I haven’t used a lot of the writing prompts suggested by a Twitter account I’m following but I liked this one and decided to see if I could do it with my one and only iBook. The prompt was to grab the nearest book, turn to page eight-two and work the third full sentence into a post. Since going blind, I can never participate in these sorts of things, grabbing a sentence from a certain page, since that isn’t possible with an audio book. Now however, I have an iBook and the ability to choose my page! I am pretty sure page eighty-two of my iBook isn’t the same as the print book, but it works.
When I found the desired sentence, I was torn about whether to do this. This sentence addresses the major controversy about the program that rescued me from the clutches of alcoholism – God.
When I first stumbled into my first meeting and saw God on the walls in the steps I thought, well I’ll do those steps because I don’t want to drink anymore, but don’t talk to me about God. Of course I knew they would talk to me about a higher power. I had known a guy who had made a band his higher power. Before I had ever started drinking, I hung out at a coffee shop with a bunch of young people who were newly sober and they talked about how they could make their higher power anything they wanted. Yet, it was God on the walls everywhere, not a higher power that was a door knob or a band.
I wanted what those people had though, so I trudged forward and decided to deal with the God thing when I came to it. I wanted to be happy like those other people, those people who didn’t drink and still smiled and laughed, genuinely laughed!
“When we became alcoholics,crushed by a self imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else he is nothing.”
I have read that sentence countless times this morning as I copied it down from my iBook word by word. Looking back on those early days over seven and a half years later, I see that I had already noticed that God is everything when I looked at those happy people and decided I would do whatever they had done to be like them. I didn’t know it yet, but it was their faith in something, call it whatever you want, that was pouring out and making me drunk with the desire to be happy with them.
The misconception about this program and God on the wall is that when you walk in the door they start throwing bibles at you and making you believe what they believe. That is so far from the truth I laugh when I hear it. You hear comedians talking about it, you see it online in every social networking group there is, it’s everywhere and it’s sad.
The chapter in the book, (yes there’s a book but it’s not a bible, it’s more a manual) this quote comes from is the chapter called “We Agnostics”. The writers of the book understood that in order for their program to save as many lives as possible, they would need to reach out to people of all faiths. All faiths include no faith. That is where the God of your understanding comes in and that’s what saved my life.
I craved having something to believe in. I needed it. I was frightened off of religion as a child though and never found anything I could believe in. I tried as a young adult. I went to supposed “cool churches” but they still preached hate. When I was told I could borrow my sponsor’s God, I was intrigued.
She asked if I believed she believed in her higher power. Well, yes I did. She asked if I wanted what she had, meaning her sobriety and her happiness. yes I did. So she said I could borrow her God. She called it God because that is a universal name and it’s easy to spell. So when I left her house, I pretended her God came with me. I started talking to her God, just asking for help staying sober, simple stuff in the beginning. I cannot describe the relief!
Whether that God was real or not didn’t matter. The point was I was so sick and broken that believing that her God was watching out for me and helping me stay sober brought me relief and took away some of the fear that I would go weak and buy a drink. It didn’t take long for me to morph that comfort into my own conception of my own God.
That faith that helped me stay sober in the beginning has helped me through so much more than I ever thought possible. Whatever it was that I talked to and begged for help when I was diagnosed with MS, kept me from drinking and got me through that adjustment. Whatever it was that I leaned on and relaxed into when I went blind on my three year sobriety anniversary helped me stay sober through a life altering ordeal and helped me through that adjustment. Whatever I sobbed to on my knees in the kitchen with a destroyed coffee maker and water and coffee grounds all over me, kept me from drinking and guided me towards getting help for my mental health.
So in my life, is God everything? You bet. Is my God a religious God? Not for me, but if that’s what you need, fantastic! Is my God always God? No. I don’t pretend to know what God is and sometimes my higher power is just the part of me that is sane, the part of me that knows what the next right thing is and does it, the part of me that knows right from wrong and cares about others. So you see, sometimes my God is me. If that isn’t everything or nothing, I don’t know what is.