I didn’t realize it then, but in working Step Three wasn’t doing anything different than what I had already been doing. In turning my life over to the care of a Power greater than myself I was continuing to do what I had done for years. I always had a power greater than myself only it was the god of my disease: alcoholism and addiction.
My life was commanded by my desire and need for alternative substances in my body. I couldn’t live life on life’s terms. I couldn’t face the world without altering my mind. However, this power greater than myself wasn’t interested in caring for me. It was only interested in more and having its needs satisfied and it’s cravings met. This power was a monster that took over my life and my mind and recreated it in its own image. It got to the point where everything I did, all I thought about was feeding the god of my disease. I had turned my life and will over to the care of this higher power but it wasn’t benevolent. It wasn’t life giving. There was no care. My disease had a huge appetite and it wanted it satisfied; it cared little of me. It gave me a life beyond my wildest nightmares.
Step Three: Made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as we understood him.
So in working through Step Three I was changing allegiances. I made the decision that my disease would no longer be my higher power and ruler of my life. I decided that my disease was not a worthy higher power any more. I decided that I deserved better than it was giving me. I finally saw that it had promised abundance in my life and ended up taking away everything it had promised. I needed a new Higher Power.
I decided to turn my life and will over to the care of a Higher Power. In the years since, my life has changed drastically for the better. This is not the jealous, covetous, demanding and mean power I once adored. It is one that presents me with opportunities to grow in love and understanding of it and of life. It opens up my interactions with others. It gives me hope. Together we are creating a life that is more balanced, peaceful, loving and kind.
As I grow in recovery I have discovered that my understand of my Higher Power is changing as I am changing. I don’t know exactly what that Higher Power is. I’ve discovered that to try to define it would limit its power, so I get my understanding of it by looking around and seeing what it does in my life and the lives of those around me. In recovery I’ve discovered a new way to live a life which really does present me with freedom, happiness and serenity. I’ve finally discovered a Higher Power that delivers on its promises.
When I was in my disease it was so easy to be the barstool philosopher, solving the enigmas of the worlds of religion, politics and people. Through tyraids, tears and sometimes both, I fought for my beliefs and ideals in order to create a utopian world. “We need to…” “We ought to…” “I’m going to…” Of course, I needn’t finish the phrases because they were as empty as my resulting actions. Nothing ever came of it. The next morning I would be in such a fog that I would be more interested in an immediate hangover cure, if I remembered anything at all, that is. And soon I would be onto my first of the day and a repeat of the vicious downward spiral I had fallen into.
In recovery I can leave all of that outside drama behind me. Initially, just staying clean and sober was my focus. It didn’t matter what was whirling around in the world, it was all I could do not to start again. I went to plenty of meetings, talked to other members and read our literature. Gradually the drama toned down. Once I stopped, I had money to pay my bills. I did the work I was supposed to do; I started to become a responsible person and my life became more manageable. I slowly began to see that the huge problems I thought were insurmountable were actually a result of my using. The people around me suddenly became more reasonable, even personable. Stop the drugs and alcohol and my life calmed down substantially.
Take away the drama and my life became more balanced. Oh I still have bouts of mania and depression, but the swings aren’t so broad: I’m more centred in my self, my relationships and my world. Things aren’t so extreme. It’s not the ‘absolute best’ or the ‘most dismal failure’. I can look at things in a reasonable perspective and see them for what they really are. If I find myself caught up in the tornado of life, a talk with my sponsor will often help to calm the winds. The Serenity Prayer reminds me of the little I can control and the rest? Well, I’m learning to let go of it.
The suspenseful drama slowly gave way to a melodrama and today it’s more of life adventure. I awaken refreshed most days, ready to face what life offers. I trust that I will make it through whatever comes my way. I know that I have the backing of my Higher Power and my recovery program. I try not to worry about tomorrow or fret about what happened in the past. Live in the moment. One day at a time.