Definition of Spiritual:
Relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.

Synonyms of Spiritual:
on-material, inner, psychic, psychological; incorporeal, intangible, ethereal; transcendent, mystical, etc.

These notes are from recovery in AA and/or related 12 step programs. Readers are encouraged to click external links for more detail. We hope you find them helpful.

Love in fellowship.

Spiritual progress comes as a gift, not as an achievement. | More…

The spiritual life is not a theory.
We have to live it. –Big Book p.83 | More…

Spiritual Law
I discovered the “spiritual law” of freedom with responsibility.

Law is the collective experience of the many who choose to live a certain way.  My understanding of spirituality involves respecting the laws that give me the dignity of citizenship. –Father Leo | More…

There is a spiritual Law which says; like attracts like. This means whatever mental picture we hold inside our minds we will attract from the Universe. To make this Law work we must maintain a constant picture. –Elders Meditations | More…

If everything is connected, we cannot disconnect. To disconnect is not a real choice. This is why we are always spiritual no matter what we do. Every alcoholic is spiritual.

We may not be behaving correctly, but nevertheless, we are spiritual. Our choice is to live out of harmony with spiritual ways or in harmony with spiritual ways. Everything is spiritual. -Elders Meditations | More…

We found in A.A. what we had been vainly seeking in the bottle. We know now that all we’ve been through led us to A.A. and was part of our spiritual journey. –24Hours | More…

Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. –Galatians 5:16 | More…

You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body. –Unknown George MacDonald-A British Friend/Walter M. Miller Jr.-A Canticle for Leibowitz | More…

Truly transforming spiritual experiences are nearly always founded on calamity and collapse. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas, and the result was nil–until we let go absolutely. –As Bill Sees It | More… (P.242)

Often, our spiritual awakening is something that grows stronger over time.  We can strive for more spiritual awareness simply by living our lives.  We can persist in efforts to improve our conscious contact through prayer and meditation on a daily basis. –Just For Today | More…

A spiritual experience helped me to see how willingness was the key to working the rest of the Twelve Steps to recovery. God helps those who help themselves. –Daily Reflections 09/05 | More…

If we see someone exhibiting symptoms of a spiritual awakening, we should be aware that such awakenings are contagious.  Our best course of action is to get close to these people. –Just for Today | More…

In music, in the sea, in a flower, in a leaf, in an act of kindness…
I see what people call God in all these things.

The Third Step refers to ‘God as we understood Him.’ Whatever word we use for God, if we decide to be open and receptive, we find God in the little details of our lives. Spiritual awakening is a wonderful daily occurrence. –Touchstones 01/06 | More…

We have stepped beyond the limits of our former life and accepted the possibility of the unknown. When we decide to be less controlling, we begin to believe in possibilities we didn’t allow before. That is how we let God influence our lives. –Touchstones 09/08 | More…

The Creator gave to all people and to all things the Wisdom and the knowledge of how to live in harmony. Some tribes/peoples call these teachings the Great Laws.

All of Nature still lives and survives according to these teachings.
In modern times, human beings are searching for the Instructions.

Many churches claim they have these Instructions. Where are these teachings?
The Instructions are written in our hearts. –Elders Meditations | More…

I was told to get a Higher Power and I had no idea what one looked like. I was told to find God, as I understand Him, that there was no doctrine of the Godhead in A.A.

I found what worked for me and then asked that Power to restore me to sanity. The obsession to drink was removed and–one day at a time–my life went on, and I learned how to live sober. –Daily Reflections | More…

Alcohol is our weakness.
We suffer from mental conflicts from which we look for escape by drowning our problems in drink.

We try through drink to push away from the realities of life. But alcohol does not feed, alcohol does not build, it only borrows from the future and it ultimately destroys.

I must never let personal piques interfere with living the way I know God wants me to live. When I have no clear guidance from God, I must go forward quietly along the path of duty. The attitude of quiet faith will receive its reward as surely as acting upon God’s direct guidance. –24Hours  | More…

The Creator gives us many laws to live by.
These are different than the laws of man.

