This week’s DYK was written by a prominent professor with long term sobriety: When we speak of Absolute honesty, we should give warning that we are only concerned with the conscious level of the mind, and with areas of our lives which we have been told to look at by Alcoholics Anonymous and our sponsors. There are forms of denial involving subconscious components, however, which will require us to spend years in the program slowly working down through “the layers of the onion.” We will need to work downward progressively through each more deeply hidden stratum of denial, raising things to a conscious awareness that we had never before been conscious of. In that sense, in this world and this life, we will always be blithely unaware of the existence of some things in our mental makeup, so that our goal must be progress, not perfection.


But absolute honesty is in fact achievable at the conscious level of our minds, and twelve step people have to be warned that there can be no healing in their lives until they begin looking at themselves sternly, and repeatedly asking themselves the same simple question. Is what I am saying to you and to myself really true? Is the belief upon which I am basing this decision and honest description of what is really so? Acting upon this basis of ideas which we know are not true is treachery to the principle of honesty, but of equal importance, failure to even ask the question of truth in matters which are obviously of formative importance in our decision-making process is culpable negligence that can prevent recovery.

The early Christians of the first five centuries recognized that here were different names for God. We could say that God was (1) the glory of holiness revealed in the world of nature and in sacred places, (2) the holy spirit which was present “when two or three were gathered” in the divine name, and (3) the good itself. When 12 step people refer to their Higher Power as the power of Nature or as a kind of feeling of the divine presence which Bill Wilson once felt in Winchester Cathedral, or when they refer to their higher power as the spirit of the tables or as the principle of Good Orderly Direction, these words are simply modern translations and adaptations of those three early Christian names for God, and all of them are appropriate. And there is one ancient traditional name for God which is especially important, because this one explains why Absolute Honesty plays such an essential role in twelve step spirituality: (4) God is truth itself. We are told in Christian scriptures that “God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship the spirit of truth.” It also gives us the promise that “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

But nevertheless in Alcoholics Anonymous it simply means our personal conception of a power greater than us. Alcoholics Anonymous has a vast and diverse membership of every conceivable religion on earth that includes atheists and agnostics. A.A.’s primary purpose is to carry the message and methodology of sobriety to those who still suffer no matter their religious or lack of religious belief.

When we gaze at the heavens above or at the beauty of the spring flowers and feel a sense of awe, infinite and majestic, we perceive the glory of God. When we walk through the woods and hear the birds singing and feel the soft earth under our feet and feel our souls being restored to peace and harmony we are allowing the glory of God to heal us spiritually. When we marvel at the extraordinary discoveries of modern science, the strange world of atomic nuclei and the fundamental particles that our universe is made of, this too is the glory of a mysterious power greater than us.

The Waynedale News Staff
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