I thank God everyday, that in my recovery program, I was told that I had a choice, and that I could choose the type “higher power” that I wanted or needed for me. Some just switched addictions to a person or substituted another kind of drug besides alcohol. Some used a door knob for their “higher power”. Sorry, that would not work for me. I used my group and sponsor for my “higher power” at first. They did not push God or religion on me. They knew that would just serve to piss me off, and maybe run me off and kill me.
If they had pushed God or Jesus on me, I would have cursed them out. I came from the street, and I was angry at God! I tried several different religions. I did not want someone else’s opinion of what God wanted for me. My God had to love no matter what, “with warts and all”. I chose a loving and kind God that loved me no matter what. Like the gentleman that He is, He never tried to push Himself on me. He gave me “free will”. I did not want a “controlling” or “critical” God.
I blamed God for my messed up life and all my pain and misery. I had tried organized religion but for me it was not enough. Some of us are sicker than others.
Some people might get sober through the church, but for me I did not dress like they wanted me to, or talk like they wanted me to, and I believed that I had to be perfect to be accepted. I could not take a chance of being rejected or judged, because I hated myself enough already, and believed that I had to be perfect to be loved or accepted.
And…that is one of the reasons that I want people to be made to pay their consequences for their bad behaviors and to not enable them. If people had continued to enable me and cover up for my bad decisions, then I may not ever have gotten sober or have been motivated to change my life.
From Chapter 5 of the Big Book
RARELY HAVE WE seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.
Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it — then you are ready to take certain steps.
At some of these we balked. We though we could find and easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have held on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.
Remember we deal with alcohol — cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power — that One is God. May you find Him now!
Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.
Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:
a) That we were alcoholics and could not manage our own lives.
b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.
c) That God could and would if He were sought.
Copyright© Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
Father Martin, a recovering alcoholic himself and his recovery helped me so much. I figured if he could do it so could I. He told me that, “For an alcoholic, if they use the Bible and the Big Book, and adhere to the Ten Commandments, then they are doing God’s will”.
Today, my “higher power” is God and Jesus. I have twenty eight years sober, and at about three years sober I chose to go back to church. I do sometimes go to church, but the program is where I got my sanity and serenity, through my sponsor and working the steps. I even chaired a twelve step Bible Study class for a few years, but I did not push my “conception” of God or my religion onto others. I gave them the same freedom that I was “freely given” by others that came before me.
Father Martin Remembered
“We all need a hero, and Father Martin is mine.” –Bill W.