Anyone who has looked into it knows that “God” is a big part of getting sober through A.A. That can be a big hurdle for some people thinking about – or desperately needing to – sober up.
Where do you find God in A.A.? At every A.A. meeting, the 12 steps are read out, and God is very much a part of those steps. At some meetings, the Christian “The Lord’s Prayer” is said in unison. And the “serenity prayer” is usually spoken in unison to end each meeting. As people share their experience, strength and hope, they may talk about God and how their personal spiritual journey has helped them get sober. And there are the A.A. sayings such as “Let go and let God.” … Definitely a lot of “God.”
A.A. can be even harder if you of a different faith. You may not be comfortable hearing or saying a Christian prayer, and you may not be sure whether your beliefs are acceptable or welcome.
Personally, although I was involved in organized religion in the past, it has not been a big part of my life in recent years. I do consider myself on a spiritual journey in this life, a quiet and mostly quite private one, and I do believe in a Higher Power. Just the same, I did find the amount of God in A.A. to be difficult.
Here are some of the things I found helped me to get over the hurdle of so much “God” in A.A.:
- “Take what you want and leave the rest”: For me, this was a key saying as I struggled to handle a number of things in A.A., including the centrality of God. I could “take” the benefit of the energy, shared effort and wisdom of everyone in the room at an A.A. meeting, and “leave” the Christian God.
- Step 3 of A.A. describes “God as we understood him.” You can call on /pray to / believe in any God and work the A.A. program.
- You don’t need to have a “God” that you believe in. I remember many meetings when someone said they did not believe in God, so how could they work the program? Over and over, I heard people encouraged to believe in any power higher than themselves, and the example often given was that the people in the room could be one’s Higher Power. For me, this means that a Higher Power or Spirit or God or whatever you are comfortable calling it can be part of how you can get sober, how you can let go of crazy drinking/drugging/using behaviour, how you can face the bad things in your past, how you can forgive and apologize and move forward.
There is no question that God is a big part of A.A. and makes it impossible for some to get involved in A.A. For me, I know that I could not have sobered up without A.A., and I am so grateful!
Because I am writing about “God,” I will close with the serenity prayer, which is a simple and yet deep prayer that always helps me find myself and hold my intention to be sober and to be the person I wan to be:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
May you find that serenity too.