AA Conferences

First Conference

What Is ‘Spirituality’?


I would like to present some thoughts on the ‘‘Spirituality’ of AA’. 

To most people in our society

if I said the ‘Economics of AA’ or the ‘Psychology of AA’,

that might make sense.

But… ‘‘Spirituality’’?  

Folks in the AA Program are much more comfortable with this topic… 

But how do they define or describe ‘‘Spirituality’’? 

So… let’s get started.


I am going to deal with the topic of ‘‘Spirituality’’ as AA experiences it.

My main resources are:

We’re All Addicts… Richard Rohr

Lest we think that Addiction refers to alcohol or drugs only, 

Richard Rohr has some interesting reflections on Addiction in our society. 

Rohr posits four assumptions about addiction:

  1. We are all addicts. Human beings are addictive by nature… 

The question for each of us is not whether we are addicted, 

but how we are addicted, and to what. 

Denial of the existence of addiction in your life is not a mark of moral accomplishment, 

but a sign of blindness.

  1. Stinking thinking” is a universal addiction. 

Substance addictions like alcohol and drugs are merely the most visible form of addiction…  

We are also addicted to our own habitual way of thinking and doing. 

These attachments are at first hidden to us. 

We cannot heal what we do not first acknowledge.

  1. All societies are addicted to themselves and create deep codependency. 

There are shared and agreed-upon addictions in every culture and every institution. 

(These addictions are like a virus – they spread from one person to another, 

thru many different forms of contact, including all forms of media.)

These are often the hardest to heal because they do not look like addictions—

because we have all agreed to be compulsive about the same things and blind to the same problems. 

For example, our culture thinks that consuming things will make us happy. It’s all about ‘stuff’.

  1. Divine Therapy… Some form of alternative consciousness is the only way to freedom from stinking thinking and from cultural beliefs. 

If the universal addiction is to our own pattern of thinking… 

the primary spiritual path must be some form of contemplative practice—or “prayer”… (R Rohr on ‘Addiction’. Dec 8, 2019, Daily Meditations)

I believe we are all wounded by our addictions. 

I believe that many of the Twelve Steps of AA are helpful for dealing with many addictions… 

whether it’s ‘stinking thinking’ or a shopping addiction. 

# 4 above (Divine Therapy) is found chiefly in Step Eleven of the Twelve Steps of AA…

Step Eleven…

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.   

What Is ‘Spirituality’?

Through my own personal experiences 

and my dealings with many people over the years, 

I have come to the conclusion that besides substance addictions 

there are many other addictions in our world. 

I believe that we need healthy ‘‘Spirituality’’ 

to deal with these many addictions. 

When talking about ‘‘Spirituality’’ and addictions 

I will be dealing mostly with alcohol addiction. 

However, I believe that what I say can be applied to many other addictions.

Let’s talk about ‘‘Spirituality’’.

What is ‘‘Spirituality’’? How define or describe the term? 

Let me begin with a true story from my years in retreat ministry at former retreat center in Riverdale, in the N.W. Bronx, N.Y.C.


While stationed there I was part of a clergy discussion group.

We met once a month from September thru May to talk about God and ‘Spirituality’. 

We discussed the many stories in the biblical book of Genesis.


In our discussion group were three Catholic priests, four Protestant ministers, three Rabbis and a Jewish teacher named Abe who taught Ethics at Columbia University.


At the end of May each year we would celebrate with a meal together. 

One year I was sitting next to Abe…

Abe was an elderly Jewish man, rotund in a grandfatherly way, kind and gentle. 

He held at least two doctorates, spoke a number of languages, and taught Ethics at Columbia University in New York City.

During our conversation Abe told me that he didn’t believe in God. 

I told Abe I was curious about why he would be involved in an interfaith group of those in ministry. 

Abe graciously explained. 

He showed me the ugly dark letters and numbers tattooed into his right wrist. 

As a young man Abe was interred in a Nazi work camp. 