The laws of the Creator are designed for us to live in harmony and balance with
ourselves and each other. These laws are about having freedom and happiness.  –Elders Meditations/White Bison | More…

We have entered the world of the Spirit.
Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness.

This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. –Big Book p.84 | More…

The word “entered” and the phrase “entered into the world of the Spirit” are very significant. They imply action, a beginning, getting into, a prerequisite to maintaining my spiritual growth, the “Spirit” being the immaterial part of me.

Barriers to my spiritual growth are self-centeredness and a materialistic focus on worldly things. Spirituality means devotion to spiritual rather than worldly things, it means obedience to God’s will for me.

I understand spiritual things to be: unconditional love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control and humility. Any time I allow selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear to be a part of me, I block out spiritual things.

As I maintain my sobriety, growing spiritually becomes a lifelong process. My goal is spiritual growth, accepting that I’ll never have spiritual perfection. –Daily Reflections | More…

We’ve got rid of our false, drinking selves and found our real, sober selves. And we turn to God, our Father, for help, just as the Prodigal Son arose and went to his father.

At the end of the story, the father of the Prodigal Son says: “He was dead and is alive again, he was lost and he is found.” We alcoholics who have found sobriety in A.A. were certainly dead and are alive again.

Gently breathe in God’s spirit, that spirit which, if not barred out of selfishness, will enable you to do good works. This means rather that God will be enabled to do good works through you.

The works that you can do will only be limited by your spiritual development. Let your spirit be in harmony with God’s spirit and there is no limit to what you can do in the realm of human relationships. I pray that God’s spirit may flow through me and into the lives of others. –24Hours | More…

We get out of ruts that we may have been in for years. Spiritual growth is the key to the new developments in all parts of our lives. We become more closely connected to the source of creativity, so we are more alive. –Food For Thought | More…

have a spiritual experience in knowing and being touched by something much larger than us, something beyond what we understand, something of mysterious dimensions.

The experience of awe brings out the best in a man because it instils a spirit of respect and gratitude. It inspires humility and expands our minds into realms we can’t express in words.

The sense of awe is a kind of reverence. After we learn where our personal awe is inspired, we can return to it again and again. –Touchstones | More…

Today I have a spiritual program that offers me the world; it sets no limits on my horizons; it encourages me to discover my potential and live it. The education I have gained in my sobriety seems unending and unstoppable.

Each day produces a new opportunity and a different experience. Every day is a time to receive. –Father Leo | More…

There are two worlds – the Seen World and the Unseen World, or the Physical World and the Spiritual World. We need information from both of these worlds in order to live our lives in a harmonious way.

The most difficult way is to figure things out by ourselves and leave the Great Spirit out of it. When we do this, we are making decisions with information only from the Physical World.

This can be called reliance on self. If we ask the Creator to help us, we then get information from the Unseen World or the Spiritual World.

The Spiritual World is where we get our power.
When we do this, we are God-reliant. –Elders Meditations | More…

That guy is just reeling with the spiritual angle
Except that he doesn’t seem to know it yet! –As Bill Sees It | More.. (p.101)

We have an allergy to alcohol.
The action of alcohol on chronic alcoholics is a manifestation of an allergy.

We allergic types can never safely use alcohol in any form at all. We cannot be reconciled to a life without alcohol, unless we can experience an entire psychic change.

Once this psychic change has occurred, we find ourselves able to control our desire for alcohol. –24Hours | More…

Co-worker with God. The moment a thing seems wrong to you or a person’s actions to be not what you think they should be, at that moment begins your obligation and responsibility to pray for those wrongs to be righted or that person to be changed.

Think about these things and make these matters your responsibility. Not to interfere or be a busybody, but to pray that a change may come through your influence.

You may see lives altered and evils banished in time.
You can become a force for good wherever you are. –24Hours | More…

giving unconditional love… we become more loving, and by sharing spiritual growth we become more spiritual. As people seeking to live spiritually oriented lives, we approach the problem from the other person’s point of view.

If it is within our power, we seek ways to help others overcome their challenges without injuring their dignity. We pray for their well-being and spiritual growth and for the ability to offer them the unconditional love.

