by Maija P. (Munro 2010)
I’m going be as honest as I can right off the bat … When asked to write this article, having read every past newsletter since I graduated from my stay at Munro House and through Aftercare, there was only one thing going through my mind. I waited for Glen to send me the main article and topic about which I was to scribe my insights, bare my soul and inspire you all into new heights of sobriety – and all I could say to myself was “Please don’t make it be about the God of my understanding or my Spirituality!” Well, what do you know?
I wanted to call and ask for another easier topic like Acceptance, Restoring my Sanity, Powerlessness. Then I began to think, listen and ask some questions of people whom I admire and “want what they have.” Some even answered my questions without being asked and without their knowledge – don’t you love AA for that?
Anyway, I have never been a religious person but this is not what AA asks or demands of me. I don’t know what my Higher Power is quite yet and I am using Meetings, Service and Fellowship to fill that in for the time being and it’s working for me.
Spirituality? Hold on, slow down! Am I meant to have this down pat right out of the recovery gate? How do I know when I have it? Will it show on my face? What if meditation is too hard for me? Then I heard something the other night from a speaker who had 40 plus years of sobriety. He said, “AA is a process of healing and forgiveness. Primarily I come here to learn and take that knowledge to improve from where I was. I am grateful for the free lessons every day.”
That resonated with me on many levels. First, where I used to be was unpleasant, to say the least. I don’t want to go back there, no matter how much my disease seems to enjoy living in murky darkness and terrifying confusion. I will go to any lengths to avoid that destination. Second, I am all about the learning. Knowledge propels us forward as a species on this planet. To me, learning is living and vice versa. I had forgotten that. Third, he referred to healing and forgiveness. I am early in recovery, but those things are certainly on my short- and long-term lists of new goals.
After that insight, I read Dr. Black’s excerpt and a few words popped out at me. Growth, letting go of fears, awareness, health, balance and peace. These are all warm, fuzzy things for me. Is this Spirituality? Please don’t tell me it’s that simple. Where do I get the things listed in your writing, Doctor? Is there a secret room at AA meetings where you can buy this stuff? Well, as it turns out there is no secret room, so I flipped the page back and read the article a second and a third time.
I have accepted that I have a problem with alcohol, that I am powerless over the disease. I want to be healthy, truthful to others and myself, and use my program to grow into a better person – not in spite of my past, but because of it. I am an imperfect person, after all. We all are. The next question is “What can I do now?”
Well, actually, I’ve done something pretty significant in this last paragraph alone, if I look at it closely. I want to be a whole person and included in this “whole” (not the hole in the donut) is stability, routine, service, step work, a healthy mind and body, constant learning and responsibility. The last time I checked, I have not had those in a long time. Could I be on to something here? I think so.
Finding my spirituality is a journey that I have already embarked on and as Dr. Black notes, my process, plan and program for my journey all involve spiritual growth. The “easier topics” I mentioned at the beginning of this article are actually all parts of this spiritual voyage.
I have learned something in early sobriety that I feel many of us face and that is that I am scared a lot. I have fear about everything, from the moment I wake up to the hour I fall asleep – and, yes, I have scary dreams too. But facing those fears and taking sober responsibility for my actions and the way I treat myself is a big step to G.O.D. (Good Orderly Direction.)
I think my favorite line in Dr. Black’s piece is “What a relief it is to put an end to the fight within ourselves.” I feel like I have been in a pay-per-view title bout with my fists up at my face for years. Like the old Batman show, you know … “KaPoww! Zok! Ouff!” Now my fists are down at my side and people can see my face, not my fight.
My arms are not reaching to the sky just yet, but they are open to receive. And if that’s not a step towards some spirituality, I don’t know what is.