The Myth of Self-Reliance

If you haven’t noticed yet, one of the main themes in our S-Anon literature is self-reliance:

Step 1: “In the past, we depended upon ourselves to get through every crisis or difficulty. We relied on our intellects, our theologies, our past experiences, and on new schemes and strategies we developed.”

Step 2: “We often made our own intellect our God, believing that by reason and sheer will we could solve our own problems.”

Step 3: “We had been certain that our own intelligence, backed by strong will power, was the only way to control our lives…We tried to play God in our own lives, with disastrous results.”

Step 7: “As long as we place genuine reliance upon a Higher Power, our humility is at work. If we return to relying on our own strength and intelligence, we are still trying to play God.”

Becoming aware of our overly self-reliant behaviors and attitudes can feel like flipping our current worldview on its head.  Isn’t self-reliance a good thing?  Isn’t it what we have worked our whole life for?

Rock bottom opened my eyes to a lifetime of trying desperately, and many times succeeding, to create a world that I was in total control over.

Finances in order? Check.  House in order? Check. Weight in order? Check.

Husband in order?

No go.

Today, with four years of recovery between me and rock bottom, I can look back and realize that sexaholism was a gift that came into my life and forced me to see the deeper truth that all of my self-reliant striving kept me blind to:  That I am powerless over Life.  That I was, and I always will be, unmanageable in fundamental ways.  That this life was never intended to be anything different than that.  And that only a Higher Power can bring me back to sanity, One Moment at a Time.

This is one of my favorite quotes from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  I believe they say it better than anyone.

“Self-reliance was good as far as it went, but it didn’t go far enough. Some of us once had great self-confidence, but it didn’t fully solve the fear problem, or any other. When it made us cocky, it was worse.

Perhaps there is a better way – we think so. For we are now on a different basis; the basis of trusting and relying upon God. We trust infinite God rather than our finite selves. We are in the world to play the role He assigns. Just to the extent that we do as we think He would have us, and humbly rely on Him, does He enable us to match calamity with serenity.

We never apologize to anyone for depending upon our Creator. We can laugh at those who think spirituality the way of weakness. Paradoxically, it is the way of strength. The verdict of the ages is that faith means courage. All men of faith have courage. They trust their God. We never apologize for God. Instead we let Him demonstrate, through us, what He can do. We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be. At once, we commence to outgrow fear. ” -The Big Book, p.68

I can feel the truth of this statement from its strength of conviction, and from my own experience.  I am so grateful today to understand that self-reliance as I understood it is indeed a myth.  Today I don’t apologize for depending on my Creator.  He has shown Himself in my life to be the source of all Light, all Truth, all Life, all Peace.  I am grateful to understand better today than ever before how much I need Him, in every moment!

We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences about Self-Reliance and hope you will take the time to comment on this post.

Keep Working It!  It Works!

1 thought on “The Myth of Self-Reliance”

  1. I would like to learn more about sexual addiction and how to recognize it. I’d love to be part of this discussion.

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