Today is 4th of July for which we celebrate our freedom from tyranny. Addiction is a form of tyranny. It is an oppressive and unreasonable tyrant that rules our life and leads us away from choosing the good and pursuing excellence in our lives. True freedom from addiction comes from choosing the good for ourselves and others. This assumes we know the truth about what is the good. The only way we can come to know this truth is from knowing ourselves as God’s perfect creation. The addictive behaviors can distort this understanding of the truth. It will require hard work and dedication on our parts to develop a habit of choosing God’s good. Developing habits are not automatic. Consistency and dedication to developing authentic love is a progressive process with victories and defeats along the way. Fulton Sheen describes this process well when he said:
“We make ourselves free by knocking off all those hindrances and obstacles to the development and unfolding of what is highest in us—- namely, the pursuit of Truth and Love and Goodness which is basically the definition of God. Freedom is not attainable at once, but by leaps and bounds. It is not a baby cradle from which we cry and pout, shriek and clamor for the satisfaction of our biological wants, but rather a hurdle race in which we surmount obstacles to win the race of being free on the inside.”
Those familiar with the AA saying “progress not perfection” is applicable to what was said above. Another way to help develop this progression towards perfection mentality, i.e. love as self-gift, is to emphasize the need for practicing love as self-gift. It is a skill that needs to be practiced daily. After all, practice makes perfect. It is ironic that it is believed that this derivation of this saying was found in the writings of John Adams, a founding father of the United States. God bless America!