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Page for our basic text: "on spirituality"

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Literature_Bot
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Page for our basic text: "on spirituality"

Post by Literature_Bot »

At the moment this is a quick draft. It's messy, probably full of language errors and incomplete information. But it should contain something useful.

The basic intention is to approach those who are either atheist, agnostic or resent anything remotely god like and make them feel part of CGAA and give them something to help them deal with the "higher power", "prayer" and "spirituality" ideas.
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Skald
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Page for our basic text: "on spirituality"

Post by Skald »

Contributions to this Developing Piece on Spirituality.

( With some edits and additional text ) August 1, 2018.

On Spirituality

In CGAA we deliberately use the words "higher power" to indicate a power greater than ourselves.

Some have chosen to take a religious approach to higher power and others have taken a spiritual approach to higher power, all of which are fine.
What do we mean when we say "spiritual?" It's a lifestyle that focuses around principles and trying to apply them in our lives. Honesty, open mindedness and willingness are three such principles.

The word Spirit has several meanings and definitions. "A LIFE GIVING FORCE. INTENT. ESSENTIAL OR REAL MEANING. BREATH. SOUL. THE ANIMATING PRINCIPLE." - Merriam-Webster.

The Fellowship provides members with a framework to re-build a life. This path of recovery is meant to be Life Affirming.A member who applies themselves to the recovery process and does the work can find themselves re-invigorated. How is this possible ? It is because we seek to follow Principles - where before we followed and suffered from our obsessions, and what one could call a Lower Power - the cycle of craving and addiction.

So, what does that mean for our spiritual Higher Power? It certainly can be anything, as long as it's helpful to you.


C.G.A.A. Step 2 : "We came to believe that power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."

What "power" might we mean and why do we approach our problem of addiction and obsession this way ?

Remember, we have already taken the First step - by admitting we have lost control over our lives and feel powerless on our own.
We admitted that our lives are disrupted, that we suffer, that our behavior is destroying our life and the opportunities we have to actually be happy and healthy.

It can be a crushing burden to try to shoulder all problems on our own. Many of us have wanted to face our problems without help. We have been determined, persistent, stubborn, solitary, ashamed of our addiction, the resulting problems that come of it and have not wanted to open up or reveal it to others.
By opening up to belief in a Higher Power | Higher Principle, we lessen the burden upon ourselves. We don't have to carry the entire weight of the burden by ourselves.

This can bring a sense of relief.
This can create hope where there was hopelessness.

It doesn't mean we get a free ride - there's a lot of work to be done. There is a lot of self-examination of our behavior, and we face the challenge ahead of replacing damaging habits with healthy, life affirming values and changing our activities.

Our Fellowship is open to your interpretation of what that "Power greater than myself" is.

There are multiple right answers.
The Important Thing is that you find the one that works for YOU.

One member may choose to place her belief in the mission of the Fellowship itself - that of our collective goal of recovery.

Another of our peers may decide instead of living a life based on seeking to satisfy a need for gratification, thinking only of himself, and centering life around endless gaming, he will instead seek to re-align life along some dedicated Principles.
Principles such as; Honesty, Compassion, and Service are virtues which guide the Fellowship.

Yet another of our comrades may find that their recovery involves a personal awakening of spirituality. The exact nature of that spirituality can be diverse.
We as C.G.A.A. members in recovery appreciate that our peers have various outlooks in spirituality.
Whether our fellow members are agnostic, deist, atheist, questioning or have a syncretic outlook - we welcome all.


God, or any euphemism for he/she/it can safely be kept out of your recovery, if you so desire.
Oftentimes you'll hear people talk about prayer and meditation. Meditation is a technique to relax and focus. A simple breathing exercise can already be considered meditation. Nothing religious about it. A lot of us have found a breathing exercise to alleviate stress or anxiety quite helpful.
Prayer on the other hand is easily associated with religion; Which, for a lot of us, carries baggage. Some of us never wanted to hear anything about religion anymore, and here were our sponsors suggesting we pray?! How could we fit that in our lives free from religion. We were asked to go back, or so we thought.
Nothing is further from the truth. Prayer (or a moment to set our intentions) can be used to get our minds to focus on something. We don't need to pray specifically to something, we can ask for help with things we need to get done and then we start doing it.
We do need something greater than ourselves to rely on. Whether that's the fellowship of CGAA, humanity, spiritual principles, or whatever you can think of; It's all good as long as you are ok with it and it's helpful. It's your higher power, not someone else's.
Last edited by Skald on Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
'Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here ?'
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desire2stop
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:46 pm

Page for our basic text: "on spirituality"

Post by desire2stop »

Skald wrote:
Contributions to this Developing Piece on Spirituality.

