You might be interested in looking into materials by Fr. Emmerich Vogt at www.12-step-review.org. Our parish was recently blessed by a mission with Fr. Emmerich and I got so much out of it. Here is a summary of my notes from the mission–to give you an idea about his message. He has also done a series for EWTN.
As you know, we live in a broken, troubled world filled with broken, troubled people. By design, we all seek peace…the peace that Christ has to offer, but even the most devout Christian attempts to achieve that peace through artificial means. We do all kinds of crazy things in an effort to escape from the brokenness and trouble around us and those things often take us deeper into despair.
Christ rises from the dead and the very first thing he says is “Peace be with you.” A person who has peace…lasting peace…is a person who doesn’t give PEOPLE or things the power to bring peace. When we give people/things that kind of power, we also give them the power to take the peace away.
Fear is the chief activator of our faults, yet Scripture says 366
times ‘Do not be afraid!’. So what are we afraid of? We are afraid
of what other people think of us…how we look, how our kids look, how successful we are, how successful our kids are, how much money we have or don’t have, how many awards we’ve received, how many toys we have. We are afraid of the way other people treat us…becoming angry or sad…“How DARE they say that to me!” or “I’m a good person…sniff,sniff…why am I treated this way?”. Often, we choose to ‘amputate’…we turn our backs and walk away from such treatment, rather than acknowledging that the other person’s words/actions are painful, yes, but have no bearing on our peace. We are afraid that our loveableness depends on us…who we are, what we say and what we
do. However, I am not the source of my loveableness-God is.
So, there are three enemies we become slaves to…
1. The world - what others think, how they treat you
2. The flesh - sensual pleasures like food, sex, alcohol, drugs,
pornography…those things that ‘numb’ us from the pain of the moment
3. The Devil - the fear of dying, the fear of being unlovable…The
devil wants me to cling to my need to be liked. This keeps me
depending on the world for my security.
This enslavement causes us to do things to cover our shame. We may become perfectionists, peacemakers, attention seekers, control addicts, sufferers, or pleasers/enablers. As this list was being explained, I found myself saying, “Yep, that’s me.” Then he would go on to the next one and I’d think, “Hmm…here I am again.” I’ve found that I possess many of the traits of all of these types of people, but over the years some of the sharp edges have been worn off a little. I still struggle with being an attention seeker (that what keeps me teaching…to get my ‘fix’ of people who think I’m wonderful), control addict (the examples are too numerous to list!), sufferer (I always have too much
on my plate, but continue to pile things on. This, so I can say “Poor me! Look at all I have to do!”) and lastly, the pleaser/enabler (I create my own frustration because I’ve taught my kids to be dependent on me, rather than helping to form them into independent young people who love me. I’m confusing being needed with being loved.)
What is to be done then? How do we break away from these things that keep us bound in misery and seeking relief?