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He knew he was right


 
A friend in Program says:

A well-known Victorian author from England, famous for his novels of clerical and political life, also wrote two novels that bear strongly on the issues of desire and denial. His novel on desire follows the fortunes of a man who is a financial trader, the empire he builds, its collapse, and the effect on other, quite ordinary people who have been swept along in the belief that it is possible to get something for nothing. The other novel was recently dramatized on public television and is quite different. It tells of a man -- ordinary in many ways -- who becomes so convinced of the supposed impropriety of his wife's behavior that he breaks from her, takes their son from her, moves to Italy, and subsequently dies on the return journey to England after a half-hearted reconciliation.

The horror of the story is of course its treatment of Louis's mania -- all too familiar to those of us who are addicts in any way. Its tracing of the slow destruction of his life -- and all at his own behest -- still has the ability to fascinate and appal us.

Between them, these two novels -- the first very well-known, the second less so -- depict for us two temptations that can be associated as strongly with Steps 10, 11 and 12 as with anything else in our lives. The first is that it is possible to derive the benefits of the last three Steps without any meaningful work on our part -- that somehow it is possible to obtain spiritual results for nothing. The second is that we can become so locked into so-called "recovery" based solely on the first nine Steps that we never even attempt the spiritual journey of Steps 10, 11 and 12. We remain in Steps 1 thru 9 because "we know we are right." "Knowing" is generally a bad sign for recovering addicts. We seem to do rather better when we don't know -- when we are open to new spiritual possibilities in our recovery.

"The spiritual life is never one of achievement:
it is always one of letting go."

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