Our Sober Approach to God
By Chaplain Ken Davila
Drug Addiction Treatment:

As a Chaplain in a treatment facility I have had the opportunity to hear many stories from people. I hear many hardships in session as I meet the patients in drug treatment. In many of the stories, often, there is a common refrain. Not only do the stories tend to sound similar but the response of the patients and what they do with it sound the same as well.

Many people have suffered at the hands of others without fault of their own. Take for instance the pain a child feels when they are abused by an alcoholic parent or family member or the person who has suffered great loss because of the actions of someone who was inebriated behind the wheel of a car. Others suffer from their own choices in life and the list of those circumstances can fill my computer hard drive.

As a Chaplain I often hear the common refrain of “Why is God doing this to me?”, “Where is God in all the chaos of my life?” We call these types of questions theodicean in nature. These are questions that have to do with the justice of God. Where is God when the world does not make sense? These are the types of questions that Job had as he went through his ordeal in life. We often are stopped by circumstances in our lives that cause us to look up to our higher power and ask, “What the hey?” I suspect you know what I’m talking about.

So how do we approach God when life does not make sense? How do we look at an unloving world and see a loving God? How do we make sense of all the chaos in our lives? The second step gives us a clue on how to approach God in a healthy, spiritual, and recovery way that may help. The second step challenges us to come to believe there is a power greater than ourselves that can restore us to sanity. In coming to believe we can assume some things about our higher power. I know what you’re thinking about assuming but hear me out for a minute. If we believe our higher power can restore us He must be the kind of God who can intervene, right? If He can restore us, He is interested in helping us, right? If He can restore us, He must know what is right for us, right? If He can restore us, He must be a powerful God, right? The idea behind step two challenges us to dismiss our old ways of thinking of God and come to a place where we choose to believe He loves us enough to restore us. Often we choose to believe God is mean or cruel for “doing this” to me. How we come up with that is yet another article altogether. But let’s get back to this one.

What helps me to see that is to consider that the world He created was not supposed to be this way. The biblical story tells me our first parents got this world off track and He is attempting to restore all of us. If we believed like this, what do you suppose would happen to our relationship with Him? Would it not motivate us to reach out more? Realizing my part in my chaos will help me to surrender to a power greater than me to help me get back on track. When I see my part in my life, I will tend to blame God less and choose to be more responsible for my behaviors. He becomes the one who helps me to do the next right thing, thus limiting the drama in my life. I can choose to follow a set of principles that will not only keep me sober, but will be a blessing to those I come in contact with. I can choose to live in sobriety and live the twelve steps in earnest. Millions have done so; you will find them in meetings. But what about the times when I do not have a part in the chaos in life? How does this help me?

Let us consider this for a moment. It is my understanding that we have all been given free will. How we use that matters. Our free will gets us into trouble and our free will can help us live a sober life. Sometimes we suffer because others are using their free will against us. They choose to do the wrong things and often we suffer the results. Drunk drivers who run into your car, the burglar that breaks into your home or the bank robbery that happens when you are at the bank are examples of suffering from others’ choices.

There are several ways to address this, but a spiritual way is to practice acceptance that things are not going to go well on this earth at times. Since the Garden of Eden, the world has taken a path that is not intended by God, but His help is always near if we choose to believe He can help and then surrender to His care. I have found in my own life when I maintain my hold on God, He gets me through whatever I am going through. I used to pray for this thing or that thing. But now I only ask God to help me through whatever is coming and to keep me faithful through it. I used to ask God to make my world right and to do this or that for me, but no longer. I realize the world is going to be the world and my approach is to stay close to God so that my chaos stays minimal and He begins to work in my world; His will for me. Surrender to my higher power has minimized my trauma, given me peace of mind, simplified my life and kept me on a sure path for many years.

Someday, I believe God is going to make this world right again and we can have all our questions answered. Until then I hold on to Him because I choose to believe He loves me and can take care of me better than I can myself. My hope is that as you have read this article you can choose to believe God is able to help you and turn to Him in a more positive way. As you, too, begin to relate with Him, my hope is that you find the peace and security a loving and caring God can give you. It can happen if you “choose to believe”.

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