Don Cobb
The Miracle: Conversation, confession, and honesty
By Don Cobb
May 5, 2009

America didn't get sick overnight. No one gets sick overnight. It takes time and effort, albeit an effort oftentimes unbeknownst to us, being unconscious or subconscious. It's funny that we all 'get it' that physical health commonly takes an effort. We don't seem to get it that emotional and mental health requires our attention or that by practicing selfishness we get sick, mentally, emotionally and psychologically.

I love our Capitalistic system which truly makes us "The land of opportunity." Marketing in America, however, is geared toward isolating us all, to get us alone for a moment, make us feel needy and even to make us feel disconnected to one another. What? You're surprised? How long have you lived in America then? There is a very simple process upon which marketing relies: make a person feel alone, point out their weakness or a perceived need, and then sell them your product which you claim will strengthen them or fill a need, real or imagined. It's just effective marketing. From the time Man made the transition from supplying a real value to the community, to realizing that he could make a lot more money if he sold as many as possible (greed), marketers have been busy convincing us that we need things we simply do not need at all.

It's harder to trick a crowd into buying what you're selling than it is to get someone alone and pick at their weaknesses, because when together, we talk. In fact, when dealing with selfish individuals (America is in a period of extreme selfishness right now, btw, in case you hadn't noticed) it's easy to make them feel less-than, and it's easy to manipulate their thinking (see the 2008 Presidential election) when you can get them alone in their homes, staring at the Boob Tube, and bombard them with messages over and over and over again. The prideful, the weak, the ignorant and the uninformed are all easily seduced.

United we stand, divided we fall. It's true of our nation (look out, because we're not united right now in virtually any respect), true of men and women of faith, and it's true of every individual on the planet, as well. When we have support by our side, when there is accountability in our lives, we are far more capable of being men and women of integrity than when left to our own devices. There is a saying in the recovery community: 'There are no Lone Rangers in recovery.' It just doesn't happen. People don't overcome addiction when isolation is involved. People overcome addictions and obsessions and sexual dysfunction and character flaws like selfishness, jealousy, greed and envy by learning to practice principles like honesty, patience, humility and acceptance, and by one person helping another.

Left to our own devices, we are easy prey for predators of all kinds. Our children, left alone in today's sick world, are snapped up by pedophiles. Wandering the streets at night alone makes us easy targets for criminals and gang member wannabes. Sitting alone at the TV facilitates people sending large sums of money to televangelists, buying useless crap as long as it's not more than $19.99, and folks will switch brands regularly when effective marketing convinces them it's a smart move. That's because left to our own devices, we become vulnerable, foolish and easy to manipulate. The recent presidential campaign is a perfect example of this. Sitting alone in our homes at night, we were easy targets for the more than $660 million marketing campaign that really said little more than "Change! Change! Change!", and millions of Americans bought it. No experience necessary, but with more than $600 million dollars available for his campaign, this stranger to America walked in and even convinced enough people that he was a messiah and America bought into it.

After examining the man's character, the people he associates with, and the shallow emptiness of his 'message,' intelligent people, one would think, would recognize that this man lacks the character and experience that America needs at the helm in today's world. Unwilling to produce his real birth certificate, for example, should have been a red flag to everyone. But it wasn't. Sitting at home, disconnected from the rest of the world, more than $660,000,000 of effective advertising convinced intelligent people to disregard the truth about this man, and so he becomes the poster child for my point.

Left to our own devices, we are easy prey for predators of all kinds. Isolation most often leads to ignorance, confusion, and the manifestation of evil. Separating us from the pack makes it easy to take advantage of us. Television marketing is exactly that. It takes advantage of the fact that we are alone in our own little oftentimes dysfunctional households, and we become easy to convince of just about anything if we hear it often enough when it appeals to our fears, our weaknesses, or plays into our selfishness. Nationally and individually, we need one another in order to establish what is healthy and in the best interest of our nation and ourselves personally. Recovery from anything (drugs, gambling, any obsession or addiction or brokenness) doesn't happen one person at a time without the benefit of others standing with them. There is wisdom in the counsel of many.

We no longer know our neighbors like we did in the '60s, when everyone knew every neighbor around them. We have become a nation isolated by our own fears, with predators called "the media" busy trying to get us to buy their newspapers and watch their news shows and using our own fears to drive that bus. There are predators called "politicians" as well, who believe we are all too stupid to use our collective wisdom to steer this train called America, and so they let their own greediness be the guiding light today. There are also predators in our own homes who are preying on American children, even today, abusing, molesting, and trying to break down their children's wills so that life might become easier for the parent(s). None of these predators can touch us when we are connected to one another, communicating to each other, being honest about the facts of our lives.

Evil manifests itself in the dark. It cannot exist in the light because when the light of truth shines on evil good men and women rise up and step on evil's ugly head. But America has become victim to mass marketing and collectively our fears have driven us into our homes where we hope we'll be safe. Alcoholism, abusive relationships, molestation, isolation — all manifest themselves in the dark where no one else can see.

So what's the answer? It's a process. We talked already about getting honest with ourselves and humbling ourselves enough to admit that we have a problem (selfishness, not reaching our potential, addiction, abusive nature, timidity, etc.). Now we need to find someone with whom to be completely honest. Confession is like magic and we all need what confession facilitates. We need to have someone in our lives with whom we can be rigorously honest, to tell everything to, even our deepest darkest secrets, plans and thoughts. We need to learn to trust someone, or better yet, a group of others who wish to get healthier right now. In fact, we need to choose to trust someone, and that isn't always an easy or a wise choice, depending on who we're considering. Nonetheless, we need to find at least one person — they used to be called "Father" or "Mother" or "mentor" or "friend," but today more commonly are referred to as "sponsor"). Honest confession works like magic to root out evil.

If America doesn't learn to get the hell out of our homes and connect with someone on a real and personal level, someone trustworthy who will keep our secrets and give us honest feedback about our thoughts and plans and opinions, this nosedive into unethical and immoral behavior will continue, and our country will no longer be the land of the free and the home of the brave. We will become (and are quickly becoming) strangers in our own land, subservient to our own government, and our children and grandchildren will never experience the kind of liberty and freedom I grew up with (Baby Boomer).

The answer for our nation is the same answer for us as individuals. We need to become a people of integrity, to humble ourselves and get honest. We need to stop being afraid. We need to find someone to be accountable to, and accountable for. We need to shine light on our lives and shortcomings and thoughts. For if we do this as individuals, the Truth will reveal itself in clear and obvious ways, and as you and I all know, the Truth will set us free.

The Miracle is a process, and there is more coming. Walk it out faithfully and we will all become the men and women of integrity that we all want people to think we are.

("The Miracle" is an ongoing series of articles by Don Cobb regarding the process through which an individual and/or a group of individuals or nation get right-side up. Addiction, sexual, life, or relationship issues regardless how deep or serious are all resolved through this miraculous transformation.)

© Don Cobb


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Don Cobb

Don Cobb, RAS is an addiction recovery professional and serves as Executive Director for North Bay Recovery Services in Sonoma County, CA. Don recently published a book entitled 12 Steps: NOT For Dummies... (more)


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