People in the fellowship come in all religious and spiritual persuasions. There are many of us who identify with a particular religious group. Perhaps on the world stage there is conflict between different religions. In AA, NA and OA that is not the case. We couldn’t care less if you are Catholic, Jewish, Anglican or Sufi. What matters is that you have a desire to stop using your drug of choice. For those of us aligned to a particular theology, having a belief in a Higher Power is just an extension of our religious practice.
There are those in the program, who although not connected to a particular religion per se, are spiritual in nature. Their concept of G-d often does not fit into any particular religious ideology. They take comfort in having a G-d of their understanding in their lives. This freedom of choice allows them to have a connection to a power greater than themselves.
Even those who have no belief in G-d feel at home in the rooms. For them, it is often the power of fellowship which is considered a Higher Power.
The only person who will have difficulty with the program is the one who thinks they are G-d. Arrogance will feed many of our character defects and hold us back from true sobriety.
Personal Reflection: What is my relationship with my Higher Power?
Almost all who came into the program found step one to be quite doable. In step one we simply admitted that our lives had become unmanageable and we were powerless. Given the way our life was going at that time, it wasn’t much of a stretch to accept this step. For many of us, we found step two to be a greater hurdle. How could we believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. What proof did we have that G-d existed anyway. We had never seen or spoken to a Higher Power. Even more to the point, on many occasions we had promised G-d that we would stop using if he got us out of a jam. Either he wasn’t listening or didn’t exist because we took our lumps along the way. And how about the fact that bad things happened to good people. Where was G-d when that happened?
As we gained sobriety, we began to understand that faith was not something which was proof based. Furthermore, there really was no explanation as to why certain things happened in the world. As we accepted our powerlessness our trust in a power greater than ourselves slowly evolved. Trust did not require proof, just an open mind.
Personal Reflection: How deep is my trust in a Higher Power?
Coming into the program, you don’t have to believe anything.
You don’t even have to believe that you can stay sober. All you need to do is make believe than you can. This means that every day when you get up just imagine that you can be sober for that day. Just for that day take the actions that a sober person would take. Even if you don’t believe you will stay sober for that day.
You don’t even have to believe in the power of the program. All you have to do is imagine that the program can work for you. Throughout your day follow the suggestions that have been given to you by program people. Even if you don’t believe in it, make a meeting, call your sponsor and do some type of service.
You don’t even have to believe that you have a Higher Power. Use your imagination and evolve a personal G-d of your understanding. Then throughout your day turn to your Higher Power; even though you don’t believe in Him.
Somewhere along the way, all of those make believe actions begin to take root and before you know it, your beginning to believe.
Do you think I’m wrong? Just for today, make believe I’m right and believe in yourself, the program and a Higher Power.
Personal Reflection: What do I still need to make believe in?
Growing in sobriety was definitely a process. For each and every one of us, that journey began with us showing up at a meeting. It was the same initial step regardless of fellowship. AA, NA, OA, or DA; we all started in the same place; with our behinds glued to a seat at a meeting. Those first days, weeks and months were certainly challenging. Many of us had to suffer through withdrawal. A lot of what was being said was confusing because we were still in a bit of a fog.
It took some time but our minds began to clear. In some ways this was probably the most painful stage. It suddenly hit us how we had been on a path of self destruction. Along the way we had hurt many others including family and friends. Besides looking at our past, we for the first time began to look at our character defects. While active, we had utilized our drug of choice to buffer all of those fears, resentments and jealousies. Now, we began to examine ourselves more deeply and what we saw was pretty uncomfortable.
Around this time we discovered that we were not alone. Others in the program were there to help, guide and support us. We also began to turn to a power greater than ourselves; our Higher Power. For many of us this was a reunion with an old friend, for others it was a first time encounter. Regardless, hope had entered our lives.
Personal Reflection: Do I need to strengthen my belief?