Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him.
I have learned over the years that being a control freak is a curse, not a blessing. So when I started on this step I honestly wanted nothing to do with it. Most addicts are control freaks and if you look at the results, it didn’t turn out very well. We all made messes of our lives and those lives around us. Nobody came to AA on a winning streak and nobody has AA on his or her bucket list.
To actually stop driving the bus and be a passenger was going to be a difficult task indeed.
Wayne, my sponsor said,” You are going to have to get on your knees and pray very hard over this step. It is going to be extremely difficult for you.”
I always ran my life, my businesses and those around me as well. I have barely accepted the fact that I do one hundred percent believe in God but I have never thought about what his will is for me, much less turn my will and my life over to him.
So I decided to start with the easy one, so I thought. I was able for the most part to forget about my will because that mostly involved material things. There were a few relationships that I wanted to turn but that would come in another step.
Once again I had to put a definition on something that I never had. I listened to those ahead of me that I was trying my best to emulate and finally came to the conclusion of what God’s will for me is. In all my 18-½ years of sobriety it hasn’t changed and maybe it is that simple. We are complicated people trying to make something so simple complicated. It is only two things.
1) God’s will for me is to stay sober.
2) God’s will for me is to help others.
As a casual observer this may seem too simple but practicing it on a daily basis is challenging, even to the strictest observers.
I remember early on in the program I said,” I will give it until the weekend and if it’s not better I will drink. “ Then it went to a week, then to two weeks, then to a month and at about a month I decided let’s just stay sober today and see where it leads.
Probably the best decision I have ever made. My life has truly turned out incredibly well if I just live a day at a time and don’t worry about tomorrow and forget about yesterday. Just live in the present.
As an egomaniac with an inferiority complex, my first thought is to help myself period and that is all I did prior to entering the program. But early on I started helping other struggling alcoholics, just by listening or telling them what I was doing to stay sober. I started speaking, sponsoring, service work for our group, really anything outside of myself and in return I felt great. More than great, it kept my pink cloud soaring. I never felt better.
In fact, this new life of service extended beyond the program. I would help the little old lady at the grocery store reach a can off the top shelf. I was picking up trash when I found some. It wasn’t necessarily the big stuff it was mostly small stuff. Honestly, nobody really noticed and I didn’t care, I know how it made me feel. To this day I do not expect or really want to be recognized for the positive things I do. It will take the rest of my life and more of positive actions to offset the many years of pain and hurt I caused.
That’s when I came to the conclusion of how I define God’s will. When there is zero, not even one percent, question in my mind that I am doing the right thing. Then that is God’s will for me.
Even my business helping dogs with their new found freedom due to their new underground fence that I installed didn’t meet God’s will for me. There was still a slight question in my mind.
All of a sudden I was somebody I didn’t even recognize and that old self was slowly falling away and out of memory. Today I don’t even recognize who that person was. From time to time I run across old friends who I haven’t seen since the old days and they bring up the past and it is hard for me to understand how I could have been that person and most importantly, how could I have hurt so many people. From my wife, kids, girlfriends, family, friends, well you get the point.
There’s a saying in the Alcoholic’s Anonymous promises; we will not forget the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
Honestly, I regret a lot of my past and I am so sorry for all of those I hurt and I truly wish I could shut the door on it because some of the scenes play out in my mind on almost a daily basis. Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe that’s what keeps me sober.
I never want to be that horrible person I was 18 ½ years ago.
Then I had to turn my life over to the care of God. No more Johnny’s universe and everyone else is just in it for my entertainment and I am in charge. I had to make a decision, seems simple enough.
Then one day at outpatient our interim counselor, Bob, made a statement that I will never forget. He said,” Just say, oh well to everything.”
I tried that for the next couple of days and it did relieve the pressure I put on myself. I didn’t have control over people, places, and things anyway. I wasn’t in charge if somebody was going to live or die, including my self. I really didn’t even know what was going to happen the next second. And since that time I have seen literally thousands of instances where people’s lives have changed in an instant and they had zero control over it. So who did?
Simple. God did.
Almost as soon as I heard that statement I turned my will and my life over to the care of God, as I understood him.
My life has skyrocketed since that time. That’s not to say that I don’t constantly struggle between taking my will back and giving it to God. Almost invariably when I take my will back, God kicks me in the ass until I relent and give it back to him.
This works out better. I never have to wonder if I am in charge. I can go around and say, “Oh well.” How easy is that? And it works amazingly well.
It’s much easier to swim downstream than upstream.
My life at this point was turning around very quickly. I was very involved socially, trying new things and loved being around my group of AA’ers. A friend named our group the class of 98-99.
High school was the only other time in my life when I felt this free and happy. If this is what happens in sobriety I wanted more. I was becoming addicted to sobriety. Finally, something healthy I could become addicted to.
So I’ll just sit back on this Greyhound bus, enjoy the ride, appreciate the journey and let the Big Man upstairs take care of it.
To be continued.