Hunting Down a Higher Power
If you’ve been in the sobriety game for a while or even just been to a couple 12 step meetings, you’ve probably heard the phrase higher power thrown around. In the beginning of most AA meetings for example, the How it Works section of the Alcoholics Anonymous text gets read which states, “probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism”.
So what the heck are they talking about?
Usually what brings us to sobriety in the first place is unmanageability and consequences in our lives as a result of drinking and using. Basically, many of us find that on our own volition, success at long term sobriety without some kind of greater power to help us is limited. The good news and the bad news is that we can’t do it alone but there are many options for support including other sober fellows (in and outside the rooms of 12 step meetings) and a higher power who if we choose to rely on it, can be accessible to us at all times even when our sober fellows are not around.
Another (scary to some people) word that gets thrown around in sobriety and in 12 step meetings is God. Higher power can be a great substitute for God and often a less threatening word and concept. Alternatively, some people use G.O.D as an acronym for group of drunks or good orderly direction. When people say group of drunks they mean that the group support found in meetings is a power greater than just themselves. As for good orderly direction, people mean that sobriety is easier and often more successful when you take suggestions and are open to a little good and orderly (and simple!) direction.
Finding a higher power does not have to be a mystical or mysterious journey into the meaning of life. It can be as simple as the recognition that hey, I didn’t drink today and that’s kind of a miracle or a recognition that there are things happening in your life or in the world that are just outside of your understanding and bigger or greater than you. Some people call their higher power love, some call it the ocean, some call it the sky chief. Whatever you call it, choose something you can believe in that’s even just slightly greater or more powerful than just you alone. I’ve heard it said that you can make your higher power something as simple as a doorknob. If you ask me I’d like something I can rely on to open more than a door. But hey, that’s just me. The point is make it your own and leave room for improvement. Higher powers are like shape shifters and they grow different, bigger and better as you do over time.