Promises, Promises

The 9th Step Promises of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous say:

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

(The Big Book, pp. 83-84).

We read these promises at the end of every meeting of my home group, and I have always loved it when the chairperson asks me to be the one who reads them. Even in my earliest days of sobriety, it was the Promises that gave me hope. You see, I wanted those promises for me and my life, although much of the time I never thought I could be so fortunate. I could see the evidence of the Promises in other alcoholics’ lives, they were happy, emotionally and spiritually fit, they could pay their bills on time, and they had healthy relationships. It didn’t bother them to talk about their pasts, and they weren’t wallowing in them either. They spoke about their drinking days in the context of, “you have to feel the bad times, to appreciate the good ones.” That was new to me, and in those first couple of years of sobriety, I didn’t think that I would ever be able to feel that way about my past.

Guess what happened though? Somewhere along the way, as I worked the steps – struggling through the hard days, and grateful for the good ones – the Promises started coming true for me. I have found a new freedom and a new happiness. Neither of those things came easily though. Freedom from drinking as a way to cope is never easy for an alcoholic. In fact, I think it’s a miracle when any alcoholic can go any length of time without a drink. I really do. But I also think that every minute, hour, day, and year that I stay sober I am free of my old way of coping, and that freedom feels good. What I have learned about happiness is that you can have it if you choose to. I have been through some pretty rough times in sobriety, some times that were even worse than the hell I went through when I was actively drinking, but I notice now that often I am able to choose happiness even then, even in those moments that used to baffle me.

There are still things about my past that I regret. What I find though is that I no longer wish to shut the door on it. I am able to talk and think about my past without guilt and shame (at least on most days), and sharing my past might help someone else. That’s what it has become for me – a way to help others in the same way that I have been helped. How can I be ashamed of that?

Self-pity used to be where I hung out most of the time. The Promises say that it will disappear, and I will say that I can see now that it is true. I’m not saying that I never fall back into that way of thinking, I do. However, I spend a whole lot less time there, and I bounce back faster when I do start to feel it. That too, is a miracle.

“Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.” Wow, I never thought that I would experience that, but I have. I’m not saying that I don’t worry anymore about what people are going to think, or that I am suddenly financially secure. What I am saying is that I have learned that I don’t have to be afraid of either of those things. What other people think is none of my business, and I no longer feel the need to try to live up to whatever it is I think they want from me. And even though I haven’t won the lottery, and I’m not independently wealthy, when financial challenges come up, I don’t stress as much. I know that things will be okayAll things are possible. I just know.

Knowing that things will be okay comes from the realization that “God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.” That’s it, plain and simple. God is at work, and I am not trying to run His show. Admittedly, there are times that I still try to take over…ok, there are still a lot of times that I try to take over, but when I am able to let go and hand it over to God, amazing things happen.

To the newcomer I say, be patient with your recovery. Believe that the Promises do come true. To the old-timers I say, thank you for helping me to believe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Telling my story

One of the really great things about Arizona is that in just a few hours you can go from this:

tucson

To this:

Forest lakes

That’s what we did this weekend.  We spent the last two days up near Payson, Arizona attending the annual Payson Round-up.  It’s a huge camping trip that is organized by a local Payson homegroup every year for the last twenty-something years.  This is the first time that we have gone, and we had a great time.  Recovering alcoholics and addicts are my favorite people to hang out with, and there were plenty!  It was a true blessing to see so many people whose lives have been changed by the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Just awesome!

It was so nice to get away from home, even for a short trip.  I had an extremely busy week at work because we had classes that started on Monday.  Start weeks are the busiest for me, and I was tired and burned out from working four 10-hour days so that I could take Friday off.  Our four-hour road trip started on Friday morning.  I love road trips!  Especially when I get to travel with my husband, Austin.  We have the best time, laughing and being silly, searching the iPod and the radio for songs to sing along to, telling each other stories from our pasts, and just being tuned into each other.  I will never turn down a road trip with my Honey.

This trip wasn’t a spur of the moment, let’s get out of the heat and see some trees, decision.  We’ve been planning on it for a few months now, because earlier in the year, I was asked to be one of the speakers at the round-up by one of the Payson homegroup members who attends my homegroup when he’s in Tucson.  At these kinds of AA events, there are usually a few members chosen to stand up and share their experience, strength and hope with the other attendees.  At this event, there were four AA speakers and one from Al-Anon.   I really don’t know how I got thrown into that handful, but I did, and I was really honored to be asked.

