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A friend in Program says:

Freud -- or at least the popular misrepresentation of Freud -- has a lot to answer for. It's through our muddled understanding of Freud that we have arrived at the conclusion that, if we can only understand the origin of our problems, they will magically disappear. A Freudian story from the 1960's told of a man who discovered that the cause of his sexual impotence was the wallpaper in his domestic bedroom, which was identical to that in a room to which he had been beaten to within an inch of his life after being caught in adultery. The cure: Repaper his bedroom.

This kind of thinking is tempting on many fronts. Firstly, it suits our intellectual arrogance. If we can understand, then we can control. Secondly, it suits our laziness. In an age where many medical problems can be cured -- or even avoided -- merely by popping a pill, it's gratifying to believe that an armchair-based investigation of the source of our worries can prove to be an instantaneous solution. Thirdly, it suits our hubris. It keeps our problems, and therefore us, at center-stage. God forbid that we should turn out to be ordinary in any way: let us instead convince ourselves and others of the central importance of us and our wretched problems.

Against this model of "recovery," the last three Steps of Program offer what looks like a dispiriting and eternal regime of self-examination, self-rejection through prayer and meditation, and self-denial through service to others. If that's how we feel about Steps 10, 11 and 12, then we are perfectly free not to work them at all. If, on the other hand, we have run out of solutions, if we have run out of "me," if we no longer need to know why, then we may find that the last three Steps are the key to a way of life which brings a large measure of happiness and a life of peace.

"The spiritual life is never one of achievement:
it is always one of letting go."

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