...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 8:11 AM [+]
We think of addicts as someone who has allowed something, some habit or substance to "interfere with their normal everyday life." The phrase often used in 12 step programs is rendered thus: "our lives had become unmanageable."
But really, we are all addicts. You see we have just forgotten what "normal" life really is. Instead (as is the defining foundation of all psychological notions of normalcy), we look at the lowest common denominator of behavior and label THAT normal. Frightenly enough, that determination is ever being adapted and changed, and frankly we've never really had it right - culturally speaking.
I have little doubt that there are more areas in my life that are unmanageable than other people's lives, but in reality, nobody's life is manageable. But it does not answer to simply look for a miraculous healing (at least not usually), rather while we commit our lives and the care thereof to God (steps 2 and 3 of the 12), the remaining 9 steps await our efforts.
I sometimes feel like Orthodoxy has led me to view my Christianity as THE WHOLE 12 steps toward REAL healing and normality , whereas how I have understood Christianity in the past never really extended beyond those first three comparatively easy steps which in a way summarize the essence of the cherished "sinners prayer." The void of "what next" that has perplexed many a responder to an emotional altar call is answered, rather well I think, in the ancient life of the Church which we in our "normalcy" are so emotionally and intellectually distanced from.
Steps 1-3 are NEVER over, but we cannot remain there eternally chasing our tails.