One night I was feeling really whipped and fearful that another binge was coming on from which I would not come back. About 10:00 PM I went to an AA club house in the town where I lived. I sat down at a table with a cup of coffee and told my tale of woe. Some one else said something about a Higher Power and I promptly excused myself because I wasn’t going to deal with a bunch of Jesus Freaks. I came back six months later to the same place and was ready to listen.
I started out in recovery with God as Good Orderly Direction, have bounced all over the place since then but today am reasonably comfortable with my original recovery concept. I don’t think there is some white dude with a beard that made the world and sits in judgment. I don’t think there is an afterlife. I don’t think if I pray real hard some deity will reward me.
But today I am also comfortable as a member of organized religion congregation. I decided to take what I like and leave the rest, another AA cliché.
In the Prayers of the People during worship services, when the reader asks “Are there other Thanksgivings?”, the first two responses I have are for life and hope. When I got off work one night a bunch of years ago, instead of going to a bar I committed myself to a detox unit. I am grateful for having that hope for life. Although I did not realize this until later, what I truly discovered that night was expressed in Matthew 7:7 where we are told to: “Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.”
I don’t think that means some dude with the long beard in a chair up in the clouds decides to allow us to give, find, or open. I do think it has everything to do with surrendering, being willing, searching, being in the solution.
After years of self hate and loathing over my abuse of drugs and people, I had never asked a God or anyone/thing else for relief. The first time I asked, I received. That is, when I first made a decision, however embryonic, to be in relationship with a power outside and greater than myself, even more Amazing Grace poured forth. I am grateful that this relationship is an ongoing process and not something to do once.
Through time I believe my relationship with the Spirit grows in new and exciting ways. This idea of a relationship process is an integral expression of recovery. Another AA cliché speaks of spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection. I like that a lot. I never get there, but if I stay in recovery, it gets better.