Choose your higher power wisely.
The second most common mistake people make in recovery is to not choose a higher power. They do this despite its prominence in the steps and at recovery meetings of all flavors. It’s as if that first lie we ever told ourselves, “I got this” or “I’m in control,” just won’t die. Folks try and fail because if you truly had this, you wouldn’t need to recover in the first place. All that wreckage and disarray in your life when you first sober up is a direct result of the “I got this” mentality. “I’m in control” got you to rock bottom. To think that you and you alone can lead yourself out of that mess is only setting you up for failure. If you are struggling with finding and relying on a higher power then please consider these two steps:
Step 1: Get specific! Your higher power cannot be vague or undefined. Rarely do I meet someone with long-term sobriety whose higher power is “nature” or “God”. The vast majority of those who are in long-term recovery have a well-defined higher power. They know exactly who it is they are leaning on and into. They have done their due diligence in researching them and have become intimately familiar with how they can aid them in recovery. It’s not enough to say that “God” is your higher power if you have no concept of who/what He is or how He operates in your life. Dig in and read up on who/what it is because your success in recovery depends on it. Interview those in long-term recovery to get a starting point, but don’t just appropriate their thoughts. You must study it out for yourself, and personalize the relationship. Failure to do so will only mean that in your weakest moment, when you need it most, your higher power won’t be there for you. Not because it can’t, but because you didn’t take the time to develop the relationship.
Step 2: Incorporate your higher power into your lifestyle. You shouldn’t have to tell someone who is familiar with you who/what your higher power is. They should know based on your lifestyle. You can’t tell me your higher power is God and then not have a church you regularly attend or a Bible you regularly read. Your higher power must have time to regularly provide input into your life. Relapses start long before the first use. They invariably involve a series of steps where lifestyle changes made early in recovery are tossed aside. Any higher power worth their salt will call you to task when these changes start being discarded. The void will get filled by something and left to our own devices, that something will be a substance. If you have a higher power that isn’t present in your daily life, you don’t have a higher power. If I say my higher power is ____ and yet there is no evidence on it in my lifestyle, then I don’t really have a higher power. You can’t fake a higher power any more than you can fake long-term sobriety. The two are intricately entwined meaning you either have both or you have neither.
If you have a history of relapses, especially if 90 days, is about as long a term of sobriety as you can make then you need a higher power. You must have something greater than you to call upon in order to get over the hump. True and lasting sobriety is possible but unobtainable without a higher power at work in your life. Failure to spend the time and effort to learn and incorporate it into your life will result in relapse. At the same time, a well-defined higher power that is present in your lifestyle will result in lasting sobriety. The great news is that it’s not too late to start. If you could consider Jesus as your higher power then please contact either me or my friends at Step Seven. If you can’t, then find a similar recovery community and become involved with them. Either way get started today!
Thom Straley - Thom is the Executive Director at Step Seven Ministries & is a certified life coach specializing in addiction recovery and small business growth as Aim Point Coaching. To learn more about Aim Point Coaching, visit Thom's website by clicking the link above!