Powerlessness, AA, and addiction recovery: Developing a new relationship to your Higher Power
Are you on the path toward spiritual healing after addiction? Read on here for more on losing and gaining power in the process of recovery. Then, we invite your feedback and comments at the end!
The Power of Powerlessness
When I first entered a program of recovery many years ago, I relapsed over and over again. For two whole years I struggled to string thirty consecutive days of sobriety together. The reason for this struggle is because I absolutely refused to believe I was powerless. I simply wasn’t buying the fact that I couldn’t socially smoke cocaine, and then put it down when I wanted to, even though countless experiences had shown me, (in extremely harsh ways, I might add) that I couldn’t.
It wasn’t until I’d had a particularly demoralizing evening of “going to any lengths” to get just one more hit, that I had the deepest epiphany of my life, and that was “I absolutely could not “not” do this to myself. Bill Wilson, founder of AA states, “We suffer from sudden mental blank spots, and will not be able to recall with sufficient memory our last binge.”
Well, I’ll go a step further. Powerlessness to me is when you can recall exactly what happened during your last spree, and you still go back for more; powerlessness is when you know that this spree might mean your death, and still you go back for more; powerlessness is having no idea how far you’ll go this time for that one more hit, drink, relationship, food, or whatever you’re addiction happens to be, and still – you go back for one more.
It was only through the realization and acceptance of my powerlessness, did I finally get it – and surrendered my entire will, being and life over to the care of anything greater than myself. After all, secrets keep us sick, and it was time to address the psycho-emotional issues that were fueling addictive behaviors. But what was I getting myself into?
What is powerlessness?
So, powerlessness is actually, well – powerful! And that worked…for awhile.
As time went on, however, I came to understand that – while powerlessness is an imperative and necessary place to began, it was never intended that we pull over and park there. Its only intention was to create such an opening and state of surrender, that we would finally give way to something that is infinite and divine – the true power – God.
While the Steps provide that initial contact with the Divine, which they are designed to do – they manage to keep the power greater than ourselves outside, up there, and out there somewhere. At ten years of sobriety, that “out there” God simply stopped working for me. Believing in a power outside of myself kept my self-worth, self-awareness and self-love a step beyond where I was – and I was constantly trying to get It to come over to where I was hanging out and lend a helping hand.
Bringing a Higher Power back home
I was at another important turning point in my recovery, and as I began the process of taking the “Power greater than myself” out of the rooms of recovery, the churches, the books and from out there, and unify with It as my own intrinsic nature – my whole identification shifted. It shifted the false beliefs I held about myself of being broken, unworthy, fearful and shamed, to wholeness.
We come to a realization of our worth, deservingness and magnificence because that is the nature of our Higher Power, God, Universal Presence or whatever you choose to call it, because – yes – we are one with It. And if we are one with it, then that must be the reality of who we are as well.
I remember how difficult it was to pull God out of the sky and connect It to my own being. Conceiving God and myself as one felt foreign and hard to grasp, as it is for most people. Especially those of us who were raised believing in a reticent, moody, judgmental and unforgiving Higher Power. There are those like myself at first, who don’t even feel worthy of saying that they’re one with God — or it feels blasphemous based on the beliefs we grew up with.
That is why it is so vitally important to be willing to put aside our antiquated fearful belief system in order to have an expanded understanding and new experience of God – and our oneness with It.
This expanded sense of God encompasses all-power (omnipotence), all-presence (omnipresence) and all-knowingness (omniscience).
It’s qualities are expansive and creative in nature: love, peace, joy, harmony, health, affluence, excellence, synergy, and all the adjectives describing good that you can think of.
And like a hologram that retains its completeness even when divided into parts, the wholeness of divine power is encoded in Its entirety into all things.
And “all things” includes each one of us.
It is at this point that we transform from powerlessness to spiritual empowerment and emotional mastery, and can say with our whole hearts, “Through my conscious union with the Infinite Universal Presence, I am powerful, clear and free. Through the realization that God is within me, expressing as me, my life is in divine and perfect order.”
Soul Recovery, the process that Nicholson developed to heal herself of cocaine addiction – unifying the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous with spiritual principles and practices – has guided thousands to their recovery and highest potential. The book includes a forward by Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith. For more information, please visit: www.soulrecovery.org
Photo credit: Martin Cathrae