Friday, September 16, 2016

On the Shore of the Styx

The River Styx, in Greek mythology, was the circular river that surrounding Hades, the underworld. Unlike in Christian lore, Hades was not a place of torment or a place reserved for the damned; it was just where the shades of all but the most decorated war heroes spent eternity after earthly existence ended. There were only three figures that ever crossed the Styx more than once--the goddess Persephone, daughter of Demeter, who spent six months of every year in Hades as the wife of the eponymous ruler of the realm (a way for the Greeks to explain the seasons of the year), and the husband/wife team of Orpheus and Eurydice. Eurydice, unfortunately, never made it all the back to the world of the living; Orpheus was bidden to not back at her while ascending, could not resist temptation, and so Eurydice was sent back to the realm of the dead.
There is a lesson in the latter myth there. I don't want to seem overly dramatic, but there are certainly elements of the story in my life at the moment. The spiritual Hades that is active addiction is fortunately more easily crossed in both directions than the mythical Styx-- but there any ascent from it is not necessarily permanent. For those that would be Orpheus, who gained entrance to the underworld due to his skill as a musician, one would be wise to remember that only faith that the gods would do what they said they would do would bring his wife back--and when he wavered on that faith, she was lost irretrievably to him. Similarly, too, for those that would lead their loved ones out of the living hell that addiction is--blind faith is required, and certainly a look at the shade of the dead often leads to the loss of someone dear.
The example and the message must be enough. And the trust in God's will we talk about in meetings incessantly is merely, at heart, a heartfelt belief that the example and the message will be sufficient. We cannot control others. We cannot make someone on  relapse run say "Enough," or pinpoint a time when the pain gets great enough to become willing to change. All we can do is what we do has recovering people. We support, we love--but we do not enable, and when we are not sure of basic human decency (in our own minds) would qualify as enabling, we ask others for their take on the situation. The example must be enough; we cannot waste energy and good will by surreptiously checking to see how many are following us.
I cannot, at this time, say more without violating anonymity. And that is part of the example I am trying to show. The example must be sufficient. And we cannot drag anyone out of the dark and into the light of our own accord. They must want to follow close behind.

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