Get High or Get Higher Power?

deity-229216_1920I have been wanting to do a blog on my version of God; or more accurately, my higher power for many weeks now but I kept putting it off. The topic is controversial to say the least- mainly if the status quo deity is put into question. Religion beliefs are often a topic in recovery and I feel that having an honest and open discussion is relevant and absolutely necessary in my own personal recovery. Some of you may disagree with my beliefs and that is perfectly fine. My goal is not to argue that my higher power is right or wrong or that any of my reader’s belief’s are incorrect. I am only explaining my experience and what works for me.

Many conversations in the rooms of AA/NA, give strong evidence that many addicts struggle with finding, keeping and believing in a God or any form of higher power. I want to explain my higher power so that others who are struggling can see that they are not alone in their struggles. I also want to explain how I finally found what I believe to be- my higher power.

GROWING UP

I was raised in the LDS church as a young child. Up until my mid 20s, I believed in the Judeo-Christian ethical standards as well as a living, breathing deity who had a flowing white beard and had a homestead somewhere above the highest of clouds. After continually struggling to make even a single right turn into the driveway of virtue, I began to question what kind of Satan-spawn I had become. The harder I tried to do right by God, the further he faded from me. No coffee or caffeine? No hot drinks? No nicotine? No masturbation? God must have known me quite well. I was doomed right out of the placenta bursting gate.

THE CRUX

Despite my appalling past; homelessness, IV drug use, robbery, theft etc., I have always thought I was a decent and respectful human being. It may be difficult to believe that, and after reading that previous sentence, I think I may have threw up a little from the ridiculousness of my statement. Anyone who has been addicted to drugs I’m sure can relate. I knew I had done some really terrible things and for God and my sober self, that was a big problem. The thought of going to hell drove me to study religion and to study it passionately. Both sides. Both arguments and even other religions. So that is what I did. I studied Christian, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Taoism. After studying these religions* and reading their doctrines, I began to study agnosticism and atheism. I knew I couldn’t make any accurate or true claims about anything if I didn’t understand both sides of the religious coin- belief and non-belief.

THE SEARCH

After countless hours of work, I came to my own conclusion based on empirical evidence, logical consistency, and facts. I now consider myself to be an atheist. However, just because I do not believe that Gods or Deities’ exist, does not mean I do not have a higher power.

CRUX-BASED FINDINGS

When I first realized I was in fact, a strong atheist, I began to feel an emptiness. Like my life was missing something crucial. A pinging vibration of hollowness echoed throughout my body. “If I did not believe that Gods’ exist, how could I ever stay sober?” AA/NA taught me that to continue a happy and fulfilling sober lifestyle, I had to find a higher power!

THE SEARCH CONTINUES

I had heard in a meeting one time that someone was using a doorknob as their higher power but I felt more powerful than a doorknob. After-all, I could turn one and walk through a door so I knew the doorknob would not suffice as my higher power. I think the point of a higher power is choosing something that is more powerful than me and something I CAN’T control- unlike the turning of a doorknob. That is however, only my amateur opinion. If a doorknob works for someone as a HP, then grab hold of it!

FINDING MY HIGHER POWER

My HP had to be something much smarter than me, much stronger than me, something I could not control, something I do not understand, something that would keep me safe and something I COULD allow to run my life so I didn’t screw it up again. After pondering these strict and crucial requirements for my next potential higher power, I finally realized this higher power was right in front of me the entire time. It was with me throughout my entire life and it knew me much better than I knew myself. It is thousands of time stronger than me and it is thousands of times smarter than me. Its capabilities are known to be almost limitless.This amazing higher power I am describing is the subconscious mind.

Actual X-ray of my big yellow-purple brain dots.

Actual X-ray of my big yellow-purple brain dots.

JUST SOME THOUGHTS

Being conscious of our unconscious mind is extremely helpful for living a successful life; even if you think having it (subconscious) as your higher power is ludicrous. For many years, I thought of my subconscious mind as an abstract concept and I never put much “thought” into it. Today, I work to provide a conduit of clear communication between my conscious and subconscious mind. A working relationship between the two is essential for my daily recovery. Having this deity-free higher power has continued to keep me sober and has help me understand so many things that used to baffle me.

I welcome all troll-free comments but if any of my readers are having a hard time with God or a higher power, please feel free to comment. Also, I would love to hear any of your thoughts on this topic. I appreciate all my readers support. Thank you all!

