By Cabin Wisdom
Can a doorknob be your Higher Power? Walk into the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous and eventually you hear how “anything can be your Higher Power. Even a doorknob.” Surely folks are still drinking to come up with goofy idea like that, or so I thought. Even so, I “looked and listened” to members who had a working relationship with this Higher Power. I saw their lives change. I saw recovery. There was hope for me.
One woman said her Higher Power was Mae West—or, at least looked like Mae West—complete with a pink feather boa, lots of money and attitude. Because no lightning bolts struck her for blasphemy, I came to understand the resiliency, the flexibility, of our Program as we wend our way toward a God of our understanding. Maybe it’s a God of our not understanding. Another fellow in the program used to say, “If you can understand God, then your God is too small.”
At the cabin this morning came the best answer yet. By turning the cabin doorknob, by the simple activity of opening the door, comes relief, fellowship, understanding and love. By turning the doorknob to an AA meeting the process of turning over one’s will and one’s life becomes possible. A simple turn of a doorknob can change a person’s life forever. “Many members have crossed the threshold just this way.”
Sometimes it takes “all the courage you have,” says our literature. Turning the doorknob to my first A.A. meeting took all the courage I had. As I lingered outside, up came a chorus of inner voices, “Are you really an alcoholic? How would a 7 a.m. meeting solve the drinking problem? Or any other of the myriad I faced?” The monkey mind was in full-force as I crossed the cabin threshold.
Turning that doorknob opened the gateway to freedom. Freedom from alcohol. Freedom from the monkey mind. We are given spiritual tools to keep us free: Pause when agitated or doubtful. Gratitude. One day at a time. Keep it simple. Today, I give the monkey mind bananas, or mantras like these, and send it on its way—grateful not to be a slave to a line of thinking that always leads to the bottle. Positive thinking for the negative. Speaking of positive thinking and doorknobs comes another memory of carrying the message in and out of jails and institutions. As a participant in Hospitals and Institutions, the feeling of gratitude always arises as the steel door clangs behind me, and the doorknob on my side of the door works! This is freedom too!
Our Ninth Step promises include “we will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.” When I arrived, the past was locked behind a door with steel caulking and the key thrown away. By working the Steps with a strong sponsor, together we found the key of willingness and unlocked the door that “to all appearances is still closed and locked.” Truth is told when they say, “The dark past is the greatest possession you have—the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. Showing others who suffer how we were given help is the very thing which makes life seem so worthwhile to us now.”
When the door opened and story upon story of shame and guilt poured out, the best thing my sponsor often said was, “Honey, let me set your hair back for a while.” Then, with great vim and vigor, she’d launch into a similar yet worse story. That sense of loneliness vanished as together we’d laugh ourselves silly over these very same guilt-ridden stories. Freedom came with laughter, dedication to this Program, and by turning the doorknob one day at a time.