Perhaps one of the greatest challenges people face when committing to a 12-step program is the “God part.” It is often the case that we feel let down or forgotten by God, or that God has somehow favored others over us. The freedom to define a Higher Power for ourselves is liberating. As we are encouraged to align with a God of our understanding, we begin to see the light in a very real way. But what about atheists and agnostics? There are those who are perfectly comfortable not believing in God or questioning the existence of “a Power greater than ourselves.” And yes, they get sober, too…
Sometimes you forget just how important it is to have confidence in yourself until the moment you need it most. For many battling addiction, years of substance abuse has eroded all traces of self-assurance and makes recovery seem like an impossible goal. There comes a moment where the next step is either the sober path or deeper addiction — and you have to feel certain about your choice. We recently spoke to a few people in addiction recovery who explained that confidence isn’t just helpful in the process, but necessary. Here are a few of the insights they shared with us.
The title of today’s post is a lyric from the song “I’m on Fire” by Chuck Negron. Chuck is a former member of the band, Three Dog Night, and he recently released a video for the song. “I’m on Fire” is a beautiful tune that communicates Chuck’s struggle with addiction and his journey to spirituality and 25 years of sobriety. If you love this song––and the video––like we do , be sure to visit Chuck Negron’s YouTube channel.
Lately I’ve noticed attendance is kind of low at my regular meetings. It’s summer, and people are vacationing, and I find myself wondering, are my sober sisters and brothers attending meetings wherever they are? I don’t mean this in an inventory-taking kind of way; rather, I am genuinely interested. I love finding meetings when I travel to other cities––or even countries. Today’s guest post talks about attending AA meetings no matter where you are.
Wouldn’t Bill Wilson be a great choice when playing that game of “pick 3 people – alive or dead – fictional or real – that you’d like to sit with at a dinner table and shoot the breeze?” One thing I’d ask is, “How literally did you mean to suggest that the Big Book be taken? Do you think that there is any room for interpretation in the program?” In my imaginary conversation, Bill would say, “Hell,” (because he seems like the kind of crusty old codger who would start off like that) “I just want people to be able to stay sober and live in the sunlight of the spirit so they will know the joy, peace, and serenity I have come to know.”
We are in a constant state of wanting. Wanting the next stage, wanting the next thing to happen, wanting because we do not want to be where we are. When I get to the next stage in my life I will truly be successful. My life will have started. I will have everything I have always wanted. It will be great then.
It’s the little things that remind me I really am getting better at surrendering that which I cannot control, at changing the things I can, and unleashing my wisdom to choose ease and grace over struggle and strife. It can be something as simple as coffee, or lack thereof. I don’t consider coffee a vice, though I do have a borderline addictive desire for it each morning. However, it is the even stronger desire to lace it with CoffeeMate hazelnut creamer, with its list of unpronounceable, multi-syllabic ingredients, none of which seem to involve a cow, which poses potential concern.
Most people would agree that spirituality is the foundation of recovery. Even those who initially struggle with the idea of a Higher Power usually discover a spiritual hunger within themselves. Fortunately, twelve-step programs urge us to find our own definition of God. I believe the primary reason New Thought harmonizes with Alcoholic Anonymous so beautifully is that neither approach attempts to tell us what to think; rather, each offers an effective model for how to think. For those of us who adhere to both philosophies, this is a match made in heaven.