“…practice these principles in all our affairs.” – Alcoholics Anonymous aka The Big Book, Step 12
We can remain sober and/or in recovery, have a sponsor, sponsor others, go to meetings, pray, meditate, and hold service commitments while not practicing the principles in all our affairs. Will we be loving life? Likely not. In fact, I’ve known many who did all this and were absolutely miserable.
So let’s get into solution and put this another way. If we are sober and/or in recovery, have a sponsor, sponsoring others, going to meetings, praying, meditating, and/or holding service commitments but still not loving life, chances are that the solution is to start actively practicing these principles in all our affairs.
So what exactly are these principles? Well, Bill W. actually considered each step to be a spiritual principle in and of itself. But to simplify them, we can quote the following list posted by others on the web:
Honesty, hope, faith, courage, integrity, willingness, humility, love, discipline, perseverance, spirituality and service.
Not a bad bunch of traits to have associated with you, when you think about it.
Imagine a person asking what kind of person you’re like, and the other person say that your honest, have great integrity, are very loving, hard working, always willing to lend a hand, courageous, have tremendous faith and optimism that things will always work out for the best, very disciplined in your commitments, always hope for the best, have a deep spiritual connection in life, and seem to always persevere and come out on top.
Personally, I’d love it if people described me that way. In fact, it’s one of my goals.
To the men I sponsor I say that practicing the principles in all your affairs can also be called “making the great man move” or being a “great man”. By living in this way, we become wonderful, dependable, kind, contributing humans who utilize the abundance of tools the program gives us to positively alter our thinking, words and actions. And it’s not only others who benefit from this new way of living, which seems to always require that I pause before reacting, it’s me too.
Can we do it every time without fail? Of course not, we’re human. But we can continually up our game, become more aware of when we’re not doing it (hint:we feel bad afterward), and then make amends, learn from the experience, and continue to improve.
As an example, I’m don’t always make the “great man” move, but I do it more than I ever have at any time in my life. And I think that’s a great goal to shoot for.
Today, one thing is for sure. When I do actively practice, in all my affairs, the principles that I’ve described above… ILML!