For my own path, after I was confirmed against my will (documented in “My Story”), I left church for good. When I first started AA, I didn’t pray in meetings, though I did hold hands. Through my six years of failing to stay sober in AA, somewhere along the line, in many desperate moments, I tried praying to stay away from the first drink.
A concept that turned it for me was that of willingness. Are you willing to accept that there might be a higher power? Yes, at that point I was. As the books say, that was what I needed to begin to live on a spiritual basis. During the years that followed, I went back to the Lutheran church, though I don’t accept a lot of the rules and rituals. I was just about to seriously consider learning about the Quakers when I met Carole, who was at that time president of the congregation at her Lutheran church.
What it’s like now for me is complicated, as it should be. I’m skeptical and cynical about many things having to do with all religions. At times I’m not sure there is a power greater than me in the universe beyond the collected wisdom of any group. In this way AA is still my higher power, and I would not consider changing my mind about that, not unless I want to die. At other times I can believe to some degree in some kind of God.
When I think of my spirit, now, it’s mostly in terms of becoming a better person, enlarging my good qualities and continuing to let go of my character defects. And still I’m skeptical and cynical. There’s a group of people who I had huge resentments against and anger toward a few years ago, in a shake up at work. Some of these people are still in my life and some aren’t. I continue to pray about them and I continue to try to see them in the light of humility, as greater than or equal to me and to everyone else. I think I’ve improved in this but I’m not sure. I may just get used to it, and to them.