If I could really Choose my own concept of a Higher Power I would do just that.
All well and fine, right? I mean, that’s great for other people but what about me? What about those who have a deep and abiding aversion to the concept of God, the word God and anything remotely associated with God, religion or the general idea of spirituality? There’s good news for you folks too. Dig in for a minute, and we’ll get there.
The first step in a 12-step fellowship generally covers two pertinent ideas – powerlessness and unmanageability. In AA this step reads, “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.” Pretty straightforward stuff – we’re powerless over what we’d been putting into our body and as a result our lives had become unmanageable. Powerlessness was the root of the dilemma.
In step two we’re instructed, “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” Alright, so if powerlessness was the root problem, then it’s logical that power would be the solution, and that power would need to be greater than us. If our power alone were enough we’d have solved our own problem. It isn’t and we couldn’t. And the end result was insanity – check your own behavioral history, certainly you can see the insanity of your decisions. If we define sanity as “soundness of mind,” our unsound behaviors ought to be pretty clear. The goal is to be RESTORED to soundness of mind, and you can’t be restored to a condition you already exist in.
Step three states, “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives to the care of God as we understood Him.” It’s important we note that we are only making a decision in this step, to turn our will and our lives over to Something that we have begun to understand. This is important because this step is often misstated as the step where, “I turned it over.” Not the case, it’s just a decision. For example, if I decide to take a trip to New York, I have made a decision. However, if I don’t take the action necessary to support that decision – buy a plane ticket, pack my bags, get to the airport and get on the plane – my decision is useless. In much the same way, when we make a decision in step three we need to support that decision with the necessary action. That’s what happens in the subsequent steps, the next being a “searching and fearless moral inventory”.
Let’s slow down just a bit though, we’re not quite there yet. Steps 1 through 3 are often shortened to “I can’t” (step 1), “He can,” (step 2), “I think I’ll let Him” (step 3). Most of us can get our heads around that idea; however, what happens when you are struggling with whatever “Him” is? You wouldn’t be the first, and for sure won’t be the last. Let’s see if we can come up with some simple solution here too.