As an alcoholic, I was suffering from a spiritual malady. I was spiritually sick, even though from my earliest remembrance, I loved God. Knowledge of God was not the problem, relationship with Him was. Unwittingly, I replaced the spiritual gifts that God could give me with the gift of the spirits… alcohol. I felt the same peace and freedom after a few drinks that I had felt as a young girl in the presence of God. It was instant, and it felt good.
I don’t believe I’m powerful enough to ‘push God away’, but I did turn from Him. I turned to a glass of freedom, a bottle of peace. For a while that seemed to be enough and, I believed I had found the solution to anxiety, depression and fear. A few drinks and I felt relief. Of course, after a while, that stopped working. In fact as soon as I took one drink, I would crave the next, and as the craving kicked in I was off on another spree, not stopping until I passed out. Knowing this, I learned to drink at home and drink alone. I wasn’t a closet drinker, I was a basement drinker. Moving my bedroom down there, my wine cellar and my bed were conveniently located for maximum drinking.
As long as I didn’t pick up that first glass, I was fine. As soon as I did I was in trouble because it was never the drink in my hand that held my focus, it was the next one, and the one after that. If you poured me a drink, my eye followed the bottle. I had no power to quit drinking; for that, I would need a power greater than myself.
The part of my story which still baffles me is that I knew God and I loved Him and yet my own will demanded that I keep on doing what pleased me. I was powerless to change as long as I was listening to my own mind. With enough pain, I no longer believed I could ‘figure out my life’. I stopped resisting and I surrendered; moving from my mind to my spirit where God could reach me. It wasn’t until I was completely undone and willing to be reached that God, in His grace, separated me from alcohol.
In the program of AA I learned how to experience God’s power and how to set my own will aside, choosing His will for a change. Instead of being driven by my own fear, I learned how to listen to the spirit of God. I have been surprised to find out that it wasn’t faith or belief that I lacked. It was the experience. That experience of God-consciousness came to me as a result of the 12 Steps — for that, I’m grateful every single day. Because of that, I try to share what I’ve found.
This is what I want to share with anyone who is sick of the sprees (alcohol, drugs, food, sex, spending, gambling, etc) and wants something other than obsessions and thoughts of suicide. I am no longer powerless, but the power I have is from Him.
I’m not a seeker of great teachings, philosophies, religious beliefs, or self-help methods. I am a seeker of experience — the experience of God’s power.
That’s what AA is about. Not by any of our own doing, but by turning our lives over to the will of God and receiving His power are we able to change. We’re about God. We have a spiritual message that is the solution for all spiritual maladies. This isn’t a popular way to talk about recovery. It’s not PC, but the truth is we have been set free. Free from ourselves, from our obsessions and sprees! That freedom comes from developing a conscious contact with the power of God.
Step 12 – Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.