I intended to begin these reflections on sin with yesterday’s blog on my thievery, evidence of my flawed nature and part of the human condition. Only when I began working the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous did I understand the full implications of honesty.

I still remember my first meeting, September 16, 1991, at the Lindell Club, across the street where I lived. Not knowing I was a newcomer, the chairperson, a cab driver, asked me to read the opening, “How It Works” from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Tucked in the first paragraph was this sentence: “…There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest….”

I identified with those grave emotional and mental disorders: it was my behavior they were referring to, disorders, I later recognized as sin; and rigorous honesty, its antidote. A whole new world opened before me that demanded relating with the new God of my understanding. And so it has been ever since.

Yet, it was a painstaking to own the drift of my destructive instincts for social recognition, security, and sexual fulfillment—all riding atop fears that I would lose what I had or would not get what I wanted. Daily contacts with others in recovery also helped identify my Seven Deadly Sins, and the way out, through admission and forgiveness.

However, the Seven Deadlies still lie dormant in my unconscious and can be triggered, any time—Anger and pride remain troublesome, given my long terminal illness.

Such exercises in rigorous honesty help me name the sinfulness of our broken world that I’ll consider in the next blog, with its antidote: global conversion of heart.