black-sheepLike most of us and definitely for me, the road to recovery was a long one and along the way I always had a feeling of being ‘less than’ and it only intensified with every failed attempt. I didn’t believe that I could get sober, in fact the only thing I believed without a shadow of a doubt was that I was going to die a drunk. 

When I got to the rooms of recovery and I saw the word ‘God’ plastered all over the walls, reading ‘Let Go Let God’ and that I needed to turn my will over to God, just reiterated that I was well and truly screwed. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in God, I just thought the God that I had grown up with didn’t believe in me because of all the lies and the crap I’d told. The only time I ever prayed was when I was trying to get out of something, “Please God,  just let me get away with this ONE thing and I’ll never drink again, I promise“, then sure enough once the crisis was averted I had forgotten my solemn promise and was back on the booze again.

So when I saw all this God talk in the recovery rooms, I was right back to that place of feeling ‘less than’, like an outsider – definitely not one of the chosen few. I had always thought of myself as the black sheep, always on the outside and never part of the ‘flock’, whatever flock that was, be it school, family or work. 

I’ve never felt comfortable in church and as a child, it just was a no brainer, given the choice of hearing about going to hell as a sinner or playing outside on the swingset, I was going to choose the playground every time.  And I figured that the God they were talking about in these rooms was the same God as I had when I was a kid and that was going to be a problem – because just talking about that kind of stuff made me want to think about something else, kind of like being in church. 

The great thing about Twelve Step programs is that my story is not unusual, in fact there are many people who go in with the same preconceived ideas that I had. Thankfully these ideas and beliefs are discussed a lot in meetings and thats where I heard some things that got my attention, such as the Higher Power concept. I didn’t even need to call it God, my Higher Power was something that I came up with and imagined, that I constructed in my mind, the only requirement was that my Higher Power was more powerful than I was so that I could ask for help when things went to shit – which being in early recovery, they very often did.  

Once I got past all the baggage from my past experiences with church and religion, I realized that finding a Higher Power wasn’t about finding religion, it was about looking for a spiritual path to help in my sobriety. Having a sense that there was something out there bigger than me that I could turn to for help gave me a feeling of relief that I didn’t have before. I was always trying to run the show, do things on my own, control other people and situations and when I finally let go and stopped doing all of those things, I managed to stay sober – go figure.

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