“Today I am sober… hours/days.” It is wonderful to see more and more individuals post on Facebook that they are sober even if they are struggling to stay so. What I see missing in many of those postings is an acknowledgement about how they got sober. Their A.A. chip implies they are in a 12-step recovery program which implies they acknowledge their sobriety came from a Power greater than themselves but they do not say this.
In psalm 150 the psalmist writes, “Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary… for his mighty deeds… according to his greatness… with trumpet… lute and harp... tambourine and Dance… with strings and pipe... clanging cymbals… let everything that breathes praise the Lord.”
When I first came to the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, I didn’t need to get sober. I told my boss I would not drink and it was no big deal. Any fool can stop drinking. And this fool stopped drinking. I never picked up another drink. I never picked up another drug. But I was not sober and I was not happy about being seen in these rooms.
God was good to me. (S)he nudged me into the program and nudged me to listen to a couple of individuals who saw through my façade, my fear, and stubbornness at not wanting to have a sponsor. They sponsored me into sobriety, Praise the Lord.
With my seminary background I thought I knew all about God. What goodness I knew about God applied to others. The god I believed in I saw through clouded thinking and negative emotions—the baggage that prevented me from seeing God with twenty- twenty vision. My understanding of god was skewed with my low self-esteem issues—anger; resentments, etc. It is difficult to praise God when God is seen as the source of one’s problems.
Sobriety came slowly to this alcoholic. Gratitude for being an alcoholic in recovery came slowly. The trinitarian basis of the program began to unfold in all its simplicity and depth. Go to meetings to listen to what was shared and identifying with others was an eye-opener. Read the Big Book and underline identified emotions to help me identify with those “old folk” who wrote this book some 40 years earlier. Talk to a sponsor about what I had for breakfast, about my boss, about what I am grateful for, about my anger, and why I chose to be angry without blaming others (a new behavior). Praise the Lord.
When I say, “Praise the Lord,” I am not identifying with any particular denomination or Faith community. “Praise the Lord” was (is) the language used by a person filled with the joy of his/her awareness of a Power greater than him/her self. That power was seen in all of nature and s/he wanted to give praise with every instrument available (not just a Hammond Organ).
Today I can identify with those who seem to think they are sobering up on their own while they hold the chip that says “God, grant me the serenity…” Today I pray that they stay with the program, go to meetings, read the Big Book and talk to their sponsor until such time as the cloud lifts and they can experience the joy of sobriety.
Today, like a child, I want to make a joyful noise to the Lord with a loud sound, with the simplicity of a pot and spoon, Praise the Lord for my sobriety and serenity. Praise the Lord for a joy filled heart. Praise the Lord as we pray in our own understanding of God: “Our Father…” -Seamus D