From the Daily Reflections of February 23;
Such is the paradox of A.A. regeneration: strength arising out of complete defeat and weakness, the loss of one’s old life as a condition for finding a new one. (AA Comes of Age, page 46).
What glorious mysteries paradoxes are! They do not compute, yet when recognized and accepted, they reaffirm something in the universe beyond human logic. When I face a fear, I am given courage; when I support a brother or sister, my capacity to love myself is increased; when I accept pain as part of the growing experience of life, I realize a greater happiness; when I look at my dark side, I am brought into new light; when I accept my vulnerabilities and surrender to a Higher Power, I am graced with unforeseen strength. I stumbled through the doors of A.A. in disgrace, expecting nothing from life, and I have been given hope and dignity. Miraculously, the only way to keep the gifts of the program is to pass them on.
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I remember in my teen-aged years discovering the existence of paradox. I was amazed at the power of this one grammatical concept that would escort me from the childhood world of absolutes to the esoteric chambers of depth in thought. I even love the structure of the word that begins in the smooth feel of para- like some elegant seductress and ends with the authoritative command of -dox, as a tyrant’s boot slamming onto the floor of a raised stage.
When I walk up to a paradox, the first light of my consciousness only reveals contradictions.
“What a pity that youth must be wasted on the young.” – George Bernard Shaw
“I can resist anything but temptation.”-Oscar Wilde
“Men work together whether they work together or apart.” – Robert Frost
Then I see the secret door they are guarding and I push past them and enter the room to discover a mind altering idea that demands meditation in order to absorb. “She is drowning in the fountain of eternal life.” I push past the horror of impending death and the security of immortality and find hidden away a meditation on obsession.
There are many paradoxes I have been introduced to in the rooms of AA, such as the reality that accepting powerlessness is the first step in becoming powerful. Or that you have to give it away to keep it. Then there is the paradoxical reality that my recovery is a selfish program, and that I must be rid of “this” selfishness or kills me. Most spiritual pursuits are littered with paradoxical roots and the 12 Steps are no different. There is always more depth to discover as I meditate on the mysterious paradoxes of my own recovery.