From Awareness Builder 101: Chapter 3

March 18, 2024

3. Weakness or Courage?


As the father of a recovering addict, I had the privilege to witness some NAmeetings. NA stands for Narcotic Anonymous, a gathering of people who’re seeking each other’s support whilst fighting a disease called addiction. Addiction, often perceived as a sign of weakness.


Each time I join such a meeting, I’m in awe. In awe with the courage. In awe with the simplicity. In awe with the power. In awe with the community. In awe with the fellowship.

Imagine, there is a part in your life that you’re not happy with. Yes, pause for a moment and think about where you’re doing something too much or too little. You’re painfully aware it’s not serving you yet it seems to control you. The worst thing you can imagine happening is this being taken away from you and that the world around you would know about your secrets. Would know about what you have done to fulfil this longing. Something that is so private, you don’t even dare to be honest about it to your loved ones. Not to anyone, not even yourself. You live a lie. A lie leading to destruction. And, often for years, you’ve been denying this lie and you became a master in covering it up.


And here you are. In a group of people and all they want to hear is the naked truth. However ugly it is, that’s just as it is. Your story will land in a bed of understanding, respect and love. In a space where the distinction is made between ‘sin and sinner’. We hate the addiction, we love the addict. Because the addict is simply a human being, like you and me, longing for love and acceptance. Judgment is the last thing we’re looking for.

And one of the ways these vulnerable yet so powerful men and women are supporting each other is by witnessing each other’s stories. There is a unique kind of trust, allowing all to share whatever is on their heart. Whether it is a success or a struggle.

Successes are being celebrated, struggles are being acknowledged. Not the struggle itself, no, the human being who’s courageous enough to simply share his or her struggle.

In one hour you hear many people sharing their stories. Each time starting with sharing their first name, let’s say John, followed by “I’m an addict”. That’s being embraced by a collective ‘hi John’. John is being seen, John is being heard. John gets a safe and courageous space to share what’s on his heart. And ‘all’ they do is witness John’s story. Nobody is trying to fix John nor comfort him. John is allowed to be, in his glory or in his struggle. Because John matters. Because noone puts himself or herself above John. Because they’re fellows. In many cases addicts go on a daily basis to these meetings. To share. To be in this safe and courageous space. Let’s assume you’re not an addict in any shape or form. But since you’re human, you have your shortcomings. And as spiritual teachers preach, a shortcoming is like any other shortcoming and that makes us all equal. How would it be to daily openly confess your shortcomings and struggles and put all your cards on the table. To embrace your imperfection and no longer keep up appearances?


Is that weakness or is that courage?


(For those who seek support, visit www.aa.org or www.na.org)



Journaling questions for this chapter:


What is a behavioural pattern where I must make a courageous choice to break the spell?


What is the price I am paying by not doing so?


What will become possible if I choose to break the spell?



© 2024. Alex Verlek, Coaching Works International.


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