The Spiritual Life is Not a Theory
I was listening to a CD in the car on the way to my home group this morning. The speaker has been sober for a few 24 hours and was talking about the quote from the Big Book: “The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it.” I would like to share with you how I have been doing that during this past year.
As many of you know, I’m not new to AA. I started in AA in September 2008 when I went to outpatient treatment for 5 weeks. I relapsed at about 5 1/2 months and then got a new sponsor. I worked with a great sponsor and started working on my 4th step. I was going to a lot of meetings in my home town (at night).
I had about 18 months of sobriety when I met a man in AA at one of my meetings. Long story short, I had an affair with him for 6 months, relapsed twice, didn’t listen to my sponsor and to my next sponsor. I nearly lost my husband and children. I was so spiritually sick, that even after my husband found out about the affair, and we were in therapy together, I continued to try to make contact with this man. It finally ended once and for all in 2012.
I continue to this day to go to women’s only face-to-face meetings. My husband and I are still together and are still in therapy. I was trying to fill that hole inside of me with not only alcohol, but then this relationship, and then with binge eating of sweets. I have had several more sponsors since. Unfortunately, I also have relapsed several more times after that. I went back to the outpatient treatment program in December of 2012 for 5 weeks and then relapsed again April 4, 2013.
Looking back, I realize that I only thought I was living and working a spiritual program. I certainly wasn’t working an honest program! I thought that I could do everything on my own – that I really didn’t need to listen to my sponsor; I didn’t need you women in AA; and that I certainly didn’t need to work the Steps and rely on a Higher Power.
I kept taking my will back and was not doing God’s will. I thought I knew what was best and what was right. As the Big Book mentions, self-reliance fails us, and self-knowledge is not the answer. I thought that I knew better than each of my sponsors. I lost a few sponsors because of the bad decisions that I had made. I even lost a sponsee because of my thinking and bad decision making.
So what is different now? Well, I am living a spiritual life- I am living “in the solution.” I’ve been working with the same wonderful sponsor since last September. I meet with her weekly, and she reads the Big Book to me. We started from the Table of Contents, and are now reading about Step 4 in “How It Works.” I have a home group that I go to every Saturday morning. My sponsor goes to that meeting as well. I have surrendered completely to my Higher Power and have honestly and thoroughly worked and continue to work Steps 1-3 on a daily basis. I am working on my 4th Step presently – even though I balk and procrastinate, I know that I have to do it and have to get it done.
I pray every day and ask my Higher Power for help to do His will and not my will. I ask Him to help me be of service and to do the next right thing. I am now a co-chair for my Saturday women’s home group- so excited and so grateful! I’m excited to be a trusted servant here at GROW, and I also do service work at my other online women’s AA group. I try to get to one to two face-to-face meetings during the week, and I go to meetings on the weekend. Lately, since starting my new job, I’ve had trouble getting to meetings during the week.
My life is far from perfect, but it is so much better than when I was drinking. I have some great women friends in AA. I have a wonderful relationship with my two children – age 14 and 17. I’m so grateful that I can be there for them and not be drunk and hung over. I can be a good example to them. Both of them are at that age when peer pressure is so big! They both have seen me relapse multiple times – even though they were 9 and 11 when I started AA. They totally understand and remember much more than I thought. My marriage has improved so much, and we continue to re-build our marriage. I am slowly but surely getting more and more of my husband’s trust back.
I have a much stronger relationship with my Higher Power, who I call God. I know that He always has my back. I understand better that it’s not about my will, but it’s about what God wants me to do. I just need to keep doing the footwork. I am not in charge – He is – which sometimes I still have trouble with.
Part of me still wants to control the outcome. It’s especially difficult when I am feeling more anxious and overwhelmed. I just have to remember that I am not alone – I have my Higher Power who will take care of me. I also am getting better at reaching out to other alcoholics – whether it be a phone call, a text, or Skype/email. My sponsor reminds me to always reach out to the newcomer and to get her phone number.
Lastly I would like to end with the acronym H.O.W.: Honesty, Open-Mindedness, Willingness. I know that these three “essentials” have helped me so much get to where I am today. A woman at my home group told me today after I gave the lead, that she could really see how I have changed and how I have been working the Steps. Wow!! The tears started to flow! I believe so much more in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. I know that it does work when I work it!
Thank you so much dear ladies for letting me share and be of service. I appreciate and love all of you! Please feel free to share on “The Spiritual Program” and how you work it in your life, and about the “essentials of recovery”. Or you can share on whatever is on your mind.