| print this
PRAYER, Vol. 26(1): 26-26, Jan./Feb., 1993
RECOVERY and GOD
Irving B. Mace
a member of a self-help fellowship, I am profoundly aware
of just how large a part an individual belief in God plays
in the recovery process. But since it is an anonymous fellowship,
few people outside our ranks ever come to appreciate this
fact, especially when most of us appear to be not that much
different in ways that would normally be considered spiritual.
Thoreau has said, "The cost of a thing is the amount
of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged
for it, immediately or in the long run."
who become addicted to chemicals sooner or later learn just
how much they have sacrificed in the name of the Almighty
High. Every inch that they first thought chemicals gained
turns into ground seemingly lost forever. The price of redemption
is an amount they pay each and every day of their recovery;
a price paid in giving as opposed to taking. By freely and
unconditionally giving to others who desire their help,
they begin to experience a gratification that far outshines
the false brilliance of chemicals they once loved. In the
morning that feeling is there to start the day. And as it
is extended, so are their days of new found comfort. It
is this kind of human gratification that becomes understood
as coming from a power greater than themselves - God. They
don't try to understand it any more than they try to understand
the many physiological and psychological reasons why they
became addicted in the first place.
to understand addiction is like trying to understand God.
By freeing themselves from an intellectualism often unwittingly
reinforced through "professional" intervention,
addicts become free to experience what is, as opposed to
why it is. The spiritual rewards within the varying dynamics
of helping our fellow humans are there for the taking, as
we perceive them in the faces and behavior of those whom
we help. Any addict or alcoholic involved in service work
knows exactly what I am talking about, as do others with
courage to do the right thing simply because it is right,
with no regard for the reward. The good that I myself feel
each and every time I leave the drug and alcohol rehabilitation
ward where I donate my services each week, can never be
found in even the biggest paycheck.
recovering alcoholics and addicts, like myself, learn a
value that lies outside the materialistic world. As that
value grows, it becomes apparent that it is of God, though
there is no need to call it God. We feel that it is the
act itself that counts more than any name behind it. However,
for those who, through giving themselves, can discover and
hold on to a greater wisdom, there comes a point when God
cannot be denied.
suspect that the difference among the levels of spirituality
is the degree to which we can detach ourselves from the
influences of materialism. None of us, including the most
isolated monk, can ever truly escape the materialistic world
into which we are born. The secret is not to escape materialism,
but to live spiritual lives within materialism. I once read
that we are not physical beings experiencing the spiritual,
but spiritual beings experiencing the physical. Once this
is properly understood, life takes on new meaning.
was once thought to be important suddenly becomes insignificant.
We begin to act in ways characteristic of those who see
only what's in front of them. Our integrity of vision contradicts
the often negative impression of our actions. We, in effect,
have become truly individual members of society, and of
God, without feeling a need to explain that individuality,
or how it may have come about, for we neither know nor care.
If it works, don't fix it or waste time trying to understand
it. God is God, just as electricity is electricity to most
cost of our addictive choices is defined by the hours they
keep us awake at night; by the days wasted trying to be
accepted for what we ourselves do not accept; and for the
time spent away from doing what we instinctively know is
right. Recovering people, whether they be recovering from
drug addiction, or from some other kind of mind-altering
affliction, all must learn that indeed, the best things
in life are free, yet only for those who are free, thanks
to the God who created us.