LIVING THE PARADOX
1. A seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true.
2. One exhibiting inexplicable or contradictory aspects.
3. An assertion that is essentially self-contradictory, though based on a valid deduction from acceptable premises.
I love the paradoxes I have found in the Alcoholics Anonymous program. I find mystery in paradox and mystery is beautiful. There is mystery everywhere: in the power of God that releases alcoholics from the bondage of alcohol, in the total understanding one alcoholic can impart to another suffering alcoholic (even a total stranger), and in the "coincidences" (God things) that occur at just the perfect moments to guide and lead us. In AA, these things happen all the time. What an incredible way to live.
The very first paradox was the overwhelming victory over alcohol I experienced as a result of admission of total defeat by alcohol. I was 100% convicted of alcoholism with a punishment of loss of everything dear in life, possible early death, and no possibility of parole. Nothing prepared me for the idea that anything good could come out of such a total failure. Yet, when I finally "gave up" and admitted my inability to stay sober, God intervened on my behalf and did for me what I was unable to do for myself. I stayed sober from that moment on. Triumph over alcohol was possible when I stepped aside and let God in.
I believed the very worst thing had happened to me - I had become an alcoholic. I found that totally unacceptable. I felt this was an unforgivable weakness. I had no strength to battle alcohol. I had nothing, I was nothing. Yet another paradox emerged. Working the AA program: working and living the 12 steps, growing relationships with other recovering people, going to meetings, all led to the emergence of a great inner strength I had never possessed. I found that my greatest weakness produced an unbelievable strength. I have no need to drink today, alcohol holds no power over me, I can deal with situations that in the past I would have run from, and I can effectively share my experience, "strength", and hope with others.
Another paradox that remains a mystery to me, but I'm convinced of, is that I have to give away the gifts I have received in the AA program in order to keep them. I certainly thought that if I had something, gave it away, then I would no longer possess it. RIGHT? Seems perfectly logical! But, no, this spiritual program works in a spiritual way. What God has given me, when I give it away, I not only keep it, but it is actually multiplied. What a marvel.
I love paradox. I love mystery. I love AA.