Defining our Higher Power (part 2)

I’ve been through a few versions of a higher power. The first was just the meeting I went to: whatever those folks were doing in there was obviously more powerful than anything I could come up with, since they were sober and I wasn’t. So that was a good start: turning it over meant going to the meeting and trying whatever they were doing.

Next, when I started working the Steps, my sponsor encouraged me to come up with something more specific, more personal. I went with that “inner voice” which, even in the depths of my disease, was telling me to quit pot, reminding me that I hate it. I decided then that “turning it over” meant listening to that voice. I came to think of it as tuning in the Gad Radio Channel, over all the noise and static in my head.

Once I got into the groove with that, I started experiencing all those “non-coincidence coincidences” that are so magical. I saw it this way: God sends me a message, I can’t comprehend where it comes from or how it arrives, but I can tune it in and try to follow it, and whenever I do, it seems like I get some kind of positive confirmation or encouragement that I had done right.

Now, my new sponsor is a stickler for something specific. He says, “You need something you can get your mind around so when you have to, you can turn things over to it.” For this, I come up with a constant line of analogies, like these: We’re all adrift in the ocean, which is large beyond comprehension, and we’ll die alone in it, but God is like a boat we can survive in. Or God is the electricity that makes the little boat’s engines run. Or God is simple, pure Truth, the way things really are, not the way my ego tells me they are or should be. Or (my current favorite) God is the absence of ego. Or god is the true and only source of wisdom and compassion.

I just heard anther good one recently: think of God as a flow of electricity much stronger than we could ever capture, but things like 12-step programs, churches and spiritual practice act like a transformer, allowing us to put the power to use and see that it’s working.

I agree that MA did a good thing taking the gender out of God, and I’m glad I have some useful concepts to work with — as well as two great sponsors!

January 22, 2008

Paul Gerald

I am the author of several books on hiking, camping, eating breakfast and chilling out. I am also a freelance travel writer, publisher, hiker, and inveterate traveler.

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