Higher Power for Agnostics, Atheists, and other Doubters

Higher Power for Agnostics, Atheists, and other Doubters

Hi. My name is Jake and I’m an alcoholic and addict.

By the time I was ready to commit myself to living a sober life, Step 1 of Alcoholics Anonymous was practically a no brainer for me. Without going into the gory details that led me to seek sobriety and to attend AA meetings, I am positive that I have a desire to stop drinking and drugging. My chosen coping mechanisms were not only destroying my quality of life, the problems they created began spilling into the lives of the people closest to me: my family.My life was truly unmanageable. When I came to after my last blackout binge on May 17, 2014, I decided enough was enough. I did not want to find out how much farther down I could go. With the help of my sponsor, I will continue to delve into the reasons of why I have a Step 1.
Step 2 is tougher for me to relate to because I am an atheist. To my surprise, I’ve learned I amnot the only one in the rooms. This prejudicecontributed to my decision not to seek sobriety earlier because I felt the Twelve Steps were too exclusive(A.A. calls this processcontempt prior to investigation). I firmly believed that if I did not have a defined religious component to my life, then I would be unwelcome, ostracized, and doomed to relapse. This is most certainly not the case.
The first part of my breakthrough to with Step 2 came when I reflected on the word choice.
Step 2: Came to believe that a Powergreater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
The P in Power is capitalized because, for many, that power comes from God. For atheists and agnostics, we are either positive or skeptical that God or some other Higher Being even exists, let alone will be able to restore us to sanity. For too long, I focused on that Capital P. It just was not part of my routine or game plan to a creating a healthy foundation of living. Having found my Higher Power as I understood It (which I’ll discuss in a moment), the logical conclusion for me was that the P is capitalized because that Higher Power deserves respect.
Another part of my breakthrough to accepting Step 2 came when I reflected on my failures to maintain sobriety in the past. I did things my way. I evaded treatment. My coping skills of drinking and drugging were what I knew, and they were only creating more strife and greatly exacerbating my mental health issues. I had to myself that I cannot do this alone. I needed help which I could not give myself.

If not God, then who, or what, would be able to provide me with this Power?
I connected some dots. Others have been sober longer than I’ve been alive, and many of them were far worse off during their drinking days than I ever was. If it works for them, what’s making it work?
The answer is You. The Fellowship.The Rooms.Our Collective Consciousness and Will to seek sobriety.It cannot be done alone. We need each other to make sobriety work. I would not have had access to the Power and support of The Community and our Collective Will to survive if I had stayed isolated. As a lone wolf, I was utterly powerless over my addictions (part 1 of Step 1, check).
The first time My Higher Power reached out to me was at my first A.A. meeting on my seventeenth day of sobriety. A fellow made a point to make sure I knew what keeps him returning to The Rooms after 10+ years of sobriety: the newcomer- people like me. It was my First 30 days, first meeting, and first time truly seeking sobriety. I was the only newbie in the room that night, and several others who shared made the same deliberate effort to make sure I knew they were there for me, and by that, they too would not need a drink that day.
I can’t maintain sobriety alone. Failure was its own example: my way does not work and never will. Through fellowship and a willingness to accept support from others, I have faith that the Power of We and our Collective Will to Survive can help me, so that I can be of service toothers. For the first time since age 12, as a firm believer that science holds the answers to all our questions, I felt comfortable placing faith in something, where before I needed to know. My ego required tangible evidence or empirical data before I would allow myself to believe.
By the end of my second meeting, I knew and believed that people don’t come to A.A. only to make their own lives better, but to help others create a better, sober life. With the Power of a Community dedicated to sober living and supporting others, I finally understood why, even to a staunch atheist, there could be a Power greater than myself capable of restoring me to sanity.
If that’s not a Higher Power, then I don’t know what is.

My name is Jake. Thank you for letting me share.

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