This is probably one of my favorite topics in Al-anon, because it’s what brought me into Al-anon in the first place. Before I had ever even heard of Al-anon, I had a Higher Power. I was raised Catholic and went to a Catholic school for college. As it happens, St. Vincent wasn’t even my top choice when I was working on my college applications. I only applied, because as the HOBY Award winner at my high school (HOBY is a leadership award), I would receive a scholarship to St. Vincent College, the school where the HOBY seminar took place.
I won this award during my sophomore year in high school, and when I started looking at colleges in my junior year, St. Vincent was among them, but I wasn’t particularly interested. I had my heart set on going to Carnegie Mellon University and commute from home. A lot of things changed though from my junior year to my senior year, and for whatever reason, I was drawn to St. Vincent. I truly believe that was my Higher Power.
During my time at St. Vincent, I worked on not placing expectations on people (Step One), and not only building a stronger relationship with my Higher Power, whom I call God, by also learning how to surrender to Him (Steps Two & Three). I couldn’t have explained it then why it was so important–I just felt driven that I had to learn how to surrender. When I asked one of the monks at the school how to do so, he told me it was a daily process that each day you surrender a little bit more. That wasn’t exactly the answer I was looking for.
For me, Higher Power means my first three steps.
Step One: Stop putting expectations on people–because my problem was that I thought I could control people rather than alcohol, so letting that go served me pretty well.
Step Two: Build a relationship with my Higher Power, whom I call God.
Step Three: Surrender to my Higher Power.
As I am writing this, I realize that I need to go back through these steps. I’ve moved away from the church again, because, although I still believe in my Higher Power, I do not believe in the church. I take issue with some of their beliefs, particularly when it comes to how women are treated in the church. Being away from a group with similar beliefs has made it difficult to stay close to my HP, and I stopped short on my later steps–which I do need to get back to.