How Do I Overcome My Addictions if I Don't Believe in God?
I’m in the early stages of trying to fight what feels like almost a life-long battle with drugs and alcohol. I’ve done a fair bit of research and reading, and even attended the odd AA and NA meeting.
There they talk a lot about turning your life over to a Higher Power in order to overcome your addictions successfully. It’s a fundamental part of the 12 step process in fact.
Problem is, what if you have an issue around believing or accepting anything to do with a Higher Power? I’m an atheist and don’t believe whatsoever in God, so how do I circumvent this obstacle in my attempt at sobriety?
It’s an interesting question. I think the word ‘God’ itself conjures all sorts of emotional connotations depending on your beliefs and value system that I wouldn’t get too hung up on it. And that’s why the 12 steps
refer instead to a High Power, of your choosing, so that you don’t get stuck on that particular point.
So I think you need to stop thinking of God in the way you currently do, but instead try and create a Higher Power for yourself that you can relate to, whether it be as an energy, nature, the universe, or even nothingness ...even if you don’t necessarily believe it.
Because the real power in this I believe isn’t in the Higher Power you believe in or have chosen – but the ability to surrender and realise you are powerless to control your addiction – and so by consciously making the decision to just let go and stop fighting, you allow the process of change and healing to begin.
You have to get out of your own way first before any progress can be made. Realising you are powerless and letting go is the secret to doing that. And when you’ve done that successfully, you usually reach the point that this famous parable refers to: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” And that’s when your recovery
really begins to take off.
Best of luck and take care