Series of Modern Love Letters to the 12 Steps
This post is part of a series of modern love letters to the 12 Steps. To start at the very beginning, read To Whom We Owe Our Recovery: Modern Love Letters to the Twelve Steps.
In Step One, we acknowledge our powerlessness over addiction.
In Step Two, we find hope of a cure in a loving, personal relationship with a Higher Power.
In Step Three, we surrender, casting off our burdens fully into the arms of life’s healing powers.
In Step Four, we reclaim our right to be set free by the truth of our tender humanity.
In Step Six, we find our authentic willingness to be changed.
But the Steps don’t leave us there, midway up the stairway to heaven! Onward, dear friends, to Step Seven, in which we recover our soothing, healing humility and being humble.
Dear Step Seven,
You read: “Humbly asked [God] to remove our shortcomings.”
Ask and You Will Receive
What comes before an answered prayer, a fulfilled wish, or a miraculous solution?
The ask. Without the ask, there is no answer.
Source, God, healing powers of life, this is my ask. Please change me. Take away the wounds, the sensitive, prickled areas of weakness. Where I do not have the strength, courage, the self-love that is required to resonate with Source stably.
There’s a lot of magic in this short sentence, dear Step Seven. The elixir of humility, being humble, and the miracle of extraction. Removal of what has been a verifiable structure in my body until now.
Asking, I receive.
A Voyage Into the Unknown
But wait Step Seven, is it possible to remove the bones of the negative ego, that attractor of shadows, right out of my body? Dare I hope for this?
Do I even want my fatal flaws to leave me once and for all? Am I willing to be so thoroughly transformed, that the ego itself, daily jailer and companion, narrator, shaper of personal realities, is at last subdued?
Or do I fear the loss of my one reliable protector in this life, the one who at least has been here through it all, thick and thin, my neurosis? The one who, in a pinch, will let me use, will let me act out, will let me self-destroy again, if I, really, really need to?
In whom do I place my trust? My arsenal of imperfect but loyal coping strategies, or the loving unknown wilds of my own deepest source?
Courage to Ask
It takes a lot of courage to ask for help. It takes trust, and it takes willingness. All of these have been prepared along the way, Step Seven, in the previous Steps, as I have inched closer to this important turning point in the story.
What makes the asking vulnerable, is the memory of asking and not receiving. At least not enough, not in time. Not when we needed it most.
The childhood and lifelong pain of needing, and not getting. The gap between admitting to ourselves, and another, that we need help, and the moment of help arriving.
A Totally New Ask
But it is different this time. This is a different ask than ever before because we are not asking our parents, our teachers, our friends, our partners, or even the image of a distant, judgy God given to us by religion.
We are asking our own highest powers of love, the personal and infinite, the part of our Being who truly has no limitation whatsoever.
A part that compassionately adores us and gives to us abundantly, every day our breath, our extraordinary body, our creative consciousness. The one who has no interest in withholding from us, unless it is truly better for us in the long run, not to receive what we’ve asked for.
The one just waiting, waiting, waiting to be asked. Waiting for us to be ready to receive all the goodness she has in store for us.
This ask feels different when we know for certain that the one we’re asking is her.
The intense vulnerability, of needing and not being certain of when and how our dire needs will be met, is one of the most purifying fires we can undergo.
The ego tried to shield us, to sit like a suit of armor over the soft flesh of our true bodies. Our splitting off, our defenses, and our distancing purported to help us. And the ego did help us for a while, like a rigid cast that held our broken psyches together. Thank you, ego, for getting me this far.
But armored like this, I was cut off from spirit. From my source of regeneration, my vitality, my heaven.
Double or Nothing
Ok, Step Seven. I’m all in. I’m holding nothing back. Nothing of myself, of my addictions, of my pain, nor of my strategies for keeping darkness apart from me.
I agree to unify, to join my shadows, to alchemize. To be changed. To leap into a purifying fire of love, knowing I will be reborn. In a lighter, brighter form, that can hold the vibrations and frequencies and movements of spirit.
As a log burning in the fire, I suffer. As the fire itself, I am bright and alive. As the fine, white ash that remains, I am freed to move on the wind. As the wind itself, I am myself once again, at long last.