I have decided to turn my life over to God, but how do I believe in him?
Penny Bell Says...
This is a difficulty many who choose the 12-step way to sobriety grapple with at the outset, so you are not alone. Some grapple with it because they’ve had a crummy experience with church and religion, so that God as they understand him is cast in a negative light, and others, like yourself, have not grown up with a culture of church and belief in their family and so it is like a foreign language to them. The good news is that you are as keen as mustard to get and stay sober, so much so that you are willing to put your philosophy and ideals aside in order to do what it takes to do this. I applaud you for that! So now, how do you make this step so that it is genuine, authentic, and works for you?
The idea is to “Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him”. So your task is to work out how you understand God to be – and you can read the Bible, or the Big Book, or books that the recovery group recommend, to come to your conclusions about what constitutes this “God”, or you can simply just “make a decision” to turn your life over to God’s care! It’s about realising that hey, as much as I have tried, I haven’t been able to do this on my own. So I’ll experiment here – I’ll try this 12-step program that involves turning my life over to a higher power, because many people succeed when they do this.
Part of that higher power of course is the rest of the recovery group! God doesn’t do things on his own either, and has created recovery programs so he can support people through other people. But the other people are only an adjunct to your reliance on a higher power, as they are human and therefore cannot, for example, answer prayer. What they can do though is encourage you in your new decision to explore faith in God. I think you have a point that going through the motions of belief – reading the Bible, praying – will most likely bring you to a new understanding of God for yourself, and help you along the way to faith. For goodness sake, don’t start in Genesis! Begin your reading in the New Testament, and see if you can find, either in a bookshop or on the internet, some good passages for people in recovery. These will help you to get through each day.
If you think about deciding to hand your life over to God, or a higher power, as the way forward to sobriety rather than a giant hurdle you have to overcome, you will find that faith and belief will develop, because you will be making that decision every time you try to take control of your life by yourself, which will most likely be every day!
I wish you all the best with your decision to turn your life around, I’m sure you will find it’s the best decision you have ever made.
Page last updated Feb 27, 2013