from the July 1996 San Diego AA Coordinator Newsletter

I had a spiritual experience May 3, 1996 on my lanai (patio) in Chula Vista, California, because I’ve changed, and so has my recovery. I’d said my prayers and taken my spiritual nourishment for the day. I was doing that “be still and know God” thing afterwards. I’m not real good at sitting still, so I try to practice listening for God while I’m being a human being, instead of a human doing.

My mind was resting when it occurred to me and I said aloud, “My husband does everything for me.” I heard this loud voice say, “Wrong.” Then I said, “I need a wife just like me.” Again the voice said, “Wrong” and “All you need is me.”

It was God, and I knew He’d spoken to me personally. I sat real still, looked around cautiously, and laughed out loud. My dogs, Face and TC, jumped up and smiled, barked and ran around me. They heard God too. It was so exciting. Just me, the dogs and God. Initially, my excitement made me feel wonderful. The next meeting I went to, I shared about my experience, and was glad the Round Up was going on, so it was a small meeting. I guess I thought not many people would believe me or would think me crazy.

I knew God talked to Moses and a few other people, but the last time I’d heard from my Higher Power was in treatment in Boone, North Carolina. I was detoxing and had one of those dreams where there were rivers of alcohol and mountains of cocaine. I was calling Jesus in a very demanding tone and as he laid his hand on my head, I was told to “Chill out.” This struck me as an odd thing for Him to say, but it was my experience and I treasure it.

Recovery has changed me. The process has been slow, but the more willing and open minded I become, the happier I get. After a few days I was out on the lanai again, thinking; God said I was wrong twice, better think about this. I’d been so excited before, now a few days later I realized I better change my thinking. My husband does a lot for me, but not everything, so that was wrong. I’m a heterosexual woman married to a wonderful man. So I don’t need a wife just like me. Where did this thinking come from?

Straight from my pity pool. I have an abundance of most things, so I have a pity pool, not a pot. I’d been doing a lot of hard work in the yard, was trying to refinish my hardwood floors and get a small business going. So naturally I was feeling way sorry for myself.

As soon as I got grateful, my perception of the situation changed. My reality in sobriety is far greater than anything I fantasized in active alcoholism and addiction.

Recovery has changed me drastically. In January, I took a new sobriety date because I’d relapsed. Though I didn’t drink, it was only by the grace of God, and my six years of recovery in A.A.

I’d caught myself lying, in denial and out of control. This is not part of my recovery, so I was in relapse. This may be extreme, but the risk of losing the freedom recovery in A.A. has given me made me start over again. My spiritual experience was the beginning of my process of awakening. Only the extremist can see both sides and be satisfied with the middle.

I’m in the middle of a wonderful, loving, and supportive family. I don’t want to miss a moment of the music by not making the changes to sing life’s song. Life on life’s terms will do for me.

Barbara S., Chula Vista