We cannot change the difficult people in our lives, nor can we please everyone. But by applying the spiritual principles we’ve learned in NA, we can learn to love them. –Just For Today | More…

My spiritual awakening was electrically sudden and absolutely convincing. I became a part–if only a tiny part–of a cosmos that was ruled by justice and love in the person of God.

No matter what had been the consequences of my own wilfulness and ignorance, or those of my fellow travellers on earth, this was still the truth. Such was the new and positive assurance, and this has never left me. –As Bill Sees It | More… (p.225)

It’s a peculiar twist of life that physical impairment causes some of us to become either agnostic or more spiritual. Those of us who are fortunate enough to find our Higher Power/rediscover our sense of spirituality may feel a deep and abiding belief in spiritual forces which will dwell with us at all times in our lives.

Spiritually transcends all health problems;  we can call on its comfort and support at will. –One More Day | More…

For most of us, a spiritual awakening does not come once and for all. Instead, we have small flashes of insight here and there, and every once in a while we look back and realize with gratitude how the promises of the program have been coming true for us.

Just as our bodies need daily nourishment, so do our spirits.
We can seek people and experiences that leave us feeling warm and uplifted.

We can take time each day to become quiet in mind and body so that we hear the inner messages that refresh our spirits. Our spirits bounce back from hurt and depression.

They are more easily renewed when we take proper care of our bodies, since we are a total entity of heart, mind, body, and spirit. –Inner Harvest/Elisabeth L. | More…

is our road to spiritual growth. We change every day….
This growth is not the result of wishing but of action and prayer.

Our spiritual progress picks up speed and momentum, driven by the Higher Power we are coming to understand better each day. If we stand still, our spiritual progress will lose its upward momentum.

Our only option is to actively participate in our program of spiritual growth. We pray, seeking knowledge greater than our own from a Power greater than ourselves.

Up or down—it’s one or the other, with very little in between, where spiritual growth is concerned. Recovery is not fuelled by wishing and dreaming, we’ve discovered, but by prayer and action. –Just For Today | More…

Moments of perception can build into a lifetime of spiritual serenity. Roots of reality, supplanting the neurotic underbrush, will hold fast despite the high winds of the forces which would destroy us, or which we would use to destroy ourselves. –Daily Reflections | More…

Prayer is our entrance into the Unseen World.
We can call upon the powers and laws of the Great Spirit.

The spiritual laws allow healing to take place; they allow forgiveness to occur; they cause miracles to happen; they cause hate to disappear; they heal broken relationships; they guide every moment of our lives; they allow us to love even when it’s hard.

Prayer allows us access to the Spirit World. –Elders Meditations | More…

After failure on my part to dry up any drunks, Dr. Silkworth reminded me of Professor William James’s observation that truly transforming spiritual experiences are nearly always founded on calamity and collapse. “Stop preaching at them,” Dr. Silkworth said, “and give them the hard medical facts first. –As Bill Sees It | More… (p.241)

Being spiritual does not necessarily mean being religious. Instead, it can be an awakening of our deepest personal sense of caring about other people, as well as an awakening of our appreciation of the joy, symmetry, and balance of nature. The spirituality we strive for and which comforts us best is based on our finding a similar balance within ourselves. –One More Day | More…

typical newcomer to AA hears in ‘the spiritual’ another name for religion – a program for perfection, a fellowship of those who claim to be, or at least hope to become ‘holy’.

AA is not a program of perfection but a way of life that accepts imperfection as imperfection. It isn’t a room full of saints, but a fellowship of sinners!

‘God comes through the wound’: The descent to the depths brings the realisation that without help one is lost. Those who live in a spirituality of imperfection seem always, somehow, to combine two paradoxical qualities, to be both ‘ordinary’ and ‘unconventional’.

Jean Pierre Caussade insisted that the fruit of grace is discovered in the ‘abyss’ of our ‘wretchedness’. The whole story of Alcoholics Anonymous might be summed up as an ongoing quest for a nonconventional spirituality. –The Spirituality of Imperfection/Ernie Kurtz & Katherine Kechum p.110-117 | More…

Dr Carl Jung, in 1961, explained to Bill Wilson in a letter, that Rowland’s craving for alcohol was the equivalent, on a low level, of the spiritual thirst of our being for wholeness, expressed in medieval language: the union with God.

