I was thinking about my experience in recovery with my Higher Power. Like everything else that I “knew”, my understanding of God had to be investigated, once I got sober. (Because ours is a disease of perception.)
I attended a Christian elementary school in 6th grade and for a year or so I went to the Baptist Temple school. I was taught all kinds of legalism as a younger person. (The teachers literally took rulers to measure the length of boy’s hair and of girl’s skirts.) I eventually concluded that since I could NEVER satisfy what I thought God required of me, I’d do us both a favor & stop trying. That’s probably the time my addiction really took off. I was incapable of following all the rules that religious people had burdened me with, so I dejectedly turned away from any attempts to fit their demands for conformity.
In The Rooms I heard “spiritual, not religious” and I thought I was gonna have to pray to rocks or some such New Age-ish thing. I was unsure about that, to say the very least, but I was also determined to figure out how to do this “sobriety” thing. And eventually I did.
My Higher Power is the God of the Bible. (I prefer the ESV or NIV, if you were wondering) The Creater of everything good. I’m not bound by the god of the slick, money-hungry televangelists. You know the ones, they’re keeping Aqua-net in business, driving a Rolls and living in a McMansion.
My understanding of Who God is, now, is much more balanced than before. I’m more concerned about doing things to please the One I love, and less so working to avoid the wrath and damnation. And the foremost guideline He has for me is to walk in love. That’s a seriously tough request, some days, but then I’ll get consequences to reinforce the importance of putting others first. 😦
I’m so grateful that the Program of Recovery that helped me get & stay clean is not telling us Whom we must follow. If someone had told me that I had to be a Christian when I’d first gotten sober, I’d have run away screaming. Like many others, I’ve been injured by people in the name of religion. I believe today that God led me to the 12-step Rooms, and the program, in turn, led me back to God. I am reluctant to call myself a Christian now, for the terrible things connected to “those people”. More often than not, they’re not even showing any kind of love. I am a Christ-follower, however falteringly. So far from being where I’d like to be, but thankfully, I’m not the person I once was.
The wisdom and foresight shown by the writers on the Big Book is amazing on many points. For example, you don’t have to believe like I do, and I don’t have to worship like you. That’s a novel idea, even today!
Within the Rooms, in my experience, there is virtually no “us” and “them”, regarding religion. For a group of individuals who are used to finding things to argue about, at least, taking religion out of the Rooms just simplifies things. How about you? Have you returned to your previous beliefs, or have you come to a different understanding of HP? Or, are you still working on it? Please leave your thoughts below.
Posted from my hut in the forest.