Great to hear from you and thank you for sharing.
My struggles were very similar to yours. Except -- I figured that IF there was a God, why did He hate me so much? I was extremely angry at God, and figured He was just as angry w/ me. I thought that I was God's punching bag. So, I didn't want to believe. Yet, I knew for sure -- that if there was no God -- I was screwed, too. I KNEW that I could not stay sober. And, I knew that drinking I was dead. And, sober -- I couldn't deal with Life. It was too painful and too miserable to be alive while sober.
Here's a few things that helped me get over the hoop.
My sponsor asked me "Are you willing -- to become willing -- to become willing to be willing to become willing to believe in a Power Greater than yourself?"
That made me dizzy. LOL. And, I figured that I'd really have to be dumb to not be able to at least do this.
I said, "I think -- I might be able to do that."
He said, "Well I'll be damned! Maybe there is a God!" LOL.
He said, "Here's what I want you to do. Take one of those yellow tablets of paper that you seem to always have -- and try to forget EVERYTHING that you know, about God, AA, and everything else in Life. And, I want you to do some writing."
I asked "EVERYTHING?" He said, yes, everything. Then, he pointed me to a sentence at the bottom of page 58 of the Big Book, that read: "Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely."
He said, "You know too much and you're too smart to be able to get this deal. In your case -- you'll have to get rid of ALL your old ideas -- to have any hope at all of getting this. And, I don't believe you'll be able to do this. You're too smart. Self-made. Self-taught. And, it's served you very well in life. I don't believe you CAN let go of ALL your old ideas."
As I see it now -- looking back -- for the first time, the table was turned on me. The problem was no longer God. The problem was me. My ideas were mine. It was up to me, if I could let them go or not. I didn't want to let them go. Many times, those old ideas kept me alive. The helped me survive. They were my Ace in the hole! I figured that the only thing more scary than believing in some kind of God would have been to try living as a grown man -- without having all my brilliant ideas! I had doubts. I thought it was insane. But, my only option was "try this or die drinking."
He went on to say, "God as YOU understand God, HAS to be a God of your OWN conception. It can't be my conception or someone else's conception. It can't be something you were taught or read about in a book -- or else, your using someone elses conception and NOT your OWN conception. It MUST be a God of your OWN conception -- or else, you'll never understand it anyway. You'll never be able to fully believe in it because it's not yours."
That's a huge difference. "A God of your OWN conception -- as you understand God" vs "Your thoughts about God -- as you understand your thoughts about God."
I was to take my pad of paper, and write down MY OWN conception of what God would be like "IF" there was a God.
So, the heat was once again on me.
Rather than jump to what I wrote down as "my conception of what God would be like" and polute your thinking with it, LOL... I'll share some things that I considered:
Make a list of stuff -- that I consider to be a Power greater than myself?
1. Ropes & pulleys: When I was about 5 yrs old -- I watched two small skinny guys lift a huge piano that weighed more than both of them. They lifted it two stories high -- from the ground up to a balcony window -- where they took the piano into an apartment.
There was no power in the rope. There was no power in the pulleys. The two guys didn't have enough power combined in the two of them to lift that piano two stories in the air -- so how was it done? It took a Power greater than those two guys!
Did the guys "create" or make the rope? Yes. Was the rope the Higher Power? No. No power in the rope.
Did the guys "create" or make the pulleys? Probably not. The probably bought them from someone else that made them. Power in the pulleys? No.
Oh, what's this about Physics? Physics you say? LOL. Did the guys create the Physics? No. LOL.
Did the guys use the physics? Yes.
Was there power in the physics? No.
Physics are only an idea with no power -- unless they are used and applied.
Then, where did the physics come from? Hmmm?
Probably the same place as Gravity came from (Gravity is also a Power greater than me).
Can you SEE gravity? No.
So, to believe in gravity -- you're believing in something you can't see. Right?
Is gravity present -- regardless if you believe in gravity or not? Yes.
Is gravity a power greater than yourself? If you don't believe that it is -- try jumping up in the air -- and stay suspended in air -- without coming down.
Can you do it?
So, gravity is a Power greater than you? It's greater than me -- or, I wouldn't have fallen off a ladder & broke my leg! I would have suspended myself in air and gently let me down!
Would it take MY Power -- to jump up in the air? Yes. ALL of my power.
Would it take MY Power -- to raise a piano w/ ropes & pulleys? Yes. ALL of my power.
So, what IF we think of the Ropes & Pulleys and Piano & Weight of the Piano (which is also a Power that I can't see -- but I could feel -- if the piano fell on me) -- and simply consider those things as "TOOLS."
I didn't create the tools. There is no power in the tools. But, there is a Power Greater than me -- that I did not create -- or make -- by using the tools. I don't create the Power. I simply USE the Power that becomes available to me, by using the tools -- and that Power is a Power greater than my own power -- even though I have to use ALL my OWN power to use the tools.
That made sense to me. Thus, there was a Power Greater than me -- that I don't understand (because I don't know all there is to know about physics) -- but it's undeniable that the power is there and it's greater than me.
And, Gravity is a power greater than me, that I didn't create or make -- doesn't care if I believe in it or not. And, doesn't care if I use it or not. Gravity uses me.
So, "what if" the 12 Steps are "tools"? No power in the 12 Steps. I have to use ALL my own power to use them -- however, in using the tools -- it creates a Power Greater than me -- that changes me?"
I couldn't change myself. So, I used some tools. Any by using the tools "the application of applied action" in conjunction w/ the tools -- connects me to a Power -- greater than me -- that I don't understand -- changes me.
Sorry this got so long. There is more that I came up w/ but, that's enough for now.