Never asked why
The mind is like a parachute, “it works best when opened.”
Recently I learned this lesson — again.
Newcomers I have worked with often want to know why they were alcoholics.
I would say that knowing the ‘why’ of alcoholism was a waste of time. The answer was not important to the solution.
I would usually tell a story to make the point, “thinking about why I was an alcoholic was like the engineer on the Titanic who refused to get off the ship until he understood why the unsinkable Titanic was, in fact, sinking.
“Instead of getting on a lifeboat, he went down below to investigate the problem. It took some time, but he found the answer.
“He was last seen standing on the deck waving at the lifeboats, calling out, ‘come back, I have the answer, I know why it is sinking, come back and get me.’”
That visual often got a chuckle and made the point.
I held the same view for character defects. The why of a character defect is not important; you must see it, stop practicing it, and ask God to remove it. That was my firm opinion.
Then I went to an AA meeting.
One of the fellows shared the importance of understanding ‘why’ he had a particular character defect.
He said, “reflecting on the source, the why, of the defect helped me get rid of it.”
Hearing this opening, I began mentally preparing my Titanic story to push against the idea that it was important to find the ‘why’ of the defect; then, my AA brother changed my mind.
He continued, “I had struggled to resolve the defect. Even with God’s help, I could neither resolve nor remove the defect. But then I tried dissolving, not resolving the defect.
“Eureka, I found the answer. Working with my Higher Power to dissolve the defect was the way to deal with it.
“Once I saw that I had to dissolve the defect, it was simple spiritual chemistry. To dissolve the defect, I had to find the right spiritual solvent; I had to understand the ‘why’ of the defect to find the right spiritual solvent.”
Rather than share my Titanic story, I opened my mental parachute to catch the air and slow my descent.
With my parachute open, I could see that my Titanic story did not have universal application. There was another way of looking at things.
Sometimes it is helpful to ‘consider the source.’
Thank goodness the rip-cord handle on my mental parachute was handy.