The Spiritual Life

Sometimes we hear an alcoholic say that the only thing he needs to do is to keep sober. Certainly he must keep sober, for there will be no home if he doesn’t. But he is yet a long way from making good to the wife or parents whom for years he has so shockingly treated. Passing all understanding is the patience mothers and wives have had with alcoholics. Had this not been so, many of us would have no homes today, would perhaps be dead.
The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others. Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead. Affections have been uprooted. Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept the home in turmoil. We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough.
Yes, there is a long period of reconstruction ahead. We must take the lead. A remorseful mumbling that we are sorry won’t fill the bill. We ought to sit down with the family and frankly analyze the past as we now see it, being very careful not to criticize them. Their defects may be glaring, but chances are that our own actions are partly responsible. So we clean house with the family, asking each morning in meditation that our Creator show us the way of patience, tolerance, kindliness and love.
The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it. Unless one’s family expresses a desire to live upon spiritual principles we think we ought not to urge them. They will change in time. Our behavior will convince them more than our words. Ten or twenty years of drunkenness would make a skeptic out of anyone.
There may be some wrongs we can never fully right. We don’t worry about them if we can honestly say to ourselves that we would right them if we could. Some people cannot be seen – we send them an honest letter. And there may be a valid reason for postponement in some cases. But we don’t delay if it can be avoided. We should be sensible, tactful, considerate and humble without being servile or scraping. As God’s people, we stand on our feet; we don’t crawl before anyone. (To be continued next week)

Reprinted from the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, page #82-84, with permission of AA World Services, Inc.

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DNA Newspaper Mumbai Edition Published Date:  Jul 03, 2012

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