Upon entering the rooms of AA, some of us may have pre-conceived notions on spirituality or what it is the program asks of us. Others may have no clue what they are walking in to and may be turned off completely by some of the language used in the rooms. Sometimes, we let our own ideas and perceptions of what we think is going on get in the way of giving ourselves and the rooms a chance. “We find that no one need have difficulty with the spirituality of the program. Willingness, honesty and open mindedness are the essentials of recovery. But these are indispensable.” (Big Book, pg. 568).
Uncertainty and judgement are normal – some of us have had past experiences with religious affiliations or have pre-existing ideas of what “God” means, and those old ideals may not be conducive to a newfound spiritual experience that the twelve steps call for. But have no fear- all that is required of us is honesty, open mindedness and willingness to be receptive and try new things. As long as we can maintain a mindset that is centered in the present moment and open to new ideas and practices, we are well on our way.
Spirituality is unique to the individual. Many of AA’s members find solace and comfort in religious deities, others, in more broad conceptions of a power greater than ourselves, such as the universe or a common energy. Whatever it may be, it is for no one else to judge and not even necessary for others to understand. The principles of spirituality are contingent upon the individual’s desire to accept it and practice it. There is no right or wrong way to do so, it is a feeling and an experience unique to those who seek it.
Language used in the Big Book may seem off putting to those who struggle with these ideas, however, continuing to practice honesty, open mindedness and willingness prove to allow many to overlook their own biases and achieve a state of comfort amongst words that may not resonate with them fully. Exploring new ways of looking at spirituality and being open to anything can create a beautiful outcome to those who believe it is possible. Our thoughts, experiences, and ideas shape the way we interact and engage in this world. We open ourselves up to endless possibilities once we give ourselves the chance to.