Extreme Conversions

Sometimes, overnight as it were, he (the recovering alcoholic) is a different man. He becomes a religious enthusiast and is unable to focus on anything else. There is talk about spiritual matters morning, noon and night. He may demand that the family find God in a hurry, or exhibit amazing indifference to them and say he is above worldly considerations.

When father takes this tack, the family may react unfavorably. They may be jealous of a God who has stolen dad’s affections. Dad is not so spiritual after all, they say. If he means to right his past wrongs, why all this concern for everyone in the world but his family? What about his talk that God will take care of them?

He is not as unbalanced as they might think. Many of us have experienced spiritual intoxication. Joy at our release from a lifetime of frustration knew no bounds. For a time he may try to hug the new treasure to himself. But if the family cooperates, dad will soon see that he is suffering from a distortion of values. If the family will appreciate that dad’s current behavior is but a phase of his development, all will be well.

The opposite may happen should the family condemn and criticize. Dad may feel that for years his drinking has placed him on the wrong side of every argument, but that now he has become a superior person with God on his side. If the family persists in criticism, this fallacy may take a still greater hold on father. Instead of treating the family as he should, he may retreat further into himself and feel he has spiritual justification for so doing.

Those of us who have spent much time in the world of spiritual make-believe have eventually seen the childishness of it. This dream world has been replaced by a great sense of purpose. We have come to believe He would like us to keep our heads in the clouds with Him, but that our feet ought to be firmly planted on earth. That is where our fellow travelers are, and that is where our work must be done. We have found nothing incompatible between a powerful spiritual experience and a life of sane and happy usefulness.

Reprinted from the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, page #129-131, with permission of AA World Services, Inc.

Call 09022 771011 or email gsoindia@gmail.com for more information or to get a free copy of the Alcoholics Anonymous text

DNA Newspaper Mumbai Edition Published Date: Nov 20, 2012 

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