Friday, March 29, 2013

Alcoholics Anonymous: Twelve Universal Steps to Spiritual Experience

Most people I meet seem to think that the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are primarily concerned about drinking too much alcohol. That is entirely erroneous. The twelve steps are universal treads on a stairway to spiritual experience. The dilemma of every addict is a spiritual one--whether they are obsessed with booze, chocolate cake, work, controlling a family member or  any other situation that causes unremitting mental and emotional torment. When the human personality is separated from the larger Spiritual Source, suffering is inevitable.

After Bill Wilson co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935, he contacted the Swiss psychotherapist Carl Jung viacorrespondence in 1961. Wilson wanted Jung to know that the doctors psychological ideas contributed a significant tread to the twelve steps, namely, the need for a profound reorganization of consciousness via spiritual experience. Jung replied: The "craving for alcohol [is] the equivalent, on a low level, of the spiritual thirst of our being for wholeness, expressed in medieval language: the union with God."

The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are about each individual finding his/her own personal spiritual experience with a view toward transforming character, and displacing our painful addictive behaviors. Properly functioning A.A. groups do not provide group therapy or self help, although far too many slip into these flawed routines. Effective A.A. groups actually DO the twelve steps, in succession, with a mentor. These are action steps--not theoretical principles. These twelve steps vigorously performed in sequence are universal ceremonies found in all of the world's religious traditions.  They address the alienated soul's desire and need for spiritual connection, providing an unambiguous path toward a longed-for spiritual bond. The aim is to retether the wandering individual back to the Divine--to the numinous Archetypal Beings Who bring new life into our evolving personalities. Over the next three months we will be examining these twelve steps as a path into spiritual experience, as an aspect of the soul-making process. Put on your hiking boots and come prepared to take an active journey into your own unique spiritual experience.

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