As it was written in the beginning, here is the classical 12th Step of our guiding spiritual principles:
STEP 12:Â “Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry the message to alcoholics+addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”
In today’s post, let’s dissect this – the final step of our 12 Spiritual Principals.”
“Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps”
So many have pondered and written as to “what” the Spiritual Awakening is – that which this principle speaks of – its real meaning. Was it locked into the unusual tale of an epiphany that the first writer spoke of having in the 1930’s; a visitation from “The God of His Understanding” in the presence of a Spiritual Wind on an ethereal mountain-top, and there cloaked in a great presence of the spiritual sensation of serenity?
It isn’t necessary that our experience be of that nature for a valid awareness of the first half of Step 12 is it? Well No! He actually writes himself of this clarification in his 12×12, pg106, 1952:
“When a man or woman has a spiritual awakening, the most important meaning of it is that they have now become able to do, feel and believe that which they could not do before on their unaided strength and resources alone,” (LIKE – getting clean and sober to start).
It is more of a transformation than it is a resurrection or rebirth, in which one finds themselves in possession of aÂ new degree of Honesty, Tolerance, Unselfishness, Peace of mind and Love – of which they had thought themselves quite incapable.Â
Do these traits just descend upon our members who are working Step 12 like the legendary fiery tongues of epiphany over the heads of the apostles? Once again,…unlikely. (NowÂ THAT – is good marketing – LOL).
Those who practice or “work” these principles will more likely develop “similar” new traits over a period of time in which there is no requirement or average duration, but they will feel awakened one day to find they are developing a new sense of consciousness; one which we have come to agree is found in the term Spirituality.
It is clear that the term HUMILITY will be a part of that new perspective. It is at the foundation of all our principles both step and Tradition. Though it has little to do with it other than being the events by which we sometimes arrive at it HUMILIATION is often mis-related as a synonym.The definition I like the best is:
“knowing who and what we are and what we can be if we follow these spiritual principles ( our 12 Steps) in an application of all our daily affairs.
It can then be understood that part of our spiritual awakening is a gradual awareness of each of these 12 principles and how they might better our lives in all situations.
There are many ways to interpret this principle, but we need to first ask ourselves: “WHAT” — is the message we tried to carry? “HOW” — do we do so? Some thoughts thereof:
- The Message:That there is a way out of addiction/alcoholism that we have found, one given freely to us and that we would freely give to others who sought our solution.
- The message is found in our behavior, our example, as it is demonstrated to others; that we are constantly attempting to refine and apply spiritual principles and virtues in our lives in sobriety and recovery, to the betterment of ourselves and those who interact with us.
- We do not become as pests in sharing the solution we have found, saving our courteous approach, unless we are asked or have good reason to believe it is sought.
- This cliche’d business of “not being able to keep what you don’t give” is nonsense,Â if it is by knee-jerk reaction, untempered with good judgement and a healthy modicum for respecting the privacy of others; especially if one runs around becoming annoyingly evangelistic, a bit like passing out leaflets on the street in terms of annoying eagerness.
- Remember, Wilson cured NO-ONE during his first year while Dr. Bob Smith and the gracious Sr. Ignatia cured over 1,000 at their Hospital. Barking the message like a public address produces attitudes like this one in a recent FB Response:
Â “Why would I do that LOL. I did it many times. It never fixed me. I needed real help. A real therapist, real trauma work, Real spiritual healing , not some crazy shit that Bill Wilson made up in 1935 that he stole from the Oxford Group…sorry …its an old lost modality”!
If you see someone being a 12step Zealot in their irritating marketing approach to recovery, carry the message; pull them politely aside and ask them to “stop thumping the program to the detriment of its good nature.”
“And practiced these principles in all our affairs”
Let’s take these lessons and inspirations found in our 12 Steps and Traditions and use them like a watch. When a situation comes along where we need spiritual guidance, we know where to look and have a basis for application, but let’s not get dogmatic or fundamentalist in a narrow scrutiny of our principles,…even the original writer says they are our guidelines and as such, we are likely to find “our own” personal meaning, interpretation and application. Sometimes we will all err to the side of an attempt to be perfect, falling prey to the “preach and teach temptation”.
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014!
One January 1st we will begin working the Steps and Traditions all over again in a monthly rotation. The idea is that if you use the book reading it slowly, pausing to take in its message, it’ll work for you.
You’ll have daily inspiration from the affirmations on each step and tradition, “as they were in the beginning” to apply to your own personal spiritual program of recovery.Â I’ve been doing this myself for almost 13 years, and for me,…………it works.
Now, a short referral from the New Yorker on New Year’s Resolutions and why they don’t work. A great read which I hope you’ll enjoy. Cut and paste it, then hear is some new meditation music from Richard Maddock’s iTuine available work:
The Garden Within
You can C&P this in a new window and then listen to the music while reading. This also true of all of our blogs.
Of course we can’t sign-out of 2013 without a rendition of the New’ Year’s Traditional musical wish for you (Dan Fogelberg’s Rendition of “Same Old Lang Syne” – he’s been gone for what seems so long now,….but the drinking reference has significance to all us “ex-lushes” :).
To you and all you hold dear, I wish you spiritual serenity, personal prosperity and contentment in your continuing recovery.
You’ll likely be seeing us change from Word Press to a whole new, much more artistic format in March of 2014.
Both of my books have won awards now. They are slowly finding use and understanding on a worldwide basis. Please sample them at the site or amazon: