I have spent a lot of time talking about all of them. And I have very strong opinions, as most do, about all three. What I am about to say is not meant to offend, enrage, or piss you off. I am only stating my truth and how I roll. I don't care how you chose to roll with any of the above mentioned, as long as you don't tell me how to do it either. Cool?
Having said that, I am going to talk about religion and my higher power. Sit tight, this won't hurt a bit.
Being in a 12-step program means that I had to find a higher power. This was no easy task for me because I don't believe in god like many people believe in god. Well, not the god that many of my American friends believe in. Here is how that may or may not have come about for me.
Growing up, we went to church, and did the church stuff. I got my first communion, went to Sunday School, the whole bit. I saw church as boring and a bummer. I believed in the whole Jesus deal and everything that went with it, the best I could, with what I was taught. We were never really taught about what a relationship with Christ could do for us, we were just made to go to church. There was no spirituality taught really, just another thing we "had" to do.
As I mentioned before, my mom died when I was 16. She was 46. She had lung cancer that lasted one year, She was horrifically sick that year and it took her life at such a tragically young age. That is where any belief in god, any hope that religion could help me, or any thought that I would be taken care of, left me. I knew there was no god after that. No one was in control of anything. No fucking way would a god that loved us, do that to her, or to me. I shut that door tight. I shut the door on trusting anything would ever be okay again.
When I hear people say, "my loved one's cancer is gone, god is great. It is the power of prayer. I KNEW that god would take care of us," it makes no sense to me. Because I can guarantee everyone that just as many people prayed for my young mom and our family. But she got sick and died anyhow. A god didn't fix that for me at all. And I just assumed that god hated me, I felt abandoned, and I walked away from any belief in a god or any higher power. Well... there are MANY other reasons for me, but that is the one that really stopped me dead in my already wavering, faith-tracks.
So when I first looked into outpatient treatment, I searched the yellow-pages for a treatment center that DID NOT use the Twelve Steps. Because god is mentioned WAY too much in those and I thought it was a cult. "A god of our understanding" just plainly meant I was going to have to believe in god. And I didn't want anything to do with god. There was no way I was going to get sucked into that. I had trouble finding such a place, where I live. So I just bit the bullet and decided to go anyway. I was beginning to surrender, and ready to THINK about trying anything to get sober.
As I was introduced to the steps, and the language, I couldn't wrap my head around a"god of my understanding." I felt like I had to have something specific to believe in. I sought out people who weren't religious in the program. I looked into all kinds of other religions or beliefs, well...the top three, mostly. I read books by people who were Atheist or Agnostic and did the 12-steps. None of them really fit. I couldn't feel it. I felt doomed. I couldn't stop feeling like this program wouldn't work for me, because I couldn't commit to anyone else's ideas. This is another reason I relapsed. I tried to skip this part.
This last bout of sobriety, (and hopefully the everlasting) I have come to find a higher power. The most important thing about this, first and foremost, is that the higher power isn't me. I am not in charge of jack shit. I surrendered the idea that I had to find THE god of my understanding. I just went through the motions of the program, practiced letting go, and tried to grasp onto the feeling of doing the next right thing. I don't have to have THE god to do this program. I just have to make it more simple. I use the earth and the universe. Good energy out, good energy in. Simply put, I do the next right thing, and the next right thing will come. Even if it is a shitty thing that comes, I try to do the next right thing. It all will work out as it is meant to. It works for me.
Don't get me wrong, I do the wrong action all of the time. But I don't need to do anything but try again. To try and be a good citizen of the earth by taking care of myself and respecting those around me, one thing at a time. I feel more connected to that concept than any organized religion or a man in the sky. I can see, breathe, and love the earth on which I am standing. Also, love the people on it. Corny, but true.
I am not trying to paint a picture that I am this ultra green, earth mama, who never drinks out of a plastic water bottle, only eats local organic and has an electric car. As much as I would love to be exactly that, I am not. I just try to live fair and accept everyone (well...not those who judge me, I'm too busy judging them) around me. Again, never ever am I close to perfect. But that's my higher power. It makes sense to me.
Now, I know this post might cause some folks to tell me where and when I went wrong with Jesus. If you feel moved to tell me your opinion on this, have at it. I am not going to argue with anyone. And I can appreciate good discussion. There has been a LONG LINE of people, who I am close to, that have taken their turn up to bat at saving my soul. I appreciate that very much. If I believed my loved ones were going to spend their eternity in hellfire, I would try to save them too. Try and understand, as much as you believe this is true, I do not. I respect everyones ideas and faith, and I ask you to do the same.
Follow, or comment or share or something. Otherwise I'll worry I did something wrong.
Oh what...now you think I need to go back to the codependent posts again?
I promise not to discuss politics. Well...today, anyhow...