Before I had a program, I thought that my life was a play that I had to write, direct, star in, and produce. Even though I had prestigious degrees and affirmation at work, I felt overwhelmed and angry at all the different people I had to please to pull off the show. In my exhaustion, my solution was to isolate on the weekends, passing away hours alone in my apartment ruminating about how I ended up being so unhappy despite outward success. My solution to my isolation was to imagine the person who would break through the walls of my heart, freeing me from my isolation, fear, and shame. Looking for that person got me out of the physical walls of my apartment but I never found “the one.” Instead I found affairs, romantic intrigue, and the deep pain of feeling like I had failed God and my own values.
That pain brought me to program. I remember the freedom I felt when I first time I heard page 61 in the Big Book and the line when the authors describe how most people are like actors trying to run the show rather than letting God be the director, “Is he not really a self-seeker even when trying to be kind? Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well?” Those words freed me from the shame of feeling like a failure - of course I couldn’t manage; I was trying to do a job that was God’s job, not mine. So I poured myself into program – 90 in 90, three outreach calls a day, sponsorship, steps, service, daily meditation – to learn how to let God direct my life.
I am on step nine and feel the promises of the program bearing fruit in my life. I left a painful and destructive relationship. I left a job that paid well but that disconnected me from my Higher Power. I have moved to a new city I have wanted to move to for more than a decade. However, with all the positive changes are new fears about economic insecurity and uncertainty about where to find new friendships. But today when I feel overwhelmed and afraid, instead of going into a cycle of shame, overwhelm, and isolation, I make even more outreach calls, go to even more meetings, and spend even more time in prayer. I know that what I crave isn’t really any particular outcome but the freedom of knowing that God is running the show. The more I work my program, the more I realize that his play is far more joyous, fun and abundant than anything I could create.