There is one step I take daily and that is Step One. If I want to stay sober, I must take that step even though most times it is an unconscious effort. Staying sober is not terribly difficult because my Higher Power restored me to sanity (Step Two). Yet there are times, many times actually, that I take my sobriety for granted and forget the God who gave me this gift.
I don’t forget God in the “old” way. As a matter of fact, I do acknowledge Him everyday through prayer. The problem is that I recite the prayers (Third Step, Seventh Step, Serenity) but I don’t always “feel” the prayers. It is reminiscent of buying as many self-help books I could possibly find in my search for happiness, serenity and spirituality prior to walking into AA for the first time. I say “reminiscent” because today I do have the solution and the solution is God. I just have a hard time holding onto the level of spirituality that I want so badly.
There are some people that, although I can’t look into their souls, seem to have that joy and peace that can only come from within. In good times and bad they always seem to be on an even keel and attribute that to God. After all of this time in recovery, I still look at this folks and want what they have. The thing is I CAN have it. It’s just taking me longer than someone else.
Somehow or another, it always goes back to Step Three and the ability or inability to turn everything over to the care of God. Here is an example of what I go through when my spirituality and my faith isn’t exactly where it should be. I can’t say for sure, but I believe there might be a few of you out there who have experienced the same thing. If you have, it is another example of those similarities that help us understand each other.
So life is good and I pray every day. Life remains pretty good and so I start forgetting a day here and there to pray. Life is still good and so I pray less. Then something happens. Life isn’t as good but now I worry about it because I don’t have the faith to carry me through. And then a snowball of stress and worry begins rolling downward, keeps picking up momentum and now I try to pray but I have such a “monkey mind” I can’t focus. So I put what I can’t change into my God box because I think that will be the solution. Finally, I do the old “foxhole prayer” thing which makes me feel guilty as sin!
I realize that I totally lost my conscious contact with God. I stop, breathe deep, and quietly give gratitude because today I can recognize this cycle and start all over again. I did not have to suffer my addictions because life happened. Instead, I remembered I had a Higher Power who is my lifeline to all I want, all I need and all I can be. It is not just about acknowledging a Higher Power. It is the conscious, 24 hour a day, contact that keeps us in the sunlight of the spirit. I always remember I have a Higher Power. I sometimes fail to consciously keep Him in my life.
God does for me what I cannot do for myself. And so when I get into that cycle of worry and my humanity overpowers my spirituality, He makes room for Himself in what little room I have left in my heart and soul and reminds me of His goodness.
What I realize and want to share with all of you is how lucky we are to be in a 12 Step Recovery Program. Everyone in the world experiences good and bad in life. Most of these are not suffering from an addiction but that doesn’t make the events of life different. How do people handle stress and difficulties without a relationship with a Higher Power? They don’t. They are negative, unhappy, and miserable. We, however, have a phenomenal toolkit we carry around with us and we have everything we need when we are challenged by life; specifically, a daily, conscious contact with God.
Namaste’. May you walk your journey in peace and harmony.
Like Grateful Recovery on Facebook. Kathy L. is the author of "The Intervention Book" in print, e-book, and audio