Sunday, May 22, 2011

Spiritual Direction

In AA we know the value of having a sponsor and being a sponsor. The standard advice is to “Find someone who has what you want and ask them to be your sponsor”. I always find that funny because when I was a few weeks into recovery I heard that very advice and I saw a woman in my home group who was tall and blonde (I am not), a published author (I was not) and who was well-dressed (always my aspiration) so I asked HER to be my sponsor!

This is also a God story because she turned out to also have things I had not yet seen: good recovery, a generous heart and a sassy way of living her recovery. We did the steps together, attended lots of meetings together and she also told me, “You didn’t get sober to wear sack cloth and ashes so go shopping.” Perfect.

So God is woven in and out. People talk about the “spiritual part” of the program and I remember another good sponsor telling me, “there is no spiritual PART—it’s all spiritual.”

Toward that end some of us add another layer of help to our recovery and work with a spiritual director. This can be someone else in a 12 step program who has the kind of spiritual life we’d like—and like sponsorship we can “ask them how they got it.” Some of us have gone to faith communities, inter-faith practitioners or retreat centers and worked with a spiritual director for a week, a month or a year.

I have done this three times over the years when I wanted to talk thru my conception of God, when I wanted to acquire some new spiritual practices and recently when step work bumped right into reservations I was holding about God and surrender.

So I’m interested in your experiences: Have you tried spiritual direction? What was your motive and did it help your recovery and growth?

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