“It’s easy to let up on the spiritual program of action… We are headed for trouble if we do…” Alcoholics Anonymous p.85
What exactly is a Spiritual Program of Action? I honestly never knew until, one day after a fight my wife said “Maybe you should start working a program!”. With a look of utter disbelief and shock I said “Me? I’m 20 years sober! I work a damn good program!” But when she asked me what my program I work on a daily basis is, I had trouble giving her an answer.
That was the beginning of my search for a Spiritual Program of Action. I searched 12 Step literature and the web. I interviewed old timers that spoke of things like morning rituals and golden hours. I was determined to find the best Spiritual Program of Action in the world, and work it rigorously in order that she could never again say those words to me.
Today, when asked about it, she’ll tell others that her plan worked. She wanted me to get better, nicer and more compassionate. To focus on gratitude and not judge, blame, belittle or demean others. To stop with the righteousness and know-it-all-ism, as well as the need to control and have it my way. To just be more loving. To listen.
These are the same things I want. Working my Spiritual Program of Action gives me those things. It encourages me to move out of darkness and into light. But, as they often say at the end of some of our meetings, it only works if I work it. And like the reading at the top of this post points out, as soon as I let up on my Spiritual Program of Action, my old icky thinking and behaviors come rushing back into practice.
That’s usually about when my wife says “how is your Spiritual Program of Action going?” Ouch!
One Little Note
Now you know it is possible to go 20 years in recovery without having and working a Spiritual Program of Action. However, I suggest you spare yourself (and others) the misery. If you don’t have or work one yet, here are a couple suggestions:
• Start small. Carve out 10 minutes a day.
• Choose 1-2 books. Read a paragraph or page at most from each.
• Get a journal. Write a little daily. Be honest, but don’t write anything in it that could hurt you or others if found. Always end with a list of gratitudes.
• Be consistent. Try not to miss a day.
My experience is, that when I make my Spiritual Program of Action a priority every day (and did it in the morning before most of my daily interactions with others) it grows little by little. I, and others around me, notice the change in attitude. And best of all, I get to love my life! – James