Dec 29, 2015 | By Tim Powers

5 Forms of a Higher Power to Believe In

12 Step Recovery Recovery

5 Forms of a Higher Power to Believe In

They tell you to “find a higher power.” What does that even mean?

You are starting on a new journey that promises serenity, health and sobriety but you don’t have the faintest clue where to start. You have the drive and determination to leave your addiction behind, but you feel like you are lost in the crowd and adrift without a rudder to help you steer.

For many who are just starting out in their journey towards recovery, 12-step programs such as AA, NA and other similar groups give newly recovering addicts the structure and encouragement to make the necessary changes in their life.

There is no doubt that 12-step programs are of tremendous benefit to many, but they do come with stumbling blocks. The spiritual nature of 12-step programs may rub some addicts who are new to recovery the wrong way. This is especially true with the concept of a Higher Power.

I have been there. I spent a good portion of my life being confused and turned off by the G-word. The last thing I want is to tell you what to believe in, so I think it best to simply list some ideas that may help you find your own path.

Recovery will give you the keys to the kingdom. Don’t let this confusion stop you from getting sober.

1 – Believe in Music

music as a higher power

Music resonates deep within us in ways that are hard to put into words.

Many addicts have found solace by simply relating to the words in their favorite song. Whether you play a musical instrument or are a casual listener, music has the unique power to speak to people.

A soothing sound can cleanse the deepest of emotions, or help you cope with immense personal pain. A song can give you hope, or help you find meaning to something you don’t understand.

Many addicts have found solace by simply relating to the words in their favorite song.

music is my drug sober shirt
Music is my Drug T-shirt from Sober Nation Clothing.

When I first got sober, I would listen to The Roots over and over again. Their sound and their message gave me hope. I would listen to a song called The Fire every morning when I was walking to the bus stop. It gave me that little boost of energy and gave me something to believe in.

Around that time, I also started listening to meditation music. I have always been a very anxious person and have had a hard time sitting still. I have had an even harder time slowing down my thoughts.

I found a long meditation video on YouTube and would sit on the floor with the meditation music playing. The music would sooth me and remind me that there are things going on in my mind and my body that are spiritual in nature.

I can’t say that today music is my higher power, but it certainly gave me a start.

2 – Believe in Nature

nature as a higher power

From watching a beautiful sunset to listening to the immense power of the ocean, being able to connect with nature as a higher power can have profound effects on the soul. For some, nature represents God’s grandest creation and is seen as both a creator and provider of all life. Mother nature provides a source of guidance and inspiration for us and can lead us to better our lives.

When I think of nature I think of balance. I have yet to find anything that is so complex yet so perfectly balanced. Running through the woods or sitting by the ocean is always a spiritual experience for me and for many other people.

When we spend time in nature things seem to come into perspective. I can easily see that I am just one piece of this grand design. When I try to fit in and align myself with that energy, life is easier.

3 – Believe in The Universe

the universe as a higher power

The universe is creation at its grandest scale. The universe captures our imagination and the very nature of our existence. The universe can not only symbolize the totality of our being, it can also symbolize all that we truly can become.

When the universe becomes a Higher Power in recovery, people can align themselves with the rhythm and fabric of it, and it becomes the definitive essence of spirituality. For many, simply imagining the possibilities can free the mind from the shackles of obsession, and give strength from the unknown and ground us in humility.

The universe has always been part of my Higher Power. For me, it is difficult to swallow the idea of a personal “God” or entity that has thoughts and ideas. However, when I look up at the stars it is inherently obvious to me that there is something out there much bigger than me.

4 – Believe in Humanity

humanity as a higher power

To believe in humanity is to believe in the interconnectedness between all human beings.

When we embrace humanity as a whole as our higher power, we learn to practice kindness, generosity, humility and honesty. Humanity also allows us to realize that we aren’t perfect and that we can learn from our mistakes and have unlimited potential to grow. Ultimately, when we tap into what humanity can offer us, we are tapping into the best of which we are capable.

What happens is that you begin to see the similarities between us all. You will start to realize that we are all much more alike than we are different. Connecting yourself to the rest of mankind is the best way to show love and compassion.

5 – Believe in Love

love as higher power

One of my favorite expressions is that God is Love.

It resonates with me. When we love each other, we are more free to love ourselves. In the same respect, when we love ourselves we are more free to love other people.

I believe that every decision we make is either based on love or fear. When we open our hearts to love we are less afraid. To live in love means to not be fearful of the future. It means to not be fearful of the past. It means to accept and appreciate other people for who they are. It means to appreciate and accept yourself. Love is your ticket to be who you are meant to be. It’s a beautiful way to live your life.

This is not meant to be interpreted from biblical scriptures or any other types of religious doctrines. I see this in a much more simplistic and pragmatic viewpoint. It’s simple…

Love yourself. Love others. Treat other people how you wish to be treated. If you do this, you will remain grateful and happy.

Keep Searching

As was said earlier, this article is simply written to trigger some ideas in your mind. If you are new in recovery, then “finding a Higher Power” can be extremely confusing and difficult.

If this is the case, it is important to understand that this will all evolve over time. My conception of a Higher Power has continued to change and evolve the longer I have been sober. I’m sure your experience will be similar.

