Part 1: God Conscious
The great fact is just this, and nothing less: That we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and towards Gods universe. The absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous, commencing to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves. bb. pg. 25
The above excerpt from the big book serves as a position statement of our founders. It’s the condition they found themselves in after completing the process of the 12 steps. This paragraph could easily serve as the definition for being recovered, or at least represent part of the definition. For an alcoholic, and even a family member, the above statement brings hope, and should serve as a promise for following the program of action outlined in the 12 steps.
But what happens along the way, are there benchmarks and breakthrough points along the continuum? Do we see a movement toward the full realization of a spiritual experience and awakening as the process unfolds? Certainly, and while putting timeframes on receiving the benefits of working the program can vary widely, there is a continuum that can be observed which should serve as a barometer and metric for progress. The big book gives us examples and this paper will illuminate some of the real-world positive changes that participants can expect to experience along the continuum.
Admitting we are alcoholic, or an addict and professing unmanageability is the first step. Realizing that only a power greater than ourselves could restore us is the second step. But when we reach our third step we begin to see and feel change. While there is relief in giving up the fight and taking ownership, tangible change begins when a new manager, God, is taken on. The promise that we find in the big book states;
“This is the how and why of it. First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn’t work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal; we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children. Most good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom.When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts of remarkable things followed. We had a new Employer. Being all powerful, He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well. Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter. We were reborn.” Bb, pgs. 62-63
This experience speaks to a recognition of a movement toward positive well-being but is not an end in itself. it signals the beginning of an attitude shift, and an emerging sense of purpose and meaning. There is great hope and the building of confidence at this beginning point on the continuum as we see that life can be lived successfully. This of course, is after we have taken the step and turned our lives over to God. The power comes from God, then we walk it out through His leading. Many alcoholics have their first real experience with a God consciousness at this point. Some have had religious upbringing but have never entered into a relationship with the creator.
The idea of a God concept of this type was foreign to many. The introduction to a God that wants a personal relationship is eye opening and hope giving; suddenly we don’t feel so alone. The judgment many of us felt from a particular religious denomination does not exist within this new paradigm. The relationship does not rely on other human beings, or clergy, to be powerful and miraculous in our lives. When we turn our lives over to God, we see a promised future and a deep sense of power grows within us. The first stop on the continuum is God consciousness…. In part 2 we will see the consciousness turn in to an experience