Our Twelfth Step Also Says (Step Twelve continued)

Our Twelfth Step also says that as a result of practicing all the Steps, we have each found something called a spiritual awakening.  To new A.A.’s this often seems like a very dubious and improbable state of affairs.  “What do you mean when you talk about a ‘spiritual awakening’?” they ask.

Maybe there are as many definitions of spiritual awakening as there are people who have had them.  But certainly each genuine one has something in common with all the others.  And these things which they have in common are not too hard to understand.  When a man or woman has a spiritual awakening, the most important meaning of it is that he has now become able to do, feel, and believe that which he could not do before on his unaided strength and resources alone.

This paragraph is so full that I’m going to stop there and take it one piece at a time afterward.

I completely understand the dubiousness.  It sounds new-agey to me, and not in a good way.  I reject most things that sound like this.  I think life is too short to investigate nonsense.

Too bad in AA we don’t use before and after pictures, like the orthodontist might.  I’m sure a picture of me like I was just before I got sober, compared to now, would prove a spiritual awakening of some sort.  My functioning level was close to dead.  The fact that between then and now a baby got fed, a cat was cared for, all the drivers on the road near me have been safe from my alcoholism, that I’ve supported myself at all prove the awakening to me.  I couldn’t do any of that before.  I believe it!  And I couldn’t believe it before.

My unaided resources and strength were not enough to sustain my very life.  In most ways yet I am still the same, in body and mind, as I was back then.

I can twist my mind around the question of what my spirit was doing then.  Maybe it’s something we’re born with?  If the language of AA uses the word “awakening,” that’s good enough for me not to question.  I’ll go with the thought that it was sleeping.  Or maybe it was drugged?

2 thoughts on “Our Twelfth Step Also Says (Step Twelve continued)

  1. I’ve considered a blog post with before and after pictures! I definitely have some humiliating pictures pre-sobriety, and some more meaningful pictures these days 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment! I wouldn’t publish the pictures, though, unless they didn’t show my identity. I feel it’s very important to honor Tradition Eleven. I wrote about in About this Blog, but I think it bears repeating:

      Anonymity: The June 2008 issue of the AAGrapevine published guidelines for anonymity on public web sites. It says in part that

      “Someone using their full name and/or a full-face photograph would be in violation of the Eleventh Tradition ……. our [last] names and pictures as AA members ought not to be broadcast, filmed or publicly printed.”

      I will stick to those guidelines. The names I use are chosen by a random name selector, and have no relation to the actual names of the people I write about. Of course people who know me read this blog. If you know who I am, please feel free to share the link and my name, as I do not think that violates the tradition.

      I’m almost completely “out” in real life regarding my membership. I have nothing to hide. But I see the wisdom behind the tradition and even if I didn’t, I would not go against the time-tested principles of the program that saved my life.

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