If you were guiding a sponsee on how to find their Higher Power, what would you say?
1.Kim L. As an agnostic myself when I came into this program, I can understand the difficulties one may have with the spiritual aspect of our program. However, I wanted what the members in recovery had and I worked hard to get it, especially on my relationship with this force greater than my own.
My understanding didn’t all come to me instantly. I followed guidance from the OA pamphlet “What if I Don’t Believe in God?” and read the “We Agnostics” chapter in the Big Book.
Since one of my ingrained character flaws is need for control, I had to start by trusting small things. Admitting that it worked, I was able to continue to give up more and more control. I became willing to listen to the little voice inside me.
2. Susan M G In guiding a sponsee seeking a Higher Power I would share my own story.
I came in as a devout agnostic. When the format at my first meeting said “take what you like and leave the rest,” I thought “great, I don’t have to leave.” I could just ignore all the Higher Power and God stuff. That is probably the only reason I was willing to come back for my second, third, and subsequent meetings.
Over time I heard so many people share that HP didn’t have to be the God I had assumed and didn’t have to be in any way associated with organized religion. I was able to discern that those with a sense of a HP had a centeredness and recovery. So over time, my thinking on an HP softened.
Meanwhile, unexplainable things began happening. I was able to stay abstinent. I was dropping weight and fitting into smaller-sized clothes, day after day, week after week, month after month. Something I had always thought was impossible was happening.
And then other “coincidences” kept happening that were, to me, pretty mind blowing. I became aware that neither I nor any other person could have made them possible.
Then, at a MWI annual retreat on HP, a friend of mine volunteered me to read “Spiritual Experience” from the Big Book. I had never read it and was befuddled by being volunteered. So there I am, the agnostic, reading the Big Book to a room of 40+ people. During and after that, my determination to leave HP out of my program was softened. I might now have a willingness to consider that there was an HP in my life.
Later in the retreat, we were invited to write a job description for an HP. I found myself with tears streaming down my cheeks as I wrote what I needed. My heart ached for something outside of myself that I could rely on, no matter what.
I was willing to see that I needed help, that someone outside of myself had helped me accept an HP into my life. By remaining open and trusting, I developed an understanding for myself what my HP is and continues to be.
That HP has been with me for 16 years, through abstinence and relapse. Always there, reminding me that I am enough, I have enough, that it is just perfect that I am imperfect and that I have so much to be grateful for. And most importantly, to trust that no matter what, everything will be okay.
Over this time, I have been given a life and the gift of a better understanding of how to navigate it, beyond my wildest dreams.
3. Sarah W Shortly after I joined OA on September 20, 2010, a sponsor said, “It’s never too soon for Step 11. Are you willing to pray and meditate each day?” When I said yes, my sponsor suggested I start talking to my Higher Power (through prayer) while walking through the streets of New York City, then listening for my Higher Power’s response (through meditation). At that time, city streets were a mine field of triggers, and I struggled mightily to avoid delis and bakeries for my next binge.
“Out loud?” I asked. “Yes,” she said. “Just put your cell phone to your ear and start talking.” While it felt strange at first, I found my Higher Power through these daily conversations, and on November 12, 2010, I found my abstinence. Like my plan of eating (which I consider a living document), my relationship with my Higher Power is an ever-changing partnership that requires conversation to maintain.
One day at a time, I discover and re-discover my Higher Power by working the steps and using the nine tools. I’m especially grateful for the tool of Service, which, thanks to OA, I give both in and outside the rooms. Time and again, it’s this tool that connects me to my Higher Power most.
4. Diane T Think of all the best traits of all the people you admire, whether they are living, deceased, or fictionalized. Imagine an all-powerful being that encompasses all those traits plus all the characteristics you would desire in a best friend, mentor, protector, and guide. Assemble all these facets of character into a being that you can feel comfortable communicating with as your Higher Power.
5. Gina R In helping a sponsee with finding a Higher Power, I would suggest they try writing down the attributes they would like their HP to have. I would ask them to remember that OA asks that their HP be loving and caring. Then maybe to imagine resting in the arms of a loving and caring Higher Power at least once or twice a day. And to begin talking to and with their HP everyday – wherever and whenever it comes to mind – just as they would talk to a friend. I’ve also heard it said to try putting an empty chair next to you at times if it helps.
6. Nancy H If I were guiding a new sponsee in helping to find their higher power, I would first ask them to take a few breaths and relax. Then ask them to recall if they have a family member, or a teacher, or a friend, etc. who deeply loves or loved them, who was kind to them. Then I would ask them what that feels like. I would share that my higher power feels like that love I received from a cherished loved one. I would also suggest that this power is personal. I would ask that they write about what they would like in a power who cares deeply about them. Also, they can listen to others in meetings. It is a place to start.
7. Lee R I would pass on what I was told to do and what worked for me. Write a job description of all the qualities/characteristics that you need your H.P. to have. Then burn the job description as a symbol of posting it out into the world. Then “act as if” until the spiritual awakening happens. After you are able to believe, you will no longer have to act as if.
8. Barbara W Connecting with a Higher Power is about sincerely communicating, asking for help. When we ask and we are sincere the assistance is given. It is based upon our lived experience developing our relationship with our Higher Power.
9. Michael P I was very opposed to the concept of God or a Higher Power when I came in. But I was able to get through Step 2 based on a single letter, C. Could a power greater than me restore me to sanity? That’s a hard proposition to turn down, for me. Since I knew I wasn’t the Highest Power, based on how poorly I was getting along, I could agree that there was one higher than me. But if it had said that it Would restore me to sanity, I wouldn’t have gone for it.
10. Virginia M How to tell a sponsee about a HP. I tell the sponsee to write down what they would like their higher power to be, like loving, kind, and always present. Then I tell them that those qualities can be assigned to their HP. This is the Spiritual journey I try to impart to a newcomer.
11. Judy K. – This is what I would say to a newcomer:
You may be wondering what all this talk in OA is about a higher power.? Many people have difficulty with this concept.? Your best advice will come from Chapter 4 of the Big Book of AA. That chapter is titled “We Agnostics.” It?addresses the needs of atheists and religious?believers as well.? It gives a very clear distinction between being religious and having spirituality in your life.?
There are also many slogans in OA related to spirituality that we learn to help us along the way. These slogans are:
- PUSH- Pray Until Something Happens
- Serenity Prayer
- Act As If” you believe
- Don’t give up before the miracle
- I can’t, he can, so I think I’ll let him”
- Make the group your higher power?
Here is a group of people who have found a solution to a devastating?illness.?
- Any Higher power will work as long as it is not you.?
- FROG- Fully Rely On God
- 3rd Step prayer found in AA 12 & 12 book
- 7th Step prayer found in AA 12 & 12 book
- Ask G-d to help you deal with a situation, not to have a situation turn out a certain way. Ex: “Give me the strength to deal with the situation.“
- We have had food as our higher power for all these years, so it should not be that difficult to switch to a different higher power, one that is loving and kind and will help us if we ask.?
- Prayer is talking to God?and meditation is listening to God.
- Humility is very important to recovery. ? We do not demand that God change us.? “We humbly ask him/her to remove our shortcomings” in Step 7.
- Write a “Dear God Letter.” Have God write a letter back to you.
- People?for thousands of years have found comfort in believing.?
Let’s start with reading the chapter “We Agnostics” in the Big Book together.? I am sure it will generate much discussion between us.?