The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Auto Pilot

I was speaking with a retired pilot today and wanted to ask him a question I had wondered about for years that I had heard was so. Is an airplane off course much of the time and requires  moment by moment course correction to keep it aloft and flying in a straight line? He smiled and assured me that wasn’t the case. He went on to explain that the pilot gets a flight plan and instructions from ground control and that much of the time, the plane is on auto pilot. The only time they change the plan is when a storm is coming up in front of them and they need to re-direct around it and the plane goes on manual control at landing.


My writer/ therapist’s mind automatically went to metaphor mode as it occurred to me that recovery has the same components to it. In 12 step parlance, GOD, stands for Good Orderly Direction that offers us a daily flight plan, direction and destination. If we go off course, the Air Traffic Controller, guides us back on track. If we are able to surrender and trust, we can go on auto pilot. Now, that doesn’t mean relinquishing responsibility for our choices and for keeping an eye on what is in front of us. It means allowing God to be your co-pilot.

Most people who see a storm approaching, take cover or maneuver out of harm’s way. Sometimes we need a barf bag when turbulence occurs and then we ride the current, knowing that we can get through it. Sadly, many who are facing addictions, keep flying into that same darn meteorological  phenom; get struck by metaphorical lightning and then wonder why they crash and burn.


I then asked about the landing. Since he had over 3 decades of experience as a commercial pilot and a number of years as an Air Force pilot,  prior to that, he has likely made many thousands of touch downs. It is about knowing the precise moment to take back control of the plane, so as to make the transition from air to ground as smoothly and safely as possible.

How often do we know when to surrender and when to take ahold of ourselves and circumstances so that we can travel the friendly skies? From A Window Seat- Dawes


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