Many times in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous I have heard the phrase, “pain is the touchstone of spiritual growth.” Not an axiom I particularly care for, yet it has turned out to be accurate.
There are times when life is extremely painful, more than I think I can handle. Pain and fear were always great motivators. I have been through tragedy and have witnessed incredible pain and suffering in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. Yet there is always a silver lining if we practice the steps and traditions rather than running. What would a pain free life be like? A wise man told me the story about a set of twins who were born with a damaged nervous system, which prevented them from feeling pain. It turned out to be a curse rather than a blessing. Since they could not feel pain, they did not comprehend how hitting other kids could be hurtful. When they were ill, they did not tell their parents because they could not feel symptoms. Pain performs an important function in our lives. It tells us when we are physically ill, or in emotional turmoil. Most importantly, pain motivates addicts and alcoholics to chose recovery rather than addiction.
In the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve and Twelve, pain is mentioned frequently. Step Seven says that humility is the healer of pain, and that until we reached the program, our lives have been largely devoted to running from pain and problems, which made matters worse.
When we walk through the pain and get to the other side, we can turn it to good use if we keep on trying to practice A.A.’s Twelve Steps. Pain won’t kill you but resisting it will.Share post