impressed if and when it works. Then, you have evidence of the inner resource of power instead of some blind faith. For some folks, though, they say that “acting as if” you have faith is just as strong a catalyst as having faith. (I don’t know. I didn’t have any and acting like I did felt just odd.)
So, just be willing to take step three, by turning this problem over to the care of this Power, just for today. You don’t have to call it God or god or anything. Just ask your innermost Self to take this problem for the day. Then, in sitting still, in not trying to control whatever this is you cannot control, see what happens in the act of surrendering.
There. Three steps in under three minutes.
Thank you – I’d be happy to see steps 4 through 12 in minute version as well.