While ACA is not a church or a religious movement, it is a fellowship organized and deeply rooted in spiritual values and principles. ACA acknowledges the need of a Higher Power to restore children to good health and wholesome relationships. This Higher Power may initially be the group, a counselor’s support and guidance, the 12-Steps or the God of an individual’s personal understanding. No Doctrine or creed is ever supported or preached in ACA concerning this Higher Power. Most ACA meetings, like other 12-Step programs, make use of the Serenity Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer, but these prayers were chosen for their universality; they address our common spiritual needs and struggles. Within these prayers can be found a simple yet profound wisdom offering us day by day prescriptions for living, centered in our trust of a Higher Power.
ACA collectively affirms itself to be united, supported and maintained by a loving God, as expressed through our group conscience, by which our fellowship is guided and directed. ACA understands this Higher Power to be interested in the progress of the ACA fellowship as a whole and in each individual adult child.
The ACA recovery program according to the First Step, is based on a our recognition of a our powerlessness over our past experiences in dysfunctional family systems. This honest acknowledgement makes possible our recovery; we are asked in the Second Step to make a “leap of faith”, to come to believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity, __ that is to say, to make us whole.
This awakening to belief is a gradual process; we come little by little to believe that something is supporting and guiding us in recovery. A full understanding of a Higher Power doesn’t come until a meaningful relationship with the Higher Power is acknowledged, maintained, and developed in the Eleventh Step. Willingness, honesty, trust, patience and practice are the keys to developing this relationship which we begin in Step Three. This relationship will bring rewards such as courage and deep inner peace that no adversity can seriously alter.
Higher Power has a very personal dimension in that each adult child chooses a Higher Power of his/her understanding. It is important that within the group, an attitude of open-mindedness and tolerance be held in discussing Higher Power. No group or persons has “all the right answers.” Instead, there are many paths, theologies, and philosophies that lead to truth and spirituality.
The only statement which ACA makes concerning a Higher Power is that it is a positive force of love interested and active in our growth and happiness. Each adult child must discover their own Higher Power, and build their own relationship to draw upon the wisdom, strength, security and direction available to each of us in recovery.
For those adult children who are either agnostic or atheist concerning a God or universal power, our experience in ACA has revealed that such issues are often resolved by making the love, experience, strength and hope of the group their Higher Power.
Mark L., Hartford, Connecticut.