The storm is almost gone,
the storm is almost gone;
I can see the sun peeping through the clouds,
the storm is almost gone.
Dorothy Norwood sang these beautiful words of hope and today I felt them. The storm that has surrounded my life over these past few years as the forces that had been laying in my underneath emerged to mix with the person who was living on the surface has been turbulent. At times I have fought when it would have been easier to go with the current, and at times I have floated along when I could have been paddling. But by God's grace I have survived against all odds. And at last I can see the sun peeping through the clouds ... the storm is almost gone.
This morning I woke up and like my mother and her mother before her, I began to sing. I can't even remember what it was I sang ... but I sang to fill my heart with joy, and to fill my home with the sound of myself. My grandma used to sing the old southern hymns as she walked around her house and she taught me how to do the same. It's a way of soothing myself and remind myself of innocent days, and roots that run deep.
Over the past month, I've been amazed at what God has done in my life, and I have been humbled beyond words. I have felt happiness, longing and temptation for someone I genuinely care for, but I have been able to use reality and responsibility to reach a decision that did not involve me ruining my recovery, and the hard-earned blessings of my friend's life. There was pain and uncertainty, but I was willing to accept it as a small price to pay for the rewards of knowing that at last my life is being lead, not by my disease, but by a power greater than I could ever be. I was thankful to know beyond all doubt that God was taking care of me and those I loved. For so long, I have been hopeless and scared. I am no longer hopeless and I have learned through many experiences -- not the least of which this last one -- that faith and perserverance are the things that help me become willing to walk through the fire and reap the rewards of a genuine life.
Anyone who knows me can attest that I am not a religious person. But I have a deep sense of spirituality, one that has grown as a result of my participation in the 12-step programs. As I have seen the God of my understanding do for me what I could not do for myself ... the doubts of what can be accomplished in my life, and the expectations of what must happen have gradually lifted.
As I have peeled the layers of the onion off I have a whole new sense and understanding of the first three steps of recovery.
1. We admitted we were powerless over (sex, love, food, controlling others), that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.
There's nothing there that says I'll never act out again, that I'll never develop feelings for someone who is not available, that I'll have a perfect marriage, that I won't buy a full-size bag of M&Ms and eat the whole thing. It simply says that in the course of life, I admitted to myself that I really was powerless over these "substances" that I have used to numb myself and that not showing up in the present has turned my life upside down and inside out. It says that in the course of that same life I came to believe that something bigger than me could help me get my life back on track and that I had reached a decision to stop fighting against what I could not conquer and hold up my hands and say, "I surrender." There is more to the steps than this, more work to be done, and continued maintenance. But, just for today, I am thankful to be at this point where surrender is mine for the giving.
My next post will be about losing my religion
1 month ago