28 years of chronic addiction and mind-blowing depressions… and then my life began. But it was different this time. Something had cracked open in my mind. The world suddenly went from narrow and small to open and limitless, as my consciousness expanded. A new dimension took form and I began to see and feel life in a totally different way. With fear gone, I felt what real Power was. I finally understood what all those successful people who write books meant about how anything is possible. Whether you think it’s God or whether you choose not to give credit where credit is due, I suppose it’s more important to just live by spiritual principles… except that you lose the humility when you take God out of the equation. And, of course, arrogance isn’t very attractive. I should know based on the way people used to react to me.
But there is such a thing as a sudden and fundamental shift, an entire psychic change, a profound and cathartic spiritual experience. On a moonlit night, in a small room up North, and in a single instant, I was forever changed. I remember just having read 12 hours of my written 4th Step inventory. I felt nothing. Then I took a 6th Step – a one-hour meditation. I stood up, closed my eyes, breathed in through my nose and out through my mouth. I began to review all of the destructive and flawed patterns that I discovered about myself.
Given that I’ve been selfish and self-seeking, wanting and needing to be seen as strong, secure, smart, beautiful, heroic, tough, normal… Given that I’ve always wanted to remain in my comfort zone, hell bent on protecting my pride, ego, self-esteem… Given that I have failed to see how I affected others, or even (gulp) cared… Given that I do the very things I resent in others like being fake, arrogant, self-absorbed… Given that I’ve been scared to grow up, unwilling to change and push through the hard times and awful feelings…
I reached out from within and humbly asked God to remove every single defect of character… and to replace them with Love. Every cell in my body knew it was time to stop meditating, get down on my knees, and recite the 7th Step prayer. The very second I finished uttering the prayer, I briefly lost control of my emotions, simultaneously laughing and crying.
Holy shit, it worked!
Suddenly a mind-bowing Power, the Power of God, came surging through the top of my head, rushing through me for some time. Instantly, I had full control of my mind. I could choose not to think, to keep my mind empty. I knew with certainty that fear was a self-created illusion. And just like that, my fear was removed. From that point on, I’ve been recovered and I will be forever, so long as I continue to put my spiritual growth above all else. I had a profound sense of peace and knew that anything was possible. I saw and felt, and thus knew and learned what the power of God was, and that spiritual rebirth is a fact.
To note, I often talk to people in AA who say they’ve been working on the 6th Step or some other Step for a year… or other people who say they did the 4th Step in their heads… and yet others who say they’re doing the Steps for a second or third time because their sponsor told them to. Sorry, but this makes no sense. The Twelve Steps are ONE thing. They are written in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, which gives us very specific instructions on how to take them. The 6th Step does not go on for a year. It is a one-hour meditation. The 4th Step isn’t on some poster in an AA meeting. It is a life inventory of resentments, fears and sexual conduct, to be written in specific column format. And the only Steps we take over and over again are the 10th, 11th and 12th. If the Steps work and our obsession is removed, there is no need to do the Twelve Steps over again. We only embark on the full process in the event of a relapse.
So if your sponsor doesn’t have anything you want, if he doesn’t possess the kind of internal qualities you seek for yourself, if he tells you to do things he has never done, if he struggles to stay sober and drags you to three meetings a day… then he may end up facilitating your death, not your recovery. Trust me, listening to some of the clowns out there might actually kill you. Don’t be fooled by quasi, watered-down AA.
God, teach me that you love me…