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​Spiritual Friday: Step 9 – Discipline

We are continuing our exploration of the spiritual principles found in the 12 Steps. Last Spiritual Friday, we focused on Step 9: "Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others." With spiritual discipline comes spiritual awakening and new freedoms.

The Promises

“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. The 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 of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that G-d 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.”

The Promises are beloved to those in Alcoholics Anonymous and are read at almost every AA meeting. In Step 9, we are promised these beautiful realities and freedoms – IF WE WORK FOR THEM.

"Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to G-d and the people about us." - Twelve Steps And Twelve Traditions

After our opening with the Tibetan Bells, several of the patients offered spiritual readings. Here are a few of my favorites:

"Quietly go to work on your own self-awareness.
If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself.
If you want to eliminate suffering in the world,
then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself.
Truly the greatest gift you have to give is that of
your own self transformation." - Lao Tzu

"Let's begin the practice of disciplining our minds today. After all, why should your mind decide what you think about? We don't let our legs take us anywhere they want us to go do we? Well our minds belong to us just like our legs. Possibly we have never realized that we can actually take control of what our minds think about.

To take control, we must acquire the discipline of silencing the mind. This is what prayer and meditation are all about. Through daily practice, we slowly gain the ability to remove ourselves from the clutches of uncontrolled thinking and slowly enter the realm of G-d-centeredness." - Dear Friend, Sandy Beach

"You suppose that you're the trouble, but you're really the cure. You suppose that you're the lock on the door, but you're really the key that opens it. It's too bad that you want to be somebody else. You don't see your own face, your own beauty. Yet, no one's face is more beautiful than yours." - Rumi

This last poem by Rumi beautifully reminds us of who we really are. I have heard it said that as addicts, much of our work is changing who we thinkwe are. To help remind the patients who they are and what they are capable of, I led them through a meditation with the following music.

The patients found the topic of discipline helpful and discussion on "The Promises" hopeful! Each patient received a copy of them.

Some of the thoughts shared in small groups included:

  • "This step includes a special kind of forgiveness, a spiritual level of love."
  • "The rear view mirror in my car is small and the windshield is so big. My past and my pain can be made smaller so that my future can be bigger."
  • "I have to have Spiritual discipline (from my Higher Power) before I can have self-discipline!"
  • "This step reminds me of the poem "Footprints" - when I'm scared, I can be carried."

"The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it." - Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

Thank G-d we live it together. Bless you.

Reverend Laurie Durgan