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).