In 12-Step Recovery, we read a portion of Chapter five of the Big Book called “How it works”. The last sent from that passage is something I think many overlook its significance for the healing process to gel. While I don’t intend to slap you in the face to set in stone the importance of this sentence, I let you know that it has been a cornerstone in my healing practice over the last ten years of Recovery.
(c) That God could and would if He were sought.
Typically most of us first come across the word ‘sought’ at an early age, but in the present tense when we are introduced to a game called Hide and Seek. In this game, one person turns around and closes their eyes, and counts down from ten to zero while the other children go and try and hide. The blind counter eventually gets to zero and hollers out, “ready or not, here I come!”. At that point, the counter attempts to find all of his/her peers hidden throughout the house or park. When I was selected as the person who had to count and seek, I would often give up fairly quickly if I couldn’t find everyone after only a couple of minutes of searching. I would pout and totally give up on playing the game anymore.
Then as we go on in life we come across new challenges when it comes to the word, when we are greeted with on special occasions like Easter. Mom and Dad would hide candy throughout the house and then task us with finding all the goodies they had hid throughout the house once we woke up. As a child, candy is the closest thing to cocaine, and needless to say, there was are ecstatic vibe pumping through my veins on those days. I would rip through the house in hopes of finding my score, but, after say five minutes of seeking, I would once again give up and starting asking for clues to help me find what we are looking for. Eventually, if this process took more than a couple more minutes of seeking I would give up.
As we got older some of us were are lucky enough to have our parents buy us a puppy when they thought we were up for the task of looking after a pet. This was our first real experience with responsibility in life and we really felt like we were leveling up when we were trusted with our new furry friends. But, eventually, as with all pets, they escape. We that happens we frantically drop everything and begin searching the neighborhood in hopes of finding them. Sometimes it can take hours before we eventually find them, and every once in a while we have to look all day and night, and still, the animal is nowhere to be seen. We then put up posters, and notify all our friends and neighbors that our pet is missing. It is at this point in life where we really get serious about this word ‘sought’.
For those of us in Recovery or really any religion, we are tasked indefinite life-goal of establishing and improving upon a relationship with the creator of all things? How serious should we then get about this seeking process now? If we were to do a quick audit of our day and outline exactly how much time we dedicated towards God would it be similar to how much time I spent trying to find my friends playing Hide and Seek, or would it be more in line with that time I lost my pet Scruffy?
In Recovery, we are told that God is the one who is supposed to remove these character defects that distance us from peace, joy, freedom, and a life which many claim to be living that far exceeds their imagination. If this is actually the case, wouldn’t this call for an even more intense effort than if we were trying to find a lost pet? I mean, animals are great, but they are rather limited in their ability to pay for your mortgage, drive you to work, or create new behaviors and thought patterns that can lead you to freedom from the bondage of self.
So the next time you are feeling distant from God, you might take some time to honestly assess how much of your life-force you are actually dedicating to that relationship.