When I first came into recovery, I was definitely not a believer. I had worked through my supply of hope and was ready to give up the fight, that was my life. I felt abandoned by the world, my family, God. I vehemently believed that if there was a God (as per the stories that were regularly shoved down my throat), then God was a He and wasn’t around for me, because I was flawed.
When I stopped crying in fellowship meetings long enough to hear the words that were being spoken, I was disappointed to hear talk of Higher Powers because I thought that if I didn’t have a God, I also couldn’t have recovery.
The talks went on and I came to understand that although I had suffered great pain and abandonment as a child, the one inflicting the most pain & abandonment on my grown up, was me. I came to see that I didn’t take good care of myself, I allowed others to treat me badly and I joined in (or led) the devaluing of my work, opinion, time, body, mind, etc. I did all of this because that’s what I learnt to do as a child growing up in a home wrecked by alcoholism & dysfunction. As a grown up I had to take responsibility to parent myself in healthy ways of behaviour & belief.
I began working the steps and while it was really simple to see that my life was unmanageable and that I was powerless to change it, I hit a brick wall at step 2. I didn’t believe that a power greater than myself a) existed or b) cared about me enough, to restore me to sanity. If that was possible, why was I in the situation I was in? If I had not wanted change or something better so desperately, I would have abandoned recovery and carried on my miserable way.
I needed help so badly, that I kept coming back. Anyway, it felt good to be with people that understood what I was feeling. Through listening at fellowship meetings and reading the writings of others in recovery, I realised that I didn’t have to believe that a Higher Power could restore me to sanity, I just had to be willing to believe. I also realised that I didn’t need to know how I could be restored to sanity, just that I could be. It took a few months but eventually I got to a place where I believed that being restored to sanity was possible.
Here I came upon another barrier, I had to turn my life and will over to a God that I really didn’t understand. Some say that the understanding is part of step 3, but I say, even without understanding, we can still progress in recovery. I got a beautiful box out of the cupboard and started writing notes to my ‘higher power’. I asked for strength and clarity and help (with the mosquitos that were keeping me out of sleep that I desperately needed). Slowly, the things that I asked for were being delivered to me. I started getting more sleep at night, I was feeling stronger and started seeing more clearly how to recover.
About a year after I took step 3 for the first time, I revisited the step (read it here) to work out again what I understood about my Higher Power. I also worked out what I could physically do to strengthen my connection to HP Source and the way I do that is by keeping a gratitude journal, leaving notes in my God-box and being out in nature. Through being connected I am developing my belief that I am good enough to love, to save and to be happy.
I am really glad that I didn’t abandon recovery because I didn’t believe in God. My connection with my Higher Power is one of the most precious things in my bag of tricks. I keep revisiting the steps and every time my connection & belief grows stronger.
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