"The Spiritual Life Is Not A Theory"

     “The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, p.83

     So often we hear wisdom, knowledge and inspiration. We hear it in meetings, churches, lectures, hospitals and treatment houses. We read it in books and even see it sometimes in film and television. There is only one problem with wisdom. It is utterly useless if all I do is hear it, read it or see it. I could have the entire Big Book memorized. Useless. Do I really want to follow the guy who talks up a storm at the meeting but doesn’t live by these principles once he walks out the door? Do I want to go to three meetings a day, chain smoke butts, slurp coffee and stuff my face with cookies during break or do I want to actually get better, do some work on myself, remove character defects and grow spiritually so I can be useful to my family, help others, serve God and make a difference?

     Living it means so many things. It means that I DO what I’ve learned. It means that I don’t just study the 12 Steps and understand them intellectually. In fact, that can lead us back into the trap of superiority, which comes about when we know everything but do nothing. True knowledge and wisdom is acquired through action.

     Living it means that I get up off my lazy, selfish ass and perform the Steps that were laid out for us in the Big Book. Living it means that I write my 4th Step inventory thoroughly, make ALL of my amends, and then help others at every opportunity. Living it means that I don’t shy away from speaking at meetings or groups. Living it means that I continue to pray and meditate, even when I don’t want to. Living it means that I continue to write 10th Step inventory 5, 10, 20 years from now. Living it means that I reach out to others when I don’t feel like it. Living it means that I never ignore my heart and my gut. I never intentionally do the wrong thing and I never ignore doing the right thing. Living it means action. Love to God, self and others means action. Anything less makes me a phony. Anything less means that I am not committed to changing. Anything less means that I am not committed to my spiritual growth, which means selfishness, which means failure and ultimately relapse.

     We are not perfect and we will make countless mistakes. I’ll be the first to admit it. What matters is that our intentions are pure. What matters is what’s inside us. We have to ask ourselves, do we really want to change? Do we really want to live it? Or do we just want to talk about it?

     God, give me the power and the willingness to live by your principles… 

Leave a Reply