“If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed.”
Ancient Chinese Proverb
Across the top of the page in my Al-anon Works book, I have scrawled “Dare to Hope”. Al-anon is the “sister” group for Alcoholics Anonymous which is for friends and family of alcoholics. This is my main recovery program since many of my issues are related to codependency. (You can read my blog, “An Addiction to a Possibility” for more info on codependency.) It’s where I really found the salve to my wounds around my multiple addictions.
The key to Step Two for me was around realizing that my actions were insane, and I didn’t know how to get better on my own. That second part of Step One – that my life had become unmanageable really led me to Step Two. I’m pretty smart, and I thought I could figure my way out of this endless cycle of issues with my ex-husband. If I could just say the right thing, find the right book, talk to the right counselor or stick it out long enough, I could find the answer.
When I started reading Al-anon Works in Alanon, I highlighted this sentence in Step Two:
“The alcoholic cannot heal our wounds; neither can our willpower, quick-wittedness or perseverance.”
Oh, my. I thought my willpower, quick-wittedness and perseverance were the answer to solving my relationship issues and my addiction to alcohol. Crap. Now what? This is the step of hope. If I couldn’t find the answer on my own, I needed to listen to these people who seemed to have found the answer. First, I had faith in the fact that they were laughing and happy even if they were still living with crazy problems. So, I just did what I was told. As time went on, I started to see that there was a power that was working within me and in them that was greater than myself. That started me on a journey to finding a God of my understanding. It took awhile to get there, and I’m still learning every day. But, I “dared to hope.” That was a new behavior for me.
A recovery friend of mine shared about Step Two and Faith:
I think that I’ve known that I was an alcoholic for a very long time but used a variety of excuses to ignore the problem and convince myself that it wasn’t something that needed attention. I think my favorite excuse is that I am a “functional alcoholic” and therefore no real changes need to be made. It wasn’t until I ran afoul of the law before I took a very hard look at myself, my life, and my drinking. It was during this time of reflection that I realized that not only did I have a drinking problem, but I was unable to deal with it on my own. For most of my life I have been able to tackle any challenge put before me with hard work and dedication. Alas, this was one challenge that I have had to accept that was beyond my capabilities.
That has been a very hard pill for me to swallow, but one that I must accept or I will be unable to move forward. That’s where Faith and a higher power have come in. I have finally accepted that I need help to confront my addiction, and readings on the subject and a helpful sponsor will not be enough. I cannot say that I’ve fully embraced the concept and have found peace within myself, but for the first time in a very long time I have hope that the elusive peace is within my grasp.
The behavior of the alcoholic is a form of insanity in itself, and one that the alcoholic is unable to remedy on his own. A higher power is necessary to restore that sanity, give the alcoholic strength, and allow him to live a life of sobriety. Faith and a connection to a higher power has never been a part of my life before now, but it is a change that I welcome. I have been unable to deal with my addiction on my own and hurt so many others in the process, so why not give it a chance? Letting go and putting myself in someone else’s hands has always been very difficult for me, as it’s an admission that I am unable to do something on my own. Well I am unable to drink like “normal” people, and my life had become unmanageable as a result of alcohol, so it’s time to let go and put my faith in a power greater than myself. Only then will I be able to live life on life’s terms.
Another alcoholic and Alanon friend of mine said about Step Two:
FAITH This has been a process for me. I began my journey as an agnostic, and today I am a believer. I always considered God to be like Santa Claus…grant me my wishes. When He did not, I lost “faith” in Him.He never gave me peace of mind, He didn’t give me the fairy tale life I dreamed of, and He didn’t answer my prayers for money and all that it could buy me. But He did let me become an alcoholic, which I see as a blessing today because I would never have found recovery or my way to Him.
I looked for Him in many places and in many things over the years. He always seemed to be so very far away. It was not until I began to practice prayer and meditation that I began to feel His presence. At first, it felt very strange, me on my knees praying to someone or something I could not see or feel. Very slowly, something inside me changed by consistently practicing prayers for help in the morning, and at night thanking Him for keeping me from picking up a drink that day. Soon I began to notice a change in me and the person who balked at getting on my knees & asking for help and saying thank you, felt the presence of God in my life. He never left me, I had left Him and it felt so good to have Him in my life!
I began to realize that He never was far away….He was as close as inside of me!! That realization changed my life and today prayer and belief in a power greater than myself is as important to me as breathing and drinking water.
He was there in my darkest moment just waiting for me to ask His help and He has continued to be with me since. I don’t need proof by seeing or touching Him, I have proof because I FEEL Him, in all that surrounds me.