Whoa, that's a heavy title. Or is it? Actually, I don't think so. Let's unpack it a little.
I've just made a video about Step 2 of Alcoholics Anonymous. Step 2 reads:
Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
It has been an interesting video to make for two reasons:
- It required some self exploration, and
- It's the second video I've ever written a script for. I usually just riff.
At the age of 49 I find myself more and more interested in learning how other people relate to power and spirituality and self-love.
A recent discovery for me is Amanda Palmer. I read her book The Art of Asking after hearing about it during Jeffery Saddoris' conversation with Jack Lowe in an episode of Process Driven. That opened up a whole new world of Amanda's content through her Patreon and I'm now going through some of her back catalogue of podcast episodes.
The one with KT Tunstall is a belter! She talks about an awakening that she experienced after her dad died and about how the universe conspired to make her take time off. Listen to the snippet below that I shared to Twitter. Honestly, it's fucking gold.
Listening to two people around my age talking about self-love and gracefully not giving a fuck is inspiring to me. And that sense of awakening on the death of a parent? Hell yeah! I experienced that in a big way when my mum died in 2016. It changed me for the better. That change continues.
A lot of the books I'm reading now are about these topics too. Is it because I'm 49 and am approaching a Big Birthday? Is it a search for meaning during a global pandemic? Is it a desire to connect? Whatever it is, I'm feeling more and more content and serene as I go deeper into becoming the person that I want to be, now that I've got a handle on just who that person is.
So, what might a power greater than myself be? And how do you find your higher power?
I'm almost tempted to drop in a copy of an email I wrote to my now wife in which I drunkenly tried to explain a revelation I'd just had that art and self expression get us closer to God. Almost tempted. It might be something I could offer to my paid membership. How's that for the art of asking?! DM me if you're interested!
The tl;dr is that I came to believe in a power greater than myself while I was drunk, a philosophy that has evolved over time into what it means to me today. I'm sure that it will continue to evolve as I keep exploring my thoughts and learning from the thoughts of others.
Is it God? Honestly? How would I know? As John Lennon so succinctly put it, God is a concept. I like that definition. The name for the concept is irrelevant to me. It's enough for me to know that it's there and that I'm not in control. Of course it helps to be able to name the concept so that we may talk about it, so in that sense the term higher power seems to work. Although I'm not sure why the 12 steps then go on to call it out specifically as God after apparently going to great pains not to call it God. Anyway, it is what it is and I know that thinking I know better is generally not a good idea.
And now, as I sit out on my porch in the warm spring weather, with Amanda Palmer's music playing in my AirPods, my wife just in the house, my two kids at school, everyone hale and healthy, I honestly could not be more content. My 15 years of not drinking are all just many one-days-at-a-time added up as my belief in a higher power has evolved in what it is today. And that belief is mine. It helps me in different ways on different days.
Maybe you're an atheist or a nihilist. We believe in nothing, Lebowski. If you can get to a group of AA and come to believe that the power of the group is stronger than you, that might just be enough. Or, just maybe, you really ARE the centre of the universe and when you die it will all just disappear.
I don't have it all figured out. Far from it. But I'm enjoying figuring it out.
And to my friend Ruben, who's having a mare of a day today, I say that the fear is not real and you can hand it over. Let it go and then you're free to be the best version of yourself that you can be. Preachy? Maybe. But I know that it works! The steps aren't only for addicts.