Spirit Matters | Progress Not Perfection

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By Jim Seckman

We are excited to announce that we are starting a regular inspirational message entitled “Spirit Matters,” focusing on the topic of spirituality in recovery. As it states in the Big Book of AA: “We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.”

With this in mind, we will be exploring the aspects of spirituality that focus on recovery, how spirituality is blocked by addiction, and how all of us can strengthen our spiritual journey, regardless of whether or not we have a history of substance abuse. As one of the participants in our family program stated, “We are all in recovery from something.”

“Spirituality is a lot like health. We all have health; we may have good health or poor health, but it’s something we can’t avoid having. The same is true of spirituality: every human being is a spiritual being. The question is not whether we ‘have spirituality’ but whether the spirituality we have is a negative one that leads to isolation and self-destruction or one that is more positive and life-giving.” -Jerome Dollard

Spirituality: Such a “big” word with so many meanings; it is as individual as each person and as basic as our breath.

Spirituality is encompassing and essential to who we are as persons. It’s the dynamic, growing, quality of relationships with our self, others, the physical universe around us, and a Higher Power. It is at the core of who we are, not some compartmentalized idea of selfhood or system of beliefs.

The Big Book describes the “spiritual experience” as: “tap[ping] into an unsuspected inner resource which they can presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves. Most of us think this awareness of a Power greater than ourselves is the essence of spiritual experience. Our more religious members call it ‘God-consciousness'” (Alcoholics Anonymous, “Appendix 2: Spiritual Experience).

When the addicted person defocuses from relationship with self, others, nature, and their Higher Power in favor of the addictive object/ritual, their spirituality is usurped and the connection is lost. One of the primary tasks of treatment is getting refocused and reconnected spiritually.

Spirituality is one of our core values at MARR. We work hard to help clients renew their spiritual relationships, and honor the fact that spirituality is just as important (if not more) as physical, mental, and emotional recovery.

Today, take a moment (or two) to consider the quality of your relationship with yourself, others, nature, and your Higher Power. What would help your awareness, as the Big Book states, and deepen your connection?

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

“Spirituality is boundless, unable to be fenced in: We do not capture it; it captures us. As much as we might like to “wrap things up,” to lock spirituality in and hold it fast, it will forever escape our grasp. -Ernie Kurtz, The Spirituality of Imperfection

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