You don’t have to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting to know that a lot of it centers on the concept of God, or that it’s referred to as a “faith-based” program. For those of us in it, we often refer to it as a spiritual program.
When we think of the word spiritual, a lot of different things come to mind. God, prayer, meditation, a lot of concepts that many of us may have preconceived notions of or bad experiences with. There are as many definitions for spirituality as there are people.
Spirituality and Self-Awareness
For me personally, I needed to redefine what I regarded as spirituality. I needed to come to terms with a definition that was applicable to my situation. For someone who had no concept of God, or how it applied as a solution to my drug problem, spirituality seemed like the least of my worries. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
As someone who struggled with balancing my need for a solution and being an intellectual, I read a lot of books outside of the program’s ‘approved literature’ to help wrap my head around why I needed to be so God-centered. What I found surprised me, and a lot of it had to do with my own self-awareness as a human being. Something I had a serious lack of.
My Definition of Spirituality
I found that spirituality had a lot to do with simply being human. As humans, we have the ability to make choices and rely on critical thinking rather than simply instinct. In addition, humans have an inherent sense of community, mutual respect for life and a need to stay connected to one another. These concepts make us immediately different than any other living thing on the planet. I like to consider this concept the definition of the “human spirit”, or, in other words: spirituality.
What I have found, is when I negate my self-awareness and spirituality, let my disease take control and play into selfishness, I take a step closer to a drink. I was always a loner when I was drinking, but my need to be around another people has become much more apparent in sobriety. I need to exercise my ability to think critically, be connected with my sober support group and make healthy choices rather than let my alcoholism take the wheel. When I adapt this understanding of spirituality, it helps me understand my need for a spiritual program.
Exercising my Spiritual Program
Once I found a working concept of spirituality for me to wrap my head around, a lot of the concepts and suggestions given to me from Alcoholics Anonymous began to make a lot more sense. I understood the need to find a Higher Power, to help others in order to help myself. I found the concept of paying it forward and being of service helped me feel better internally, and my need for drugs and alcohol was abated in time.
Now when someone says “spiritual program”, I have my own understanding of what it is and how it applies to me. I also know that it is the only way for me to help cure my disease, one day at a time.