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Grapevine : July 2011
otic dance orchestrated to the music of the spheres. The majority of my spiritual belief, however, consisted of not knowing if God existed and, if it did, it certainly didn't care about my pathetic existence. Pride and shame occupied the space where humility would normally reside. My second attempt at recovery found me morally bankrupt, suffer- ing the incomprehensible demoral- ization by which so many alcohol- ics identify. I was determined to do what I was told and picked up a sponsor who was a devout Chris- tian. He guided me, never forcing, along the path he had taken in his recovery. I trudged forward with the zeal of a religious fanatic in the Dark Ages, crying for salvation and beating myself for my sins. I tore my hair and beat my chest through the Fifth Step, charging headlong into my amends wearing my shame and guilt on my sleeve. There was very little room for humility or any per- sonal connection with an all-loving, all-forgiving God. I dragged myself to meetings daily, taking commit- ments and marking my time. It wasn't until I found a woman who loved and cared for me, as I felt my Higher Power ought to, that I set aside my burden of guilt and promptly threw AA to the curb. Soon enough, I found myself trying to fill that God-sized hole with a wife, kids and a steady job. It took one drink to change my mind. In a relatively short amount of time, I was consuming alcohol around the clock, every day. My lack of life insurance kept me from leaving my wife and three kids fatherless and destitute. If my wife had not called her mother over to watch the kids so she and I could attend an AA meeting two blocks from our house, things could have ended tragically. I was done, finished, beaten so far down that I had only one place to turn. I had reached a place where I could entertain the idea of a power greater than myself, capable of lov- ing me despite all my faults. I made a decision to turn my life and will over to a Higher Power. I did what I was told. I prayed constantly, asking for willingness, guidance and, above all else, to not take a drink. I distinctly remember having to completely let go the consequences, whatever they might be, good or bad. The over- whelming sense of dread that filled my heart had to be removed in or- der for me to continue. That meant completely surrendering all expec- tations that I could somehow pre- vent anything bad from happening to me or my family. It wasn't until I could let go of that bottle, totally and completely, that I could let go of myself, honestly trusting that no matter what, things would be okay. I don't pick up a drink, I thank God and life goes on. Alan G. Novato, Calif. 52 July 2011