Going Beyond Sobriety
I need to be more mindful of the company I keep.
I live in an isolated place, and I use the internet as a means to interact with others. The net has much to offer, but like any tool, it must be used wisely.
Lately I have fallen in with some interesting communities. I know I have moaned here about such experiences before, it seems I don't learn. But I've noticed some things, some things I "knew" before, but perhaps hadn't coallesced into an identifiable thought, the unrest of belief and spirituality.
Not everyone of course, but a startling number. I suppose no higher than the number of people who do not identify as spiritual seekers. In fact, I wonder if spirituality has anything to do with it, or is it basically just personality. There are some who are at peace with themselves and the world. Who are positive and busy with positive things, and others who are not. And in the end the search for spirituality means little. Positive people find deeper peace and positivity and the rest get more and more neurotic and doubtful.
There were times in my life that I thought of myself as a spiritual person, and some other people saw me that way as well. It was a bit of a high. I've come to realize that most of those times coincided with manic episodes. I'm not sorry I had them.
I read the pontifications of the spiritual folk of AA and how there really is only one way to recover, the 12 steps and a spiritual experience (a high quality one at that) and while I used the 12 steps and am glad for them, in the end the thing that kept and keeps me sober is not drinking.
I was in the program and worked the steps for quite a long time (thoroughly and with an experienced old timer sponsor) and I kept relapsing, until one day I decided I was done. It was after I had left the program.
I think the steps and the many iterations have a great deal to offer, and I would never steer anyone from them. But it was not working the steps, nor a spiritual experience (of which I have had many) that did it. It was me saying "I'm done."
I cannot tell you the number of times TRULY spiritual 12 step folk have told me I am doomed to drink again and to have only low quality recovery.
Well, that's encouraging. Indeed, to be honest, when it comes to AA I have found very little encouragement. Instead I have found a tremendous amount of fear, judgement and dire warnings that if I stop attending meetings, etc etc I WILL Drink again and probably die. The threat is always there and rarely veiled. Other 12 step iterations are far more encouraging, that there is freedom, and healing and getting on with life. That one does not have to remain on the direct IV of AA in order to stay sober. That the steps and the spiritual expericence allow one to move on, to live.
As someone who was working secular 12 steps for awhile. AA folk hounded our group to assure us it wouldn't work, we couldn't stay sober doing AA lite.
How very spiritually enlightened of them. Though I allow they were sharing their experience, not sure about their strength or hope.
Indeed, lately I've been hounded by several self professed spiritual people, who want to assure me my way is the wrong way, the way that will lead me to jail, institutions, death and then hell.
Like I said, I've been running in the wrong circles. I have sought community and have found doubt and divisiveness. So in the end, what I sought, unknowingly and naively, has been doubt and divisiveness.
In my recent journeying, I have found that most spiritual communities are not a place where people build one another up, but where they come to tear one another apart.
I don't get the sense that this place is like that. I have known and am finding other places, that are not like that. I am learning to listen to the nice people and keep my mouth shut, because the second I open it, the one's who smell doubt find me and follow me and pick at me. And tell me how spiritual they are, and how I should shut up and listen.
Oh, I am listening to them. But I am probably not hearing what they think they are saying, they set an example of what I do not want to be.