One of the Old Timers of AA told me this means until I feel OK about something, I shouldn’t go ahead with it. In all likely hood, this is going to be a slow process. For one thing, I wasn’t sure how I felt about things for much of the first year. I was confused and foggy and my feelings were all over the map. How would I know I felt OK about a difficult decision?
When the general foggy confusion settled, I could see reality but I didn’t really want to. Also, I didn’t really want to feel what I was experiencing once reality came into focus! Many members of AA conclude that as newly recovering alcoholics we shouldn’t make many life altering decisions until later… sometimes much later. When? It doesn’t say.
I’ve also heard it argued that if we couldn’t make any life-altering decisions when we first hit the program, we sure couldn’t take any steps! Every one of them is bent on altering our life. I’ve concluded the safe course would be to make the program a priority and the recovery work a primary focus. Making life altering decisions (like starting a new relationship or career) should wait a while.
For me, during the first few months I didn’t have much thinking power to start with and what was left over after step work and reading the Big Book was worthless. I could hardly make a decision about dinner.
In fact, I remember showing up at a 5:00 meeting upstairs in the Fellowship Club because I couldn’t decide what to eat. This is true. I had narrowed my eating to foods that went best with my favorite wine. I felt I couldn’t eat those without a relapse, but I couldn’t think of anything else. My mind was saying, spaghetti and Merlot, pizza and Merlot, cheese and crackers and Merlot…
I have to believe that this process works. I rely on an inspiration from God to help me with decisions. I wait until, as the Old Timer said, I get a gut feeling that this is the obvious direction. I might even go against what I had wanted to do originally because now it feels so obvious.
So far, I haven’t had to make any decisions when I was still in that limbo of confusion, or gut-wrenching indecision. Before the deadline to decide, I find I get a peaceful, “this is obvious” feeling. I find I’m not changing my mind all the time now, either.
When I get into trouble it is usually when I’m listening to someone else’s interpretation of God’s will for my life. Historically, that has caused a lot of pain for me.
I finally told one pastor that he was not my Holy Spirit, that I was comfortable listening to God without his (pastor’s) interpretation of God’s will for my life.
He responded, then you are going to be settling for God’s plan B for you. Little did he know I was living in plan B and finally going back to what God wanted for my life. I was done wrestling with God. Now I stay away from anyone who wants to tell me what God wants me to do. Looking for approval isn’t my style.
As the saying goes, If God is telling you what I should do with my life, I wish you’d tell Him to stop gossiping about me.