I want to begin by saying that the principles behind 12-Step Recovery programs are sound. It is those who persist in community, who support and accept one another “just where you are” and “just as you are” that make it. And by “making it,” I mean that they prevail and live to improve and grow their lives. It’s not that they become perfect, but that when they do fall — in thought or in action — they have a place where they can pick up again and continue the journey toward self-knowledge and the recovery of a solitary life lived in community.
It’s like a family should be. I’ve heard it said that family is the place where they have to let you in. I like that. Another favorite from a children’s animated film my daughters used to watch, Lilo and Stitch, is that “Family means that no one gets left
behind.” I like that, too.
That’s what 12-step recovery is like — never getting left behind. The problem is not
the 12-step community, its principles or its promises — those are very sound and
effective. The problem is the insanity principle, and the truth behind it.
You see, in 12-step environments, insanity has a very specific definition that is also
used out in the world quite often to make a point. That is, “Insanity is doing the
same thing the same way as before and expecting different results.” ~ Albert Einstein. Action equals response. If you don’t change the environment and you don’t change the action, the results will always be similar.
We are familiar with our past actions — we are comfortable knowing that we can
survive the outcome since we survived it before — yet when we still don’t receive the joy we are searching for by doing the same things in the same ways, we become perplexed,
frustrated, angry and resentful. That’s when our subconscious minds kick in and that
emotional response becomes our pattern and our program.
Let me explain. Whenever you add emotion to repetition of action, you get an
emotional program at the subconsious level. Enough of these repeated patterns with
emotional charges and you form a belief — not because you choose to believe that
way, but because the subconscious mind is doing its job, keeping you safe.
About a year ago I was pondering this 12-step definition of insanity, and when I
applied the principle of Faster EFT, that “there are no broken people; we
successfully create everything we experience in our bodies and in our lives,” then I
had an “ah-ha” moment. That’s when I realized that if we “Always think what we’ve
always thought, we ONLY get what we’ve already got!”
Recently, I had this realization affirmed while listening to another quote by Albert Einstein about our thoughts. To paraphrase, “You cannot solve a problem using the same thinking that got you into the problem. You must think differently to find a real solution.” It is the same.
As I sit here in my grandmother’s chair this morning, turning over the emotions about family, distance, success and struggle in my mind, I am thankful for my Faster EFT principles, and the understanding that I can break the unconscious patterns in my mind when they state, “This is just like before. You really should give up, believe you have made no progress. In fact you’re going backwards, because this time is worse than before.” For even though the words are there, some consciously and some only as my fingers now stroke the keyboard and they are exposed, the emotion is not. I am calm. I am eager to see what newness is coming into my life. I am ready to head downstream into a place I’ve not yet been, and just experience the journey through it, without believing it is forever or that nothing will ever change for the
better. My emotions just don’t register that reality any more. I’ve “tapped it out.”
It’s good to be beyond the 12th Step, no longer announcing to myself and to the world
that “I am ‘this or that malfunction’.” It’s good to find wholeness and peace, and a belief that I’m here for the journey, and not just the destinations along the way. And that’s another good quote to end on as I reflect on the travels of my life’s time, both past and future: “Take what you like, and leave the rest.”