From the September 2011 magazine.

My Parking Spot God

She learned that she was going to need God's help for more than just the little stuff

"The blessing is that it didn't take me long to pull out my Parking Spot God—the last time he would serve me in that capacity."

I never really needed hope in my life before the end of my drinking, because I had other things, like "expectations" and "entitlement." I just knew that everything was going to go my way, because I had always manipulated everything and everyone around me until I got exactly what I wanted. When alcohol finally beat me down and I was done, that was when I started needing hope. For the first time in my life, I couldn't rely on manipulation and skating by on my own petty charms and talents—I was powerless. I had always been powerless, but now I actually knew it.

I have always believed in God. I thought this was all I needed, and I despaired for people who were atheists, like my husband, and other people I heard about in the rooms of AA, who left because they couldn't handle all the "God talk." I shook my head and tsk-tsk'ed, feeling so sorry for them, because they would never 'get it' if they couldn't believe in a power greater than themselves. Well, believing in something and turning my life and my will over to the care of that something are two completely different things. Simply believing in God and even knowing that he would always take care of me didn't stop me from living on self-will for 36 years and drinking for 17.

-- Jennifer C.

Chula Vista, California

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