30 Mar Practicing Spiritual Principles in a 12 Step Program
Before sobriety & even in sobriety I have always lived my life confusing the ends with the means. Driven by natural instincts exceeding their intended purposes, I have tried to fix myself with money, property and prestige. With a constant mentality built off of a philosophy that if only I could achieve something or obtain something then I would be ok. Believing that my state of being was solely dependant on my outside circumstances yet never being able to fill that hole or satisfy that feeling with the things I thought I was missing.
I never even thought to look inside myself for what was wrong; although character and spiritual principles were good, and something I desired to have, they could never have been more important than satisfying my material needs. In sobriety I have been blessed with everything that I need; money, friends, shelter, and so on. Yet for a long time I was always searching for more, never being able to just have the peace of mind that everything was ok.
When I got to steps six and seven, my attention was directed to allowing God to remove my defects of character and replace them with the spiritual principles of the program – love, tolerance, acceptance, honesty, etc. I had to stop playing God. It did not work, and I had to adopt these principles as a way of life, even if that meant sacrificing what it is I thought would fix me. I began to appreciate what it is that I have and I began to understand that I do not need very much at all on a material level to be ok. I found that the peace of mind I had chased so viciously while stepping on the toes of my fellows began to come easily by helping someone else, telling the truth, going out of my way to be there for someone, exposing who I am and loving others as I would want them to love me.
Living my life with God as my director and with me as his agent, I started to see purpose and direction. I was no longer aimlessly wandering around trying to fix how I felt with outside things. I realized that I had the whole idea wrong, that the means in life always outweigh the ends. Today I have to continue to look at my actions and search for where I have been resentful, dishonest, or selfish. Anytime these defects of character crop up, they can always be traced back to some form of self-centered fear – something in my life does not look they way that I think it should, and I have once again lost faith due to my instinctual desire to be in control. From there, I must ask God to remove these defects at once and immediately follow the prayer with action contrary to the defect. Over time as I put this into practice and I continue to allow God to direct my life, I feel his presence and see his handiwork in my life. I am given the sense of peace that so long as I continue to live my life by spiritual principles with my actions and pray for guidance, everything will turn out better than I could have imagined.