God As We Understood Him

Spiritual Awakening
A Profound Change of Perception
July 25, 2018
A Moving and Fascinating Adventure
July 25, 2018
I have come to believe that I need to know God from my deep innermost self and not from my ever-inquiring alcoholic mind.

Bob S.

Very few of today’s two-million-plus AA members claim to possess a satisfying scientific definition of God. However, there exists undeniable evidence that God’s power has released countless of its members from alcoholic obsession.

Steps Three and Eleven contain the phrase, “God, as we understood Him.” When I was new, I found this insert both challenging and confusing; consequently, I soon found myself delving into books on theology, theosophy, Philosophy, and other mystical readings—but to no avail. I soon realized that I was no further along understanding God than when I started. Months of studying left me without any satisfying logical or scientific definition—what to do? After all, am I not supposed to “understand God?” If not, perhaps my sobriety would be in jeopardy! Confusing times!

But then, I came across a watershed idea from Bill W’s Oxford mentor, Reverend Sam Shoemaker who wrote: “Step Two is not theological; it is evidential!” Of course, I could plainly see the evidence of God’s work by simply observing numerous members around AA tables with many years sobriety; they all claimed that contact with God, or a “Higher Power,” was keeping them sober. It was evidential!

I had been barking up the wrong tree! I no longer need search for a logical definition of God, but I still needed to improve my conscious contact with God. Step Eleven convinced me that I could begin to know God through prayer and meditation—then there would be no need of a logical or scientific understanding of Him.

I have come to believe that I need to contact (know) God from my deep innermost self (heart) and not from my ever-inquiring alcoholic mind. I had been searching for God from the wrong place all along! After all, doesn’t the Big Book speak of the “Great Reality deep within?” (p. 55). So, in conclusion, “The better I understand God, the less I know God.”

By Bob S., Richmond, IN

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the AA Cleveland District Office.