Lesson of the Week
Free from addiction: I live in a way that enhances my well being
Breaking free of addiction is like carving – you chip away all the things that are not you and break free to be who you are, a precious human being born to be fully engaged in a meaningful, interesting, compelling, salutary life.
Michelangelo, Italian Renaissance sculptor, carved an image out of stone and was reported to have expressed this idea: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” Breaking free of addiction is like carving – you chip away all the things that are not you and break free to be who you are, a precious human being born to be fully engaged in a meaningful, interesting, compelling, salutary purpose. Breaking free of addiction, you live in a way that embraces the well being of your self and your mission. Actor Daniel Baldwin expressed it like this, “There’s the person that’s the addict, and then there’s the person that’s who you are…. I prefer to say that I am a beautiful person. But the addict is a horrible person. The addict will screw you over and lie to you and do all kinds of things.” That’s why the extra stone holding you in the addiction, has to be chipped away – so you can be free.
Today is the day to look at the chunk of stone you call your self, your life, your family, your friends, your work, your play, your community, your world, and decide how you will sculpt it to free yourself from anything that is holding you captive. Like the sculpture, you can be free. Unlike the sculpture you will be animated and able to walk away from the chippings. You will be able to follow your mission, to enhance the well being of your self and others. Bob Marley put it, “Emancipate your selves.”
If you can’t be your own sculptor, and chip away the addictions, then find that person or place that will help set you free. This might sound somewhat oversimplified because addictions range from being chronically compulsive (e.g., alcohol, drugs, sex) to being persistently passionate (e.g., hoarding, collecting). Some are convinced there is no hope because addictions are caused by irreversible brain chemistry deficits. Others argue that there is hope. People can be freed by social, psychological, and chemical interventions.
No matter what the case, find your freedom from addiction. Live in a way that enhances your own well being. The primary gain is your own well being. The secondary gain is the well being other others. Nelson Mandela invites you, “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” Be free and you and your mission will thrive.
- Bob Marley, Jamaican singer, songwriter, and musician
Activity: The Angel in the Stone
Materials: Paper and pen or pencil
Time: Ten minutes to write and ten minutes to discuss your response.
1. Draw a picture that represents who you are, like Michelangelo’s “angel”. Next to your picture add images of people or things that enhance your well being.
2. Complete the whole picture, by drawing images of people or things that do not enhance your well being.
3. Circle those images drawn in number two – those negative images. Recognize how they do not fit – like the extra stone around the angel.
4. On the other side of the page, write a list of the circled items that are not enhancing your well being.
5. Next to each item, describe how you might be free – like the sculptor chipping away the extra stone.
6. What have you learned after doing this activity? How will you change your life to be the finished sculpture -- free from the extra stone?
I am free from addiction so I can …… We’d like to hear your story about living in a way that enhances your well being. Write your story below.