He explained that in the evenings in the camp, 

the prisoners could hear the sounds of explosions coming nearer, 

and knew that the Allies were on their way. 

A week before the allies arrived at the camp, 

the SS guards marched the 400 prisoners at night 

into a nearby wooded area 

and shot them all. 

17 younger men were able to crawl away from the slaughter.

Abe explained that his experiences in the camp and during that fateful night destroyed his belief in God. 

However, he said that he did believe that all of us are surrounded by a power far greater than ourselves, 

and that power is on our side… that power is on our side.

I told Abe that this was one of the most beautiful descriptions of God 

that I had ever encountered.

We are never alone. That ‘power’ never abandons us, even in the darkness.

AA speaks of the ‘Higher Power’ and calls it ‘God’.

I believe that the ‘Higher Power’ whom I call God 

is at the heart of ‘Spirituality’. 

I also believe that without ‘Spirituality’ 

there can be little or no transformation, 

little or no change in an alcoholic’s life., or in anyone’s life. 

I believe that ‘Spirituality’ leads to reconstruction… 

to change, to transformation. 

Albert Einstein said that a problem cannot be solved 

on the same level of consciousness on which it arises. 

‘Spirituality’ changes the level of consciousness.

I would say that ‘‘Spirituality’’ is living with the consciousness of God 

as a vital part of our life. 

AA is a spiritual program and belief in God is important.

So, What is ‘‘Spirituality’’?

A Way of Life

I want to examine more closely how AA approaches ‘‘Spirituality’’.

I have ministered  many years with men and women in AA. 

I have learned much from them.


I have seen how they have handled or failed to handle 

the pain and suffering that their addiction(s) has caused them.

When you hear an alcoholic tell his or her story 

at one of their ‘open meetings’,

the first thing you learn is that they could not control their drinking.

As a result, their drinking and their life was unmanageable…

and the ‘insanity’ of this situation caused them and others much pain.


When the new comer first attended AA meetings 

they noticed that other alcoholics in the AA Program 

could not control their drinking either,

and had experienced as much pain and suffering as themselves, 

and sometimes more.

But now these folks seem fairly happy and serene… 

They now seemed to be dealing with their shattered lives. 

‘I want what they have’ a newcomer will say. 

Thus begins their ‘journey’ to sobriety. 

The AA Twelve Steps will guide them along the road to sobriety.

From others they will learn the need for ‘Spirituality’,

as others share their experiences, strengths and hopes… 

their ups and downs.

They will be urged to get a mentor to help show them the way. 

AA calls these ‘sponsors’.

The Steps and the principles of AA ‘Spirituality’ will help guide and heal them, 

as they journey on their pilgrimage.

I might also call their journey to sobriety an ‘adventure’.

(See The Little Red Book for the topic of ‘sponsors’.)

We will be looking at the Steps and at the principles of AA ‘Spirituality’ 

as we move into these conferences.


On their journey (or adventure) 

alcoholics learn from the experiences of others, 

and from their own experiences. 

They will still encounter difficult times, 

and they will enjoy happy times. 

They are now leading spiritual lives… 

God becomes a much more active part of their lives, 

in the company of others.

They will grow out of self-centered lives into other-centered lives. 

The story of their lives continues each day, 

with their Higher Power in their life.

This is what ‘Spirituality’ and spiritual seeking is all about.

They will learn that their spiritual life must continue to grow and develop. (BB, P 60)

They will learn that, as it says in the BB, P 57, ‘God is all or nothing.’

Gleanings from the book ‘The ‘Spirituality’ of Imperfection’… (S I)

I have enjoyed and learned much from the book entitled 

The ‘Spirituality’ of Imperfection’ by Kurtz and Ketcham.

This book examines AA’s ‘Spirituality’. 

The book reminds us that we live in an imperfect world. 

We are imperfect. 

We can’t control everything. 

We make mistakes, we hurt people, we hurt ourselves. 

We are not God… we find this out rather quickly…

life is messy… we are messy.

This is true for all of us, not just people in the AA Program. 

