die to the Self
Alcoholics and Drug Addicts must die to the Self to experience a rebirth. This is critical to the condition of sustainable sobriety.
Recently, I attended a meeting in Beverly Hills, which has become my favorite meeting of the week.
By Ashley D.
There was a share that was very poignant to me, in which a person said that they did their inventory three times- the first was a total gloss over, the second was a little more honest, and the third was the whole truth.
Until he read the third and honest one, he was suffering. And once he read that third one, he felt a freedom that he had never known before. He said he “finally died to himself.”
I love that. Truly, when we alcoholics fully surrender, we do die. We become willing to let go of everything we have come to identify as ourselves.
And for those of us who are filled with self loathing and regret (and I have yet to meet any alcoholics and drug addicts who aren’t), this brings a great sense of relief and liberation. We don’t have to be that way ever again.
Moreover, what struck me when that guy said that is that we can’t die ‘part of the way,’ we don’t die ‘a little.’ We can’t die just ’80 percent’. We have to die completely. So when any of us try to hold a little back, just in case, we are not surrendered.
Half measures avail us nothing. I’ve seen it hundreds of times, where alcoholics and drug addicts show up and do the work, go to meetings, and do almost everything they are supposed to do- but they keep a reserve of self. They keep a nickel in their back pocket. They won’t give something up.
There is a lot of surrendering to do in sobriety- like little deaths, killing the ego. And, as they say, “a hero dies a thousand deaths”. This couldn’t be more true. Sobriety IS heroic.
And there are opportunities for surrender nearly every day.
In that dying to self, there is a rebirth. I felt that, I absolutely did. When I gave up myself as I knew myself to be, I was able to be reborn. Having grown up on Holy Roller Southern Baptism, the word ‘reborn’ has some frightening references for me. But there is no other word for it.
Its like the old city had to burn down to the ground before I could start construction on the new one. What I also came to understand is that the self is then sort of like the Undead- it keeps trying to climb up out of its crypt. It takes vigilance to keep that sucker underground, where it belongs.
Like a vampire, it is allergic to the Sunlight of the Spirit. When we get dark in our heads and in our hearts, we give power to the Undead in us, to the old ways of being that will surely be our doom. We are just one drink away from the Final Curtain. So our job is to shine.
For alcoholics and drug addicts, the choice between happy, joyous, and free or jails, institutions, and death boils down to exactly this. Keep shining.
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