Mike and Glenn
Faith to Fact
Lately, I've been running on faith What else can a poor boy do?
Song by Eric Clapton: Running on Faith
Picture, if you will, a bigger-than-your-hand dial. To the left of the knob appears the word FAITH, and to the right of the knob appears the word FACT. You will need this image in your head as we unwrap a concept that unfolded for us.
When we came into recovery, we were skeptical at best as we had little proof that this program worked for anybody, let alone that it would work for us. Our stories, before surrendering, found us surrounded by disparate advice (much of which came from ourselves) and programs that only led us to countless failed attempts to stop the disappointing trajectory of our lives.
Then, counselors, doctors, and close friends suggested Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). We were told about this movement as a potential remedy to our anguish. Though we trusted them, we were still skeptical about the organization’s ability to provide our solution.
So, we went out and did our research on recovery options. We researched online and found both rave reviews and criticisms of AA as an answer.
Based on the credibility of the recommendations and our research, we moved on faith only.
MOVE THE DIAL TO “1”
On faith, we took the plunge and started going to local meetings. As we met people in the program, they would tell of how much time they had in the program. We didn't know if we could believe them, but we would take them at their word until we could uncover conflictive proof later.
We were introduced to the 12 steps (usually found hanging on the walls of the church basement, but always heard as they were read at the beginning of every meeting), and they seemed to frame out some logical path to progress.
In addition to postings, we were introduced to two books that provided reference and guidance, a blueprint that could guide us through recovery. Those two books were the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12 steps and 12 traditions produced by AA. This seemed credible to us that text would be in place - a plan for progress.
Based on the testimony of strangers and the credence of a published blueprint, we moved the knob to “1” as we had seen some proof.
MOVE THE DIAL TO “2”
Several things occurred early on to move our dial toward the faith side.
First, we saw more people in this community as we witnessed many more new people being introduced to us at many more meetings. Therefore, we quickly concluded that thousands of people in our society were involved in this movement.
Second, we were asked to admit that we were powerless over alcohol. This was a big step for us, as nobody in our world wishes to realize they are powerless over anything. However, after deep consideration and based on the evidential facts we had from our lives, we made the admission finding it to be freeing and empowering.
And lastly, we were picking up days, one by one, little by little, that provided proof that we could stay away from the bottle if we focused on the 24 hours ahead of us.
Based on our eyewitness and our own history of a few days of sobriety, we moved the knob to “2” as we had seen more proof.
MOVE THE DIAL TO “3”
Then, we began cementing a belief that the power greater than us could restore us to sanity. And, realizing that our recovery was solely based on a power outside of our own was a big step for us to take. We saw others declare their allegiance to a greater power meeting after meeting and witnessed the uneasiness as the word “God” was thrown around. But those with sobriety under their belt relentlessly preached and boldly proclaimed that their sobriety was based on this healing power’s ability - if sought.
For us, our stories anyway, we didn't have much of a hurdle to overcome as we had enough proof that we could not do this on our own, nor could the doctors, psychologists, and psychiatrists that we had contracted to cure us of our woes.
This is where the faith-to-fact dial started to get a little warm. In our spiritual walk, we have seen the fingerprints of a superior “superpower” throughout our lives, keeping us, blessing us, and directing us. It was just that we had never connected to that power to address our addiction condition.
Based on our inner belief and historical records of “proof moments,” we moved the knob to “3” as we had seen more through reflection.
MOVE THE DIAL TO “4”
The momentum to spiritual proof continued as we decided to turn our will and lives over to the mystical. Almost immediately, we felt a tremendous sense of relief. Suddenly, we realized that this “God” could do what we could not do for ourselves.
We were introduced to the word acceptance and “the serenity prayer,” which begs a philosophy and approach of seeing things as they are.
As we began applying these newfound principles to all areas of our life, we observed a budding of inner peace that delivered an outward calm. This progress began to transcend us to a new-found plain. We found ourselves reconnecting, or connecting for the first time, with a God (of our understanding) that forgives and empowers.
