What is trust in God?

The concept of trusting God begins for most people in childhood, with a sense that it adds a level of safety to the safety that a child hopefully feels within their family.

It is unlikely to be spelt out in detail what this means, but will most likely be a felt sense of trust that is more likely to be seen as an extension of a sense of trust or safety that already exists within the family.

The nation of trusting in God will be reinforced by the by such rituals as night-time prayers, going to church, Sunday school, Bible reading etc.

In other scenarios many families and many parents verge on somewhat of the religious neurotic, and use the notion of God as an image almost to escape their own lack of a sense of safety or the ability to provide an emotionally safe environment for their children. In this context the notion of trusting in God takes on a very different meaning, a more sinister one in affect.

When entering a rehab, as when first attending meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, many people are confronted with the word God, and the implications that this word brings up in them, normally as a legacy of their childhood experience.

A rehab will most likely promote the 12 step programme of Alcoholics Anonymous, which is by its very nature focuses on the world of the spirit and of God.

A rehab will have many different approaches to how it deals with people’s antagonism or outright hatred of religion, or any meaning of the word God.

This will be a huge part of a person’s recovery, not least because many people entering a rehab will feel they have lost their sense of choice about what they do.

If a rehab focuses on telling people that they are effectively need to disempower themselves even more by relying on some sense of God that does not work for them, they will merely deepen that sense of hopelessness that the alcoholic is likely to feel on entering a rehab.

A rehab is likely to focus on the first five steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, although the interpretation of what they mean is often significantly different to that which the AA program actually refers.

What will arise, is the question of what trusting in God actually means, and how an alcoholic can begin that process.

This will inevitably raise the question of what the word God means for the alcoholic, and hopefully a rehab will be sensitive to this and help a person explore the different meanings open to them.

The book Alcoholics Anonymous, on which the Fellowship of AA is based, makes continual references to God, spiritual experience, spiritual awakening etc.

At the same time the book does not try to define what these terms means, but makes it pretty clear that it should be a freedom for the individual to discover what these terms mean to them.

It should be a big part of the function of a rehab to reinforce this freedom, although sadly this is not always the case.

The other thing that the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous continually implies, is that a sense of God or of spirit is primarily to be found within the person themselves rather than externally.

This gets to the whole question of the nature of God etc which is much better left alone, in this context.

A big part of the function of a rehab is to provide a safe environment, where an alcoholic can begin the process of rebuilding their life and their inner world.

Learning to trust in God, primarily means learning to trust in themselves first, and using that as a freedom to discover what God means to them, and what trusting in that God actually means.

A rehab should encourage this freedom, even though it obviously brings a level of uncertainty with it, a position that a rehab might find uncomfortable given its very structured and focused environment.