This week’s Here’s To Your Health is the beginning of a “Step Eleven” discussion. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God “as we understood Him,” praying only for knowledge of His will for us, and the power to carry that out. Sgt. Bill S. in his book, On the Military Firing Line, said, Step Eleven is about Spirituality: The right kind of prayer and meditation brings true humility. The ability to relate to a Higher Power does not make one appear weaker in the eyes of others, but is a great source of real strength. Practicing alcoholics (and drug addicts), often fall into an adversary relationship with this Higher Power, which prevents them from having faith in any kind of spiritual concept. It seems easier for alcoholics and addicts to fight God than to fight their illness. What’s more, they usually fail to recognize that they even have an illness and assume it’s non-existent, which makes it doubly impossible to combat the real source of their unhappiness and misery.
Professor Chesnut in his book, The Higher Power of the Twelve-Step Program, mentioned the extraordinary works of God in Bill Wilson’s life. His experience happened while he was lying in a hospital bed, and suddenly the entire room lit up with a divine light, and he felt transported into an entirely new dimension, but he never talked much about this experience. Bill realized this sort of experience was not common, and was not necessary for sobriety, and was not to be expected.
Some people in the AA program have in fact experienced quite amazing things: One old-timer, Brooklyn Bob, told how he was struggling to get AA’s program without success. Bob went to meeting after meeting, but simply could not stop drinking. He finally walked out into the middle of a field, fell to is knees, and cried out, “God, please, all I want is some peace of mind.” Immediately, he reported, it was like a wave of incredible warmth sweeping over him, and although he still had struggles, he had crossed that necessary divide which separates those getting AA’s program and those struggling to no avail.
An extremely rationalistic college professor reported seeing angels repeatedly—angels like the ones in C. S. Lewis’ Perelandra trilogy—during his early days in AA. A psychiatric nurse repeatedly found herself entering the heavenly realm of the Uncreated Light, the goal of the Hesychastic monks at Mt. Athos in Greece. A salesman named Chuck was driving to another city, and going crazy, because he was slipping, he cried out, “God, please help me return to someplace sane.” Chuck heard a Heavenly Voice, speaking inside his head, clearly and distinctly saying the simple words, “You’re already there.” Chic L., from Goshen, Indiana, tells how he finally decided, that he had to do something about his drinking, and headed home to get on the phone and see if he could find out anything about this AA business. Chic was suddenly totally desperate, he related. Just as he was walking in his front door, a car drove up and parked in front of his house, and a man got out and walked up to him and said, “We don’t know each other well, but you see, I’m an alcoholic, and I’m in the AA program and something or other somehow prompted me to call on you and try to talk to you a little about our program—I don’t actually know if you would be interested in it or not….”