Can you be your own higher power?

The 12 Steps are the AA program of recovery from alcoholism.
Wildernesscameron
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Can you be your own higher power?

Post by Wildernesscameron »

I've been to a couple AA meetings where one or two participants have said they've found their Higher Power within themselves. How can this be true? From my understanding, the first step (being the most important step) is complete surrender...owning the fact that you are powerless. If I am powerless, then how can I be my own Higher Power?

I'd greatly appreciate any help here. Thanks in advance...

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avaneesh912
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Re: Can you be your own higher power?

Post by avaneesh912 »

you work the 12 steps and you will experience god. forget about what others say.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

Wildernesscameron
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Re: Can you be your own higher power?

Post by Wildernesscameron »

So does that mean that a person cannot be their own higher power? I am certainly leaning this way, but am looking for some clarity on why.

By the way, thank you very much for responding, avaneesh912.

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johnd
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Re: Can you be your own higher power?

Post by johnd »

Hi Wilderness,
A very good question, which will get some attention I'm sure. I am not a Spritual giant in recovery so I would like to share. What they may be implying is they may be athiest a non belief or conception of a higher power or supreme being.
I am the type who lacked faith when I got sober. I did have a concept of a higher power but for me this power was only available on my terms. In all honesty it would be a little hard to run on power from within. I mean that would probably say that you are taking credit for everything that was brought about by you. That is how I interpet the Great I Am wouldn't you say. Anyhow, Listen to how they solve their problems, they may be discontented may sound like they are complaining and they probably go on sharing a little
a little longer than the others. This is where you can see them fighting alcohol as opposed to surrendering and admiting powerlessness, I had a similar experience when I started out in A.A. I saw the word powerless and I closed my mind to it. No way was I powerless I was going to beat this, and get on with my life. Putting the drink down was only the beginning the solution of keeping it down was the admission of Personal Powerlessness. Then we had to believe in a Power Greater Than Ourselves. Taking us out of our own care, Put the problem on to to someting that was not inside me.... Left to my own devices I will surely drink. I hope was able to help you. Like I said earlier I'm sure you will get some responses anyways good luck and thanks posting John D
Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans- Anonymous

Wildernesscameron
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Re: Can you be your own higher power?

Post by Wildernesscameron »

JohnD,
Thank you very much! I do agree that my inner strength fails me and I do believe in God as my higher power. It is difficult to understand when someone suggests they have found the means to fight their addiction within themselves when I have clearly been unable to do the same. You have been very helpful.

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ann2
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Re: Can you be your own higher power?

Post by ann2 »

Hi and welcome! I just wanted to add this quote from the BB for consideration:
With few exceptions our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource [italics mine] which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves.
Appendix I

I think this is very interesting, because of course we often hear the idea of a power outside of ourselves. I have worked with atheists and made use of this quote, and as someone interested in meditation I'd have to say that I have made use of an unsuspected inner resource.

Just adding this to the discussion, for what it's worth --

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

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Tosh
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Re: Can you be your own higher power?

Post by Tosh »

Wildernesscameron wrote:I've been to a couple AA meetings where one or two participants have said they've found their Higher Power within themselves. How can this be true? From my understanding, the first step (being the most important step) is complete surrender...owning the fact that you are powerless. If I am powerless, then how can I be my own Higher Power?

I'd greatly appreciate any help here. Thanks in advance...
In another spiritual tradition, one of the ways to be a member is to take refuge in three things:

1. Their spiritual community
2. The teachings
3. The teacher (now dead)

But the monks in that tradition teach that the deeper meaning of taking refuge in those three things is to take refuge in ourselves.

My own thoughts? I don't worry too much about what my Higher Power is because I tend to draw strength from lots of different places. I have found power in the fellowship (and I include this forum within that), from my sponsor, from Mrs Tosh, from sponsees, from the Big Book, from the Steps and surprisingly from inside myself; and probably from other places that don't immediately spring to mind.

Maybe my concept of God is pantheistic (i.e. God is in everything?).

And another thing I've done is go on a big spiritual search, looking for the deeper stuff. I started with my country's traditional religion, but that didn't make sense, so then I embarked on a two year foundation course (quite heavy going at times) in an Eastern religion. They even made me do regular essays on philosophical stuff!!! It wasn't easy; I'm a Geordie (a kind of 'redneck' I guess would be the US equivalent). However, like everything, I tend to overcomplicate it at first, then when I'm in a muddle, I take a step back and proceed to do it the better, simpler way. My two year course was good, in that I've found it's best to keep things simple and I've kinda ended up back to where I began, with the 12 Steps.

I'm not saying it's wrong to overcomplicate stuff, it's how I work, and I learn from it. I'm the kind of person who feels that the more complex something is, the more I'll benefit from it. But my experience shows me that that's not true.

