Before I entered recovery, I spent a lot of time feeling alone and cold. Even surrounded by my family and friends I could still feel isolated and unloved. I had no connection with God and when I drove by churches in early recovery I had a feeling like I should be there, but just couldn't get through the doors.
The first time I attempted to go to a face to face meeting, I was an anxious wreck. I showed up at the church, wandered through the corridors and could not find the group. I knew I was in the right place but I was too scared to wander any further. I left through the doors crying and did not have the courage to come back for another six months.
One cold December night, I walked through those same doors where I ran into two women. They welcomed me with smiles and invited me to where they were meeting- in the warmth and light of the basement. My stomach was sick but I felt lighter having felt that I was in the right place. The women around me were just like me and that basement had a feeling about it that I can't describe. It was God's presence.
I hadn't been to church in years but it's as though the church was enveloping me into its arms to comfort me. I was welcome no matter what state I was in. God was waiting for me there even though I had felt so separate from him for so long it was a reunion that felt natural.
I would falter still. Over the next year I would attend on and off for some months and then fall off the map, struggling with an addiction to anxiety medication and then attempting suicide. I felt cold, alone, hopeless, and crying in my heart to be held again.
Back through the doors I came—those open arms—and I was embraced with a warmth that was so desperately needed during a very dark and difficult time.
It was because of those times in the basement that I reconnected with God after years of being estranged. I would soon after begin walking through the red doors of our local church on Sundays with my children.
Whether the doors are bright red or dingy white, opening to the high ceilings or crowded tables and chairs, to me, walking through them means walking into God's arms. Where I need to be and where I belong.