Defining—and finding—faith

When I came into Al-Anon I had no faith in myself or in a Higher Power.

Some people used faith as a way to avoid thinking deeply about circumstances. That made no sense to me. Others saw faith as a kind of acceptance. In a strange way, that made sense. Some referred to faith as a mystical, almost magical experience in which one sees and accepts a greater reality without understanding it. Again, that made some sense to me early in my program.

When I truly “got” the program, I began to think deeply about questions of faith; none of the definitions or explanations I had heard seemed complete.

When I came into Al-Anon, it seemed to me that if there was a God, then He was an uncaring entity with no connection to life as I knew it. Rather, chaos and chance ruled my world. I felt at the mercy of fate. Since that time, I have learned that I was not abandoned by my Higher Power as I thought. It was the other way around.

The Third and Eleventh Steps helped me understand that my own expectations were limiting me and making life seem so chaotic. I was able to look back and see the many ways that my Higher Power has acted on my behalf and guided my life, even when I could not see or understand that guidance. Slowly, I regained my faith in a Power greater than myself.

Today I realize it is not about me. My alcoholics’ drinking and other problems are theirs. I have learned that my Higher Power can—and will—do for me what I cannot do for myself. I have developed a close personal relationship with my Higher Power. I can now ask for help when I need it and turn things over to my Higher Power without taking them back to work my will. I have learned that I have to be ready to do the leg work my Higher Power has in mind for me to do.

I know with certainty that my Higher Power is working in my life. However, my personal relationship with my Higher Power is such that while I can accept things and people as they are, I do not have to stop questioning and trying to understand. Instead, I have come to realize that this is part of my developing faith.

I come to know myself better and to understand my Higher Power’s plan. In short, it is my ever deepening faith that allows me to be comfortable in my own skin, to show honest compassion, and to be of service.

My life in Al-Anon may not be a perfect model, but I keep growing because I have faith in my Higher Power, my program, and the people in the fellowship.

By Bill D., Arkansas