When I came into A.A. in April 1986 to get sober for the first and last time, I was sufficiently sick and confused that I don't think I gave God much of a thought. I saw "God as we understood Him" in the Steps on the wall of the room. I felt I had an understanding of God, and that was that.
Before long, my newly-sober sponsor and his sponsor were talking repeatedly about "higher power" this and "higher power" that; and I think I concluded that I had two higher powers: one was our Creator; the other was the A.A. group. And nobody set me straight on any of this. Unfortunately, it was a long time before I went to a Joe and Charlie Big Book Seminar in Sacramento and learned how much God was embedded in A.A.'s General Service Conference-approved literature.
Furthermore, I learned from DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers that A.A.'s basic ideas came from the Bible--which many AAs--including Dr. Bob--called the Good Book. And there was plenty in A.A.'s Big Book and its Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers that called God the Creator, Maker, Father, Heavenly Father--all biblical descriptions.
But then came the nonsense gods that were flooding meeting sharing. I heard that your higher power--whatever that was--could be a light bulb, a door knob, a radiator, the Big Dipper, a Coke bottle, and Ralph. And I heard it often.
As my A.A. years rolled on, I realized that A.A. newcomers were being short-changed in their knowledge of their history, the Bible, God, and prayer. And that much of the trouble--coupled with frequent relapses--could be identified with those who looked at A.A. as a place to get sober, but learned little about God's role.
Today and in future shows, I'll introduce you to what I believe is not typical of early A.A. and not typical in A.A.'s literature today--the so-called higher power craze.