Man experiencing the universe at a planetarium

Alcoholism and substance abuse can destroy lives. People suffering from drug addiction prioritize their substance of choice above all else. They let alcohol, opioids, or benzodiazepines take precedence over, friends, family, career, and even health. By letting substances control their whole lives and make decisions for them, alcoholics and addicts turn alcohol and drugs into a “higher power.” 

Part of recovering from drug addiction involves finding a new higher power to replace the old unhealthy one. For many, this concept is difficult to fathom, since getting sober is often imagined as nothing more complicated than detoxing and ending a physical dependence on a drug. However, without finding a new higher power, most people find that they relapse after their individual willpower is depleted.

The concept of a higher power in 12-step programs

Alcoholics Anonymous and the other 12-step programs are modeled after it takes a spiritual approach to recovery. The first step involves recognizing that you are, as an addict, not in control of your own life. It involves recognizing that addiction has overpowered you. The second step involves recognizing that a new higher power could be the help that’s necessary. It is written as follows:

  1. “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

The language about a higher power, which some associate with the concept of “god,” is deliberately vague. That’s because Bill Wilson, one of the founders of AA, envisioned Alcoholics Anonymous as a program that could accommodate members of any faith, even atheists and agnostics. Most people can acknowledge a power greater than themselves. After all, none of us can control the weather, can we?

 By getting people to think in these terms, AA’s recovery program deemphasizes the role of ego and individual will in recovery. This aligns with contemporary scientific research, which has found that willpower plays a very limited role in recovery from substance use disorder.

The third step makes it clear that the concept of a higher power isn’t based on any single religion.

  1. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”

The recovery process as understood by 12-step programs involves letting go of control. For those who do not believe in God, the book Alcoholics Anonymous suggests interpreting “higher power” to mean the community of AA. After all, by following the advice of other people who have gotten sober, you’re far more likely to succeed than by going with your own impulses.

Finding a Higher Power in Sober Living

For many people who had religious upbringings as children, the idea of a higher power is not that difficult. This population may find that their 12-step program is enriched by attending church, synagogue, or temple meetings.  For those without religious affiliation, discovering a higher power can be a bit more of a journey. 

Reading about different philosophical and religious practices can help people discover new and unfamiliar concepts of higher power that resonate. There are also plenty of people who practice prayer and meditation but do not have a concrete idea of a higher power that they can readily articulate. For many, the idea of a higher power is more about the process and spiritual journey of seeking one out than it is about choosing the “correct” higher power.

Atheists in recovery

One of the primary reasons that people reject 12-step programs is that they are uncomfortable with the way people throw around the terms “higher power” and “god.” It is important to understand that there are many atheists in recovery who are absolutely welcome in 12-step programs. These atheists have many options. They do not need to choose a religious idea for their higher power. 

Many atheists choose for their higher power a secular concept such as nature, science, the recovery community, or love. Others choose to reject the concept of a higher power entirely. The 12 steps are merely suggestions. The only requirement for membership in Alcoholics Anonymous is a desire to be sober. The specifics of AA’s philosophy and suggested recovery program are entirely optional.

Searching For a Higher Power in Sober Living

For active addicts who understand that their lives are unmanageable, all this talk of finding a higher power might sound hopelessly abstract. By enrolling in a sober living home, they can get the immediate help they need to begin their recovery journey. 

Like many supportive housing environments, Design for Recovery is a sober living home rooted in the 12-steps. Design for Recovery works with recovering addicts and alcoholics of all faiths and stamps to make the process of finding a higher power and recovering from substance use disorder as simple as possible. For more information, read some of the testimonials of our graduates who have achieved long term sobriety.

Leave a Comment

Check Out More Posts or View All

Join Our Sober Living Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter for news, events, and the best sober living tips.

Sober Living in Los Angeles - Design for Recovery

About Us

Design for Recovery empowers men struggling with addiction by providing 24/7 support, mentorship, and teaches them how to live healthy, fulfilling lives.

Chat with us on Facebook

Recent Posts

955 Posts

Sober Living Homes in Los Angeles for Men

Design For Recovery - Sober living homes for men in Los Angeles, CA. Contact us today. We want to know your story and welcome you home.

Getting sober is realizing how much stronger you are mentally AND physically. No more FML mornings, now it's replaced with knowing your purpose and living it every. single. day. Wake up with energy to take on challenges with renewed clarity, focus, determination, and superhuman strength. Living my truth like nothing else matters? Hands down, I'll take that over a hangover any day.

Get in with our sober community of guys supporting each others' hustle and keeping each other accountable. Check out one of our sober living homes for men in Los Angeles. (Link in bio)
What's better than having a grill master in the house? Having 10 of them! Any night of the week you may catch us grillin' and chillin'. We might qualify as the world's worst vegans, but we're a house full of guys! What do you expect? Get your grill on with us at one of our BBQ cookouts at Design for Recovery sober living homes for men in Los Angeles, CA. (Link in bio)
Learning to make on omelette is hard. Learning to make an omelette with all your closest friends is... still hard, but with a lot more laughs! Come break a few eggs with us at Design for Recovery sober living homes for men - where we regularly enjoy cooking meals together. (Impromptu dance battles not required but encouraged) Get in touch with us today! (Link in bio)
While living in a sober home, we continue to grow and learn - each day becoming a little better versions of ourselves than we were yesterday. The men living here become like brothers and many go on to become lifelong friends who continue to support each other for years to come. Experience this exceptional bond at Design for Recovery sober living homes for men in Los Angeles, CA. Check us out! (link in bio)
When it comes to staying sober, why go it alone? We've got a great community of guys here at our sober living homes in Los Angeles. We've got your back - day and night. Definitely worth checking us out! (Link in bio)
Never underestimate the difference you can make in the lives of others. Step forward, reach out and help. Reach out to someone that might need a lift. 

👉 Reach out to us today to learn more about our sober livings or schedule a tour at : 
📞 +14243274614
#designforrecovery #community #supporting #groupsupport #helping #soberlife #sober #soberhomes #change #sobriety #recovery #soberliving #soberaf #addiction #alcoholfree #sobermovement #recoveryispossible #wedorecover #addictionrecovery #alcoholicsanonymous #onedayatatime #soberlifestyle #sobrietyrocks #sobercurious #sobernation #mentalhealth #cleanandsober #alcoholfreelife
Recovery takes time to heal the heart, strengthen your confidence and find trust in yourself. At the end of your life it will be what you make of it and you get to write the chapters. 

👉 Reach out to us today to learn more about our sober livings or schedule a tour at : 
📞 +14243274614
#designforrecovery #community #supporting #groupsupport #helping #soberlife #sober #soberhomes #change #sobriety #recovery #soberliving #soberaf #addiction #alcoholfree #sobermovement #recoveryispossible #wedorecover #addictionrecovery #alcoholicsanonymous #onedayatatime #soberlifestyle #sobrietyrocks #sobercurious #sobernation #mentalhealth #cleanandsober #alcoholfreelife

Reach out to us today.

Design For Recovery is committed to helping you or your loved one live a fulfilling life free from alcohol and drug addiction. Below you can find out what to expect when you contact us for help.

Call us at (424) 327-4614 or fill out the form below and we will be in touch with you soon.

Send us a message below and we will reach out to you.