“The spiritual life is not a theory,” the authors of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous boldly state. When Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in the 1930’s there was no answer for the disease of alcoholism. The insanity which drove a man or woman to continuously drink to excess despite the impending and well known negative consequences lying ahead was bewildering. No doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, wife, husband, or man himself could explain it. Moreover, no one could seem to make it stop. Until, that is, founder Bill Wilson had what he would come to famously described as a spiritual experience. Once he discovered the healing of a power greater than himself his phenomenal obsession of craving for more alcohol ceased to exist. Of course, it took some work to maintain his sobriety. However, the foundation of his life became a spiritual one. The twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, and all reflective twelve step programs, are a program of living for a spiritual life. They are a guide for discovering and building a relationship with a spiritual power of being that one gets to define for themselves.
Step 11 calls upon a recovering addict or alcoholic to engage in prayer and meditation for the purpose of improving a conscious contact with a Higher Power. Regarding step 11, The Big Book text reads, “We shouldn’t be shy on this matter of prayer. Better men than we are using it constantly.” Later, they write, “it works- it really does” For years, the 12-Step philosophy has fallen under ridicule as a model of treatment for addiction and alcoholism. Spirituality and science have long been at war, struggling to find a common ground. Ironically, most spiritual people fully embrace scientific evidence. What occurs through spiritual experience feels like a scientific revelation to many. Changing one’s thoughts, behaviors, and ways of thinking is in fact a neuroscientific process but feels remarkably spiritual. That is precisely what happens when one chooses to leave their destructive relationship with drugs and alcohol behind and seek a closer connection to spiritual sources greater than themselves.
Fifty five percent of Americans say that they participate in prayer every day, according to a 2015 poll. Seventy five percent of Americans believe prayer is an important part of life. Some doctors are bridging the crossroads between spirituality and science and looking at just how important prayer might be. Prayer and meditation have great physical and psychological benefit that help deal with a deadly factor: stress. Addiction and alcoholism are stressful. Recovery can be stressful. Life itself is often stressful. How one deals with that stress has a direct impact on their health and wellbeing. Prayer and meditation have been found to create a sense of calm, lower blood pressure, support regulation of challenging emotions like anger, and generally reduce symptoms of stress.
Reduction of stress due to prayer and meditation, the constant conscious contact with God or a Higher Power of one’s own understanding might relieve so much stress for another reason. “We alcoholics are undisciplined,” The Big Book authors explain, “So we let God discipline us…” Spiritual practices like prayer and meditation are a form of discipline which help guide a recovering addict or alcoholic into a new way of living.
Enlightened Solutions brings together the spirituality of 12 step philosophy with natural healing modalities for holistic health. Our program is designed to help you break the harmful bonds of drug and alcohol addiction and support your transformation from co-occurring disorders. For more information, call 833-801-5483.
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