Participants of long term recovery seem to understand better than most that their problem is one of self. They learn to identify and claim the various ways their selfishness has caused problems and they are clearly working to figure out how to live differently. This is a practical way to talk about our lack of self-awareness and helps us understand better why other people get so agitated with us. Here is a quote from Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions that speaks to how selfishness can complicate our faith journey:
“Like all the remaining Steps, Step Three calls for affirmative action, for it is only by action that we can cut away the self-will which has always blocked the entry of God - or, if you like, a Higher Power - into our lives. Faith, to be sure, is necessary, but faith alone can avail nothing. We can have faith, yet keep God out of our lives. Therefore our problem now becomes just how and by what specific means shall we be able to let Him in? Step Three represents our first attempt to do this. In fact, the effectiveness of the whole A.A. program will rest upon how well and earnestly we have tried to come to ‘a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.’ “ Anonymous
Today, research helps explain WHY we act in ways that are not in our best interest. That knowledge is in danger of turning into an excuse unless we add to that information the awareness that for all intents and purposes, the world sees us as selfish and self-centered. They do not much care WHY, they want to know WHEN we are going to get our act together.
...I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse. Choose life so that you and your children will live. And love God, your God, listening obediently to him, firmly embracing him.
~ Deuteronomy 30:19 The Message
The decision before us is one that will begin a lifelong process of surrendering to the will of a God we cannot see. This God has no doubt been misrepresented to us at times; other times we have closed our ears and hearts to him. I particularly appreciate words spoken by a man describing his own recovery experience. “Take all the ideas that you have about spirituality, religion, about God, about a whole bunch of stuff and just put them over here, forget them for a while.” He is asking us to get curious. An impaired brain is not conducive to curiosity, so this is part of what we will trust God to do in and through and with us. This is not easy, but neither is living as a hostage in our own brain.