This week’s HTYH is the completion of the late Sandy B’s story: I tell the people who I sponsor, “I’m going to show you that everything is, and always has been alright.” That’s what a spiritual solution looks like. A spiritual solution is different than conventional methodologies of problem solving. A.A. literature states: Our problems were simply removed. What did we say when somebody walked into a bar in a rant?” “Let me buy you a drink.” It didn’t matter the magnitude of his problem the solution was always the same, “Let me buy you a drink.” After two or three drinks the guy says, “Hey, I feel great,” and he no longer has the problem, everything seems fine. That’s what our Higher Powers and spiritual awakenings do, they allows us to see that everything is OK because God is in charge; that’s what I missed since childhood.
Bill Wilson mentioned a book titled, Variety of Religious Experiences by William James that helped him understand some important things about life. It was not easy to read and it was not until I was sober 25 years that I finally re-read and understood it. William James was a brilliant philosopher who in the early 1900s gave a series of lectures at Edinburgh University known as the “Gifford Lectures,” his lectures were later compiled into a book, Varieties of Religious Experiences.
The most interesting part to Bill Wilson was James’ study of spiritual awakenings. This is indeed the main purpose of Alcoholics Anonymous, we learn how to walk through the 12 steps and practice certain prescribed daily actions that cause a spiritual awakening to occur in us that will solve our alcoholism and a myriad of other problems too. We learn to feel the nearness of an Almighty Creator in our hearts. We recognize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. It’s not just alcoholics that have spiritual awakenings, they happen to other people too who are not alcoholic, but the one thing we all have in common is desperation; we were without hope. Something awful happened to us and we were totally desperate. Bill Wilson said, “My God, that’s what happened to me and countless other alcoholics; something awful happened to us.”
After we’ve been around A.A. awhile, we are given a gift that we never expected. The gift is us; they hand us a wrapped box and it’s our job to unwrap it one-layer-at-a-time until we discover what’s inside. When we first come around we’re not wrapped too tight; sometimes there’s puke on our wrapping and it doesn’t smell good. We’re initially overwhelmed by resentments and fear and we’re afraid to look inside, but of course, we’re wrong because the 12 steps remove most of the ugly stuff and what’s left isn’t bad. The steps, our sponsor and home group, give us the courage to finally open our box and look inside and we discover something wonderful; something we lost years ago; the real us.
Newly sobered alcoholics are like an un-cut, stone that a divine sculptor (our Higher Power), slowly chips away at until there’s nothing left but the final figure. The sculptor can clearly see the final figure long before it’s done and ready to polish. At last the day comes when we look into a mirror and say, “I like what I see!”
We’ve always been inside of there, but we were hopelessly trapped in a hard casing with lots of over-burden. We were trapped inside our old ideas and until they were removed, we could not see the light; to love and to be loved instead of living in darkness, isolation, fear, resentment and alcoholic indifference. By working the 12 suggested steps we learn to become a part of a new and wonderful world that we never dreamed existed. The end.