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Works Without Faith


-September 12, 2018, New Haven CT

"Works without Faith"

Every drug addict and alcoholic that has ever opened up The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous will tell  you that faith without works is dead. A very true statement to propel us into doing the work in a take action program of recovery. I, myself, have always taken this warning into account in early sobriety as I was never one to "Just don't drink and go to meetings." A course of rigorous action always needed to be taken for me to expel the obsession to drink because of the one true problem I had...A bad case of sobriety. I was powerless indeed, when I started drinking I didn't know when I was going to stop, and when I stopped drinking, I had no idea when I would start again. Life with the drink became painful, but when I put it down, life itself became unbearable. So what happens when someone suffering from alcoholism puts the drink down? 

I've come to learn that the word Alcoholism is over 2000 years old, and yet, throughout history the language we used to describe the drink was always ales, lagers, barleys etc. It wasn't until about 200 years ago that the word Alcohol was coined in reference to booze, because alcohol = spirits. I don't think though, that the 2000 year old definition of alcoholism had anything to do with drinking. It was used to describe a spiritual malady, a seperation from one's spirit, a loneliness, a bitter feeling in one's heart of utter hopelessness and despair. This, my friends, is the true meaning of alcoholism.

So back to the original question. What happens when I put the drink down? My life gets worse. The feelings of utter hopelessness and despair come creeping in. I can't find any usefullness to my fellows, I am lonely, suicidal, and self pitying. I can't seem to connect to any beings, not even myself. The pain gets so deep that my only two options are the drink and death, and suddenly death starts to look pretty good, as I already know the momentarily relief from picking up will only be followed by more despair. I'm licked. I'm powerless. What am I going to do? I must get a power greater than myself. And I must believe in this power with all my heart.

Coming back from a run after years of sobriety has been really challenging. I thought I knew exactly what to do. Go to meetings, get a sponsor, get a commitment, and work th steps blah blah blah blah blah. And I wasn't wrong. These steps are imperative to one's recovery. The only way that we get the results is if we put in the work, if we work these 12 spiritual principles that will undoubtedly take me to a spiritual awakening. But what about ,"GOD?" This was my dilemma. In the past, I always looked at the steps as a higher power, and turning my will and my life over to the care of god just meant following through with the rest of the steps. In my experience, this was wrong. As great my experience has been from putting in the work it left me with one hole that would lead me to relapse over and over again...that hole was hope. That hole was faith that when I was down and out, when all looked grim, when impending doom was upon me, that I had a loving and caring god that would watch over me, and that this was all in the plan.

Seeing that I was at a crossroads with this dilemma, I now knew that I didn't know what to do to maintain sobriety. I certainly knew how to calculate the language of recovery talk, and I was able to comrepehnd the Big Book and write out steps and take action on the directions that were given to me by the steps, but I still didn't know how to do step one. By me knowing what to do, I kept my mind awake and my heart asleep. I closed my heart off to letting god in to guide me in my life. I then knew, that I didn't know, and God did. 

Forward to today. Life isn't that great. There's a lot of problems, and my depression still creeps in and out. But I wake up and I seek god, and my heart feels at peace. I take those actions that are so very important to my recovery, but I also take the inaction. The inaction of Faith. I do this because, yes, faith without works is dead....But in my experience, I have found that it is also the opposite...Works without faith, is also dead.

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