My dogmatic and religious upbringing (via church, pastors and mothers), generously offered me mega doses of fear as a reminder that the margin between heaven and hell was razor thin. If I didn’t behave In accordance with the Christian doctrine, however, there was always God’s son, Jesus, there to cover my ass. It was heavily suggested that I ask him into my heart so that I was under a broad umbrella of salvation during random acts of sin. I bought into this for over 20 years, eventually questioning the entire Pentecostal system. Nobody I grew up with was anywhere near following all those rules they laid down on us every Sunday, and I was getting tired of always asking the Big Guy upstairs for forgiveness. Wasn’t he getting tired of my infinite apologies?
It’s a miracle that I even curse the good lord’s name these days, after growing up in such a fear-based church community and home. I was convinced that I was going to hell for eternity if I ever said God’s name in vain. Goddamn it, I just hit my hand on the corner of my desk…
I don’t mean to mock the church. After all the dues I’ve paid in the pews however, I don’t think anyone could blame me here. Although Christianity provides a spiritual base, and guidance for good-will living, it taught me more about fearing God than it did any sort of truth. I inadvertently began running and hiding from my maker, rather than trying to have a relationship with him. They even called God a him, which doesn’t make sense to me now in my complex understanding of spirituality.
What I didn’t realize then, is that the one I was running away from was… myself.
Recovery is an inside job. It’s where you go when everything outside of yourself has failed you, immensely. It’s where you face yourself in the broken mirror and begin taking full responsibility for not only your actions, but for your entire life. It’s a place where you learn to walk through fear like a warrior; fight your inner demons like a Jedi, and stand on your own two feet like a solid Greek statue. You don’t play with matches in recovery because you know it immediately leads you to hell, where you’ve already been countless times prior, and because you refuse to go there ever again.
They don’t mold Christian’s like recovering addicts. Recovering addicts are a force to be reckoned with… at least, this one is.
I used to think that someone was going to come save me from my wicked ways, but it’s very clear to me now that I’m the one who has to bear the preverbal cross. With support and love from friends and family, faith in a higher purpose and power in my life, I’m walking away from the confinements of fear and finally trusting my inner guidance system. There is nothing outside of myself that is more aware of what I need, than me. This human shell is an all inclusive compass of direction, purpose and power. This is what I’ve found in my own recovery.
I’m not broken. I’m not damaged. I’m not incomplete. I don’t need a life support system from an elusive being outside of myself. I do require support, which derives from members of AA, and many others, but isn’t this true for the whole human race? We all need one another. Somebody has been through what I am going through, and I’ve been through what someone else is going through. Finding another human being is so much simpler than trying to search for an elusive, angry and estranged God who is supposedly recording every minute of my life, and judging me for it all.
I don’t need to walk my life in fear. I drank because of fear. I also stopped drinking in fear, but there came a point in my recovery where I just decided that I didn’t have to do this any longer. Fear is a fraud. It’s not to be followed. If you follow fear, you will never realize your full potential.
I want to live my life at my full potential. I decided this right away in my recovery. There had to be meaning when I got sober. There had to be purpose. There had to be a different way to walk through life than in the shadows of God, or the wretched bottle.