But I Don’t Believe In God

After undergoing years of torturous dependency on a relentless chemical substance, after desperation and unanswered begs for relief from physical anguish and emotional bareness, it is easy to lose faith in God. Many addicts and alcoholics feel as if God has abandoned them, forgotten about them or instead decided to focus on more promising others – those with unwavering devotion and a seeming chance at future success and lasting impression. This strained relationship with a higher power is extremely complex, and it is one that must be at least slightly altered if one chooses to attempt recovery from addiction through the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous (or any other 12-step program). While the first step revolves around feelings of desperation and raw willingness, the second step revolves around feelings of hope and faith in something greater. The second step concedes that “a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity”, which not only indicates that we are presently insane, but that our relationship with God, if it be resentful, mistrusting, or nonexistent, must change slightly to allow for the honest manifestation of this belief.

“Can Restore Us To Sanity” – Girl, You Crazy

Before we touch on all of that ‘higher power’ stuff, lets first come to believe that we are insane – the first of two necessary beliefs included in the second step of Alcoholics Anonymous. The definition of insanity, as we should all know, is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. How many times have we sworn on all that is holy that tonight we will only drink beer, or stop after three mixed drinks (eh, five), or be sure to get into bed by 2 at the latest because we have to wake up early for work and we really don’t want to be hungover again. We know these are all impossibilities – we have tried before, and we have failed miserably. But yet, we try again, convincing ourselves that this time – this time will be different. We are clearly insane by anyone’s standards, this part is pretty easy to understand, admit, and accept. But now that we are fully aware of our insanity, how can we possibly remedy it?

Coming to Believe in a Power Greater Than Ourselves

Admitting to our irrationality goes hand-in-hand with our understanding that we are incapable of coping with the vastly detrimental disease of addiction on our own. We are diseased of the mind and the body, and even our very best efforts to maintain sobriety have faltered when not bolstered by something outside of ourselves. The word God is used loosely – there is absolutely no religious affiliation whatsoever in Alcoholics Anonymous. The program simply fosters spiritual growth, while allowing each individual member to comprehensively develop his or her own notion of what exactly spirituality entails. While the conceptualization of some outside power, force, or influence is crucial to the program, one’s higher power is completely determined by their own personal values and beliefs. Until we have accepted that some external force, something, anything, greater than ourselves may have the ability to return us to sanity, we will not be able to truly reap the unbelievable benefits the program will lay out before us.

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