I have told my story, briefly, a few times at meetings.  But when w arrived on Friday, the organizers told us that they were expecting 350 people on Saturday!  I was speaking at 10:00 Saturday morning, and I was slated to speak for an hour!  And just so you know, I am one of the 75% of people who fear public speaking more than death.  I didn’t know what I gotten myself into.  Standing in front of that many people, baring my soul, was something that I never thought I would volunteer for, no matter how passionate I am about recovery.  Writing this blog allows me to hide behind a computer screen, without worry about judgment or dealing with people face-to-face.  Speaking at regular meetings (which, if I’m honest, I don’t do as often as I would like) isn’t as scary because I know the other members.  But on Friday night, as the nerves set in, I knew that I was in for something that was way out of my comfort zone.  I had trouble getting to sleep that night, which is something that very rarely ever happens to me.  I prayed, as I tried to go to sleep, that God would give me the strength that I needed for the next day, and that He would somehow give me the right words to reach those that needed to hear.

Saturday morning I woke up early and sat outside in the cool mountain air to write in my journal.  I felt surprisingly peaceful and ready for the day.  My fear and nervousness wasn’t gone, but I had faith that things would go well.  We got to the campsite and spent some time drinking coffee and visiting with some of the folks there, the meeting before the meeting, as it’s called.  Then, as the chairman if the event read the AA preamble and everyone started finding their seats, I felt a few pangs of anxiety.  What if I didn’t make sense?  What if I lost my place in my notes?  What if I talked too fast and finished too early?  What if everyone thinks I’m too new in sobriety to offer experience, strength and hope?  My thoughts were all over the place, but focused on me screwing up.  The gentleman that invited me to speak walked up to the mike…oh my gosh, I’ve never used a microphone…and introduced me to the group.  I walked up…

“Good morning, my name is Jami, and I’m an alcoholic….”

I confessed right at the beginning that I was nervous, that I was feeling a little bit pukey, and that I probably should’ve gone pee before getting up there.  That got a laugh, and I felt better.  I started to speak and I was ok, no one was booing, and everyone seemed to be engaged in what I had to say.  And you know what?  I made sense, I didn’t even look at my notes after the first couple of minutes, I spoke for nearly an hour, and I had so many people come up after to thank me and tell me that they identified with my story.  I was able to tell my story, completely and honestly, and I received so many kind words after.  I felt so blessed.

It was an amazing weekend of conquering my fears, trusting God, and carrying the message to other alcoholics.  I can’t imagine anything better.  🙂

P.S. My story was recorded, so as soon as I get the recording, I will post it here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gratitude – July 5

tumblr_mwtdhrtSHg1qgy8cmo1_500After just a few days of sharing my gratitude here, I have to say that I think this might be my favorite Healthy Habit so far.  All throughout the day I am conscious of the things for which I’m grateful.  It is often little things, like taking an early nap today, helping my husband make pies this evening, or talking to my good friend who just returned from out of town.  But being conscious of my gratitude also brings to mind much bigger things.  Tonight as Austin, Benjamin, and I had dinner, the conversation rolled around to the book of Revelation in the Bible (a nice change from the usual dinner conversation with the two guys in my life, which usually has to do with some type of bodily function).  It was an interesting, hopeful discussion in which Benjamin heartily participated – he is a preacher’s kid after all, even if he is only 9.   When dinner was over, I began to think about something that I am grateful for, that fits into the ‘bigger’ category.

I am beyond grateful for my faith.  When I look back at the person I was before I knew God, I am truly amazed that I was able to make sense of anything.  Or maybe that’s just it…I wasn’t able to.  I know that not having any spiritual direction or faith in anything contributed greatly to my alcoholic drinking.  I was missing something.  I was looking to fill myself up with something that was going to ‘make sense’ and make me feel purposeful, something to give me meaning.  Why I thought vodka and wine were going to do that, I don’t know.  But I do know that I was conscious at the time that I was lacking something important, something that I couldn’t find, so I willingly dived into the bottle.  I didn’t find was I was looking for there though, and as things got worse, I knew that I had to find some way to stop.

