This series Parent Caregivers 12 Step Program is adapting the “Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous” to caregiving. In last week’s post we discussed the difficulty of caregiving as a parent of a special needs child. It was this desperate need for support that lead me to reading Self-Care for Caregivers: A Twelve Step Approach.
Last week’s article was about admitting we were powerless over the people we are taking care of. This week we discuss a Power greater than us. The authors of the book suggest using a journal to write down your thoughts, feelings, and observations as you move through the steps. This is the second of a series of posts all related to the 12 steps. Step 1 of the 12 Steps: Feeling Powerless.
Power greater than ourselves
“Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
The idea that there is a Power greater than ourselves can be a controversial topic. I mean, let’s be honest. I have friends with children with special needs, some of them have rejected God or any other higher Power as a direct result of having their child be born with special needs.
There is also the controversy around whether there is one God, many Gods, or no God at all. Perhaps you believe there is an all knowing Spirit or you believe the earth is Mother Earth. This step is not meant to define what a Power greater than ourselves is for anyone. However, considering that it may exist can lead us on a path to trusting in a power beyond us, or something we can turn to to help us find hope when times are hard.
If the entire notion of a God is too much for you to deal with in your current stage of life or caregiving, you can consider another source of power like a support group or nature. Whatever it is that you can look to or go to in times of need. It is the Power greater than us that has become the largest source of healing for millions of people that used the original 12-Steps to get sober.
I was raised Catholic. Let’s face it, we haven’t exactly been hitting it out of the park. All of the news on some of the un-priestly like behavior of our highest religious leaders doesn’t exactly leave someone on the firmest of footing when they are trying to trust in and find hope in a power that is greater.
I needed to redefine for myself what spirituality meant. Was I a Catholic? Was I Christian? What did I believe? Who did I believe? While raising four children, one with autism, it wasn’t exactly the best time to be going through a spiritual journey; so it was imperative for me to find a higher being to trust in. I personally needed unwavering faith in something or someone.
My crisis of faith ended up being a very difficult, rewarding, and humbling journey. In the end, my spirituality has never been stronger. It wasn’t just my spirituality that solidified as part of this journey, however, as I said I needed to have unwavering faith in something or someone.
One thing I didn’t expect to learn was that I needed to have faith in myself. I had to have faith that I could be a caregiver for my children and my daughter. I needed to be able to feel comfortable with being uncertain and vulnerable. I needed to be more comfortable trusting myself and my choices.
There isn’t a single exercise or one moment or five minutes you spend reading a blog that will necessarily change a crisis of faith. However, you can begin the journey of finding your higher power. The first step in doing that is to define what a higher power is to you and how you need it in your life to help you in your parenting journey.
Define your higher power.
If you are seeking to know your higher power, you need to take some time to define what that means to you. Consider writing about what your higher power looks like, smells like, feels like, and sounds like. What characteristics makes it a higher power? What do you need from the higher power?
If you take some time to dig into what you need, you might find the answers. You also might find a need that you didn’t realize you had. If you find your higher power is part of an organized religion with a house of worship – consider attending to gain strength. If your higher power is a support group, begin to attend with the intention of getting the help you need.
What do you think of this step?
Did it bring up good or bad feelings for you?
What did you define as your higher power?
Source: Loosely Adapted from “Self-Care for Caregivers: A Twelve Step Approach” by Pat Samples, Diane Larsen, Marvin Larsen
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