What does it take? Why does one person reach out and embrace any opportunity available to heal and change? Why do others hang onto their hurts like it is a wall of protection, and live their whole life miserable? I lived miserable for a long long time before I was willing to take down my wall. They say in our program that we will not change until it hurts us more to stay the way we are, than it does for us to change. When I first heard that I was not so sure I believed it. I was so beaten down that I had given up hope. I had surrendered to my misery.
Don’t get me wrong I tried a lot of different things to make the pain go away before I felt completely defeated and gave up. I tried self-help books, I went to seminars and workshops, and I sought out fortune tellers as well. I would have short burst of hope. I felt good while I was their, but when I went back to my reality all of my good feelings slowly faded away. I was raised in church and attended church regularly. But the problem with church for me was that from the time I was a child I did not believe what they were trying to tell me. In church we sang, Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Then I would go home with my dysfunctional family and I wondered why Jesus wasn’t there to protect me. I did believe there was a God, I just did not believe that he would help me.
Then one day a friend bullied me into going to a 12 Step recovery meeting. I went with a closed mind. Everything they said, I had a “yes but, that doesn’t apply to me” attitude. But I really had no where else to go. I had burned a lot of bridges. I had exhausted my friends and they were too frustrated with what they perceived as my unwillingness to help myself. My friends were wonderful. But they did not understand my life. How could they? They were quick to judge and offer advice even though they had never experienced any of the hurts in my life or anything like it. I believe that in the back of my mind there was this voice saying, what did they know about pain? My family was as messed up as I was, so they were no help. I really had no where else to go, so I kept going back to the meetings.
In my mind, I was critical and judgmental of everyone there. My life was still spiraling out of control at warped speed. But slowly over time I began to see transformation in the lives of other people. I could see other people’s life getting better even though they were in the midst of deplorable circumstances. I could identify with “those people.” When I saw other people in my circumstances began to laugh and enjoy life, that was when it became too painful for me to stay the way that I was.
People come in all shapes and sizes, from different backgrounds, with different experiences. We are alike in many ways but different in many more. I have come to realize that what rocks my world may be boring to someone else. What talks to my heart may fall on deaf ears to another person. For me, it was a 12 Step recovery program that unlocked the prison of pain and suffering in my life. The treasures that I have found working these steps and applying them to my life is beyond measure. I personally believe that God uses every resource there is to help us find our way. I believe that God used these 12 Steps for me to find him, and I believe that he used them to strip away the ugly in my life so that I could find the beauty.
No, I do not believe that 12 Step programs are the only way. I have seen people be transformed through their church and their faith. I have seen them be transformed through professional counseling. I have seen people latch on to something in a workshop or seminar or in a self-help book that has helped them heal and grow. We have a pretty smart and awesome God and he meets us where we are. He led me to a 12 Step program and it was through that program that I built and strengthen my faith enough to trust him with my will and my life.