Friday, January 2, 2009

The First Step

Today, I am very grateful for the recovery program that I am in. There are many parts to Twelve Step Recovery and one of my favorites and most helpful is what is called "Step Work".
At the beginning of every month, my Home Group has a "Step Meeting." Cool thing is, there are twelve steps and twelve months of every year (was that done on purpose?). For the month of January, we covered Step One last night.
We admitted we were powerless over
(fill in the blank)
(alcohol, food, emotions, disease, abuse)

– that our lives had become unmanageable.

As I thought about this step in my life, I recognized that the two words "Admitted" and "Unmanageable" were important for me to remember. Many, many years ago, when a pastor recommended that I attend Al-Anon meetings, I sort of thought he was nuts. Yep. I didn't think the alcoholism in the family that I grew up in had any effect or influence on what I was experiencing at that time....10 or so years after I left home and married.
It was not until my life really began to show as "unmanageable" that I knew I needed help, extra help, to overcome and deal with what I was experiencing. I finally admitted that I was powerless, I had experienced life in a way - that included alcoholism - that colored my vision a little different from the world which did not have addiction as an influencer.


You bet!
No one would have ever guessed - unless you lived with me day after day. Or unless you were one of my best friends, my confidante.

From the outside, all looked well....controlled and happy.

Inside, I was spinning out of control in fear, needing to control everything and everyone around me lest my world fall apart. Even as a Christian, I was paralyzed in certain behaviors due to fear. A stronghold.

Then I walked through the doors to healing. I learned how to let God take these fears, with the help of others who had walked a similar path. I knew I was not alone. I did not have to be ashamed of the fear, the flaws. I was loved, not just by a God who loves without conditions, but also by a group of people, for what felt like the first time. No matter what mistakes I make - they love me. No matter if I make I wrong decision - they love me. Even when I fall - they help me up.
I trust.

Every single time I meet with my sisters in Recovery, we say a prayer...The Serenity Prayer

I pray it every day now.
Sometimes I pray it every hour.

I pray myself back to sleep on sleepless nights with the sweet words of surrender to my Lord that this prayer offers.

I admit that I am powerless and without Him, my life is unmanageable.

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with HimForever in the next.
--Reinhold Niebuhr

He answers this prayer! He does all these things! He shows me what I can change and really, really does help me accept the things I cannot change. (there are WAY more of these than I every believed!) He gives me the ability to enjoy one moment at a time and even during hardships, I experience peace. Trusting Him, I can walk through this crazy, messed up world, surrendered to His will for MY life. I am reasonably happy and I WILL be supremely happy for eternity...with Him.


grey like snuffie said...

great post, some pondering needed here

Paula (SweetPea) said...

This is beautiful, Liz. I had no idea there was more the the Serenity Prayer than the first three lines. We can find those first lines easily on items such as at gift stores, Hallmark, etc. I first learned of it 20 years ago when my brother was in a AA living type arena at the age of 16. A short-term treatment ordered by the judge.