Finding a Higher Power – 5 Practical Ways to Increase Spiritual Awareness

Trust God. Clean house. Help others.” We have all heard that one before.

Sounds simple enough, but is it really that simple? The most common form of apprehension within recovery organizations, especially twelve-step based programs, lies in the concept of finding a higher power. I have heard people say countless times that “they don’t get the whole God thing.” These uncertainties are not without merit and unfortunately, reluctance to find a higher power keeps many addicts from finding recovery and balance.

With this article, we hope to share some personal experience regarding what it means to find a higher power, and more importantly, why believing in a power greater than yourself has huge benefits in recovery and in life.

God and the Twelve Steps

Trust God. Clean house. Help others.” We have all heard that one before.

Sounds simple enough, but is it really that simple? The most common form of apprehension within recovery organizations, especially twelve-step based programs, lies in the concept of finding a higher power. I have heard people say countless times that “they don’t get the whole God thing.” These uncertainties are not without merit and unfortunately, reluctance to find a higher power keeps many addicts from finding recovery and balance.

With this article, we hope to share some personal experience regarding what it means to find a higher power, and more importantly, why believing in a power greater than yourself has huge benefits in recovery and in life.

Very few people come into a twelve-step program with a clear understanding of their beliefs, and even fewer live in spiritual principles. “Living in” the spiritual principles is a concept outlined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. The biggest mistake people make is assuming that a higher power is a predetermined concept that they are forced to accept. It is clearly stated in the Big Book that one should “choose a God of his or her own understanding.” This is very confusing for many people. So what does it mean exactly?

We like to keep it very simple and take an open-minded approach in matters of God. Ideas will differ from person to person. I will speak to my own experience of the journey I took to find a higher power and how it has helped me.

A higher power is simply something bigger than yourself. The idea is simple. It is something to belong to. People need to feel connected to something. It is human instinct for us to need to feel a “part of” and to feel like we belong. For me, a higher power was something as simple as energy.

Like many other young people entering recovery, I was confused with how a God of my understanding would help me. I asked, “What does God have to do with any of this?”

Many addicts spend their lives on a path governed by self-will. Self-will and control is an illusion; it only exists in our own perception of reality. Finding a higher power is a way to give up control and subsequently, give up the burden of the future. The only thing any of us can control are our own actions. That’s it. Everything else is, and always will be, completely out of our control. “Giving it to God” is simply a medium to acceptance. The closer you are connected to your higher power, the easier it is to hand stuff over.

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Science and Spirituality

When I first heard this idea, I was defensive. I spent so many years thinking that God was simply a mechanism humans created to give clarity to things we don’t understand. I didn’t, and still don’t, feel comfortable with the idea that life is predestined for us, by God. I am analytical and I like empirical data.

In the beginning of my recovery I was simply taking things at face value. I was acting on suggestions given to me by other people. I heard that if I did these things, I would stay sober and that’s what I wanted. However, I could not deny that very little of this made sense to me. But I kept searching.

Here is what happened for me. I do not say this to impose my beliefs on you. I am simply pointing out that if it is possible for me to find a higher power, it is possible for anyone else who may have doubts.

I’ve always believed that everything in the Universe has energy. Moreover everything IS energy. This is scientifically proven. Everything is connected. I studied this idea. It became clear to me that science and spirituality really aren’t all that different.

Everything in the Universe is connected; the plants, the sky, the stars, and even gravity. It all interacts in perfect harmony to create this beautiful existence and relationship of energy. I realized that I already had a higher power. I didn’t need convincing because it was based on fact. I found that merely being alive meant that I was connected to everyone around me and everything that will ever exist. This was such a revelation. I found something to believe in. At the time, I still didn’t understand why I needed it.

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