Most of us in addiction recovery are told that we need to believe in a “power greater than ourselves” and that we have to turn our lives over to this power, that many choose to call “God”. To many newcomers, these concepts feel overwhelming and daunting. Due to unwillingness or seeming inability to grasp and grow with these concepts, many return to active addiction.
Many factors exist when an addict first enters recovery. Perhaps you were raised without any teachings of God. There was no religion or spiritual principles in your family to form a starting point for your beliefs. Then you come to get clean and are told to believe in something that is totally foreign to you.
Or maybe you were raised with a religion and for a variety of reasons, you decided to turn your back on it. Perhaps was God was taught to you as a vengeful and punitive entity. Or maybe you witnessed hypocrisy among members in your place of worship. Or perhaps you noticed the pain and darkness in the world and figured it was God’s fault. And then you came to a conclusion, either conscious or unconscious, that you didn’t need a God. That you could handle your own life just fine.
Until your addiction grew out of control and overtook you and you were frightened at realizing that you needed help. This help is “God”.
If you feel resistant to this word, that’s common and it is your ego talking. Pick any word your like…Higher Power, Great Spirit, Universe, etc. In fact, you are invited to make a list of 100 different names for “God”. In so doing, you are gently inviting your brain and ego to shift to mind and spirit. When this happens, your ability to feel “God” begins.
And what does “God” feel like to a recovering addict? God feels like unconditional love. Most humans find this impossible to attain without God. God feels like hope and compassion and wisdom and non-judgment. And all other positive, life-affirming sensations that we were unable to experience during active addiction. And one of the most beautiful sensations of God you will receive, usually shortly after just a grain of belief, is that the obsession to use will go away. This is huge, so it will be repeated…your obsession to engage in your addictions will go away. Think of all the pain and time you spent obsessing about alcohol and/or other drugs, gambling, sex, shopping, and on and on. When you let your concept of God in, this goes away.
Your conceptualization and understanding of God will morph and flow as you live each day in recovery. With each shift in your perception, beautiful changes take place. As you feel closer to God, without your ego or intellect getting in the way, you will help others and want to. You will pray and meditate every day and if you miss a day, you will notice. You will be less judgmental and more compassionate. You may experience some difficult or painful life events, but you will live them with dignity and grace because you know God has your back.
Due to limitations of page space, this article will stop here. But there will be more because God has no limitations and is our essence. Stay close to the God of your understanding and as a dear friend of mine likes to say…”Be insatiably curious about your recovery!”