Across the galaxy, people will be rushing to their local movie theaters to watch the latest installment of the hit franchise Star Wars. Those of us who are committed to the ongoing story of good and evil know that there is something profoundly spiritual about the Star Wars narrative. Even if you aren’t a geek at heart, it is impossible to ignore the vital recovery lessons we can learn from the timeless saga of Luke, Leia, the infamous Vader, and everyone’s favorite Jedi guru, Yoda.
“You must unlearn what you have learned” — Yoda
In the grips of addiction, we develop deeply ingrained beliefs about how to survive, and more often than not, these “survival skills” probably do more to harm than good. When we allow outdated systems of belief to dominate our reality, our self-will attempts I take control and we become further separated from the Power that relieves the obsession to use. In order to recover from addiction, we must allow The Force (a.k.a. “God as we understand Him”) to discipline us through the 12 Step process. Thanks for the tip, Yoda!
“Never tell me the odds” — Han Solo
Han Solo’s famous quote reminds us that sometimes, you have to take risks without knowing the outcome. Leaving a life of addiction and making the decision to seek recovery can be scary. Much courage is needed to fight the internal battles necessary during the recovery process. Take risks. Tell someone you need help. Turn your will and your life over. Don’t be trapped by fear.
“Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” — Yoda
Like a poison that floods our spirit, resentment destroys us from the inside out. While many of us are slow to see it in the beginning, nearly all resentment is rooted in fear that corrodes our peace and sabotages our serenity. If we are to live, we have to be free of anger. Otherwise, we will continually suffer. (Poor Lord Vader.)
“That’s not how the Force works!” — Han Solo
In the Force Awakens, Finn suggests “using the Force” to lower the shields of the Starkiller Base. In response, Han Solo turns to his protégé to explain that this is not how the Force works. Sometimes, we must rely on the people who have come before us to guide the way and smash our delusions about how we think we should tackle our problems. In the 12 Step paradigm, this means trusting our sponsors, advisors, role models, and mentors. As we grow in recovery, more will be revealed. Because, guess what, things aren’t always as easy as we may think they are.
“You’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” — Obi-Wan Kenobi
Spiritual unrest is rife with perceptions and delusions that often distort our reality. Through the 12 Step process, we are lead to be more objective, to see our own flaws more clearly and to forgive others for perceived wrongs, many of which that may have been fancied in the first place. (Obi-Wan Kenobi: He is basically Luke’s first sponsor.)
“All mentors have a way of seeing more of our faults than we would like. It’s the only way we grow.” — Padme
When words from a mentor are tough to swallow, it is often because they contain a hefty dose of truth. Through the Fifth Step, we learn that a solitary self-appraisal is indeed insufficient. Lightsabers may be killer tools in battle, but mentorship is one of the greatest weapons in our arsenal against addiction.
“Luminous beings are we. Not this crude matter.” — Yoda
We are innately spiritual beings. As we face today, tomorrow and the hereafter, it is imperative that we remember that there is a bigger picture. When we focus on that bigger picture, we remember that God has a plan. Life may not always look like what we think it should, but if we surrender to the understanding that we are more than our earthly bodies, we can look at the world with a greater sense of meaning. Yoda is reminding Luke that there is more to his life than what he sees.
“Pass on what you have learned, Luke” — Yoda
Carry this message. While we may already be free, there are others who have yet to discover the truth. As men and women who have recovered, we have a responsibility to teach others what we have learned about recovery from addiction. This becomes our greatest mission as we pursue The Force in our own lives.
Stay tuned for our next installment of this two-part series tomorrow. And, as always, may the Force be with you!