12-Step recovery programs often refer to the necessity of a spiritual awakening or experience to maintain long-term sobriety. Carl Jung, as quoted in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, described the nature and importance of a spiritual awakening, explaining that “once in a while, alcoholics have had what are called vital spiritual experiences. To me these occurrences are phenomena. They appear to be in the nature of huge emotional displacements and rearrangements. Ideas, emotions, and attitudes which were once the guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one side, and a completely new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them.” It’s important to note that this life-altering experience does not require one to be religious, rather it is an entire shift in the patterns of thinking that controlled us in our addiction. Spiritual experiences in 12-Step recovery programs vary from person to person. They can come suddenly and spectacularly or they can occur gradually, which William James refers to as being of “the educational variety.” An addendum to the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, entitled “The Spiritual Experience”, further elaborates on the gradual spiritual awakening, explaining that “quite often friends of the newcomer are aware of the difference long before he is himself.” In his Huffington post article “Life After a Spiritual Awakening”, Dr. Bruce Davis explains that “there is a vastness and great freedom of thought, feeling, and movement in a spiritual awakening. Life is truly without limits.” As men and women on the journey toward recovery from the disease of addiction, this glimpse of limitlessness allows us to see for the first time the potential of our lives unrestrained by addiction. What, then, are we to do after having had a spiritual awakening through a 12-Step program of recovery? Alcoholics Anonymous warns that we must work to maintain our newfound understanding of ourselves and continue to work toward spiritual growth, emphatically stating that “any alcoholic capable of honestly facing his problems in the light of our experience can recover, provided he does not close his mind to spiritual concepts. He can only be defeated by an attitude of intolerance or belligerent denial. There is more work to be done in the wake of our newfound spirituality, as the 12th Step tells us: “Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” By doing so, we share with others the profound experience that we have had so that they may do the same and enter into a new way of life free from addiction and alcoholism.
You can make the choice to change the story of your life. Oceanfront Recovery is a treatment center with a professional and compassionate staff of detoxification specialists dedicated to making the process as comfortable as possible. For more information about Drug and Alcohol Detox Programs or other treatment options, please call: (877) 279-1777