Three Kinds of Stability

Originally written Saturday, June 3rd, 2006

I grew up in a home where very little was stable. I could never be sure my needs were going to be met. Sometimes I felt loved, but often I was scrambling to find a way to ease my insecurity. Sometimes the rent could not be paid and we ran out of food. The phone and utilities were cut off occasionally. I had no one with whom I could talk about my deepest pain. I longed for stability. One day, after I had started my recovery, I decided to look up the word stability in the dictionary. I found three ways of defining stability in a physical sense. The definitions of physical stability gave me helpful insights into emotional stability.

The first definition of physical stability was, “An object is stable if when it is disturbed, it tends to return to its original position.” That kind of stability is illustrated by one of my kid’s favorite toys. They had a plastic, blowup clown with a weighted base. The clown had a big red nose. You could knock that clown down 1000 times and it would always return to an upright position. It was great fun.

That illustrates the first kind of emotional stability. I remember an early prayer of mine. “God I am so frightened. But I am going to fight through it. When I have fought through it I will have grown slightly. My victory will not be permanent. I know the fear will soon return. When it does, I will fight through it again. I am not going to give up. Every time my fear knocks me down I am going to get back up.” That determination to keep on keeping on was basic to my recovery program.

The next definition of physical stability was, “An object is stable if when at rest, it tends to remain at rest.” This is the Rock of Gibraltar kind of stability. I found that after I had been knocked over enough times by my fear and then picked myself back up again, it just got a lot harder to knock me down. Every time I got afraid and then resisted the fear, I got a little bit stronger. In time I became more stable emotionally in this second sense. I became far more able to stay on my feet.

The third kind of stability is “An object is stable, if when it is in motion, it tends to remain in motion.” This is the freight train kind of stability. My Sponsor has more than 50 years in the program. I think she is the most effective human being I have ever met. I am sure she has been a destroyer of much that is dysfunctional in the world. She certainly was powerfully used by God to plow through the dysfunction in my life. She is a great example of a person in recovery having the freight train kind of stability.


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