“So much emphasis on this “higher power” in recovery. Don’t I have enough to deal with admitting I’m an alcoholic, dealing with addressing character defects, making amends, rediscovering who I am and dealing with what I have become? Now, I have to deal with this “God” concept in recovery? What is this… a cult?”
This was my initial thoughts the first few weeks of treatment. You see, I have always considered myself highly spiritual, but never one to define the concept of the “God” concept. I have gone so far as to attend various churches, attend dozens of various religious events and even received a BA in International Relations with a minor in Religious Studies (one class away from a BA degree in that subject alone.) I knew my connection to something greater than I existed… but to define it? That was always an issue. Now I have to explore this relationship and define it the steps are telling me?
I was grateful that the program often added “God as we understood God” to the steps, principles and the big book. It gave some wiggle room for me to explore what that actually means.
There are no Coincidences
The closest I ever came to a path to a “higher power” was during my many years practicing Buddhist under the readings of Thich Nhat Hanh. I had lost my center and my spiritual practice years before I came into treatment. My mindfulness had become a fog. When I entered treatment, I told myself I would keep an open minded to hearing other experiences and try to return to a state of mindfulness. I was going to be as aware as I could for anything that appears to be a path showing it’s way. Each evening I read books from the past as a refresher as well as new books sent to me from my loved ones as care packages. I was hungry to recenter and rediscover myself.
Each chapter of each book gave me a theme to reflect on at night. In the morning I shared with my housemates what I got out of my readings at night. I was the only one in the group actively reading outside literature and sharing. These “themes” became a focal point in my day. I started to see clear signs pointing to these themes. Each day conversations one-on-one or in group settings kept coming up touching on the subject I read the night before. I read about connections and friendships being a core part of the human condition, and the next day we spoke about the importance of the “right” connections. I read about “the middle way” in Buddhism, and the facilitator the next day shared “Off Balance On Purpose.” This happened often each an everyday. I started to think these subjects must be coincidences. Simple coincidences. I was still too stubborn to see it as potentially anything else.
During a group session, I shared this concern of not knowing coincidences vs. a greater sign. A good analogy was given that made me reflect on these coincidences. This analogy asked if you have ever wanted a new specific model of a car then started noticing these cars more and more in traffic? Have you ever tried to count red cars on your normal drive to work only to see more red cars than you could ever imagine? They have always been there, but this time you were focused on that model of car or color. Just like my reading, reflecting then witnessing “coincidences,” the signs have always been there, but now I was focused on them subconsciously due to it being fresh on my mind from the night/morning before.
Ah-ha! Mindfulness steps have begun! I knew this was my first step to finding my true center again! Well, what I thought was my “true” center. More on that later.
I felt empowered. Fog has become lifted. Purposeful forward steps and conscious breathing charged my days moving forward. I began seeing more and more signs realizing there is indeed a path before me. It has always been there. There are indeed no coincidences.
Once I stopped looking at things as idol coincidences and observed with a mindful consciousness, I began seeing a clear path put forth by something nothing short than divine. Work, family, friends, random trips and opportunities, messages from a higher design were all present. It had to come from something greater than random chaos. That path, that connection to the observations became my connection to the higher power.
This was my “spiritual awakening” which inspired this site. Since then, I have many notes I hope to share as well as interviews and guests whom I have asked to write here as well.
Have you had a spiritual awakening? Have you rekindled your faith? What has been your experience? Please share.