The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it. ~Alcoholics Anonymous, 2014, p 83.
When I was into religion as a solution for my life, I memorized, I theorized, I researched, I concluded, I followed, I earned approval and I failed. I learned a lot. But I failed. It was the worst kind of failure — failure to thrive. It all ended with my despairing of life and wanting to die. The really sad part is… I had a God but He didn’t have me.
I was living my will, building my self-help repertoire of coping mechanisms and doing the best I could using my head to figure out life. I had managed pretty well by outside appearances. I had a successful business teaching others how to solve relationship problems. By 55, I tried to kill myself in a blackout. I had no idea what was wrong with me. Give me anyone’s problems and I could provide a Biblical solution; so why was I so miserable?
Because I believed I could make my life work. I had knowledge of God, theories that built into a systematic theology, but no experience of personal victory in life. I was beset with compulsive drinking and an obsession with the drinking rituals of fine wine. All this despite obvious evidence that it was destroying my chances for happiness and meaningful living. My faith was theory-based, not experience-based. Everything about my belief system took place in my head, not my heart.
“Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well?” ~Alcoholics anonymous, p 61.
It took working the 12 Steps to show me how to move my faith into action. The resulting freedom from the obsession to drink has been miraculous. I’m only one of millions who have discovered the spiritual life of action as it’s taught in the textbook of AA. There are over 250 off-shoots of the AA program, all based on the 12 Step process of recovery. I love the freedom I now have. The obsession to drink has been lifted and my spiritual experience has been life-giving. I had a God, but until AA, He didn’t have me. Now He does.