Power greater than ourselves - HP. Are they the same

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Power greater than ourselves - HP. Are they the same

Postby Greywolf » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:33 am

I frequently hear fellow recovered (or recovering if you prefer) alcoholics refer to their Higher Power. At other times I hear a Power greater than ourselves referred to. And at still other times I hear God used in the same context.

Are they all three the same or is there a difference? This is leading up to the question, "Can one have or believe in a Power greater than oneself to maintain ones spiritual condition or must must one have or believe in a Higher Power or God?"

A conversation came up last night after a meeting when one man shared that he believed in a Power greater than himself but did not believe in God as referred to in the Big Book. He also shared that he has kept quiet about this because he wanted to stay sober and felt he would be preached to at best or ostracized at worst if he admitted it.

His fear of being preached to was immediately confirmed as more than one person immediately tried to convince him that belief in God or a Higher Power was necessary for sobriety.

I have my experience and if this thread shows any interest, I share it.
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Re: Power greater than ourselves - HP. Are they the same

Postby PaigeB » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:36 am

There is One who has all power.

Absolutely they are the same One.
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Re: Power greater than ourselves - HP. Are they the same

Postby Layne » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:25 am

I believe in a power greater than myself. It only behooves me to listen and to learn from the lessons that are sent my way by that power. In the process of doing that, I get more insight into the teacher.
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Re: Power greater than ourselves - HP. Are they the same

Postby Brock » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:40 am

A conversation came up last night after a meeting when one man shared that he believed in a Power greater than himself but did not believe in God as referred to in the Big Book.

I think this is one area in which the big book is particularly clear, probably because Bill was stumped when he thought he had to believe in the traditional God of his youth, here are a few areas in which they make it quite clear -
Bills Story -
My friend suggested what then seemed a novel idea. He said, "...Why don't you choose your own conception of God?..."

I could go for such conceptions as Creative Intelligence, Universal Mind or Spirit of Nature but I resisted the thought of a Czar of the Heavens, however loving His sway might be. I have since talked with scores of men who felt the same way.

We Agnostics -
Much to our relief, we discovered we did not need to consider another's conception of God. Our own conception, however inadequate, was sufficient to make the approach...

When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God.

Working With Others -
...he does not have to agree with your conception of God.... He can choose any conception he likes, provided it makes sense to him. ...The main thing is that he be willing to believe in a Power greater than himself and that he live by spiritual principles....

In particular, I would drill this part into him - "When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God."
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: Power greater than ourselves - HP. Are they the same

Postby beginningagain7 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:49 am

"Can one have or believe in a Power greater than oneself to maintain ones spiritual condition or must must one have or believe in a Higher Power or God?"

In Step Three it says: "as we understood Him." And yes I left out the word God. It seems that people get upset about a word. And the word God is one of them. They want to associate it with a religion. In reality it doesn't mater if you substitute the word God for Higher Power, or a power greater than ourselves. This program is based on spirituality not on a religious organization interpretation it is "as we understood" this spiritual way of living.

Some members do use a religious format, some use their A.A. group as one, some use nature as one, etc.

I look at the word God as Good Orderly Direction, which before joining A.A. it sure was not going in a orderly direction.

In reality it doesn't matter how you chose or say about the power of your understanding. Just that you understood it.
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Re: Power greater than ourselves - HP. Are they the same

Postby Jaywalker Steve » Sat Sep 15, 2018 4:23 am

From a historical perspective, Bill didn't like to use the same word to describe things, so he often used synonyms as a matter of writing style.
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Re: Power greater than ourselves - HP. Are they the same

Postby Greywolf » Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:55 am

Here in North Carolina we are experiencing "a Power greater than ourselves." Hard to feel sorry for oneself when one looks around at the devastation, loss of life and property. Even at that loss of property seems almost petty when compared to death caused by Florence and the suffering of millions of people.