People in AA get to the point where their behavior might be described as insane and incomprehensible. (BB, P 37)

They cannot control their drinking. 

This affects their whole life.

I’ve heard many, many stories of folks in AA who know this firsthand. 

Alcoholics need to honestly face their life, 

and realize that they cannot control their drinking… 

They need to surrender to this fact. (1st Step)

‘‘Spirituality’’ is the AA Program’s  way of handling this.

For many people today there is just the material world… 

that’s all there is… no spiritual dimension. 

In the AA Program alcoholics have to ‘grow along spiritual lines.’ (BB, P60)… 

The Big Book says:

‘The point is , that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines… 

We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection. 

‘Spirituality’ supplies a context and suggests a way of living 

with our imperfections. (BB, P 60, see SI, P 48)

‘Spirituality’ is not religion – 

although I believe that Religions 

contain and can even protect and enhance ‘Spirituality’.


‘Spirituality’ is not therapy. 

Therapy helps to make us whole. 

Its goal is to make us happy and release us from addictions. 

‘Spirituality’’s goal is to make us whole, lead us to forgiveness, 

and release us to lead a meaningful life and to be of service.

The book The ‘Spirituality’ of Imperfection  describes ‘‘Spirituality’’ 

as a way of life. 

It affects the way we think, feel, see, sense and live.  (See SI PP 45 – 48)

Here are some descriptive elements of ‘‘Spirituality’’: (See SI PP 49 – 52)

When you hit bottom and see the wretchedness of your life, 

there is a hidden grace. 

This is who you were

You don’t need to be your past. 

Now discover who you are

‘Spirituality’ suggests a context and suggests a way 

of living with our imperfections.

We learn to put up with ourselves… 

don’t lose heart when things go badly 

or become complacent when things go well. 

Neither extreme will last long.

because others are not perfect, nor am I. 

We are aware of our weaknesses (‘sinfulness’ is the religious term) (4th – 7th Steps

and the weaknesses of others. 

This is especially important for sponsors, 

because this is what you hand on to your sponsees… yourself.

Honesty is important… 

vs self-centeredness, self-deception, self-sufficiency, and pride. 

Know yourself, accept yourself and be transformed.

Accept life’s uncertainties. 

We are not God. 

2nd Step… we come to believe in a power greater than ourselves.

Other elements of ‘Spirituality’   (See SI PP 69-95)

‘Spirituality’ affects seeing – 

we see things out there the way we are, not the way they are

Bad thinking and wrong vision 

come from the perspective of our fears and fantasies… this is harmful.

This affects the way we choose (our will) … our choices… 

The criterion of ‘Spirituality’ is not our subjective feelings, 

but the reality of relationships with others 

which begets understanding, acceptance, and commitment. 

‘Spirituality’ is experiencing being connected, not isolated, and alienated. 

This is the way of life of ‘Spirituality’.

Who am I? Where do I belong? 

We locate ourselves within a community of fellow human beings. 

‘Spirituality’ is nursed in community

shared vision, shared goals, shared memory, shared hope, 

shared way of life.  

It’s not all about me. Life is about ‘us’.

AAers belong to a fellowship of the wounded… and that’s ok.

(See my future conference on:  AA, A Fellowship of the Wounded.)


With whom do you choose to identify? …  

With whom do you fit in? 

What community do you identify with or feel conformable with?

So many times an alcoholic isolates… doesn’t really fit in anywhere.


I knew a person in jail because of his drug addiction.

When I talked with him he had been a part of an AA program in the jail.

When he got out he went back with his girlfriend and other friends… 

They still used drugs.

He felt comfortable with them. 

He identified with them.

He went back to booze and drugs… and he OD’d. 

He is dead.

To grow in the AA way of life we need mentors, sober friends, 

spiritual directors … 

who tell us the truth about ourselves. 

‘Spirituality’ is transmitted person to person. 

It is learned by following…

in AA, sponsors do most of this work… 

they do the ‘heavy lifting’.

