The spiritual beliefs and spiritual experiences of DRA members are as
diverse as those found in society at large. Some members of our Fellowship
work the Twelve Steps and their personal program of recovery from a
perspective based in their personal spiritual and religious beliefs. Some
members have difficult or ambivalent feelings about God and spiritual
matters so tread lightly, searching for their own truth and meaning while
working the DRA program. It is not unusual for DRA members to be agnostics
or atheists. Their personal program of dual recovery may have nothing
whatsoever to do with God, religion, or what we commonly think of as
Working a DRA program of dual recovery is a highly individual process. It
is a program of freedom and choice. We donít all think and feel the same.
Our Second Tradition clearly states that DRA has only two requirements for
membership; a desire to stop using alcohol and other intoxicating drugs, and
a desire to manage our emotional or psychiatric illness in a healthy and
constructive way. Neither of these requirements has any bearing on oneís
spiritual belief system. We practice tolerance in DRA. Differences regarding
spiritual concepts, or a lack thereof, do not keep us from working our
individual programs of dual recovery. Therefore, we donít need to defend
or debate our personal beliefs with anyone.
Members like you share their experience:
My sponsor told me to read Appendix 2 from the AA Big
Book. I found out that I could define "spiritual awakening" not as
the religious conversion I first feared, but as the personality change
required to bring about recovery or "a profound alteration in my
reaction to life." That clicked for me. After that I started to see
that the Steps were basically a very practical way to work at changing
myself for the better. I guess you could relate spiritual growth or
awakening to gaining emotional maturity or strength.
I had to get over my aversion to some
of the words and labels used at meetings. They kept reminding me of my
parentís stern religious views. I couldnít deny the obvious evidence
that people were doing well in DRA, but this God and prayer talk just made
me gag. I got sort of angry one time when I was still in treatment and
actually said that at a meeting. No one berated or chastised me like my
parents would have. After the meeting one of the members talked to me about
how flexible the DRA program was. She shared with me that she was a Buddhist
and at first she had some of the same worries that I did. Iím glad now
that I spoke up. I could see that I needed to keep an open mind.
Iím a long time AA and DRA member. To
tell you the truth, I donít believe there is a God. I know that the Twelve
Steps can work for anyone though because Iíve been sober for 16 years. I
havenít had a major flare-up of my psychiatric symptoms for the last eight
years. To me, spirituality is all about how I behave as a person--my values.
Keeping connected with recovering people and helping newcomers. Things like
being grateful and not letting my ego swell up too far. Itís being ok with
saying Iím sorry when Iíve hurt someone and being tolerant of other
peopleís views. Itís accepting my illnesses and living in the solution
not the problem. To me, thatís what spiritual growth is all about.
Alcohol and pot used to be my higher power. Now itís the Fellowship
of DRA. What could be a better guiding and helping force than the loving
friends Iíve made in recovery?
Nature is what I use. Iíve always loved to spend
time out in the forests hiking, camping, and fishing. Thatís where I find
my best answers and deepest joy. I donít have to worry about who or what
created all that beauty, I just have to be there and breathe it all in. Thatís
meditation and prayer to me, and it fills me with life.
I call Step One the "I Can't Step." In Step One we admit
the truth about our situation--that our best thinking and all our will-power
could not keep us sane and sober. Step Two is the "We Can
Step." In Step Two we identify resources that can help us. We
begin to believe that with these new sources of help, we can change our
thinking and actions and learn to keep our disease in remission. "I canít"
do it alone--together "we can." In Step Three we decide to ask our
chosen helping or higher powers for help--to accept and follow their expert
advice. We become willing to cooperate. There, you see, weíve made it
through Step Three. That didnít sound like religion did it?
I really liked the idea of
finding my own higher power--one that made sense to me. I had been told what
to believe and what was right or wrong all my life. This program gave me the
freedom to finally figure things out for myself. I donít need to convince
anyone else that my higher power can beat up their higher power or that mine
is the only real one. I donít need to even let anyone know what my higher
power is. All I say is that I have one and it helps me to recover.
More: A Spiritual Dimension