Whenever I’m grappling with a difficult decision, my A.A. Sponsor asks me, “What does your gut tell you?” Usually I already know what course of action my “gut” is pointing me toward, but those instincts tend to solidify when she verbalizes them. “Listen to your gut–that’s God talking,” she tells me. Oh great…God talks to me through my stomach?
Well okay, there’s a literal physical truth to it… that clenched-up anxiety-knot in my gut can certainly signal what I shouldn’t do. I realize now that almost every time I took a drink of alcohol (or wanted to) my immediate aim was to loosen that gut-knot which so often took up residence a few inches below my heart. I realize, too, that I was literally drowning God’s voice in my life every time I took a drink.
That knot in my gut is part of my Compass now (and, I should add, appears with less frequency than it did in my drinking days). When a choice confronts me, it can be an indicator of what path is the right one for me to take; and it can be a reminder–when something isn’t mine to decide or control–to take a breath and a prayer and give it up to God.
Interestingly enough, knocking out a knot with Surrender is a more lasting solution than any of my attempts at dissolving it with an alcohol solvent. Evidently it’s a true sailor’s knot, entirely impervious to immersion. When the liquor drained away into a hangover, the soaked and swollen knot would only be the tighter. You’d think this Sailboat Skipper would have figured that out more quickly… But that’s Addiction for you.