What 12-Steppers tell you in the beginning is that you can choose your own concept of what that Higher Power is, as long as you choose something. That said, one big criticism of 12-Step programs is that even though they say you can choose your own HP, they really mean God when they say God. The subtext: if you don’t believe in God, you’re not going to make it. And if you argue about it, you’re not willing.
I admittedly don’t know how to use theism, or the belief in an outside force, to feel better. As much as I’ve tried to use externals to change my feelings it’s never worked on any long term basis. Be it from drugs, women, grades, raises, applause, laughter – temporary relief always fades. And guess what doesn’t? That pervasive dark feeling of dis-ease, shining black through like a reverse sunrise-blinding any glimmer of satisfaction that the crack of quick cash or a fat stash or batting eye lash could give me. Gone. And there I am left to feel, one more time, like the wrong side of a colon.