Steps 2 & 3: Finding My AA Parachute
On my second day of sobriety I wrote, “I don’t like where I’ve gone in life. There is a lot that is good, but the compulsions in my life are controlling the whole picture. It’s like someone else has my remote! I’ve been praying daily since the December 10 (the day of the rainbow) asking God to give me the grace to give up control of my life and let Him have it. I don’t want the remote. He can take it.”
Though I didn’t know it at the time, that was a paraphrase of Step Two: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Of course, by the end of the first week of sobriety, I was already journaling about how much better I felt. It was amazing to wake feeling good every morning, instead of cloudy, depressed and nauseous.
I started to ask myself if God could change how I feel so quickly, why couldn’t He also change the things in my life that kept me from being the person He created me to be? Step Three: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
I lived by myself and was self-employed. I could choose to do something different with my life if God would just show me His will. In other words, I wanted to know what was keeping me from living the life He wanted me to live.
Once I was sober, I began to realize that I did not even have the life I wanted to have and if I waited much longer, I never would. So, at the age of 56, I found myself working through What Color Is Your Parachute with another AA member. It was a major part of my trying to find out more about who I am, who God originally created me to be.
One of the exercises required listing the things that I’m passionate about. Trees, campfires, water, books (This time, I did not mean booze), pens and long times of prayer all made my list. Aside from journaling, I had found very little time during my life for anything on the list. I had not been camping, reading, writing or praying much and I was living in the middle of the city of Cedar Rapids. That’s a long way from living close to nature and a meditative lifestyle.
That led to a series of choices that resulted in a new life for me, not just a life without alcohol. I wanted a life without the city, a life more akin to camping and one where I could read, write and pray for hours. I went back to my journal. I had to decide what I was living for. Once I had that, I could find out what else was keeping me from living fully the life I was created to live.
If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I think I am living for, in detail, and ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully the thing I want to live for... ~Thomas Merton
“…For between these two answers you can determine the identity of any person. The better the answer he has, the more of a person he is.” ~Thomas Merton
Good questions. What are you living for? What is keeping you from fully living the things you want to live for?