329 Freedom and Liberty

“We are going to know a new freedom…(AA 83)…a spiritual liberation from this world….(AA 55)

It was interesting to read an article comparing freedom and liberty, two words I had always thought of as synonymous. Both refer to the right to do as one pleases, but there are some differences.

To me, freedom seems to suggest the complete absence of restraint. I guess that is how my addiction convinced me early on that I was free. I believed I was doing what I did because I chose it. No restraints, except those I put on myself. This lie explains the lines I crossed, things I swore I would never do. One by one or in multiples, I crossed them believing I was free to do so. No reason not to. I believed as a grown man that I could make decisions for myself, without regard to things like values, beliefs, relationships, laws, ethics, or integrity. I was Master-of-the-Universe, completely oblivious that this ‘freedom’ was sinking me in bondage.

Then there is liberty. “Liberty and justice for all,” we pledge. Sounds like we are really saying, “liberty—but.” Freedom with strings attached. I am at liberty to pursue happiness, but not free to deprive someone else of theirs. In addiction, I twisted that into being free to do as I please, but I must deal with the consequences. 
In recovery I have the liberty to live in harmony with myself, others, and my Higher Power, but I must live responsibly. Freedom feels more appealing, but the liberty seems more realistic. I have made my choice. Have you?

God keep me from the false freedom I thought I had, and give me the liberty which comes only with sobriety from lust.