Cultivating Mindful & Meditation In 12 Step Recovery
Spirituality vs Religion
The approach of this site is not to denigrate Alcoholics Anonymous or modify the 12 Steps. The developers are comfortable with the Steps, the Big Book and the 12 & 12 just the way they are. Unlike the secular, atheist or agnostic spin off groups, this sight does not see a need to rewrite the Steps, replace any of the conference approved literature or change anything for that matter. The program of Alcoholics Anonymous as laid out by Bill W. and Dr. Bob is just fine. It has helped unknown millions recover from the disease of alcoholism and saved countless lives over more than 75 years of continuous growth. This site is about how to find a Higher Power without the sort of god described by Judeo-Christian traditions, rather than how to change AA so we don’t have to encounter "all the god stuff." Nor is it our intention to criticize any/or all Judaeo-Christian denominations. Some of the best AA's we know are active members of parishes, synagogues, wards and congregations. After all, they are just exercising their AA right to "the God of their understanding," as we are.
However, there is a perception that the AA program leans heavily on traditional Christian dogma and the origins of the program, as far as the association with the Oxford Groups, could lead one to believe that this is the case. The many disclaimers presented in the Steps themselves and throughout the Conference approved literature about a "God of your understanding” still leaves one with the impression that some kind of god (certainly one with a capitalized “G”) is a requirement. The developers of this site do not believe that to be the case.
As it is often said in meetings, “Alcoholics Anonymous is not a religious program, it is a spiritual program.” To this point, just as we have the freedom to acknowledge the God of our understanding, this site maintains that we also have the freedom to express the spirituality of our understanding. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. has even printed a pamphlet that says exactly that titled Many Paths to Spirituality. The following is just one quote of many in this pamphlet from members of A.A. who don't follow any religion whatsoever or consider themselves agnostics or atheists:
“Using the inner resource I have discovered in A.A. as a higher power, I have been able to do the Steps just as they are written in the Big Book. I listen to this inner resource for understanding and wisdom. I carry the A.A. message to others. It works! I am experiencing a spiritual awakening and I feel all the promises coming true. I feel better inside than I have in years. I am now sponsoring several men and it is a wonderful feeling to see another alcoholic get sober. I am proof that it is possible to be an atheist on matters of the supernatural but still have a spiritual awakening and reap the rewards of the A.A. program of recovery."
This is the overriding theme of this site – "I may, and can, create a spirituality of my own." And your own spirituality will provide the higher power you need to transform.
In the Buddhist practice of Mindfulness as taught by Thich Nhat Hanh, I find a spirituality that far exceeds the limited possibilities and random speculations of what I consider man-made theocracies built upon ancient, anthropomorphic mythology and patriarchal, authoritarian religious dogma. Furthermore, the concept of a hominid morality built into my DNA as the result of an evolutionary selection process suggests that I may hold within the cellular structure of my own brain and throughout my body an experiential knowledge of how best a human being can live. This to me is far more mystical and awe-inspiring than any third hand account of a so-called miracle in the King James Bible.
The common thread that weaves its way through the content of this site is the concept that divinity is within each of us, not separate from us. In that way we are all the same - a universal, connected whole and that our work here is to find that wholeness. In addition, this spirituality allows us to retain an intellectual honesty that recognizes the philosophical, psychological, scientific and technological advances in human consciousness that have occurred over the last four or five millennia, while at the same time acknowledging the personal responsibility that we must take for our own salvation, enlightenment, well being, ultimate reality, whatever . . .