How do I bridge the gap between wanting to get sober and giving myself to a full and complete surrender? Alcoholics and addicts find it difficult to admit the truth of their powerlessness and to save their lives by surrendering to God, treatment and a new sober way of life. Thousands of addicts have gone to their deaths believing that they can control the very chemicals that have destroyed their lives, their relationships, their careers and their health. Denial, rebelliousness and voracious addiction keep the addict under the thumb of the disease. No progress towards sobriety can be made until the gap is crossed and the addict can leave the horror of active addiction behind him, and reach out for help like a drowning man reaching for a life ring thrown to him by recovering addicts. Three things sit on the neck of the drowning addict: Denial, the mental obsession to use chemicals and the physical craving.
The bridge between wanting to get sober and giving ourselves to a full and complete surrender is, God, other recovering addicts and sometimes family members. The bridge is a spiritual bridge between our old self and our new self. Our very lives depend upon it. What is the magic switch or mechanism that brings us to the edge of death, only to humble ourselves and surrender? Two things are in play here. First, pain is a great teacher and pain is what tips the scales and forces us into a decision for either life or death. I believe that it is God who helps us choose life instead of death. At the end of my 28 year addictive journey, I was living outside on the streets and sleeping in an electrical utility closet in an alley behind my favorite bar. I had pancreatitis from alcohol poisoning, I had lost 35 pounds, my nerves were shattered and my mind was weak and confused. My emotions were like a mine field full of constant fear, anger, rage, hurt and loneliness. The disease of addiction and my own poor choices had brought me to a living nightmare. I have never felt so lost and helpless ever. Overwhelmed with fear and a crushed spirit, I finally surrendered to Jesus with a simple prayer,”Jesus please help me”. I had arrived at the turning point of my life. I had two options: continue killing myself with chemicals or reach out for help and the promise of a new life. As the first step of AA states, “We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.” My life was more than unmanageable and I was ready for a solution to my addiction.
So literally, Jesus was my bridge to freedom and sobriety. So if you or your friend or your family member are standing on the edge of the bridge, please remember that nothing can be done about the past except to make restitution as best we can. We must not carry the burden of our past failures. We must continue on in faith. We can be made whole and free, even though we have created a lot of wreckage. We are not alone anymore. We have God and our fellow recovering addicts to show us the way day by day. Life is better than death and in our new lives, we will be given the privledge of helping to save the lives of other addicts as they bridge the gap between life and death. There is no more powerful and loving feeling than to help one addict and then see that recovering addict go out and help many other addicts and we see God’s love demonstrated right in front of us, like the ripples from a stone thrown into a lake. The ripples that come from love have no end, and they multiply from one person to another. This is the intersection of miracles, where “dead” people come back alive to save others.
So my message to you is to surrender and get sober and then surrender again each day to who God wants you to be. Jesus has a purpose for each of our lives and we will be much happier when we follow it. Today, I am beginning to see the plan that Jesus has had for me before I was born. I can now see how my 28 years of pain and addiction can now help to save the lives of other addicts. What seemed like a meaningless nightmare, now has purpose and I can make sense of my life and feel at peace. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous lifts us up with these promises on page 84 in the “Into Action” chapter: ” If we are painstaking about this phase of our development (Steps 1-9 completed), we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us–sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.”
Choose life and choose to help others.
Peace, Love and Blessings to you!