A common theme in 12-step meetings is the notion of “self-will” versus “God’s will”. As a newcomer (and I’m still pretty new), this notion confused me. How would I know what is God’s will and what isn’t? How can I align myself to something that does not reveal itself to me?
Well a good start would be to begin the practice of meditation and prayer. Sometimes this is referred to as talking to God and then listening. My practice of meditation often includes mantras or a single focus on the breath. This practice acquaints us with a quiet mind vs a cluttered mind and our reaction to our own thinking. It is over time when we start to see this play out in everyday life and reap the benefits of a daily spiritual practice.
When something in life is deemed unacceptable to us on its own terms, generally a human reaction is to try to change it. Often a sense of urgency to act accompanies undesirable circumstances. It is an important part of sobriety to learn to identify that feeling. Many of the worst mistakes I’ve made in life were a result of me following a sense of urgency to alter my circumstances to my liking. My sponsor often asks me “what would your life look like if you got everything you ever wanted?”
The answer is: I would be dead. My desires for the bulk of my life were rarely healthy or sane. As an addict, my little plans and ideas are still usually motivated by self-centered fear in one way or another. And as a human, my motivations are usually for emotional and material security. These motivations in their essence are not bad or wrong, but when acted on impulsively can create a lot of harm. I’ve learned through trials to sit on my hands when I feel something NEEDS to happen. I’ve learned to accept life on life’s terms. Meditation and prayer has helped connect me and feel comforted by a power greater than myself that I am still learning to understand. Most importantly, I’ve learned that the fear of an unacceptable outcome is usually just only a fear because the universe has my back no matter what.