Spiritual Changes – Honesty

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We put the drink down.  Now what?  In my last post I wrote about how we need to have a spiritual change in our lives if we want to remain living a sober life.  So where do we start?

I believe we start with honesty.  If we’re not going to be honest with ourselves about our problem with alcohol than we might as well forget about all the other stuff involved in recovery.  It all starts with being honest with ourselves.  We stop lying to our self.  We stop lying to others.  We come clean and admit we’re out of control and need help.  We admit we can’t do it on our own.

So much of our lives revolved around falsehoods and lies (when we were in active addiction and actively drinking).  We would be sneaky about how much we drank and where we would hide it in the house.  We never told anyone the full truth about our drinking that is for sure.  At least, I know I didn’t.  They wouldn’t understand and they would be disappointed in me.  That’s what makes AA and other programs like it so amazing.  It is a room full of people who are just like me.  I don’t have to act like someone else or sneak around or feel ashamed of my behavior around these people.  I’m not real big on sharing honestwthe details of my drunken escapades and I don’t think anyone else is either.  We all have our stories of living in excess.  We all have our own horror stories.  What we DO want to talk about is the solution.  We want to talk about how to get better.  We want to focus on getting well and living a decent life. 

I think living a life of honesty takes some time though.  And I don’t think everything needs to be addressed in very early sobriety either.  People carry around a lot of hurts inside them.   Some of these hurts are very deep rooted and are best dealt with after getting a little sober time under our belt.  Stuffing down these hurts brings fuel to other behaviors.  It takes a lot of time to work through issues from the past.    So when I am speaking about honesty in this article, it is the honesty of admitting we have an addiction and we can’t get better on our own.  We admit we are powerless and need God to help us.  We admit we are alcoholic and reach out to someone in recovery to help us.  We become honest to ourselves and stop hiding behind our behaviors.

Most of us who get to the point of wanting a life of sobriety have been through A LOT of crappy things spread out over years and years.  Being able to hide within ourselves has been a means of defense and a means of survival our whole life.  Having to become honest with another person makes us feel very vulnerable and uncomfortable.  But it is within this vulnerable situation of being honest about ourselves and telling another person that a new freedom will enter your life!  Your shoulders will feel lighter.  You can lift your head a little higher when your walking.  You don’t have to be nervous about looking people in the eye because you are making a tremendous step to becoming a better you! 

Once we start getting honest with ourselves we will have a new freedom.  But being honest with ourselves isn’t just about the behaviors and things we need to fix or work on.  Being honest with ourselves is also recognizing the amazing and wonderful qualities we have!!  These qualities have been drowned out and drugged for a long time.  There may be something new you learn about yourself.  How cool would that be!?   Maybe you have an awesome sense of humor, so start cracking jokes again.  Maybe you’re really good at playing card tricks, so at your next get together with friends or family bring a deck of cards.   Maybe you have a nice singing voice but you haven’t been sober long enough to let yourself sing a whole song.  So make a point to sing every time you take a shower!  We have to be honest about the negative but we also have to be honest about the positive. betterperson

Recovering alcoholics and addicts are really amazing people.  Most of them are highly intelligent, will give you the shirt off their back, are the hardest working employee you will ever have and they are an amazing and dependable friend!  Alcohol and drugs change us from being those things.  It’s never too late to give up the drink.  It’s never too late to start getting honest and start becoming the person you want to be.

There Must Be A Spiritual Change

(I’d like to first say that my Higher Power is God and I speak of God throughout this article.  However, for those who have something other than God for their Higher Power, this article will benefit you as well because a spiritual change can happen whether you are a believer of God or not.  I have witnessed many times from AA meetings that people do experience spiritual changes even though God is not their higher power.)

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Anyone that has been sober for any length of time will tell you that in order to overcome your addictions and be successful in your goal to quit drugs and alcohol for good,  there MUST be a spiritual change within yourself.  To start this spiritual change we need to see and understand ourselves.  We literally have to study how we think and how we feel.  First let me say that spiritual changes in our life do not happen over night.  In fact, you will see growth and changes in your spiritual condition pretty much throughout your whole life.  Spiritual change is a process and sometimes it is a slow process.  You may see your spiritual condition changing quickly in some areas but in other areas it may takes months or years for you to see a change.  Just remember, God knows when to open your eyes towards something and He knows whether or not you are ready to handle it and understand it.

Let’s back up a little to understand  what the word “Spiritual” really means.   Spirituality is closely tied to the core sense of we are as a person.  Spirituality is the journey of self-discovery.  It is your connectedness with others and the world spiritualaround us.  Spirituality embraces the concept of searching for meaning, purpose and direction for your life.  Developing your spiritual life can bring you a overall sense of well being.  It can bring peace and joy  into your life and it helps us deal with trials and tribulations in a constructive manner because our spirituality has enabled us to mature in our coping skills.

Spirituality relates to the human spirit.  Humans consist of 3 things:

  • we have a physical body – arms, legs, head, shoulders, hands, etc.
  • we have a soul – this part is your individuality, your emotions, your mind, and your will.  (how we feel, how we think and how we make choices).
  • we have a spirit – it desires to know and love God and  will live forever in heaven after we have died.

For an alcoholic or addict to overcome their vices there must be a spiritual change.  Sobriety will not last without this happening.   A basic list of spiritual principles are:

hope
surrender
acceptance
honesty
open mindedness
willingness
faith
tolerance
patience
humility
unconditional love
sharing and caring

So often, a person stops drinking and throws his hands up asking, “Okay, now what?”  The answer is—we start the work.  When I first heard someone say this I grumbled under my breath.  Work?  I have too much going on every day, now I have more work to do?.  Ugh.  To look at it another way………there is a beautiful and exciting life out there and it is just waiting for the alcoholic to make their first decision toward that life…….that decision is SURRENDER. 

I will be working on more posts in the near future about the topic of “Spiritual Change” and will go a little deeper into the 12 spiritual principals that are written above.

I hope everyone is having a super fantastic day and may God bless you and prosper you this day! –Smile