(From August, 2018 Essay)

I grew up in India with a devout Hindu mother, an atheist physician father, Muslim friends, and attended Catholic boarding school.  Although I was exposed to multiple faith traditions growing up, I never considered myself religious and rarely thought deeply about God.  I would occasionally selfishly pray before exams. I had the impression that God was everywhere, constantly watching me. If I did something wrong or sinful, I would be punished.  God was someone who commanded fear and obedience.

Three years ago, when I joined the SA program, I started on Step work and soon found myself asking myself “What do I mean by God?” I could not image a person or a Supreme Being up in the heavens as they show in the scriptures.  I spent four months contemplating the meaning of God or Higher Power. I looked deep and hard into Hinduism and came to accept that “God exists in all living beings” and therefore God = collective conscience of all beings. This was easier to understand in the context of accepting the SA fellowship as my Higher Power. I came to live by it, “allowing” decisions, actions to be made after appropriate feedback from my sponsor, fellow program members, family etc. I had to let go of “control” and “let God”.

In recovery, this also meant living a life filled with compassion, kindness and humility. If I live my life with these principles, I feel calm and serene, connected to my inner self and therefore to God.  Whenever I am disturbed, it is my ego trying to gain control. Self pity, resentment, entitlement – these are the ugly manifestations of my ego. All I have to do is look inwards and I will find my true inner self: that’s where God exists in all of us. The more I come to believe that a power greater than myself exists, the more I am able to surrender. As a result, my life becomes saner, peaceful, fearless and filled with joy.

Raj, Bellevue, WA