The four paradoxes of AA:
- We surrender to win
- We must give away to keep
- We have to suffer to get well
- We have to die to live
The reality in most people’s life which they often deny is the wrong interpretation of strength. Their interpretation of strength is wrong simply because they call weakness strength and strength weakness.
The Alcoholics Anonymous is bold enough to acknowledge this and they are wiser for it. The four paradoxes work. It doesn’t have to be for the alcoholics alone, the basic principle at the core of the paradoxes can be applied in almost all areas of our lives.
Permitted vulnerability is actually ability. We lose our real selves when we try to show the world who we are really not.
Weakness is not in the looks. Weakness is in the heart. We add sickness to the weakness when we assume we can cover up or hide behind a façade of lies we call strength.
We can therefore see the wisdom in the paradoxes. We have formed unhealthy habits and encouraged wrong attitudes by wanting to hide the weakness and have thus become sick. It is a sickness of our own making. We need to let go and appear vulnerable, as we ought to be initially, and the sickness of our own making will find its way out.
No. It is not going to be easy. Again the wisdom of the AA comes to the fore. The healing process is going to be painful. Is it going to be worth the suffering? Yes. It is therefore a necessity to suffer if getting well is a must achieve.
So, who is going to bite the bullet and swallow the bitter pill?
Who want to die? The fear of death is actually one of the highways to the grave.
More often than not, our real and original weaknesses are nothing but fear. Fear of anything that should be, will be and worst of all can be.
The paradoxes are actually the gospel. This is not implying religion, it of course transcends religion but it is not limited to it or limited by it.
Religion does give real strength but often time the ‘us’ administrating religion do not give the real thing.
For instance, Jesus Christ used the paradoxes but never the term Christianity. Christianity is a religion but Jesus Christ is the real thing. Jesus could have won without surrendering to those who killed him, but if he had won that way, how are we to identify him with his teachings and how can we identify with him?
He, Jesus Christ asked us to give what can be lost so that we can keep that which cannot be gained in any other way.
If we embrace death (not deadly ways) as the route to LIFE, we will be able to face our fears and do away with our weaknesses. Not by trying to escape them, but as a way of substituting them for real strength.
Sometimes the way to life is not in living but in dying. If we understand this as reality and as the principle to guide our lives, we will be free.
Being really free is in itself a form of slavery, and we cannot have one and deny the other. We only change masters; fear to faith, death to life, suffering to wellness, taking to receiving and surrendering to winning.