If you have any other advice, ideas or want to share your experience, please leave a comment below. 🙂

10 responses to “5 Forms of a Higher Power to Believe In

  • On a cold winters night in the midst of my alcoholism I prayed to God for help! All I remember is being so cold and so desperate and totally alone. When I came to I was in a drunk tank wearing jail clothes. Apparently My clothes were frozen to my body and had to be cut off at the emergency room. The God of my understanding answered my prayer that night by sending a police officer. Had he not found me I would have froze to death. I tell the story from time to time and admit that my higher power has a sense of humor that I can laugh at today! Drug and alcohol addiction however is no laughing matter! I continue to pray for those lost and alone souls. There is hope and there is help. We are not alone. Our addiction is the common peril that binds us! Together we can!

  • Neil Absalom

    7 years ago

    I love this and I’ve found my higher power the God of my understanding it’s my mother who has passed away she is alive in my heart and I try and live the way I know my mother would of wanted and loved me to live. Love and my God is the way forward for me and my recovery.

  • Stephen “Steve” Sponsler

    6 years ago

    Where did the idea that God Is Love come from? The bible. Where did the idea of higher power originate? The bible. What happened in ‘recovery’ programs. The Source through which we can Know Him was eliminated which was by the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

    …48 You are witnesses of these things.

    49 And behold, I am sending ‘The Promise of My Father upon you’.
    But remain in the city until you have been clothed with ‘Power from on High’.”

    50 When Jesus had led them out as far as Bethany, He lifted up His hands and blessed them.…

    What is the TRUE ‘higher power’ or ‘HP”…The HIGH PRIEST< Jesus Christ who also stated, and
    he also said, I say only what my Father tells Me: "I Am The Truth". If it's not The TRUTh' and 'The True Light" what is it?

    As it was written 2000 years ago, God is LOVE put in context

    'Beloved, let us love one another, because love comes from God.
    Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
    Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

    This is how God’s love was revealed among us:
    God sent His one and only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.…

    1 John 4:16
    And we have come to know and believe the love that God has for us.
    God is love; whoever abides in love abides in God, and God in Him.

    1 Thessalonians 4:1
    Finally, brothers, we ask and encourage you in the Lord Jesus to live in a way that is pleasing to God, as you have received from us. This is how you already live, so you should do so all the more.

    2 Thessalonians 3:1
    Finally, brothers, pray for us, that 'the word of the Lord may spread quickly and be held in honor',
    just as it was with you.

    John 15:4 Remain in Me, as I also remain in you.
    No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.
    Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.


    • Jay Walker

      6 years ago

      Proselytizing for a particular religion is discouraged by 12-step programs. This is a misuse and abuse of the program, and it will probably turn away a lot of people who could be helped by 12-step programs. Please delete your comment.

      • rwolfman3000

        6 years ago

        he shouldn’t delete his comment because in part–he’s right; the words and text were written by our great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents on how we should conduct our daily lives and to give thanks; if you had a direct relative–say, a grandfather– who wrote a diary for you entitled “Rules to Live By” you’d read it, no?

    • Teresa Sterck

      6 years ago

      I’m native american… i have never believed in a christian god. The idea that our creator is a loving caring being is fundamental to my non-christian based beliefs. Sobriety is traditional and it has only been through coming back to my native ways that i have been able to stay sober. The higher powers talked about in this article are the traditional beliefs. We sing our prayers to creator, we embrace the humanity, we see the interconnectedness between ourselves and nature and with all other beings, and core to all of this is a love which translates into treating all beings with dignity and respect… Do no harm. So to the person proselytizing… your jesus has nothing to do with my higher power… and yet i am clean and sober and have been for 9 years.

      • I feel like Helen Keller when Annie Sullivan spelled “water” and Helen finally got it. Water poured out of the pump at the well and Helen was freed by the fact she finally got what spelling was and that it was a way to understand and connect to the world. I’m having an “a-ha” moment which is helping me define my higher power. This google search helped me. I already had the “beginnings” of THIS higher power for years and years but somehow I couldn’t allow it and I let my own fear of the 12 step “structure” or the 12 step “authority” that I imagined or the idea that I had to bend down before a god or get on my hands an knees and bow in humility to god. No, for me that’s groveling. My HP is a lightness of breath, it’s knowing I am never alone. I am. I am and that’s all that matters. I am part of this big beautiful creation. I don’t need to struggle. I can relax and know that I am part of this whole and remembering there are others that still suffer or suffered like me and I think of them and I close my eyes and I reach for them and I tell them it’s OK. And this is my prayer.

  • Secular higher power(s) have proven to sustain me in recovery. I searched for a prayer-answering, sobriety granting higher power because wouldn’t that be awesome!? But what I found was more concrete, power of example, esprit du corp, a higher purpose. These awe-inspiring powers described in this essay are phenomena that I know to be true and both life affirming and life altering. Nice essay; thank you.

  • Bob Kennedy

    5 years ago

    I don’t think I’m capable of “turning my will and my life over to the care of” music. I like music, but I don’t see it as doing much to address an alcohol problem. There’s a lot of music in bars, but it doesn’t seem to be healing anybody.

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