I receive many outreach calls from my various 12-step programs, but I have to be careful of my time and my energy because most calls I get are from people who want to share the mess, not the message, and after a few minutes, I find them draining. They want to go on and on about their problems, and then make a perfunctory inquiry about my life, but they don’t want to work the program. Work means freedom, but they aren’t working the 12 Steps and so they’re not free. They’re just a whirlpool going down and they’ll take me with them if I let them.
I got a ton of clarity from tackling various step one work sheets. When I wrote out my answers to dozens of questions about how my addictions had hurt my life, I saw things like never before. I could see my compulsions hovering over me like eagles ready to strike. When I then shared my answers with my sponsor, I got even more clarity because his presence and his questions helped me to see things I couldn’t see on my own. We excavated so we could renovate and build me a new life.
Clarity for me came well before the strength of character to live out my truth. I sometimes see things I need to do, people I need to block from my life, well before I have the inner resources to act.
Still, despite my frailties, the more clear I am, the more decisively I tend to act, and to let people know quickly that I’m available to talk about the message but not the mess.
The more clarity I have, the more energy I have. The more recovery I have, the more clarity I have. The more clarity, energy and recovery I have, the less I have to agonize about things. People are less of a mystery to me. If I don’t understand someone, I know the odds are that they are either lying to me or manipulating me (often unconsciously).
When you have clarity, you naturally tend to cut through life like a hot knife through warm butter. Clarity naturally leads to productivity and away from dissolution. Clarity doesn’t make you good but it sure helps you accomplish your goals. Clarity may not make you strong, but it sure feels that way. Your life feels like you are skating on ice. Swoosh! You get up every day and you launch and things come much easier than when you were muddled.
I love watching the way successful people walk and talk. I love watching how they keep their desks. Because they have clarity and strength, they tend to give a quick yes or no or I’ll get back to you later. They don’t get sucked into other people’s problems where they have no control. They don’t get distracted from their vision. The more intelligent they are, the more clearly they see the future and the more focused they are on putting first things first.
My desire to be nice often hinders me from living my vision. I have clarity but lack the strength of character to always live my clarity. I often see that I want to avoid a person but lack the balls to tell them bluntly that I can’t help. About half the people I encounter are toxic and just like you don’t want to put toxic food in your cupboard, you don’t want to allow toxic people into your life. Sometimes they are unavoidable, but when I am clear about my vision, I can smile at everyone and keep moving away from trouble and towards my goals. Clarity is energy. Vision is energy. Humility equals living in reality. Humiliation is being caught avoiding reality. Upset is what happens when I deny some aspect of reality. Resentment blocks me off from the sunlight of the spirit.
If you are an addict like me, you know there’s a sword dangling above your head at all times, and it is only through developing your spiritual life, your transcendent purpose of service to others, that you can avoid the catastrophes that come from untreated compulsions. On the other hand, if you are working your program, there’s no place you can’t go so long as you have a good reason for being there.