When you first enter the rooms of AA or NA you will hear a lot of talk about “God” and “Higher Power. This can be confusing and somewhat scary if you do not believe in God or don’t have a sense of what a “higher power” is and therefore can have a negative outlook on the whole thing.
The Higher Power in Twelve Steps
What is a Higher Power exactly? A Higher Power is a power greater than ourselves. It can be God, other conceptions of God. For others, a higher power doesn’t have anything to do with religion. It’s just a connection that we may have with something. The benefit of having a Higher Power is the comfort of knowing that you do not, cannot, and will never be in control of anything in the universe, except yourself, and even then, we can sometimes need a lot of help. But in the end, It comes down to whatever works for you and what keeps you sober.
But how does one go about finding a power greater than ourselves? We are told to pray to our higher power but if you don’t have one, this can be confusing and may make you feel uncomfortable. There are some simple ways you can get on track to start finding your higher power.
- Meditating – If you have never meditated before, you want to start small. There are many YouTube guided videos or apps that can help you through.
- Selfless Acts – Being selfless is a big thing to us addicts since we were so used to being selfish in our addiction. By volunteering, being sober support, doing random acts of kindness, or just being a good friend, we can often feel that sense of gratitude and hope that is similar to that feeling of comfort and faith that a Higher Power can bring.
It can become very frustrating to accept the idea of a higher power and choosing one may be more difficult. Even though the fact that it may be tempting and easier to just avoid the whole higher power thing entirely, spirituality is a very important part of your recovery.
Spirituality and Addiction Recovery
There has been researching that shows that aspects of spirituality are associated with positive outcomes for trauma survivors, including those who are suffering from depression and PTSD. Most times, addiction is a symptom of trauma, difficult life experiences, and other obstacles that people are otherwise unable to cope with. Not to mention the trauma that is also caused by addition. Cultivating a healthy spirituality may create meaning and purpose for living, and help individuals cope with difficult life circumstances and trauma.
The concept of a higher power you will see throughout your literature as you go through the 12-steps. After you complete the Steps the same concepts can help guide you through your life in recovery as challenges arise and when “life shows up”.
If you don’t believe in God, it is still important that you choose a higher power that is special and means something to you. There is no need to feel pressured by others as to what they think it should be. This is your choice.
If you’re struggling to define your own higher power while working through a 12-step program, here are some ideas to get you started.
- Nature – The Mountains, ocean, or just the trees that surround you on your morning walk could be a great higher power.
- Music/Art – Listening to music or creating art is a very spiritual experience. It can relieve stress, reduce anxiety, and help people express strong emotions and feelings that some people may attempt to cloak with drug and alcohol abuse out of fear or an inability to express them.
Treatment for Substance Use Disorders
As mentioned before whatever your path is to recovery is up to you but your first step is to be set free from the chains of addiction and we at Garden State Treatment Center can help. We are run by New Jersey natives and many of our addiction specialists are in recovery themselves. Our evidence-based treatment programs have helped countless men and women overcome addiction. Please contact us today if you or someone you love is suffering the pain of addiction.