Forgive God

In 2003, after 3 years of sobriety, I  discovered that I had a serious case of cancer. It wasn’t until 2005 that I was cancer free. Along the way, I had multiple surgeries, various Chemotherapy sessions and a treatment which resulted in me contracting a form of tuberculosis. 

Although I remained sober over that time I was seething with resentment towards God. Every day while I was sick I repeatedly heard a voice shouting in my head saying things like, “How could you do this to me? After all the work I’ve done to become sober this is my reward? I’ve worked for over 30 years and as I approach retirement I won’t even be able to enjoy it! You’re supposed to take care of me and my family, not take my life away.”

Although I had healed by 2005, a year later I was still walking around with those resentments toward God. In the spring of 2006 my wife told me about a shaman from South America who healed people from both physical illness and emotional trauma. She didn’t even charge people money and just asked for a voluntary donation.

I knew that my resentments were destroying my serenity so my wife and I decided to visit this healer. When I met the shaman she asked how could she help me? I told her that I needed help in forgiving God for what he had done to me. 

She looked at me and said, “I see that you are a religious man. Do you believe in God?” I replied yes. She then asked, “Do you believe that everything that happens in the universe comes from God?” I once again replied yes. 

She then said to me, “My friend you are asking for the wrong thing. You said you wanted me to help you to forgive God for what he had done to you. You need to ask God to forgive you for not having faith and trust in Him.”

When she said those words I felt like an electric current had passed through my body.  I realized that I had been walking around for years totally off point. I had turned my lack of faith in a Higher Power into a resentment of major proportions. That moment with the shaman was the beginning of my truly understanding the third step which says, “made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.” 

Personal Reflection: Have I truly surrendered my life and will to a Higher Power?

If You Turn It Over And Don’t Let Go Of It; You’ll Be Upside Down

People in the program are like anyone else. We too on a daily basis must face life’s problems. Once we have established our goals; we also expend great effort to achieve them. This is usually the point where we part company with those who are not in the program. As long as we’ve done our part to our best effort; we let go of expectations.
At its core, twelve step program is spiritual in nature. We place our trust in our Higher Power to determine the results. In the past we spent a lot of time worrying and fearful about the outcome of our efforts. By doing so we burnt up a lot of emotional energy. Today, we are able to experience serenity. Since we know that our Higher Power is in charge, much of our fear has been lifted. The more we accept that G-d is running the show, the less concern we have for the ultimate outcome of events. Since we have put in effort and right work, we are confident in the outcome, no matter what it might be. The only time we end emotionally stressed is when we forget who is truly in charge.

Personal Reflection: Have I remembered to turn it over today?

Turn It Over

For a long time we kept things to ourselves. We spent months and years sweeping everything under the carpet. By the time we were done, we metaphorically had a huge mound of “stuff” sitting in the center of the room under the rug. We might not have seen the mound, but it was obvious to everyone else. We also had to put a lot of effort into hiding our pile and it was quite painful for us to hold onto.
Today, we have other options. We can finally put our brooms away. When we encounter a problem, we can discuss it at a meeting. We can also make an outreach call to someone else in the program. Certain issues are best discussed one on one with our sponsors. Perhaps the greatest resource for us is being able to turn to our Higher Power. On a daily basis many of us pray for His assistance. The act of turning over our problems to the G-d of our understanding liberates us from worry and concern about the future. Of course we still need to do the work so to speak, but the results are now in His hands.

Personal Reflection: What do I still need to turn over?