One can also see the magnificence of the human spirit as neighbor helps neighbor and the wonderful first responders in action. Perhaps you saw on the news the firemen who came out of the house where the young mother and infant were crushed by a tree falling on their home. These men taking a knee and praying for the remaining family.

The young man who asked the question posed in the title to this thread called to check to see if "this old man and his wife" were okay. He said he and his wife were going over to one of the shelters to see if there was anything they could do.

The flooding here is catastrophic. Homes, businesses and even communities literally destroyed.
...............................................................
The examples in the Big Book cited by Brock above make it clear that we the alcoholic are free to choose, select, create or by any other means can have a Power Greater than oneself to use in living a life without alcohol using spiritual principles to guide us.

Unfortunately most newly sober alcoholics, all that I have known including myself, weren't of the mental state to sit down and read for any significant period of time. My attention span was such that if you talked to me for 5 minutes, you wasted 4 minutes and 45 seconds worth of your time. I couldn't help myself. My mind drifted off thinking of the my own life and problems create by living the life of an active alcoholic -- jumping from one place to another.

164 pages besides the stories that the newly dry alcoholic is to sort through, categorize and store for future use? We might as well try social drinking again; we'd have about as much success.

What I did was go directly to "How It Works" and I suspect many other alcoholics new to sobriety did as well. After all I wanted to get sober not read about Agnostics or much of anything else beyond the solution to my immediate problem.

In this thread one poster says, no ifs, ands or buts about it, "That ONE is God." Another tells us Bill was just using synonyms for God when he used Higher Power or Power greater than ourselves -- it's all the same. Tell that to the new comer who doesn't believe there's a heavenly Daddy subjectively chooses some alcoholics to save and others to die drunk.

The 12th Step states clearly that the result of the Steps is a spiritual awakening and admonishes us to carry the message to alcoholics and practice these principles in all our affairs. Beyond that one can find evidence in the BB to prove just about anything one wants to prove about how to take the steps or as we popularly say work the program.
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Re: Power greater than ourselves - HP. Are they the same

Postby avaneesh912 » Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:59 am

If one is an alcoholic, belief alone will not keep one sober. Its cleaning up and having a conscious contact with their HP/Power Greater than oneself/GOD (its just a label) will keep one sober. It talks about it in the book: The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it..
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Power greater than ourselves - HP. Are they the same

Postby Greywolf » Sat Sep 15, 2018 10:53 am

If one is an alcoholic, a belief in a Higher Power, Power greater than oneself or GOD alone will not keep one sober. That has been proven over and over. Stories in the Big Book tell about it.

For the alcoholic a spiritual awakening is required for recovery. Living by spiritual principles does not require a Higher Power or God. Because people aren't pontificating about it doesn't mean it's not happening amongst the recovered community.

Brock gives some wonderful examples of people living their lives using spiritual principles. Like Brock pointed our making a difference in the community is living by spiritual principles. The so-called spiritual life, however, is a concept.

We alcoholics talk as if WE are the only people who live by spiritual principles -- that we live spiritual lives. Bill W., Dr. Bob and AA make a difference in the lives of a very small but important segment of society. We need to get real. People living lives based on spiritual principles has been occurring for thousands of years -- long before Bill W., Dr. Bob or AA.
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Re: Power greater than ourselves - HP. Are they the same

Postby Brock » Sat Sep 15, 2018 12:45 pm

Living by spiritual principles does not require a Higher Power or God. Because people aren't pontificating about it doesn't mean it's not happening amongst the recovered community.

I agree with most of what has been written, but not the above. Firstly we have shown that according to the book, higher power, or spirit of the universe, or whatever mumbo jumbo word we choose, means the same thing as God- “When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God.” Even the hardest core atheist I have heard in AA, and read here, always say there is a higher power, they may not use those exact words, but certainly they admit that something is more powerful than them, and that is the same as saying there is a higher power. If not they would never have grasped the first two steps -

Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. ...

