If you’ve been reading a couple of these, you may have noticed that I use the term “HP” or “Higher Power” instead of “God” and when I do mention the “G” word, encourage you to replace that word with your own HP, as necessary. Why? Am I an atheist or agnostic? Nope. Am I afraid of typing the word “God”? Nope, not at all actually.
I was born and raised as a Catholic. Went to Catholic school for 1 – 8 grades and really have no ill will towards those that use the word “God” as they see fit. I tend to use it myself around close company and also when cursing cause it just fits properly (e.g. God d@mmit). So why do I choose to replace it in this writing (and, FYI, I replace it when I’m at AA meetings too)?
There was a time when I hated God. I felt cursed, angry, unworthy and also like S/he was punishing me for sport. I also used to pray so hard to die. Just to pass out and never wake up again. I felt this God never answered my prayers; S/he never listened to me; therefore, S/he is only laughing and mocking my pain and torment.
When I started going to AA meetings, I learned that it is possible to create my own HP. This was an amazing concept to me because I had been taught my whole life who this being was and what its expectations were for me and how I was miserably failing them.
When I first arrived at the meeting room doors, I was still very frustrated and upset with God, so there was no way I could put my trust in her/him especially since I couldn’t “see” her/him, but I knew that I had to put my faith in something, so G.O.D., not God, was what I initially turned to: Group of Drunks. The people inside the meeting rooms were so encouraging, no matter how often I failed, that it was much easier to “see” how they were “leading” me in the right direction. I still was unable to stay continuously sober, so I repositioned my faith and put some in this G.O.D. and tried out using some in another G.O.D.
Good Orderly Direction. (To be quite honest, I feel most humans could use more of this on a daily basis.) This was the first time I tried “splitting up my faith”. I mean, growing up and going to Catholic school, I was taught there was one God and this is who it is and here’s your list of expectations and do’s and don’ts. I never knew it was possible to be able to believe in one thing and also believe a little in another thing. When I did start trying this concept, I felt like I was growing into a more positive person. As long as 1) I didn’t drink and 2) I did the “next right thing”, things, even negative ones, seemed to work out a lot easier than they used to. Is this because I was “believing” in something or is this because once you have adapted a more positive mindset, it doesn’t matter because you’re always looking for the best in the situation? I don’t know. Maybe a little of both, really.
I hope this next thing I started believing in doesn’t sound narcissistic because I am honestly not meaning it to come out like that: Me. I had a major life change at 5 1/2 months of sobriety. The man I had been with for 4 1/2 years broke up with me and I was forced to move out of his house. This sent shock waves through to my core.
When I moved in to my first sober lady apartment, I knew I had a choice. I had been leaning on the supportive people in my life and the one I was leaning on the most wasn’t around anymore. The first night I spent alone in my apartment I decided it was time for me to put on my big girl panties and time to get serious with this sobriety sh!t cause even though life was happening all around me, at least I wasn’t hungover anymore and I was learning that there is a lot of fun to be had without drinking. So that first night, I did not drink and I prayed and prayed and prayed. That first night I split a little more of my faith and put it into myself.
I really don’t think that we’re given one bucket of faith per lifetime and that’s it. In fact, I know we’re not. After I moved out, I felt like my faith was growing at such a rapid pace that I had no choice but to keep spreading it around as fast as I could. My belief in everything positive was growing.
This was when I really started not just learning about myself as a sober woman, but also learning about my Higher Power. I think the reason when I speak to mine I choose male pronouns is because that’s what I grew up with and I’m comfortable with it. There is no rage or anger surrounding my HP. He isn’t vengeful and he doesn’t judge me when I make a stupid a$$ mistake; however, he does give me learning lessons and then it’s my choice to learn or make that mistake again because he has also given me free will. All-in-all he is supportive, kind, loving and gracious. You know what, I think Rick Astley is my HP!!