Life on Life's Terms

One of the many self-help books I read before I got sober suggested I live a God-centered life. I tried to incorporate the author’s suggestions, but I lacked the discipline to practice them consistently. It wasn’t long before I gave up. The book joined all the others on my bedside table gathering dust.

Twenty plus years later, I still don’t know how to live a God centered life, but I do know how to live an AA centered life. I put myself in the center of Alcoholics Anonymous taking the suggested actions over and over again. There I find God working non-stop miracles in my life.

A year or so before I got sober, I flew to Florida from California every other weekend for the last few months of my mother’s life. I remember feeling totally useless during these trips. I couldn’t care for her physically or support her emotionally. I certainly could not provide spiritual comfort since I had none myself. The best I could do was to sit by her bedside and drink. Sometimes I wished I didn’t have to be there.

Fast-forward through 20 years of recovery. With God firmly in the center of my life, I had the honor of care taking my wife during the last year of her life. Besides daily care there were 911 emergencies, two major surgeries and long stays in hospital. I learned way more than I ever wanted to know about nursing, doctors, hospitals and cancer. I never would have volunteered, but it turned out to be the best experience of my life. I had no choice. We had just returned back to the US from China and there was no one else. God had me right where he wanted me.

Sure there were stressful, painful, disappointing times, but happiness was present through the whole experience. Apparently I tapped into a deep reservoir of spiritual power I didn’t know was there. I suited up and showed up every day 24 and 7 with a great attitude. My wife and I became closer than ever. She died peacefully with a smile on her face.

I’m convinced that my recovery is nothing I do and everything God does. Without God in the center of my life, it is impossible for me to experience the joy that comes from living life on life’s terms with balance, order and harmony. I think I’ll keep coming back.