M(3), 2/16/15: Applied Spirituality

A stellar turnout of 9 attendees at this morning’s meeting.  Given the dismal weather conditions, I am in awe of their dedication!

Today’s meeting talked about Step Two in the twelve steps of recovery:

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity

This step marks one of the first major roadblocks to 12-step fellowship:  belief in a Higher Power.  And what a shame that is, for there are many successfully sober members who still consider themselves atheists!  If you are struggling with the concept of a Higher Power, consider the following things:

  • Every step, every idea shared within the fellowship is nothing more than a suggestion.  The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking, so don’t feel like you are excluded simply because you have no Higher Power in your life.
  • The definition of Higher Power is as varied as the membership within the 12-step program.
  • Most of us would agree that our concept of a Higher Power is ever evolving, and is not currently the same concept as the one with which we started in our recovery.

So if you are a non-believer, the 12 steps are still a viable option!

My personal story does not include a struggle with the concept of a Higher Power.  It wasn’t even a struggle with the belief that He could restore me to sanity.  Rather, my struggle was with the idea that He would restore me to sanity.  Sounds like a trivial distinction, but it really held me back.  For almost a year before my sobriety date I attempted to get a foothold in sobriety, and during that time I prayed on my knees nearly every day.  And every day I would get up from that prayer session and would basically be on my way to a relapse.  My vague thought process as the time was that “God only helps those who help themselves,” and since I was clearly not helping myself, then would or should He even bother?

I needed to, as this morning’s chapter read, “reconsider or die.”  The gift of desperation gave me the chance to revisit all of the suggestions given to me in my attempts and failures, and try each again with an open mind.  And when I had the open mind, I could see for myself that the suggestions actually worked!  It was all the scientific research I needed.

This step continues to work in my life.  I am reminded, time and again, that open-mindedness, rather than contempt prior to investigation, allows me to live the fullest life possible.

Others in the meeting focused on the latter part of the step, and the suggestion that we needed to be “restored” to sanity.  The notion that we were insane was offensive to many at the outset. However, with the clarity of sobriety, it is easy to look back on our drinking behavior and characterize it as insane.  The chapter we read uses the definition of sanity as “soundness of mind.”  As many of us in the room considered the lengths we went to fuel our addiction, the behaviors we consistently displayed in active addiction, and, perhaps most important, the countless times we tried and failed to moderate our drinking, all of us could easily concede that our alcoholic behavior could not be considered sane!

One of the newer members of the group shared that he often considers the 12-step group as a whole his Higher Power.  He looks to all of us, collectively, as a source of inspiration and strength, and of hope that he can achieve long-term sobriety.

Possibly the best source of wisdom came from an attendee who shared his evolution of a belief in a Higher Power.  Like so many, he struggled with the “God concept” at the outset.  The only thing that kept him coming back to meetings was the broad definition of the concept of a Higher Power.  His belief, even to this day (over 25 years later):  how anyone lives his or her life is applied spirituality, no matter which construct they use to define their spirituality.  Doing the next right thing, keeping your focus outward rather than self-centered, and using humility as the backbone of your life, this is enough of a foundation to accept step two.

Applied spirituality is a concept that I can take with me, reminds me of the wise childhood proverb:  actions speak louder than words.  Rather than get caught up in semantics, go out and do good!

Today’s Miracle:

Celebrating the 3 year soberversary of a friend who came out of the house just to get her coin at my meeting.  What an inspiring way to start a Monday!

Posted on February 16, 2015, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Beautiful.

    My personal concept of a higher power started like yours. I prayed, went to church and still drank. I eventually became made at God. Why would he help me anyway. I was worthless.

    Now my concept continues to evolve. But at the core of it all is a belief we are all divine beings. We are all love and light and connectedness.

    And so I try to go about my life treating myself and others from a place of love and kindness. Love your neighbour as yourself.

    That outward view has really helped me drop anger and resentment.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. ‘It was all the scientific research I needed.’ Beautiful! It’s all within, our understanding, the connection with the Higher Power, it’s all there. We ‘just’ need to uncover it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. In the beginning, I kept waiting for and wanting God, my Higher Power, to tell me to stop drinking. Finally, after another wasted, drunken day and night, I realized I needed to tell Him I wanted to stop. I’ve never been offended about the word “sanity” in the 2nd Step, because my behavior was not at all sane, or sound!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Doing the next right thing was a phrase I recall speaking to me in a way nothing else did. I still turn to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like this “applied spirituality” idea a lot. Recently I’ve realized how often my ideas have got in the way of my thinking, if that makes any sense. It’s taken me a while to see that people who are open to trying new ways of doing things seem do do all right. I used to be good at being sure I was right and being stuck at the same time, and that wasn’t a great combination. Keeping open-minded and doing the next right thing sounds like pretty sound advice to me! Thanks for the sounds advice, and for saying it so well. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear TMIATC,
    I am reading our blog for the first time, and it’s very good!
    “Outward focused” is good for me to remember!
    I can get way too self-centered!
    Peace and Hugs,

    Liked by 1 person

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