Tell us about the role that faith plays in your life — or doesn’t.

Without a belief in a Higher Power, God, I would feel like I was “lost in space”. God is kind of the glue that helps me get through life and make sense of things that happen to me.

For better or worse, I am not a religious person, but am glad that I was raised in the Lutheran Church and listened well to what I was taught and told by good people. It forms a framework for my understanding of Christianity. I was also very curious and asked a lot of questions and thought about faith a great deal. I agree with most of what I learned, but because of events in my life, I’ve become disengaged with organized religion. I’m not sure I would have the faith I do if I hadn’t been raised in a religious environment, so I’m grateful for that.

When I married a Catholic man, I agreed to raise my children in that faith. At that point, my affiliation with the my own religion was tenuous, and I preferred to raise my children as I had been raised, with a firm foundation in a Christian faith. I’m pleased to say that they are all still practicing Catholics, each in his or her own way. Personal experiences change us and shape what we want and need out of faith.

In my case the death of my father by suicide when I was fourteen had an effect on how I believed. My later battle with alcoholism changed my relationship with God greatly, and I had to take him in on a personal basis to survive and surmount the evil of this addiction.

So my faith is in God — as AA terms it, the God of my understanding — is shaped by my experiences and the people I have come in contact with who have “turned their lives and their will over to the God of their understanding”. Certainly not just AA people, not just Lutherans or Catholics, but by a wide variety of people who have inspired me.

I pray for understanding, strength in adversity, love for others (even those I don’t particularly like), and other spiritual gifts. Over the years, my faith has changed me and my relationship with other people, helped to to understand others better, handle resentment and anger with more equanimity, and be a better listener.

My relationship with God is a one-on-one affair.