Saturday, October 8, 2011

“Reason and Purpose”

For some reason, I’ve got scenes and quotes from the movie ‘The Matrix: Reloaded’ running through my mind. The bit about purpose--that it drives us, defines us; about the importance of reason, how the ‘why’ is crucial and how without a reason for what we do, we have nothing. I think we’ve all heard it at some point in our lives that “everything happens for a reason”. Maybe; maybe not.

Generally, we can say that in active addiction, when we’re in the grips of the Disease, our lives don’t have much purpose beyond getting and staying loaded. We might accomplish other things, but ultimately the main reason for being is to get and stay fucked up. ‘Lived to use, use to live,’ as they say in NA. Finding Recovery gives us a different purpose, a new reason to live. Again, as a broad stroke generality, we stop living for ourselves and start living for others.

People find their way into the rooms for a lot of different reasons. For some, it’s because they will lose their family, their wife, husband, children, if they don’t clean & sober up. For others, it’s a job or a home they will lose (or have already lost). For some of us like myself, it’s for no other reason than the simple fact that we’ve admitted to ourselves we can’t quit on our own.

“Want to quit but can’t? We can help you with that.”

When we first start working the program, our purpose is pretty basic: get clean; get sober; stay that way. The Third Tradition covers this universal purpose very well: the only requirement for membership is the desire to quit. There’s something important here, a flipside to this tradition that isn’t stated outright--that if you don’t want to quit, if you don’t have the willingness to do something different, there isn’t much we can do for you.

We start with a purpose like that, a purpose that consumes us. We start putting time together and our purpose shifts a little. We see that it is possible to quit, and so we begin focusing more on reasons to stay quit. Just as there are many reasons why we want or need to quit, there are even more for why we want and need to stay quit. As we work steps, we find ourselves restored to sanity and discover--to our profound amazement--that our lives are actually working. We tend to find that living clean and sober, walking the spiritual path, is its own reward.

Sure, there are all kinds of fringe benefits. I hear people talk about saving their marriage, or getting a long-needed divorce. I’ve heard heartwarming stories of people getting their kids back. The homeless and unemployable find jobs and start supporting themselves. People buy cars, buy houses, find new love and rekindle old love. Bonds of friendship form that are stronger than anything thought possible. Deep, meaningful relationships of all kind happen.

But the thing that happens to us which is more meaningful than all of the above, is the peace we feel deep inside. Our lives aren’t empty anymore--because we aren’t empty anymore. Some people call it the ‘God-shaped hole’ that becomes filled with our higher power. And yeah, sure, that’s one way to describe what happens. But whatever you call it, however you chose to describe it, it is our innermost selves that are transformed. That’s the reason why our lives change. What happens to us inside is so powerful that it extends outward and sends ripples through the reality around us.

Our very souls become healed, and we discover an entirely new purpose in life: the healing of and maintaining of our spiritual condition.

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