One of the things that sometimes puts people off about 12-step programs is the idea of accepting a higher power into your life. What if you don’t believe in any particular religion? Why is it necessary to believe in something greater than yourself?
Sobriety is all about knowing and accepting yourself, including all the parts you don’t like–your insecurities, fears, guilt, and doubt. That doesn’t mean you just accept your flaws and say, “Oh well, I’ll live with this”; you must also believe that you can transform yourself. But how can you both accept your flaws and work on transforming them?
To accept your imperfections and also trust that you can change, you must be willing to turn these imperfections over to something greater than yourself. That something is your higher power. You might call it Yahweh or Jesus or Buddha or Allah or Shiva. Or you might step outside of organized religion and call it the universe or spirituality or positive energy.
To transform your life, you must seek to transform yourself through spiritual growth. Spiritual growth might mean embracing God as you understand that idea. It might also mean embracing what is positive in your life with the belief that the more you embrace the good, the more good the universe will send you.
Embracing the good means turning away from the negative. You must be willing to release all the toxic energy your negative thoughts create and replace them with positive thoughts that reflect who you are striving to become. The Law of Sobriety says that your destiny is determined by how you consciously expend your energy. Right actions and positive thoughts will bring you more of the same. And this, of course, means your destiny is in your own hands.
When you believe in your higher power, you also believe you can transform yourself–even if everyone around you says you can’t. So when you get right down to it, your higher power is what enables you to believe in yourself. And when you believe in yourself, the possibilities are endless. You can walk through your fears and doubts and become who you were always meant to be.
Sherry Gaba, LCSW, is a Psychotherapist and Life Coach specializing in addicitons in Agoura Hills. She is the author of “The Law of Sobriety:Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery” and Psychotherapist on Celebrity Rehab.