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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Locus of Power: Spirituality, Counseling, & Re-education

Lately, I've been reading more and more about torture and human attempts to compromise by force the human will.

In some ways, there are successful techniques.  We see these in our modern 'pop' culture and marketing, as well as the shifting of political ideas over the last three hundred years.  Some of these are accidental, but other shifts have been pushed by men.

We can, indeed, influence other people to change their minds, but this takes care and patience.  It is a multi-generational undertaking, often with many unintended consequences and new problems replacing the old.

Recovery presents this dilemma to the addict: you will trade in your suffering over your irresponsibility for your suffering over responsibility.  The suffering continues... and that's just how it goes.

So, what changes?

First, there is a change of meaning: the suffering of addictive behaviors is ultimately fruitless and pointless.  It has no meaning, just a wasted experience.  Suffering with our responsibilities, however, perfects the character by teaching it strength and virtue.

The second change is the locus of power: the spiritual person in recovery shifts the locus of power from  himself to his Creator,  He waits on God rather than trying to use his self-will to fix himself.  The premise is that a broken self-will cannot will itself to wellness.

Psychological counseling, which developed in the West with its rejection of spirituality, generally shifts the locus of power temporarily to the counselor until the patient is healed enough to regain autonomous self-care.  Ultimately, the locus goes back to the individual, which is why cases where the amount of responsibility and healing capability cannot be borne by either the patient or the counselor, then the disorder is considered 'untreatable.'

Addictions recover shifts the locus of power to God, who can bear even the worst of our afflictions.  This does not mean we are automatically cured, but rather that we accept that God will somehow give us justice (i.e. repair us either in this life or the life to come) and we no longer need to suffer meaninglessly.

Even people with profound impairment have found recovery, and to the extent that they yield themselves to God they find blessings.  Some with significant mental and emotional impairment may not entirely become 'normal' through spirituality, but something changes in them for the better.

There are those, too, who seem, as the Big Book says, "constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves or others."  They do not seem to find the spiritual path.  What of them?

We can only say that if God is indeed merciful, even these people who cannot give up being the locus of power in their own lives will somehow be blessed by God in the age to come.  If God is a God of love, He will not condemn us who are born with wills so damaged by our fallenness that we cannot ever make the right decision.

In our journeys, we should always look for where the locus of control lies and who is asking for it.  My advice is to run from anything or anyone that seeks to control you as the locus of control.  Rather seek people who will help you place your control into the care of God.

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