by Mark H.
I came into AA alcoholic, angry and atheist. I mean, I went to atheist/theist debates, gave the atheists money and read their newsletter. Back then I lived in Denver, which was a big center for atheist thought and action at the time.
Alas, like abusing alcohol and drugs, I found in sobriety that atheism didn’t work for me. Neither, however, was I ever going to be part of any organized religion. I was born into a Catholic ‘family,’ but it never took. Religion was not in my genes and never would be.
Of your own choosing
Thus, I was happy to learn in those early days that AA did not advocate any specific religious and instead allows members to pick a higher power of their own choosing…..or not. If this hadn’t been the case, I would not have stayed in AA and probably would have ended up dead.
But, after some sober time, and with more time on my hands, I began taking up some old hobbies and acquiring new ones…..many of them having to do with the outdoors where I did have spiritual inklings, feelings and experiences.
Some prodding from AA and other sources also played a role. One book by Melody Beattie said studies found that many with long term sobriety had found and were following a spiritual path. This especially interested me as I really wanted to stay sober (one day at a time for the rest of my life!).
Also, and this appealed to my intellectual side, the AA Big Book says in regards to a higher power that condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance. This undeniable truth, by the way, is attributed to an 18th Century clergyman.
So, as my mind and body cleared from 19 years of substance abuse, I began walking the first spiritual path I had ever taken in a sincere way. I must say, it felt good, right and natural for me. Now, 31 years sober, I remain a nature spiritualist. It works for me.
Just recently, however, in the last two years or so, I’ve come to realize AA is also one of my higher powers. I’ve heard many times in AA that the group or even a door knob can be your higher power. I’ve heard more than a few people, mostly newcomers, but not all of them, profess in meetings that door knobs is their higher power. This still brings a smile to my face. I still love that independent streak in people, in myself.
All this said, I do acknowledge much of AA is based on Christianity, and I live in a largely Christian society, although that is changing now.
Like AA, I don’t care what brand of spirituality you are or not. What I really care about is alcoholic people getting into recovery and staying sober for today.
May The Force Be With You!!! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!!)