He went on to say; You see, ‘alcohol’ in Latin is ‘spiritus’ and you (Bill Wilson) use the same word for the highest religious experience as well as for the most depraving poison. The helpful formula therefore is; spiritus contra spiritum –The Spirituality of Imperfection/Ernie Kurtz & Katherine Kechum p.110-117 | More…

John Welwood originated the term spiritual bypassing, defining it as ‘using spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep personal, emotional ‘unfinished business,’ or to shore up a shaky sense of self, or to belittle basic needs, feelings, developmental tasks, all in the name of enlightenment.’

When you seek a spiritual path because it will ‘fix’ you, it then becomes just another gimmick, a medicine to cure what ails you…. You will live in polarity, constantly pitting the ‘good’ self against the ‘bad’ self….

An ‘authentic spiritual path’ will always give you back to yourself by providing the tools for self-realization, for self-empowerment. –Recovering Spirituality/Ingrid Mathieu Ph.D. p.168 | More…

Let us continue with Steps Two, Three, and Eleven. When we put our drink problem in God’s hands and leave it there, we have made the most important decision of our lives.

From then on, we trust God for the strength to keep sober. This takes us off the center of the universe and allows us to transfer our problems to a Power outside ourselves.

By prayer and meditation, we seek to improve our conscious contact with God. We try to live each day the way we believe God wants us to live. –24Hours | More…

The most sacred thing on this Mother Earth is life. My life on this earth is governed by God’s laws, principles and spiritual values.

These things are my roots.
Let me see Your gifts of growing and becoming a spiritual warrior.

Make my strength based on values – spiritual values; on principles and laws, the laws of God that really run the universe. We need to realize the seeds we plant in the spring will be what shows up in our summer season of growth and will be the fruits that we will harvest in our fall season.

We really have a lot to do with what shows up in our lives. –Elders Meditations | More…

In A.A., we found that it did not matter too much what our material condition was, but it mattered greatly what our spiritual condition was. –As Bill Sees It  | More… (p.259)

Touch not the poisonous firewater that makes wise men turn to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. It’s not an accident that firewater is also called spirits.

Firewater affects our judgments.
The Great Spirit created a set of laws and principles by which we are to live our lives.

When we have problems we should pray and ask for the wisdom of these laws. If instead we turn to liquor, our judgement will be affected.

It is the decision and choice made under the influence of booze that causes us to be fools. We need to learn to lean on prayer and not on the spirits of alcohol. –Elders Meditations | More…

A spiritual experience is something that brings about a personality change.
In most cases, the change is gradual. –24 Hours | More…

As excuse-makers and rationalizers, we drunks are champions.
It is the business of the psychiatrist to find the deeper causes for our conduct.

Spiritual growth through the practice of A.A.’s Twelve Steps, plus the aid of a good sponsor, can usually reveal most of the deeper reasons for our character defects, at least to a degree that meets our practical needs. –As Bill Sees It | More… (p.266)

What we call human progress may really refer to the gaining of knowledge that enables us to shake off limitations. We actually did that by becoming sober in our 12 Step program.

Now we’re learning to extend our limits in many other ways; and though we are human and limited, we surely have not begun to reach any limits as far as God is concerned.
Limited though we seem to be, we’re part of a Universe that is without limits. –Walk In Dry Places/Mel B. 18/09 | More…

To be attracted toward God and a better life, you must be spirit-guided. To those who believe in this God they cannot see but whose power they can feel, life has a meaning and purpose. They are children of the Unseen Lord, and all human beings are their brothers and sisters. –24Hours | More…

Continuing the consideration of the term “spiritual experience”. Most of us think this awareness of a Power greater than ourselves the essence of spiritual experience.

Some of us call it God-consciousness. In any case, willingness, honesty, and open-mindedness are the essentials of recovery.  –24Hours | More…

Going it alone in spiritual matters is dangerous. People of very high spiritual development almost always insist on checking with friends or spiritual advisers the guidance they feel they have received from God.

