What is spirituality for a sober person? How do alcoholics, especially managers, address the spiritual crisis they feel within? For many of us, do we really have any idea what a spiritual life consists of?
In the book Spiritual Evolution: A Scientific Defense of Faith by George Vaillant, spirituality is defined as “the amalgam of the positive emotions that bind us to other human beings—and to our experience of “God” as we may understand Her/Him. Love, hope, joy, forgiveness, compassion, faith, awe, and gratitude are the spiritually important positive emotions addressed.”
Early in sobriety, I heard a friend talked about his difficulty understanding spirituality. His addiction had taken him to many scary places, filled with guns, crazy people and death.
My friend decided to learn gratitude by being grateful for one thing he had always been fond of: Birds. He trained himself to say thank you God every time he saw a bird. If he saw a flock of birds he would say thank you God for each bird. In this way he began to recognize in himself what gratitude means, and this recognition allowed him to see gratitude in other areas of his life.
We can foster hope in ourselves and others by focusing on the positive emotions described above. When we look for these things, especially gratitude, we begin to see the present moment differently. For the present moment is where we begin to live in sobriety. As alcoholics and addicts we tried to escape this present moment and find solace from our emotions and chemicals.
It takes time for us to learn new skills in recovery. One of the most important is observation of our thoughts and feelings, but it is also important to promulgate positive spiritual emotions.
Is aliveness, or mindfulness, part of your spiritual path? Let me know what works for you?