"Sobriety" by Garrett Heaney

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I want to talk to you for a minute about sobriety. Sobriety means… not drinking and stuff. Not doing drugs. Finding a power greater than yourself to restore you to sanity. 

This last part… this is the part that screws people up. People hear power greater than self and immediately turn it into higher power. Higher power, within AA, is code for God. Some old timers still say God, which is ok, but these days, it’s more hip to say Higher Power. 

The way I look at it, a power greater than one’s self, can be taken literally — we all have a self, it’s known as the ego in psychology. Eastern philosophy teaches us the ego is a delusion and a source of suffering. I’m pretty sure this is what Christianity is referring to when they say “the body” and what makes all of us sinners. 

A power greater than myself, therefore, is a power greater than my ego. A power greater than my ego can restore me to sanity. This is a beautiful thing, and is refreshingly simple. It only means that my ego is crazy — something I’ve believed for years. 

So what is a higher power then?

I like to think of it like this: Like most people, I have thoughts inside of my head. Like most people, I think with words. I get wrapped up in these words and create stories out of them. Stories that I believe. I believe I’m the main character in all of these stories, and most importantly, I believe that I, myself, am telling these stories, first-hand. I am not the narrator though, this is actually the foundation of my insanity. The narrator is actually, my ego. 

I am not the narrator, if I can hear the narrator. It’s that simple. I am not the inner voice, I am the inner ears. I’m not the words, the thoughts or the thinker, I am the one who can listen to all of these, to hear them and respond to them appropriately, or not at all.

In order to grow out of my drinking problem, I must first grow out of my ego. I must be the higher power inside my mind who can hear my thoughts objectively. This higher power can be subtle, but it is definitely there.

Gary MillerComment