The Following is an excerpt from the chapter “The Spiritual Solution”
The Spiritual Solution Workshops provide a simple, effective and straightforward way for those suffering with alcoholism and other substance abuse issues to take all 12 steps in one sitting as they are presented in The Big Book. A typical Spiritual Solution workshop lasts approximately six hours with a break midway.
The only suggested program of recovery presented in the book Alcoholics Anonymous is the 12 steps. By taking all 12 steps as presented in the AA textbook, an alcoholic has a direct experience of the spiritual solution to alcoholism.
Many alcoholics taking the steps today do so in a very protracted and complicated manner that is not nearly as effective as the simple, concise, and direct way described in The Big Book.
Nowhere in The Big Book will one find instructions to study the steps, work the steps, or analyze the steps. We are not looking for an individual meaning to the steps or an individual interpretation of the steps.
Recovery through the 12 steps is not an intellectual or psychological exercise. There is no need to make taking the steps a 12 week or 12 month Big Book course of study. Recovery in AA was never meant to be treated as an elective college course.
We are not instructed to create multi-page worksheets in order to take a simple 4th step inventory, nor are we instructed to write endlessly, searching for a deeper or hidden meaning in the steps, or for some obscure bit of our past that we could point to as the cause of our alcoholism.
“Selfishness – self-centeredness! That we think is the root of our troubles.” (The Big Book, page 62, paragraph 1)
Self-centeredness is the defining characteristic of the alcoholic. Through the simple inventory process described in The Big Book, and used in The Spiritual Solution Workshop, we are provided with the tools to identify all the manifestations of self-centeredness and gain the help of a power greater than our ego selves to finally be free of them.
Self-centered thinking, intensified in the minds of many alcoholics, though hardly ever recognized by the alcoholic, is what causes the “compulsion of the mind”, which coupled with an “allergy of the body”, leads to active alcoholism. This same selfish view of life, if left untreated, often will lead to a self-centered compulsion of focusing on individual problems even while staying sober.
Using the simple 4th step list described in The Big Book, we quickly learn to identify all the manifestations of self-centeredness and then immediately, in prayer, seek a higher or greater power’s help in removing these self-centered defects of character.
By using a simple checklist, as instructed, we do not get hopelessly bogged down and distracted with every minute detail of our lives, maintaining further this selfish preoccupation so characteristic of the alcoholic.
By taking all 12 steps in one sitting the momentum and spiritual connection established is maintained and strengthened from one step to the next.
Deconstructing The Big Book searching for every use of the word “should” or “must”, or how many references there are to God, a higher power, or any other study or analysis of The Big Book is only counter-productive, especially for the one who needs a simple and effective way to the spiritual solution, the still sick and suffering newcomer. These other methods only make a simple and straightforward program of recovery more complicated and much less effective.
The result of this complication and embellishment of the steps is that many in AA today feel that the steps are not to be taken in early sobriety, if at all.
Many who come to AA do not take the steps due to the complicated nature of the way in which the steps are presented. Many who do actually take the steps using other methods become confused and discouraged when they begin, or soon afterward. Some members who either have never taken the steps, or have taken the steps in a way they were never intended to be taken, spread much fear and confusion about a very simple program of recovery.
All that is needed to take the steps as they are presented is an honest desire to stop drinking and a willingness to follow the simple directions in The Big Book.
The steps in The Big Book are easy to follow. They are presented in a clear and direct way so that the suffering AA newcomer can take all 12 steps and within a few hours, experience a complete psychic change and spiritual awakening. Once this change has taken place, they begin immediately to help other alcoholics. We help others not only as a result of taking the 12 steps, rather as a continuation of spiritual growth and maintenance of sobriety. This is how our founders Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith recovered, and it is precisely the program of recovery that is presented here.
By establishing the awareness in newcomers that once they have taken the steps as presented in The Big Book they have now fit themselves to help other alcoholics in the same way. By helping other alcoholics, the newcomer immediately gains a strong sense of purpose and quickly begins to overcome the already mentioned extreme self-centeredness so characteristic of the alcoholic.
Once this is accomplished, the newcomer is well on their way to a comfortable contented sobriety in the service to others. As important, by following said method, the newcomer then avoids years of grim and tenuous sobriety, the dry drunk syndrome many alcoholics experience by merely not drinking and going to meetings.
From Page 27: Bill Wilson could not stay sober UNTIL he put his personal problems aside and began to help other alcoholics by applying the spiritual principles found in the 12 steps. He HAD to take action using the spiritual toolkit laid at his feet. (by his sponsor Ebby Thacher)
The Spiritual Solution book is available in Kindle and Paperback editions here: Amazon.com