Today was a s…l…o…w meeting. I mean, it was pulling teeth to get anyone to say anything at all!
Which fascinates me, because today was a step meeting, and since it is the third month of the year, we covered Step Three:
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
To me, there is much to say on Step Three. While I don’t practice it nearly as much as I should, it is my opinion that this is the step that is the most important to practice on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. It is also the step (again, my opinion here) that has the most universal application; you do not have to be an alcoholic to take advantage of its benefits.
My story of recovery had me in different stages with this step, and I would imagine there will be stages to come still. First was a complete lack of understanding of its meaning, either theoretical or practical. I simply did not get it.
Finally someone explained it to me this way: imagine your life as a bus ride; you are the driver, God (or whatever you choose to call your Higher Power) is the co-pilot. The more you turn to the co-pilot to ask for directions, the more direct and smooth your ride will be.
For the record, in the years since hearing that analogy, I’ve heard it the opposite way: God is the driver, I am the co-pilot, but that analogy does not resonate with this alcoholic. Whichever one works for you, though, go for it!
When explained in this way, it made a lot of sense. Still chose not to take advantage of it, but at least I had some kind of understanding.
Finally, when that gift of desperation arrived, and I was at my personal bottom, I started my road to recovery. Early days certainly did not have me turning anything over to anybody, at least not consciously, as life and my head space were too chaotic. I can only assume the grace of God kept me sober.
Soon enough, I settled into sobriety a bit and I had the opportunity to reflect upon this idea a bit more: so God is the co-pilot, how does that play out in everyday life? And it was that willingness to explore the idea, to test it out, and to see the serenity that such decisions brought me, that deepened my understanding and conviction that this is the way to live.
Nowadays, I read this chapter and sigh to myself… I definitely don’t keep it in the forefront of my mind as I once did. Here’s how it plays out for me these days: I will find myself in some kind of funk, be it frustration at multiple people, some malaise or anxiety that I can’t quite define, or obsessively trying and failing to achieve some goal. Once I become aware that I am in this “off” state, I know what I haven’t been doing, and what I need to do: check in the Big Guy. And the prayer that does it the best happens to be my go-to:
There is not much more to add in terms of the group today, I guess the 11 or so folks present just weren’t feeling it this morning! One gentleman, someone who does not normally attend, did mention something that stood out to me. He has been sober for quite a few years, and in reading this chapter again he realizes how evolutionary his spirituality has been. In other words, how he defined his faith in a Higher Power when he first got sober is not how he would define it now. It was an interesting point that tied in to something I was listening to this very morning. Deepak Chopra and Oprah are running a 21-day meditation “experience” (their words, not mine), and I used it for today’s meditation practice. Deepak mentions the need for a worthy goal, and that this goal can and should evolve. Somehow this attendee’s words this morning brought me back to this morning’s meditation practice, and that it is a good thing to be open to change.
Maybe next week I should bring in some baked goods in the hopes that the sugar rush will wake everybody up!
Getting the reminder to pause and consider the direction I am heading, and also the gift of being able to turn around at any point!