from the May 1996 San Diego A.A. Coordinator Newsletter

At a recent speaker’s meeting, a gentleman came up to me who has many years of sobriety. He asked, “Do you know who is the most important at an AA meeting?” I asked, “Who is that?” He answered, “God is the most important at an AA meeting.”

I agree with my friend; it’s so important to be connected to the source and power behind all meetings, and to find some meaning to our existence. I call this source God and l often use the term “spirituality” when I share. The problems recovering people have with spirituality are misunderstandings. They think that to be spiritual you must do exactly as the old-timers have done for years, or you must measure up to a certain expectation that other people are going to place upon you.

To get a better idea of spirituality, remember Bill’s words in the chapter “We Agnostics,” “To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive, never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, p.46) I have found as many ways to spirituality as there are people in AA. Some people read the Bible, others worship upon looking at the ocean, and some find God in the little things they do for their loved ones.

Why is this important? Step Three requires that you seek a power greater than yourself: this is the way out of selfishness. Step Eleven places great emphasis on prayer and meditation. In order to have lasting sobriety you must allow this and all the steps to change you from within.

You don’t have to be perfect to enjoy a spiritual method of recovery. The Twelve Steps are general enough for anybody to understand, and they’re powerful enough to keep any alcoholic sober. So whether you are a “groupie” who loves to see the same friends at meetings. a student who finds time for a meeting between classes, or a professional who likes to catch a lunch meeting. you are welcome at AA.

I like the idea of getting spirituality through imitation. By the time I arrived at AA, I had long since left my childhood beliefs behind. So I learned by the inventories others suggested to me and by helping newcomers in some of AA’s many outreaches.

The benefits of a spiritual program are immeasurable: above all, a unity with others and a peace of mind that not only keeps you sober but will come back to you during life’s trials. I’ve lost a mother and sister since I’ve been in AA, but my reliance upon God insured my willingness to stay in meetings.

The essence of spirituality is care and compassion for others. I’ve found good AA meetings to be those with loving people. And if you’re struggling with God’s plan for you, Keep Comin’ Back until you understand the Steps for yourself.

– Donna G., East San Diego