I ended up at a Christian treatment center (they took my insurance) and after my panic and fear settled down, I started to pay attention to what I heard about God and faith.  I listened to the employees of the rehab, most of whom were in recovery themselves.  They had what I wanted and that was sobriety; but it was also faith in God.  When I left there, I definitely felt like I had been introduced to something I wanted more of.  I believed wholeheartedly in Step 2 – I was only going to find sanity by trusting God.  And I did trust Him.  I had found faith; maybe just a little, but it was there.

That’s the really short version of how I started to believe and trust God.  Since then, my faith has become ingrained in me.  It gives me comfort when bad things happen, or when I am feeling down.  It gives me confidence if I start to feel inadequate.  It gives me hope when I feel hopeless.  It gives me purpose and meaning when I feel worthless.  My faith lets me know that I am loved, even when I feel unlovable.  It lets me know that I am not alone, even when I feel lonely.  It lets me know that I am forgiven, even when I am guilty.  It lets me feel pride rather than shame.

Those are all things that I never thought I would have.  But now, miraculously, I do.  And for that I am eternally grateful.

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thankful-what

Came to believe…

images

Step Two of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous says:

“Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

As I go through the steps again with my sponsor, I am currently working on step two.  This step asks us to consider two things:  1) trusting that there is something bigger and stronger out there than we are, and 2) that greater thing is able to do what we couldn’t – restore us to sanity.

I think that in reworking this step, I have really been able to see how far I have come.  When I first heard step two, my focus wasn’t on either of the points I listed above; it was on the fact that accepting this step meant that I was admitting that I was, in fact, insane.  Believe me, there was a time during my active drinking, when I preferred friends and family just think I was crazy as opposed to thinking that I was an alcoholic.  That explains why my first “stay” at any kind of treatment facility was at a psychiatric hospital.  It was easier to let everyone believe that I was having some sort of breakdown, than admit I was throwing back bottles and bottles of wine and vodka.  It was easier with the doctors too, as I didn’t tell them the truth about my drinking either.  Somehow, at the time, it seemed like insanity was the lesser of the two evils.

By the time I got to rehab, less than a month later, and had to consider step two, I really didn’t want to be considered crazy anymore.  I wanted, with everything in me, to get well.  I wanted to be sober and sane.  I knew that I was powerless over alcohol and that my life was unmanageable.  But now, the program was telling me that I was crazy and that I had to trust something greater than myself if I wanted that to change.  That was a really hard concept for me to swallow.  First of all, I wasn’t in the state of mind to be able to trust anyone. My family was bailing on me during my time of need (not that they were always there anyway, but if there was ever a time that I needed them, it was then); my boyfriend had dumped me while I was in the psych hospital; my friends weren’t really friends, they were either people I drank with or people who I never let see the real me.  I felt like I had no one, and they were telling me that I had to trust something, or someone, that I couldn’t even see.  Fat chance of that happening!  Or so I thought.

My first step two, although it was kind of a half-assed attempt at believing put me on the right path.  I knew, without a doubt, that I couldn’t get sober on my own.  If I had been able to do that, I would have stopped drinking a long time before ending up in treatment.  And I knew that people just like me had been able to get and stay sober; almost all of the employees at my rehab were in recovery themselves.  So what was the difference between them and me?  They had a Higher Power, and I was trying to do it all by myself.

What I found, when I was willing to walk the right path, was that heading in the right direction can lead to real faith.  I know that I didn’t “come to believe” all at once.  It was gradual and slow.  It took time.  I think my first real inclinations toward faith came when I thought about all of the past chaos and wreckage in my life.  Somehow, I had made it through all of that, no thanks to me.  Why, when I done all of the dangerous, self-harming things I had, was I even still alive?  How had I survived?  Clearly, it wasn’t my doing.  There had to be something out there that was doing it for me.

Over time, working the rest of the steps, listening to other alcoholics, and confronting my past and putting it to rest, I realized that I had “come to believe.”  I did have a Higher Power:  God, and He was taking care of me and giving me grace even when I didn’t want to see it.  The grace I had been given was evidence to me that God was working in my life, and all I had to do was trust in that.

