I grew up in the church and was raised Catholic. For as long as I can remember, I have believed in God. When I was young, it was the. God. I was told to believe in —- the one of the Catholic Church.I embraced this belief for most fo my childhood, throughout high school and into college. I didn’t question much and blindly followed.
As I began to grow into myself and realized who I was, I started to question the idea of God. I never stopped believing in a power greater than myself, but I could not believe that that power would be angry and punishing. I felt that I couldn’t be apart of something that was exclusionary, so I stopped going to church for a few years.
Even though I stopped going to church, I still considered myself a believer in something, but at this point I sure what. Around this time, my drinking began to escalate. I was searching for something I didn’t understand and sought answers in the drink. This continued for several years until a friend of mine from high school (one of the few I still remain in contact with) invited me to Watershed.
The first thing I noticed about this church was that they made a statement about being welcoming of everyone and this was affirmed by my friend (she let me know their were LGBTQ+ members in leadership positions, which is something you don’t find often). After the first time, I went sporadically over the next few years as I finished graduate school and spiraled deeper into my addiction. The first time I attended after finishing school, I felt something different. For the first time in a long time, I felt a slight connection to a higher power and felt like I belonged. I dove head first into the church and began to re-ignite my relationship with my Higher Power.
I truly believe this relationship is what lead my to stop drinking and kept me stopped prior to joining my program. When I joined my recovery program, one of the main principles involved believing in a Higher Power of my understanding. My journey in leaving the Catholic Church and becoming involved in my current church home made this an easy task for me.
As I continue to grow in my recovery and become more spiritually fit, my concept of a Higher Power continues to evolve. I call Them God, but They are not the exclusionary, fear based God I grew up with. While my understanding of Them is heavily influenced Judaeo-Christian traditions, I’m not sure if it is the same as my peers – and that’s okay. My understanding of God is one of love, compassion, forgiveness and mercy and inspires me to live my life by those principles.