Agnostics in Recovery
Prior to working the 12 Steps, I had strongly suspected the existence of a God or a Power Greater than myself. I innately believed in the “God” thing. One of the few things I did claim to know absolutely when I came into recovery…is that someone, something, somewhere had saved my life on numerous and varied occasions.
Due to the cultural conditioning in my background, the God of my understanding was a punishing God. He, She, or It; was a merciless, judgmental Supreme Being who made my life a living hell because I wasn’t a saint. So what was the point? I figured God had turned his back on me as a young child, did not love me and could never possibly love me because I wasn’t “good” enough. Through my warped and twisted thinking I condemned myself to live in hell. A hell on earth.
It never occurred to me that it was a self-induced hell. It never dawned on me that maybe, just maybe, I was the one that had made the choices using my own self-centered, misguided will that eventually led me to the edge of the valley of death. Here I was placing all the blame on God, but you know something? God wasn’t the one that made me do weird things with even weirder people. I was the one that did it all to myself.
The first time I worked the 2nd Step, this whole “God” thing was nebulous at best. Gingerly, with grave reservations and trepidation (I didn’t want to become to “AA-ish”), I proceeded to contemplate the concept of a Power Greater than myself. Being terrified of God from my childhood, I didn’t have any clue on where to start. So my sponsor suggested that I believe what she believed. “Oh great!” I thought. “Oh boy, I can do that! What a relief that’s over with.” Crossed that hurdle. And I went on my merry way.
Not too long after that I had a sudden thought. It occurred to me that I didn’t know what my sponsor believed in! So I frantically rushed home and rang her up. “Just what exactly is it that we’re believing in?” I asked, breathlessly waiting for the secrets of the universe to be revealed to me. There was a long pause. A very long pause. She was thinking. The wheels were turning. My heart sank. My question was making her sweat. Finally after an eternity she very carefully said, “Well, I believe that everything is going to be all right, can you believe that everything is going to be all right?” Instantly I cheered up. “Yes,” I answered. “I can believe that!”
With the patience, love and understanding of another alcoholic, I took that step in my spiritual quest. Today my belief signifies reliance, not defiance, in a Power Greater than myself…who I choose to call God.
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