If you want what we have, you need moral and spiritual vigor –

 the 12 Steps.

We all need… Surrender. Humility. Obedience. Good listening. Discovery. Community

These are some of the spiritual principles of AA. 

we will discuss in future conferences.

Our next Conference is on ‘Spiritual Awakening’… the Adventure Begins.

DonW… Jan. ‘21

The Second Conference

Spiritual Awakening… Bondage to Self


In this reflection I would like to talk about ‘spiritual experience’ or ‘spiritual awakening’ in the AA Program.  

In the Second Appendix to the BB this description is presented 

for ‘spiritual experience’ or ‘spiritual awakening’. 

The alcoholic… 

finally realizes that he has undergone a profound alteration in his reaction to life; that such a change could hardly have been brought about by himself alone. What often takes place in a few months could seldom have been accomplished by years of self-discipline. With few exceptions our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves. Most of us think this awareness of a Power greater than ourselves is the essence of spiritual experience. Our more religious members call it ‘God-consciousness.’   (BB, pp 567-568)

I want to talk about this ‘spiritual experience.’  

I prefer to call it a ‘spiritual awakening.’ 

In the appendix on ‘spiritual experience’ 

the BB explains that for some people this spiritual experience is in the nature of a sudden and spectacular upheaval… 

for some an immediate and overwhelming ‘God-consciousness,’ 

followed at once by a vast change in feelings and outlook… 

For others, if not most alcoholics, this ‘spiritual experience’ or ‘spiritual awakening’ is a slower process over a period of time.  (BB p 567)


The Appendix of the BB then continues

Quite often friends of the newcomer are aware of the difference 

long before he himself is. 

He finally realizes he has undergone a profound alteration in his reaction to life; 

that such a change could hardly have been brought about by himself alone. (BB, p 567)

Let’s examine this ‘spiritual awakening.’

1. Who Are You?

First we need to ask the question… 

Why would your Higher Power want to help you?

What’s so special about you?

Who are you, really?

Many alcoholics don’t feel special at all. They don’t feel loved or appreciated. 

They feel lonely and isolated. 

A True Story… A Child of God…

A seminary professor was vacationing with his wife in Gatlinburg, TN. 

One morning, they were eating breakfast at a little restaurant, 

hoping to enjoy a quiet, family meal. 

While they were waiting for their food, 

they noticed a distinguished looking, white-haired man 

moving from table to table, visiting with the guests. 

The professor leaned over and whispered to his wife, 

'I hope he doesn't come over here.' 

But sure enough, the man did come over to their table.

'Where are you folks from?' he asked in a friendly voice.
‘Oklahoma’ they answered.
'Great to have you here in Tennessee,' the stranger said.

 'What do you do for a living?'
'I teach at a seminary,' he replied.

'Oh, so you teach preachers how to preach, do you? 

Well, I've got a really great story for you.' 

And with that, the gentleman pulled up a chair 

and sat down at the table with the couple.

The professor groaned and thought to himself, 

'Great ... Just what I need.... another preacher story!'

The man started,

 'See that mountain over there?... (pointing out the restaurant window).

 Not far from the base of that mountain, 

there was a boy born to an unwed mother. 

He had a hard time growing up, 

because every place he went,

 he was always asked the same question, 

'Hey boy, who’s your daddy?' 

Whether he was at school, in the grocery store or drug store, 

people would ask the same question, 'Who's your daddy?'

He would hide at recess and lunch time from other students. 

He would avoid going into stores because that question hurt him so bad. 

'When he was about 12 years old, a new preacher came to his church.

 He would always go in late and slip out early 

to avoid hearing the question, 'Who's your daddy?'

At the end of the Service

the new preacher said the Benediction so fast 

that the boy got caught off guard and had to walk out with the crowd.

Just about the time he got to the back door, 

the new preacher, not knowing anything about him,

put his hand on his shoulder and asked him, 

'Son, who's your daddy?'

The whole church got deathly quiet. 

He could feel every eye in the church looking at him.

