Spiritual Growth Through Working the Steps

A popular discussion topic of many meetings I go to in S-Anon is “spiritual awakening.” Over the years of my recovery, I have come to think of a spiritual awakening as “becoming aware of the obvious.” My awakenings have always been so simple and right in front of me, but early on I would usually miss them because I was lost in my “how my relationship should be if only…” fantasy. Diligently working the Steps gradually removed the fantasy and revealed the obvious insights that were just waiting for me. I am astounded by God’s ability to free so many of us by His message of truth, as He weaves our healing with that of those around us when we follow His lead and carry the message.

One of my earliest program awakenings was that I did not need to recount every second of my day for my husband. I am afraid that I had a habit of talking my husband to death! After my awakening about this behavior, I set a simple (and, as it turned out, very powerful) boundary for myself: I allowed him to ask about what he wanted to know. For awhile it was very quiet around our house, but keeping my boundary created an opportunity for him to start talking and now he participates in all our conversations. I continued to go to my meetings each week and work the Steps. I found that “practicing these principles in all my affairs” became a natural process and resulted in even more awakenings. I started to look at every aspect of my life through the lens of the Steps. I looked at my children and made an inventory of what I could do to help them grow up secure and safe. This included modeling how to live honestly, teaching them to voice their feelings appropriately, and setting aside my fear in order to resolve my children’s chronic medical issues. I looked at my work site and admitted that my over-responsibility there had made my life unmanageable. So I examined my own needs and determined what I could change, what I could not change and how much effort I could realistically put into my job. I looked at my relationship with my family of origin and set boundaries for myself, such as not taking others’ inventories. Today I have a much more workable relationship with my family.

The S-Anon program has helped me learn to look for a lesson or spiritual awakening in all my experiences. My growth in recovery has come down to a simple formula for me: go to one or more meetings each week, study the Steps and traditions with my sponsor and put them into practice, make phone calls and be of service to others through the Twelfth Step whenever I can.

Reprinted from S-Anon Twelve Steps, pages 145-146.