Where is All This Warmth Coming From?
By Richard R
I came to Alcoholics Anonymous bankrupt in every department. When I started to take the steps, my first big challenge was to find a power greater than myself that could solve my problems. What an order for a guy who they describe in Step Two in the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions as the one who “had tried religion and found it wanting.” I could see the examples of people around me who seemed to have figured it out. I became a nuisance trying to corner them to get them to explain to me how they did it, and they had the same trouble explaining it as I did. One day I confronted my friend, Jim, and asked him to let me in on the secret. Frustrated, He asked, “Do you want to drink right now”?
My answer was “NO.” He then asked me, “Did you want to drink a year ago?” And my answer was “YES. I could not go a day without it.” Next, he asked me “What made the difference?” My answer was “I was influenced by the A.A. program” His next question was, “Do you have any Problem calling that God?” WOW! What a concept. I have never wanted a drink since I entered the program and the only answer I could produce was the influence of A.A. in my life. For a guy who could not conceive of a day without alcohol, to a guy who never wanted a drink again, was all I needed to know about God. I wish I could tell you who or what God is, but I cannot. I can, however, tell you what God does for me, but I will get to that later.
Appendix II in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, Spiritual Experience, indicates there are many examples of spiritual experiences. They come in different forms. They can be of the Burning Bush variety or a Psychic Change enough to bring about recovery from alcoholism. Or, as I like to believe, my spiritual experience came in the form of a profound “Change of Perception.” When it occurred to me that all my thinking was flawed and that I was finally in an environment where I could, with the help of the group, start to follow simple unselfish guidelines that would restore my self-esteem and put me at peace with myself and others, I started this wonderful journey and I never had it so good. These universal truths are common in the meaningful philosophies of life. I must seek them out if I want to heal.
I pray to God every day, even though I do not know who or what God is. My mind is not evolved enough to understand God and I am not sure that God hears my prayers. But I HEAR MY PRAYERS and that, I believe, puts me in the best possible attitude I can have about the issue I pray for. My prayers are always the same. I pray for knowledge of His will for me and strength to carry it out. That is, God please show me what to do and please give me the strength to do it. I do not do well on my own. I often knew what to do but was not always strong enough to do what was right. Today I am stronger. Who or what is God? I am not sure anyone can define God. As a friend of mine, Will, explained, “You do not have to understand thermodynamics to enjoy the warmth of the sun. However, I do know what God does. When I ask for guidance, I become a better receiver. I hear the answers that used to pass right over my head when I thought I had all the answers.
Today, I thank God for an open mind.