Spirituality verses religion as it relates to addicts is a very touchy subject. First may I say I am absolutely NO expert on either and this is just my experience with them.
When I first got clean I walked into a 12 step recovery meeting, saw the word God on the wall and thought … Oh great religious freaks. This must be some sort of cult and no I won’t drink the Kool-Aid. I had a really bad taste in my mouth about God and religion.
Before I had gotten clean I had certain people in my life that claim to be godly people who just turned their backs on me and waited for the phone call that I overdosed or something. So needless to say I wasn’t interested in their religion but I was so desperate to stop living as an active addict and I had nowhere else to go that I walked in anyway and sat down. I am so grateful that people in recovery are willing to help the newcomer. Love and tolerance is our code.
After hanging around for a short while and going to step meetings and beginner meeting (which focus on the first 3 steps of recovery) I noticed and heard people talking about the 4 words that come behind God in the 3rd step:
Step 3 – Made a decision to turn our will and my life over to the care of God AS WE UNDERSTOOD HIM.
Funny how the mind wants to go straight to the word God and block out all else. I was told that this is a spiritual program not a religious one and I could have my very own concept of whatever I wanted MY god to be. BRILLIANT!!!
Deep down in every man, woman, and child, is the fundamental idea of God. For faith in a Power greater than ourselves, and miraculous demonstrations of that power in human lives, are facts as old as man himself. We finally saw that faith in some kind of God was a part of our make-up. Sometimes we had to search fearlessly, but He was there. He was as much a fact as we were. We found the Great Reality deep down within us. It is only there that He may be found.
So in trying to practice the program of recovery as it is laid out in the “big book” I find that I have created a God of my own understanding and expand and grow that relationship I have with “IT”, whatever it is. I just know that I ask for help in the morning to stay clean in prayer and sit quiet in meditation/reflection every single day.
I really don’t know what or who God is but I do know that when I look within my own heart (self examination), pray, meditate and help others (service) I feel a nearness to the Devine and I feel peace deep within my being.
Being raised southern Baptist, married to a catholic and having explored other religions I always seem to come back to the simple fact that God, self and guru are all one in the same, within me. I love many things about western AND eastern religions and a few of my own thoughts and in recovery I can combine all of those and have my own personal God. One that is personal to me. My own view … religion is for people who don’t want to go to hell and spirituality is for people who have been there and want to change. I am grateful that recovery has allowed me the freedom to find my own path.
Picture By brains the head