What does it mean to “Let Go and Let God?” Being a veteran of twelve-step programs, I’ve heard this aphorism for years. When I came into my new life of recovery over twenty years ago, I hated such sayings. They hung around Bakersfield on the walls of “these rooms” that addicts and alcoholics talk so much about—Keep it Simple; Live and Let Live; But for the Grace of God; and many others like them. I especially hated any mention of God when it came to twelve-step philosophy. I could grit my teeth and deal with the words Higher Power, but God just wasn’t on my list of things I could stand to hear about. When it came time to say the closing prayer at the end of a meeting, I bolted. I’d wait outside until the prayer was over. God just hadn’t been good to me, I thought, so why should I put up with dealing with Him (or Her).
I don’t go to many meetings anymore, and I still have trouble with some closing prayer. The Serenity Prayer is okay in my book, but don’t pull the Lord’s Prayer on me, or I still might run for the door. Most likely I’ll stand in the circle silently holding hands with my fellow drunks without speaking while they pray. I’m not mad at God anymore, I just have trouble with other people picking out a prayer for me. But I’ve gotten past being too upset about prayer in meetings. I figure, nowadays, I’ll take it where I can get it. Blessings, I mean.
So, I’ve finally made peace with the spiritual component of twelve-step meetings, but I still struggle with the idea of letting go and letting God. I’m not really sure I have it figured out, but something has kept me sober for twenty years. First of all, I still don’t know what God is, although I’ve really given up trying to figure it out exactly. Don’t get me wrong, I still wonder, and I mean Wonder in the full sense of that word. I am in awe of something out there. I figure whatever it is, or does, there’s more to it than there is to me. A Higher Power still fits for me, though I sense there is much more to it than I originally thought. When you first get sober, they tell you that your Higher Power can be anything greater than you individually. It can be the twelve-step group itself if you want. For me, it is the More, as in that More that William James spoke about. So sometimes when things are just too overwhelming for me to handle, I try to let go and turn over my grasping, clawing attempts to control my life to that More. I’m not really sure if that is what’s meant by Let Go and Let God, but somehow it seems to keep me sane—and sober—for today.