Pet Diaries: The Dog that Taught Me to Believe in a Higher Power

Dog in blanket

Introducing Pet Diaries: Life lessons we learned from our pets. This five-part series explores the ways pets have a positive impact on our lives. It's brought to you in partnership with GOOD.is. Check out more stories at GOOD Pets.

I've always had a difficult time believing in God. At the age of 12, I suggested to the Episcopal confirmation teacher Mrs. Alspach that maybe I shouldn't be confirmed because "I don't believe in any of this stuff." Her response? "(Sigh) Just do it."  I was a pretty depressive kid and spent lots of time alone and often called on God to help me. As far as I could tell, there was no answer from this God. Whether there is or there isn't One, I turned to several addictions for comfort. 

As most People magazine covers will tell you, turning to substances, whatever they are-food, sex, gambling, drugs, alcohol-isn't usually sustainable in the long term. So when I turned 20, I called a suicide hotline which gave me a number for a 12-step group and I started the recovery process.

If you're not familiar with 12-step programs, one of the main concepts is that it is vital to have a Higher Power in order put down the "fill-in-the-blank-bad-thing."  Your Higher Power can be God, Allah, Buddha, Krishna, Nature, or Whatever Works.  I know someone who uses Harry Potter. For many years,  I chose the group as my Higher Power because they were a group of people who were able to stop their addiction and were therefore more powerful than me, because I was not able to stop.  And miraculously, whether it was the elephant-headed God of Good Fortune Ganesh or just Cognitive Behavioral therapy, it worked. I was able to let go of behaviors and substances I had been a slave to for most of my life.

For years, it worked to just ask myself what the group would do or call someone in the group if I had a question about what to do in a situation, but I still felt this aloneness in the world, this inner emptiness.

Ten years into "recovery," it was a suggestion from one of my many sponsors to get a dog.  And that is how I met my Higher Power, Blossom...

To read the rest of Maria and Blossom's story, please visit GOOD.is/Pets.