PARADOX

Definition of Paradox: a seemingly absurd or contradictory statement or proposition which when investigated may prove to be well founded or true.
Synonyms of Paradox: contradiction, self-contradiction, inconsistency, incongruity, anomaly, absurdity, oddity, enigma, mystery, conundrum, etc.

These notes are from recovery in AA and/or related 12 step programs.
Readers are encouraged to click external links for more detail.
We hope you find them helpful.
Love in fellowship.

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When I face a fear, I am given courage. When I support a brother or sister, my capacity to love myself is increased.

When I accept a pain as part of the growing experience of life, I realize a greater happiness. When I look at my dark side, I am brought into new light.

When I accept my vulnerabilities and surrender to a Higher Power, I am graced with unforeseen strength. — Daily Reflections | More…

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Living with paradox is part of my sobriety. Things are never quite what they seem.  When I think I have something figured out, I am made to be confused again especially around my life, relationships, people, events and the universe.

But all of this leads to a creative and exciting sobriety. It makes life an adventure. Things I used to dislike when I drank, I now enjoy. People and writers that once bored me now fascinate me. –Father Leo | More…

 At my first A.A. meeting I was blessed with a feeling that it was all right to admit defeat to a disease which had nothing to do with my “moral fibre.” With no effort on my part, I became aware that to love myself was good and right, as God had intended.

My feeling set me free, where my thoughts had held me in bondage. I am grateful. –Daily Reflections | More…

NB: strength arising out of complete defeat and weakness, the loss of one’s old life as a condition for finding a new one. –A.A. COMES OF AGE, p. 46

All spirituality-especially a spirituality of imperfection-involves the perceiving, embracing, and living out of paradox. The demand for ‘either-or’ for one or the other, signals the rejection of paradox and therefore denial of spirituality. — The Spirituality of Imperfection/Ernie Kurtz & Katherine Kechum p.62-67 | More…

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Four Paradoxes

We surrender to win.
On the face of it, surrendering certainly does not seem like winning. But it is in A.A.. Only after we have come to the end of our rope, hit a stone wall in some aspect of our lives beyond which we can go no further; only when we hit “bottom” in despair and surrender, can we accomplish sobriety which we could never accomplish before. We must, and we do, surrender in order to win.

We give away to keep.
That seems absurd and untrue. How can you keep anything if you give it away? But in order to keep whatever it is we get in A.A., we must go about giving it away to others, for no fees or rewards of any kind. When we cannot afford to give away what we have received so freely in A.A., we had better get ready for our next “drunk.” It will happen every time. We’ve got to continue to give it away in order to keep it.

We suffer to get well.
There is no way to escape the terrible suffering of remorse and regret and shame and embarrassment which starts us on the road to getting well from our affliction. There is no new way to shake out a hangover. It’s painful. And for us, necessarily so. I told this to a friend of mine as he sat weaving to and fro on the side of the bed, in terrible shape, about to die for some paraldehyde. I said, “Lost John” – that’s his nickname – “Lost John, you know you’re going to have to do a certain amount of shaking sooner or later.” “Well,” he said, “for God’s sake let’s make it later!” We suffer to get well.

We die to live.
That is a beautiful paradox straight out of the Biblical idea of being “born again” or “losing one’s life to find it”. When we work at our Twelve Steps, the old life of guzzling and fuzzy thinking, and all that goes with it, gradually dies, and we acquire a different and a better way of life. As our shortcomings are removed, one life of us dies, and another life of us lives. We in A.A. die to live. –Experience, Strength & Hope p.155-156 | More…

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We give away to keep.
How can you keep anything if you give it away?

But in order to keep whatever it is we get in AA, we must go about giving it away to others, for no fees or rewards of any kind. When we cannot afford to give away what we have received so freely in AA, we had better get ready for our next ‘drunk.’

It will happen every time. We’ve got to continue to give it away in order to keep it. –The Professor and the Paradox/Big Book p.341 | More…

So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn’t think so. –Big Book p.62 | More…

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