By susanpeabody 01/21/18

I had a difficult life and at the age of thirty two I reached out for help. My therapist recommended that I get in touch with my spiritual nature ─ that "vital principle or animating force traditionally believed to be within living beings." I did and it changed my life. Somehow tapping into this rich inner resource transforms us, or alters our attitudes and feelings to the extent that we can change what we have never been able to change before.

How spirituality works is a mystery. It is something that is often observed but not necessarily understood. I overcame my addictions with the aid of spirituality. I started out at the mercy of my dependencies. I was powerless over my inner compulsions and had no strength to fight back. I habitually re-enacted behavior that was self-destructive and life-threatening. Then, in a moment of agony, I called out "God help me," and somewhere deep in my soul I surrendered. Then I admitted that I was powerless and asked for help. Then . . .

⋅ I felt willing when before I felt hesitant;

⋅ I felt courageous, when before I felt terrified;

⋅ I felt guided, when before I felt lost;

⋅ I felt loved, when before I felt abandoned;

⋅ I felt wise, when before I felt confused;

⋅ I felt hopeful, when before I felt despair;

⋅ I felt as if I was at the start of a glorious new journey, when before I felt near death.

There is more than one way to have a spiritual awakening. For some people it will happen suddenly during one dramatic moment, a moment from which there is no turning back. For others it happens slowly. Over time, they just find themselves with a new attitude about a Higher Power and spirituality. Their closed mind becomes open and curious. They pray and they feel connected to their Higher Power. Or they act "as if" a Higher Power exists, and in time they come to believe.

Some people practice meditation to find a Higher Power. Others may read spiritual literature or talk to people about spirituality. Whatever they do, recovering love addicts must do it repetitively, and they must not give up. If they are really seeking spirituality with an open mind they will find it. If they really ask for spirituality with a humble heart, it will be given to them.

Finding spirituality is one step. Holding onto it is another. Spirituality tends to recede if left unattended. Traditionally, spirituality can be retained, and even enhanced, by keeping the channel of communication open between the provider of spirituality (God or Higher Power) and the receiver of spirituality (yourself).

To keep what you have received I recommend the spiritual disciplines that worked for me.

1. Meditation
Get quiet and listen to God through your feelings and intuition.

2. Prayer
Talk to God (out loud or in your head) as if you were talking to a close, personal friend.

3. Humility
God is a higher power. You are a lesser power. You know this. You are humbled by it.

4. Study
Read, write, learn, listen.

5. Simplicity
Slow down. Experience and appreciate the simple things in life—nature, music, friends.

6. Solitude
Take some time to be alone and listen to your own inner music. Putter around your nest.

7. Submission
Surrender everything to God—as you understand God.

8. Service
Reach out to people in need and give of yourself and your resources.

9. Confession
Find someone you can trust and confide your deepest, darkest secrets to them.
Release the shame.

10. Worship
Be in awe of your Higher Power. Bow your head—metaphorically or literally.
Be thankful for the grace that has been freely given to you.

11. Celebration
Be grateful! Raise your hands in joy and celebration. Sing, dance and be merry.

12. Guidance
Work with a mentor who is in constant contact God.

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