God. Trust. Just Believe. Turn it over. Let it go.
I could go on and on with the words and slogans that stuck in my craw when I first ventured into recovery. Some years ago, God and I went our separate ways. I don’t remember if He left first or if I did. What I do know is that anytime someone started talking about God, I felt compelled to run away. I just didn’t want to hear any of it.
He Can’t Judge Me Anymore
I grew up in a semi-religious family. As young teenagers, my siblings and I were all confirmed Catholics. We understood the basics of the Bible and could even recite a passage or two by heart. We went to church every week until we were in high school, when attendance started to become sporadic. By the time I left home, my relationship with God was on shaky ground.
As I became more and more engrossed in my drinking and using, whatever connection I had with God had ended. I had always imagined God as a man in a long white robe, holding a golden scepter, and sitting in a large, velvet chair. He sat in that chair and watched, passing judgment on each wrong step.
Although I did believe God was real, I felt like he had judged me long enough. I had to be out of second chances, with my debt overflowing. What would God want with a person like me? There was no chance, so there was no other choice. God and I were done.
My recovery path led me to Alcoholics Anonymous, although I do recognize the many other ways that people enter sobriety. Whatever works is whatever works, plain and simple. Fortunately, I met some amazing women through AA—women that made all the difference in my journey. One of them was Vicky, a sophisticated, articulate, humble yet confident woman. She was the kind of woman I thought God would probably hang out with. I knew she was very religious, but I gave her a shot being my sponsor in spite of her God talk. It wasn’t always easy.
I shattered the vision of God sitting in his chair of judgment and began to think of my Higher Power as more of an entity rather than an actual person.
Gradually, Vicky and the other women at the meetings started getting through to me. I appreciate the fact that Vicky never rammed God down my throat, but she was an expert at sneaking him into virtually any conversation. As time passed, I began to wonder if these women were on to something.
Each day I wondered, “What if they are telling the truth?” I entered the program thinking Vicky and others like her were full of it when it came to God, but what if they’re not? Could you imagine the possibilities if I could really have what they have?”
Into the Light
Slowly, very slowly, I began to understand that my understanding of a Higher Power could be anything I wanted it to be. I remember someone telling me that my Higher Power could be anything, even a light post. I thought that was taking it a bit too far, but I got the point.
I shattered the vision of God sitting in his chair of judgment and began to think of my Higher Power as more of an entity rather than an actual person. I began imagining it as a force of light that was working with me and for me. There was no judgment, no hate. I didn’t have to cower at its feet or fear its wrath. My Higher Power was in me and around me, and I began to feel it on a daily basis.
Finding My Way Home
Having a Higher Power in my life means that I am never alone. I pray to it as most people pray to God, but I focus my prayers on becoming the best version of myself. My faith-based approach with my Higher Power at the center of my recovery continues to make me a better person and helps me successfully navigate this crazy world.
Together, we have been making it work for several years now. And while it may have taken me a long time to get here, I am here and that is all that matters.