As we celebrate Independence Day, I have encountered the words, “Freedom isn’t free.” How true that is to me in my recovery. There was some work I had to do in this world to get me back to where I could live freely. I had to make some conscious decisions that I would go to any lengths to get my freedom.
At the point that I had gotten in my alcoholism, I really didn’t have a problem admitting that I was powerless over alcohol. I had grown up in the church, so again it was not a far stretch for me to believe that God could restore me to sanity. But turning my life and my will over to God, well that didn’t sound very much like freedom. In my head, I felt that I had already done that. I went to church. I gave when the offering plate was passed. You know, I was “giving” of my life to God. In my heart, however, I knew that this was not the case. As I worked the steps with my sponsor, I pretty much went right to step three. With my lips I said the words, but my ego would not let go. My sponsor left me a copy of the third step prayer and I read it. I could identify with the principle and I had the desire, but not that last little bit of will power, you know freewill. It was an example of saying, “Let go and let God,” and then taking back the reins to my life after about five or ten minutes.
As the days progressed, I found that I could let go for longer and longer periods of time. In evening prayers, as I recounted the days that I was able to do this, I had been happier. A low level headache that had been my norm, disappeared and I was frequently less irritable. I was able to see progress in my recovery, my life became more manageable. When praying, I could honestly thank God for taking away the obsessions that had plagued my life. I was in a word, happier.
What I have found is that while “Freedom is not free,” God’s Love is. Somewhere in my surrendering, I experienced an entirely different level of God’s mercy and Grace. The progress that I have made has not come without cost, nor has it been easy, but it has been simple. I have found that by regularly offering myself to God and submitting to His will, I am better able to discern what is His and what is mine. Retrospectively, the lengths that I have gone to achieve this freedom don’t seem that arduous, and it is worth so much more than the cost.