Dustin J.

It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.” –Andre Gide

(*) Taoism can arguably fall outside the religion category but is still taught as a religion.

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26 thoughts on “Get High or Get Higher Power?

  1. You raise some interesting points here. While I am not the addict in our family, ours never seemed committed to having a long term relationship with God or a higher power. She is in rehab now and does pray, but I don’t know that she has given in to the understanding that without fully committing to a HP, recovery is a difficult road. At least from what I have read. Best wishes from UnEmpty Nest (a parent’s blog).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing that unemptynest. I’ve seen it many times in the past- my actions included, that people have a really hard time grasping the irony of regaining control of their life as soon as they decide to stop trying to control it. In a sense, committing to a HP is letting go of our life’s steering wheel. Allowing it to fall where it will, without any micro-management or manipulation of outcomes. It’s hard to do. I kept driving my life off a cliff, over and over and over; I then realized letting my life steer on autopilot couldn’t be any more destructive or painful so I just let go….low and behold no more driving off the damn cliff. Thank you for your wishes and I hope the best for your family. Eventually your loved one will be forced to let go- like I was. Thank you again. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love your interpretation. The “higher power” aspect of AA/NA is one of the reasons I was never quite able to get into the whole 12 step thing. Just haven’t been able to make it work, or find my higher power.

    I found it very interesting to read through your thoughts and struggles finding your higher power. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you and I appreciate that. I’m glad it was helpful to read. If you ever have doubts or questions feel free to keep in touch. I’ll share everything I have learned. Maybe it is helpful, maybe not. Either way, we know a lot struggle with this and discussing it can only help us. :). Good luck and thanks for your support.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you studiolonline. It does seem to be a spoke in the recovery wheel for a lot of people. Mostly the people who like using reason, evidence and science over blurred, fictitious fairy tales. At least for me, it was. My higher power has constantly changed over the years. Of course it had to because the more knowledge I was gaining, the more I realized my old beliefs were wrong. If the higher power is the only thing in your way of working the steps, I urge you to work them anyway and keep an open mind to what it could be. Many things are more powerful than us and in the end, the choice is yours. Thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate that. Good luck with what ever you choose.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have read a lot of books, articles, blogs, etc. Your writings are magnificent! Personally I haven’t struggled with addiction to substance, however, I have struggled with toxic relationships and self~guilt. The two most serious relationships that I have been in, involved an addict. I appreciate your openness and willingness to share your life as an open book to the world. I am just in the beginning stages of recovery. Reading your blog is inspiring! And is helping me to understand the life of a person who struggles with addiction. It takes courage to live and breathe your life transparently and that is what you are doing through this blog!!! Have you considered publishing a book?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Karen. Thank you for you words and for reading my post! Self guilt is a rough one. Any kind of guilt is rough. Guilt is –feeling like you owe a debt for which you can not pay. It is so commonly used as a weapon because society knows how powerful it is. Whether it is a bill collector calling to take your last dollar or you blaming yourself for someone else’s destructive behavior, it will eventually destroy you. If there is no evidence for it, I try to throw that crap away! Good luck in your recovery and thank you for your kind words. I have written a book along side my father. It is finished but I still need a publisher who wants to print it. I haven’t searched much yet, I am still trying to get people interested in my story before I go to publish. It did turn out rather awesome. πŸ™‚ Please come back any time!

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  4. Hey Dustin!
    You came out of the religious closet SO quickly! The way you were talking last week I thought you were just coming to terms with your spiritual beliefs but it seems that you have quite the handle on it. I am proud of you for exploring your ideas and then being brave enough to share.
    I get what you mean about your past not really matching your present. For instance, I was raised Catholic…no sex before marriage blah, blah, blah. You can imagine the predicament I was in when at 13 I showed up to mass with a bulging baby bump!
    I felt very judged and turned off by my religion. When I had my son and the priest told me he must be baptized or God would not admit him into heaven I thought HOGWASH. My God is a loving God he would never send an innocent child into a fiery hot eternity.
    Through my recovery I have found that my God is the universe at large. I have no idea how it works and I doubt there is an afterlife but I feel like fate exists.
    In my life too many weird “coincidences” have happened for me to believe in just plain old “chance.”
    I could write about this for days but I will spare you all<3
    Keep On, Keeping On Dustin- You are doing great!
    Love, Pearl

