Guest Blog by Kristen J
Born again. Spiritual awakening. These are two terms I would cringe when hearing once upon a time. Anything that remotely resembled a tie to God, or any sort of a higher power should be left to those who spend their Sundays under the steeple. My church and my spirituality come from being in the wilderness. And, come to find out, from whatever was at the bottom of that bottle.
Little did I know those words that I once despised in their essence, are simply a process of creating a change in perception. A change in a person’s way of thinking. Rewiring of the brain. A chance to turn, look, and walk down a different path than the one currently walked. I came to the realization (not by my own urging I might add) that I didn’t know, what I didn’t know, and I couldn’t see, what I couldn’t see.
When I first got sober in a twelve-step program, my experience causing spiritual awakening was so profound that I thought “The world could be such a better place if people were willing to go through a 12 step process….this isn’t just for alcoholics!” Turns out, many professionals, doctors and counselors feel the same way.
Within the program, I received so much more than the desire to stop drinking. As it turns out, my life now is much more fulfilling, peaceful and serene compared to the chaos I was living when drinking every day. Daily drinking was an attempt to find the attributes I now possess. I have true peace of mind. I have the ability to let things go and not hold onto resentments. I experience compassion for those I once despised and I’ve come to an understanding that my higher power doesn’t have to be what I was taught, or what my neighbor was taught, or of anyone else’s conception. My higher power is of my own understanding, and now I know my God. What a blessing in life – I have super-human power on my side if I reach out my hand and I am willing to believe!
The best part of any 12 step program is after you’ve earned your spiritual awakening or spiritual experience, it is your privilege to take the message to others. Not specifically the message of the program, but the message of being of service. To be other-centered as opposed to self-centered. To pay your good fortune forward, or to Thank it Forward.
2020 has been (fill in the blank), but as many members of my fellowship will say, there have been so many blessings because of COVID-19. Zoom meetings now connect people across the world, any hour on the hour. There are many people in need of a fellowship: Alcoholics. Drug Addicts. Food Addicts. Gamblers. Sex Addicts. Loved ones of addicts. Depressed people. Anxious people. People who are just irritable and discontent and can’t figure out why. Today, where it can feel so difficult to connect, there are more than likely hordes of people out there, just like you, for you to connect with…they’re now just a click away!
What communities, programs or groups do you rely on for support? What do you gain and what do you hope to contribute, in return, to the community?