Finding a God of My Understanding

My parents were not religious at all, and I was brought up with more of an ethnic and cultural identity than a religious one. When I met the man I would marry, I found that his family was much more religiously-oriented than mine; his brother was even a religious leader. My husband wanted us to follow religious teachings and so I agreed to do that. We had four children and taught them the principles of our faith. We even sent them to religious school for education. We followed the tenets and were a “religious family.”

Then sexaholism broke through all the boundaries of our religion and came full force into our home. My view of religion became very negative and I was angry. I had participated in religious activities in order to be a “good wife” and not create problems, yet this disease had brought insanity into our home.

I was still feeling angry when I started going to S-Anon meetings. In my group there was an older woman who seemed very different than me and who talked about God and how important God was to her. She would say in the meetings time and time again to“hit your knees.”  Whenever she said that, I wanted to leave because I was not about to have anything to do with God. I kept coming to meetings, but I wouldn’t sit next to her.

I went on for many months rejecting the “God part” of the program. I would walk in the mornings and recite the Twelve Steps. I would go to meetings almost nightly, but I would not accept that there was a power greater than myself. One day as I was walking and obsessing about a hypothetical conversation that might or might not ever happen, it occurred to me that even though I didn’t believe in God, I could call a higher being “HP.” I felt fairly comfortable with that. Even though I was doubtful that HP could do anything for me, I began visualizing a little gnome sitting on my left shoulder. This little shoulder gnome was with me all the time and believed in me. When my thoughts became too terrifying for me, I talked to the little gnome and I felt better. It took another six or seven months before I took that woman’s suggestion and “hit my knees.” I remember that morning and the relief I felt by taking the action of going to my knees. I knew then that I, too, could have a God of my understanding who would be with me and help me. In my Step Two process I became acutely aware that religion and spirituality were not the same, and I could believe in God as I have come to understand God. That is a comforting thought for me.

Reprinted from S-Anon Twelve Steps, pages 18-19.