29 March 2011

Step Two

Step Two of AA - "Came to believe that a Power greater then ourselves could restore us to sanity."

When I first sobered up I was separated and lived on my own. I was really trying my hardest to obtain sobriety and learn the 12-steps. I had very little contact with my now ex-wife and step-children. I wanted nothing to interfere with my efforts to change my life.

I worked, went to counseling, and attended AA meetings, anywhere from 3 to 5 times a week. Though we were still married, my wife found no problem acquiring new boyfriends. Which made it even more important for me to stay away from her. She tried her best to sabotage my sobriety and I admit at times she came pretty close.

But by the Grace of God, I write today because I trusted in Him to lead me to a better life. It’s been a journey which at times has been trying – but my trust has never left because "I Came To Believe That A Power Greater Then Myself Could Restore Me To Sanity."

I was maybe 60 days sober when I saw my Higher Power. That vision remains with me today as if it happened yesterday. At the time, I was living in a mobile home about a quarter mile off Interstate 80. The home used to be the manager’s home for a gas station, which was located about 500 feet in front of the home. There were no other homes within a half mile of me. I was totally living in my own isolated world. I had nothing else to do except strengthen my sobriety.

At the time I was working for a church and school in charge of the maintenance department. It was Thanksgiving weekend and all the other employees had families and places to go for the holiday. Since I was on my own and had no where to go I told everyone to take a long weekend and I would make sure everything that needed to be done at the church would be taken care of.

Thanksgiving Day arrived and I was not only alone at work, but the gas station was closed, my ex-wife and kids went to her mom’s house for the holidays. For that whole 24 hours no one would have any idea what I was up to or what I did.

That morning I left my home at 7 AM for my 10 mile drive to work. I opened up the church, turned on the lights, made sure the boilers were running, restrooms working (no plumbing problems,) check the walks for ice, and just make sure everything looked nice for church services. By the time I was done people were already coming into the church.

I left about 9 AM and went to the convenience store and got the newspaper and began my journey back home. The rest of the day I’d be “on-call” at work. The only time I’d have to return would be about 7 PM to lock up the building.

On the ride home I was actually excited about not having to be anywhere or do anything. I had visions of making a big batch of nachos, read the newspaper, lay on the couch and watch football all day.

I started cooking the hamburger for my nachos and thought I should run the garbage out to the dumpster, and then I could be lazy all day. I went room to room and emptied my garbage cans and did a quick clean up of my house. Rounded up everything and headed for the dumpster. The dumpster actually belongs to the gas station, but since the owner of the gas station also owned my house, he had no problems with me putting my garbage in it.

So anyway, I tracked across my yard, carrying my garbage, enjoying the quiet. I opened the lid and as I put the garbage in, I noticed off in the one corner was an unopened 12 pack of beer. I held open the lid and just stared at the beer.

Here was my chance – I could drink it and nobody would know about it. I started to look around the property, the highway, and finally I looked into the fields, where for the first time in my life, for lack of a better word – I had a spiritual experience.

Off in that field stood a bright white figure – resembling a man. This “being” didn’t move, it didn’t do anything, it just stared at me. I looked back down at the beer, and then looked back at this figure. But it was gone. But while I couldn’t see it… I knew it was still there.

I went back to my house and left the beer in the dumpster. The rest of the day I didn’t think of that beer, I just felt at ease… at peace. For the first time in my life, I felt someone was by my side… ready to help whenever I needed it.

By the time I went back to town to lock-up the church, I felt for the first time that my sobriety was secure… that I just might make it. From that day on I knew I had a Higher Power and he would restore me to sanity.

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