A Daily Reprieve From Addictive Thinking

What we really have is a daily reprieve (from our alcoholic or addict behaviors) contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 85.

I heard this statement several times when I was early in my recovery, but never gave it much thought.  For most of my life, I thought that spirituality meant religion and religion was NOT for me. Therefore, I paid no attention to any mention of spirituality.

Not surprisingly, I had a relapse after several years of sobriety.  I had not worked on my inner self and was not connected to much of anything outside of myself, my family and a few friends.

After getting sober again, I discovered that spirituality (for me) has nothing to do with religion.  In fact, I have a sister who is very committed to the religion we grew up in, who told me (much to my surprise) that I am one of the most spiritual people she knows.

Today, if I had to define spirituality or maintenance of my spiritual condition; I would say that I am spiritually fit when I am aware of more than myself, the greater good, the service I can give another person (without expectation).  I feel a spiritual connection when I am living in gratitude rather than feeling deprived; when I can find peace no matter what is going on in my life.

When my focus is on the good in life, I have found I am far better equipped to deal with unexpected issues, disappointments, even shocking events.  Life is going to be life.  Life doesn’t just magically become perfect because I got sober.  I’ve been laid off from a high-paying job that I truly enjoyed; buried a beloved family member; had bills to pay; faced legal issues that were frustrating; and, dealt with unexpected medical issues – and I’ve managed to stay sober and relatively peaceful and grateful through each of these experiences.  The peace that I have experienced through these trying issues has come from the promise of a daily reprieve from my alcoholic thinking – because I have been willing to do the work necessary to maintain my spiritual fitness.

Through personal experience, I know that for myself, I am given a daily reprieve of my alcoholic and addictive thinking and behaviors when I do the work necessary to stay spiritually fit.  Some of the things that I do on a regular basis to maintain my spiritual connection – ensure my daily reprieve – are:

  1. Start each day with an inspirational reading and 5-minute
  2. End my meditation with a short prayer to my Higher Power, asking to understand the next right thing to do throughout the day.
  3. I talk to another person who is in recovery every day (not always about recovery, most of the time we just talk about where we are in life today).
  4. Write in my gratitude journal or add something to my gratitude list – especially if I’m feeling frustrated or disheveled.
  5. End my day with a prayer of gratitude.

By committing to do these things on a daily basis, I am actively working on my spiritual conditioning, my awareness and earning my next day’s daily reprieve.