I am a believer and follower of Jesus in recovery from alcoholism and addiction, and my name is Ken. I began my recovery in 1995 and celebrate 27 years of sobriety. It took almost eight months of attending meetings to recognize the powerlessness and unmanageability of the issues that brought me into recovery, but that was just the beginning of my recovery journey.
My sponsor was an incredible mentor, and I am so grateful God placed him in my life. He could relate to my issues and had personal experiences with many of the things I had struggled with. He helped me through the 12-step process, and I began applying them to my daily life. To be completely honest, I really didn’t like many of the things he said I would have to do, and many of them terrified me. When I read the steps for the first time, I identified the ones I thought would be easy, but I also looked at the ones I didn’t want to do.
Some may relate to my original fears about doing the fourth and fifth steps. There was no way I was going to put down in writing the things I had been doing for the previous fourteen years of my life. I wasn’t going to share all the times people had hurt me or any weakness. These were my secrets, and I had put them in my past. I didn’t want to write my inventory and certainly didn’t want to share it with someone else. I also didn’t want to write a list of people I had hurt and make amends to them. Not to mention, there were some people I didn’t want to forgive. But like so many other things in my recovery, my fears about these steps were unfounded, and working through them has provided so many miracles in my recovery and life.
When I look back on my early recovery, I find it funny that the things I thought would be the hardest to do haven’t been, but the ones I thought would be the easiest continue to be the ones I have to work on the most regularly. To be transparent, I often forget that it is Christ who gives my life power and makes it manageable. When things are out of control, I am reminded he is the source of truth and sanity in my life. I can’t tell you how many times I choose my will over His. It turns out that Steps Four, Five, Eight, and Nine are the steps where my fears were the most groundless. Writing and sharing my inventory and making amends changed the whole course of my life. I would not be doing what I am doing today if I hadn’t worked these steps. I would be too afraid of my past and constantly looking over my shoulder. They are also the steps where I have experienced countless miracles of redemption, reconciliation, and restoration, and they continue to be revealed in my life, often when I am not looking.
Steps Six and Seven are two of the biggest growth steps in my life. I thought I was ready to have God remove all my defects of character. I am sometimes surprised that I continue to ask for some of my thorns to be removed today. However, God still shows me every day that Christ’s “…grace is sufficient for” me and His” …power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV).” God is still working on me and in me for His purpose.
Today, I strive to live my recovery in Steps Ten, Eleven, and Twelve. I am so grateful for these three steps. They aren’t the easiest ones, but they are the steps that help keep living in the present. Step ten reminds me that I must be careful not to think I have it all together. I still make mistakes, and I still hurt people. Taking a daily inventory helps me not rest in my character defects and keep my side of the street clean with my brothers and sisters so I can effectively use His gifts in my life to serve Him and others. Step Eleven may not be the hardest step because I love spending time with God daily. Still, He continually reminds me to watch out for selfishness and self-seeking behavior and that I will always need His help to accomplish His will in my life. In Step Twelve, I have learned that living out the recovery principles and steps in my daily walk with God is what allows me to help serve others. I still like some of the steps better than others, but I am blessed that God has and continues to use all of them to change my life.