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Explaining Spiritual Concept Words

I mentioned the other day the spiritual context of the noun forgiveness and its verb, forgive. I failed to elaborate and this is my best shot at explaining myself.

Firstly I have to put the story in context. The whys, the wherefores and the intentions. The last twelve years of my life have been devoted, to a large extent, to my work towards Recovery. Why the capitalisation of the first letter? Well, Recovery is connected directly to Forgiveness insofar as spiritual concept words are concerned. They live alongside versions of Surrender, Powerlessness, Acceptance and Responsibility. Much of what I’ve learnt in Recovery is rooted in the principles of the 12 Step Programmes that we know as AA and NA to mention only the ‘big two’. Yip folks, I refer here to Alcoholics Anonymous and to Narcotics Anonymous.

Rest assured, this is not an evangelical crusade to promote these fellowships. The fact is that membership of and adherence to the principals of AA and NA has helped to save countless lives around the world. But, sadly, many who enter the rooms do not make it and they fall prey to the cunning disease of addiction which will eventually take their lives. I mention the debt of gratitude that I owe to these Fellowships purely to reference my life experience and ultimately as a component of my story. The Traditions of the fellowships state that anonymity is at the core of their values. The decision to break anonymity and reveal myself as having belonged to these Fellowships is mine and mine alone. If my decision has offended anyone in or out of The Rooms I apologise. However, my process of healing and Recovery has led me down this path and I will see it out to its conclusion.

With this in mind, I must say that I thought that I knew words and their meanings. How wrong I was and it took me a bunch of years and a slew of failures in my quest to realise that it was impossible to understand the processes required for Recovery unless I opened my mind, emptied it of ALL of my preconceptions and became willing, no; desperate, to review everything that I needed from a spiritual perspective. To fail this time, with the prize almost in my grasp, was not an option. The alternatives were too terrible to contemplate. But contemplate them I did. And this made my decision simply. But never easy. The consequences of failure were certain to be degradation, isolation, institutionalisation and, if I were lucky, a swift death. What frightened me the most was what the downward spiral into insanity, institutionalisation and death would undoubtedly do to my faithful and long-suffering wife and to my sister, my son and my father and mother. The easy way out was to give in to my demons and to hell with everyone else.

Thankfully, I’ve never been one to take the easy way out of anything. So, I had to accept that I knew nothing. And that I had to be reprogrammed from scratch. This meant it was out with the old words and ways and navigating the tricky path to a whole new paradigm. One where up was left and right was down and the Earth was shaped like a doughnut. Talk about suspending belief. And finding The Restaurant At the End Of The Universe next door to your local Chinese laundry.

What was needed was a vocabulary overhaul, an attitude adjustment of legendary proportions and a blind leap of faith into the abyss. So I ditched the dictionary, altered the altitude and took a Kamikaze leap into uncharted territory. I’ve not been so terrified in my life. I had everything to lose and nothing to lose at the same time.  More on this tomorrow. Thanks for coming by.

Peter Mark Wells-Garnett © 31 March 2017

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