Higher Power and Narcotics Anonymous
One of the main reasons why individuals either avoid 12 step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous altogether (or only stick with them for a short amount of time) is the blatant and sometimes off-putting emphasis on spirituality. Because there are some correlations to religion within these programs, it is easy to confuse spirituality with religion – and to be quite honest, organized religion can be extremely polarizing. Many individuals who turn to drugs and/or alcohol grew up in strict religious households and developed an aversion to this very particular way of life over time.
The Link Between God and Narcotics Anonymous
As soon as the word “God” comes up in casual conversation they are inclined to run the other direction. However, it is very important to understand the difference between spirituality and religion before entering into any program of recovery. Groups like Narcotics Anonymous have one goal, and one goal only. They are designed to help individuals get and stay sober. These groups are not discriminating – the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using drugs. After that, everything else is open to interpretation.
It is required that when working the steps of Narcotics Anonymous, the individual in question “comes to believe in a power higher than themselves.” Does this mean “God” by religious standards? Not. Coming to believe in a power higher than yourself simply means understanding and actively acknowledging that you – in and of yourself – are not the end all be all. Your addiction is more powerful than you are, therefore something outside of yourself must be capable of contributing to your recovery.
10 “God” Substitutions
The word “god” is pretty intense. It drives a lot of people away. It might have driven you away in the past – if it did, you must begin to examine the distinction between a higher power and God. God does have religious connotations. But the concept of a higher power does not. Here are 10 examples of things that you could consider to be your personal higher power – remember, this is a completely individualistic concept and these are just examples! Over time you will develop your concept of a higher power, one that will be unique to you.
- The ocean. Nature is massive and hard to grasp, therefore it is easy to consider something that is of nature “bigger than you are.”
- A “group of drunks.” Many people use their homegroup as their higher power until they come up with something that speaks to them on a deeper level.
- Something as silly and seemingly mundane as a doorknob or a window. It can be anything.
- Mother nature.
- A religious God. If religion works for you then there is no reason to steer away from it.
- Existential freedom. Try looking at more abstract concepts.
- The laws of nature or the laws of science. Science can be a higher power.
- The arts. This could be music, theater, painting…anything artistically inclined.
- Humanity as a whole.
Twelve-Step Approach at Agape Treatment Center
Agape Treatment Center provides a highly individualized and integrated program of addiction treatment, one that revolves around the 12 step method of addiction recovery. While we do require our clients to participate in one 12 step program during the length of their stay (attending meetings daily), we allow the client to decide whether to participate in Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. We teach our clients what it means to slowly work towards developing faith in a higher power, and the main differences between the spirituality outlined in AA and NA and religiousness.
If you have any additional questions concerning 12 step programs or our specific program of addiction recovery, please feel free to reach out at any point in time. We utilize the 12 step method solely because it has proven effective. AA and NA have saved millions of lives over the past century – of course, our program consists of much more than the 12 step method. We employ a combination of proven treatment methods, effective therapeutic techniques, and holistic methodologies.