Saturday, July 05, 2014
Step Five Revisited
Some of you will recall a blog entry in which I described meeting with a guy who wanted to address the Fifth Step of Alcoholics Anonymous. It is essentially the "come clean before God and somebody else about how you have messed up" step. This fellow did well, admitting that he has always tried to blame others, including two ex-wives, for his problems. Never once did he use the word disease, which means he didn't say that he wouldn't been such a mean son-of-a-gun if it hadn't been for an illness. At the end we prayed and I haven't seen him since.
I wish I could find this fellow and send him to have a chat with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. Ford returned from rehab earlier this week and set out to tell us once again that he was humiliated by his actions. We get that part, but then the recovery movement jargon just flowed out of him and in no time all the racist, sexist, homophobic bile he splashed around was dismisses as the result of drugs and alcohol. Once again Rob Ford has proven what a self-absorbed character he is. He has conveniently mistaken quasi-confession with true contrition. And he appears totally unprepared to accept that there are consequences for his actions. There is no definitive medical proof that alcoholism is a disease, but even if it is, it doesn't give a pass for any and all socially unacceptable behaviour.
It may sound as if \I am being unnecessarily hard on the mayor, but I saw all this play out when I was a chaplain intern at Kingston Pen. Some inmates realized that 12-Step groups were an opportunity to reclaim their lives. Others saw them as one more "con" to garner sympathy and manipulate others.
God invites all of us to "come clean," acknowledge our transgressions, and accept the consequences. I sure hope Toronto voters aren't conned by the Artful Dodger. I really do think he needs a genuine "come to Jesus" moment. Then again, we all do.