When I'm really paying attention, it often seems like my life is a never-ending struggle. Like a daytime soap opera that goes on year after year. New crises pop up and new characters come and go, but it's always the same cheesy melodrama. The plot question never changes -- What do kind of crap do I have to wade through today to live happily ever after beginning tomorrow? Struggle has defined my experience for as long as I can remember.
We talk endlessly about how we struggle in AA meetings. Some of us have built whole identities around our drunk-a-logues. It's not only us drunks that struggle -- it's seems to be most everyone on the face of the planet. I can't read the paper or watch TV without being confronted with human struggle on a mass scale. The heroes of the books I read and the movies I see all struggle before they win the prize in the end. Struggle seems to define human life.
If struggle could be somehow magically removed from life a number of amazing things might happen. I would experience a natural sense of ease and comfort. Then there would be no need to get drunk, overeat, shoot drugs in my arm, watch too much TV, pray too much, or jump out of airplanes. Without struggle, every twelve step program would disappear overnight. Since struggle leads directly to suffering, all war, disease and poverty would fade away too. Flowers and trees don’t struggle. Animals don’t struggle. It's just us.
Why do I and the rest of the world keep struggling? I can come up with two reasons. The first is that I believe on some deep level that it is admirable to struggle. Nothing worth while can be achieved without first struggling for it. The second faulty belief is that I need to be on center stage of my life. I need to be special, unique and different. If I were to stop struggling, stop my incessant preoccupation with myself, what would be the point of life?
AA tells me the point. I must be willing to grow along spiritual lines. If I am willing to take the prescribed actions, the time will come when I let go of these old ideas absolutely and enjoy a life filled with never-ending peace.