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The Spiritual Program of the 12 Steps

The Spiritual Program of the 12 Steps

Many people enter recovery, only after colliding with an experience so challenging, that they become willing to consider a new way of life.  This experience is commonly called a “bottom”. Despite having reached new lows in their life, they still desire to place bounds around what their recovery does and does not include. Often, those boundaries involve the desire to live without embracing a spiritual life.  

Many people arrive to 12 Step programs insisting on recovery without ‘the spiritual part of the program.’ They do not yet understand that the entire program is spiritual.  On the surface, it appears that some aspects, like fellowship and service,  do not require an active spirituality.  Once intimacy with these aspects is experienced, it is apparent that these are also spiritual in nature.

Fellowship, experienced in many ways, includes a lifestyle of maintaining close relationships with people in recovery.  As with all relationships, conflict arises and a crossroads is faced.  The invitation to choose unity with our fellows over whatever indignity is extended.  This crossroads is the same that is faced in the bottom – do we choose the pattern that feels comfortable in the moment or do we choose the path of action that enables longevity for both our own and AA’s well-being?

Service, at its core, is the journey of taking another addict through the 12 Steps which is called sponsorship.  The point of the 12 steps is to have a spiritual awakening sufficient to produce a psychic change.  This is the only means by which an addict will become and remain sober.  Since the service involved in the 12 Steps is about facilitating a spiritual awakening for another sufferer, it is imperative that this experience can be sourced from within.  It is thereby impossible to deliver on the 12th Step without participating in the spiritual ‘part’ of the program.  

There are other kinds of service in the recovery program that do not involve sponsorship and are seemingly free from direct spirituality.  However, there is an imperative to participate in sponsorship to maintain recovery as only one alcoholic talking to another.  It can also be said that other types of service, the sacrifice of self to be in service to another or to the collective is an inherently spiritual expression.  

If you are struggling with addiction, alcoholism, and/or mental health, know that there is hope. There is a solution. Harmoniously fusing together the best elements of clinical care, holistic healing, and 12-step philosophy, Enlightened Solutions has created a program of total transformation for men and women seeking recovery. Call 833-801-5483 today for information on our partial care programs in New Jersey.