So You Do Believe? By Peter Marinelli
I have had so many folks speak to me and express their lack of belief and even contempt to the idea of God. Some more than bristled with antagonism when the word God or subject of God was brought up. Sometimes because they have ideas about God based on old beliefs systems, worldly clamors or their life hasn’t worked out the way they thought it should. So they need to place blame somewhere, and God was at the top of their blaming list.
So phrases like “I can’t stay sober because I don’t believe in God” or as one gentleman once said to me (in the most condescending way) “You can stay sober because you believe in this God thing. I’m an Atheist!”
So I meet resistance with no resistance and understand how their ego is begging for confrontation. Once I engage in this with an argument I can no longer teach. So calmly, I let them know that it’s ok that you don’t believe. Or as I shared with the Atheist when he boasted of his belief, “Good, so you believe in something”.
He, like many of them look at me somewhat amazed that I’m not getting aggressive with my tone because of their lack of belief in God.
So I ask them questions that sound something like this. “Why are you in AA?”
“What are you doing here?”
At this point, with the first line of my questions to them, they seem as if they are perplexed as to why I am asking them this question. As if I was questioning their credibility. Calmly I persist, and again ask them what you are doing here. They tell me “I’m an alcoholic”.
My reply, “I understand that, but why come here, why not go to some other place like The Knights of Columbus, or a PTA meeting, ( of course I’m being facetious, but with a plan in mind).
“Why would I go there?” they reply” I’m alcoholic”. And again I persist, “I understand, but why here?”
“I am alcoholic and I want help” they tell me.
“With what?” I ask. “To learn how not to drink”.
So I ask “You came to AA to learn how to stay away from drinking?”
“Yes” they reply. “So AA is going to help you with something you can’t do on your own?” “Yes”. “So you believe it what AA can do for you”? Yes, they reply. “And you hope to get Good Orderly Direction here from AA which is a Group of Drunks”?
They answer yes. At this point I inform them they have already turned their life over to G.O.D. (Group Of Drunks for Good Orderly Direction). Now this isn’t the turning over our will and life over to God as our third step talks about but they are making a beginning here. They smile and then are relieved that that can do this. Weather they are agnostics or even atheists, AA has become their Higher Power. They wall they have built begins to be dismantled and the alcoholic begins to become free.
They never realized until it was pointed put to them that they do believe in something and by showing up at meetings for recovery they are even willing to believe in something. On a mustard seed of willingness a mountain can be moved.
I have seen this happen so many times, and the effects from this revelation are electric. We who walk the path of recovery know all too well of the effects produced by God.
Chop wood, carry water