Many Paths to Spirituality
“Newcomers are approaching A.A. at the rate of tens of thousands yearly. They represent almost every belief and attitude imaginable. We have atheists and agnostics. We have people of nearly every race, culture and religion. In A.A. we are supposed to be bound together in the kinship of a common suffering. Consequently, the full individual liberty to practice any creed or principle or therapy whatever should be a first consideration for us all. Let us not, therefore, pressure anyone with our individual or even our collective views. Let us instead accord each other the respect and love that is due to every human being as he tries to make his way toward the light. Let us always try to be inclusive rather than exclusive; let us remember that each alcoholic among us is a member of A.A., so long as he or she so declares.”
– Bill W. (A.A. Grapevine, July 1965)
“In our meetings people from all walks of life come together with a common purpose. Some members return to their religious roots, others find different spiritual paths. Some may find this “God of their understanding,” yet never become involved with organized religion. Still others make the A.A. group itself their higher power.”
“The first thing I had to do was resign from the debating society. That didn’t mean I started agreeing with everything I heard. It means only that I listened without arguing, used what I could use, and filed the rest for future reference.”
I finished reading a new AA pamphlet that one of our members recently posted. I saved the email for a time when I could read, focus, reflect and absorb. (These simultaneous occurrences don’t happen often! LOL) I have not got much “stuff” to bring to the meeting in terms of a topic, so I was looking outside of myself for some inspiration and the above is what I found. The pamphlet is awesome and if you have not yet read it I encourage you to do so. I have quoted a few lines from the pamphlet. It is lovely and quotes members of many different spiritual backgrounds and just how AA works for them.
It addresses the broad and roomy highway that we as alcoholics have given ourselves in the spiritual realm. My beliefs have changed over the years as I have stayed sober. Not so much in their core, but certainly in the particulars. And while my Higher Power has taken on a new form, the definition remains the same. I am to grow spiritually and seek the light one day at a time. There is work to be done, and that is something I have learned to embrace over the years, for I know it is the work that brings me ever closer to some measure of enlightenment & peace within. The beauty of Alcoholics Anonymous is that I don’t have to “buy” into any stuff. I have only to create my own definition of a power greater than myself. It was vague at first, but that worked for me.
Today was glorious. It began a few days ago as a plan to head to a nearby State Park for some “Leaf Peepin'” with a friend. I thought we would head out early and spend the day together, hiking, etc. Plans changed late the night before, and another friend was invited who could not go until late in the day. At first my buttons were a bit pushed, but you gals have taught me not to speak what first comes to mind. I let the whole thing “steep” in my mind and low and behold I found that I could be flexible, that God was in charge and this was not a case of Alison needing to say what is on her mind, but to sit back and relax and take it easy and let the day unfold. The thought occurred to me that perhaps my Higher Power was using me to be of service to someone else. It was a fun time with two friends, and the Fall colors were magical here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We ladies had a lovely time, I got to know someone a bit better and just be open and flexible.
That is an example of dancing with others that I believe our spiritual quest in AA brings us to at some point if we can remain receptive. No agendas, no pushing the outcome, letting my Higher Power reveal to me (if anything) what I am to do next. I don’t have to push my spiritual agenda on others, and I find that my tolerance in the rooms of AA has made me more tolerant outside the rooms. Perhaps you can share about your own experience of the broad and roomy highway. I love to hear about your path to spirituality.