The 12 Step process is a spiritual program.
No amount of will power will bring you any success if you are an addict. No amount of intellectual pursuit will cause you to move forward. No amount of one-on-one therapy, or motivational books will give you recovery. The only thing that will bring you lasting recovery is a relationship – conscious contact – with a Power greater than yourself.
If you are a religious person and attend your church, temple, synagogue or mosque religiously you do not need to think of this program as religious. It is not. You are free to choose your own concept of a Higher Power – God. But I will tell you plainly that your concept of God must include certain elements if it is to be of any help to you. There are essentially four main ingredients:
- Personal: Hears you and speaks to you
- Patient: Understanding and compassionate
- Present: Everywhere and ‘everywhen’ (omnipresence)
- Powerful: Willing and able
Your Higher Power cannot be a door knob; neither can it be your sponsor (your sponsor is only human like you but, hopefully, more engaging than a door knob).
It has been suggested that the group can represent your Higher Power. Is this true? I think it’s a great start; after all, the group ought to be personal, patient, and powerful. If you want your group to represent your Higher Power but the group is lacking in any of these three areas, then I suggest you find another group… or change your concept of a Higher Power.
One long-standing member of our fellowship once got up and referred to his Higher Power as an inner power. I believe he may have been referring to his Higher Self – an Eastern concept in religious thought. Again, totally acceptable if it includes personal, patient and powerful.
Above all, this connection with your Higher Power is a relationship. We did not merely come to “believe in a Higher Power greater than ourselves that could restore us to sanity.” We also “made a decision to turn our lives over to the care of God.”
From that point onward, we develop our relationship with God by trying to improve our conscious contact with God. For this is the essence of the entire program: Spirituality.