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By Fr Robert Barron (www.wordonfire.org)

It is a basic claim of the various twelve step programs for combating addiction that the addict must first admit that he has a problem and that he is powerless to save himself.

What postpones treatment is either denial (“I don’t have a problem”) or the conviction that one can solve this on his own (“I can stop drinking any time I want”; “I can stop gambling whenever I decide.”)

Usually, it is only when someone hits bottom, when things get finally out of control, that he admits he is wrestling with something he can’t solve.

Once admitting that he is powerless over the addiction, he turns his life over to a higher power. This move is of great significance. It’s the realization that I have to de-center my ego, re-orient my life, surrender, become passive in the presence of a power greater than I.

Is this difficult? Yes. Which is precisely why so few people can manage it. The Advent term for this re-orientation of the self is “waiting.”

“O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear.”

Move into the rhythm and meaning of that prayer, acknowledging our inability to save ourselves.

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