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​Spiritual Friday: Spiritual Principles of the 12 Steps

Spiritual Friday: Spiritual Principles of the 12 Steps

For the past several weeks, we have been discussing the spiritual principles associated with each of the 12 Steps. We talked about what life can look like when these principles are practiced, especially in the recovery community.

Step 1 - Honesty
Step 2 - Hope
Step 3 - Faith
Step 4 - Courage
Step 5 - Integrity
Step 6 - Willingness
Step 7 - Humility
Step 8 - Love
Step 9 - Discipline
Step 10 - Patience
Step 11 - Awareness
Step 12 - Service

"We walk in to our first AA meeting with everything we need to stay sober."

I love these words and often share them with our patients. To me, they remind us that there is a Higher Power within us and all around us – and that power will not only keep us sober, but will help us awaken to the presence of all the principles referenced above. Addiction robs us of an ability to sense the presence of anything beautiful, but one day at a time, this changes as we recover, surrender, and become willing to grow spiritually. We not only begin to see beauty around us, but we begin to feel beauty within.

We walk into our first AA meeting with everything we need to stay sober – we just don't know it until we find each other and a Power greater than ourselves.

We hope that during our Spiritual Fridays we are creating a safe space where patients can explore and discover they are much more than their addiction, their trauma, their shame and pain. We want our patients to see the beauty and love still inside, although hidden and perhaps forgotten, but still there.

We have also been practicing meditation in our Friday groups based on the principle we are covering that week. We have a song we play prior to meditation that has become a favorite among our patients- it is a mantra of peace.

I also play a very meditative video for the patients who really missed the snow this winter.

The patients have found these topics helpful, so I'm sharing a few of their favorite readings for each of the first 4 principles.

"To see others as they are, without judgement, is an act of love. Allowing the people in my life to be who they are is exactly what I would ask of them. I want my relationships to be honest. If I don't take others' opinions personally, then they cannot hurt me. In all of my relationships I will give what I would ask for myself - the truth."

"Hope is the door that unlocks discouragement. May I always remember that the power within me is far greater than any fear before me." - Daily Reflections

"Our potential to love is very real and is somehow not destroyed, no matter what we experience: all of the mistakes we might make, all of the times that we are caught in reaction, all of the times we have caused pain, all of the times we have suffered. Throughout everything, our potential to love remains intact and pure." - Sharon Salzberg

“There exists a spiritual compass within each of us that was designed specifically to guide us through life. The great dilemma of human existence is how to be guided through life by that compass instead of willing our way through it with our minds. Rather than dwelling on intellectual theories that say that spiritual guidance cannot exist, we need to surrender to the fact that we are indeed lost in the vastness of life. From there we can turn to G-d with a childlike faith.” - Sandy Beach

“Focus your energies on drawing close to G-d. Seek the stillness out of which the spiritual signal can be heard. Strive for the conscious awareness of G-d and then realize that you never have been lost because you are lovingly enfolded in the arms of the Divine Navigator.

How comforting to know we ALL have a Divine Navigator.”

"Sharing our problems is one way to get rid of our internal garbage. It has been said that we are as sick as the secrets we keep. If we can't talk about our secrets with someone, we can at least write them down. Since no one else will ever need to see what we have written, we can be completely honest about what we think and how we feel. If we have turned our wills and lives over to the care of G-d, we have nothing to be afraid of.

By honestly sharing what we think and feel, we are admitting that we own these thoughts and feelings, and they are a part of our lives. Anything that we own we can give away. What we get in return is freedom."
- Our Best Days

Today, let me have courage to share a secret.

"The only time we waste is the time we spend thinking we are alone." - Mitch Albom

We are all connected and never alone.

Reverend Laurie Durgan