So, at this point, a person understands that it’s important to incorporate a Higher Power into their spirit and mind. But they do not believe and they don’t see how it is possible to believe.
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous has a whole chapter related to this. ‘We Agnostics‘ is the fifth chapter. The link here is for the .pdf version of text.
Essentially, one must recognize that perhaps half of our membership had difficulty with the spiritual part of the program. I believe the problem is that a) the person doesn’t want to change, b) they have an authority issue. Either way, a person has to get to the point where they will do anything to stay sober.
The Big Book puts it like this: We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God.
Some refer it as ‘becoming willing to be willing.’
So you have willingness. At this point, say a prayer. It can go like this: ‘God, I do not know if you exist. I want to stop drinking (or using), and I am unable. I need a power to help me. Please reveal yourself to me.’ Pray this every day. Go to meetings and share. Don’t drink and go to a meeting every day.
It might be difficult, and you might struggle with your belief. Make a decision to believe regardless of how you feel. Many times in my Christian walk, I have prayed ‘God I don’t have any feeling that you are there, I’m hopeless and I am choosing to believe you are there and you want good things for me.’
People claim they have no faith. According to the Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life, think about the ways in which you exercise faith every day. You have faith the sun will rise. You have faith that there will be water in your home. You have faith that your tires will work, that your bank will be open, and that the mail will come. Sometimes these things don’t happen, but they happen often enough that you do not say ‘The mail didn’t come! I don’t believe it will ever come again!’ Think of that when you have a spiritual crisis and don’t ‘feel’ God’s presence.
Imagine if you went to bed and you didn’t believe the bed frame would hold you even though it always had and nothing had occurred to make you think it wouldn’t. So you get in bed and you worry that it will fall. You lay there bracing yourself against it falling. You don’t get a good night’s sleep.
Now imagine your relationship with God. You start to worry he doesn’t exist. You start to collect data to maintain your lack of belief. You stop seeking Him because it’s pointless. What can He do?
So, it’s the willingness to seek him. In the New Testament of the Bible, Mark 9:17-24, There is a brilliant story of a man grappling with belief.
17 Out of the crowd, one man answered Him, “Teacher, x I brought my son to You. He has a spirit y that makes him unable to speak. z 18 Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I asked Your disciples to drive it out, but they couldn’t.”
19 He replied to them, “You unbelieving a generation! How long will I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him to Me.” 20 So they brought him to Him. When the spirit saw Him, it immediately convulsed the boy. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21 “How long has this been happening to him?” Jesus asked his father.
“From childhood,” he said. 22 “And many times it has thrown him into fire or water to destroy b him.
But if You can do anything, have compassion c on us and help us.”
23 Then Jesus said to him, “ ‘If You can’? d e Everything is possible f to the one who believes.” g
24 Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe! Help my unbelief.”
That is ME! It is probably every believer. There is the willingness, the acknowledgment that we need God, and the request for God’s help in believing.
The willingness is key.