( With some edits and additional text ) August 1, 2018.

On Spirituality

In CGAA we deliberately use the words "higher power" to indicate a power greater than ourselves.

Some have chosen to take a religious approach to higher power and others have taken a spiritual approach to higher power, all of which are fine.
What do we mean when we say "spiritual?" It's a lifestyle that focuses around principles and trying to apply them in our lives. Honesty, open mindedness and willingness are three such principles.

The word Spirit has several meanings and definitions. "A LIFE GIVING FORCE. INTENT. ESSENTIAL OR REAL MEANING. BREATH. SOUL. THE ANIMATING PRINCIPLE." - Merriam-Webster.

The Fellowship provides members with a framework to re-build a life. This path of recovery is meant to be Life Affirming.A member who applies themselves to the recovery process and does the work can find themselves re-invigorated. How is this possible ? It is because we seek to follow Principles - where before we followed and suffered from our obsessions, and what one could call a Lower Power - the cycle of craving and addiction.

So, what does that mean for our spiritual Higher Power? It certainly can be anything, as long as it's helpful to you.


C.G.A.A. Step 2 : "We came to believe that power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."

What "power" might we mean and why do we approach our problem of addiction and obsession this way ?

Remember, we have already taken the First step - by admitting we have lost control over our lives and feel powerless on our own.
We admitted that our lives are disrupted, that we suffer, that our behavior is destroying our life and the opportunities we have to actually be happy and healthy.

It can be a crushing burden to try to shoulder all problems on our own. Many of us have wanted to face our problems without help. We have been determined, persistent, stubborn, solitary, ashamed of our addiction, the resulting problems that come of it and have not wanted to open up or reveal it to others.
By opening up to belief in a Higher Power | Higher Principle, we lessen the burden upon ourselves. We don't have to carry the entire weight of the burden by ourselves.

This can bring a sense of relief.
This can create hope where there was hopelessness.

It doesn't mean we get a free ride - there's a lot of work to be done. There is a lot of self-examination of our behavior, and we face the challenge ahead of replacing damaging habits with healthy, life affirming values and changing our activities.

Our Fellowship is open to your interpretation of what that "Power greater than myself" is.

There are multiple right answers.
The Important Thing is that you find the one that works for YOU.

One member may choose to place her belief in the mission of the Fellowship itself - that of our collective goal of recovery.

Another of our peers may decide instead of living a life based on seeking to satisfy a need for gratification, thinking only of himself, and centering life around endless gaming, he will instead seek to re-align life along some dedicated Principles.
Principles such as; Honesty, Compassion, and Service are virtues which guide the Fellowship.

Yet another of our comrades may find that their recovery involves a personal awakening of spirituality. The exact nature of that spirituality can be diverse.
We as C.G.A.A. members in recovery appreciate that our peers have various outlooks in spirituality.
Whether our fellow members are agnostic, deist, atheist, questioning or have a syncretic outlook - we welcome all.


God, or any euphemism for he/she/it can safely be kept out of your recovery, if you so desire.
Oftentimes you'll hear people talk about prayer and meditation. Meditation is a technique to relax and focus. A simple breathing exercise can already be considered meditation. Nothing religious about it. A lot of us have found a breathing exercise to alleviate stress or anxiety quite helpful.
Prayer on the other hand is easily associated with religion; Which, for a lot of us, carries baggage. Some of us never wanted to hear anything about religion anymore, and here were our sponsors suggesting we pray?! How could we fit that in our lives free from religion. We were asked to go back, or so we thought.
Nothing is further from the truth. Prayer (or a moment to set our intentions) can be used to get our minds to focus on something. We don't need to pray specifically to something, we can ask for help with things we need to get done and then we start doing it.
We do need something greater than ourselves to rely on. Whether that's the fellowship of CGAA, humanity, spiritual principles, or whatever you can think of; It's all good as long as you are ok with it and it's helpful. It's your higher power, not someone else's.

