Hello again, it has been awhile since I wrote a post due to many things taking shape in my life.
As I always state I am far from being a perfect human being in many ways or a poster boy for recovery, fellowships, or programs. As I been told countless times the disease of addiction is a thinking disease, in our heads, we cannot trust our thinking and leave everything to God’s will. Now listen; I want to make it clear; I am not an atheist or an agnostic. I do believe in some higher power, and I lean more towards my Christian roots than any other religion, but my views on my recovery are on a spiritual level.
So, what is the difference between religion and spirituality? Even a harder question to ask is the difference between God’s will and self-will? Am I even willing to be bashed by everyone I know to address these questions? Why not?
Okay, let us delve into some definitions to give us a clearer picture if possible.
• Religion: the belief in and worship of superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or Gods. A particular religious system of faith and worship. A pursuit or interest to which ascribes supreme importance.
• Spirituality: the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things. Sensitivity or attachment to religious values. The quality or state of being spiritual.
As we can see, there is a connection between the two but also clear differences.
To me, religion takes on strict adherence to the policies of whichever faith, God, or structured organization and rules that make up that religion. Spirituality to me is the underline message that all religions and faiths teach, a humanitarian and environmental connection based on natural laws and the difference between right and wrong (I mean clear differences and just in the vain of being a good person and good to each other and our planet).
Both are connected and in my mind.
The question remains; how as a normal human being do I separate my will from a higher power’s will? No matter the power and faith or awakening I have, how can I stand up and truly say I know as a fact what God’s meaning for us is? Is the idea of a “God” a construct of our mind and thinking? Despite how to devote or extreme you can be in any religion, it takes our mind and imagination to construct, believe, and absorb this information.
It takes our flawed addicted minds and thinking to connect to our divinity. If God is within us, if we are in the Christian sense “made in his image” then God’s will must already be part of our own will. Self-will to me is the base negative aspects of humanity or as the Bible puts the “7 deadly sins” and selfish to the core. God’s will is a spiritual and humanitarian nature, where we think of other’s before ourselves and help create a better life we all live in the present moment for each other. From not caring about caring, selfish to selfless and negative to positive.
In the 3rd step of Alcoholics Anonymous, it requires us to accept God’s will over our lives.
3. “Decided to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”
In the 11th step of Alcoholics Anonymous, it asks us to improve our connection with God continually, but only asking for a better understanding of His will and how to live by this will in all we do.
11. “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
Notice in both the 3rd and 11th steps “as we understood Him.” I believe this to be a powerful and very overlooked reference in meetings everywhere. Alcoholic’s Anonymous is not a church. Even though religion plays a huge role in the program and the contents of the book, it does not require you to believe in specific established religion. In fact, I believe it is somewhat detrimental to bring up any specific religion in the meetings due to the negatives it might unintentionally bring up in a person that has issues with that specific religious organization.
Having been in many meetings where people speak of Jesus’s name over and over does not personally bother me, but it could bother many more people than is realized. Ultimately it is shaming those that do not believe in Christ and hurting those whose sin’s are beyond redemption in their minds (even though no one is beyond redemption in my mind, but this isn’t about me).
The steps encourage us to practice our faiths and become closer to them on a personal level, but not to preach our particular religion. Think of a Muslim man or woman coming into a meeting and praising Allah or Mohammed for showing them the path of recovery and sitting next to them is a Mother of a soldier that died by the actions and belief of a Muslim extremist. Religions must not cause a negative effect on the meeting.
The message for people struggling with alcohol and drugs should not bring up resentments.
As we look at these steps, it is encouraged for us to understand and carry ourselves through God’s will and I will go back to the beginning of my post to express what this is to me. Spirituality is God’s will to me, not preaching a specific deity or pushing any belief in any way. The closer I examine my connection with my God, the understanding of how religions formed through history is enlightening.
The ancient Sumerians and Egyptians, through the Greek and Roman, from polytheistic pagan beliefs to monotheism in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Overarching Asian and Indian polytheistic and monotheistic religions in Hinduism and Buddhism, and those of animals, nature and the Earth in Native American religions. All have a common theme; this is God’s will to me.
It is simple, open, selfless, forgiving, loving, and never judging.
We are all connected within this sphere of spirituality, and once felt it is easier for me to understand.
The 12th step of Alcoholics Anonymous askes us to carry this message to other’s suffering with this disease of addiction, to me that means any addition I wasn’t born in the early 1900’s. Time’s change and it is as a practical and tangible therapy open to all that suffer.
12. “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”
Granted I have a far way to go, but this is one of the ways I not “tried” but try. None of us are perfect, and I just hope that the smoke of religion that you can see to the core of what this whole thing is about; being happy and at peace with yourself, your future, and your fellows. Everyone deserves a chance no matter what situation or what you did in your past, we all have issues. Don’t give up and be strong.
Thank you for reading