On the third day in the belly of the whale, Jonah finally surrendered. He had traveled across the known world of the time trying to escape the mandate of his God, that he travel to Nineveh and tend to its people. His flight was fraught with calamity, culminating with being devoured by a whale and suffering in its belly. His surrender enabled his deliverance and the opportunity to engage his ministry. Jonah’s experiences in the whale are not unlike the conflict with the multitudinous demons that we sufferers of the tragedies of addiction faced in the throes of our acting-out. These demons took all forms and shapes and, in their capacity to enslave us, they seemed all powerful and eternal.
Like Jonah, we had been pursuing a distorted and fallacious life course. To get sober, to escape the demons, we had to surrender, to a higher power of our own choosing, in order to begin the ministerial work on our own Journey. It is the work to pursue our very own Journey to Sobriety. As in the Hero’s Journey, we encounter guides and mentors, here in the form of sponsors, who introduce us to the processes of dealing with the terrors of our past. In essence, the Journey is one to recognize the totality of our disease in all its aspects, the steps of admission, acceptance, and surrender.
In the Arthurian Legends, the Knights of the Round Table all pursued their own journeys, to find the Holy Grail, the gift of spiritual enlightenment. They encountered tragedies and demons along the way, not unlike those we faced in our addicted lives and in the process of working to unravel the pathologies of those lives. In recovery, the help of guides, sponsors, to show us the way, is tantamount. These women and men embraced the process of working with us as a means to help themselves. They are not unlike the Fisher King in the Arthurian Legends, who was charged with keeping the Grail safe, in a secret castle. The Fisher King was also suffering a long festering wound that could only be ameliorated by the progress of the Knights seeking the Grail. He is like our sponsors who achieve some relief from their own maladies in the process of helping others.
In every way, this Journey of ours, now begun in earnest, pursuing a life and process of Recovery, is like the Journeys of countless heroes in Mythology, in mythological stories that attend all of human society in every form and every culture, throughout history and around the globe. We really are now pursuing a heroic quest…