Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Members of Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families 12 step groups often rely on a "higher power" for help. Sometimes people confuse this with with a requirement that they believe in God or follow some religious doctrine. This may be because the word "God" is sprinkled throughout the 12 Steps. "God" in this case, is an umbrella term representing a higher power that can be the universe, a deity, mother earth, nature, intention, the group itself or whatever you choose.
Step 2- "Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."
I think one the main points of this is to realize that there are forces OUTSIDE of ourselves that can help. Often ACAs are so isolated and resolved to fixing problems on their own, they discount the immense help that outside resources can bring. Reaching out to receive assistance may seem risky and scary.
If one had a heart dysfunction it would be foolhardy to rely on self diagnosis and treatment when there are specialists, procedures and medications available. In the same way, emotional/spiritual issues can be helped by seeking that which is beyond our limited personal capacities.
Only when we allow the possibility from help outside of ourselves can we acknowledge, accept and utilize that help when it arrives. This could be something as simple as a friend who offers assistance to something greater. Can you imagine a drowning man refusing to grab onto the life preserver that was thrown to him? You may be able to think of someone in your life that steadfastly refused the help that would have easily and simply solved a big problem for them. It's quite possible that each of us has a similar mindset on some issue(s).
It's ironic that those issues that cause the most fear and pain are often the ones that make people stubbornly resolve to fight on alone and the refuse help that could lead to resolution. Fear often leads to rigid attempts to control and deflection of offers of assistance.
Accepting help from outside means we must first admit some level of powerlessness (Step 1), realize that we are not Superman/Wonder Woman and be willing to try something new. It means that there may be a better way to resolve our issues than what we have limited ourselves to in the past. This admission is not always easy. But logic would dictate that if what we tried previously (i.e. fixing it all by ourselves) hasn't worked to our satisfaction, it may be in our best interest to expand our horizons and be willing to consider what other options and alternatives for help exist.
Accepting the assistance that an outside power may harness means we claim the intention to overcome being needlessly stuck in a cycle of failure. There is little to no downside to being open to a helping hand.
Far from being a religious dogma, this is a practical application of effective problem solving.
For those that are interested, there is even an agnostic version of The Twelve Steps.
What is your Higher Power and how does it help you?
Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children