Give It Away to Keep It
I don't know for sure what happened. Or why it happened or how it happened. As near as I can figure I received a gift that I did not ask for - a gift I didn't even know I needed or wanted - a gift that I certainly did nothing to earn or deserve.
If I had any prayer while I was sitting alone in my darkened apartment with my bag of pot, bottle of wine, overflowing ashtray and remote control, it was definitely not "please God enter my being and help me change my whole life." It was more like, "please God, help me get a high paying job fast" because I was quickly running out of borrowed money and there were no other people left for me to borrow from. Denial kept me totally away from the truth -- I was rotting from the inside out and I was pretty close to hopeless.
Then Grace happened. I was gifted to a moment of clarity. In a flash I was allowed to see the truth about what I had become and where I was likely to end up. I got a good whiff of myself and it wasn't pretty. Three days later I walked into my first AA meeting and knew I was home. My being, that just one week earlier was unbearably heavy, felt totally weightless. I floated on a pink cloud.
I learned in AA that the gift I received has strings attached. If I want to keep it, I have to give it away. And I can't give away something I don't have. I have to become that channel that St. Francis talks about in his prayer. If God works through me, I can keep the gift. By taking the actions suggested by the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, I can keep the channel open and continue to receive the gift and God will continue to do for me what I can not do for myself.