I guess with any Higher Power debate we can all get a bit deep and philosophical, but the truth of the matter is that this kind of knowledge doesn't make me happy. It's like the old 'self knowledge' thing the Big Book talks about; we can't stay sober with self knowledge, nor can we get happy by philosophical knowledge. I think it helps for a foundation, but the 'secret' really is in the doing the actions contained in the 12 Steps.

I maintain that you do not need to believe a thing (all that's required is some faith (Step 2), otherwise we're not going to bother in the first place), and that if we just carry out the actions, honestly, with an open mind, and willingly, our life will change for the better. It's a program of action, not beliefs.

I hope I've not drivelled on too much. :mrgreen:
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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avaneesh912
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Re: Can you be your own higher power?

Post by avaneesh912 »

So does that mean that a person cannot be their own higher power? I am certainly leaning this way, but am looking for some clarity on why.
Each and every person has great divine qualities within themselves. Because of the nature of this fellowship I cannot go deeper than that. However: what shields us from tapping into that resource is our incessant thinking. All the garbage we carry, spiritual teachings refer to that as a conditioned mind. What the 12 steps does is, removes the contamination and we start experiencing that divine attributes within us.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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avaneesh912
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Re: Can you be your own higher power?

Post by avaneesh912 »

Just received this text from a friend.

"By withdrawing into the sanctity of our souls, we can also know ourselves. This effort cannot be carried forth by others. It can only be accomplished through self-effort of living and engaging in ongoing contemplation. Only we can enter the most sacred core of our beings and find the secret of life" - Ming-Dao.

In AA we use the 12 steps to get there.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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Layne
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Re: Can you be your own higher power?

Post by Layne »

Wildernesscameron wrote: and I do believe in God as my higher power. .
That is wonderful that you are not having difficulty with an understanding of your higher power because that is a sticking point for a lot of people.

Step 11 suggests that I improve my conscious contact with God as I understood God. For this alcoholic, straying into the territory of the whys and hows of other peoples' concept of a higher power does nothing to help me improve my conscious contact with my higher power.

Even though many times I may have the best intentions :wink: (wanting to save them or to prove my point) for wanting to understand other people's beliefs, I and the rest of the universe seems to be better served by me focusing on and understanding my beliefs. When I do that, my understanding of other people's beliefs comes more easily.

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Re: Can you be your own higher power?

Post by Jaywalker Steve »

If I could be my own higher power, then I wouldn't have to admit powerlessness over alcohol. In other words, alcohol is a power greater than Steve. As such, I need a Power greater than alcohol and Steve to stay sober.
Every group has men and women who put too much thought and effort into their daily sobriety and not enough of themselves into their daily living. - Ed B., Akron, OH

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Re: Can you be your own higher power?

Post by Lali »

All of this anylization is making my head spin. By definition, one's "higher" power cannot be oneself. Additionally, if those people described by the OP who "have found the means to fight their addiction within themselves", why do they need AA?
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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Tommy-S
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Re: Can you be your own higher power?

Post by Tommy-S »

It was said...
...said they've found their Higher Power within themselves.. then how can I be my own Higher Power?
First, I see a BIG difference in finding the Higher Power within, and being THE Higher Power.
And our Big Book substantiates what you heard those fellows say...
"Actually, we were fooling ourselves, for deep down IN every man, woman, and child is the fundamental idea of God... We finally saw that faith in some kind of God was a part of our make-up.... We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found." (BB, pg 55)

(Ann included the 'Inner Resource' the Appendix II mentions)

Finding the G O D within is Not the same as Being the G O D.

And though I spent a lot of time reading, learning and studying spiritual/religious matter, but all I found was GOD as 'they'' understood Him. This G O D as "I understand Him' is the Spiritual Experience as the Result of the Steps.

It's a great question to bring to one's sponsor, and with his help, get through the Steps to find what those who went before us found... Because, as their experience states, "It is Only there He may be found"

And Welcome to the site :)

Thanks... Tommy
Together, we don't have to cave in or wimp out to that Fatal First One, no matter what today!

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Re: Can you be your own higher power?

Post by Jaywalker Steve »

Lali wrote:All of this anylization is making my head spin...
My head hurts and I have a thick skull. :lol: :oops:
Every group has men and women who put too much thought and effort into their daily sobriety and not enough of themselves into their daily living. - Ed B., Akron, OH

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Re: Can you be your own higher power?

Post by kenyal »

Speaking only for me, I cannot a power greater than myself. I could be a power equal to myself, and probably am that.

Our book suggests we look within and ask what the spiritual ideas we've been exposed to really mean to us, if they are conceptions we can accept or not. It's more self-honesty than it is somehow awakening our inner Gods or Goddesses. If I am God then I've a list of what I'd like to see on this table right now, and I will be needing a much bigger table shortly, and someone to clean up after me.

I digress. When someone says they've found their HP inside themselves I equate that with making the search within that is suggested. They look within and find their truth there. If it turns out that they are serious in believing they are the most powerful entity ever known to mankind, then I'd move a few seats down and closer to the door.

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