Based on mental adjustments of realistic expectations and new spiritual footing, we moved the knob to “4” as we had seen something working in many areas of our life.
MOVE THE DIAL TO “5”
Having the start of a spiritual stirring, the program demanded that we begin to deal with ourselves, starting with taking an honest inventory of events and emotions that shaped our lives. This process proved to be enlightening as we uncovered both feelings and facts.
Because we were fearless and thorough in searching and documenting our past, we owned our role in the successes and failures. And then, feelings like uselessness and self-pity began to dissipate. And, then, we came to appreciate that the experience shaped our present and that there was little to regret – we would leave that door open for future motivation.
Confessing and acknowledging our catalog of deeds (delights and disasters) to our “God” and to another human proved that our story was not who we were; it was only what we did. Instead of feeling judged, we felt forgiven and loved – unconditionally. The proof was in the freedom.
Based on the facts we laid out on paper, we moved the knob to “5”.
MOVE THE DIAL TO “6”
With the facts in front of us, it was easy to identify what areas of our lives needed focus.
How could we be better humans, and what characteristics could lead us back to the drink - we asked, We began developing new freedoms and new happiness as we identified traits and turned toward surrender and action to change; we saw relationships improve and situations level from chaos to calm. Fears of people and economic insecurity began to leave us as we became more aware of our behaviors.
We moved the knob to “6” based on our perceptible behavioral maturity.
MOVE THE DIAL TO “8”
Little did we know the empowering energy that comes from cleaning up the wreckage of our past.
The faith-to-fact dial moved two notches as we came to grips with the harm we had done and set out to make amends. This is not to say that all attempts to apologize and right the ship went as well as we had wanted. That wasn't the point for us. The idea was to do the next right thing. The commitment was to go beyond apology and restore the wrong that had been done.
We found in this phase new freedoms. We saw in us and others a new happiness. So, based on these facts, we moved the dial to “8.”
MOVE THE DIAL TO “9”
At this time, we had gone through our seasons of “firsts” (first holidays, first birthdays, first vacations, first death, etc.) without drink or drug. This proved that we can make it through the good and bad times without mind-changing substances.
We came to a point where we had the knowledge and experience without the baggage. To keep our side of the street clean without piling up new garbage would take daily focus and continuous effort. We found that we were less interested in ourselves. Instead, we had more interest in others. This became a fact for us, and our actions were consistent with those certainties.
This turning point of learning to live in the moment and for others moved our dial to “9.”
MOVE THE DIAL TO “10”
Through this process, we found our reliance on our higher power to be greater and greater each day. The program taught us to seek a nurturing relationship through prayer and meditation. It would provide direction and the ability to carry out that direction. The fantastic thing is that the more we relied on that guidance and that power, the more our lives changed in trajectory for the better.
This awakening needed to be shared with those still suffering, so we tried to carry this message to other addicts. And, this is where the fact to faith dial almost overheated. As we saw with our own eyes, lives changed by thoroughly following the path we had followed.
When somebody tells you that you have saved their life because you took the time to share your journey and experiences, there is no more significant fact.
We have witnessed hundreds of such cases. Lives changed. Lives saved.
Amazingly, our darkest experiences can shed the greatest light on another's life.
Dial to “10+"
We know the dial will constantly move. There will be days we need to rely on faith and many days when we will see the facts. In the end, we now comprehend the word serenity, and we know of peace. We now better understand how to handle life’s unique situations. We don't get too far ahead of ourselves nor move too far from our higher power. We keep our eye on the facts and rely on our faith. Everything has changed for us – and it can for you.
Has your attitude and outlook on life changed?
But my world will be right When love comes over me –
Song by Eric Clapton: Running on Faith
Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from sober.coffee podcast #106 AA Proof (Not 100) - Turning Faith to Fact !! The podcast dropped on .4/5/2023 Click here to hear the podcast.
Alcoholics Anonymous and AA are registered trademarks of Alcoholics World Service. Inc. References to AA, the 12 steps, and 12 traditions does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. This publication is intended to support personal growth and should not be considered a substitute for healthcare professionals' advice. The author’s advice and viewpoints are their own.