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Beside Restful Waters

“Only by solidarity with other people’s suffering can comfortable people be converted.”

-Richard Rohr

“We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable.”

-Step one of the 12 Steps of AA

My sincere engagement in Step One was my first admission of brokenness. This was my first act of desperation. I recognized my need for help. When I spoke these words in the presence of my 12 step fellowship, I experienced a powerful act of spirituality – I was accepted and forgiven.

For a long time, I was very comfortable in my addiction. My addictive nature held me in a mindset of control, confidence and comfort. I had my job, my family and my church. I was able to rationalize the conflicts within these roles with a sense of self sufficiency. I was handling these conflicts quite well by myself.


When other people shared their broken and unmanageable life stories, I slowly began to recognize my own lies.

The beautiful thing about other people who are suffering is that we become acutely able to recognize the suffering of others. There grows a sacred atmosphere among broken people.

Within this atmosphere, honesty becomes the foundation of our conversion. Accountability becomes the foundation of our honesty. Community evolves in to the foundation of our accountability. Community is the skin to the spirit of our mutual conversion.

Community is the face to face evidence of God’s healing power ‘on earth as in heaven’. Solidarity in our mutual suffering is the stuff of our collective conversion, the stuff of our sobriety. We are the flesh of sobriety.

We collectively seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand God, praying only for the knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out. (paraphrase of step 11)

The power of my prayer and meditation is in the continuous awareness of my need for, and connection to others. The consciousness of my contact with God is the ever evolving and powerful awareness of my need for community.

In Christian prayer and practice, all stories lead to suffering, death and resurrection within community. We find all we need within our connection to each other and within all of creation.

In Native American spiritual prayer and practice, all stories lead to suffering, death and resurrection within community. We are all related – man, woman, earth, wind, fire, and water.

In the prayer and practice of yoga, we are lead to death and resurrection within the community as a member of our universe.

There is a blatant common theme: We are divine beings in need of our community of people and all of creation.

Today, I rest by still waters. I know many of our spirits are troubled and the waters choppy. Yet, coming in to our communal connection, still waters prevail.


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