Higher Power: Addiction Treatment & Recovery
By Cody McNabb
Coming into recovery we have developed multiple views on a Higher Power. If you are religious, and have a good relationship with a Higher Power, this concept makes complete sense. For those of us who are atheist, agnostic, or have had a Higher Power and feel we’ve been punished or forgotten, it is not an easy task to put faith into something you have built such a resentment on. We may have had a traumatic experience with a religion, or may think we do not know enough about religion for it to work. It may also be difficult to believe in something we cannot see. Some of us may even change our view on our Higher Power as our recovery grows.
The 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous very clearly states that to achieve full recovery, and to reach a state of peace, we must develop a loving, healthy relationship with a Higher Power. This power must be truly greater than ourselves, and must have qualities we wish to obtain.
As we develop our sense of recovery, and begin taking the journey into our past to recognize patterns, we begin to understand why it is important to develop a faithful relationship with a Higher Power. We can begin to understand how the negative and traumatic events that shaped our lives were not caused by our Higher Power, but by our own will or another person’s will.
For those of us who are atheist, or agnostic, it may be very difficult to change your beliefs. The fact remains, this concept has helped so many before us and will continue to work. We couldn’t get out of our addiction based on our own irrational behaviors and beliefs, so why not try something new? We must truly let go of our irrational beliefs and old behaviors, and become open-minded to trying something new as it has worked for so many. Before we came to believe in a power greater than ourselves, we ran on auto-pilot, unaware of how irrational our behaviors were and unaware of a larger truth.
When we have no Higher Power, we have nothing to base our actions on, letting our own emotions control our ability to live a life of fulfillment and peace. We continue to believe the way we act and think is just who we are. As such, when we come to believe in a power greater than ourselves, having loving qualities, it will give us a sense of spiritual principles to change our behaviors. Also, we have exhausted our own will for so long that it seems obvious we must try something new.
When we are new to recovery we must find strength and courage to carry us through. We have a stream of new feelings and emotions that we have pushed out for so long, and it can be very difficult to maintain and understand why we feel these things. Developing a Higher Power in your life helps you build a foundation of trust and faithfulness, giving you spiritual tools to overcome anything. Once a relationship with a Higher Power is developed, we must stay in constant conscious contact. We must stay aware of our Higher Power to be able to constantly stay vigilant and resilient.
We do not have to follow religious paths. We can develop a relationship with anything we believe will give us strength to overcome the obstacles of life. We just have to find something that has power greater than ourselves and we can begin to change our ways. There have been many who call the group conscious of a meeting there Higher Power. Some look to the universe for support. Many of us have decided just to try something new and see what happens, and come to find our lives and attitudes have improved drastically.
A spiritual life guides us and gives us a moral compass. We can begin to distinguish right from wrong, and also learn the power of forgiveness. As we progress through our recovery, we begin to understand a Higher Power is of critical value in showing us the correct path. We will begin to see changes in others, and we will see the miracle. It may sometimes be harder for us to see the change in ourselves.
Meditational prayer has been scientifically proven to show large changes in emotions and feelings. We cannot expect to pray for something and it magically appear. We must come to understand the power of choice. Becoming aware of your spiritual side allows you to be aware of these choices. As problems become challenges, and obstacles become easier, we will begin to see a new whole new way of life unfolding before our eyes.
We begin to lose the feeling of loneliness and defeat, and with a Higher Power we can trust it to carry us through, we then have motivation to constantly develop new aspects of life. We begin to rebuild relationships, and know how to show love. We form new relationships with healthy boundaries and solid foundations. We begin to see life in a whole different light, the light we have been searching for.
We have replaced our spirituality with drugs and alcohol. When we come into recovery we have a void inside of us to fill. We all need a meaning to our lives to be able to carry out our daily lives abstinent from drugs and alcohol. When we give our problems to our Higher Power, we can see the truth in it, and react differently. This keeps us grounded and helps us avoid trouble.
When we humble ourselves, admit our powerlessness, and ask for help it may come in many forms. We may see these forms of help as blessings. The first step is to admit defeat and seek help from others, but once we develop a sense of spirituality within ourselves we can then start to notice the change. We become aware of ourselves and become devoted to our Higher Power, who also holds the larger truth. We begin to become optimistic about everyday issues, and start recognizing the good in everything. We begin to let go of small things, with an understanding of truth we have never experienced.