From the February 2013 magazine.

February 2013: 12-Step Turtle

How a backyard red-eared slider showed her the way to Step Two

I entered AA carrying tremendous hatred and anger toward God. I felt abandoned and broken by multiple tragedies, and I’d lost all ability to cope with life. I barely recognized myself. In early sobriety, my mindset screamed that God let me suffer terrible things as punishment. Or that he’d shown utter apathy toward my unique and desperate plight. I raged and rebelled against the program’s insistence that I turn my will and life over to a Higher Power, because I wholeheartedly believed mine already had screwed me over. I wasn’t going to set myself up to be cheated and deserted by that useless sadist again! I’d been hurt too deeply, left hopeless during too many desperate times, to take another risk at faith. No way!

Meanwhile, returning home from one of my early AA meetings, I narrowly missed crushing an 11-inch red-eared slider in our driveway. Muttering, I hopped out of the car, picked up the bewildered turtle, and placed it next to our decorative pond. Water might comfort the shocked animal, I decided, then it could wander back to wherever city turtles lived all summer. I mentioned the odd incident to my husband, because it gave us something safe to talk about in those rough times.

-- Dawn M.

Cleburne, Texas

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