From the OA NoVA Intergroup Chair - 0217

Dear Friends in Recovery,

As a devout agnostic, I am deeply grateful that AA's founders understood 1) that addiction is a spiritual disease and requires a spiritual solution, and 2) that a specific idea of God in step 2 would be a deal-breaker for some members who would die without a spiritual solution. As a result, the program would have to be roomy enough to welcome people of all faiths, people with no faith, or people like me who know there is a Power greater than we are, even if we don't exactly know what that Power is.

I was raised in a conventional faith tradition, and from the 6th through the 12th grades, I even attended schools that were founded on its principles. However, I was also raised in a chaotic home that was filled with contradictions, hypocrisy, and tragedy. In that darkness I could not see God anywhere. I believed that my desperate prayers would never be answered. So I did what many people do—I slammed the door on God.

Decades later, when I crawled into the 12-step rooms, I bristled at the word God. But I also heard members describe how defeated and powerless they were in their disease (just like I was), and with the help of a Higher Power they were recovering. I understood that if I wanted recovery I would have to open my heart and my mind to a Power greater than myself. Luckily I was told in step 2 that I could choose a tailor-made God of my own understanding. My foundation was (and remains) the Power of the Fellowship and the collective Love and greater Good. Over the years my Higher Power has shape-shifted often to remain close to me so that I can recover a day at a time. Don't let your ideas of God get in the way of a spiritual solution that works—there's plenty of room here for everyone, even a devout agnostic like me!

Remember, together we get better!
Jess W.