Higher Power Trouble

They tell you never to talk about religion and politics. Good advice. Especially at a step meeting. On the other hand, when you are talking about the second step, religion and faith always seem to arise.

There are usually some who immediately get the idea of a higher power and another set that struggles to get their head around it. “We Agnostics” in the book helps, but the arguments always come up and the opinions fly.

Addicts are amazingly hard headed people. There’s an art, one I haven’t really mastered, that allows communication past the barriers they’ve erected. The last skilled member I saw lead someone through the difficulties of the “higher power” concept did it this way:

  1. “Do you want to drink?” No. “But you drink anyhow?” Yes.
  2. “So there’s something going on beyond your control?” I guess so.
  3. “Do you do other things you don’t want to do?” Sure, I work overtime or pay bills… “So there are other forces in your life that get you to do this stuff?” Yeah, like the judge that sent me here.
  4. “Those are higher powers.” But those don’t help me stop drinking.
  5. “That’s because alcoholism is a spiritual disease. You’re participating in evil, an evil that taints everything it touches. You need a higher power that operates on that level.” But I don’t believe in any of that spiritual stuff.
  6. “You don’t? Not love, or loyalty, or that feeling you got when your son was born?”

That was the route. I was impressed because it avoided all the “God exists” vs. “God doesn’t exist” stuff. I wish I had that talent — the ability to understand how the steps are going to help this particular person and to reshape the message into a form they will receive. It’s a gift.

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