While the comment or advice of others may not be infallible, it is likely to be far more specific than any direct guidance we may receive while we are still inexperienced in establishing contact with a Power greater than ourselves. –As Bill Sees It | More… (p.274)

Do I ask God for guidance?
Do I listen?
Do I honestly want to admit my doubts, resentments and self-will?
Do I listen to other abstinent compulsive alcoholics experiences?
Am I really willing to do whatever it takes to recover from compulsive drinking and abuse of alcohol? | More…

This is a simple program but it isn’t easy. We cannot take the principles we learn and thereby possess them as if we were taking a class or reading a book.

We need to live them.
We can only get this program by participating with others who are also on the journey.

Gradually we absorb it into every fibre of our being.
This takes time and dedication.  –Touchstones | More…

Freedom from addiction is only the bare beginning; it’s only the first gift of our first awakening.  Obviously, if more gifts are to come our way, our spiritual awakening has to continue.

As it does continue we find that slowly but surely we can scrap the old life — the one that didn’t work — for a new life that can and does work under any and all conditions.  –A Day At A Time | More…

I have learned how to be honest. What a relief!
But now my life is an open book. Come and look at it, if you want to.

I’m trying to do the best I can.
I will fail often, but I won’t make excuses.   –24Hours | More…

The wild geese do not intend to cast their reflection; the water has no mind to receive their image. There are moments which simply happen through no conscious intention or will on anyone’s part.

These are spiritual moments because they reach a deeper part of our being. They are like a sliver in time set aside which nourishes our souls and adds serenity to our lives.

We grow when we learn to notice these kinds of moments. In our wilfulness, we have often missed them before because we simply were not open to anything we weren’t already looking for. -Touchstones | More…

Righteous can mean having the ‘right idea’ of supply, or God. Our lack of understanding of God is responsible for any difficulties in our current situation. What we know of God are Truth and answers of our own knowledge.

Frequently we quote ideas of God that are quotes of others and not of our own knowledge. God is the I of my being, the I am – not my personal mind or power or understanding – the I am of me, the very I or spiritual selfhood of me.

God is part of each human being. All of God’s spirit is the human spirit. All of God’s supply is the human supply. All of God’s love is human love.

Why?… Because I and he Father are one, and all that the Father has is mine. It is that oneness that constitutes the infinity of our being.

This Allness constitutes individual being, our good does not come to us from outside, it has to be contacted from inside. –Invisible Supply/Joel Goldsmith | More…

Supply is Spirit
Supply is spirit and it is within you.

Outwardly supply takes the form of money, food, clothing, housing, transportation, business capital etc. Spiritual discernment will tell you this is true.

Later you will see the proof of it – not by ever seeing supply but by seeing the forms supply assumes. Truth like supply is invisible is inaudible.

You will never see Truth, nor will you ever hear Truth. Truth is within you. Truth is spirit, and Truth is God. –Invisible Supply/Joel Goldsmith | More…

It doesn’t matter too much how the transforming spiritual experience is brought about so long as one gets one that works … Somehow the alcoholic must get enough objectivity about himself to abate his fears and collapse his false pride.” –AA Co-Founder, Bill W., September 1944/Grapevine | More…

If we watch nature, we can tell a lot about what is going on in the world. The animals and the plants are great teachers.

Some time ago, crops were sprayed with a poison to kill the insects.
Other animals ate the insects.

The small animals were eaten by the Eagles and the Wolves.
We live in an interconnected system.

What we do to one, we do to all. If our spiritual brothers are living in balance, chances are we humans are also living in balance. –Elders Meditations | More…

Going it alone in spiritual matters is dangerous. People of very high spiritual development almost always insist on checking with friends or spiritual advisers the guidance they feel they have received from God.

While the comment or advice of others may not be infallible, it is likely to be far more specific than any direct guidance we may receive while we are still inexperienced in establishing contact with a Power greater than ourselves. –As Bill Sees It | More… (p.274)

the consideration of the term “spiritual experience”. Most of us think this awareness of a Power greater than ourselves the essence of spiritual experience. Some of us call it God-consciousness. In any case, willingness, honesty, and open-mindedness are the essentials of recovery. –24Hours

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