Insights and Inspirations
Christian Twelve Step Recovery
By David Zailer
The Men and Women of Operation Integrity
Chapter Four Segment Three
We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
“People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives.”
-Proverbs 16:2 NLT
“Whatever games are played with us, we must play no games with ourselves, but deal in our privacy with the last honesty and truth.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Who’s to Blame?
Life is hard. Troubles come at us from every direction. Sometimes our troubles appear to be so big that it feels as if life itself is conspiring against us, keeping us from succeeding in the most important areas of our lives.
Perhaps more than most, people who struggle with addiction know what it’s like to feel as if God and the whole world are against them. Sometimes, we can even get a strange and sick kind of satisfaction from feeling this way. Succumbing to self-pity is an unhealthy way of trying to escape the reality of how we have lived irresponsibly. This is because when we are under the influence of self-pity, we alter the way we feel, all in a delusional attempt to sidestep the deep interpersonal convictions of truth that we do not want to face. Usually we won’t directly tell others about the perceived injustices that we think that God, and life, have imposed on us. It’s more likely that we’ll just go through our days with a negative disposition, politely mentioning the undeserved troubles that we have. It is common to blame God for things that are not his fault, and as part of our Step Four inventory, we need to understand how we have blamed God for our troubles in the past. We need to get honest about this. Everyone blames God for something, and we certainly are no exception.
We know that God is all powerful but at the same time it is critical that we understand that He is not all controlling. God creates people, not robots. He creates us with the dignity and the ability to make choices. Then the choices that we make impact our life and the lives of others. The effects of some choices will be good and others will be not so good. The choices that people make, and their effects, are not God’s responsibility. The relevant question for us is this: How can we cooperate with God in such a way that the bad things that have happened to us in the past can become things that are good for us today and in the future? For you see, in the past we have been our own worst enemy. In using self-pity and self-delusion, we have conspired against ourselves. In the past we would rather blame someone else for our troubles than to change ourselves and the way we live. We’ve hurt ourselves in ways that no one else could ever do. Remember, after all, that addiction is a self-assault.
Seeing things from God’s point of view, we’ll begin to recognize that God’s plan for our lives is a kind of conspiracy, too. It is the conspiracy of grace and love. Scripture reveals how God has planned and intended, conspired that is, to bring all people into a relationship with Him. This is the greatest conspiracy of all time. The only one that will succeed, forever. It is ongoing. No one can stop it or defeat it. In the end, no one will doubt that God’s love will rule. For us, the only thing in doubt is whether we are ready and willing to act in a manner that will help us experience God’s love in the here and now.
As we work through this section of questions, let’s look at how we have inhibited God’s love in our lives. We all have blamed God for things that were not his fault. He knows it and He is not holding it against us today. This is our chance to get in better touch with our inner reality and in so doing we’ll get in touch with God in a more honest and realistic way.
Let’s Get Real
What difficulties do you have that cause you to blame God?
How have you expressed unwarranted pride and anger when people and the world did not cooperate with your plans?
How have you tried to manipulate your feelings through self-pity?
How and when and with whom do you feel excluded and deprived?
When did you first think that you may have an addiction?
Who hurt you? Was it parents, other family members, people from church or school, neighbor, enemy, friend?
How have you blamed God for the hurt that others have done to you?
How have you violated or objectified others sexually, personally or socially?
How have you defied your spiritual convictions as a result of your addictions?
Who is the target of your jealousy and why?
How have you been greedy?
How has your addiction affected your relationship with God?
How have you been determined to get your own way?
How have you confused God with church?
How have you confused religious activity with an intimate relationship with God?
When and why do you feel self-pity?
What do you feel guilty about?
Why do you lie?
Copyright David Zailer, 2008
24040 Camino del Avion #A115
Monarch Beach CA 92629