A Higher Power: Unpacking This Crucial Element of Sobriety

A Higher Power: Unpacking This Crucial Element of Sobriety

In Recovery, Sober Living by Tree House Recovery

The second step in AA involves coming to believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity. After we admit that our lives have become unmanageable, it’s time to turn our wills over to higher energy. While this is a beautiful and necessary step, sometimes people get caught up on the “higher power” aspect. It’s not necessary for you to believe in God or gods to work this step or to turn your power over to something higher. So, let’s break down what a higher power means so that you can get the most out of this step and gain clarity around what you value and stand in awe of.

The Sublime

To begin, try thinking about a time that you felt truly in awe of something that was incomprehensibly beautiful. The philosopher Emmanuel Kant calls this “the sublime.” While “the beautiful” is that which is human-made and understandable, “the sublime” refers to mountains, oceans, and the cosmos — basically, anything (usually in nature) that is more powerful and ancient than us. Nature, the ocean, the woods, or your favorite childhood hideout. 

Finding Beauty in the Mundane

A higher power doesn’t necessarily need to be something grandiose or beyond comprehension. When we truly pay attention, beauty can be found in the seemingly mundane everyday interactions. Perhaps your higher power includes feelings of love, friendship, or gratitude. Think back to what you loved when you were young for clues as to what you truly value.

Finding Peace

More than anything, finding a higher power gives us peace. It lets us know that there’s a greater force out there — God, nature, the universe, love, etc. — that’s taking care of us. We get to surrender some of our will and enter the flow of the divine. 


Tree House Recovery of Portland, Oregon uses cutting-edge techniques in individualized programs to help men achieve freedom from addiction. Taking a holistic, sustainable approach to the inner and outer effects of addiction ensures you or your loved one will emerge with the confidence and skills to manage your addiction independently. No one is beyond help- our Admissions Counselors are available 24/7 at  (503) 850-2474