When I was spiritually ill, drinking myself to oblivion and isolating from everyone, I knew there was a problem. I was angry, fearful and guilt-ridden. I had a soul sickness that needed a treatment. I’d already tried self-help programs and books, counselors, classes, and religion. I knew something had to give. I was going to either explode or implode from these unpredictable mood swings. Nothing could touch this anger that was broiling up from deep inside. Nothing.
But not everyone that finds relief from the 12 Steps is an addict. Addiction is a disease, but the substance is not the only problem, the real source of the problem is deeper than those symptoms. The source of the sickness is actually no respecter of persons. Are you easily tipped when the unexpected happens? When your guard is down how do you respond?
“Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is…If there are rats in a cellar, you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way, the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man: it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am…Apparently the rats of resentment and vindictiveness are always there in the cellar of my soul.” ~ CS Lewis
It’s true and if someone like CS Lewis can admit it, why can’t anyone? I admit all the ‘crap’ from the Resentment Rats and Vindictive Rats was buried in my soul. I was belching it up or swallowing it and all the time getting sicker and sicker. The only way to trap the Rats and clean out the cellar of my soul was by admitting they were there. The 4th is crucial for soul healing. That’s why I camp on the necessity for writing out a 4th Step. If we are willing to face the fear of our past and apply as much self-honesty as possible, well then, we have every reason to expect that we will see results.
Are you guilt-ridden? Angry? Do you have an inexplicable feeling of pending doom? Do you feel deep down lonely and shut off from the grace of God? Working the Steps is like setting a sticky trap for the Rats.
If we want to get rid of what blocks us off from God, we will have to get rid of resentment fear, guilt and remorse. That is what the 4th Step is all about. This is the sticky trap solution. When those things leave the cellar of my soul, then God’s Will can come in. That’s the power of the 12 Steps. Do the 4th.
PS: Each week we will examine another column. Comments about column one, anyone? Do you have just one resentment that you are willing to chart out? I suggest you choose one that is ‘no big deal’ in order to try the process. Anyone game?