Friday, June 15, 2012

Stages of Spiritual Growth

I've heard it said that spiritual growth in 12-Step consists of three phases - the first phase is "Help me!" We come into Al-Anon self-absorbed and seeking relief from our pain. As the introduction read out at meetings states: "Living with alcoholism is too much for most of us..."

We've often reached a stage of helpless anger and frustration, with no idea of what we need, but knowing that we need help. We become willing to surrender to the understanding that we can't make the alcoholic stop drinking..

The second stage of spiritual growth in 12-Step is "Grant me..." we reach this stage when we have some idea of our character defects, how they make our lives more difficult and hinder our search for serenity. At this stage, we've given up the blaming, ratiionalising, justifying, and see ourselves without harshness or judgement, simply with clarity - "this is who I am." We ask to be granted relief from our character defects that we might find peace, yes, but also that we might be a better person - we begin to look outward as well as inward, to understand what it might be like for others to deal with us.

The third stage of spiritual growth in 12-Step is "Use me."  We reach a place of quiet knowing that just as our Higher Power uses people in our life to teach and sustain us, so can we too be used. Before a meeting with a sponsee, I say a little prayer: "Please make me worthy of this person's trust."
I'm asking my HP to help me to set aside my own character defects so that the message can get through to them as they need it. I know that I have some useful techniques to offer, but the wisdom is 12-Step wisdom, not mine. I didn't originate these teachings, I received them from my sponsor and other people in program, and I'm grateful to have the chance to pass them on, but they don't make me wise. I'm not an expert in Al-Anon, I'm the same flawed human I ever have been, but I have heard some neat stuff, and if you have the time to listen, I'm excited to tell you about it.


  1. Sounds like the 3 A's Awareness Acceptance and Action.

    I find that I am in one stage or another all the time and over and over. Nice post.

  2. Thank you for your blog. I look forward to reading about your insights. Sometimes they serve as a daily meditation, or support when I am traveling.