If will power alone were enough for us to manage our own lives and stay sober, it would not be necessary to find a Higher Power. Our experience clearly shows that we have not been able to do this by ourselves. Many of us tried to stay sober for a variety of reasons, but we were unable to achieve the lives we desired to live on our own power. As a result of unsuccessful attempts at sobriety, we concluded that we needed to seek help from a Power greater than ourselves.
Many of us entered Heroin Anonymous with preconceived notions of who and what God was. Some associated these ideas with the world’s great religions. Others scoffed at the idea of the existence of a God altogether. There were those who arrived with a great fondness for God and those who muttered Higher Power from their gritted teeth. What was clear in each instance was that we were unable to tap into the necessary Power to stay sober. Since we are unable to stay sober and manage our lives using our own will power, our lives truly depend on accessing this necessary Power.
What we usually did not consider was that we could have a God of our own understanding, a Higher Power that would grow out of our action and experience in the program. Some of us still resisted this idea, believing we had no right to change God, or that it would not work for us. We realized that this attitude was simply the reliance on old ideas which brought us down the path to where we now stand.
To our relief, members who came before us suggested that the only crucial ingredient was a willingness to believe. No one demanded what we believe or how we believe, rather that we are willing to believe in something greater than our own human power. All that was necessary was to have an open mind.
We realized that this Power could be anything we chose as long as it was more powerful than us. It did not matter what we called it. We could refer to it by any name that we wished. We were deciding to establish a relationship with some kind of Power of our own understanding.
With some time and spiritual growth, hearing the word “God” no longer brings up our biases and preconceived notions; now it simply means a Power greater than us, a God of our own understanding, or our Higher Power. Through the twelve steps of Heroin Anonymous, our Higher Power has become a God of our experience. It does not need to make logical sense to anyone else. Through our collective experiences, we have found it essential to become open-minded to spiritual principles, to be willing to believe in a Higher Power of our own conception, and to take the action necessary to have a vital spiritual experience. If we are able to grasp this mindset, it is possible to achieve long term sobriety and a life worth living.
Revised June 2022