I sat there, staring at my iPhone, waiting for the little bubbles to pop up on my screen indicating that my friend was responding to my text message. Time seemed to stand still as I waited for that text to come through. The message I was waiting to receive was one that would tell me that she was ready to get sober. That response never came. Time and time again I have tried to help her get sober and nothing has ever worked. I stayed up nights on end thinking of diverse ways that I could convince her to muster the tiny bit of willingness it took to want to get sober. Finally, I realized I was just burning up energy foolishly. It was devastating to me that I could not break through her disease to reach her.
Before coming into recovery, my family would submit the “frothy emotional appeal” to me that the Big Book talks about. They often begged me to get sober while dangling some type of emotional reward in front of my eyes to encourage me to choose sobriety. It never worked. Drugs and alcohol were always my master and nothing could change that. So why did I think I could help this friend attain the willingness to get sober? The truth is, I was disrupting her journey.
This has been one of the hardest lessons I have ever learned in recovery. I never saw that I was trying to play God. I only saw that I was trying to help. Far too often we get well and want others to join us on the path to ultimate freedom. We want to show them how truly amazing life can be when we choose recovery. The truth is, that decision is not up to us. The Big Book informs us that God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal and we are his agents. This is so much easier said than done. Alcoholics and addicts are some of the most caring people I have ever met in my life. When we see a chance to help others, we would move mountains to make it happen. So where is the fine line when we have to quit playing God?
It is a constant thought in my mind as so many people are still in the grips of this awful disease. I can be there as a recovered woman to show them what the 12 Steps have done to change my life, but I cannot force recovery on them just as no one was able to do for me. Time and time again I have failed miserably trying to help friends get sober and it never worked until God stepped in and took over. Not only have I learned a lesson in how to quit playing God, but also a lesson in patience. In time, God will always prevail. I must continue to focus on performing His work well and leaving all the results up to His will rather than my own.