I really like this and think it very fairly invites people from many spiritual paths to feel at home. One thing I have seen suggested is the idea that our Step 2 could be "powerS greater than ourselves."

Currently that's not the wording, but I'm always deeply moved by hearing folks talking about the powers greater than themselves in the world, kindness, patience and the like. Very inspiring stuff.

One thing I do sometimes worry about (and mind you this isn't a criticism of your submission) is that perhaps traditionally religious folks in our fellowship might feel they have to restrain themselves. I don't know that to be true. It is a concern I have. All in all I think your submission strikes a nice balance that speaks to this as well--bravo!
Last edited by desire2stop on Tue Aug 07, 2018 10:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Jeff
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Page for our basic text: "on spirituality"

Post by Jeff »

This is really superb.

There is probably some juggling with what is there that could be done.  I very much like the things that are said after the statement of Step 2, and it almost feels like it should come first.  But we can't put everything first, I realize. :) 

To at least partly address the points that Leann and Morgan made, we might think about modifying the second paragraph to be a bit more inclusive of the experience of those of us who have religious beliefs, including those who develop or return to them as a result of the program.  I'm thinking of something along these lines as a replacement for the 2nd paragraph (the one that starts with "some have chosen...":
**
"People in our fellowship take widely varying approaches to deciding what the term "higher power" means for them.  Some who are religious find their beliefs in God or their religious framework strengthened or transformed.  Others may come back to some previous beliefs, or replace them with something new.  Many others, however, take a spiritual approach, rather than a religious one.  Spiritual approaches focus on what makes life meaningful and on applying helpful principles to our lives.  Principles such as honesty, open-mindedness and willingness are extremely important in our program, for example."
**
This would then be followed by the paragraph that quotes from Merriam-Webster, and so on.

Something like this, I think, would more fully reflect the variety of our experiences with higher power in our fellowship.  While the focus of the piece would remain (i.e., helping people develop an understanding of how broad an umbrella we have in the term "higher power"), it would more explicitly include those who have a religious perspective of some sort, as well as those who don't. 
rickb255
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Post by rickb255 »

Sounds good Jeff. Reading all this I sometimes got the feeling we are on the other side of the hill from the AA version which may feel like it leans toward the traditional Christian religious side, like we are trying to lean towards the opposite of traditional religion to be super inclusive. It would be nice to straddle the middle more. I suppose I am a little biased being a middle-aged cradle Catholic. But even at this moment as my Catholic faith is not as strong as it used to be I draw from that and many other higher powers like the CGAA group in general. I use what HP I need for the moment.


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Scott
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Post by Scott »

Our goal has always been inclusiveness of everyone of every religion, spiritual path, or lack of religion.  If that's "super inclusive", then yes that's what we've always aimed for.  CGAA is for everyone who needs it and it's not okay to alienate any groups by catering to a particular group, not okay to alienate religious and spiritual people by catering to atheists, not okay to alienate Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, Pagans, Muslims, etc by catering to Christians.  The CGAA fellowship has always placed a high priority on all Twelve Traditions, including no opinions on outside issues, no implied affiliation with outside organizations, and no additional membership requirements, actual or implied.

The goal is to be inclusive of Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, Taoists, New Agers, Jews, Hindus, Pagans, atheists, agnostics, and people who believe in the male creator God of AA but subscribe to no major religion.  We do our best to use terms that are generally applicable to all.  This is a challenge.  We're breaking new ground in many ways.  We're not going to get it perfect right away.  It will take persistence, open mindedness, listening, and much revising.

The middle ground I'd like to aim for is not half way between Christianity and atheism.  Those are only two of many spiritual worldviews and many CGAA members are not within those two groups.  The middle ground is in the middle of Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Taoism, New Age, Judaism, Hinduism, Paganism, atheism, agnosticism, devotion to God espoused in AA, and general spiritual philosophy.  The middle ground caters to none of those twelve groups and is inclusive of all of them.

I'm not saying it'll be easy.  Just saying that it's necessary in an international fellowship that desperately needs to cling tightly to the Twelve Traditions.
rickb255
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Post by rickb255 »

Thanks for explaining Scott, I understand better about the challenge of these texts being created. Sometimes I forget about how many different views and ways to think about views there are.


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