SPIRITUALITY ... AA ... and the SOBER LIFE
Recently I listened to a young man lead a discussion on “Spirituality In My Life”. He was released from prison a little over a year ago but he has almost 4 years of living a clean and sober life. This means that he learned about sobriety while still in prison. It made me think of all the selfless members of Alcoholics Anonymous that I know who week after week carry the message to the inmates.
The recovery rate of prisoners is very low. But, then the recovery rate is low for all of us...only one in 10 will stay sober, according to some reports. As another young friend of mine says “I feel sorry for the 9 who don’t make it but I want to be the one who does.”
The AA program is extremely simple...just 12 Steps that, if practiced faithfully, will change a life. It is almost impossible to explain the program to a non-alcoholic so I never try. Everyone has to find their own path and I feel that I’ve finally found mine, and have for more than 19 years. I listened to a nun tell her story once and she had this great line. She said, “If you spot it, you’ve got it!” (If you don’t get that it’s a pretty good bet that you’re not “one of us”).
I looked around the room this morning and marveled. We were a group of perhaps 60 people from every walk of life represented by all colors, races and genders, with an ex-prisoner leading the discussion. Among our audience were 4 doctors, 3 lawyers, a priest, a dog trainer, 4 counselors, 4 or 5 from the nursing profession and a multitude of ordinary workers. It also included a fair amount of retirees (myself being one of them) and some men and women from the seedier side of life who were just starting the journey.
Some people say that AA is a cult and some say it is a religion. Both descriptions are wrong. I am not a religious person but I have found a faith in a Higher Power “of my understanding” in AA. That basically means that I believe there is some sort of power that I can’t define but I know that it is NOT ME.
There are no restrictions to becoming an AA member and the “ONLY requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.”