So, this time as I worked my second step, I found it much different.  I no longer focus on the insanity part of the step.  As it says in the 12 and 12:

“Sanity is defined as “soundness of mind.” Yet no alcoholic, soberly analyzing his destructive behavior, whether the destruction fell on the dining-room furniture or his own moral fiber, can claim “soundness of mind” for himself.”

I did not have soundness of mind when I was actively drinking.  In sobriety, I think I do.  Well, most of the time anyway.

I also have faith this time around.  I know that it is God that deserves the glory for my 16+ months of sobriety.  I’ve done some hard, really hard, work, but without Him, I wouldn’t be where I am.  So as I take step two now, I am confident in saying that I have come to believe in a power greater than myself, and He has restored me to sanity.

 

 

Making Prayer a Habit – Healthy Habit #1

February is here, so it is time for me to give you all an update on Healthy Habit #1 – Prayer.  As I wrote in my last post, I made a commitment to praying out loud each morning with my husband using our prayer beads.  My hope was that our daily prayer would become a habit and that we would continue to grow in God, and closer to one another.  I started off by doing some research about the benefits of couples praying together and I was immediately happy with the healthy habit that I chose.  Here are some things I found out:

  • Prayer Unites Couples.  Praying with your spouse provides spiritual unity through God, and spiritual unity is a tie that binds us to one another and is not easily broken.
  • Prayer Promotes Emotional Intimacy.  When couples pray together, they are not only inviting communication with God, but also with one another.
  • Prayer Keeps You Humbled.  Praying together is a humbling experience.  It’s easy to be humble before God when we pray on our own, but being able to ask for help, or strength, or mercy while praying together requires humility and vulnerability.
  • Prayer Gives Hope.  When your hearts are in unity with God’s good and perfect will, then your prayers will always be answered.  Regardless of you actually getting what you prayed for.

After reading these things, I was all in, and, after a month of daily prayer, I have to say that I experienced all of those things.  My husband and I have a very strong, fulfilling, happy marriage.  That said, I did (do) experience a stronger sense of unity and humility when we pray together.  The act of sitting together, heads bowed, eyes closed, approaching God as one instead of individually, was extremely intimate.  Talking about what we wanted to pray about extemporaneously before getting started was definitely an act of humility.  Being able to tell one another, “here is what I need help with today,” or, “I need to pray about (fill in the blank), because I am really struggling,”  is much more difficult than baring our souls to God on our own.  All in all, it has been a beautiful experience…one of growing in God together.

Another benefit that I have found is that when we pray together, we remember to pray for others.  I’ve heard it said that the biggest lie that comes from Christians is, “I’ll pray for you.”  I have said it before myself, and then forgotten, or just thrown up a few words to God in passing.  This month, whenever I said that phrase to someone, I was able to keep my word because Austin and I talked about who and what we were going to pray for beforehand.  The prayers were more thoughtful and thorough than they would have been otherwise.  That’s a blessing, for sure.

As far as it becoming a new, healthy habit…it has!  I don’t know how the experts judge whether or not a behavior has become a habit, but I think that once something is truly a habit, you will feel it’s absence when you don’t do it.  For example, I am in the habit of getting to work earlier than I have to be each work day.  On days when, for one reason or another, I have to get to work at my actual scheduled time, I feel like my whole day has been thrown off.  It’s like forgetting to kiss my husband good-bye in the morning.  Not doing it doesn’t ruin the day, but it makes the day (or morning, at least) feel like something’s missing.  That’s how I felt on the few days that we didn’t get to pray in the morning.  I think that there were four days that we didn’t pray together before work.  On a couple of those days we did end up doing our prayers later in the day, but on a couple, we didn’t.  One day in particular I remember that we didn’t have time in the morning (I overslept but still had to be at work an hour before I was scheduled…I know, I have issues), and all day long I thought “we need to do our prayers,”  but the evening came and we just didn’t get to it.  I felt the lack.  I felt like something was missing.  I was so happy the next morning when Austin said, “are you ready to pray?”

I am going to call Healthy Habit #1 a success.  We are going to continue to pray together every morning, using our prayer beads, and growing closer to each other and to God.

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Healthy Habit #2 – A Month of Meditation  

I’m going to need your help on this one.  I haven’t really ever had any success with meditation, but I’m going to give it another go.  I started this morning and will post about it in the next couple of days.  In the meantime, I would love to hear from any of you that find meditation helpful.

