I believe this sentiment wholeheartedly. I think Mr. Maslow is correct.
But at the same time there is a grandeur to this idea that feels almost too elevated for my life, day in and day out. Perhaps stronger people, more driven, more impassioned, more... something... can do this 'again and again' on their own.
I can't. Some days I need help.
The great lesson I've learned in AA is that it is foolish for me to try to do it all on my own. Sometimes I need a little inspiration, or example, or guidance or assistance.
Sometimes to choose again and again I need to ask God, as I understand God, for help, and then accept it in whatever form it is offered. As the old expression goes, "Sometimes God works through the people around me."
(Though sometimes that, too, is an 'again and again' I need help with. Sometimes I even need help accepting help.)
Of course, as I reread what I've written, and reconsider Dr. Maslow's quote, I realize that he didn't even suggest I had to do it all on my own. That's just how I heard it.
My alcoholic thinking conflates 'powerless' with 'helpless.' When it comes to dealing with my alcoholism I am powerless. I am without power. But I am not helpless. I am not without help.
In AA meetings this isolative mechanism -- this alcoholic thinking which unconsciously and reflexively clouds my vision and casts me as a man alone -- is often revealed to me through listening to other people speak and share.
I still need meetings because on my own I make things harder for myself without even realizing I'm doing it.
(The first impediment to authentic faith: Mocking the process. I always get my back foot caught trying to clear that hurdle.)
"I surrender again. Really. I can't. Here. Take it."
And I began reading from The List In My Head.
The List contains all the things that I want
to surrender but
I am afraid to.
The List is like a collection of fears and doubts about
all the stuff
I can't live without
or think I have to have,
that I have to figure out
how to keep or get
"if I only manage well."
It doesn't help
or it doesn't matter
that the list is reasonable:
health shelter sustenance the ability to
make my way in the world yet again.
"I surrender. Again."
I want to use The List's very reasonableness as a bargaining chip,
"Come on, it's not like I'm asking for THIS, I'm just asking for this,
You should accommodate me."
Apparently that's not how it works because
if it did I would have been
performance art surrender,
the surrender which contains the tiny hidden tumor of
The "Okay, okay, NOW I surrender.
So... since I did... now I get what I'm asking for, yes?"
that doesn't work, either,
Because if it did, well,
So I lay there in the dark, and I closed my eyes,
and I paused in my List to let all the
weird purple swirls behind my eyelids
and then I pictured an altar with a fire.
And I went down the List, and with each item I said
"Take it. Take it." and I fed it to the fire.
"I'm afraid I'll lose the apartment, and I'll have to move, or worse, but... Your will be done. Take it. Take it."
and WHOOSH I fed it into the fire.
"The job interview. Even just... the job... Your will be done. Take it. Take it."
WHOOSH I fed it to the fire.
"My bum foot... my health... Your will take it take it."
WHOOSH fed to the fire.
"My relationship. Your will. Take it."
The long list of petty and grand fears and hopes and expectations and then
"Your will. Your will."
My spirituality can slide pretty easily into superstition, which is just the frightened part of me trying to find the recipe for how to get God to do what I want. Along with that is the fear that if I surrender something -- truly surrender it -- then the worst possible outcome -- the outcome I fear most -- has now been given cosmic "permission" to manifest.
Which is not just trying to manipulate God, it's trying to play God too.
It would be so great to be able to write here,
to share with you,
that after this burning prayer I felt that "great clean wind of a mountain top blowing through and through."
An impact sudden and profound.
But my List is long, (I can be very frightened, sometimes)
and I fell asleep as I offered it,
WHOOSH WHOOSH hush
and dreamed of clean flames and great love and things I won't share here.
It's never too late to start: Sobriety, recovery... saving your life from the hundred ways addicts -- and humans -- try to hurt ourselves.
If you are brand new, or it's early days for you, remember, you don't have to live that way anymore. It's said often enough to taste a little like a cliche, but that doesn't make it any less authentic a statement for all of that.
And if you've been at the rodeo for a while, and that secret you've been keeping is about to make you explode, or it's pretty dark and you wonder if you're worth saving after all, remember, you don't have to drink to start over.
It's never too late to start where you are.
To use what you have.
And to do what you can.
Plus, because you're in AA, you don't even have to do it alone.
I love the AsapSCIENCE Channel on YouTube. They put together quick, smart-but-easy-to-follow videos on a huge variety of science-related subject matter. Very recently they did one on "The Scientific Power of Meditation:"
The video is all of three minutes and two seconds long. Well worth the time.
One of my big take-aways:
"... studies found that after 8 weeks of a meditation program gray matter was more dense in areas associated with learning, memory processing and emotion regulation, and yet the amygdala which deals with stress, blood pressure and fear had decreased gray matter..."
The Eleventh Step says "Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him..." It does not say "Sought through prayer and meditation except when we think we can't sit still, don't have time or secretly think we'll be bored..."
Bust yourself on your bullshit, find a meditation practice and get started. There is not an alcoholic -- hell, there is not a person -- to be found who has a regular practice who doesn't name it as an incredibly powerful healing and transformational tool.