M(3), 5/2/16: All Gods Are Welcome
Another Monday, another great meeting!
Today reading came from Chapter 4 in Alcoholics Anonymous (The Big Book), “We Agnostics.” I’m too lazy to go back and check, but I’m fairly confident I have never selected this reading from the book in the 3 1/2 years I’ve been running this meeting!
But it’s a great one to read for anyone struggling with the concept of a Higher Power. I will sheepishly admit this is not a chapter to which I have paid great attention through the years; never having considered myself an agnostic, I generally thought my time was better spent on other chapters.
But in reading this morning, I related to the idea of the rewards of open-mindedness. The chapter speaks of ways in which history has proven the benefit of considering all possibilities, rather than assuming your way of thinking is the only way of thinking.
It reminded me of a time, years before I got sober, I bemoaned my inability to control my drinking. “I just want to drink like normal people!” To which the counselor replied, “Do you realize that ‘normal drinking’ for many people means not drinking at all?”
I may as well have walked out the office for as much attention I paid after that comment.
Because for me, at that time, there was no conception of a life without alcohol. So if I can go from that mindset to the one I possess today? All bets are off… anything I consider a given is up for debate. It’s a life-altering shift in thinking, I can tell you that!
There were two attendees who considered themselves agnostic prior to 12-step recovery. The first who shared recognizes that her spiritual path is still in the developmental stages, as she is still fleshing out a concept of a Higher Power that works for her. When she reads and finds references that smack of traditional Christianity-based imagery, she simply looks for the relatable part of the story, rather than reject the information because it’s not her concept of God.
The second once-Agnostic said she was anxiety-ridden when she realized that a belief in a Higher Power is a requirement. She thought that meant she had to hurry and “catch up” to all those who had an “edge” by having religion. Her sponsor quickly assured her by saying all those religious folks drank enough to earn a seat in the rooms, so how much of an edge did they really have?
What made her more comfortable was the knowledge that the development of a spiritual life in an ongoing process, and the only thing you really need to get started is, well, a willingness to get started!
The rest of the attendees who shared all came into the fellowship with a belief of some sort. Most were raised within an organized religion, but opted out once they were of an age to make decisions for themselves. One gentleman described it this way:
I believed in belief, now I just believe
That may sound confusing, but it made a lot of sense to me.
Everyone in the room agreed that the greatest selling point of 12-step spirituality is its inclusiveness: any concept of a Higher Power is welcome. Secular, non-secular, completely original and unique point of view… all ideas are welcome here, and all will get you where you need to go!
The gentleman I wrote about last week, the newcomer who was suffering from so many physical symptoms, was back this week and looking and feeling better!
Posted on May 2, 2016, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Recovery and tagged 12 step program, AA, Addiction, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism, Big Book, God, Higher Power, Meeting, Miracle, Recovery, Sobriety, Substance Abuse, Support group, Twelve-Step Program. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.