30 April 2011

Living through the "2 S's"

On the seekers page at Creating Dreams is a quote from the book A Day At A Time CompCare Publications, “May I keep an open mind especially on spiritual matters, remembering that ‘spiritual’ is a bigger word than religious.’ I was born of the Spirit, but I was taught religion.”

There are many quotes trying to tell the differences between spirituality and religion. 12 Step Fellowships are said to be spiritual programs. Yes, they talk of Higher Powers and some even use the word ‘God.’ God – Good Orderly Direction.

But it is not a religion… people in Fellowships follow a suggested program of recovery… available through the 12 Steps. Those 12 Steps are the program. Let me say that again, the 12 Steps are the program.

The program is not how many meetings you attend. That was never mentioned by Bill W or Doctor Bob. That aspect of recovery is up to the individual. And the fact is, I believe, if you have a strong spiritual foundation, a close friendship with your
Higher Power, meetings are just a supplement, not the whole package.

If you have a strong spiritual program, the need for a personal sponsor isn’t that necessary. Yes, we need friends to be able to talk to and get close too, but why one special person? By relying on that one person so much we miss the other messages we could hear from other individuals.

I have seen folks have great recovery programs by using the many people in the program… not just relying on one person. Sadly, I have known people who would call their sponsor from a grocery store because of fear of seeing an old buddy or going
down the booze row. Instead of calling a person right then, where is your spirituality – pray. Your Higher Power will take care of you if you have a great relationship with Him (or Her.)
All fellowships have a simple program... It is a suggested program based on 12 Steps. It all starts by admitting we are powerless and then finding a Higher Power. That is the foundation of the program - my two S's - surrender and spirituality.

Spirituality is believing in ourselves and believing that our Higher Power will take care of us and supply us with the tools we need for a healthy long term recovery.

I have heard so many times that if you don’t go to AA you will eventually slip. That is the fear and the power of the old timers trying to keep alive their own beliefs. They have turned a spiritual recovery program into a fear based recovery nightmare.

I love the 12 Step Fellowships that I attend… but I attend them not out of fear of having a slip… I attend because I want to see what my Higher Power has in store for me.

Stay close to your Higher Power and you will be just fine. He (or She) will guide you on the approach to take. After all it is your program… no one else can claim that.

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