Trees as a Higher Power

A client I had been seeing for almost three years has had some success abstaining from alcohol and drugs, and bringing a great amount of order to her life. She now wants to be a counselor working. She, like all of us "non-civilians," struggle with stabilizing our, leaning to cope and socialize without mind-and-mood altering substances and healthier ways to calm our minds.

This client has had willpower and that has been a strong feature of her recovery. The traditional approach to recovery holds that will power alone will not be enough, because all it takes is one slip in your will power to one slip toward that first drink or drug, and it never stops there. People start back just where they felt off -- any new tolerance tends to be temporary, and the costs are substantial.

The client and I work on strategies for life, while she works with her psychiatrist, family members and others to bring order in other areas. I've advocated for the client to add Alcoholics Anyomous. or Narcotics Anonymous meetings to her strategies. She has gained a lot from my experiences with drugs and alcohol and recovery and there are millions more non-civilians out there like me.

After a particularly rough visit to her home town in New England and a dope-sick friend coming down to see her, this client finally, this week she suggested adding N.A. meetings to her reporitore, all on her own. We scanned the meeting books online and weighted the benefits and disadvantages of meetings closer or further away from home. The meetings with the best reputations. The meetings that operated like cults. The others that had Jesus as a theme. We settled on a good meeting in Loudoun County, and she went, and at first was annoyed by the talk of a higher power.

We had discussed before in our meetings that a higher power to be anything. It's didn't have to be God.

The first and second in A.A. -- and there are similar versions for other 12-Step self-help programs are:

1. We admitted we are powerless over our addiction -- that our lives had become unmanageable

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity

This notion of a "higher" power can be offensive to some people, but it is truly agnositic, and can even be atheistic.

My higher power in recovery in New York was Curious George (thanks to the wise suggestion of my sponsor). The first two steps hit on the idea that (a) there is something bigger than you and (b) there is something that you can turn yourself, something greater than you that can retore your sanity. Some me its Curious George and my medications. For others, it could be animal rescue and the Church.

It doesn't so much matter, one of the ladies at the A.A. meeting explained to my client.

"Your higher power could be trees," she said to my client.

After a brief pause, my client replied, "Well, since my drug of choice is weed, i don't think my higher power shower should be trees."

So, perhaps anything can be your higher power, but perhaps not everything should be.

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