Ask an Addict is a column penned by Helena Paivenen, a Kamloops scholar with expertise in addiction issues and someone who is also an addict. The column is meant to inform and help. If you have a question you would like answered, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Anonymity is guaranteed.
Step three, which I wrote about in the last column, deserves further consideration.
This is due to the fact the entire 12-step program is based upon belief.
If belief cannot be found, it is difficult to complete this type of work. Smart recovery takes the concept of God out, so if the G-O-D word blocks you, perhaps consider this alternative path.
What you believe is not dictated in 12 steps, only that you believe there is something more powerful than you.
This is not difficult if you think about flying (not in a plane, but rather on your own willpower).
Gravity is more powerful than your wish to independently fly (again, without any assistance). No matter how powerful I am, there is no way I can make myself fly.
For me, I only need to look at nature to know how limited my power actually is. I cannot will the trees to leave, the flowers to blossom or the wind to stop blowing.
To date, no one has been able to stop their death when their number is up. We are powerless over many things, but tend to believe we are almighty, powerful beings who control every aspect around us.
The founders of the program deliberately selected a pair of two-syllable words — “higher power” — when the simple one-syllable word, “God,” would have sufficed.
In religion, deities such as Buddha, Jesus Christ, Allah and almighty God are identified as figures to be worshiped. The 12 steps consistently include the words “higher power” to clearly indicate you can believe what you wish, as long as the power is greater than you.
For me, my higher power is energy.
As I wrote last week, energy cannot be destroyed, it only changes forms.
The entire universe operates upon energy — electrical impulses — with protons, neutrons, atoms and such.
The words you speak travel as energy through the air into my ears, which are then translated into further energy in my brain.
Belief is fundamental to all human beings. I do not understand many things, but this does not negate their existence.
I cannot explain to you how electricity works, but this does not mean it does not exist. I believe there is a fundamental life force, an energy, that connects us all.
It dictates and guides all living forms in an interconnected way — a spark from a match, igniting fire, and wood becomes ash, which becomes earth, supporting new life.
It is a neverending cycle.
Children come into the world full of belief. Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy do not exist in their world without their belief. Somewhere along the way, this belief in magic is lost.
My world is richer with belief. It means I am not alone. I can channel and harness power —- this “higher power” — but first I must be willing to believe.
Life is incredible if only I believe.