The more I read about recovery, the more I observe the same phenomenon being described over and over again in a wide range of literature, ranging from ancient Buddhist beliefs to modern day self-help books.
This phenomenon has various names: God, Energy of the Universe, Higher Power, Observer within Us, and Our Stronger Self. But in my opinion, all of these attempt to describe one very important concept that is crucial to our well-being as humans.
I think this is happening because through centuries, people are faced with very similar struggles and they continue to come up with very similar solutions.
In this chapter, I am going to make my attempt to describe this phenomenon.
It is a very controversial subject. For most of my life I kept my views to myself, and was debating if I should do the same with this course.
In the end, I decided to share because this concept was crucial to my personal recovery. That being said, please take everything that I say with a grain of salt, and if anything contradicts your current beliefs, please ignore it.
For most of my life, I tried to be my own manager. I made decisions based on what I wanted and what I felt was right for me. It worked fairly well.
Surely I had shortcomings, but overall I was not a bad person.
This model of self-management began to really backfire on me when my addiction began to escalate. The further I fell into my addiction, the more I began to lose my values and desire things that were not reasonable or moral.
Nevertheless, I continued to look inside of myself trying to figure out what I should do with my life. I would ask things like “What do I really want to do?”, and would proceed to base my life around the answers that I got.
It took me 2 years of struggling and a relapse to finally accept that “I” (my wants), cannot be trusted to keep me sober and happy, and that I must find a new way to live my life.
That is when I was finally ready to make a decision to live by “God’s will”. Which for me literally translated into the following commitment that I’ve made to myself.
From now on, I will not base my decisions on what I think is right for me at the moment, but rather based on what I feel God would want me to do at the moment.
This is what I call living by God’s will.
So how do I know what is God’s will for me?
I believe that every human being has an ability to connect to God or to their Stronger Self. Some people might call it intuition and some people might call it educated guess based on the prior experience. I really don’t know what it is. But it is this little voice in my head, that every once in a while tells me something like “don’t do this, you will regret it”.
For me, living by God’s will is a practice of listening to this voice and doing what it tells me to do. The more I learn to listen to this voice, the stronger it gets.
I also believe that every human being has a similar ability.
Don’t get me wrong though. I am not able to always listen to this voice. Sometimes I tend to take “my will” back. Sometimes I begin reasoning with God, saying things like: “But God, you don’t understand. I really want to… it will be good for me”.
Usually living by “my lower self-will” results in my life getting a little bit out of hand. Just enough for me to realize that it is not working, and make me willing once again to follow God’s will.
When I do follow God’s will, my life seems to be working perfectly fine.
Take a Moment to Think About Your Life
Can you identify moments when your life really seemed to work? Why did it work? What were you doing differently?
There is another issue related to God that I’ve struggled with in the past.
How could God Let so Many Innocent People to Die in Accidents and Wars?
For me, this could be explained by the notion that living by God’s will is not a guarantee against anything negative happening in my life. It is a guarantee, however, that I will be proud of the way I made use of whatever little time I had on this planet.
That being said, I do believe that if I live by God’s will, my chances of having a quality life will greatly improve.
After all, my self will just want “it all, now, and forever”. More money, more power, more sex. And if I spend my life guided by those desires, it is very likely that I will do something really stupid in one way or another.
Living by God’s will, feeding the right wolf, makes chances of good, honest, and quality life seem to be much more likely.
Likely, but not guaranteed.
In any case, I encourage you to not get caught up in the terminology and look for what works instead.
What is God’s will for you?
I believe that only you can decide this for yourself.
But from where I stand, I believe you already have been following God’s will for the past three weeks. You are reading this book. You are taking better care of yourself. You are doing your ERP practice (right?). You are doing things that help you get and stay sober. And I am proud of you!
In conclusion, I want to share something that my sponsor in a 12 steps program told me a long time ago.
“If your life doesn’t work, it is because you are trying to manage it yourself. Get a new manager!”
In the next chapter, I am going to talk about one very difficult decision that I had to make, which allowed me to take my recovery to a completely new level.