Dear Mr. SponsorPants,
Can you explain a little about how my Higher Power can be "anything?" In meetings I'm pretending I understand this, but to be honest I'm a little at a loss...
Seeking But Faking It
I have to admit, when I was new this one through me for a loop as well. It's almost like, if you hand me a blank piece of paper and say, "draw a tree!" I can draw you all kinds of trees. I can draw you great trees, ugly trees, badly drawn trees, fantastic trees... whole forests of trees! I may be angry that you're telling me what to do, or think that I'd rather draw clouds or castles or one of the Three Musketeers instead of a tree, but I can draw you one if you want.
(Sidebar: A musket is a gun, right? So why did dudes whose club was named after a gun pretty much always use their swords? Puzzling!)
But if you give me a blank piece of paper and tell me to draw whatever I want, I might just as easily stare at the paper, perplexed and a little blocked by the complete freedom and lack of direction.
This did very, very little to either help or reassure me. And it feels like when I was new I heard this a lot. All the time. I began to suspect that there was a secret doorknob worshiping cult hidden within the 12 Step fellowship. (And of course their High Priestess would be Aunt Clara.)
(sorry. either you get that or you don't. Google it.)
I think the best starting place with this concept of "any HP you want" is to come from the other direction. The point made (eloquently, in "Bill's Story" in the Big Book) is that you don't have to use whatever idea of God you were raised with, or that someone else feels strongly about, when you ask God to help you stay sober.
Frankly, you don't even have to have ANY idea of God when you pray. You can just say, "God, I have no idea whatsoever of who/what/how you are, but here's my prayer anyway..."
I think the main thing to remember is that any concept you've been given that frightens or bothers or angers or intimidates you does not have to be how you think about God now, in sobriety, and that the 12 Steps will work for you regardless of what your idea of God is.
My own concept of how the Universe -- or the Multiverse, for that matter -- and God -- works has gone through many evolutions, much of which I've blathered on about in other essays here on the blog. I invite you to click around and see if anything here is helpful, and I encourage you to explore the concepts of many faiths and spiritual thinkers to find what feels right for you.
There's no "wrong" way to believe, including not believing.
But if you're really, really at a loss, you can always pray to Aunt Clara!
There are more reflections like this one in "Mr. SponsorPants: Adventures in Sobriety and The 12 Steps for AA's and Others." Available as an eBook on Kindle via Amazon. Download a Kindle reader for free on any device or platform.