Bob D. and Sandy B. – AA Speakers – “Spiritually Awakening in Recovery”
Here you have two of the best AA speakers giving an awesome workshop on the 12 Step process of spiritual awakening and how it addresses the treatment of alcoholism. One of the funny things about the work of the twelve steps is that virtually no one at first looks up at the wall and says “oh yeah, that’ll work for my drinking!” Bob and Sandy do a great job in this talk of outlining how exactly the spiritual component of the twelve steps fits in with recovery from alcoholism. Simple, but not easy is what the Big Book says; these two men use their incredible speaking skills from the podium to wonderfully articulate their spiritual experiences!
Suffering from alcoholism, selfishness, and the feelings that come with alcoholism
I remember weird things from my childhood in school. But one of the pieces of English literature that I remembered is (after I got in AA and I hadn’t I hadn’t gone back and read everything), was Milton’s Paradise Lost. There’s a part in there where Lucifer has is literally cast himself out of heaven by his own will, and as he’s leaving he’s shaking his fist at God the angels of heaven. He says a classic line, he says, “I’d rather reign in hell than serve in heaven.” And I don’t know about you but when I’m only serving myself, it feels like hell. When I’m serving others, it feels like heaven…
Anyways, lets discuss the third tradition. I think that something changed in the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous when we walked away from the long form and we adopted the short form. The membership requirement became different and consequently the flavor of the fellowship was altered. Membership requirement as it’s outlined in the original traditions, “the third tradition it says our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism.” But I’ll tell you in the short form the membership requirements are different it says, “the only requirement for membership the desire to stop drinking.” Let me tell you something, in my observation there is a big difference between having a desire not to drink, and suffering from alcoholism; because the suffering from alcoholism begins, where the bag in the bottle ends. It’s the restless, the irritable, the discontent the low level depression, the feelings of misery and depression and feelings of uselessness that is the suffering. All the stuff it talks about the big book on page 52. In the doctor’s opinion and throughout that whole book is a description guys like me. Once I stop drinking, I have to apply these steps. I’m an everyday member of Alcoholics Anonymous because I suffer from alcoholism, and the strength of my recovery is in direct proportion to my involvement in the spiritual way of life. I’m very comfortable in my life, but if I if I start diminishing my involvement in AA, I start to suffer from alcoholism again. And it’s that it’s insidious for me because when I start to suffer from alcoholism, I don’t get it that there’s anything wrong with me. What it looks like is there’s just a lot of really out of line people around. They’re irritating me, so I’m restless and I need to straighten them out. This makes abstinence by itself a lonely lonely business. Thank God, I’m an everyday member of Alcoholics Anonymous because I suffer from alcoholism. I didn’t come here with the desire not to drink really. I came here with a desire to stop hurting.
I had a desire to stop suffering, a desire to stop having wine sores, a desire to stop feeling like I’m dying. I had a desire to stop being homeless. I had a desire to get away from the remorse and the shame. But to stop drinking? Not really. What if God would have come to me when I was new, and given me one one wish? I think I would have said, “let me drink like I drank when I was 18 years old again.” Because then, alcohol was a treatment for my alcoholism, and it worked.