She was sure nothing good could come of her situation, but more was to be revealed
“God has a plan,” my sponsor insisted as I fumed through the phone. I was irate, since my boss had just presented me with an impossible dilemma: the business was not doing well, so he had to slash my salary. My options were either to find another job or accept half-pay. With a newborn daughter and holidays around the corner, this could not have come at a worse time.
For the first time, I argued with my sponsor: “How can that be a part of God’s plan? What good can possibly come from this? How am I going to be able to afford anything, especially with Christmas coming?”
My sponsor laughed. “You’re doing it wrong. God has a plan.” Normally I left conversations with my sponsor feeling relieved and serene, but not this time. Had I not worked hard to get sober, to do the right things and try to live in God’s will? Had I not diligently done the Steps and taken the suggestions? Why me? I was doing everything I was supposed to and the result was failure.”
Eventually, I scraped together some acceptance and put in my two weeks’ notice. My then-husband and I decided I would stay home with our daughter for six months and then find a new job after her first birthday.
With the extra time on my hands, I began taking my daughter to weekly visits with my mother. When I had been working, these get-togethers were only once every few months. Mom was thrilled to spend more time with us. After six months, a friend from AA got me an interview at her work and I was gainfully employed once again. A few months later, my brother rushed my mom to the ER where she soon slipped into unconsciousness. She had Stage-Four breast cancer and the doctors were astonished she had lasted for so long.
When my mother first regained consciousness, the breathing tube down her throat prevented her from speaking. My brother gently tried to tell her that she had cancer. Our father died from cancer when we were kids, which left a deep scar on us. On hearing the word “cancer,” her eyes flashed with fear but then hardened into determination. She motioned for pen and paper and wrote down on word, underlining it three times: “Fight!”
I remember the sad glances my siblings and I shot at each other, knowing that the doctors had said that she probably would not be long for this world. On a cold night in November, she lost her painful battle with cancer. But I did not drink. I leaned on my family, I leaned on the women in the program and, most of all, I leaned on my Higher Power. In these moments I no longer sought refuge in self-pity, but instead used the tools of AA to fight my battle of grief and regret.
Sometime later, I had an epiphany, a spiritual awakening of sorts, as the whole picture was revealed to me. Losing my job had been a gift. It freed up my time so my daughter and I could spend it with my mother before she died. What seemed in the moment to be a punishment was actually a blessing—God granted me the gift of time.
My sponsor was right. God had a plan.