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In the Midst of Winter

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

As if that wasn’t powerful enough, Albert Camus goes on to write “and that makes me happy.For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s somethingstronger- something better, pushing right back.”

I connected with the first part of the quote immediately. Having spent most of my life believing
that I was weak and powerless- choosing sobriety was the most empowering decision I’ve ever
made. Rising FROM THE GRAVE and transforming my life redefined me, but it also opened up a
whole world of new struggles.
When I finally decided I was ready to get sober, I had an expectation that the rest of my life was
going to be a piece of cake. Surrendering was such a freeing experience that it left me
short-sighted. I was under the false impression that all my struggles, negative coping
mechanisms, and behaviors would be instantaneously removed. Boy was I wrong.
I want to talk about the parts of sobriety that you don’t see on Facebook- The intimate moments
that happen between an addict and God. I spent a long time being afraid of the parts of myself
and my will that I hadn’t turned over to a God of my understanding. In shying away from
disclosing these things I only began to dig myself a new grave.
The 12 steps are simple. Simple; not easy. It’s a process.
Sometimes it’s so slow a process you can’t even decide if you’re moving forward at all. Some
days I’m on fire for God. I am grateful beyond comprehension, and ready to put on a cape and
head out to Dixie Highway to rescue all of those that are still suffering.
In contrast, there are days where I can’t even make it out of bed. Periods of time over the last
year and a half where I have found myself feeling more alone than I had in active addiction.
Sometimes I can’t write a gratitude list, I can’t get to a meeting, I can’t get out of my own head
long enough to answer the phone for a friend in need. And you know what that’s okay. Through
every dark and chaotic moment in my life, I can always find the exact moment where there was
nobody but myself to blame. What a gift!
The point I’m trying to make is that I have spent months in the depths of winter- sober. I have
put my own will before seeking God’s will for me. I have made terrible decisions that completely
changed the path ahead without the use of any mind or mood altering substance.
I say that to say this, “the great fact is just this, and nothing less: That we have had deep and
effective spiritual experiences which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward
our fellows, and toward God’s universe.” Page 25 of the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous.

When I came into a 12 step program I was told that I would never have to go through
anything alone again, and it’s true. But that doesn’t always mean that I’ve been able to rely on
another human being there to comfort me or pick me up off the ground. I have spent nights lying
awake in bed crying out to God. Lost, confused, and unsure of what to do next. And every night
I’ve spent like this has ended. The sun always came out, and before I knew it, the pain had
In his book Bitten By a Camel, Kent Dobson wrote “In the center of our being is a point of
nothingness which has been untouched...a point or spark which belongs entirely to God...this
little point of the pure glory of God in us.” This is why you are never alone. This
is the energy that gets you through nights that you don’t think will end. This is why no human is
entirely good, or entirely bad. Because you are God and God is you. God is me, God is
everything and everything is God- at least in my opinion.
So to believe that is to absolutely believe that for every icy, cold, and gloomy winter that I
encounter, there is enough light, happiness, and gratitude inside of me to propel me forward. If
pain is the touchstone for spiritual growth, I am blessed. Somewhere along the way I began to
find gratitude in the emotional pain and hard lessons I was learning. I was excited to experience
the change in myself when it was all over, and I believed down to my core that God had a plan
and that nothing happens by mistake.
If you are experiencing winter, believe this- there is something far greater out there guiding you.
Believe that there is a force that loves you and protects you even when you think you are alone.
And know that I believe, with all my heart, that you are worthy of a beautiful life despite anything
you’ve done.

Blog submission by Abbigail Bray. Abbigail is an active member of a 12 step fellowship.She is an avid writer and poet. Writing has been her way of letting her passion bloom in her life of recovery.


  1. Absolutely beautiful words. PERFECT description and analogy. I love this and I love you Abby. Keep doing what you're doing, you're an inspiration.
    Love, Gaby


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