I went to a luncheon today for the Houston Council on Recovery. That’s where I’m doing IOP and another group member had an extra ticket and invited me to go.
As I was driving there I reflected on something. The other day on the Shair podcast they were talking about how there are a lot of “god shots” (a term that definitely does not appeal to me) in your first year of recovery – things that happen that are orchestrated by god, I guess. And as I was driving to the luncheon today, I started thinking back on how I ended up there.
My boyfriend and I moved to Houston 3 years ago, with nothing lined up – no jobs, no apartment, knowing no one. We couchsurfed for a week or so while looking for an apartment. Within about 3 days, we found one. We looked at a total of 3 places, I believe, and fell in love with this apartment complex right away. It was nicer than anywhere either of us had ever lived before. It had 3 pools, a hot tub, and an amazing gym. Actually, my first thought when we started the tour with the sales girl was, “we can’t live here!” It was just too nice.
Even though it was more than we had been hoping to spend, we decided to go for it. We wanted to move up, to go for our dreams.
We moved in, and what did I see right across the street? The Houston Council on Alcohol & Drugs (now the Houston Council on Recovery). I thought it was hilarious. “Maybe I’ll end up there someday!” I told my boyfriend jokingly.
And you know what? I DID end up there. And I couldn’t be happier about it.
Was that a god shot?
Just talking or thinking about god makes me pretty uncomfortable, and I will try to briefly explain why, before I get back to today: I grew up in the Lutheran church, and even though it was a pretty open minded community and my experiences were good, I just don’t believe in a white man in robes with white hair who created this world and is personally invested in how humans, specifically, behave. A god who demands we believe in him but refuses to give us proof of his existence. A god who sends you to hell if you don’t believe in him, but then only explains that to some humans in some places, and other humans are born in communities that believe in a different god, or no god, but screw them. It all seems like a really egotistical and shallow way for a god to behave and it doesn’t feel true to me. I know that in AA, your higher power doesn’t have to be this god. But my thoughts about god are still very tied to that image of the man in the robes, which is something I hadn’t consciously realized until just this moment, and thus something I have not yet begun to unpack and unravel.
So, I would never before have even remotely entertained the idea that an act of god was involved in the events that led up to me driving to the luncheon at the Council on Recovery today. But today as I drove I thought, hmm. What if I WAS open to that idea? What else in my life could be the result of some force greater than myself orchestrating things the way they need to happen?
Here are some things. There’s the fact that we found and chose that apartment, which gave me the knowledge that the Council existed. There’s the fact that when I googled non-12 step recovery programs a year and a half ago, SMART Recovery came up, and there were meetings at the Council, which was right across the street. There’s the internet sobriety community of bloggers that I started to explore because I so wanted to fix this on my own, without having to ask for help, and the blogger who talked about her Intensive Outpatient Program and described it as “graduate work for the inner self,” which appealed to me a lot. There’s the knee surgery I had unknowingly needed for almost a decade and finally got because THIS time when my knee “flared up”, I had an orthopedic surgeon in my life I could text for advice, which led to the discovery that I had torn my ACL in a soccer injury many years before. There’s the fact that I had managed to stay sober for 6 months on my own the year before and in that time gotten my finances in order, so when my portion of the surgery was $2,000, I had it in the bank (even though I was not still sober). And that $2,000 was my out of pocket max for the year, so when the lightbulb went on 5 months later that I might benefit from a treatment program, since I clearly could not stay sober on my own, another lightbulb went on which said that if I did the program this year, it would be free. And there was a feeling I certainly can’t explain of needing to do something about this problem, now – even though objectively I was not at the lowest point in my drinking career – that got me to make the phone call to inquire about outpatient treatment programs at the council.
All those things got me to the Council which got me to AA and a sponsor, and all that together, to Recovery.
I don’t have a faith that makes me look at all that and think, yeah, only god could do that. But today, I’m open. I’ve always been one to appreciate the beauty around me. And maybe now I can start to appreciate that sometimes the universe, or some other force, conspires to make things happen in just the way they need to.