Only everything.

Folks in Alcoholics Anonymous often give prospective members the following reassurance: We will only ask you to change this one thing — EVERYTHING.  Them thar are fightin’ words.  A person would have to be pretty desperate to stick around to hear more.

Fortunately, for the addict or alcoholic, desperation is something with which he or she is most definitely familiar.  Sometimes it comes in an intangible form, as simple as the desperate hope to not be “found out.”   At other times it is more obvious: the desperation that comes from ruined health, obliterated relationships, homelessness or imprisonment.  Sometimes it gets that bad: a person’s outside conditions match the sheer desolation of their inner life.  But for those with “high bottoms,” skid row only manifests on the inside. In the end, it is this sense of utter bankruptcy that helps us become willing.

These truths may not be as obvious to the non-addict, but they apply to everyone.  What motivates us to let go of those habits, behaviors or attitudes that stand between us and God or between us and our neighbor is most often the realization that this thing is killing us in some way.  It is often a very subtle action, a slow killing, if you will.  Something that chips away at our soul or our integrity, bit by precious bit, until we come out of the fog of our unconsciousness some morning to find we are lost in the midst of this life we have so carefully constructed for ourselves.  Though we may not feel it at the time, this place of “coming to” is a very good thing.  It can bring us to the place of willingness that is our soul’s long awaited gift – the chance to abandon ourselves and our lives utterly to God.   This God who loves us completely has been with us each step of the way.  This God holds us gently.  Holds everything that is.  We need only let go.

Small groups now forming in St. Augustine-World Golf Village area for community-building and Bible study.  Check out the St. Clare of Assisi Facebook page at

(Image of celtic cross downloaded from

About Mother Beth Tjoflat

Episcopal priest, urban contemplative, playwright, lover of hounds, American of Chilean-Norwegian-Moravian descent. Interests include transformational ministry with the forgotten and marginalized; church planting and congregational development; 12-step spirituality; Hispanic ministry; radical hospitality, and spending time with dear friends.
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