Not God

A codependent in recovery tells me that once, in utter frustration over how his life was going, he fired his Higher Power.

“Wow,” I reply.  “I guess that makes you the Higher Power.”  I reach over to shake his hand. “Been wanting to meet you.”

He laughs.

But there’s a serious truth buried here.

“The fundamental and first message of Alcoholics Anonymous to its members,” writes Ernest Kurtz, “is that they are not infinite, not absolute, not God. Every alcoholic’s problem has first been claiming God-like powers, especially that of control.”*

All addicts seek control to an unhealthy degree. That’s why the First Step urges them to confront their lack of control (“Admitted we were powerless…”).  Can’t heal addiction otherwise.

So recovery starts with a surrender.  And that’s no less true of control addicts — a.k.a. codependents — most of whom have spent years trying to control the uncontrollable.

It’s why I suggest everyone get into the habit, when stressed, of asking themselves three questions:

What am I trying to control here?

Have I had any success controlling this before?

And if not,

What can I do instead?

Many benefits flow from this sort of self-questioning.

And one is that, the more often you employ it, the clearer it becomes that you’re not God. 

 

_________________________

*Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous by Ernest Kurtz (Hazelden Press, 1979).

 

 

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4 responses to “Not God

  • Eunice

    Excellent post Steve

  • Al

    Hi Steve
    As ever, I find your posts actually stay in my mind and I remember them, when I need them…wow. Yes, they sit in my mind and have a knack of popping up at relevant points! Brilliant, no idea how, don’t care, it works!
    Also, have read the book Not God by Ernest Kurtz and his small book Shame versus Guilt. Found it very helpful, like your blog, stays with me.
    Al

    • Steve Hauptman

      That’s the sort of thing clients sometimes say (“I heard your voice in my head”), and I take it as a great compliment. Thanks, Al.

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