1. God

1. GOD

“GOD, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change”

Members of Twelve Step groups refer to life’s most divine force with the phrase “a power greater than human power” or simply as “my Higher Power”. The words appear in the Big Book of AA. I sometimes wonder why Bill Wilson chose these phrases as he wrote the Big Book in the late 1930s.
I found one possible answer in 1934 Webster’s Dictionary—published just a few years before the Big Book. There, I found this definition: “God n. a being of more than human attributes and powers”.
That seemed very similar to Bill Wilson’s term “Higher Power”.

I confess, I entered recovery having heard mostly confusing and unhelpful descriptions of God. My 1934 Webster’s Dictionary seemed to echo Bill Wison’s invitation to understand one simple truth: The solution to my addiction would never come from a human power, be it myself, a friend, a spouse, a doctor, a counselor, a religious representative, etc.

Looking back, I am glad I adopted a 1934 definition of God.

The Drawing

I had to think long and hard before illustrating this word. It is literally a sacred word—so sacred that might rightly be offended by anything I chose to draw. What power transcends human powers? I decided to rely on my drawing skills to provide the answer.

Listen to commentary via YouTube.

This illustration includes items reflecting many different human forces. Each object stands for a different power: the diploma (education), the beaker (science), the gavel (justice), the rose (love), the apple (food), the crown (royalty), the pearls (wealth), the drill (industry), the stethoscope (medicine), the football (sports) etc. The drawing also includes seductive temptations found in human affairs including the bullet (violence), the shot glass (alcohol), the pills (drugs), the bra strap (sex), the cigar (tobacco), dice (gambling), etc.

Do you see it now? The hand which appears to be in the “God” drawing is not a hand at all. It is an empty space where the clutter of human powers cannot reach. I have drawn God by not drawing God at all. I drew this to remind myself that whenever I seek to find my Higher Power, I should start by ruling out every form of human power in the world.

And there, my real search begins.


TRIVIA: I opened a fairly new Webster’s Dictionary and found this: “God n. the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped (as in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism) as creator and ruler of the universe.” That’s quite different from the 1930s definition. Over the decades, the meaning of many words inevitably change. How did Bill decide? He had no choice. He had to write in his own time, not in ours.


  1. Terrence Ross on August 27, 2022 at 7:03 pm


  2. Anonymous on the East Coast of the United States on October 8, 2022 at 9:44 am

    Thank you so much for your work, a friend deeper into recovery than I am shared this site with me recently. I am inspired by the drawings and how you matched them with the definitions for added clarification and depth to your art, as well as the Q&A. After several sober months and daily meetings, I just started reading the Big Book – and in a timely sense, your work here is seriously helping amplify my recovery process. I feel, all things considered, that the drawings as presented with the definitions can be utilized to help people grasp these many concepts in their own recovery process – especially “visual learners”. If you can send me an e-mail I’d like to communicate and ask your permission to print some off and share with certain people. I would particularly like to print certain ones off and put them on a corkboard at our home group’s meeting place. This was suggested by my sponsor after I shared this site with him. I hope you can write to me and let me know your honest thoughts on this matter before we consider proceeding.

    • Artist Drawings on October 8, 2022 at 10:11 am

      Hello Friend,

      Thanks for your very kind words about TwelveDrawings.com. It exists for you and others to explore and experience on your journey through recovery.

      The work is available for personal use only. That means viewing it and printing it only for your personal sobriety.

      The artwork itself is ©opyrighted for this reason. Not to make money—for the artwork is free to any individual. Rather, to ensure that the artwork remains in its original context, with extra-clear warnings to the newcomer that this is not conference-approve literature. It is life-or-death important to keep that in mind.

      I invite you to share the URL twelvedrawings.com so that others may explore and experience on their path through recovery.

      Please print as much as you like for your own use. That’s exactly what it is there for.

      Trudging the road of Happy Destiny,


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