|by Marianne Williamson: My painful thoughts were my demons. Demons are insidious. Through various therapeutic techniques, I’d become very smart about my own neuroses, but that didn’t necessarily exorcise them. The garbage didn’t go away; it just became more sophisticated. I used to tell a person what my weaknesses were, using such conscious language that they would think, “Well, obviously she knows what her patterns are, so she won’t do that again.”
But oh yes, I would. Acknowledging my patterns was just a way of diverting someone’s attention. Then I’d go into a rampage or other outrageous behavior so quickly and smoothly that no one, least of all myself, could do anything to stop me before I’d ruined a situation completely. I would say the exact words that would make the man leave, or hit me, or make someone fire me, or worse. In those days, it never occurred to me to ask for a miracle.
For one thing, I wouldn’t have known what a miracle was. I put them in the pseudo-mystical-religious garbage category. I didn’t know, until reading A Course in Miracles, that a miracle is a reasonable thing to ask for. I didn’t know that a miracle is just a shift in perception.
I once attended a twelve-step meeting where people were asking God to take away their desire to drink. I had never gone overboard with any one particular dysfunctional behavior. It wasn’t drinking or drugs that was doing me in; it was my personality in general, that hysterical woman inside my head. My negativity was as destructive to me as alcohol is to the alcoholic. I was an artist at finding my own jugular. It was as though I was addicted to my own pain.
Could I ask God to help me with that? It occurred to me that, just as with any other addictive behavior, maybe a power greater than myself could turn things around. Neither my intellect nor my willpower had been able to do that. Understanding what occurred when I was three years old hadn’t been enough to free me. Problems I kept thinking would eventually go away, kept getting worse every year. I hadn’t emotionally developed the way I should have, and I knew it.
Somehow, somewhere, it was as though wires deep inside my brain had gotten crossed. Like a lot of other people in my generation and culture, I had gotten off track many years before, and in certain ways just never grew up. We’ve had the longest postadolescence in the history of the world. Like emotional stroke victims, we need to go back a few steps in order to go forward. We need someone to teach us the basics.
For me, no matter what hot water I had gotten into, I had always thought that I could get myself out of it. I was cute enough, or smart enough, or talented enough, or clever enough–and if nothing else worked, I could call my father and ask for money. But finally I got myself into so much trouble, that I knew I needed more help than I could muster up myself. At twelve-step meetings, I kept hearing it said that a power greater than I could do for me what I couldn’t do for myself. There was nothing else to do and there was no one left to call. My fear finally became so great, that I wasn’t too hip to say “God, please help me.”