February 19

HOPE MONTH: DAY 19: “The greatest revolution in our generation is the discovery that human beings by changing the inner attitudes of their minds can change the outer aspects of their lives.”  — William James

This is a great quote! When we recognize his name, from the early literature of AA, we understand that, although he was not a religious scholar, he understood the spiritual nature of changing our attitudes. I see the hand of a Power in all of this.

It was an extraordinary concept in the early days of psychology and psychiatry. And for two of the most powerful minds in that field to have been so vital in the creation of 12 Step recovery is absolutely miraculous. We have yet to improve on this model of treatment or personal recovery in this area. It is surprising, given all the money that has been poured into addiction treatment, to me, that there has been little added to the mix. Everything we discover only adds to the validation of 12 steps as a miraculous intervention.

So, nearly 100 years later, this is still very accurate and amazing! We are here to have a spiritual experience, based on the shifting of our behavior and our thinking. Sometimes one comes before the other; but most times, we must stop behavior and then what we know can be assimilated more deeply.

We do not get to think about and change our minds about whether or not we need to stop drinking and using and THEN stop.

No, we must stop that first, then work through the causal factors and attitudes that made it a good idea in the first place.

What a great idea! It was, and still is, radical. We are culturally so used to educating to eliminate ignorance and bad behavior. However, that usually comes along as food for the ego. If we must smash that ego, then education or information is no good.

We all “know” what we need to do. We just do not know that it will be possible, nor do we know that we are going to be able to do it. 12 Step recovery brings us the how and puts the cart back in front of the horse. A powerful way to go! I, for one, did not see that coming! It was radical and surprising to me. And I am still shocked that no one needed to watch me drink to diagnose the problem. You all just took my word for it, although I was a practicing liar to a great degree in those days.

This is a great quote for hope. We get to see that lives change all around us. Coming into this thing is so amazing, because I was highly suspicious of the stories I heard. I was sure you made it all up, but I hoped it could happen for me. I hoped really hard. And when I did what you all told me to do, it DID work! I know it is a miracle.

And for that, I thank you all every single day!

Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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