I know that’s a stupid title but I have a dorky sense of humor. Bear with me because this might not make sense to anybody but me– lol. I’d struggled a long time with relapse and it baffled me.
I know better. I had the experience to know what happened when I drank. I had all the consequences that would make someone want to get sober just to avoid negative repercussions. I had two beautiful children worth everything to me. I’d die for them. I’d kill for them! But I couldn’t stop drinking for them. I wanted sobriety. I needed sobriety. I LOVED sobriety. I never stopped trying, but something, something just kept pulling me back to hell. And, no, I’m not exaggerating or overstating by using the word, “hell.”
Ask any of us caught up in alcoholism – or other addictions – how we would describe life when we’re not sober. Hell.
But God has worked a freaking miracle in me. I call it a miracle, assuredly so, embarrassingly because I realize that sounds “hokey,” but it sure feels like a miracle to me. I’ve begged God for a miracle for years; and he (finally) decided to give me one.
I have always had God in my heart. I hear lots of people say they need to get God from their heads to their hearts. I was the opposite! I needed to get God from my heart to my head!
I thought I had God in my head. I have lots of knowledge of God, theology, our Catholic Faith, understood “logically” the will of God, loved Catechism. So, in AA meetings when people said, “Let God direct your thinking,” I really thought I was doing that! But I didn’t understand why I wasn’t changing?
I often said things like, “I wish I could just have a lobotomy.” And, “It’s all my amygdalas fault!” And, “I can’t help it—relapse just “happens!” I did try a hypnotist. I’d even considered electro-shock therapy! I knew, deep in the recesses of my soul, that the problem was in my MIND. God has graced me with a hyper-intuitive mind—so I knew. I knew. I knew there was something not right in my brain. I just didn’t know how to fix it.
And sober friends would say, “You must not “want” it bad enough.” To which I’d respond (exasperated), “But I really DO want it. More than anything, I want sobriety!” I began to think I was crazy. Why do they think I don’t want it? That couldn’t be further from the truth. Confusion was my constant companion.
So what did God (finally – I say “finally” tongue-in-cheek because I know God’s timing is perfect) do? He pointed me towards various Scriptures and information, gave me the right consequences, exasperated me enough to where I broke down and begged Him STRONGLY for a miracle. He didn’t do it right away.
It didn’t come until one morning when I woke up with a deep sense of humility and remorse. I poured my coffee, then I went straight to my recovery Bible (not authentically Catholic bible, but I like it because it relates it all to the 12 steps) and I randomly turned to a page. This is what we do when we’re looking for inspiration, right? We just randomly turn to a page and hope God speaks to us deliberately in our randomness, right?
My Bible opened to Ezekiel— particularly Ezekiel 8:17-18, and kept reading through the whole chapter.
This scared the crap out of me. It was all about God’s anger and fury, how He will have no mercy.
This is not the God I know, not the God in my heart. So, I decided to go to another section, assuming that Ezekiel was a mistake—that’s not REALLY what God wanted me to read, right? This time I purposefully turned closer to the back third of the Bible, so I’d be sure to get a book in the New Testament – where God was loving and merciful, right?
Well, I randomly opened to a paragraph in 1 Thessalonians; and THAT sounded like God was angry, too. I shut my Bible and started crying, asking God, “Why are you so MAD at me???” He didn’t answer me, but I realized in my heart why He was mad—He’d given me so many opportunities to stay sober, sent so many people to help me, given me consequences to spur me, shown me the love of my children to persuade me… But still I sinned, chose hell, chose escape, chose death over life. I fell to my knees and started throwing up—which is normal for me when I feel deep shame.
I was exhausted. I took a shower and went back to sleep. And I woke up feeling light. Weird? Then I remembered what had transpired that morning and I fortified my spirit with these scriptures:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
So, I looked deeper.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
And to be renewed in the spirit of your minds
1 Peter 1:13
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ.
Set your minds on the things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
So, God has given me a “miracle.” Miniscule in the whole realm of miracles but life-transforming for me. In order to change, to truly transform, I can’t just want it. I can’t just commit to it. I can’t just promise it. I can’t will it. I have to allow God to renew my mind--dig out the old shit ways of thinking and replace it with His thinking. I have to completely turn my thought life over to Him. Rather than let my thoughts come and go as they please—undisciplined and unrestrained… I can turn to God to discipline my thoughts and put them in line with His will. This is changing my life.