Religion is a filter through which we experience spirituality, it is not our spirituality.
It is not uncommon to be in the rooms and hear someone’s struggles in finding their higher power. Many in recovery feel that without coming to grips with your higher power that you will be faced with occasional, if not frequent, relapses.
Admittedly, the 12 step program is based in spirituality. The use of the word God in the materials does put people off, sometimes. It also makes people think it is a Christian program. Closing meetings with the Lord’s prayer makes it even worse.
My own experience has been a combination of my religious upbringing and a feeling that I do have a higher power working in my life. Raised Roman Catholic I quickly rebelled against it when I left home. God was something I experienced on Sundays but never let into my life.
My struggles with early recovery had me turning to my Higher Power for strength. The days when I turned my anxiety and worry over were the days that I felt serenity. I have had dreams where I felt a feeling of hope come into my being. While none of my earthly struggles have become easier in themselves. My struggle with the struggle has been easier. Because I have felt my Higher Power. And I have been able to talk to it and to feel it work in my life. I have been blessed.
I understand the struggles that others feel with finding it. They confuse it with the God of their religion. It can be but it doesn’t have to be. Without it though, recovery will be a struggle. We have all been incapable of stopping our addictive behavior ourselves. If we were able we wouldn’t be here. We need to believe in a power greater than ourselves.
And that is all that a Higher Power is. It is a power greater than ourselves. For some that is embodied in prayer and the God of their religion. For some it is our fellows. The comfort and companionship of our fellowship can be that higher power. As long as we turn ourselves over to it. By agreeing to talk to your sponsor every day for instance, you are turning your will over to a power greater than yourself. Not that your sponsor is a greater power, because they struggle just like you. But the act of reaching out is the power.
Do not get hung up on the fact that you aren’t religious, or that your concept of God has been skewed in your eyes. You weren’t struggling with your Higher Power. You were struggling with man’s portrayal of it. You can choose to portray it any way you want now. It can include your religion, or not. It can include many religions or not. It can be Mother Earth. It can be any combination.
Just make it your own. Find your own spirituality. Whatever it may be. It will be worth it. And you are worth it in your Higher Power’s eyes.
Have peace today and know that there is a power greater than yourself and that it wants you to succeed in your recovery. So turn yourself over to it.
- What do you have in your Higher Power? (raybranstiter.com)
- God is not religious – Why are you? (revrobertkirkley.com)