The Santa Claus God
By Brenda Martinez
Before I came into the rooms of AA, I was absolutely clueless on what the word God meant. That's why I drank to oblivion. I had no answers to this thing called life, so I figured I might as well drink away the pain of "not knowing."
I tried to find God in so many ways. I was raised Catholic. But growing into my teens, I would party with my friends on Friday and Saturday nights, then go to communion on Sunday, be forgiven and do it all again the next week. This didn't work for me.
I became a Christian and decided that Jesus was my savior and that I was born again. I studied the Bible with a beer in hand, then started questioning the treatment of the aboriginal people and their shamans. How could God send them all to hell just for not reading the Bible and for loving the earth? This didn't make sense to me. So I placed my Bible on the shelf.
I started studying Shamanism. I bought a medicine bag that I wore around my neck and decided I was going to "heal the world." What was really cool about being a shaman was that some used peyote in ceremony and if that was acceptable, surely alcohol was OK. I performed many ceremonies under the influence. Using crystals, I would dance naked around a map of the earth, imagining I was healing the world, only to wake up hungover and unable to remember taking my clothes off!
I then decided I'd be more practical. It was the year 1999 and I started preparing for Y2K and the end of the world. I packed buckets of food and stored gas. I waited for martial law but nothing happened. I was wrong. So I kept drinking. Having tried everything to find God, I finally ended up just turning to alcohol. I slept with cans of beer on my living room floor all through the night. When I couldn't stand the pain anymore, I walked into the rooms of AA.
It is here where I had my first real spiritual experience, when a woman gave her time to sit with me, listen to me and help me read and underline the Big Book. That experience of a human being giving TIME to this stinky drunk with DTs was how I found God. God loved me through her - my first sponsor.
Since then, I have found God in the rooms of AA. Some call God a "Group of Drunks," and that is true to me. I see God in others.
Christmas season is here and I'm reminded that some people have a Santa Claus God. They ask him for things and expect God to fulfill their expectations. I see this differently. I see it as giving service in AA. Giving our presence, or making coffee, or sponsoring others, or serving in a group position - all these are gifts that money can't buy. Santa Claus is a GIVER. That's why he's so happy all the time!
In the program, instead of asking for what we want, we learn to GIVE what is needed of us. We become a Santa Claus God - giving the gift of sobriety to those we can help. What a bag of goodies we have to share! What miracles we get to watch as our gifts are opened and used by newcomers who attend their first meeting.
When we forget ourselves and make other people more important, we disappear into a giving that becomes Self-Less. In giving, we receive happiness and a very merry holiday season!