What is a higher power in AA?

August 31, 2021

By Andy F

Categories: Higher Power

AA – A successful rehabilitation for alcoholics

Alcoholics Anonymous is, without a doubt, the most successful recovery program in the world for problem drinkers.

“This is what the 2020 Cochrane meta-analysis of Alcoholics Anonymous reports. Based on randomized trials, AA-oriented therapies have a 42% abstinent rate one year after treatment.” Wikipedia 

Is AA a religion?

The AA model of recovery is highly successful in helping alcoholics to get sober. This may come as a surprise to many who see AA as a quasi-religion.

How can a recovery program for alcoholism be so effective? It is not based on traditional medical, psychiatric, or psychological treatment models.

A popular belief held by people with limited information about Alcoholics Anonymous is that AA is a cult.

Spiritual not religious

So why is AA so successful? We first need to consider AA a spiritual program, not a religious one. Agnostic newcomers eventually realize that a spiritual awakening must not necessarily depend on a God awakening.

Despite frequent references to God, agnostics, atheists, and freethinkers have set up groups that do not use God as their higher power. Everyone is free to choose their interpretation of a higher power. They begin to seek spiritual solutions that have meaning for them. Non-believers are reassured that a full recovery is possible. They need to be open to the idea of a non-God-centered spiritual awakening.

Secular AA

In secular AA, there is no requirement to believe in the traditional idea of God. If that were the case, many would have left AA and perhaps be lost forever.

An important quote for non-believers appears on page 27 of The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. After the Big Book, It is the second most crucial piece of AA literature.

In the chapter on step two, we find the following statement:

“You can, if you wish, make AA itself your higher power. 

(12 &12 Page 27)

The reading suggests that the AA group is more powerful than the individual alcoholic. 

A simple spiritual, not religious program

The AA program is open to personal interpretation, which makes it all-inclusive. It is freely available to every alcoholic, no matter what they believe or disbelieve. GOD can quite simply mean a Group ODrunks. It’s a simple idea that is keeping millions of alcoholics sober.

Please click this link if you want to find out more about AA.


Can you embrace the idea that AA can be a power greater than you?

In fellowship,

Andy F

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