I was recently asked to represent Origins in Denver and New York City. This prompted me to give considerable thought to what it is that we are doing and just what is the goal of recovery. It occurred to me we are bearers of hope for each other and the goal is the freedom to be the human beings that we were created to be.
I’ve been in recovery for nearly 30 years now and am keenly aware that the one time my life changed on a dime was when I was 28 years old and recently had been arrested – again.
Having lost everything that I truly loved, I felt so desperately afraid that I was not going to be able to stop for good and that the bad things that had been happening to me were going to keep happening. Although, I didn’t use the word then, the feeling was powerlessness.
This was a highly defining moment in my life and I truly began to doubt who I was. Who was I, really?
Although I had worked hard and been a wife and with a beautiful 8-year-old daughter, I had lost those things and been left with a gripping fear that I was going to turn out to be something that I had sworn I would never be, “like my alcoholic stepfather” and the terror of believing I could not change it. I felt hopeless.
I knew I could certainly stop drinking for a while but then mysteriously to me completely forget the pain of past consequences and would be off with my friends for a weekend of partying.
Something changed when I was first introduced to “the program” as we call it. I did as instructed, and I remained honest, open minded and willing, and things began to turn around quickly. I replaced after-work happy hour with a 5:30 p.m. meeting. There I found old timers who told me to get a sponsor and work the Steps. And I did.
They soon had me involved in service work and I became a GSR. A group of us younger adults started a home group called the “Cosmic Chill” and we learned the benefit of making a weekly commitment to a cause greater than ourselves. I began to learn about the powerlessness of Step 1 and to see the other 11 Steps bringing Power back into my life. I felt hope.
Over the years, and especially since working with patients at Origins, I have often thought about the outcomes I receive as I continue to use the 12-Steps in all my affairs. I believe that it is faith.
Continuing to work the 12-Steps has allowed me to increase my faith for everything in life. Faith that all is going to be okay. Faith that I can get through this scary event in my life and come out the other side still sober. Faith in myself that my life can be used to help others. Faith that nothing is happening by mistake and that at some point in the near or far future I will be able to see how things were aligning to support a positive direction for me.
Faith that there is a solution to addiction and as it has worked in my life it will also work in yours.
The total freedom to be exactly who I am with transparency across all the areas of my life as the result of continuing to work the 12-Steps is one that I cannot pay to get but one that continues to give to my life rather than take. Here, I have found true power.
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