This is a post about God.
If you’re anything like me, you just felt really weird. But here’s the deal.
I am going to attempt to tell you how the story of how a Power that I do not understand and cannot fully explain came into my bedroom one morning in Tulsa, Oklahoma and struck me sober from alcohol and drugs.
To help me explain it I am going to call this power “God” because that’s what my mom called it when I was a kid.
Please feel free to insert “Allah,” “Elohim ,” “Buddha,” “Science” or whatever term you prefer to use to put a name on The Unknown.
Because I believe we’re all talking about the same thing.
“The Power of The Universe That No One Can Understand or Explain”
To Atheists: When this happened I was an Atheist myself. It’s cool, keep reading.
I have never told this story to anyone before.
On February 10th, 2008 I had reached the end of a very long, losing battle with alcohol. I had my first drink at the age of 13. It was Canadian Mist. When I drank it I blacked out and got into some trouble with the police. This continued for two decades.
I was never able to drink like a normal person. When I got drunk I blacked out, cried, fell down, took off my clothes, got into fights with lamps and acted like a maniac. This behavior resulted in countless broken personal relationships, a few broken bones and many encounters with police. But I could not stop doing it.
As a teenager I was put in rehab three times. I was forced to go to AA Meetings (alcoholics anonymous) off and on by my parents, and law enforcement, but it never stuck because I didn’t think I belonged there.
But on February 10th, 2008, I woke up from a drunken night that had gone so badly that I was afraid to leave the house. I was scared that either the police or a some kind of hit-man was going to be waiting to take me out as soon as I walked outside.
When I finally got up the nerve to leave the house – I drove as fast as I could to a nearby AA meeting. I’d been there before and it didn’t work. But this time I was ready for help and was willing to do whatever I had to do to get it.
“Just Tell Me What To Do”
I walked into the meeting shaking, terrified and desperate. I asked everyone in the room for help. I said to the group, “I’ll do anything, just please someone tell me what I have to do”.
The group gave me a Sponsor (a guy to help me on a daily basis). And I got two books. “The Big Book”, which is the standard reading guide used by all AA groups and this little black book that I’d never seen before called “Twenty-Four Hours A Day”.
Photo: The Twenty-Four Hours A Day book
I was told to read them both every day. So I did.
My Sponsor also told me to start saying a prayer every morning when I woke up and every night before I went to sleep… I had a real problem with this.
I told him “But I don’t believe in God”. He laughed and said “Then pray to the God you don’t believe in”. In other words, he was saying to just do it whether I wanted to or not.
So I did it.
Praying Every Day
I started praying every morning and every night. He told me to get down on my knees when I prayed. Getting on my knees was hard and humiliating, even with no one looking. But I did it. Because I was willing to do anything to get rid of the drinking.
I was having a really hard time sleeping. So I started drinking NyQuil every night before bed. I knew this wasn’t a good long-term solution but it worked for now and was the only way I could sleep. Luckily, I found another trick that did the job too.
I started praying myself to sleep.
The “Twenty-Four Hours A Day” book has a meditation, a thought and a prayer for every day of the year. The story I got was that a long time ago, some hopeless drunk used to write messages to himself on little cards and he carried them around in his back pocket every day. Later, someone heard about the cards and made a book out of them.
So this was the book I had in my hands. I read this guy’s little mediations, thoughts and prayers every morning when I woke up and again before bed.
After my nightly reading, I would read the prayer over and over again until I memorized it. Then I would close the book and repeat the prayer in my head until I fell asleep. It worked. It was the only thing that worked besides NyQuil.
I became a prayer machine.
I still didn’t believe that anyone was listening to my prayers, but I didn’t care. I did it to help me sleep. Something about saying prayers made me feel really good. I liked it so much that soon I was praying throughout the entire day.
This is when weird stuff started happening.
I started having a lot of “coincidences”. People said things to me that were exactly what I needed to hear, I heard song lyrics that were talking about my situation, I ran into old friends that were also sober who offered encouragement and advice.
I started testing this new prayer power. I started doing silly things.
If I couldn’t find something I was looking for at Wal-Mart, I would close my eyes, right there in the aisle and pray “Dear God, help me find this thing”. When I opened my eyes the thing would be on the shelf directly in front of me, at eye level. It was really strange. I felt like I’d tapped into some kind of magical power.
And then it happened.
On the morning of February 27th, 2008 I woke up and was reading the “Twenty-Four Hours A Day” book in bed. The message for the day was about turning your problems over to God.
I’d heard people talk about “turning their life over to God” all my life – and I hated it. It just seemed lazy to me to think that you would turn all your problems over to some kind of mythical creature that may or may not even exist. It felt like a cop out, like an easy way to not take any responsibility for your actions.
But this book added one thing.
It said not only can you “turn your problems over to God” but you could specifically turn your DRINKING PROBLEM over to God. I had never heard that before and the thought of it stopped me in my tracks.
