Emotional Sobriety – A Spiritual Solution

The original program of recovery as outlined in the AA Big Book is deceptively simple and deeply radical.

It is not psychological or therapeutic model of change. Instead, the 12 Step model of recovery seeks to create change through a spiritual transformation or spiritual awakening. 

As it says in Step 12: having had a spiritual awakening as THE result of these steps….

Beyond physical abstinence, we must be emotionally sober. We must practice living, loving and letting go. 


So what is a spiritual awakening? A spiritual awakening is the psychic change that, among other things, eliminates our obsession to take substances from the outside to comfort ourselves on the inside. 

It is the ability to live life as it is, being fully present in the moment and change from being a selfish and self -seeking individual to a selfless, loving and giving person.

As it says in the AA Big Book:

567:1 “The terms ‘spiritual experience’, ‘spiritual awakening’ upon careful reading, shows that the personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism

Dr. Silkworth in the Doctor’s Opinion calls it ‘a psychic change’ and the terms are used interchangeably throughout the AA Big Book. (AA Big Book: xxvii)

On our own, we are powerless. Once we surrender and become willing to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we enable that Power to come through us and we become a conduit for His will in this world.

As it says in the AA Big Book:

567:4 “Among our rapidly growing membership of thousands of alcoholics such transformations, though frequent, are by no means the rule. Most of our experiences are what the psychologist William James calls the ‘educational variety’ because they develop slowly over a period of time. Quite often friends of the newcomer are aware of the difference long before he is himself. He finally realizes that he has undergone a profound alteration in his reaction to life; that such a change could hardly have been brought about by himself alone. What often takes place in a few months could seldom have been accomplished by years of self-discipline. With few exceptions our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves.”

Therefore, a spiritual awakening is an alteration in our perceptions and reactions to life. Nothing really changes externally. But, by changing our reactions and perceptions, we change our experience. We become transformed.

Not psychology, not our minds, not our intellects nor our feelings, but God — He transforms us. The power of God is infinite!

After all, our food is but a symptom. It is about turning to God for everything and asking Him at all times, “how would You have me be? What would You have me do? Please show me your will and guide me to take the next right step.”

“The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it.” (AA Big Book: 83)

Emotional sobriety is very powerful!


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