One huge barrier for my recovery was that I was the only godless person I knew. Everyone talked about a God of their understanding, or their Higher Power. I avoided such discussions. I had been searching, for at least 23 years, for some thing or some being that I could claim to have even the slightest belief, faith, or trust in. I felt more and more defeated as time went on, but continued to practice the tools of the program with all the willingness and open mindedness I could muster.
Then, without any warning, a series of small miracles took place that changed my life forever. The first of which was a moment of clarity that came after reading a book about being adopted. For the first time in my life, I could identify and understand the deep, underlying sense of shame I carried from being born illegitimately. That’s the label given to children whose parents are not married, and who did not intend to have children. I was not wanted, not intended, and therefore not a legitimate person. Hence, I spent my entire life trying to please people, and be worthy of the love and acceptance bestowed on legitimate people.
I also transferred this way of thinking onto any God there might be. My true dilemma was not the question of “proof of God” it was the idea that I wasn’t worthy of God’s love and support. It was better to believe there is no God than to know and accept that I wasn’t good enough or legitimate enough for Its love.
The second miracle took place right before my eyes. My partner (a recovering alcoholic) and I often had newly sober people staying in our home for periods of time. One Sunday afternoon, we sat on our back porch trying to reason with a man I’ll call Peter.
Peter was on the verge of drinking or committing homicide. He had only been sober for two weeks, and was faced with a situation not of his own making. He raged and raved, yelled and cursed about what he was going to do. Suddenly, without any warning, he stopped, calmed down, and in a soft voice said, “I need to let this go. I don’t want to feel this way, or act this way. I want to have a good day.”
I was floored. I saw, almost visibly, a Power greater than all of us move through him. It changed his entire attitude and demeanor instantly. Now here’s my miracle. The thought came to me: I just witnessed a Power greater than Peter do for him what he could not do for himself, so, why couldn’t this Power do the same for me?
Upon later reflection, I realized that this Power has been doing for me what I couldn’t do for myself for a long time. Proving the existence of this Power was not the problem. The problem was that I couldn’t see or accept Its presence because I didn’t believe I was acceptable.
Today, I know I am a legitimate child of this universe, like everyone else. The gifts I’ve received through the Al‑Anon program are countless. I’m no longer afraid to face the truth about myself, and I believe that I am capable of living these principles in all my affairs. I am excited to be alive today, to be able to care for myself and love myself as much as I care for and love others.
The Forum, February 2014