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Choosing to Rise

“Rise Up”

Michael Ketterhagen, Ph.D.

How many times have I wallowed in self-pity? It served me well during my decades of denial leading up to recovery. It served me well as I chose to blame my trauma, blame my depression, blame my ADD, and blame anything I could in my state of denial.

As the study and practice of sobriety has evolved for me, there is a deepening revelation of the courage this lifestyle takes. Look at all of the individuals who sit in our meetings. Look at those willing to be our sponsors. Look at those willing to walk this journey with us. Look at those who have needed to walk away from us. All of these people exercised their courage and love for their sobriety and ours.

I have often felt depressed and oppressed by this disease.

In a recent conversation with Dr. Ketterhagen (I’ll call him Michael from this point on as he is a dear friend who humbly accepts his academic accomplishments as a gift to share with us), anyway, during this conversation, I recalled a comment my dad shared with me many decades ago. He pondered “what if oppressed people refused to be oppressed?”

Hmmmmmmm! I’ve pondered this often.

Michael smiled and referenced the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus offered the beatitudes.

Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are they who mourn. Blessed are the meek. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice.

There are more, but this serves to refresh our memories.

Michael referenced a Greek word that had been applied to these attitudes at one point in our history. The Greek term is “makaroi”. His best English translation is “rise up”. As we discussed this perspective, I enjoyed a sense of freedom.

Think of the many clinical descriptions and diagnoses we deal with as we seek professional help for our recovery: depression, bi polar disease, obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder………… When some of these were applied to me, I experienced a sense of relief in that there was a reason for my addiction. I wasn’t just a total screw up. But at the same time, I experienced a sense of imprisonment. Would I ever get out of this to fully enjoy the grace and love of sobriety?

Rise up, Greg. Rise up.

These diagnoses are descriptions of the stuff of addiction. There are many treatment options that we are offered. For me, the most powerful option is my freedom to choose what I am going to do about it. The medications have been miraculous. Yet I had to make the choices as my addictive mind has never dried up and disappeared. How about yours?

Every time my addictive mind offers me an option, I must choose. I am responsible.

Rise up.

In our groups, we rise up to share our experience, strength and hope.

In our phone calls we rise up with the courage to ask for help.

In our 1-1 interactions, we rise up to help each other.

In our prayer, we rise up. We allow God to meet us where we are and take us where she or he is.

Our 12 step program offers us opportunity to rise up and transform our lifestyle.

Yoga offers us a time to enhance and sustain our strength, courage, and sobriety.

Our spiritual practices offer us a source of surrender.

Each practice raises up our community to the healing and grace that changes us as individuals, as families, and as communities. We rise up.

Deep breath!

Yesterday, I spent a few minutes beside very restful waters. As always you were there. Quietly, we were rising.

Thank you.


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