Tag Archives: AA Big Book

Step 12: A Spiritual Awakening

Step 12:  Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

5-Virtual-Evidences-Of-Global-Spiritual-Awakening

The promise of the 12th step is that by the time we have reached this point in our program of recovery, we will have experienced a “spiritual awakening”.  Exactly what that means and what that entails will certainly vary from person to person.  However, the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous characterizes it as a “personality change sufficient to bring about recovery”.  Thus the essence of a “spiritual awakening”  for anyone is marked by a shift in attitude — or as Dr. Silkworth put it, “an entire psychic change” — brought about by working the preceding eleven steps and then implementing the foundational principles associated with each of them in one’s life.

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The Buddhism and Addiction Series (Part I of III)

Part I:

Spirituality, Addiction and Recovery

Exploring the Concept of Spirituality

Until recently, scientists have generally avoided the concept of spirituality in research and in clinical settings (Eliason, Amodia, & Cano, 2006).  One explanation for this omission is that spirituality is often mistakenly conflated with religion – the latter being viewed as largely off-limits due to professional ethical considerations (Eliason et al., 2006).  The rule of thumb has been that spiritual matters were best left to the realm of the clergy or mystics and kept outside of the boundaries of science.

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Step Ten: Living the Program

Step 10:  Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

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Taking Steps 8 & 9

Those who work the 12 Steps are promised to have a spiritual awakening — a notion which, at first, seemed to me to be unattainable if not outright fanciful.  After all, how could someone like me, with all of my prejudices, ever become awakened to the mystery and beauty of this life?  Looking through the prism of active addiction, life appeared bleak, purposeless, and vacuous.  However, faced with no other alternative than to surrender or die, I set aside my prejudices and opened my mind to new possibilities.  Now, having undertaken the work of the 8th and 9th Steps, I have no doubt that a spiritual awakening is not only possible for me, but that it has been happening all along.

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A Brief Survey of Step Four

Step 4:  Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

In the essay, On Human Nature, three basic human instincts — the survival instinct, the social instinct, and the happiness instinct — are described as the foundation of all cognition, behavior and emotion.  Though the means by which we endeavor to satisfy these innate end objectives vary greatly by individual and by society, the most common manifestations thereof were first noted by the renowned psychologist, Andrew Maslow.  In a 1943 article entitled A Theory of Human Motivation, Maslow proposed a universal hierarchy of instrumental needs which exist as means to satisfy instinctual end objectives.

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My Personal Third Step

Step Three:  We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.

Shakespeare once said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players:  They have their exits and their entrances; and one man in time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.”  For the addict, the analogy of the stage of life — so eloquently drawn by Shakespeare — could not be more apropos.  That being so, the Third Step thus presents a choice — will the actor star in a new role, or will the tragedy continue to unfold under the current script?

For the addict, the drama of life has not come off so well. . .

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My Personal Second Step

STEP 2:  We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

The belief I found in Step Two gives me hope for recovery.

While the First Step left me in a position of  defeat and subsequent surrender, it is in the Second Step that I am given the opportunity to embrace the hope of recovery.  It is now that I can begin to shift my beliefs from reliance on self to reliance on a way of living that has proven to bring peace and happiness in the lives of others.  Taking the Second Step gave me the opportunity to explore the insanity of my addiction, the concept of belief, the potential for my  own restoration to sanity, and to begin to conceive of a power, or powers, greater than myself.

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A Brief Survey of the First Step

Step One:  We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction — that our lives had become unmanageable.

The First Step is always the hardest . . .

It is said that the First Step is the most important of all because it is only when it has been accepted as true for the individual that recovery may begin.  Drawing on the wisdom of recovery literature, this article will provide a general overview of the First Step.

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