Home » Expert Q & A » Christian Recovery » Christian Recovery: Penny Bell

How can I be free from alcohol addiction if I can't feel God?

  • anonymous Asks ...

    I believe in God but i do not really know how to pray in a meaningful way. I am an alcoholic and I am trying to work through the steps of AA. On one level I believe that God can help me overcome alcoholism and that I cannot do it alone but the problem is I don't feel the hand of God in any visceral way. When I pray I do not feel like I am talking to anyone and although I believe that God can help me overcome alcoholism I have never really felt a personal connection with God so I am not sure how this is supposed to work. Will it just come to me if I keep trying????

  • Penny Bell Says ...
    Penny Bell

    I’m glad you have decided to work through the AA steps.  As you know, you are not required to do anything other than desire to stop drinking in order to participate in AA meetings, but the premise that we cannot stop drinking on our own and need a Higher Power to help us is an important part of the AA recovery program. In the Eleventh Step ("sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out"), we ask God to direct our thinking, asking especially that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives; we ask God for inspiration - an intuitive thought or a decision if we are indecisive; we pray to be shown all through the day what our next step is to be; we ask that we be given whatever we need to take care of problems; we ask for freedom from self-will, and guidance in the way of patience, kindness, tolerance and love; we pray as to what we can do today for the person who is still sick; we exercise our devotions or say set prayers which emphasize 12 Step principles; we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action; and we constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day "Thy will be done." (The Big Book of AA).

    The purpose of Step 11 is that we actually connect with the Higher Power that has helped us get to this point in the program.  If this is what you are facing right now, my suggestion is to go with it, carry out each part of this step just as it is written in the Big Book and in the order it’s written in, and see what happens.  It really is all about letting go and letting God, so any anxiety you have about not succeeding will have to go on a backburner while you take the risk of “faking it until you make it”, so to speak.  Remember, we are to take one day at a time, and that is so that our anxiety about our success or failure doesn’t work against us by sabotaging our good efforts before that day is done.

    My hunch though is that you are already well on your way to success, as you say “I believe that God can help me overcome alcoholism”, which tells me you have faith in God and believe he is on your case and has the power to help you.  Even if you have not yet reached step 11, there is no harm in looking it up in the Big Book and venturing into a deeper spiritual experience, perhaps with the help of your fellow AA members or your sponsor.  I say this because I can see it is the desire of your heart.

    I wish you every success and I believe that it is yours already because you have the determination to push past your feelings and grab hold of the principles that will make you well.

Featured Experts