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:
- Start each day with an inspirational reading and 5-minute
- End my meditation with a short prayer to my Higher Power, asking to understand the next right thing to do throughout the day.
- 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).
- Write in my gratitude journal or add something to my gratitude list – especially if I’m feeling frustrated or disheveled.
- 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.