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Anyone who doesn't agree with those two, I don’t believe has a ghost of a chance at recovery.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: Power greater than ourselves - HP. Are they the same

Postby Greywolf » Sat Sep 15, 2018 2:19 pm

Brock wrote:

Anyone who doesn't agree with those two, I don’t believe has a ghost of a chance at recovery.

The 12 steps are steps taken as a program of recovery, not steps to, as you say, agree with. So for the record, I neither agree nor disagree with the steps, I took them. Surely if you took the steps, you would see there is nothing to agree with.

Brock,
In the past you have questioned my sobriety saying that I "claim" to have 55 years. Now you are implying that I don't have a ghost of a chance at recovery.
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Re: Power greater than ourselves - HP. Are they the same

Postby Brock » Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:36 pm

Greywolf, I just gave my opinion on what you wrote, now you try to pick it apart based on the word ‘agree.’ If I don’t agree with a step I won’t take it, that is obvious to anyone, except those looking for a silly argument. If you don’t agree with something you don’t take it, do you take narcotic pain killers, probably no, because you don’t agree with taking it!

When a member might disagree with a small part of what someone wrote, and actually say - “I agree with most of what has been written, but not the above.” Then go on to give a valid reason why, we here are not used to the person getting upset and splitting hairs.

Brock,
In the past you have questioned my sobriety saying that I "claim" to have 55 years. Now you are implying that I don't have a ghost of a chance at recovery.

Saying I am implying you don’t have a chance when you are 55 years recovered is nonsense, and I didn’t question your length of sobriety as you know very well. After a series of posts from you, which had the moderators here having to cut out insults directed at others, I said I was surprised that someone who claims to be sober that long, still exhibits this type of behavior. You should be setting an example of the qualities 55 years should give someone, instead of picking arguments over the use of a word.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: Power greater than ourselves - HP. Are they the same

Postby Blue Moon » Sat Sep 15, 2018 10:13 pm

I have encountered plenty of alcoholics who probably won't get sober until they get off their knees.

There are lots of powers greater than ourselves. Just stand naked on a street corner, and before long a power greater than you will haul you off somewhere. The trick is to find whatever concept of a power that makes sense to you, and which can be of help to recover. In that context, even a group of drunks or a sponsor is a Higher Power, yet they are clearly not God (and run from anyone who thinks otherwise).

ISTM that those who insist that belief in a particular deity is required to get sober have not looked at the evidence. But what's irrefutable is that the individual needs to set aside their existing power, for it has been found wanting . After all, if you can get and stay sober on your old power, why are you here?
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Re: Power greater than ourselves - HP. Are they the same

Postby Blue Moon » Sat Sep 15, 2018 10:23 pm

Brock wrote:If I don’t agree with a step I won’t take it, that is obvious to anyone, except those looking for a silly argument.
.

Oh, I disagreed with a lot of things, but I did them anyway. The Steps themselves make absolutely no sense to an intellectual such as I. It's quite possible to think yourself straight out the door, but is not so easy to think yourself sober.
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Re: Power greater than ourselves - HP. Are they the same

Postby avaneesh912 » Sun Sep 16, 2018 4:10 am

We alcoholics talk as if WE are the only people who live by spiritual principles


Not sure about this. Perhaps its your belief that others think like that. Perhaps some do. But I can assure you, I am not part of that set.

People living lives based on spiritual principles has been occurring for thousands of years -- long before Bill W., Dr. Bob or AA.


The forwards and Dr. Bobs story talks about he being part of a spiritual organization before he meets Bill W, while they were all living a spiritual life, Dr. Bob got drunk everyday. Until he received the key information about alcoholism. Also in "Working with others" the book talks about the new candidate may know more about spirituality but the key again is, they couldn't stay stopped.

There are some great great books I have ran into after working the 12 steps but none gives a complete illustration of traits of alcoholism. Thats why the big book is far more valuable book for me, even among all the literature within the fellowship.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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