Folks familiar with Twelve-Step Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Overeaters Anonymous are well-versed with the concept and importance of a Higher Power. In recovery, people understand the crucial need for a strong and committed relationship with their Higher Power to sustain and support their efforts at abstinence and learning to live and relate to the world in a healthy, balanced way.

Often, one’s Higher Power is conceptualized as God, the Holy Spirit, or the Creator. But, as many folks in recovery know, our Higher Power can take any form or name. And we don’t need to attend AA or practice organized religion to benefit from this nurturing relationship. Nature, for example, is an accessible and common Higher Power that fuels people with a sense of renewal, constancy, and examples of wonder and evolution. A group that comes together for a common purpose, such as a congregation, a family or a clan of long-time friends, can be a Higher Power that reminds us of the strength of connection, that we are more powerful together than we are alone. An ideal, like Love, Honesty, or Serving Others, can inspire us to strive to be our best selves in our movement through the world.

More important than the form one’s Higher Power takes is it’s function in providing us with the knowledge that we don’t have to rely solely on ourselves for strength, guidance, wisdom to know the next right step forward. A Higher Power eases the loneliness and fear that can accompany being human; it provides a resting place for our pain and struggle when we can no longer bear our burdens. The road of life is a twisting, surprising and–hopefully–long journey to navigate. A Higher Power can be a constant, committed companion that helps us see the potholes in our path, picks us up when we fall, and whispers “You can do it!” in our ears when we are afraid to turn a corner. And this travel partner is always packed and ready to go, whether we know our ultimate destination or we are careening around in the dark. Like a fail proof GPS, our Higher Power will show us the path to our most authentic and fulfilling lives. We just have to be willing to plug in.