I’m certain that I’ve experienced miracles from God throughout my recovery. I’m also certain that I’m blind to most of His handiwork. So the times when I can emphatically state “That was a God thing” are very special to me. One such time occurred at my first SA International Convention.
It was in Akron, Ohio in 2008.
I was a very shaky, recovering lust addict with six months of sobriety. My wife was overwhelmed and distraught; I feared she would never leave our hotel room.
Fifteen minutes before the start of the first meeting, I was sitting in a large hall full of empty chairs and round tables. I was all alone. “All alone” was a feeling with which I was very familiar.
I travel in my profession and the past six months had been the absolute loneliest of my life. My family could barely tolerate me, and my old friends were not safe for me in sobriety. So I often sat alone in hotel rooms. And now here I was again in a hotel, feeling alone.
I began to whisper a prayer, “God, why am I here?” Then I felt my Higher Power turn the question back to me, “Mark, why are you here? What do you hope to get from this conference?” I thought of some great recovery insight, but I chose to be honest. “I’m tired of being lonely,” I whispered as I choked back a strong emotion. “Can I please have some SA friends on the road, God?” In my mind I thought of the cities to which I travel frequently: Philadelphia and New York.
With a dismissive chuckle, I also thought about the city I visit in Germany. Well, two out of three wouldn’t be bad! After all, finding an SA member with whom I could meet in Germany was asking a little too much! I closed my prayer. As if on divine cue, a German accent drifted over to me from a different area of the room. It was like a warm embrace from God. “I’m from Dusseldorf,” the voice said. I became overwhelmed with gratitude. Dusseldorf is less than 30 minutes from my hotel in Cologne!
In my heart I felt my Higher Power smile as my eyes moistened.
There was a time when I would have ended the story there. But for me today, the next part of the story is the really best part.
It is where the real lesson was found. You see, my Higher Power did not put that man from Dusseldorf at my table. No, God put him two tables away.
I heard that same voice in my head say, “Now you do the work.” I would need to get up out of my safe, lonely seat in the back. I had to do the work of my own recovery. I met Stefan that day and he continues to be one of my dearest friends in the fellowship.
Since 2007, this is the best illustration of how my journey with God works. He shows me a path, but never makes me walk it. I must do the work. I must take the steps.
—Mark E., San Antonio