“How should one live? Welcoming to all.”
~ Mechtilde of Magdeburg
“Welcoming means to accept others as they are, without
passing judgment on their worth….As we practice this
attitude toward others, regardless of their station in
life, regardless of their [skillful and unskillful]
actions, we are changed inside.
“Welcoming is a spiritual practice.”
~ “Touchstones — A Book Of Daily Meditations For Men” (Hazelden) 7/18*
How does this apply to my program?
*The change is brackets is mine. The original reads “good or bad”. Since that seems, in itself, binary and judgmental, I believe the change is appropriate to the thought.
It seems that addicts, especially in early recovery, are exceptionally inclined to find fault with other entities, whether people or organizations. This is especially true early on when we’re in denial about most everything and our fellowships are beginning to strip some of it away as we kick and scream. But it’s also true about the world at large, and not only those of us who admit to addictions are guilty. Psychologists believe this is partially because it enables people to feel better about themselves, but also due to the human tendency toward binary thinking: wrong v. right, good v. bad, black v. white, our tribe v. them, our warriors (teams) v. theirs, and so forth.
Binary/black and white kinds of thinking may come from upbringing by caregivers who thought that way, religious influences, our desire–perhaps need–to believe we are superior to others and counteract our own doubts, or other reasons. Actually, regardless of the reasons, we’re stifling our ability to understand others and broaden our own horizons. Continue reading →
Over the years of our addictions, many of us developed some pretty sophisticated ways of dealing with low self-esteem. Most of us were pretty good at them before we even became active in our addictions. We may have learned the behavior from caretakers, without even being conscious of it.Continue reading →
For sex, love and fantasy addicts, slips are often the rule for months–even years–before a person ends up with solid sobriety. People usually get to the “S” programs via one of two paths: a vague feeling that maybe they need to change their behavior, or a relatively catastrophic event that exposes them to extreme pressure from spouses, family, often friends, and that can affect their employment and even lead to severe legal issues.
Our brains evolved (or were designed, if you must) to be judgmental, to assess situations at a glance and classify them as good or bad, dangerous or advantageous — just as you are doing with regard to the first part of this sentence. The ability to do this quickly and form opinions rapidly helped keep our ancestors alive in an uncertain world and assisted them in evaluating the relatively simple issues of their lives and the lives of those around them. They passed these abilities on to us. These inherent skills serve us well in many instances, but we have to be careful. Life is more complicated now.