Now everyone would finally know the answer to the question, 

'Who's your daddy?'

This new preacher, though, sensed the situation around him 

and had an inspiration 

and said the following to that scared little boy.. 

'Wait a minute! I know who you are! 

I see the family resemblance now; You are a child of God.'
With that he patted the boy on his shoulder and said,

 'Boy, you've got a great inheritance. Go and claim it.'

'With that, the boy smiled for the first time in a long time 

and walked out the door a changed person. 

He was never the same again. 

Whenever anybody asked him, 'Who's your Daddy?' 

he'd just tell them, 'I'm a Child of God.'

The distinguished gentleman got up from the table and said, 

'Isn't that a great story?'
The professor responded that it really was a great story!

As the man turned to leave, he said,

 'You know, if that new preacher hadn't told me 

that I was one of God's children, 

I probably never would have amounted to anything!' 

And he walked away.

The seminary professor and his wife were stunned. 

He called the waitress over & asked her, 

'Do you know who that man was – 

the one who just left that was sitting at our table?'

The waitress grinned and said, 

'Of course. Everybody here knows him. 

That's Ben Hooper. He's governor of Tennessee!'  (1926)    (Pause)

Do you realize that you are a child of God?

That’s why your Higher Power wants to help you.

You are precious… God doesn’t make junk!

2. Bondage to Self

Too many people today do not recognize that they are a child of God. 

Many have very little consciousness of God in their lives. 

Their lives are run by their ‘imperial ego.’ 

So many suffer from the ‘cult of the imperial ego.’

Our culture feeds our imperial ego daily 

with a diet of empty celebrity and superficiality… 

with success related to looks and not achievement… 

we need to package our self and look perfect… to be appreciated… 

Add to this the tyranny of the clothing and fashion industry.

I believe all of this is part of what the BB calls ‘Bondage to Self.’ 

Here’s a description:

Selfishness – self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate… 

so our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. 

They arise out of ourselves, 

and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, 

though we usually don’t think so. 

Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of selfishness. 

We must, or it will kill us! 

God makes that possible… 

We had to quit playing God. It didn’t work. (BB, p.62)  

Soon after this passage, the BB gives us the beautiful Third Step Prayer…

Say it with me now…

God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. 

Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness 

to those I would help 

of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. 

May I do Thy will always. (BB, p.63)

‘Bondage to Self’ – we live in a culture that considers this a virtue.

 ‘Have it your way… and supersize it!’

(A consumer culture places you at the center of life 

and promises you happiness and fulfillment of your every desire – 

for a price, of course. 

But you deserve it – after all, life is about you and your fulfillment.)

Bill W refers to the dangers of ‘big-shot-ism.’ (Twelve and Twelve, p. 92)

Another writer calls it the ‘Cult of the Imperial Ego,’ or the ‘Coronation of Self.’ 

What happens?

I want it my way

Do it my way

No matter what you say

I want it my way

In bondage to self

So often angered



So often others don’t bend

To my way

I know the best way…

Can’t you see?

Don’t you agree?

Don’t you understand?

I want it my way

Do it my way

No matter what you say

I want it my way.

How do we ever get out of this stifling, 

resentment-breeding ‘bondage to self?’

This leads us into our next conference…

The Solution… Spiritual Awakening.

Don Ware, 2021

Third Conference

Spiritual Awakening… Cont’d… 

A Brief Look at the Steps

Let’s take a quick spiritual look at the Steps and see how they contribute to our ‘Spiritual Awakening.’

Overall View of the Steps

Clean up – Steps 1 – 3

Grow up – Steps 4 – 10

Improve conscious contact with God – Life of Service – Steps 11 – 12 

Steps 1 – 5, Internal Work

Steps 6 – 7, Action Steps… Lifetime steps… change the way we behave and think and feel.           

Steps 8 – 9, Action Steps… Make amends.

Spiritual Awakening Begins…

Steps One, Two and Three

What does the BB say? 

Step One… We have to recognize that our drinking and our lives are unmanageable. 

