What a loaded word, for so many people. Especially for those of us whose home lives were shot through with the pains and tragedies caused by alcoholism and drug addiction or other compulsive behaviors. My concept of home was a dangerous one through the fault of three alcoholics. The first was my father, who brought violence into my life as a child. The second was my mother, who filled my nights with uncertainty as she drank glass after glass during my adolescence. And the third was me, who hit my bottom one summer in my hometown, filling that place with anxiety and bad memories that required many years of forgetting.
Newly sober, I would creep into my hometown on occasions I could not avoid with my head ducked down and my eyes warily scanning the landscape. I was terrified of running into someone who had been part of my meltdown that summer. Someone who would claim to know a “me” that I was desperately rejecting and trying to cast off. What was most terrifying were the things I didn’t know I had done—I was a blackout drinker, and so never really knew who I had met, what I told them, and where we had gone.
So, even though I have grown more comfortable with it over the years, and the fact that it is considered a “destination” by manner, I still resist the pleas to come visit. My husband suggests we spend more time down there and I wrinkle my nose and dither. I might make it down there three or four times a year-kind of ridiculous considering it is a beach town, only three hours away, and a place many people would be thrilled to have a free place to stay!
But this place, though absent from my life, is everywhere in my magic. I can’t get away from it. It is where I find myself entering the underworld in Shamanic journeys. It is where I am taken in dream trances. When someone asks me how I became a witch, I know it is on this land that I found my Gods. I grew up on a large tract of land on a Bay. As a young child this is where I searched everywhere for the hidden portal into the “Other” world. This is the specific marsh where I dragged an empty brass pot into a hidden spot in the reeds and began to do well magic. This is the lake where I once buried a box containing a photograph, a letter, and salt in my first banishing/binding spell. This lawn is where I would stand under the bright light of the mood and first raise my arms to the sky and feel that sense of holy power and love descend upon me.
I was taken to this place in a trance last week. I had shape shifted into a crow and felt drawn to eat of the crabs, worms and other creatures that dwelt in the mud. Again I shape shifted, this time into a younger version of myself, a fierce, worldless child that existed before I began abusing substances but after the great shattering that would lead me to them. Not speaking, she slowly covered her body in the dark, smelly and tarlike mud from the marsh, until her entire body was black, and you could only see the whites of her eyes staring out from the darkness. It felt like a baptism, or a call to baptism, it felt like a fierce assertion of my fetch that this place, this land is holy and needs my attention, needs my power. As I need it.
What place do you need? Do you feel called Home? Is there a push/pull?
Here are the steps I was introduced to. Do they make sense to you?
1. We admitted we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe and to accept that we needed strengths beyond our awareness and resources.
3. Made a decision to entrust our will and our lives to the care of the collective wisdom and resources.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to ourselves without reservation, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. 6. Were ready to accept help in letting go of all our defects of character. 7. With humility and openness sought to eliminate our shortcomings. 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. 9. Made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. 10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it. 11. Sought through meditation to improve our spiritual awareness and our understanding of the NA way of life and to discover the power to carry out that way of life. 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a resullt of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts and to practice these principles in all our affairs -PeterC.
No, they don’t make sense to me. Step 11-12 of this version of the steps would suggest that it is NOT an attempt to shy away from a spiritual reading of the steps, but steps 1-10 make no clear mention of any kind of spirituality other than a vague “collective wisdom”.
This to me seems like an softening of the language of the steps in order to make it so that no one is possibly challenged in any way by any of the language. I question the wisdom of that.
LUCKILY—what I think don’t mean shit =) your mileage may vary. If these steps got and have kept you sober, then obviously they are awesome and they make total sense for you. And I am so happy and thrilled that you have them. But I do believe that the original language of the steps are flexible enough for everyone, even polytheists, monists, pagans, etc. Atheists, of course, are going to struggle with the language of a spiritual program, and I support them tweaking the language as necessary.