Living in a ghost town (Part 3)

ghost town

Wow.  I can’t believe how long I have waited to write this post!  It’s been over 3 weeks since I wrote Part 2, which was about my daughter.  Writing that post brought up a lot of sadness and grief.  That, coupled with long hours at work for the past few weeks, forced me to take a little break from my blog and practice some self-care.  But I’m back and ready to write.

In Part 1, I talked about what it’s like to live in the same place where I am constantly reminded of my past, my bad choices and other negative memories.  In Part 2 I talked about living in the same place as my daughter, with whom I have no relationship right now.  In this post, I want to talk about how I deal with all of that and how I no longer let the ghosts lead me to where I was before I got sober: back to depression, self-loathing, and anger – back to drinking.

I’ve been in recovery now for a little over two and a half years.  However, I have only ten and a half months of continuous sobriety.  So you can see, it took me a while to finally get to a place in my recovery where I don’t feel the need to drink.  A lot of what I have learned has to do with dealing with my past.  Not just realizing all of the things I’ve done wrong, but actually dealing with it in a healthy way.  I don’t know what works for others, but these are the things that have worked for me.  These are the things that have made my last ten months different.

The first thing that I have done differently is allow myself to feel my feelings.  As an alcoholic, I was a world-class emotion stuffer.  I could, for a long time, just turn off negative feelings and pretend that they didn’t even exist.  I could hide them so far away, that I really think I actually believed they were gone.  Water under the bridge, just move on.  The problem with that is that no matter how far down I pushed them, they were eventually going to resurface – with a month’s, year’s or decade’s worth of vengeance.  And they did.  And I tried to drink them away.  Now when those feelings come up, and they do, I don’t try to ignore or avoid them.  I feel them.  Really feel them.  And you know what?  No matter how bad they are, they don’t kill me.  It took me a long time to learn that, and to be okay with it.

Another thing that is different is that I talk to people about what I’m feeling.  I have stopped putting on my game face, and started letting people in – my husband, my sponsor, my friends.  Last night, my husband and I were at Target.  For some reason, thoughts and feelings about my daughter came up and I started to get emotional.  I could feel my throat tighten and my eyes getting watery.  I was overcome with missing and wanting her.  My husband was in another part of the store and I could have easily “gotten it together” and composed myself before I went to find him (he was looking at Star Wars Legos, by the way).  But instead, I went to find him even though I was all weepy.  I told him that I was really missing my daughter and that something had triggered my emotions.  He hugged me, told me that he was sorry, and held my hand.  Nothing was solved, there was really no action taken other than me opening my mouth and saying how I felt, but I felt relief.  Had I kept walking around the store until my red nose and wet eyes went away and not said anything, I would’ve wallowed in my sadness.  Alone.  Just speaking the feeling was enough to get me through the moment.

I have written before about the role that acceptance has played in my recovery.  I have found that when it comes to living in a ghost town, acceptance is definitely the answer to my problems.  As I drive around town and places or things remind me of my alcoholic behavior and the trouble it got me into, it’s easy for me to slip into my old ways of thinking:  either minimizing or maximizing the impact of my actions.  The colossal mistakes weren’t really that bad, were they?  Or, the small transgressions…what kind of a nutcase would do something like that?!?  I operated at one extreme or the other, I wasn’t able to see the situation for what it really was, an alcoholic acting like an alcoholic.  When I am able to remember a situation or choice that I made and say to myself, “yes, I did that.  It was a really awful thing to do and I’m sorry for having done it, and I don’t intend to do it again” I’m able to accept things they way they really are, or were, be okay with it, and move on.

A huge part of dealing with my past is telling myself the truth.  When I get down on myself for it, and I still do sometimes, I have to remind myself that the person I was three years ago is not who I am today.  That is the truth.  I have changed, grown, become self-aware, and I am better for it.  I am no longer in active addiction, I am repairing the wreckage of my past, I am facing things that I never thought I could face, and I am living honestly.  Remembering those things helps me when I am faced with the ghosts around me.  The truth is those ghosts have nothing on me anymore…I’m not even the same girl that they haunted for so long.

