We know that often it is difficult for people in early recovery, sometimes long-term as well, to believe and have any sort of faith in a higher power. After all, many of us haven’t been active with any spiritual practice or belief in years and most of us enter recovery in the midst of massive problems in our lives that we feel needs immediate tending to but then we hear in meetings that the solution to all our problems is to work some steps out of a big blue book in order to acheive a spiritual awakening. It’s quite rare that people show up in recovery with the mind set that they want to grow spiritually, we just want our problems to go away!
For anyone struggling with the concept of spirituality, remember to keep it simple and trust that these people in the meetings have found a way out of their suffering that really works! Here, we have simplified the programs’ spiritual concepts into a few different helpful qoutes from the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book and 12 & 12:
“We find that no one need have difficulty with the spirituality of the program. Willingness, honesty, and open-mindedness are the Essentials of recovery. But these are indespensable.” (BB, Page 568, Appendix II, Spiritual Experience)
“Belief in a Power of God, plus enough willingness, honesty and humility to establish and maintain the new order of things were the essential requirements.” (BB, Page 14, Bill’s Story)
“Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates, they are not at fault; they are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty.” (BB, Page 58, How It Works)
“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance – that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” (Herbert Spencer, BB, Page 568, Apendix II, Spiritual Experience)
“We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God.” (BB, Page 46, We Agnostics)
“Much to our relief, we discovered we did not need to consider another’s conception of God. Our own conception however inadequate was sufficient to make the approach and to effect a contact with Him. As soon as we admitted the possible existance of a Creative Intelligence, a Spirit of the universe underlying the totality of things, we began to be possessed of a new sense of power and direction., provided we took other simple steps. We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men.” (BB, Page 46, We Agnostics)
“More realism and therefore more honesty about ourselves are the great gains we make under the influence of Step Five.” (12 & 12, Page 58, Step 5)
“That being so, you have swallowed and digested some big chunks of truth about yourself.” (BB, Page 71, How It Works)
“Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear.” (BB, Page 84, Into Action)
“Stop holding on to what is not working – get into action and experience a useful and contented life.” (12 & 12, Page 35, Step 3)
“Though self will may slam it shut again, as it frequently does, it will always respond the moment we again pick up the key of willingness.” (12 & 12, Page 60, Step 5)
“Until we actually sit down and talk aloud about what we have so long hidden, our willingness to clean house is still largely theoretical.” (12 & 12, Page 60, Step 5)
Baby Elephant Beliefs
Honesty – Open-mindedness – Willingness
HONESTY : the quality of being fair and truthful : the quality of being honest : good and truthful : not lying, stealing, or cheating.
Ask a child and the answer would be – “always tell the truth”
“my” truth vs. “the” truth
My alcoholic/addicted mind confuses me between what is “my” and what is “the”.
Role of the sponsor and support group is to identify my delusions (lies that I believe).
OPEN-MINDEDNESS : willing to consider different ideas or opinions : receptive to arguments or ideas.
Role of the literature in identifying the failure of my own best intentions.
Open to somebody else’s experience and guidence.
WILLINGNESS : not refusing to do something : quick to act or respond : doing something or ready to do something without being persuaded
“God’s part in it” – if the disease that centers in my mind can’t differentiate the true from the false – and self-reliance continues to fail me – then the willingness to apply a spiritual solution to my efforts will require asking God for that assistance.
“give yourself to this simple program” – what does that mean to you?