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July 16 • God Rules

Day 738


I hear people in the program talk about ways their Higher Power has reached through their stubbornness or ignorance to give them guidance or a unique comfort. Many times, particularly early in my recovery, I would sit there conjuring snarky responses and questions for myself, and wondering why I'm not getting the goods like that guy.


I've always cringed at the 'quiver in the liver' brand of religion and spirituality, preferring the substance of systemic thought and logic. God has given us all these rules that we must follow and perpetuate, so surely He has to live by a set of rules that make sense. I resist the stories of closing one's eyes, opening the Bible, and pointing to a verse to get God's guidance; if that works, why do we have theologians and concordances. And I have serious problems with preachers and religious leaders who stand tall in the pulpit and declare some marvel of wisdom or instruction that God "told" them directly. In follow-up questions to those proclaimers, I'm yet to have one submit that they heard an audible voice or was on the receiving end of any other tangible message delivery system. "It's a metaphor," or some such excuse is the most often explanation for their melodrama. The problem is, while they are exercising their thespian muscles, there's a bunch of flounderings in the flock asking themselves why God doesn't speak to them that way and assuming they are therefore not holy enough. People should use their brains more.


What the hell does this have to do with recovery?


I do not know how my Higher Power will reach me tomorrow, and I certainly do not know His ways to reach anyone else. I can cite chapter and verse or even pages from the Green Book, but it seems that we are given guidance by people with experience that does little more than put us on the road where the spiritual surprises await. I hear guys break down with cries of repentance in Step One, and others that seem to sleepwalk through the meaty stuff only to be struck by metaphorical lightning that awakens them to the truths they need in Step Twelve.


I spent months in the program waiting for that moment of clarity, of God getting off His high horse and saving me from myself, before I realized one day that it was all beginning to make sense. There were people in the group that had near-mystical encounters early on, sometimes as part of their rock bottom, and other times out of the blue. Some are still looking for that ah-ha that changes their lives and gives them the peace they've been seeking for years.


I cannot re-create my experience and package it for sale any more than I can predict others' timing and success rates. Who am I to put limits on how the supernatural chooses to interact with the natural. What I know is, it works if you work it. I know God loves me and will give me what I need when He wants me to have it. What I know is... not nearly as much as I do not know.


Today I will be grateful for the road I am on and the blessings I have received, including my strength to be in recovery. That strength comes from other addicts, from my Higher Power, from friends and family, and at least a little bit from some strange place in me that I don't think even existed... until it did.


–JR

 

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