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One place where this formulation is often heard, and where it is of crucial importance, is in the 12-Step recovery community. In the 12 Step process, addicts find strength through a "higher power" - and discovering the nature of that power and our relationship to it is one of the primary foundations of finding that source of strength that allows us to do what we know we cannot do alone. We say it is a "spiritual, not religious, program" to emphasize that recovery is possible to all regardless of the religious traditions we may have grown up with. Many of us are scarred by repressive religious traditions, possibly debased through cultural practice or family dysfunction. In recovery we seek a loving and caring power that we need not define, but which when we surrender our will can help us to make and maintain changes that have eluded us otherwise.

It is often the case that as we continue this spiritual journey we may find deeper connections to the traditions of our ancestry, or of another culture, or simply an increasingly profound private understanding. The important thing is that it is our own process, that we go through with the help of the experience of the group and our sponsor - and the most important thing is that it works.

As the recovery movement gains in numbers in our culture, certain of its insights begin to spread. Our traditions limit how much an identified individual should say in "press, radio, and films," because of the life and death nature of the program. For the same reason, I should point out that this comment is my own experience and thoughts. "Your mileage may vary."