We are powerless to stop drinking. 

We have to realize that wanting it my way all of the time doesn’t work… 

Our drinking doesn’t accomplish this.

We are powerless to get our lives together. 

We have to surrender. We have to dethrone our Imperial Ego.

How do we arrive at this point? 

Thru suffering

We get ‘sick and tired of being sick and tired.’  

We get miserable. 

We ain’t getting it our way. 

Something is wrong and we don’t know how to fix it.

Leonard Cohen in his song The Anthem sings… 

Ring the bells that still can ring / forget your perfect offering / there is a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in.

Our imperfection… our messiness / fears / doubts / questions about God / uncertainty - that’s how the light gets in… the cracks.

Richard Rohr has written an interesting and insightful book on the Spirituality of the Twelve Steps called Breathing Underwater. In the Introduction he gives four spiritual principles for spiritual growth… (P. xxii)

We suffer to get well.

We surrender to win.

We die to live.

We give it away to keep it.

In Step One we surrender and realize that we can’t do it – we have to get out of the driver’s seat… it can’t be our way.

In Step Two we come to recognize that only a Power greater than ourselves can help us. 

In Step Three… we surrender to win; we die to live. We realize that only with the help of a Higher Power can we survive and get better.

In  Chapter Five, ‘How It Works’, the  BB says:

Our description of the alcoholic… and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

Being convinced, we were at Step Three… we decided to turn our will and our life over to God as we understood Him. (BB, p.60)

We get down on our knees and pray with all the earnestness and humility we are capable of…

Please say the Third Step Prayer with me again…

God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always. (BB, p.63)

This, in my opinion, is the beginning of a ‘spiritual awakening…’ 

beginning to recognize our ‘bondage to self’ – 

no more denying it, we have a problem – and it ain’t just with alcohol… 

We need help… we can’t fix it.  We surrender. We ask our Higher Power for help.


Spiritual Awakening continues…

Steps Four, Five, Six and Seven

Many, if not most people, seldom examine their lives. 

They identify with their thoughts, emotions, perceptions, and compulsive behavior patterns.  

We might put it this way… 

I am what I feel, 

I am what I think, 

I am what I perceive, 

and I am the way I act – that’s just me.  

We believe what we think.

Steps Four – Seven are what the BB calls ‘housecleaning’.

In Steps Four, Five, Six and Seven we get into shadowboxing (to use Rohr’s descriptive term).  

We are facing those negative parts of ourselves seldom before examined. 


Step Four… make a searching and fearless moral inventory to the best of my ability… 

What are my grudges or resentments, how do they affect me and what is my part in them?  (BB, p.65)

What are my fears? What is my garbage? What are my secrets?

How many people lead ‘unexamined’ lives, 

unable or refusing to look at themselves honestly… 

sometimes not even aware that their thoughts, emotions, or behaviors are unhealthy. 

Some folks hardly ever reflect on what they think or how they act, 

or how they look at reality. 

They accept what they think as automatically true. 

They seldom question their judgments. 

How many people have a problem dealing with the complexity of life or the paradoxes of life? 

This can be scary. 

Wendell Barry, an American poet, once said, 

‘The mind that is not baffled is not employed.’

How many alcoholics were like that with regard to their drinking habits? 

How many never tied their problems or their risky or destructive behaviors, to their drinking? 

Step Five… admit to ourselves, to God and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs… 

Be as honest as we can be.

Admit to another person to grow in humility and honesty.

We become aware of our Character Defects’.

I will talk about humility and honesty in future conferences.

Steps Six and Seven… turn our character defects and shortcomings over to our Higher Power to deal with and heal… sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.  We must surrender to win; we have to die to live. 

Notice again… we don’t do this all by ourselves. 

Our Higher Power gives us the help we need, 

the insight we need, 

the encouragement we need, 

and the challenges we need…

I believe that our Higher Power does this

especially thru other folks in the AA Program and thru our Sponsor…

and thru the suffering that our character defects cause us. 

We can’t do this alone. 

