In a recent conversation with a family member of a particularly difficult patient, they verbalized that they were told it would be necessary to, “trust the process”. I am familiar with this phrase and in my work with alcoholics and addicts I have used it at times, (sometimes when I did not know what else to say). In truth, this phrase forms a vital part of the foundation of what we do here at Vista Taos. Trust, Hope, Faith…these are the spiritual equivalents of modern medicine’s use of lasers, radiation and plasma in returning someone to a healthy life. Except in our process, we are not aiming for a return to a prior way of living, we expect the acceptance of an entirely new way of life! But the difficult part is that trust does not come easily to alcoholics. When you are acting as your own higher power there is a fundamental flaw in the ability to trust anything or anyone. We learn that trust requires action, in fact it is “action of faith”. Doing something without knowing the certainty of outcome. Rarely have we seen an alcoholic who has not failed in prior attempts to change their drinking. Why do we think this time will be different? Thinking has nothing to do with it. In fact, rational, cognitive thought leads directly to the conclusion that nothing will be different! What is required is a leap of faith, trust in the idea that applying a set of spiritual principles on a daily basis will result in a new dimension of life. Such a leap occurred in 1935 in the lobby of the Mayflower Hotel when Bill Wilson chose a church directory over the familiar comfort of an oaken tavern. He acted on the faith that if he found another drunk to talk to then maybe he could stay sober. In all of history this was a unique idea, he had tried to sober up others prior to this and he had failed. This time it was he that needed to stay sober. And he acted on the belief that talking with another drunk would accomplish this. Fortunately, we have the benefit of the results of that trust which resulted in the beginning of Alcoholics Anonymous. We can believe because we were given the opportunity to see, to act, to trust. When someone in pain first makes contact with Vista Taos, we take advantage of that trust. The truth is that we never really know what it will take for someone to truly begin to heal. The best we can do is to provide a loving, caring, consistent environment and trust that no one gets here by mistake. I was told very early in my career that “God is either everything or he is nothing.” I have to choose what to believe and then I must act on that belief without knowing the outcome. An act of faith – Trust! Over the years I have witnessed and experienced healing through acts of faith. Usually, the healing occurred in ways I would never have imagined. So, when I hear,“Trust the process.” I choose to believe that we are where we are, doing what we do for a purpose. It is not necessary that I understand exactly what that purpose is, it is only necessary that I continue to act on my belief – an act of Faith. In other words – TRUST!
Dr. Mooney is the Medical Director of Vista Taos Renewal Center in Taos, New Mexico and has lectured extensively on addictions, both nationally and internationally.