There is a saying in the rooms of recovery that goes, “There but for the grace of God go I.” If you haven’t heard this saying before, the context it is usually used in, is in regards to a person who cannot stay sober. Normally a person, or a group of people who are sober will say it when they see someone struggling or someone who relapses and in a sense it is kind of a flippant way of dismissing someone, but there is a lot of truth to saying. There is truth in the idea that if it weren’t for grace, most of us wouldn’t be sober. Accepting grace in a sense has been like accepting addiction, I had to believe and feel it in every part of my being. Once this happened my life began to change.
I am personally a believer in the idea that if it wasn’t for the grace of God, I wouldn’t be here right now, writing this. I would probably be dead, or at the very least, I’d be alone, completely miserable with drugs coursing through my veins, but instead I’m here writing about the nature of grace and how it saved and continues to save me on a daily basis.
That is a strange thing if you really think about it. A little under 3 years ago I was hopelessly addicted to drugs and hated God. I had no one in my life really except my immediate family, and even they were growing tired of me. My marriage had just fallen apart, I wasn’t able to really be a mother to my children, and now I am a productive member of society, who no longer needs to use drugs or alcohol to mask my pain, and I am a person who believes in God and loves helping others. That is a tremendous turn around and one that I don’t believe I could have accomplished in a thousand lifetimes without some sort of outside and cosmic help.
It is sometimes a contentious thing to say that grace is the reason that I am sober. There are people who will tell me that I should take more credit for my recovery, and while I do take credit for the work I have done, and still do, in order to battle my addiction, I must say that the initial ‘moment of clarity’, if you will, was the result of divine intervention. That up to that point the only thing that I did was attempt to destroy myself and I was given the grace to see another way of life and the grace of a safe space in which to recover. Even after that moment of clarity there have been moments of intense cravings where the only thing that saved me was my belief in a power greater than myself to take it away.
It is for this reason that I can’t really take credit for the life that I have today. I have to give credit where credit is due and for me that credit rests in God, and the grace I was given in order to get sober.
But grace is more than just the reason I got sober, it is the reason I continue to be able to stay sober. I believe that each an every day I am given the grace to be able to screw up and learn. This is the greatest gift I have. The grace to be a human being.
That might sound strange but it is something that I lacked for many years. I thought that I had to be perfect, that I couldn’t mess anything up and when I did, which was inevitable, I would berate myself terribly for it. I felt that I had to be divine, which is an interesting dichotomy for someone who hates god, having to be perfect, while not really believing perfection exists, but regardless, I never had the grace to mess up. I either had to be perfect at something or I wouldn’t do it at all.
As you can probably guess this way of thinking never really worked out for me and a lot of the time I just felt disappointed in myself, and others, and as a result it fueled my drinking and drugging. I could never give myself a break and in turn I could never give others a break either. I would also never try new things as a result because I was afraid that I wouldn’t be perfect or that I would possibly not be the best, and so I just stayed in my lane, never venturing out and never experiencing what I was truly capable of.
Today however, this is not the case and while I still do suffer from perfectionism to a certain degree, I understand more so that grace will carry me through my mess-ups as long as I seek to do better each time. I understand that the goal of life is not to be perfect, but it is to be human, and with each passing year I understand more and more what that means.
To be human is to err, and to err is to understand that you need grace. That you cannot accomplish everything on your own and that through a relationship with something greater than you, you can achieve things you never dreamt possible. I never thought that I would actually get sober, or that if I did get sober I would actually enjoy it, but here I am and I know that that is because of grace. I know that when I act like a jerk, as I do sometimes, God’s grace will still be extended to me, as long as I don’t willfully continue to try to go against him.
So while some people may have differing opinions on the idea of grace, for me, it is essentially the beginning and end of my recovery. Through grace I got sober and through grace I stay sober. I try on a daily basis to do my best and I believe that grace does the rest. As long as I continue to remember that, I believe I will be fine, and for that I am grateful.
Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.