“I made the decision to turn my life and will over to the care of God as I understand Him.”
Since 1969 I have gone to church, meditated, prayed, read book after book trying to learn how to surrender, to rid myself of my ever present ego. My ego fought me tooth and nail. I wanted to switch the light of surrender on and be done with it. Pretty much like I did with booze. The key here was I was to make it happen and the surrender was to meet my expecta-tions.
This was one of the greatest contradictions of my life, I need to completely control my environment. This need is of course based in self-centered fear. If I weren’t in charge the flood gates of terror would overwhelm me as I justly deserved. The irony is that I would sit in a gin mill and lose complete control of my body, mind and eventually my life as I continued to drink. So the idea of letting go scared me to my core. Then I read a Taoist wisdom “I do nothing and nothing is left undone”. I didn’t understand. The years past and I continued advanced in the Steps. Slowly, most of the time without knowing it, I changed. Mistake after mistake gave me the chance to ask for and rely on this Power. My mind began to open and my faith deepened and I saw things differ-ently. As a NYC cop I thought courage was facing the “bad guy” who had a gun or knife. That may have been physical courage but the program calls for a moral or better still a spiritual bravery that asks for me to go “all in”. To become defenseless and know that I am safe. What a rush.
Mother Theresa once said that a true miracle was to do the ordinary extraordinary well. The “do nothing” was to do those things that were in front of my face and do them mindfully. Letting go of the outcomes, the success, or failure of daily life. I had to learn how to trust that this Power had my back. There was no sudden anything here, it was taking the risk that if I lived by the principles of the Steps I could live a joyful and productive existence. Now in my old age I can look back over the last three quarters of my life and see how well this has turned out. My family loves me, I volunteer both within and without the program. When my wife was dying I was able to be the husband and father that I only fantasied about.
There is no part of my life I would be ashamed of if it were published in tomorrow’s paper, old age may have something to do with that. But mostly I am sober and at peace. In a novel I read, one character says to another, “how do you know if you have learned your lessons? His mentor replies “If you are alive you haven’t”. I still have “miles to go” and when this life ends I still will be safe.
~ The New Yorker
Market Street Grill, SLC