I don’t think it matters whether your life path winds between empty bottles, baggies and syringes or is decorated by framed degrees and certificates of completion—or both. The message of AA is powerful truth and available to all.
My recovery from alcoholism has helped me not only to quit drinking and quit obsessing about alcohol, but it has helped me find a way to live that makes sense to me. More than that it’s a path of living that is biblical and because of that, based on principles that can’t fail me.
For me, most of Steps 1 and 2 happened before I hit the program, but not before I hit bottom. I had turned 55 and simultaneously discovered that I had no hope. With the realization that I was on the downward side of life, certainly with less time before me than behind me, I began to despair of living my life. I wanted to fast-forward to the end and just read the last line. I already knew it couldn’t say, happily ever-after. I had nothing to look forward to and I dreaded the onset of every new day. What was the use?
I loved teaching but I had been drinking and wasting so much time that my business was failing, my only son was grown and living out-of-state along with the rest of my family.
My life was a dead-end, a depressing tale. My brother once said that he was the biggest could’ve been that never was. I felt I wasn’t even that! Could’ve been…what? Nope.
I asked myself, What was I doing without work, living in the middle of a city that I didn’t even care about in a state where I didn’t want to reside? How did this happen?
I knew my life was unmanageable that summer but I didn’t know I was powerless over alcohol yet. I would discover that at my first meeting with women from AA. (Step 1) The rainbow incident at Prairiewoods was where God showed me that the insanity of my life and my mind could be restored because He cared about me. (Step 2)
Step 1 We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
Step 2 Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Step 3 Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Because I was desperate, I finally wanted to turn my will and life over to God. (Step 3) Facing reality and looking at my relationships and at who I was created to be are all parts of seeking His will for me. Turning my will and my life over to God meant stop. Stop trying to make things work. Assess what could work within His will and what couldn’t. I had to stop trying to force certain relationships to work. Stop trying to force my will upon everything. Let go. It was scary.
Instead of asking what’s wrong with me and how do I make this work? I began asking what’s wrong with this picture? How do You, Lord, want me to live? In asking that, I found that, just as I suspected, I had a lot wrong with me, but that He had a plan for taking care of those personal character defects. In the meantime, I could live a sane life by following the Steps. One at a time.