Working the 12 steps has helped me to achieve sobriety, and it has also bettered my relationship with God.
Faith and prayer during recovery can be powerful things. My story of recovery is a Christian tale of hitting rock bottom only to see the light. I was born and raised a Christian, but once I started using and abusing in my teens and through young adulthood, my relationship with my Faith all but disappeared within the haze of intoxication.
Other than during a few "stoner" talks about the meaning of life, I really didn’t think about God – just as I really didn’t think about much other than getting high or getting drunk. One of the most surprising aspects of my recovery away from addiction and abuse was a re awakening of my Faith, and the development of a very personal belief and reliance on God as I understand Him.
I still don’t go to church nearly as often as I should, but Faith has become important in my life, and it influences all that I do…and it was in AA after really hitting rock bottom that I discovered that God remained a part of me, and that I could use His strength to get better.
Remembering how to pray with AA
In AA we begin each meeting with a serenity prayer, and we pray to improve our relationships with God, to have God remove our shortcomings and we pray to understand God’s will and guidance for our lives. As AA is a secular but spiritual organization, you don’t have to pray to a Christian God, only to any higher power as you understand it; but for me it’s always Jesus that I pray to, and who I thank each night for keeping me sober and happy within my family and my community.
The thing about God’s lessons is that they don’t tend to fade as other lessons of recovery do. In rehab we all learn about cognitive triggers to abuse, and how to maintain our thinking to stay clear from temptation, and I have found these to be useful and have incorporated them into my recovery lifestyle. Unfortunately, these take a continual effort and sometimes feel like the lessons of long ago algebra class…something I once understood, but have no use for now!
I don’t question the value of these programs, but for me, once re awakened, my Faith and a belief in God’s power to guide me has always felt more personal and applicable to the battles of daily recovery and relapse avoidance. I pray every night for God’s continuing guidance, and I use the Bible for strength and support in difficult moments. I don’t look to the Lord because I have to…but because I crave His guidance and I recognize His power to keep me sober and happy.
I went through a secular rehab, and I can’t complain because when combined with AA and continuing group aftercare therapy – it worked (it took two runs at it though!); but now that I recognize the intrinsic value of spiritual guidance, and now that I use the Lord’s power to keep me sober every day of my life…I wonder if a Christian rehab might have been a better fit for me, and if it might have worked completely the first time.
Christian rehab offers us spiritual lessons, guidance and prayer, all to better understand how God can help us in all areas of our lives, and how we can work to live better lives for God and also live better lives for ourselves. The lessons of Christian rehab aren’t easily forgotten, and a reminder of the teachings are ever present within the family bible, and remain with you every time you pray to Jesus with an honest and open heart.
Addiction is a disease of the body, of the mind, and also of the spirit, and I can’t help but wonder if the spiritual healing (most overlooked in conventional rehab) isn’t the most important of the three. No one who knows me well would describe me as evangelical, and my Faith is mostly a very personal and private thing…but since a belief in God and using His strength as my strength has helped me so much, I feel that I have a duty to share my story, and suggest that using Faith and prayer for recovery maybe the most powerful source of healing of all.