Here is exactly what I read:
FEB. 27—AA Thought for the Day
When we came into AA, the first thing we did was to admit that we couldn’t do anything about our drinking. We admitted that alcohol had us licked and that we were helpless against it. We never could decide whether or not to take a drink. We always took the drink. And since we couldn’t do anything about it ourselves, we put our whole drink problem into the hands of God. We turned the whole thing over to that Power greater than ourselves. And we have nothing more to do about it, except to trust God to take care of the problem for us. Have I done this honestly and fully?
Meditation for the Day
This is the time for my spirit to touch the spirit of God. I know that the feeling of the spirit-touch is more important than all the sensations of material things. I must seek a silence of spirit-touching with God. Just a moment’s contact and all the fever of life leaves me. Then I am well, whole, calm and able to arise and minister to others. God’s touch is a potent healer. I must feel that touch and sense God’s presence.
Prayer for the Day
I pray that the fever of resentment, worry and fear may melt into nothingness. I pray that health, joy, peace and serenity may take its place.
It didn’t matter if I believed in God or not. I knew I wanted to get rid of the drinking problem and I was willing to do anything to do it. So if there was any chance that I could “turn the whole thing over to a Power greater than myself and HAVE NOTHING MORE TO DO ABOUT IT“… Then belief or not – I was willing to give it a shot.
I got out of bed and tried to make it as official as possible.
- I stood up in front of the bed, held the book out in front of me and went for it.
- I closed my eyes and asked a God that I didn’t believe in to take my drinking problem from me.
- I prayed for him to take everything from me.
- I said that I was done trying and was completely helpless, broken and powerless over this thing.
Then – I was struck by lightning.
Standing there in front of my bed, eyes closed, I was hit with an immediate wave of heat, colors and light. It came through me like a hot knife through butter. It started at my head and went down through my feet. My entire body started to pulse under its pressure.
It felt good. I’ve taken acid several times in my life and the experience was very similar to an acid trip. Body pulsing, waves of heat, lights and colors and love. Energy became visible. I could see and feel the fabric of the Universe surrounding me in all directions, like an embrace.
“This is the Spirit-touch“ I thought. I was being touched by the Spirit, just like the book said. It was in my room, touching me. The entire room was filled with it. The word Spirit-touch still gives me chills even as I type it now.
Then I had a vision.
I saw an entity in front of me. It was also above me and all around me. We were like two energy fields made of heat. No details, just shapes and colors. The entity reached into my body and started pulling things out of me – from around my stomach area.
The things coming out of me had shapes. They looked like swords, knives, treasure chests and rocks. All these horrible and jagged looking things. Each time something was taken out of me I felt better.
It was crazy – but I wasn’t scared. I allowed it to happen. I understood exactly what was going on. I knew that it was impossible but I was excited that it was happening and I just went with it.
It went on for several minutes. I watched as this heat shaped person pulled things out of my body.
I knew that I could stand there in that moment for as long as I wanted. But after what seemed like 5–7 minutes I realized that if I didn’t break the connection I was going to be late for work.
And as hilarious as this sounds – I broke the connection with The Power of The Universe because it was time to go to work.
I opened my eyes and the spell was broken. I stood there in the glow for a minute as it faded away.
Then I took a shower and drove to work.
I didn’t tell anyone what had happened.
End of story
This month (I’m writing this in February 2015) marks seven years since it happened. I have never taken a drink of alcohol again. From that moment forward, the desire was completely gone.
The After Life
To say that my life has changed since that experience is an understatement.
Most people I knew then would have never have believed I’d be the person I am today. And most people I know today would never believe I was the person I was back then.
I’m no saint, I can still be a real asshole sometimes. I still deal with the same things you deal with, jealousy, resentment, fear, greed and all those human things. But I don’t drink anymore and I’m not constantly hurting myself or anyone else anymore. And that is amazing.
I call the period that I’m living in now “The Afterlife” because to me that’s what it is. I was born, then I lived a life and then I died and then I was born again.
But don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying I’m a “born again Christian” because I’m not at all. I don’t go to church and I don’t follow any organized religion. I don’t think religion can be organized. I think churches are hilarious.
What I do believe is that there is a “The Power of The Universe That No One Can Understand or Explain” that is accessible to us under certain circumstances. And I believe that this thing came into my bedroom and gave me a second chance at life. It freed me from an addiction that was impossible for me to overcome alone.
So if I believe in anything… I believe in second chances.
I’m also totally open to the idea that this whole thing happened in my mind. And if that’s the case that’s great too, because that might mean that I tapped into something we all have inside of us that is connected to one giant energy that we’re all made of.
My answer, as always is:
“I just don’t know… and neither does anyone else.”
I’m still not sure what “God” means or what the Universe is. But I can tell you this. There is a Power in the Universe that reached out to me the second that I opened myself up to it.
Can you access it? I don’t know. Millions of people are able to change their lives without having an experience like this. So if you’re trying to change your life in some way, don’t expect this to happen to you. But be open to it, because… why not?
All I can tell you is what happened to me. For 7 days straight I prayed non-stop to a God I didn’t believe in. I admitted total defeat and then asked for my problem to be removed from me. As soon as I asked – it instantly took it from me.
Like it had been standing beside me my whole life, waiting for me to call.