Conscious contact for me means the experience of God showing up in my life, not an idea of God I read in some spiritual book. When I’m awake and aware, I can see my life is everything God does and nothing I do. There is no place God isn’t. But it’s so easy for me to get distracted, fall back asleep, to take God for granted. Then I begin to believe that I am the power making my life happen. I need daily reminders to maintain my conscious contact with God. Fortunately I’m surrounded by powerful reminders every where I look.
I become aware of the presence of God in most every meeting I attend. The other big book says, “where more than one are gathered in His name, God is present.” When my mind is not wandering off, sometimes I can actually feel the presence of God in a meeting. Sometimes when I’m sharing with another drunk I hear the words come out of my mouth and I think. “Wow, I didn’t know I knew that.” I reach out to newcomers and occasionally there’s a big payoff — seeing the light come on when the person finally “gets it.” I listen to you share what your life was like, what happened and what it’s like now. When I hear how God is working in your life, I am reminded God is working in my life too.
I had a powerful experience of God recently. A man I share with had been struggling to stay sober for years. He’d get a couple of months then take his foot off the gas with predictable results. He told me over and over again that he didn’t deserve sobriety. Then, as it says in our book, something happened. After his last reset, he became very active in the program. He attended meetings every day, took a number of services commitments and hung out with other alcoholics outside the meetings. Two weeks ago he had an accident on his motor scooter and broke his ankle in half. He spent the night in the Emergency Room. His ankle was too swollen for surgery, so they put him in a cast and discharged him the next morning on crutches. He called one of his new sobriety buddies to pick him up and together they went to his early morning meeting to make the coffee. Wow. God becomes absolutely real for me just thinking about it.
Besides staying active in the AA program, I seek to maintain conscious contact by hiking alone in nature with my cell phone turned off. This is my primary Eleventh Step practice. Solitude is so wonderful after a lifetime of isolation. I strive to keep distractions to a minimum. I watch very little TV and have no strong opinions on outside issues. Recently a friend called me unpatriotic because I wouldn’t get caught up in the recent election. It may be selfish, but my peace of mind is more important to me than who is president.
I’ve been traveling in Southeast Asia for the past few months. It seems like there are ornate temples and beautiful statues of Buddha everywhere I look. I am surrounded by these symbols, but they don’t trigger awareness of God for me. Yet when I glimpse the beautiful, joyous faces of the little Thai, Cambodian and Vietnamese children, I’m absolutely positive God is real and alive.