When I came into AA, I was spiritually bankrupt. Due to years of heavy drinking and a series of life experiences, I was depleted of any belief system. By the time I was 17, I had lost six people in my family to death: my father when I was 8, my sister when I was 9, my mother when I was 14, my grandfather and my step-grandfather when I was 17. I also had a very close friend die when I was 17. As far as I could tell, I didn’t think God was loving and on my side in life.
I got sober in 1985 at the Coral Room in Miami. They didn’t care about my wonderful theory of evolution; they simply told me to get on my knees and pray. I had this AA friend named Jim with about three years sober, and the two of us would sit and debate the God thing. Now Jim was a scientist and we both had these wonderful theories on evolution. Oh, we had great ideas and thought the God thing was good for you AAers, but we were sure that we would have to find some other resource to keep us sober.
The old-timers in the Coral Room told me that to stay sober, one simply had to find a Higher Power that one could do business with, and it could be the God of my own understanding—or AA itself. They said it’s God who keeps us sober and the time might come when the only thing between me and the next drink is this Higher Power.
Fortunately for me, I chose a sponsor who didn’t care what I believed in. She simply told me to get on my knees and pray. Which I did with a heart full of fear. Not so much a fear of drinking, but because I was afraid of her, and of not doing what she told me to do! I didn’t know how to pray, but there I was, on my knees. So I started…“God”…and then all I could think of was that I needed help, so I added, “Help.” From that first scanty prayer, wonderful miracles began to happen in my broken life. And somewhere along the line, I came to believe that there really was a God, and a God personal to me who cared about me just like it describes in our Big Book.
Around that time, I became concerned about my friend Jim, as he did not have a Higher Power yet. The day I announced to him that, “I got it, I think I got the God thing!” he wished me well and the subject was dropped. Weeks later, still genuinely concerned that Jim might drink, I said, “Jim, maybe you could use my Higher Power until you find one of your own.” I told him that I wasn’t keeping my Higher Power too busy and I was sure he wouldn’t mind. Jim thanked me and we never spoke of the God thing again.
Sometime later, I moved away and wondered from time to time how my friend Jim was doing. A few years passed, and I came back to Miami to visit that meeting, and Jim was there. When it came Jim’s turn to share, he said, “I had trouble finding a Higher Power my first three years sober, and a good friend loaned me her Higher Power. It works really well for me, and I have not found it necessary to find one of my own.”
Wow! I had no idea that Jim had accepted my offer to loan him my Higher Power. He had never mentioned that to me. How interesting it was to learn that Jim was able to stay sober with a Higher Power he borrowed from me.
Since that day, I have tried as best as I can to not consume 100 percent of my Higher Power’s time so my dear friend Jim can always borrow him.
If you’re having a difficult time finding a Higher Power, look around your meeting room and see who seems to have a really good one. Perhaps they’ll let you borrow theirs for a while.