Where it says “God”

For myself this was a major hurdle in adopting the AA 12 steps.  “God” – there was that word, it appears in steps 3, 5, 6 and 11 explicitly and implicitly in 2 and 7 – well in 7 “Him” is used to mean “God” and in 2 the phrase “Power greater than ourselves” is used. I looked at this and the use of God in the serenity prayer which most meetings in the UK end with using – and God does appear liberally through the text of Alcoholics Anonymous, and I thought – this isn’t for me I don’t believe.  I actually wish I did – if I had that belief and followed a standard religion I think it’d all be easier for me than the path I’ve walked.

I wouldn’t say I was or am an atheist but I’m certainly a militant agnostic. I tried religion twice seriously in my younger days, in my early/mid teens and again in my early 20s just after my Dad died and around the time of getting married.  Both times I walked away – because? Well because firstly it was like some odd club that you almost got elected into tacitly, I hated that feeling.  I also was annoyed frequently by the hypocrisy I saw around me in church congregations – they weren’t doing anything like I heard they should be from the bible and frequently comments I heard were downright offensive etc.  Finally … and the big stumbling block – I didn’t believe in the major tenants of Christianity – I didn’t believe in the virgin birth, I didn’t believe Jesus died and rose again from the dead, I didn’t believe the miracles and I didn’t believe Jesus was the son of God.  A great man don’t get me wrong with some brilliant teachings but I didn’t believe in some of what was basic to the religion.

So we come esp to Step 2 and 3 of the programme.  Reminded to me since recently I’ve attended step meetings on both.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

So firstly I struggled with a Power to look to.  Firstly I tried to make it too complicated and secondly I was looking outside – another external thing to fix me.  Reading appendix 2 (vital reading for anyone new into the programme I believe) it says… “…found an inner resource…”  INNER!  Took me many re-readings of that to get what that said.  I looked inside – there was this thing, the thing that had actually be the rebellion against church and religion actually that was in me – the core – the driver – the soul.

I listened to it – I realised that that was my higher power something I believe comes from before me and will exist after me a lifeforce that does connect us all together in someway.  I try to tune into it via step 11 – I try to nurture it and grow with it.  I charge it up regularly by attending AA meetings where I find people who’ve done the impossible, stop drinking and lead a good life.  Something I thought was beyond me in my last days of drinking.  I steal a bit of each of those people’s higher power and plug into this spirit inside me and charge up my AA battery so that I can rely on it to be there when times get rough.

So for me god now is short hand for “Good Orderly Direction” – the spirit inside of me that drives my life and “Group Of Drunks” the source of electricity to charge up that spirit.

Someone said at one of the step meetings I described this “eloquently” – I’m not sure I do but I thought I would share it here – it is a big big point in the programme finding something that works for you… see when the word God is introduced in Step 2 it says there “as we understood him” – that is how I understand it (him makes no sense in my definition my spirit is sexless).

About furtheron

Music and guitar obsessive who is a recovering alcoholic to boot
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7 Responses to Where it says “God”

  1. byebyebeer says:

    I’d forgotten Good Orderly Direction, but recall finding an epiphany the first time I’d heard “the next right thing”. The former being catchier and it ties in nicely with the whole God thing. God talk definitely trips up a lot of people up and even turns some away. I’m sure the free mention was born of a time when more people blindly accepted religion and now it feels a little outdated (not the only thing, frankly). It’s a challenge that can be overcome with time for those who stick around and explore it from a personal angle. I remember feeling turned off by God talk throughout my AA experience, but at the same time sure I believed in something bigger than myself. I found the most comfort from people like yourself who had started out atheists or militant agnostics (love that, btw) and stuck around long enough to find peace through a god of their own understanding.

  2. sherryd32148 says:

    I definitely believe in a higher power outside myself…to many miracles in my life not to. I also believe that there are no coincidences or mistakes, that everything happens for a reason. As for religion? While I was born a Catholic and will always be one, I walked away from organized religion a long time ago for exactly the reasons you did. The hypocrisy was the one that really fried my cookies.

    Now I have a peace and spirituality like I’ve never had. I have a one on one close relationship with my God and I love it. Like all long term relationships, we drift in and out of each other’s lives but will remain together forever.

    As for the lifeforce or soul…well that’s why I sign all my posts with “Namaste”. When you are with your lifeforce or soul and I am with mine…we are one.

    Namaste my friend. Excellent, thought provoking post.


  3. Your views on religion aren’t far from mine. I do believe there is something out there bigger and more powerful than me — I just don’t know that it gives me a moments’ pause.

  4. This is an excellent work-around, as I, too, would have a problem with all the piety. Looking within is a very Zen concept. Have you ever meditated? You can meditate in conjunction with any other faith or religious belief. Unlike the Christians, Buddhism is all-inclusive, all-welcoming.

    • furtheron says:

      I have tried Buddhist style meditation – unsuccessfully because I failed to really take it seriously enough! Interestingly Step 11 of the AA program is

      11 Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

      So meditation is more than ok within AA – and this was written in the 30s remember – very forward thinking for that time I’d wager. I try to “get in touch with my soul” I suppose that is the closet to it. Maybe I should try the meditation thing again

      • It’s actually the most difficult/easy thing you’ll ever try. Just sit and monitor your breath. So easy!

        Meditating is like quitting drinking…you have to really want to do it in order for it to “take.” It’s been a long, long time and I frequently became discouraged but I’ve finally managed to learn how to use it to clear my mind. It’s a wonderful crutch that I take with me everywhere I go.

  5. Elsie says:

    We share similar views about the church. Too many hypocrites and that didn’t bode well with me. Once I accepted the idea that’s it’s okay to love God in my own way and through my actions, I was a happier person. I believe IN him I just don’t believe I have to attend a church to be loved BY him. I work steps one, two and three on a daily basis. It’s part of me trying not to be the one in control all the time. Sometimes it’s just out of our hands for something bigger than us to worry about.

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