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hey Pearl, I have been digging in hard when in comes to God. Especially since last October when my dad died. I had quite a bit of education in religions prior to that and I have considered myself a strong atheist for months. I just haven’t let a lot of people know about it. The more I thought about it the more I realized I should not hide behind it. It is what I believe so I knew I had to jump out of the closet about it. It is an opportunity for me to show everyone who Dustin really is instead of not bringing it up. Religions are responsible for millions of bloody death- including innocent women children and non violent victim’s. There is nothing virtuous about that. There is numerous reasons why I disagree with anything and everything religious- including any type of deity. I wont get into all that here. lol Sorry for what the priest told you. It is complete crap in my opinion…it being the words of the priest. It is great that you have come to an agreement about your own belief. Thanks again for your well thought out comment and for supporting and sharing my stuff. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. While I do not share your higher power, I have nothing but respect and admiration for your honest and eager study of all religions, schools of thought, etc, and for finally finding that missing piece you were searching for for yourself, without allowing others’ beliefs or opinions sway you! Ones HP is highly personal and intimate, which is why I never understood the animosity & closed-mindedness that some people exhibit during these types of discussions. Kudos for having the courage and confidence to share your journey with us all! We bond more over shared brokenness than we do shared beliefs πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing that Eve. In the beginning, all my beliefs were just manifestations of other peoples opinion and beliefs. I really had none that I found on my own. I was not reasoned into them. I felt like I wasn’t being honest with myself so the search began. It is great that you have a HP as well. I know what it is like to be void of one and it sucks. lol Keep blogging and thanks again for stopping by! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dustin,
    You welcomed all opinions either for or against. So here is mine in script. Sex, Religion and politics are three of the most controversial topics to ever speak of. I guess if you are unhappy with my post you can delete it LOL!

    You know how I feel about your thoughts on there not being a God. You are probably right about your thoughts on religion being forced upon children before they have any idea what’s going on, or able to make the decision for themselves. Our religion says that that is the age of accountability. By the age of eight a child knows right from wrong and they have a conscience.

    For myself, I have to believe what the patriarch of our family and my husband of 42 years wanted and hoped for us. That would’ve been an Eternal family living with our brother Jesus and God our Father. Even though we waxed and waned, in and out, back and forth with the religion, for me I am glad that when dad passed away he was right with the church.

    This is an extremely controversial subject, and it looks like the consensus is more pro than con from your Higher Power Theory, than I will get from my Faith Theory …but, That’s why there’s chocolate and vanilla ice cream. Hopefully, your belief will continue your sobriety which is the most important in all of our lives.

    Sorry, that’s the mom in me talking as usual, always and forever. Amen

    Love, The Mom
    Kris ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Mom, Im not sure why you think I would want to delete your comment. lol Raising a child on religious beliefs at the age of 8 is different than at the age of 1 or 2. Also I don’t believe telling children that something is true when there is no proof of the “truths” that religion claims. So if a parent said “here is what we know about it but no one knows one way or the other because there is no proof of a God and so on…” then there wouldnt be any form of manipulation of religion. Not sure if that makes sense. Also you say “you have to believe….” what does that mean? Even if my current beliefs change with the facts, it won’t change my sobriety so I think we are safe as far as that goes. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I think we were always a decent people… we just did indecent things because of indecent perceptions – beliefs, thoughts, patterns… resentments. Lies. Higher Power – Greater Power… My God – thank God! Truth today, Living Today. Today! With grace I am able to accept my HP’s (GOD) guidance and receive all of this beautiful life’s available gifts – receive and give away! Personally, I think it is a controversial topic for some because they have to be controversial. Sobriety is giving me compassion, understanding and love for all, self included – takes the controversy out of it. Better life is the goal, here. Thank you for your sobriety and your shares. Smiles, Emily

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for commenting and reading my post Emily. That is great that you have a HP that guides you through life’s twists and turns. Many people are not willing to challenge their own beliefs, especially if that means that they had been manipulated or lied to. That of course, will raise hostility, anger, resentment and it would be turned –controversial. Unfortunately, society is not persuaded by facts. Only acceptance can be persuasive and that is very sad. You are absolutely right about finding and maintaining the best life possible should be the priority, despite differences of argument. Thanks again for your support. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Dearest Emily Ann,

    Beautifully, and eloquently stated. I feel like all of the young people posting are also my children. LOL! I too am pulling for you, and I am also, so very proud of your sobriety. From what I have watched and observed within our own family, it is a very difficult road to stop whatever it is that has taken over your life. But, it is even more difficult to not waiver from this task, and to stay on that path to becoming a better person.