Finally, the last, and most important piece to living with the ghosts of my past, is my faith.  Knowing that I have God in my corner, unconditionally, saves me every day.  When I am able to turn my will and my life over to His care, and know that things will happen in His time, His way, I can relax.  The things I have done and gone through were for a reason.  His reasons, not mine.  When I choose to have an open heart and I allow God in, I can have peace.  And I do.

Living in a ghost town isn’t easy, sometimes it’s downright hard.  But I am learning to do it.  And if I remember all of the things I have written about, I can do it with grace.

Keeping the Faith

Faith

Today’s AA meeting was much better than the one last week.  I wrote about the drama last week when an old-timer told a newcomer to shut the fuck up during his emotional share.  (Update:  I haven’t seen that newcomer all week.  I hope that only means that he has chosen to go to different meetings after what happened, and not the alternative.)   Thank God there was no drama today.  It was an enlightening meeting with a lot of insightful shares and it was filled with hope.  The topic was faith.  The person that brought up the topic (the same old-timer that was so rude last week!) expressed that, as the Bible says in Matthew 13:31, all we need to change for the better, to live a life filled with joy, to stay sober, to have a relationship with God, is faith as small as a mustard seed.  That resonated with me because when it came to both my faith in God and the gospel, and my faith in AA, that’s all I had.

My faith in God came first.  I grew up in a family that didn’t go to church, didn’t talk about God or the Bible, and didn’t behave in a Christian way.  Yet, if you had asked any of them if they were Christians, they would have enthusiastically said yes.  But, whenever I questioned them about faith in God, no one could explain it to me in a way that I understood or believed.  A typical response was “it’s just something you have.”  I didn’t get it, so at an early age, I declared myself agnostic.  I couldn’t see God, couldn’t touch God, couldn’t feel His presence, so how could I have faith in Him?  I didn’t even know if He was real.  I saw though, in people outside of my family, that the ones that had faith had something I wanted.  They had a serenity and peace about them.  They were able to face things that seemed impossible to me, and make it to the other side of trials and tribulations.  I always knew that I was missing out on something big, I just couldn’t figure out how to get it.

I think that is one of the reasons that I became an alcoholic (of course that is a long list!).  I was missing something that the human soul needs.  And I drank to try to fill it up.  When I finally made it to rehab, I ended up at a Christian treatment center in Phoenix because they accepted my insurance.  That was really my only reason for choosing that facility, other than the fact that they returned my desperate call first.  When I got there, I chose the traditional track (Big Book studies, meditation and lots of lectures and 12-step meetings), as opposed to the Christian track (devotionals, Bible studies, the same lectures and 12-step meetings).   That only lasted about a week, because I started to pay attention to the staff working with all of us addicts:  the therapists, the behavioral health techs, the nurses, even the doctors.  I learned that all but one of them were in recovery themselves.  I struck up conversations with them and I learned that spirituality and faith in a Higher Power were helping them stay sober.  Amazing.  I went to Bible study and morning devotional the second week.  When I listened to the believers share, what I heard was what I had been missing.  They spoke of their horrible experiences and of how God brought them through them.  They spoke of knowing that they were powerless and that they had to rely on God to save them.  They threw up their hands and turned their will over to God.  They relinquished control.  And, here’s the kicker, they believed without proof that God would take care of them.  That was faith!  That was what I had been looking for my whole life!  The people at rehab, a bunch of addicts and alcoholics, finally showed me what faith was.  I was overjoyed.

Having faith in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous took a while longer.  I loved AA almost from the beginning, and again, I found people who had what I wanted – sobriety.  I wanted to be able to live without getting loaded, and these people were doing it.  But, when it came to really believing that the program could work for me, I wavered.  It all sounds good on paper, but how could one alcoholic helping another really work?  How could these AA members that had lost their families, their homes, their freedom, their jobs, really be happy, joyous, and free?  I was probably a year into the program before I really started to have faith that it works.  I started to see that the promises that the old timers talked about and that we read at the end of every meeting, really could (and would) come true.  I saw it in their lives and it gave me hope – and faith – that it would happen in mine.  And you know what?  It is happening in mine.  I have made it nearly nine months free from alcohol, I have not had an inclination to drink, and I have had many times when I have been happy, joyous and free.  These things don’t happen all the time, but they happen often enough for me and for others that I see in the program, that I am able to have faith that it works.  And I’m gonna keep the faith!