Haven’t you noticed that seeking "acceptance" from page 417 requires that you keep returning to it? What’s up with that? Can we really experience acceptance from an inexhaustible source within ourselves and not from limited outside sources?
Recently we were discussing page 417, the “Acceptance” page from the stories in the back of the Big Book, and a friend told me,
"That's the only page I was shown out of our book in all five of my rehabs".
That is thoroughly believable. The Page 417 theme, as commonly interpreted, is non threatening, ego- inflating and self-centered. For the typically self-absorbed, narcissistic personality type of the common alcholic? Perfect!
“Feel-good" pursuits and hypnotic gadgets like page 417 are the tools of the rehabs. The author, Dr O. would be appalled. Find such a device in the back of the BIG BOOK and viola! "It must be AA" and so "See how we love AA?” As for the actual directions in the Book? Not so much.
My friends problem is a well established one in the treatment business.
Rehabs and treatment facilities do not make money by rehabilitating alcoholics and addicts. (What? Did you think “non-profit” meant “doesn’t make money?” Not true. An organization is ‘non-profit” in order to make MORE money than a ‘for profit’ corporation would under the same business model – not less money. “Nonprofit” is a corporate designation for IRS corporate tax filing purposes. In other words: They don’t pay any! They get to keep it -- and to spend it. It is not a declaration of charitableness or altruism. More on that in a future article.)
Many substance abuse treatment facilities, rehabs and the like, make their money marketing a product. That product is a synthetic, man-made form of confidence called ‘self-esteem.’
Separate a client from his substance for a spell allowing his body to detoxify – re-pump him up with enough man-made, self-esteem and false hope, and then clients can re-enter the world for a short spell, making what at first appears to be a new life. Their obsession to use or drink is not resolved. It is temporarily anesthetized.
Until the anesthesia (‘esteem’ ) wears off. Then its relapse and back to the mill again. And again. and again.
Of God-provide “esteem”, called confidence, there is an inexhaustible supply, but ‘self installed’ esteem has a very short shelf life. The people who show us how to give it to ourselves become our Gods when we have to rely upon them for our self-image – an image that we have not earned for real.
Then we are screwed.
But ‘self-esteem’ is appealing. It feels so dammed good. It is every bit as conscience numbing as a shot of booze, the pull off a stem or a fat hit in the vein of pure dope. Every bit and then some! It is very powerful stuff and it is a substitute for the original ‘drug of choice”. To the extent that rehabs do not provide the REAL answer but only a new alternative drug, called “self-esteem” (temporary), the solution they dispense is just as deadly, especially considering that it prevents the client from getting to a real solution to the cause of the problem: God separation. And that is all it is.
At all cost – treatment facilities and their cult following alumni in church basements, posing as AA members, MUST redirect the attention of the alcoholic AWAY from the idea that his obsession originates in spiritual sickness created by his separation from God. He must forget, or even better, never discover that the solution to his problem is spiritual wellness – a reconnecting to God. They must reorder the priorities of the recovery process to emphasize recovery tools, devices and techniques that will not work. They must because if the truth about obsession were found out, they would lose their power over the individual. God MUST NOT be the answer. Rehab provided "Acceptance" is. How tragic a philosophy.
The recovery industry is designed to produce failure. There. I said it. This is absolutely true and it can be proven. Just look at their "success rates". If they were delivering automobiles the Attorneys General would have shut them down decades ago. And they are getting worse, not better.
Unless an alcoholic can be convinced that his happiness depends on him finding strength and solution in the people who provide him with a way to wrest ‘self-esteem' out life - that he will fail to stay sober and he will fail them, they will lose their power over him. This is what rehabs do. It is their MO.
This this is also what some AA’s think is an acceptable form of treatment for alcoholism (Because they bring that self -reliance mindset with them out of the rehabs and into their meetings.)
It is not treatment. It is a blatant and gross mistreatment of the alcoholic.You can hear this kind of thinking in AA meetings in terms of enslavement like, “You people keep me sober” and “ Meeting makers make it” and just about every other slogan imaginable having absolutely no basis whatsoever in the freeing spiritual solutions proposed in the Big Books Twelve Steps.
There are many other examples too but sticking with “ACCEPTANCE”, let’s look at this deadly little nugget.
Acceptance is a 'symptom' of awakening and conscious contact. It isn't a route to it. It is a cruel hoax to direct someone to it, as such.
It’s like the lyrics of the silly song "Don't Worry. Be Happy". It’s great to be happy but the songwriter doesn't tell us HOW to stop worrying or HOW to find happiness. It is very similar to the eclectic religions, cults of the world and even growing New Thought subcultures inside the AA Fellowship that preach and preach or teach and make all sorts of spiritual noises but do not really show anyone HOW to get there.
That is because they do not know. No idea. All hat and no cattle.
Wishing it was so, like positive thinking, prayer and meditating for “Bliss” or any outcome -- are all acts of human will - something entirely divergent from the ancient Judeo -Christian spiritual principles proposed by the co-authors of the Big Book – which is “Let go. Let God.”
To seek "Acceptance" first and not God first, guarantees we will never experience that peaceful “symptom” of God connection – which some term as “Acceptance.”
It is an expression of the Grace experience, being in the sunlight of the spirit, however you phrase it.
When people are seeking “acceptance” what they are really seeking is relief from the pain they feel caused by their inability to develop a manner of living that protects them from resentment. They feed on it and then pay the price in fear and worry - anxiety, depression. This is where all bi-polar disorders and addictive, obsessive behaviors come from.
It is amazing how much “acceptance” would come upon us if we won a million dollars in a lottery. That’s because what we so often think of as acceptance is really not so much a spiritual yearning at all, but a selfish craving for relief from of the conflicted soul.
So how to really find acceptance?
First and foremost is STOP READING PAGE 417! It isn’t there. That’s Dr. Paul O’s experience – you aren’t going to get it by assimilation. Turning page 417 into a mantra, hoping to find the relief you thought was “Acceptance” is exactly what has prevented you from ever attaining it. It's stealing.
Dr O did not find acceptance by reading page a 417 or a 449 or ANY page of ANY book. There was no Acceptance page for him to latch and suckle as if it were some kind of spiritual teat, the way so many of us do with some of our Big Book stories.
You’ll just have to get off your ass and do what he did instead. That means have a spiritual awakening.
Find God first by developing resilience against the God separating powers of judgment laden resentment. That’s it. It’s that simple.
Resentment is the primary offender-killer and from it germinates every single form of spiritual illness known to mankind. All of them. Find the answer to resentment and "Acceptance" is automatic.
If we were resilient to the negative forces which we know to be resentment we would never experience a need for acceptance. We’d already have it.
We would already be at peace with the world. It is only because we have no means for maintaining our resilience to the barrage of irritation, hostility, anger and fears, and the conflict and pain those bring that we crave relief. We call that relief ACCEPTANCE. It reduces what we think is a spiritual pursuit, to a selfish and self-centered game of ‘relief’ seeking.
Peace and Love,
Danny S - RLRA
Real Live Recovered Alcoholic