Experience, Strength, and Hope

Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

March 15, 2011

I’d like to talk about experience, strength, and hope because those three words are what got me through a tough forty-eight hours. It would’ve been a lot tougher without my sobriety and without the angels God seemed to so clearly put in my path right when things could’ve gone sideways for me.

I did not get into the graduate school program I just spent the last four months working toward. It was deeply disappointing. I didn’t feel the need to go to my addiction or my anger, which was good. But I was chagrined because I know I did all I could in the application process and I know that I really want to go to school to become a professor. I instead leaned hard on the Third Step, asking God what I might do with this setback. How was I supposed to give this up to God? If this is what I want and what’s good for me and for my children, ultimately, why would it not manifest just yet? What am I to undertake instead?

I was upset by the time I got to my Sunday night meeting and right before I went in, I called a friend in fellowship who had just finished his Master’s degree. My friend Allen’s experience shed light on an alternative way for me to attempt to get into school. His strength bolstered my resolve to try, try again. And his consolation gave me hope that all is not lost and that not getting in right now isn’t the end of the world, nor does it have to be the end of my sobriety, or even the end of my pursuit of a Master’s.

Talking to someone in program, and not keeping my frustration and disappointment bottled up, was a way of living the promise of the Third Step, using the same tools I’ve learned in recovery to help me more healthily navigate everyday challenges and setbacks. I reached out, rather than imploding into isolation and found a calming friend — certainly the voice of a Higher Power — speaking with compassion. Allen’s experience, strength, and hope were what I sought out and I’m thankful for his amazing ability to offer me some comfort during a trying time. It’s yet another example of how beneficial, peaceable, and healthy this program is for me and can be for any of us.

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