The following powerful testimony was shared as the Candle for Peace, Hope and Justice on Sunday 19 July 2015:
My name is Fiona and I am a recovering addict. Years trapped in the cycle of addiction brought me to my knees. I had lost hope. Towards the end I couldn’t go a couple of hours without withdrawing and needing another hit. Fear was my constant companion. Given 6 months to live, I was dying. I attempted hypnotherapy, detoxes, psychiatry, medication and sheer will power. None of these had worked. The 12 steps tell me I am powerless over my addiction, that there is one power that can help me, and that power is God. This proved a challenge as I was a hardened atheist. Years of active addiction had crushed any faith I may have had as a child. The programme teaches me to have an open mind and I finally surrendered. I was asked, would I rather be right or happy? So I began to pray. Since embarking on my spiritual journey through the steps and by the grace of my higher power, I haven’t craved for over 3½ years. Especially given I struggle with anxiety and depression, this is nothing short of a miracle.
This doesn’t mean I have the whole God-thing waxed. When my head gets in the way, it doesn’t make any sense. I have no idea what God’s plan is for me. The spiritual principles of honesty, open-mindedness and willingness are cornerstones of the 12 steps. All I can do is do the next right thing, which is what I see as God’s will, and along with that comes a sense of serenity. I feel much like a baby learning to crawl. I wasn’t born with the handbook of life. I was incapable of living life on life’s terms. The programme gives me the support and guidance I need to take the next step.
I firmly believe I wouldn’t have gotten out alive without the help of a power greater than myself. I am under new management. This brings much relief and I no longer have to have all the answers. If I put one in front of the other, do the next right thing, life unfolds the way it’s supposed to. I am exactly where I need to be. Having said this, acceptance is often tough. Why am I an addict, why can’t I be normal? It doesn’t end when I put down the drugs. In fact, that’s when the hard work really begins. If I want to stay clean I will have to attend 12 step meetings and work a programme for the rest of my life. Addiction isn’t curable, but it can be arrested one day at a time.
Self-centeredness lies at the core of my addiction. So if there’s one thing I can gleam from being an addict, my higher power has brought me into recovery to help others. The primary purpose of the 12 steps is to help the still suffering addict. For me it gives meaning to my own suffering and ultimately strengthens my recovery. This keeps me going in dark times. It’s not all about me.
Without faith in a higher power, I get lost in the senselessness of it all. Coming to believe has given me hope where I was hopeless. I am learning to let go and let God, hand over what I cannot control. I’m coming to accept my flaws and strengths, I am only human, and that’s more than good enough for me. I now know who I am, and with a higher power working in my life, just for today, I don’t have to pick up.
Please join me in prayer …
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.