The Spirituality of AA

The spirituality of AA is personal and powerful. It is personal in that it is defined as each person understands it, and thus undefinable by others. I cannot define your spirituality – for you, or of-you. Each person develops and practices their own spirituality and continues to redefine themselves throughout the process of sobriety and life.

Some Twelve Step members may not be able to articulate their concept of a Higher Power or spirituality. But the vast majority do accept there is a Power in their life which is Greater then the ego-self, a spiritual Power. They have experienced this Power, which has helped them stop their addictive behviour, often after “countless vain attempts” (AA, p 30) to control their behaviour.

Fortunately, AA never discusses theology, never talks about creeds, and never formulates any concept of the nature of the Deity to be forced upon anybody. But, whether we realise it or not, we in AA are practical theologians – we learn by doing. (Best of the Grapevine, 1985, p 163)

In our personal stories you will find a wide variation in the way each teller approaches and conceives of the Power which is greater than himself. Whether we agree with a particular approach or conception seems to make little difference. Experience has taught us that these are matters about which, for our purpose, we need not be worried. They are questions for each individual to settle for himself.

On one proposition, however, these men and women are strikingly agreed. Every one of them has gained access to, and believes in, a Power greater than himself. This Power has in each case accomplished the miraculous, the humanly impossible. As a celebrated American statesman put it, Let’s look at the record.

Here are thousands of men and women, worldly indeed. They flatly declare that since they have come to believe in a Power greater than themselves, to take a certain attitude toward that Power, and to do certain simple things, there has been a revolutionary change in their way of living and thinking. In the face of collapse and despair, in the face of the total failure of their human resources, they found that a new power, peace, happiness, and sense of direction flowed into them. This happened soon after they wholeheartedly met a few simple requirements (AA, pp 50).

Fast Facts: Two of the active ingredients of Twelve Step Facilitation – emphasis on abstinence and commitment to AA practices – were predictive of abstinence. Teaching of spirituality concepts by professional therapists had no impact on drinking. (Tonigan, 2005)

From the BriefTSF training manual


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