March 18, 2016
Our topic last Friday was Step 4 and the spiritual principle of courage: "Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves."
"To laugh is to risk appearing a fool,
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement,
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return,
To live is to risk dying,
To hope is to risk despair,
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow,
But he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live.
Chained by his servitude he is a slave who has forfeited all freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.
The pessimist complains about the wind;
The optimist expects it to change;
And the realist adjusts the sails."
- William Arthur Ward
"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are." -E.E. Cummings
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." - Ambrose Redmoon
"When we were using, it was easy to think the whole world was against us. We know that's not true today, but it's still easy to slip into self-pity and not have the courage to look at things as they really are. Luckily though, we have friends to help us with this. They care enough to help us honestly confront our self pity. They can help us look at our own behavior courageously and find the real basis of our problems; we can learn to accept life as it comes and have the courage to deal with it sober. With our new selves, our friends, and our Higher Power we can be brave and take on what life has to offer." - NA Daily Reader (March 9)
This is, of course, a topic that is relevant not just when doing Step 4 but everyday, one day at a time. We must have the courage to change, the courage to stay, the courage to live, risk, and love.
We began our group with a brief video from The Wizard of Oz. We started by talking about the Lion and how he considered himself a coward who needed courage, but he actually acted courageously a few times before he even saw the wizard. It seems he simply needed the love and encouragement from those around him – his friends. He had courage, but he just didn't know it. Sound familiar?
We then asked a few questions:
- "Where does courage come from and how do you find it?
- "What is courage to you?"
- "How can you help another feel courageous?"
- "What are some of the fears you must face courageously?"
Some answers included:
- "Being honest and finally growing up takes courage."
- "Apologizing to my family and beginning my amends took courage."
- "It takes courage not just coming here (to Caron Renaissance), but staying here."
They expressed some of their fears: “Losing things I hold most dear, not ever finding happiness, the future, making decisions, change, trusting."
We heard a beautiful song by Switchfoot called "Twenty Four" which offers a message about failure - that there is no failure, that the most important thing is getting back up and reaching out and in to G-d (Spirit)… that we are never ever alone.
I played another YouTube video of a little girl attempting her first ski jump - she is so scared! If you listen closely you can hear her little friend and her instructor encouraging her. "Go ahead... you got this... you'll do fine... the longer you wait, the more scared you’ll be." The patients really loved this video. I think they could reflect on the power of encouragement and how much love and friends can help us find our strength and courage.
The last video I played was one shared by a patient. She told us how much it moved her. It is a drama skit by the Baltimore Mission to a song by Lifehouse called "Everything" and it made many of us cry. It’s a powerful visual of how our pain and addictions break us, how difficult it is to fight our way back and find our way back, but we can and we will. G-d is always waiting to help us, protect us, comfort us, and love us no matter what.
So, where does your courage come from?
Our group decided it comes from: Higher Power (G-d), sponsors, therapists, family, friends, other people in "the rooms" of AA and NA, nature, and LOVE.
Blessed are we.
Reverend Laurie Durgan