Purim is a tough time for some of us. If everybody is drinking, then what am I supposed to do? I don’t think that any of us are really in danger of relapse (unless that’s what we’re already planning to do). But I do think it’s hard to find our place in the Purim celebration.

So, let me try to tell you what drinking on Purim is about; and you can try to figure out where you fit in.

Purim is the celebration of hidden miracles. The whole Purim story is about a wild chain of events where — although not a single overtly supernatural act took place — we see in hindsight that G‑d was intimately involved all along. The story is just so improbable, so dependent on seemingly random and unaccepted turns of fate —that it just couldn’t have ever happened without constant Divine intervention. Even when things looked grim, everything was really adding up to a wondrous salvation for the Jews. We see from the Purim story that what we think is bad may really turn out good; and that no matter how things seem, G‑d is the one running the show.

For this reason, we try to supersede rational thinking on Purim. We try to stop looking at things with our intellect, and see things with faith. Your head may be telling you that things are hopeless. Your head may be telling you that there is no method to the madness. But your head is wrong — stop over-thinking, stop analyzing. Things don’t have to make sense to you. You don’t have to understand how salvation and rescue will come about. You just have to believe that if you align yourself to G‑d’s will, then everything works out — and that even the most ominous events can later emerge as a great blessing in disguise.

In order to help get us out of our rational minds, the Sages prescribed drinking alcohol on Purim. They even told us how drunk to get — “Until one knows not the difference between ‘Cursed be Haman’ and ‘Blessed be Mordechai.’” On Purim, we’re not supposed to look at how things appear on the surface. We’re supposed to tap into our deepest, most irrational faith and realize that what looks bad and what looks good both come from G‑d — and that He is not limited by either. G‑d can bring about great relief through situations that look bad. He can restore ultimate order through events that seem chaotic.

Now, for some most people, they just can’t accept this idea unless they’re under the influence. They need to chemically numb their brains in order to get out of their intellectual ‘box.’ But for those of us in recovery, we obviously cannot drink alcohol on Purim, out of consideration for our personal safety. Yet perhaps it can be said that in recovery we already know this truth; the spirit of the Purim drink is a basic part of our recovery. It is the knowledge of this truth that keeps us alive. We already know what it means to put intellect aside and embrace G‑d with total abandon, not making rational calculations or trying to make everything add up. We know that our ideal of what is good or bad for us is not the final arbiter of truth. We live with acceptance, faith and trust that everything, regardless of whether we think it’s good or bad, comes from G‑d. As we look back on our lives, we see hidden miracles. We see G‑d’s hand. We see how deliverance was brought about through events that seemed irredeemably horrid at the time. We see that no matter how things may look to us, nothing is unsalvageable. G‑d has His plan and it doesn’t have to make sense to us, or suit our whim at every juncture.

So, this Purim will I use alcohol to reach such a state? I think that in my case, I already did. It took fourteen long years of almost non-stop drinking; but by the time I took my very last drink, I finally made it. I finally realized that I know nothing at all.