My Higher Power

I wrote this recently in my step work and it is something I’d like to leave here for easy finding later.

Question: What is my understanding of a power greater than myself today?

 

I like that this question focuses on today because my understanding is always changing and expanding. Today is December 29th.

Today, my Higher Power is loving, caring, and greater than myself. My Higher Power does not have any set plan for how my life is supposed to go. My higher power only wants me to do the next right thing, but doesn’t judge or get upset when I don’t.

My Higher Power is the ties that bind us together. My Higher Power is the force that made it possible for me to breathe oxygen created by the plants. My Higher Power is love. My higher power is the glue that connects every single living thing together. My Higher Power created me, and you, and everyone and every single thing, out of stardust (but not on purpose).

When I act in accordance to my Higher Power’s will, I feel how connected I am to all things. My Higher Power is basically the big bang, and the force that created everything that followed. My Higher Power is energy. My Higher Power is gravity.

My Higher Power does not control when I get depressed. My Higher Power is the hope that keeps me holding on.

My Higher Power did not stop me from killing myself, but was glad when it didn’t work, because my Higher Power is life.

 

Here’s a weird metaphor

I’m making this up as I go…

Imagine someone waking you up very abruptly one morning. You’ve been hanging out in paradise, whatever that looks like to you, eating chocolate and sitting around for a couple of years. That’s what everyone does, you’ve been doing everything right. What I’m getting at is, you wake up one morning, definitely not marathon ready, after doing everything right, and someone tells you that it’s time to get out of bed and run a marathon.

“Weird,” you think, “but okay, 26.2 miles. That’s a long time, and I can’t run, but okay, I guess that’s what I’m doing today.”

So you start running this marathon, and the first miles are hell. You weren’t prepared for this. That’s not your fault. People who run marathons train for months. You thought you were going to have a normal day today, and instead you’re running a marathon. There are people cheering you on in the beginning, because you have a lot of friends who said they would be there, and there they are with their posters and cups of water and everything. You’re not allowed to take breaks to walk in this marathon, you either keep going or you die.

Around mile 20, there aren’t as many friends there. They have things to do, after all, and they figure that you can handle the last 6 miles on your own. You’ve come this far, just keep going. So you get to 26.2 miles. Wow. Cool. But the finish line isn’t there. Someone forgot to tell you, there isn’t a declared finish line in this marathon. You just have to keep going until it ends one day.

So you push on, thinking, “well, it will probably end soon, I’ll just go a bit further.” But it’s hard, and you’re alone. So you yell for some of your friends to come back, and a few do. But, they can’t stay long. That’s not their fault. They can’t spend all day everyday cheering you on. “You’re in my thoughts,” they say, as they go about their normal lives with their to-do lists and their laughter.

Your whole body is numb, and every-once-in-a-while friends come with posters, “just finish the marathon,” they say, “it’s that simple, just finish it.” It’s an attempt to be supportive, but they don’t understand that you don’t get to decide when the marathon is over, you just have to keep going.

Some days you would rather die. “I can’t do this forever,” you think, “and there is no end in sight.” Other days, you feel like maybe the end is near, so you put in more effort than ever, but the finish line never shows up.

Until eventually, the finish line shows up. And you’re done, for a while. And life goes back to normal and your friends hang out with you again. But you never know when the next race is going to come.

So here’s what I suggest- get as many people on those sidelines as possible. At mile 18, tell your friends to bring their friends who you’ve never met, and tell those people that you need them even though you don’t even know them. Tell people that you need them and their groceries can wait but you need them, and you don’t know how long this will last, but ask them to stay a while. You’re not being selfish, you’re trying to stay alive.

This is kind of what depression is like for me.

We Have Stairs

In January of 2014, I thought I was set out to have a very different year than the one I had. I prayed to my Higher Power for the willingness and ability to be happy while not in a relationship, to take care of myself, and to stay committed to my recovery. I received all of those things, but in very different packages than I expected.

I experienced two bouts of depression (one of which I am still recovering from), which I thought were cruel tricks, but were actually wonderful opportunities to fight for myself and my sanity. I remember that little by little, and also leap by leap, life happens to me. I cannot control what happens, but I can control my part in it, and if I lose control for a moment, I can move from there. Each day to the best of my ability, I can show up. And if my best today is not as good as it was yesterday, that’s okay. Yesterday’s not to do with today.

I took myself on dates and read lots of self-compassion books. I committed to writing down one happy thing each day and putting it in a jar. Now I have a jar full of happy things that happened during 2014. There were a lot of happy things, even on the days when I thought the only good thing was that I stayed clean. A day that I stay clean is a wonderful day. I fell in love with myself like I never thought possible in 2014, and for that I am so grateful. I write myself cheesy love notes all the time. I am a soul and I am worthy of love. No matter what.

On the days when I felt like I had nothing, I had my recovery and my recovery community. I dove into that community deeply this year, because I know I am safest when I am in the middle of the lifeboat. I re-started working the steps and I have experienced more spiritual growth in the last year than in the previous twenty-two.

I am currently spending my last night in the apartment I have lived in for two years. This apartment has a little bit of my soul in it. I grew up just a little bit while I lived here. So many memories have been absorbed into the walls, and into my heart. This is my last night in the apartment, because tomorrow I get to start a new chapter of my life with the man I love.

I fell in love this year. I prayed to my Higher Power for the right person, at the right time. I was ready to wait, and I didn’t have to wait long. He was blonde and he was a newcomer and it was his first day out of a treatment facility. Not at all what I imagined. I kept my distance. There is nothing I can say right now that won’t sound completely cheeseball and cliche, so I’ll skip over all that cute stuff. His recovery is amazing, my parents like him, and we can talk for hours about everything from farting, to what our Higher Powers’ will for us is. We could talk for hours about stairs. And we have. Tomorrow, we are going to pick up the keys to our new apartment. And our apartment has stairs.

Stairs may not be a huge deal, but it is way beyond where we thought we would be at this point in our lives. Stairs are a big deal to us. We’re too young for stairs, too irresponsible for stairs, we weren’t expecting stairs. And yet, stairs are what we got. Beautiful, wood, floating stairs.

Tomorrow, I get to start a new chapter of my life, and a new chapter of my relationship. And I get to do it while walking up and down, and up and down stairs.