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Drifting to My Higher Power

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I first joined OA twenty years ago and have been in and out a few times. I have consistently found it frustrating that the word “God” is used in literature and meetings and by sponsors and other members.

I’ve found the male pronouns in the Steps and Traditions equally alienating. It’s not just the words that I’ve found problematic: the concept of “God” is embedded in many of the Steps and is explicit in the types of relationships that believing members experience and share about. It is frequently the foundational concept of meetings. It is especially disappointing when meetings recite the Lord’s Prayer, which is not Conference-approved literature.

I tried using the concept of a “Higher Power,” but it never really fit me well. It just seemed to be another word for the same concept of God, but without a gender (which is, to me, a step in the right direction). For a while, I tried using the idea of my “Enlightened Self” or “Higher Self,” but I usually ended up drifting back to the broader concept of the Universe. Today, I have an ongoing spiritual connection to the Universe, but I don’t purport to know what that is or how it manifests in concrete terms, and that’s okay. I’m comfortable with not knowing.

I attended my first unconventional-spirituality meeting last week and heaved a big sigh of relief. I felt a greater sense of belonging than I had at meetings where people were constantly talking about God. I relaxed at hearing the concept of how my Higher Power can be the power of the group conscience and the power of fellowship.

Maybe my concept of “a Power greater than ourselves” will continue to evolve and change over time, as it has already done. I feel safer exploring this in a part of the Fellowship that doesn’t continually refer to the concept of a God, and a male one at that. I am still curious about how other members deal with the religious bias.

— Finley

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