Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Step Three.

"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him."

My first personal stumbling block of this Step, was the mention of God - I didn't believe in God. Through attending meetings, and seeing the serenity of long-time members, I grew to have a desire to believe, but no concept of how to get there from here. I'd call my sponsor when the rage and pain and grief became too much for me to handle on my own, and wail to her, "I can't take Step 3 because I don't believe in God!" And she would calmly say, "Why not pray as if you did?"

I found this suggestion utterly maddening at first, and would conclude the conversation politely, and fall backwards into my misery, desperate and hopeless. One day, for some reason, when she made that sugggestion, I thanked her, got off the phone, and began to pray to a God I didn't believe in. I didn't receive any reply that I could distinguish, but I did feel a tiny bit calmer. That was enough, I began to pray more often.

One day I was praying, saying the first line of the Serenity Prayer repeatedly, and all at once the most glorious sense of peace washed down over me, and for the first time in my life, I felt a calm serenity.

That was my first spiritual awakening, and when I think about it, the power of it never fails to move me. In one second, I went from a non-believer to a believer. Before Al-Anon, I'd secretly disparaged those who believed in a Higher Power, because in my cynicism, I didn't believe, and I was right about everything, so...

After a while in program, I still didn't believe, but I wanted to. I went from aetheism, to agnosticism, and there I stuck for a while, and I see now that I stuck there because I may have said I was willing, but I hadn't even begun to relax my desperate grasp upon my life and my will.

The day of my spiritual awakening, I was truly willing. I was plunking my burden down, and stepping back, saying, "Well, God, you may not want it, but I know I don't."

I was ready. All the meetings I'd attended, all the literature I'd read, all the conversations I'd had with other members, and my sponsor, all the prayers I'd spoken, had slowly, slowly, loosened my hold, until I could just open my hand and - let go.

I can still have days or moments where I will reach to snatch back my problem, wanting to be allowed to worry it over myself for a while, convinced that if I just look at if from enough different directions, I can find my own solution. Not often, because I have a long experience of the relief that comes with turning it over to God. The inexpressibly beautiful knowledge that I'm not alone. Help is only one prayer away.

1 comment:

  1. Such a beautiful and powerful post.

    You wrote, "In one second, I went from a non-believer to a believer.

    I had a moment like this. It wasn't going from non-believer to believer (I always believed), but it was a moment when I awoke from my last drunk and just totally surrendered - took step 3. I didn't want to be in charge of my life anymore. I didn't know how - didn't want it. And despite my terrible physical condition, I felt a sense of peace wash over me as you describe. A miracle to be sure. I changed permanently in that instant.