Recovery Story – Tim Clay

Tim Clay was exposed to substances at a young age. Having experienced childhood trauma, he was faced with the overwhelming desire to cope and numb the pain he was feeling. This desired carried him into adulthood. He discovered even more avenues to numb and escape from the deep pain he was experiencing which he defines as co-addictions which can take the form of other obsessive habits. It was in his forties that Tim found the path to recovery. He began attending a Recovery group where he met his future sponsor. Walking the steps, Tim discovered a renewed perspective on a Higher Power. He explains this transformation saying, “The God of my understanding became very forgiving and kind and loving and did not judge me on my behavior…which was very freeing for me because I wanted to change my behavior but if I was stuck in perfectionism, my behavior would never be good enough.”

Tim explains that he grew up in a religious household where God was seen as the judge and law maker. This mentality of God and Higher Power resulted in a deadly cycle of trying hard, failing, and giving up. It was in recovery that Tim was able to reconcile his relationship with his Higher Power. He now lives in the freedom of the new cycle of “receiving spiritual power through spiritual practice.” This can take on the form of genuine love, gentleness, being true to self, and no longer having the need to hide.

The role of a Higher Power is crucial to the 12-Step recovery process. Tim explains that no matter what one’s view of God are, they must allow something to assume this role. The first step of recovery is “Admit you are powerless.” It is through this understanding that healing can flow. Tim explains, “even an atheist can have a higher power… I can’t think that I am the greatest power in the world and follow my own will.” He later argues that alcoholism and substance use is a spiritual disease. As a result, it is vital that an individual suffering with this finds healing from something greater than they are.

Tim is now living in freedom from substance use and seeks to give back as he works with a prison ministry called Grace Fellowship that hold 12-step Recovery meetings for inmates. He also works as an accountant in Birmingham, AL.  Tim’s ability to surrender to self and determination for healing has resulted in the ability to enter into the new cycle of life, freedom, and grace; which he now has the opportunity to lead other people in as well.

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