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Immediately I think of the hymn: “Abide with me, fast falls the eventide; the darkness deepens, Lord with me Abide; when other helpers fail and comforts flee; help of the helpless, Lord, Abide with me.”

I find comfort in those words, and have had personal connection with them. Though I’m now 22 years into recovery from alcohol addiction, I remember the depths of the despair I felt when I really thought I was doomed, and wouldn’t be able to get out of the abyss. I prayed. Who doesn’t when they’re in real distress. My husband was despairing, too, beginning to believe that I wouldn’t get sober. Friends, I had none: an active alcoholic isolates, and pushes friends and family away because they don’t want others to know what’s happening.

I began to believe that I was facing the devil at the bottom of that hole I had dug for myself, and prayed that somehow I could, would be rescued. Laying in bed, probably crying, I felt God communicate with me: “You don’t need to do this. This isn’t the way I want you to live.” I realized that was true. The only thing that was standing between me and a normal life, was me and my addiction.

That was really the beginning of my recovery, though it wasn’t instantaneous. I tried and failed, and failed, and finally succeeded. How freeing that is.

How often we stand in our own way! This, of course is why most alcoholics need AA, or specific recovery programs. I needed the help I got in residential treatment programs. I wasn’t a fast learner. I had walls that had to be chipped away, and finally I got it!

God abided with me when I didn’t know he was there, and when he knew the time was right, he “spoke” to me, and I began to believe that my life had a higher purpose: that I wasn’t supposed to live the way I was. With the principles of the 12 steps, I gained the freedom I so desired, and knowing that I have a Higher Power and purpose, I have been able to live a new and better life, with the knowledge that the abyss is still there, but I don’t have to go near it again, by the grace of God.