You are not alone.
I wasn’t reassured when I first heard those words, “You are not alone,” uttered as a reassurance.
To be honest, it kind of creeped me out. It sounded like something The Smoking Man would tell Molder on “The X Files.” As if aliens or (even scarier) the government were constantly watching me, tracking my every move, examining my every thought. Chalk it up to an overactive imagination and too many pre-teen afternoons spent with old issues of “Fantasy & Science Fiction” on my grandmother’s sunporch.
The phrase was meant, however, to let me know that as a newcomer to sobriety and the Alcoholics Anonymous program, I was going to be okay. That my case wasn’t unusual. That there were many others like me out there struggling with alcoholism. And that I didn’t have to go it alone — there were plenty of resources at my disposal, if I just knew where to look and whom to ask.
I posted earlier this week about my difficulties seeking and asking for help. And on Friday, I did something very alien to my control freak nature: I let go of everything and asked for all the help in the cosmos. I took the Third Step and surrendered to my Higher Power.
It was quite a lovely experience – my AA sponsor and I had a picnic and took a hike in a nearby state park. The afternoon was bright and hot, and the park very serene and empty — except for an amazing array of flora and fauna that seemed to be greeting and guiding us. (There goes my overactive imagination again…) A Texas spiny lizard scurrying along the rocks paused to watch us as we first embarked on the trail. Then I spied a magnificent red-tailed hawk watching from its perch in a nearby tree. A. and I both stopped and stood looking up quietly. It flew off when I moved closer to get a better look (with thoughts of snapping a picture, because of course I had my camera with me). But it wasn’t the last we saw of it.
As we continued on our journey, we saw shy turtles, a brilliant cardinal, a pair of woodpeckers, and a bevy of butterflies fluttering from blossom to blossom among flowering trees. We reached a bend in the path, which led us up a hill. At the top was a clearing with a smooth-barked tree — I think a crepe myrtle — just beyond. At this spot, by what A. & I shall hereafter refer to as “The Third Step Tree,” we stopped and sat to say the Third Step Prayer.
God, I offer myself to Thee–to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always.
And then, we just got quiet.
I listened. I looked around. I lived in the moment.
A. & I saw that hawk again — or at least we figured it was the same one, circling overhead, making lazy loops in the big Texas sky. Standing there in the sun, I didn’t feel alone at all. I felt connected, part of the universe, happy and loved and reassured.
I was not alone.
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