If you have decided to seek recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction, it won’t be long before you are introduced to the spiritual aspect of the process. In fact, spirituality is at the very heart of the 12-Step philosophy and you simply can not work the 12 Steps without coming to terms with your own beliefs about God.
This can be frightening for some people, who consider themselves atheist or agnostic…or for those who do believe in God, but fear God….or for those who have resentments towards God.
No matter how you perceive God at stage of your life, the good news is –you are welcome in the rooms of recovery! While you must eventually embrace this aspect of sobriety to benefit from your particular 12-Step program, this is not something you need to do today. Just attending your first few meetings is challenge enough and simply getting to those should be your initial focus. .
Please be aware, however, that in the rooms of 12-Step recovery programs all over the world, God is a very welcomed topic of conversation and often serves as the focal point of entire meetings. That is because God is a crucial part of sobriety. Actually, the more appropriate way to describe the spiritual aspect of recovery is to refer to God as a “Higher Power,” or, the “God of our Own Understanding”….or, “God as We Understood Him.”
Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous call themselves “simple, spiritual, not religious programs.” (This is also true of other 12- Step fellowships that focus on non-substance abuse issues like Overeater’s Anonymous or Co-Dependents Anonymous). This is because those who have found freedom in recovery have learned that conquering addiction requires a spiritual component. This is defined as a “power greater than ourselves.”
Addiction (or alcoholism) is, by its very design, a power greater than all of us. By the time addicted people enter treatment, they claim to feel as if they are being trampled under the weight of a destructive power beyond their control. No matter what we do, it seems we can not get out from underneath the burden caused by our drug or alcohol use. This is why a power greater than that power is needed, which is why a Higher Power must be called upon.
The miracle of recovery is that you get to
have a relationship with the God of
your own understanding.
Whether you believe in a Christian depiction of God, Buddhist teachings, Scientology or Wicca, it’s okay. If you conjure a God no one has ever heard of; one who watches over only you, that is perfectly fine too. No matter Who you perceive God to be, your beliefs will be honored and respected.
That is because the 12 Steps encourage you to find out who God is for you…even if you determine there is no God, and decide that recovery meetings are your Higher Power. You are given permission to exercise complete open-mindedness as it relates to your own spiritual journey and discovering who it is you understand God to be.
If you are currently struggling with the spiritual component of recovery, you’re not alone. Many people arrive at their first 12-Step meetings totally confused about the role a Higher Power plays in sobriety. (This confusion can last years for some). Talk to your sponsor and other recovering people and ask them to talk about their experience in finding a God of their own understanding. When the time is right, you will understand what God means to your own recovery and Who God is in your life.