What do the 12 Steps have to do with Spirituality?
It’s very common in most twelve step fellowships to have 12 steps to guide you to recovery. The most common 12 step fellowships are Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. These fellowships have written into the twelfth step “Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we carry the message to the alcoholic or addict that still suffers.”
There is quite a bit that can be written about being spiritual. However, we’re going to attempt to simplify it for your reading pleasure. Many people will say to you when doing something wrong in recovery, “Hey man, that’s not spiritual.” Or “That’s not a very spiritual way of making money.”
What is Spirituality?
To explain this in what I believe to be its truest form of definition. Humans are born with a sacred trinity of mind, body and spirit. Without the spirit or what some call the soul we would be incomplete or essentially a robot with a brain. Your body is a mechanism or a vessel that carries the human spirit. Your brain is the function within the mechanism or body that dictates what it should and shouldn’t be doing.
However, when it comes to all of these mind, body and spirit working in conjunction with one another evenly, this is what I call spirituality. Many will describe alcoholism or addiction as being a “Three Fold Disease”. The 3 fold disease is a mental obsession, a physical allergy and a spiritual-malady.
What is this 3 Fold Disease you’re Talking About?
It’s quite common for most alcoholics and addicts to use drugs or alcohol due to the effects produced by them. Many who suffer from active drug addiction and alcoholism typically use due to some emotional displacement they have based on past or present occurrences. We talked a little bit about this in our article about the emotional barometer.
I would define a spiritual malady and an unbalanced trinity meaning unbalanced mind, body and spirit. Throughout the years of existence for every human being we find ourselves in resentment, remorse, self-pity and many other things that block us off from the light of our own spirits.
We essentially lose ourselves and the only way to find ourselves is through a journey of self-discovery. Typically in 12 step fellowships the journey of self-discovery begins within steps 4-8 and continues daily through steps 10 and 11. The idea is to remove all of the left over feelings and ager by either moving on from them or forgiveness.
After completing these steps 4-8 you start to have a new attitude towards life and a altered way of thinking. Therefore you have has a spiritual awakening or as described a shift in thinking.
How can you become spiritual?
You can become more open to a spiritual existence by being conscious of your own actions, thoughts and feelings. Learning to differentiate what is going to make you feel good and what will make you feel bad. Being someone with a spiritual existence requires a certain simple attitude towards life.
There is certain simplicity behind it all. What kind of attitude do you greet the day with? What are you packing into the stream of life? Do you pray? Do you meditate? Are you being loving and kind towards all who cross your path? These are important questions to ask yourself in or outside of recovery. Selfishness is the leading cause to developing a God sized void within you due to feeling a lack of usefulness and purpose. This is the point where you will be bored with life and have a shitty attitude towards it. You’ll want to drown out these feelings by drinking and drugging or depressive sleeping.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ~ Marianne Deborah Williamson (born 8 July 1952) is a spiritual activist, author, lecturer and founder of The Peace Alliance, a grass roots campaign supporting legislation currently before Congress to establish a United States Department of Peace.