I’m in a 12 step program for a 35-year addiction. I’m not going to name what I’m addicted to in this post. Maybe I mentioned it before. I don’t really care. I think all forms of addiction, at their core, are the same. That’s not to say that there are not many different levels and flavors of psychological and physical devastations caused by addictions. What I believe joins them all is that the addicted person has a hole in their soul and they are trying to fill it with whatever they are addicted to. And, spoiler alert, it never works.
So one of the main tenets of an Anonymous program is that you’ve got to really believe and acknowledge that you are out of control with regard to your addiction. And the next part is that you have to believe your higher power (however you conceive it) is the only thing that can save you.
As a pretty militant agnostic, this higher power jazz is tough. But I can’t really honestly say I don’t think there is anything out there. All that Catholic upbringing seared that belief into my brain and I don’t think it will ever go away.
Is it because I’m secretly spiritual in a way? Or is it that some cosmological theories based on reasonable logic lead me to believe there is advanced life out there somewhere. Whether that constitutes a higher power as is described by the 12 step literature I have no idea. But right now it’s definitely part of my conception of my higher power.
My sponsor asked me to define my higher power. So keeping the aforementioned in mind, here’s what I think it is like.
Form: no idea. Bit for me this is wholly trivial. I don’t care if it’s an old dude with a big white beard sitting on a cloud or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Also, I don’t think my higher power places any importance on its form either.
Omnipotent: no. But if I were to wager, at least as powerful as Oprah and Beyoncé. J/K. Nothing is as powerful as those ladies. J/K again. Seriously: probably more powerful than our human minds can comprehend but not omnipotent.
Omniscient: nah. See omnipotent.
Omnipresent: nah. See omnipotent again.
Nature: now this one is tricky. I don’t believe it’s possible that an omnipotent higher power can have a good nature. I don’t care what utter bullshit logical acrobatics a religious advocate tells you: there is NO plan that is morally good that allows shit like Sandy Hook to happen or allows the torture of animals to happen. That’s just the tip of the evil in the world. There is no lesson being taught, there is no sufficient reason for these things to happen if any being could stop them.
But then I feel like I’ve been reborn after wanting to die for 18 months every day all day. Was that just a biological occurrence brought on by stressors? Or was it some higher power breaking me down to a nub so that I could view things in a different, much better way? If this higher power did this for me, someone who is not special or especially kind or important, why wouldn’t this higher power prevent the Trail of Tears (or insert any human atrocity you like)? I always end up at the same place on this point: the higher power is evil or incapable of preventing evil. It cannot be anything else.
So to sum my higher power is likely supremely powerful, intelligent and can probably move through time and space but it chooses not to stop evil or it is incapable of the same.
Is that compatible with what the 12 step philosophy expects from a higher power? Is that kind of being or presence or whatever really interested in or capable of helping me?
I don’t know.
And I certainly do not understand.