The Awakening of Brother Thomas

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Removing the Barriers to Freedom

I just finished setting forth these seven barriers to freedom. This is good stuff. I just read it again, and I asked, what happened to physical handicap, illness, peer pressure, ignorance, incarceration? In a way, I just forgot to include these because everybody already knows about them. Upon reflection, I see, too, that many people have these impediments, but they are still free. Maybe I am learning what I think freedom really is – the ability to fulfill one’s own destiny.

The 1st barrier to freedom is Denial. As long as I deny that I have a problem, as long as I fight accepting change in myself, my problem will persist, and I will not be free of it. No other form of release will be effective until I am willing to try willingness. Until then, all help flows from my back as does the water from a duck - until I am willing to change. Unfortunately, the negative side of this release usually appears first - I am so desperate to be free of my problem that I am willing to accept help. So be it.

The second barrier to freedom is my Addiction. Confucius said, "Man take drink, then drink take drink, and eventually, drink take man." Whether I am addicted to alcohol, drugs, food, sex, my partner, my work, or even my religion, I will be free only by abstaining from practice of my addiction. It is the nature of addiction to be reinforced when placated. As long as the gorilla is being satisfied, it will not let go. Only when it does let go am I free to seek release. Unfortunately, the hot embrace of the gorilla has kept me from feeling the chilling pain of its absence. I must be willing to release my addiction, to accept the pain of withdrawal. I must embrace the temporary pain of abstinence to be free of the eternal pain of an active addiction.

The third barrier to freedom is lack of sound Direction. In my aimless - or errant - pursuit of life's rewards I have lived without having any sure understanding of the true purpose of my life or how to achieve it. Now that I am free from addiction I am faced with the very things that reinforced it. My life is a shambles. As it has been said, "If you don't know where you ought to go, then any road will take you there." A Program of Recovery, like Alcoholics Anonymous, contains a proven and effective design for living and an unfailing path when it is thoroughly followed. I must be willing to be changed through sobriety and following direction. I must abandon myself without reservation to a solution other than myself.

The fourth barrier to freedom is the intervention of a Hostile World. It seems I have been persecuted, by law enforcers, employers, family, nature and God - all of whom tell me what I cannot and can do. No wonder I am not free. I must be willing to accept that I myself have been the primary cause of bringing the establishment down upon my own head. I must migrate from being the center of negative attention, rendered by the unwilling, to being the silent contributor. My new code is to not harm others, to not harm myself, and to not harm the planet. I can then cease to spend all my time cleaning up my past with others. I will be free to focus my attention upon correcting the problem – myself.

The fifth barrier to freedom is Loneliness. Feeling apart-from is a major contributor to addiction. And, practice of addiction pushes us further apart from our fellows. I am lost when it comes to having healthy and effective relationships with other human beings. When I can perceive what happens between me and others, when I can practice new attitudes and behaviors, then I can begin to do more than poke my nose under the tent of the human race. A fellowship of fellow recoverers will be the kindergarten within which I emerge from the blackness of alienation into the soft light of humanity.

The sixth barrier to freedom is Estrangement. Even though I begin to overcome my alienation from other people, there remains an emptiness within me. My hole cannot be filled with money, property, prestige, sex, food, alcohol, or anything else I grab unto myself. There remains a nagging awareness of wrongness – something missing. I now know what this is. My Creator insists upon taking charge of His creation. I can know no peace until I stop denying Him, until I know and follow Him. All alternatives are futile. All delays are painful. Once I invite Him in, seek knowledge of His path for me and guidance in trudging it, there comes a healing, a rightness, a fulfillment I did not know existed. Prayer and meditation are delightful. Oh, life is joyful.

The seventh, and final barrier to freedom is Uselessness. This barrier could just as well be labeled selfishness. Bringing things unto self for gratification does not gratify. Serving self produces only emptiness. I have been told, though, and I am learning that following the guidance of my new Master in service of His other children gives me a joy that far transcends the pleasure of serving myself. I am useful in service. Oh, life is beyond joy.

  Barrier: Release:
1. Denial Willingness
2. Addiction Abstinence
3 Aimlessness 12 steps of recovery
4. Persecution Harmless Living
5. Loneliness Fellowship
6. Estrangement Spiritual Awakening
7. Uselessness Service

The seven barriers to freedom are not jumped over.They are not run-around. They must be removed. They range from things and people to self.

My ultimate freedom is freedom from Brother Thomas.

 

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