Sunday, June 7, 2009

Steps to Lasting Change

I have had the wonderful opportunity to do counseling work in a substance abuse treatment facility. The most common treatment used in overcoming addiction are the 12 steps, originating from Alcoholics Anonymous. The 12 steps are fantastic and I believe can be applied to a ton of situations. Anytime that people are serious about wanting to change their lives for the better they could look to the 12 steps for a template for that change.

I feel that for the past while, maybe a long while, our government has been addicted to spending and addicted to trying to please the people in the short term rather than thinking about the long term results. The government is addicted to progressivism. And I will ask again the question “progress to what end?” We are addicted to having the government do something, when more often than not, the best answer would be for the government to do nothing.

They have created a messy chaos. I do, however, believe that it can be turned around. But, it is going to take the same kind of commitment that those overcoming addiction must have. We have to remain committed through difficult times, and then remain committed through drastically more difficult times. Overcoming and changing can be a long hard process. But, as anyone who has done so can attest, it will be worth it.

Today I will discuss the first 3 vital steps to overcoming addiction and making real and lasting change.

Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol (or whatever addiction needs changing) – that our lives had become unmanageable.

This is an absolutely essential realization and acceptance that must be made by any individual serious about overcoming their addiction. It is basically recognition that the problems cannot be overcome alone.

I think in a way the United States has realized this. Our government is trying to do all sorts of things to regain control of something they have lost control of. So, if we need more money, by all means let’s just print more money. Or maybe we can just borrow money from China. It turns out China is making all sorts of correct financial moves. The "solutions" that have been drawn up for "fixing" our problems are really kinda nuts.

Instead of trying to solve the problem, by creating more problems, it is time for someone, anyone in the United States government to stand up and say, we cannot do this alone. It has become unmanageable. We are in chaos.

Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

The 12 steps are very spiritual in nature. In order to make a true change we have to not only acknowledge that we cannot do it alone, but also to acknowledge that there is a power greater than us that can help us to do it. There is a higher power that has given us unalienable rights, and can restore us to those rights, back to sanity.

It is high time that the United States of America stop looking for short term answers from finite and unpredictable realms, and start looking to our Creator.

Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him

The first two steps involve recognition, acknowledgment and acceptance. The third step affirms commitment. After accepting that we cannot do it alone, and that there is a power greater than ourselves that can, we than commit to turning our lives over to that Higher Power. The first 3 steps in short are 1) I can’t 2) He can 3) and I’m going to let Him.

This does not mean that the person doing the changing now sits like a bump on a log and waits for God to change everything around him. It is rather a continued reliance on God while we commence the work of changing. By, putting our faith in Him first, our actions can be guided by His infinite wisdom. Our nation’s motto is in fact, “In God We Trust.” That theme is found in the National Anthem’s last verse. And the latest poll I could find, 2003 Gallup, reported that 90% of Americans approve of it being on our coins. We believe it, now we need to live it.

I have seen many instances of these steps making powerful changes in the lives of people. I think we can see examples of it in our nation’s history. Most recently think back to the reaction of the nation’s citizens to the tragedies of September 11th 2001. While everything became stunningly chaotic the nation seemed to draw a collective breath and then opened their mouths and hearts in prayer to God. Because of that He restored us to sanity. We overcame one of the greatest tragedies in our history, not by searching around for finite answers, but by looking to our Creator and trusting in Him and then firmly in His hands moving forward. Today we are in crisis again. Unfortunately too many are looking to the Government for answers instead of to God. But, we must turn to Him and acknowledge His hand in our nation and ask for His help again.

I also would like to point out that these steps were followed by our founding fathers. I have recently read again and again the Declaration of Independence. That document is evidence that these great man first searched for answers, doing sensible things themselves. They sought redress from the oppressive tyrannical British government and were repeatedly abused. They then acknowledged a Higher Power, and the unalienable rights which He had bestowed upon them, upon all of us. Then resolving to separate themselves from their former beloved homeland they “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence” committed to doing so. Their journey to freedom included difficult and what must of seemed insurmountable odds. But, they knew in whom they trusted and continued to move forward, with the result being the birth of this great nation. They led the way for us. The question is can we lead the way for the generations to follow us.

There are many important aspects of the 12 steps. One of them is a seemingly small but far from insignificant word, “we.” This word summarizes the need for unity in overcoming problems. We are the UNITED States of America. We need to stand together firmly committed to making changes. The changes are many, which require our attention. But, they all must be faced with a firm commitment to change. I hope that we can be as serious about change as were our precious founders, and “mutually pledge to each other, our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

God Bless America and Americans


Eve said...

A good commentary but something I'm worried about is that unlike an alcoholic who falls into his mess, I feel like our government, both left and right, is doing this on purpose. When you want something to be a certain way it's not a problem to try to remove yourself from. I know this is not what the American people want so we must show some true tough love and remove those from power who want to drastically change our foundations. We MUST vote out those who have been dragging us down this road for way too long.
Thanks for the inspiring thoughts!

manajordan said...

Amen and Amen. So, when are you running :) You'd get my vote.