I am not God. This was a huge awareness and admission for me in early recovery. Up until then, I thought I had to be in control because there was no one else I could trust or depend upon. Acceptance was not part of my life plan; I thought I had to stay in control and create a life where I was safe and taken care of. My insight that I was not God opened the way for a Higher Power, God, to enter my life.
In the final weeks of my drinking, as my life had spun out of control, I was trying to soothe my panic and sensed that I was about to crash and burn. I was 33 years old, married, and had two beautiful young daughters. Then the inevitable happened--my marriage, my dreams, and my life lay scattered in broken pieces around me. I willingly went into treatment; I had no idea what else to do. I could not see a tomorrow, and I could not see any happiness in my future.
While in treatment for my alcoholism, an elderly Catholic priest told me to fire my old god and to open myself to a new relationship with God. Firing my old god was easy – I wasn’t all that attached to him. I started going to meetings and working the 12 steps. I read, wrote, and made sober friends. I eventually started really talking to others, my family, and counselors. I was able to peacefully part ways with my childhood religion and make room in my heart and soul for a new relationship with God. I became comfortable with not knowing where I was going. I worked on accepting life as it was and not as I thought it should be.
I’ve come to believe that faith is a choice. As a child I had happily believed and accepted the faith and church given to me by my parents, and as an adult I had rejected that same church. I scoffed at people who believed in God and were part of an established religion. I did not understand how sensible people could be so weak and delusional. I was miserable, lonely, and scared. I missed the faith I had had as a child.
After 23 years of sobriety, I have come to see my alcoholism as a great gift in my life. Without my descent into alcoholism and the shattering of my illusions, I could not have let go of my old pain and disappointment in God. Without the insights and help I was given in my sober community, I could not have found my way home, back to the God who had loved me as a child.
I am now part of a church community where I am loved. I know I am loved because I am able to truly love others. St. Francis was right – it is through giving that we receive. By loving people in my community, I realized I was loved. Acceptance and staying out of God’s way are still a struggle at times, but now I have the right tools and the right people in my life to remind me to let go and let God--to love without knowing the outcome.