AA is a ‘we’ program.

We are getting a heart transplant!

In my opinion our ‘spiritual awakening’ is now deepening and developing, even if we’re not aware of it…  

We’re being as honest as we can be, with the help of our Higher Power and our Sponsor! 

We’re continuing to invite our Higher Power into our lives – to change us. 

(In the traditional language of Christian spirituality this is called ‘conversion.’) 

It is a change of life from vice to virtue, from self-centeredness to God-centeredness and other-centeredness. 

Our spirituality is growing… as is our ‘transformation’… 

I love that quote in the BB, at the top of p 83, where it says,

… a long period of reconstruction is ahead.

(See Bill W’s reflection on Steps Six and Seven in Twelve and Twelve, PP 63 ff.)

Spiritual Awakening continues…

Steps Eight and Nine we make amends. 

Our Sponsor helps us with this. 

The BB helps us. Others help us. 

If we want to get better, we can’t shortcut these Steps – or any Steps. 

There is no softer way. It’s the Program’s way. 

Steps Eight and Nine certainly help with emotional sobriety… 

to heal the hurt our alcoholism has caused others and ourselves.

Steps Ten, Eleven and Twelve… 

It’s about continued change and continued growth. 

‘The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it.’ (BB, P 83)

‘We are not cured of our alcoholism. 

What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent 

on the maintenance of our spiritual condition’. (BB, P 85)

Growing spiritually is about taking our inventory daily,

‘and continue to set right any mistakes as we go along’. (BB, P 84) 

Read Step Ten in the BB, PP 84 – 85.  

Growing spiritually is about getting to know our God thru prayer and meditation each day… 

being sure to spend time in prayer, 

getting to know God and God’s will for us, each day.  

This is Step Eleven, BB, PP 85 – 88.

Growing spiritually is about good reading and needed continued study. 

It’s about carrying this message to other alcoholics and practicing these principles in all of our affairs. Welcome to Step Eleven

‘Spiritual Awakening’ or ‘Spiritual Experience’ is about the continued growth thru all of the Steps.

Read the stories in the BB. 

These people have changed, and they tell their stories.

Do you have a favorite story?

Why is it your favorite story?

4. The Promises

There are a number of promises in the BB after the Ninth step: 

They read:

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through. 

We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. 

We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. 

We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. 

No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. 

That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. 

We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. 

Self-seeking will slip away. 

Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. 

Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us. 

We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. 

We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.) 

Are these extravagant promises? We think not. 

They are being fulfilled among us – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.

They will always materialize if we work for them.

(BB, pp. 84-85)


Welcome to the world of ‘Spiritual Experience’ or ‘Spiritual Awakening.’

The Promises flow from the ‘Spiritual Awakening.’


I believe that the Twelve Steps of AA can change a person’s life… 

‘Spiritual Awakening’ describes the process that is a person’s ‘Spiritual Awakening.’ 

I hope this conference helps explain this process, for which we are forever grateful to God.

DonW     Jan. ‘21


Twelve Signs of a Spiritual Awakening

(See: themiracleisaroundthecornerwordpress.com)

Divine Therapy… R. Rohr… A quick sketch of each Step)

The Spirituality of Powerlessness

Steps: (Bill W saw the 12 Steps as leading to spiritual sobriety)

(BB, P 83… ‘the spiritual life is not a theory – you have to live it’. 

8.   & 9. God forgives us, but the consequences of our behavior remains…     these steps lead to emotional sobriety, i.e., detachment from our emotions which are self-referential – narcissistic… we clean house with those we have hurt, including family.

10. A continued unveiling of our unconscious behavior… we bring it to consciousness and do what the BB says: spot check, evening examin of conscience, periodic retreats. (BB, PP 84-85)

11. The need for prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God… learn God’s will for us and the power to carry that out – relying on God’s power.

12. Give away what we have learned and become… seriously practice Steps 11 and 12 in our daily life in order to progress. This is also leading to spiritual sobriety… to the growth of our spiritual life.