by Jill E
When I was 12 I was told there was no such thing as God. I was experiencing a life trauma no one should have to go through, the simultaneous death of both my parents. I was lost, like a ship in a stormy sea with no sails and no rudder. One night I had parents, the next day I was an orphan. I started drinking within months of that day and was immediately taken by the sense of ease and comfort I felt with that first drink.
I started drinking within months and was immediately taken by the sense of ease and comfort I felt with that first drink
When I made it to the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, the first thing I saw was the word God written all over the banners hanging in the rooms. I thought to myself, “Well, this is ridiculous and you cannot make me believe in God.” I was closed off to hearing anything about a higher power personal to me, but I stuck around for two years attending meetings and socializing. I did not open the Big Book, get a sponsor or do the steps. My life did not change. I was miserable, unhappy and floundering. I eventually took that first drink and stayed away from the rooms for 11 years. What drove me back to A.A. was the fear of taking my own life.
I was emotionally, mentally and spiritually immature and I lived my life as a victim. I had to become willing, open and honest. I had lost the ability to trust anyone but myself. So to turn my life and will over to the care of some power greater than myself seemed a daunting task. But I made a decision to do whatever was suggested. Little did I know that decision would change my life for the better, forever.
Even if I thought they were stupid or would not work, I became willing to follow suggestions. I was open to hearing experience, strength and hope from other members even if I had trouble relating. I became honest with myself and with the women I met in A.A. about what I was really thinking and feeling instead of keeping my thoughts and emotions to myself. Those women were happy, joyous and free and seemed to be able to get along in the world no matter what was happening. The women in A.A. had what I wanted. I had just become willing to go to any lengths.
These women were happy, joyous and free and seemed to be able to get along in the world
But how was I ever going to change? The answer came from working all the steps. I got a sponsor right away because it was suggested. We read the Big Book and when we came to a step we worked it. A turning point came when I did my fifth step with my sponsor. I could not figure out what my part was in so many of my resentments. It wasn’t my fault that my parents were killed. After letting me wrestle with that dilemma for a bit, she finally pointed out that I was right, I had no part in the death of my parents but that I was still behaving like it happened last week instead of 35 years ago. That was like a wet towel hitting me in the face. I suddenly had a realization that all my behaviors were that of a woman stuck in a 12-year-old’s head.
I began thinking about myself and the world differently. I let go. I surrendered. My life began to change. I did a lot of service (I still do). I sponsor women. My favorite thing in the world and my biggest gift is to sponsor a woman who struggles with the “God” issue. If I can do it, really, anyone can. I am grateful every day for the steps, my higher power and all of you in A.A. who have showed me and countless others the way out.