    I pray that you can continue taking one day at a time and building your sobriety brick by brick, and metaphorically re-enforcing it with confidence and strength mortar. You will have built a sturdy wall between you and the indecent things that tried to control your life. You sound like an extremely strong person, and I know you can do this!

    Love and hugs, hugs, hugs! πŸ’œ

    The Mom
    Kris

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  9. Love this. Makes a lot of sense. I always struggled with trying to figure out what I believe in and have look into different religions. For now, I choose to believe in myself and that somewhere out there is the source of all energy. Besides that my beliefs change with time but the one thing that stays constant is believing in myself. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for commenting! I think the belief in yourself is detrimental for staying sober. It is quite easy to self attack myself at times. Being too hard on myself has caused issues in my past. It’s great if you can stay sober without a concrete acceptance in a specific HP and if it is working then there is no reason to fix it, right? The mind is a very powerful thing. I appreciate you stopping by. Have a good day and come back anytime! πŸ™‚

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  10. Hi Dustin
    Another great blog, it’s great that you have chosen to share your beliefs no matter what negative reactions those beliefs may cause,all because you feel it may help someone else who has or is going through the same challenges you went through. To me that in itself shows that you are a decent and respectful man.

    I believe too like you. I’m not really sure what my hp is, but maybe it is my sub conscience mind as well, it tends to steer me in the right directions. I believe you can be a great and worthy person without believing in a god. I believe you can show compassion, love and live a great life without the belief of a god. I also believe it is up to each individual to chose what they believe when they are old enough to understand both sides of religion and are able to make that decision based on what they think and feel, not what they have grown up to believe is the only way.
    Ok I don’t want to say too much, or offend anybody so will end it there. Except I am glad you have found your hp and that you finally let go of the steering wheel. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks kiltracy! In my past, I would not have told anyone what I thought of felt because social acceptance and being “liked” was more important. Today I find a lot more importance in living an honest life- even if that means not fitting in with the majority. Sometimes I do fit in, sometimes I don’t but my truths guide the decision instead of insecurities and the desire to not make waves. I have found this to be a lot easier and it makes me have a solid charactor. Before I didn’t even know who I was or what I believed. If someone. Asked me what my favorite color was I would say “well what’s your favorite color?” Lol if you are interested in reading some of the stuff I have read which lead me to my beliefs just let me know. Today I have no doubt at all about god, religion, angels, ghosts, the Easter bunny, Santa Claus, and leprechauns. Lol thanks for commenting. I’m glad you did. Thanks for the likes as well. Have a good week!

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Pingback: I Welcome Dustin John To My Recovery Blog Today And His Fantastic Blog~”My Sober Life”… | Recovery Journey And Ramblings Of Author Catherine Lyon

  12. (A belated reply as I am returning from my August hiatus.)

    This is one of my favorite topics. From a purely addictive perspective I do not quite grasp addicts that can’t (or won’t) believe in a HP. In my opinion that was the whole point of doing drugs, to get that higher-powered invincible feeling. I chased HP when I altered my consciousness because I thought God was in the booze or the drug– God was the good feeling in being high. And the drug was the only way to get that feeling. I didn’t know how to have it of my own volition. If God was love and drugs brought relief then He/It must be in them.

    I am happy to say that I have since found a God of my understanding. Equally as happy to say that I can get higher powered at will. I sometimes truly feel high on life and I can say with certainty it is my connection to this Loving Universe (God).

    My function is to align with What Is, to stop fighting that which I cannot change.
    Great post Dustin. I am truly enjoying your writing.

    Lisa

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    • Hi Lisa, I’m glad you stopped back by! I missed your last comment in all the chaos. I really like your perspective about a HP within the use of drugs/alcohol. I have never even thought about that. It is definitely an outreach to fill a subjective void. At least it was for me when I was using. It is good to hear you have found something that works in your life. I believe it is something we need even if in small increments. I am still working on catching up on blog posts and reading and I love to read your posts and awesome perspectives. Thanks for your support. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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