Keeping It Simple

Updated: Jan 15

By John Sullivan

My last felony arrest happened on November 4, 2015.  I was driving north on Interstate 35, heading back to Oklahoma after another trip to Dallas to buy more heroin. I was nodding off at the wheel and driving erratically.  Someone called me in and the Texas Highway Patrol stopped me less than a mile south of the Red River.

I was understandably concerned as I sat on the side of the highway and awaited the arrival of the drug dog.  I had quite a bit of heroin and methamphetamine and I knew I was in serious trouble.  Through the fog, I began trying to figure out how I was going to get out of this situation that I’d put myself in.  I considered filing a motion to suppress and beating the case on the illegality of the search (I had lost my law license two years prior due to my addiction).  I considered absconding to a country without an extradition treaty after making bail.  I even considered making a run for it, jumping in the river and swimming to Oklahoma, but I knew that was not a race I would win against the officer given my condition.

What I did not do is pray.  Prayer, even the foxhole variety, was not in my wheelhouse.  To say I was agnostic would be putting in lightly.  To be completely frank, I believed that religion was nothing more than myth and superstition and that it was beneath my intellectual capacity.

Two months after my arrest and I ended up in treatment because my family insisted.  I was strung out, dope sick and fresh out of ideas.  I had no intention of getting sober and I did not want to be there and a few days in I decided I was going to walk away in the middle of the night. A thought, or an idea, maybe, stopped me.  The question I heard was this:  “What do you have to lose by giving this a try and actually working the steps?”  Not being able to answer the question, I decided to stay.

I had been exposed to the steps during previous stints in treatment.  As far as I got was the word “God” and with that word I summarily decided that the steps (much like religion) were pedantic and designed for simpletons.  In short, I decided they would not work for me.

When I did finally decide to work the steps I laid that prejudice aside.  I did not, however, get religion or figure out what God was or what it meant philosophically to turn my will and my life over.  I simply decided that I would work the rest of the steps to the best of my ability.  That was my Step Three.  Thereafter, I launched in writing a thorough moral inventory and I have not looked back since.

I have been sober for a little over four years and my ideas about God have softened.  I pray now and I am open to the continual evolution of that relationship.  Intellectually, I still do not know what to think about God.  I know how I feel, though, and I feel good.

With gratitude.

John Sullivan

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