Living into the Mystery
of turning my will and my life over to a Higher Power
A new person in Recovery asked me recently: " How do I turn my will and my life over to a Higher Power that I cannot see? that I do not know? that I do not trust? This action step is just too much for me. Why is it one of the suggested steps? Maybe it works for yon and a lot of the others, but it will not work for me. Why do you all say it's important to do this when my problem is with alcohol? I am not coming to you with a religious problems. Not even with philosophical questions about life and the meaning of it. I have a problem with alcohol. That, I can admit. That I can see. What does that have to do with a 'power greater than myself?'"
These questions were thoughtfully posed. She really did want to know. She was not arguing with me. She was confused, as most of us are when we first arrive in Recovery with an alcohol problem showing up in our lives. In our homes and work. In our social life and relationships. In our memories that we wish we did not have. In our memories that we do not have that others tell us about (which happen during what are commonly called "black outs".)
But why the focus on finding a Higher Power? Why the focus on letting go and giving up everything to that Higher Power?
I shared with her that when I first came into Recovery, I asked the same questions. I, too, thought that the problem was all about alcohol. And the importance I had placed on it. Maybe the fact that I could not control it. Maybe the fact that it had caused problems in my life that I could never have foreseen or imagined. I had faith. My faith was actually very strong and the fact that I had still had problems with alcohol was confounding to me.
I lived with a lot of shame about that. I drank with a lot of shame about that. I even asked for help through that cloud of not accepting myself.
After some time, I told her, I realized that I had been surrendering to a liquid in a bottle. I had truly "lived into the mystery" of not knowing what would happen when I drank. In every sense of the words, I had turned my will and my life over to that liquid. Even though it had let me down over and over. Even though it had brought inconceivable problems into my life. Even though I had prayed time and again that I would not drink too much or hurt my family again or end up in problems at work or in my relationships, I turned my life and my will over to a higher power, a liquid in a bottle. It caused untold problems. It hurt everyone I loved. Deeply. And yet, I still "lived into the mystery" of letting go and hoping that maybe I could control it this time.
Now, I choose to turn my life and my will over to a power greater than myself which helps me to stay sober each day. That power assists me with strength, healing, and hope for new relationships which are healthy. My Higher Power has brought reconciliation to many of those I damaged so deeply when I gave myself up to that liquid.
Now, I "live into the mystery" of surrendering to a power greater than myself who heals and redeems and reconciles and makes new everything that I truly let go of. And that, indeed, is a mystery I like living into. Each day I choose this mystery anew rather than returning to the other mystery.
To further explore what it means to "live into the mystery", I am looking forward to attending the annual conference sponsored by Recovery Ministries of the Episcopal Church which will be held April 4-5, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas. I am certain that the theme of the two day conference, "Carrying the Blessing", will assist me in my spiritual growth in Recovery. The workshops will assist me in being able to discover and express even more fully how I live into the mystery of Recovery. To focus on carrying the blessings of Recovery to others. To help others put down that liquid for a Higher Power that will give them growth and healing. And the blessings of sobriety. To learn from others how they let go, and live into the mystery.
To learn more about The Gathering, just go to http://www.episcopalrecovery.org/Default.aspx?pageId=974472&eventId=608845&EventViewMode=EventDetai
and then, just make reservations. Make plans! Carry the Blessing in new ways as a result of attending this conference. And bring someone with you who is new in Recovery. Who is still wondering about their Higher Power. About living into the mystery.