Wednesday, January 9, 2013

From 'Fear in a Hat' to Wisdom From the Heart

Gemeinschaft Home
I was quite impressed by a recovery group session with twelve ex-offenders I observed at Gemeinschaft Home yesterday. With some inspirational music playing in the background, program director Kirk Saunders had each participant write some of their biggest fears on a piece of paper, fold it, and then choose one from the "hat" what someone else had written. 

Each person was then to try to understand where that person was coming from and what they were going through. For most, this wasn't hard, as one by one admitted to feeling much the same way as the person whose list they had in their hand. 

A few of the fears were:
"I'm afraid I'll never gain the trust of children or other family members again."

"I'm afraid of dying and never achieving my goal of becoming a sober and responsible person."

"I'm afraid that when I get back to my old environment I'll fall back into my old self-destructive ways."

"I'm afraid of losing my loved ones and never being able to see them again."

What impressed me most was the wealth of wisdom the men expressed as they acknowledged the truth of what they had been learning together, that there is a low cost (and low benefit) way to go forward, and a high cost (and high benefit) path, and that wisdom means learning from mistakes and making sure those mistakes will not have been entirely in vain. 

Another theme I heard was that of recovery requiring constant maintenance to make sure they don't become "good starters but poor finishers." And that of realizing their need for a Power greater than themselves, as well as for the support of good peers with whom to develop accountable relationships in overcoming their addictions.

I was moved by how these ordinary twelve wise men were walking and talking together. It sounded a lot like a recipe for success, for relieving fears and living by faith and courage for the hard journey ahead.
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