Tackling the alcohol problem, the wreckage of the past and trying to be spiritual at the same time is a large order in the beginning. Most of us are consumed by the trauma left in the wake of a life, run by our ego and, flooded with alcohol. We hear a variety of ways to approach a spiritual way of life and we try to fit it into our A.A. agenda but, still reeling from the wreckage, our efforts seem scattered at best.
If we manage to get a handle on those troubling issues that consume our thinking, it often frees us up to explore the spiritual aspects of the program at a deeper level.
At first, it’s not easy to define, or to articulate, the word spiritual but most of us will try to put some kind of a face on it based on something we learned in church or something we’ve heard at an A.A. meeting etc., etc… This is an o.k. start but it is wise to continue to look for that deeper meaning that is consistent with the spirit of the A.A. program and to practice it in our daily lives. As I research the word, Spiritual, I find many phrases that could define it, such as: In the spirit of, of the inside, Intangible, Not of a physical or material nature, Religious, Psychic, and many more.
I have read most of the publications that have come from the list of A.A. approved literature, and in Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers, it suggests that when the cofounders had to address the issue of spirituality, they got their inspiration from the book: The Sermon on the Mount, by Emmet Fox. I have found that book to be exactly what I needed to segue into a way of thinking that covers all of the principles that A.A. suggests.
It explains that, we can live by the Letter of the Law, and still not receive the desired result until we learn to live in The Spirit of the law. It is my GO-TO guide and I frequently reread it in order to reinforce my spiritual understanding. I don’t go it alone. One thing I’ve come to understand is that there is no such thing as a selfish spiritual principle.
We hear talk of prayer and most of us, who have been around awhile, have found an approach that works for us. If I pray to God (my higher power), how does God communicate his message to me? I’ve never heard a voice that I could confirm to be the voice of God. But, I have received inspiration in a form that is more than enough for me and I have a tremendous amount of faith. They speak of “a kind and loving God as he may express himself in our group conscience.” That works for me.
The way I have come to explain this concept is as follows: I’ve sat in on thousands upon thousands of A.A. meetings and whether I know it or not, my mind is collecting information that I am not even aware of, and storing it away, as in a file cabinet, in those ten billion brain cells that we are supposed to have in our heads. When I pray for guidance, the search begins in the file system and comes up with the answer intuitively.
This file cabinet metaphor is my way of trying to express a sound and solid approach to being opened to outside influence without really having to define who or what God is… He comes in many different forms.
Another thing that I believe it does, without my personal effort, is to erode away much of my negative way of thinking. Spirituality is an inside quality. It resides in our minds, our hearts and our conscience. “To acquire it, I had only to stop fighting and practice the rest of A.A.’s program as enthusiastically as I could.” (12×12 pg. 27) and I might add, “KEEP IT SIMPLE”.
By Rick R.