Alcoholism and the higher power

It would be helpful to liberate spirituality by letting it apply to all and sundry without arrogating ourselves the role of the gatekeeper when it comes to who should be the beneficiaries of divine intervention


It is not easy to accept that there is a higher power responsible for everything that happens anywhere on earth and this is understandable. We operate with several spiritual sects and denominations to the point that a section of the population has chosen to believe in nothing altogether.

The subject of the higher power in relation to alcoholism is a topic that will definitely elicit myriad reactions. This is because matters of faith seem to operate at an oil and water level when it comes to alcoholism. Yet we seem to get stranded when we think of solving the problem of alcoholism without reference to a higher power.

The idea of the higher power needs a little bit more liberalization when it comes to alcoholism. You see, it is evident that there are many divergent opinions when it comes to what a higher power entails. However, I subscribe to the view that the appropriate approach to this is by perceiving the higher power independent of any religious inclination, that is, as it works for you. We cannot argue with the fact that there seems to be a power greater than us human beings and it is manifest in several things, phenomena and otherwise.

An alcoholic who resorts to sorting out his challenge on his own is bound to fail because this approach is too selfish. When you are addictated to alcohol, you do things that are starkly insane. Now to come out of this insanity, the act of doing the same thing and expecting different results can only be eradicated by an act of personal transformation, which in itself is a spiritual experience. It is then obvious that restoration of one to sanity after a spell of alcoholism has to hinge on an element of the higher power.

It is also notable that most alcoholics are very resentful to the idea of a higher power alleviating their problem. It is not in contention that the greatest impediment to recovery for an alcoholic is immense self-pride. Whenever one is ready to climb down from the high horse and acknowledge that they have a problem, chances of recovery are extremely high. Humility is a cardinal virtue for an alcoholic who is eager to recover. The fact that one can surrender to a mechanism to wean them off alcoholism is something akin to a miracle.The debate about spirituality vis-à-vis alcoholism is hot everywhere in the globe. Open mindedness towards this subject is quite helpful. In any case, the walls and fences that we construct around the subject of alcoholism tends to create an aura of mystery around the subject even when the issues on the table are a matter of logic and sound reasoning. It would also be helpful to liberate spirituality by letting it apply to all and sundry without arrogating ourselves the role of the gatekeeper when it comes to who should be the beneficiaries of divine intervention.

It is interesting to note that anybody who follows the steps towards abstaining from using alcohol gets a transformation whether he or she is a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Christian, a Hindu, an Agnostic or even an Atheist. That in itself demonstrates that the antidote to addiction does not recognize balkanization of any kind and that the higher power is to the service of all humanity irrespective of their religious background. We will not be granted our wish if we don’t ask for it. As long as we are ready to admit our powerlessness over the drink, the logical step to follow is to ask for rescue. We then have to believe that there is a power that is greater than us and is capable of alleviating our problem. We also have to make a decision to put our predicament before this higher power. In doing so, we are asking for assistance and for sure, we get that much needed help if we badly need it and are able to adhere to the principles that make it happen. Alcohol itself seems to have a spiritual background. How is it that an alcoholic can totally transform into a personality that differentiates them from what they usually are when they are sober. This trait of multiple personality negates the idea that we can understand an alcoholic from the perspective of the non-spiritual. We ought to perceive the problem of alcoholism from a spiritual dimension.

I am curious about the fact that quite a number of religious organizations use the drink in certain occasions. This alone should get us thinking of the role of alcohol in spirituality. Who knows, we may just be having a big problem with alcoholism because of the obstinacy with which we deal with spiritual issues. Alcohol has never been meant to draw us away from spirituality.The fact that the principles for the recovery of an alcoholic are applicable to anybody irrespective of colour, race or social status, is a pointer to the fact that recovery itself is a divine thing. It does not have barriers the same way spirituality has no boundaries.

We live in a world that is inundated by theories and views. The option for an alcoholic is to create a space for own perception of a higher power to propel one’s recovery. It could be a strong family support. It could be a best friend who does everything to ensure that a friend recovers from the disease. It could be a wife who, through thick and thin, stayed with her husband in his worse moments. It could be anything that the patient holds dear. Let it just work for you the way you want it, but you got to believe in something that is greater than you. That is how it has worked for millions of people across the world. In all fairness, this is not something that anybody can dispute even if they have the right to reject it offhand.  

Writer is author of Aphorisms and Poems of Light

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