So this is how my personality works. I would tell my story in a meeting of thirty people and there would be twenty nine people that would shake my hand and say, “Great story Chris that was one of the best stories I’ve ever heard. Then, one person would say, “You sounded a little bit pompous.” That one guy would give me a huge resentment. You know, that’s an unhealthy attachment to ego and a sense of entitlement. So now for me, I am able to get past that. I had to do a whole lot of spiritual work though before I was able for that stuff not to bother me. My actions mean way more than my feelings or opinions. We have a great saying that goes, “We don’t care what your opinion is, we care what your feet are doing.” That’s really, really true. I believe with those that are alcoholic, although your opinion may be interesting at four days sober, it is not nearly as important as where your shoes are taking you. Are you going to a meeting or are you actually participating in this recovery process? I’ve had many but the spiritual teachers, but the most impactful on my life was Joe H. Joe was a man of extremes in many, many ways. When it came time for him to put into application spirituality, he went further than anyone I’ve ever known in AA.
He spent a year studying with Indian shaman, Don C. in Denver, doing the sweat lodges and all that stuff. Then he spent five years with a Zen master in California. He spent another five years with Thomas Keating one of Thomas Merton’s protégés, and then another five years under the principle tutor of the Dalai Lama in India. I mean, this guy took it to extremes. What he had in the very beginning was marvelous structures of spiritual mechanics that he never let go of. He never got too far in the door like it says in that great poem, “I stand by the door.” It says something like, “I never went too far in to to be able to reach back out and help those who were who were not as far along on the path.” Also, a lot of the spiritual teachings Joe was able to learn, he was able to apply them to recovery; because the twelve step recovery philosophy is spirituality 101. The lessons learned in the twelve step recovery philosophy are applicable in every spiritual discipline.
The wonderful miracle I see in Bill Wilson, was that at three and a half years sober, he had his head far enough out of his rear to put together these basic spiritual principles; encapsulating them in twelve steps. This is absolutely remarkable to me. I don’t know how I would have written a book three and a half years sober, but it probably would have been a pile of garbage. Bill was at the right place, at the right time, with the right people, and he took his job very seriously. Also, and this point sometimes gets missed, with the writing of the Big Book, there was a lot of input from others both in New York and Cleveland/Akron. As the first one hundred people were writing the book, so many people gave input, and lot of suggestions. It was kind of an open system until the final revisions. That book, and its basic, yet powerful spiritual philosophy, has led to so much good being done in the world. It is no wonder why it works so well with other practices.