Step 4: As Long As You’re Green You’re Growing…

As soon as you’re ripe, you rot. There’s a lot of ripe ones out there!

I was well into my rot when I was motivated enough by the stench and the pain of addiction, to seek help. I’ve still got some moldy spots, but unlike produce, I can choose to cut away the bad bits and keep on growing. That’s what the Steps have taught me.

I’ve been asked, “Why would anyone do the Steps, anyway? Why not just quit drinking (smoking, drugging, obsessing, enabling, fixing…) Well, why? I recently read the answer in a friend’s post* and fortunately for you, it’s short: people do the steps because they’re ready to change the kind of person they are. It’s really that simple.

Know how you can tell the ones that aren’t ready? They go back to their addiction or obsession or they just keep talking the talk and don’t ever get around to Step 4 and 5. That causes a fair amount of confusion for newbies. This isn’t a program of meetings, service and talk. That would be service clubs, civic organizations and church. This is a 12 Step program. Always was.

Even the newbies can tell the 12 Steps aren’t for wimps, for fakers, for those with masks. The Steps are for the rigorously honest, painfully humbled, seekers. I love the people who work the program as it was intended. I can’t get enough of what they have! They’re so transformed that old acquaintances hardly recognize them because they continue their self-searching as prescribed in Step 10. They also rely on the wisdom of regularly trimming back their rotted bits with a trusted friend.

As we have seen, self-searching is the means by which we bring new vision, action, and grace to bear upon the dark and negative side of our natures. It is a step in the development of that kind of humility that makes it possible for us to receive God’s help. Yet it is only a step. We will want to go further. We will want the good that is in us all, even in the worst of us, to flower and to grow. ~ Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, 2012, p 98

You know the difference between the dead blossom and a bulb of new fruit pushing up through the dried up husk of the old blossom? That’s it. Growth.

The steps are not something that I hold out like a prize, or do once and then I’m done. I get no diploma, no certificate. I know I”m never going to be done working my program. It’s who I am, what I do and what I will continue to do because I’m going to keep whittling away at the reasons I drank in the first place. I’m going to unveil the untruths that made me want to numb and escape. I celebrate once in a while when I recognize growth, but I don’t rest.

We’re not there yet and we’re never going to be there. We will never arrive because if we believe we’ve arrived, we are starting to deny reality again. It’s true. As long as you’re green, you’re growing; as soon as you’re ripe, you rot.

~ *The post by Marc is from the book, The Rest of Your Life, by Allen Reid McGuinnes. His blog is one of the very few I never miss. What do you think keeps people from taking The Steps especially the inventories of 4, 5 and 10?