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 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.
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
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 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
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
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.
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. 🙂