Monday, October 27, 2008

Spiritual malady

I've been wanting to comment on this for a while. If you've been going to meetings for a while, yet you still feel unrest and unsettled, maybe there is something else that could be done to remedy the situation.

It's not the external things that are unmanageable, although at times they can cause a lot of heartache. It's the inward unmanageability that made me miserable for so long. For me, I felt discontent, out of sorts with myself and others, and generally unhappy. With my disease of thinking, I had to get at the root of those issues that had affected me my entire life. I had to understand what the pain was within me.

For the alcoholic, it is clearly spelled out in the Big Book that a spiritual malady has symptoms like:
  1. being restless, irritable, and discontented,
  2. having trouble with personal relationships,
  3. not being able to control our emotional natures,
  4. being a prey to (or suffering from) misery and depression,
  5. not being able to make a living (or a happy and successful life),
  6. having feelings of uselessness,
  7. being full of fear,
  8. unhappiness,
  9. inability to be of real help to other people (page 52),
  10. being like "the actor who wants to run the whole show" (pages 60-61),
  11. being "driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity" (page 62),
  12. self-will run riot (page 62),
  13. leading a double life (page 73),
  14. living like a tornado running through the lives of others (page 82), and
  15. exhibiting selfish and inconsiderate habits.
These symptoms of unmanageablity were prevalent in my life when I first came to Al-Anon and continued until I took actions to work at removing them. These actions were:
  • Getting a sponsor
  • Following the guidance of my sponsor
  • Talking to my sponsor on a daily basis
  • Working the steps with my sponsor
  • Being of service to others
  • Continuing to take personal inventory daily
  • Using prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with God daily
I don't know why there are those in the program who think that only going to meetings is going to solve the spiritual malady. It certainly helps to go to meetings, but unless there is recognition of powerlessness, the need to seek a Power Greater than myself, and being of service to others, I would not be getting the full promise of the program.

I hear people in meetings say that they have been coming for years to Al-Anon and yet, they don't have a sponsor, don't use a sponsor, don't work the steps, and wonder why they feel miserable. This program has so much to offer, if I choose to work it. I may know that I'm powerless but that's just the first step. There are Twelve Steps, not just one.

In working the steps, I learn to trust and accept what I hear in my interactions with other people in the group. I awaken spiritually to parts of me that have been blocked by my character defects. And I continue to grow spiritually through service to others.

So if I'm to benefit from all that Al-Anon has to offer and want the promises to come true in my life, then I need to work the complete program of recovery.


  1. When I was only going to meetings someone said to me "You're not working the program, you're just a meeting attender; what's the point." Now I understand what she meant by that.

  2. A great post to start the week off! Cat

  3. The list you compiled from the BB reminded me of how my life use to be DAILY. I have to use all the tools in our toolbox. I'm thickheaded and a slow learner! My life today is a direct reflection of my spiritual condition. I don't want to go back so I do what is suggested and keep the cotton in my mouth alot! Sometimes it is that simple. Thanks for the reminder..good post for a meeting topic too!

  4. Syd. I think this is one of the biggest secrets in AA. It's a spiritual programme.
    I absolutley adore life today. I'm smiling even when typing this. I realised lo0ng ago that I was a creation of my higher power, God. And that to be prey to all the vagries of life and people, to put myself down, was just throwing Gods work back in his face and I don't have the right to do that. I love reading your posts, keep em coming.

  5. I completely agree with Findon, it is a spiritual program and it seems that is the big "secret" but it's all in the working of the steps and I thank you for this wonderful Monday post!!!

  6. Syd, excellent post. I see people also going to meetings & claiming they are following the principles of Al-A, yet they keep doing the same things they have always done. It takes daily direct action to change, not just reading quotes from your Courage to Change.

  7. Thank you, Syd. I trust and accept what you have written and it did "awaken spiritually to parts of me that have been blocked by my character defects."

    Hugs - JO

  8. Thank you for listing this stuff out, I need to be reminded at times. I can feel the pull of working with another alcoholic.. will change the way I feel

  9. I often wonder, too, when people say they are in recovery but are miserable and look outside themselves for the reasons why. My thought is, ok, you're not happy, so what are you going to DO about it. Whether it is a change of perspective, a series of actions or simply letting go of resentments, it starts with me. Powerlessness only extends to my inability to drink or control others. There's plenty I can do to affect change for myself. I choose to not live in misery.

  10. Thanks for this thoughtful reminder. I needed it.

    I am crazed now preparing for a trip to Rome (such problems I have!) but I am feeling disconnected from my AA work because I am so distracted with my preps at home and at work.

    IT is IMPERATIVE that I remain connected with the spiritual part of my program during my vacation...because without it where the hell would I be. It has been suggested to me that I plan a time DURING my day to sit and read my travel-size BIG BOOK and journal to keep myself centered.

  11. Excellent post! Thank you. I want to go through your list and explore each idea and read your references in the BB. This could take awhile!

  12. a very poignant post. worthwhile remembering...

  13. I'm with you on this one, brother.

  14. here you go Syd..mind you I can only vouch for Disc 1...

  15. some of us are a little slow...that's my excuse. I have come a long way since starting Al Anon, but I am not all the way there yet. I will get there though, in my own time.


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