It was a four hour flight between Chicago and Orange County and I was nervous about going to a facility that used the twelve steps as a base for recovery. After searching the internet for two weeks to find an place that did not preach the steps, there was only one that I found, but it was tied to a religious organization that would not allow me to take any meds, including my HIV antivirals. I had a feeling they probably would not understand a gay man coming off of meth either. As I sat nervously on the plane, yet excited about the prospect of starting my life over, the flight attendant came by with the beverage cart and asked if I would like a drink. “One last drink,” I thought. Yet I had another thought right after that said “you’ve already started today without anything. Just get to the rehab and do what they say for 28 days. If you don’t like it or it doesn’t agree with you, at least you’ve had a great vacation. Just let today be the first day.” I ordered a coke and watched the opportunity for that last drink pass on by.
When I arrived at the recovery center I saw the sign of the 12 Steps on the wall and reminded myself of the decision I made on the plane to do what was suggested for the next four weeks. I had rejected the 12 Steps for nearly 20 years of active addiction because of the word “God” appears in a couple of the steps. Now, being broken and suicidal, I was ready to do anything. I saw the word God in the third step yet I noticed something different this time that changed everything. I always read “We turn our will and our lives to the care of God” but I never really payed attention to what follows, “as we understood Him“. It is even in italicized and underlined on the posters and literature, yet I payed no attention to it. These four words gave me permission to believe in what I had always felt in my gut and allowed me to let go of old resentments toward the man in the mysterious universe who claimed he loved me but was sending me to Hell because I did not live up to his expectations. I was now free to communicate with the Power Greater than myself and start a new relationship knowing that I am part of the Power. It is not outside of me and with the help of the steps and this community of recovery, I was about to begin a journey to reveal the Power that created me is still creating through me.
Looking back, I realize that day on the plane I was given the gift of an open mind when I turned down the drink and decided to try something different. Maybe your story does not include alcoholism or addiction to drugs, but maybe there is a pattern that is keeping you from rising to your Highest Good. Maybe your beliefs of spirituality are different that the religion of your origin, yet letting go of them is keeping you from evolving. I encourage you to trust that voice within you that is guiding you to expand and try something different. You can always go back to your old pattern if you don’t like the results, but at least you may have a great vacation.
Peace & Love All Around,