Let Go, Let God
Let Go, Let God
When I first got sober, and I heard the phrase “let go, let god”, I liked the idea. I didn’t have any concept of what it meant, but I could see the possibilities. As time went on I learned what “let go, let God” means, and it has become an important part of my sobriety today.
I learned through reading the Big Book “Alcoholics Anonymous” that I am exactly like the actor Bill W. talks about.
Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery and the rest of the players in his own way. If his arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wished, the show would be great. Everybody, including himself, would be pleased. Life would be wonderful. – Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 60 – 61
That was me when I was drinking, and can be today if I don’t catch myself. I’m a perfectionist control freak, and I want to tell everyone how they should act. I want everyone to say what I want them to say. I want everyone to do what I want them to do. But, unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
When people don’t act how I want them to, what happens? Well,
The show doesn’t come off very well. He begins to think life doesn’t treat him right. He decides to exert himself more. He becomes, on the next occasion, still more demanding or gracious, as the case may be. – Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 61
And because I’m so busy trying to run this show called life, it leaves no room for my Higher Power to step in and “Direct” me. I don’t receive any direction from my Higher Power, I get angrier and angrier, and then what happens? I drink of course.
I faced this scenario time and time again when I was drinking. My sister won’t take my well-intentioned advice, drink. People at work won’t believe me that I’m really “sick” and can’t do much that day, drink.
Over and over, round and round, until finally I had to stop the vicious cycle before it consumed me. But how was I supposed to do that? How was I supposed to stop the constant cycle of negativity in my head? How was I supposed to keep the fear at bay when it was tearing a hole through my insides, like a tornado ripping through a field?
I learned how. Sometimes painfully, but eventually it sunk in:
“Let Go, Let God”.
“Let Go, Let God” means just that: let go.
When I first got sober, this saying sounded good to me. I thought, “Sure! I’ll just let this fear go and let God handle it.” But when it came time to put words into practice, it wasn’t so clear cut.
Over time, as I practiced letting go, my life became more manageable. After working the first 3 Steps I realized that there is a Power greater than me that can help. Once I made that realization, putting “Let Go, Let God” into practice made more sense.
It was easy at first to let go of things. I was still learning how this whole sobriety thing worked. I was still in that fearful, “the whole world is kind of scary, but not so much anymore” phase. I was working the Steps, smashing my ego, making room for my Higher Power to come in and guide me.
But as time went on, sobriety got easier. Those raw emotions that I was feeling to begin with were starting to mellow. Life didn’t feel like a scary adventure anymore. In the past, it was one or two good days, followed by weeks of turmoil and crisis. But now, I could string together good weeks.
My ego started to re-build in other words. Suddenly my Higher Power wasn’t so important anymore. He became a crisis button that I pushed when I faced something I couldn’t handle on my own.
That is when “Let Go, Let God” began to make sense for me.
Since I had been in the Steps for a while, I could recognize when my ego was getting the best of me. I recognized when I was trying to play God. And I recognized when I needed to let go of a situation and let my Higher Power intervene.
When I say I let go and let God handle whatever is thrown at me, I don’t mean I throw up my hands and say “Okay God, I give it all to you. I won’t do any more work, I’ll just sit here and let you sort it out.”
No, not at all.
What I am saying is, when I recognize that my ego is getting the best of me, and I’m trying to be the actor, I take a step back. I look at the situation at hand, and look for ways that I am being controlling, fearful, etc. I say a prayer, asking my Higher Power for direction. And then, after all that, I let it go.
I let my Higher Power into my life and listen for direction. Sometimes that direction is in the form of a gut feeling. Sometimes it comes through the words of someone I know. But whatever form it takes, I listen. Then, whatever direction I receive, I put it into action.
Only by going through this process am I able to smash my ego, quit playing God, and allow my Higher Power to guide me.
It’s a simple process for a complicated person. But it does work. Practice makes perfect as they say. And over time, it becomes easier and easier to recognize areas of my life where I need to “Let Go, Let God”. But only if I stay teachable.
Originally published Oct 26, 2016 – medium.com