Just For Today | July 8 | The “G” Word


“It is important for you to know that you will hear God mentioned at NA meetings. What we are referring to is a Power greater than ourselves that makes possible what seems impossible.”
Information Pamphlet Number 22, “Welcome to NA”

Confronting Preconceptions About “God”

Most of us come to Narcotics Anonymous with a variety of preconceptions about what the word “God” means, many of them negative. Yet the “G” word is used very regularly in NA, if not constantly. It occurs 92 times in the first 103 pages of our Basic Text and appears prominently in a third of our Twelve Steps. Rather than sidestep the sensitivity many of us feel toward the word, let’s address it head-on.

NA as a Spiritual Program

It’s true that Narcotics Anonymous is a spiritual program. Our Twelve Steps offer a way to find freedom from addiction through the help of a spiritual Power greater than we are. The program, however, doesn’t tell us anything about what we have to think about that Power. In fact, over and over again, in our literature and our steps and our meetings, we hear it said, “the God of our understanding”—whatever that understanding may be.

The Importance of Personal Interpretation

We use the word “God” because it’s used in our Basic Text and because it communicates most effectively to most people a basic understanding of the Power underlying our recovery. The word is used for the sake of convenience. The Power behind the word, however, is used for more than convenience. We use that Power to maintain our freedom from addiction and to ensure our ongoing recovery.

Exploring the “God” of Our Understanding

  1. Personal Beliefs: Each member of NA is encouraged to develop their own understanding of a Higher Power. This can be God, nature, the universe, or any concept that resonates personally.
  2. Flexibility: The program’s flexibility allows individuals to incorporate their personal beliefs without feeling pressured to conform to a specific religious doctrine.
  3. Inclusivity: By focusing on a “Power greater than ourselves,” NA makes space for everyone, regardless of their spiritual or religious background.

The Role of a Higher Power in Recovery

The concept of a Higher Power is crucial in the journey of recovery for several reasons:

  • Support: Believing in a Power greater than ourselves provides emotional and spiritual support, especially during challenging times.
  • Guidance: This belief can offer guidance and a sense of direction when making decisions and navigating life’s difficulties.
  • Strength: Recognizing a Higher Power can instill a sense of strength and resilience, helping individuals stay committed to their recovery.

Addressing Common Concerns

  • Atheists and Agnostics: Many atheists and agnostics find their place in NA by interpreting the Higher Power in a way that makes sense to them. This might be the collective strength of the group, the principles of the program, or the inherent goodness within themselves.
  • Religious Trauma: For those who have experienced religious trauma, redefining the concept of a Higher Power can be healing. It allows them to separate their recovery journey from past negative experiences with religion.

Practical Steps to Embrace the “G” Word

  1. Reflect: Spend time reflecting on what a Higher Power means to you. This could involve journaling, meditating, or discussing your thoughts with a trusted friend or sponsor.
  2. Experiment: Try different forms of spiritual practice to see what feels right. This might include prayer, meditation, spending time in nature, or attending different types of spiritual gatherings.
  3. Open-mindedness: Approach the concept with an open mind. Allow your understanding to evolve as you grow in your recovery.
  4. Community: Engage with others in the NA community to hear how they interpret and connect with their Higher Power. This can provide new insights and perspectives.

Just For Today: Embracing a Higher Power

Just for today: Whether I believe in “God” or not, I will use the Power that keeps me clean and free. This commitment to utilizing a Higher Power, whatever form it takes, can provide the strength and support needed to maintain recovery. Embracing this concept with an open heart and mind allows for a more profound and transformative recovery experience.


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