God Proof

     In the 2nd Step, we are asked to believe in a power outside of ourselves, one that is capable of fixing us – GOD. Boy, what a loaded word that is. But God is just a three-letter word meant to convey an idea, like any other word. The problem is when we mention God, all sorts of man-made concepts and belief systems invade our consciousness, not to mention traumatic personal experiences with religious fundamentalism, or religiously justified domestic abuse, or even (gulp) ethnic cleansing. But codes, creeds, rituals, churches, pipe organs, Sunday school, and a big throne with a Caucasian, bearded man sitting there with his rod and staff are all just man-made social constructs.

     Who are we to know what God is and what he looks like? And why is God in a building on Sunday morning but not outside in the woods on Monday afternoon?

     And then there’s atheism. Some of us think that if you can’t see, hear or touch something, then it doesn’t exist. Some think you cannot prove the existence of God. Well, first of all, let me say that I think the whole of science simply proves the existence of God because science just shows us how incredible and miraculous everything is.

     But the best argument is found right in the Big Book, and in an old Dexter episode I was watching the other night. The argument is quite simple. The Big Book asks,

     “Who are we to say there is no God?”

     And Dexter counters to the assertion that we can’t prove the existence of God by flipping the coin.

     “Maybe I can’t prove there is a God but you can’t prove there isn’t.”

God, help me to suspend my disbelief long enough for You to fill me up…

2nd Step

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

     If I can take a 1st Step, then I can take a 2nd Step. Without knowing it, by taking a 1st Step, we’ve already taken a 2nd Step.

     I remember sitting in treatment and a fellow knucklehead was trying to convince me that I had no power. I went on one of my embarrassing rants, asserting that I had power… just let it get a little out of hand. That’s when another guy stared me down and told me if I was still thinking that way, I just wasted my first three days.

     And then the 1st Step hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized that for all the things I could do, the one thing I couldn’t was to control my addiction. Drugs and alcohol had me by the balls. That’s probably why I was sitting in rehab wearing four flannel shirts in the middle of summer after stumbling into detox looking like a corpse.

     So I’ve just admitted that drugs and alcohol are more powerful than me. If I can believe that, why can’t I believe that there is something else more powerful that can fix me? Suddenly I realized that I didn’t have to freak out about believing in a Greater Power. There are an endless slew of things more powerful than us humans. We are at the mercy of so many forces, both worldly and other-worldly.

     But to keep it simple, if I’ve just admitted, felt, and understood that drugs and alcohol have power over me, it was simple logic to accept the possibility of something else more powerful that could effect positive change. And it wasn’t long before my blind faith proved true. There was indeed something much, much more powerful than myself, and it shook me to the core one night up North. For a brief time, I felt a force far greater than drugs and alcohol take over my body and mind. In an instant, it removed any and all urge to drink or use drugs. It emptied my mind and filled my heart. I’m sure you can guess what it was. And as it began to seep through my veins, I began to feel a sense of purpose. Instead of a compulsion to drink or use drugs, I felt a compulsion to help others.

     Seven years later, I still feel that compulsion. Living proof that the 12 Steps effect miracles and life long recovery (if taken directly from the Big Book and if taken thoroughly and fearlessly. 99% = 0%.)

God, teach us to be still and know…

Meetings vs Steps

     One of the central tenets of AA is that no human power can give us choice back. But today you have slogans and cliches which profess that all you need is a Group ODrunks (G.O.D.) to keep you sober. Sorry, but if you’re a chronic alcoholic or addict, no meeting or group of people can keep you sober. Nobody in the world can. If that were true, no one in AA would be relapsing. The truth is that nothing human or man-made can keep us sober.

     Meetings never really helped me because even though I may identify with whatever loser was speaking at the podium, I never heard a real solution. Nobody ever told me what to actually do to get better, feel better, and become recovered so I don’t have to struggle 24/7 and end up going to 3 meetings a day for the rest of my life. Just keep comin’ [to meetings] isn’t gonna cut it. How about becoming free to go anywhere in the world and not worry about relapsing?
     If I’m borderline suicidal and still white knuckling it everyday after 20 years, then somebody please shoot me in the fucking head. You might as well just drink if the alternative is a life of constant struggle and utter misery.
     Now, if I had somehow found a meeting where I heard a recovered person speaking and I thought, ‘Yes, that person is all better. They are calm and centered and strong… I want what they have’, then I could ask them what they did to get better. And if they weren’t totally full of shit, they would meet up with me individually and take me line by line through the first 164 pages of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, breaking down the specific instructions on how to take Steps.
     The Steps are not just that numbered list you see on a poster hanging on the wall during an AA meeting. The Steps are a specific set of actions that, if done thoroughly and fearlessly, will elicit an entire psychic change within. In the beginning of AA meetings, a preamble is read and everybody thinks they are taking Steps or that they are doing the program. Actually, the ‘program’ doesn’t have much to do with war stories and sob stories, coffee and cookies, preambles and sobriety chips, being a treasurer and planning the bi-annual sober dance.
     So why wait to get better? Why go to your local meetings and take advice that might kill you – to just ‘sit down, shut up, keep comin’, and wait for the miracle to happen’?
     We don’t wait to recover.
     We get up off our asses and go get better. It’s never too early to start taking Steps and turn our will over to God, to write inventory and read it, to make amends and go help others. It’s never to early to grow up and find a purpose. It’s never too early to commit to a lifetime of spiritual growth. Waiting is the exact problem with alcoholics and drug addicts. Waiting might put you in the ground. If someone in AA tells you to wait to do something (like the guy who told me to wait to make amends because it was too early in my sobriety), run the other way as fast as you can. If I had listened to that guy, I’d probably be dead right now.
God, teach me the difference between white-knuckling it and doing some actual work…