Your own conception of God

Experiences along the way that bring us closer to our Higher Power in 12 Step Sobriety and Moments of Clarity.
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Your own conception of God

Postby Dallas » Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:19 pm

[b]Your own conception of God

“And when we were wrong promptly admitted it.â€

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Postby garden variety » Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:06 pm

Thanks Dallas - boy you're helping me a lot too!

This forum has really got me excited! I'm hearing so many beautiful words, and it seems like I feel it in my heart, the changes that some are undergoing. It's so beautiful it brings tears to my eyes.

What you say is true and it is profound and it is extremely simple.

There are only two things I understand about the God of my understanding:

1. He is a loving God
2. He is beyond any limitations.

Those are the only things I need to know. If God is beyond any human limits, then I can't define Him...I can't put Him in an "evangelical Christian" box - I can't put Him in an "eastern panthiest" box - He is a God that is not bound by any kind of box that any of us might try to put Him in. He is indeed beyond me and any other human, so it's pretty easy to understand that God is a Power greater than ourselves.

The other thing is to know His Love. And that's another simple one. Although it does take it's root from some Christian writings, I believe it is a profound spiritual principle that defines God's Love as He expresses it in each unique human being that has a working relationship with a God of their understanding. Regardless of creed or belief system.

"A greater love than this has no man, than to give life for his friends".

That is Divine Love which also has no limitations - it is universal.

A Power beyond limitations that Loves beyond limitations - right here in A.A. for each person to experience in their own personal way.

God is.

What a miracle for a bunch of drunks to discover!

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Postby Dallas » Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:49 pm

Thanks Paul. You are helping me! That's what's happening! I have little to do with it! Just to participate.

Thanks for your share.

It makes me think of this question:

If I could have anything that my heart desired...
what would it be?

a) To know everything that there is to know about God. Or,
b) To know God?

For me, the choice is simple.

Kind of like eating ice cream.

It's one thing to know all about ice cream... and it's another thing to eat it!

:lol: :lol:

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Postby carol1017 » Mon Nov 19, 2007 5:16 pm

Awwww maaannn -- makin' me think heavy thoughts here!!! :lol:

I have a friend in the program who always refers to the "God of my misunderstanding" -- which always leads me to think "I don't need to understand God -- God understands me".

I wasn't really brought up with a strong religious background, so the whole "God thing" kind of turned me off when I first came into AA. One of the most interesting exercises my sponsor put me through was to create my own Higher Power -- to write down what attributes my HP would have, and what I expect from a HP. That really opened my mind up to new possibilities, and I have suggested it to other who are having difficulty with the 3rd step.

My personal concept of God has evolved over time, and I'm sure it will continue to do so as long as I maintain a fit spiritual condition.

Just a couple of points to add to the history portion of your post, Dallas:

-- Bill and Bob both rejected the Four Absolutes of the Oxford Group because "alcoholics can't deal with absolutes" -- they knew that alcoholics would reject anything that was presented to them in that manner.

-- Another reason for the break from the Oxford Group was that the OG wanted to "save the world" -- not just alcoholics. They believed in carrying the message to anyone, whether they wanted it or not.

Thanks for making me think!


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Postby anniemac » Tue Nov 20, 2007 8:44 am

I didn't have a religious or a spiritual upbringing; matter of fact, I was pretty much a lifelong devout atheist. At first, learning that AA took some of its principles from a Christian movement (Oxford Group) was a big turnoff to me. After developing a belief in and a relationship with a power greater than myself and a God of my understanding (or not understanding - I like that, Carol!), and after letting go of some of my "old ideas", I began to appreciate what I was learning about early Christianity via AA. I've also studied Buddhism over the past year, and I see how much AA is in line with Buddhist beliefs. And I do some reading about Kabbalah, and I see how much AA and Kabbalah have in common. And then I realize, how when we can let go of labels and divisions and judgments, there is so much overlap amongst various beliefs, and how fortunate we are as a Fellowship to be able to exist in community with each other as we straddle all of these different, yet very similar, spiritual paths. Reminds me of the saying, "Many Paths, One Truth."

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Postby Dallas » Tue Nov 20, 2007 12:41 pm

Or... One path to many truths.

The beauty of A.A.'s 12 Steps is that it gave me one path I could follow to all of the truths... and the truths set me free.... without me having to know all the truths.

And, the really beautiful thing that I've discovered in A.A., was that I only needed to discover one truth about myself -- to gain entry to the path, and that one truth has been able to keep me on the path as I journey through truths. :lol: :lol:

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Postby eastcoastscott » Tue Jan 29, 2008 10:02 pm

I too have rejected the conventional concept of God as churchgoers understand him. I don't know why so many of us are like that to be honest. So coming to AA was a bit difficult when they broached the topic of "God". I now however can totally buy into the fact that there is a spiritual power greater than myself, maybe it/he/she is a combination of my conscience, the big book, new people that I meet at meetings and a whole lot of other things. I found some spiritual awakenings that I have had made me realize that something other than my current frame of mind is calling the shots. I'm hearing a lot of people saying things like getting on your knees and praying (or asking God to remove defects of character etc) yields a different result from doing it standing up. I guess the point is, for me anyway, what have I got to lose by doing any of this stuff. It excites me to no end actually and am willing to go into recovery with the most positive attitude that I can muster up!

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Postby Dallas » Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:54 pm

Thanks for sharing, Scott.

It's good to hear from you.


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Postby tj » Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:30 pm


I love this topic. A very interesting book that fits in with this topic is The Soul of Sponsorship-THe Friendship of Fr. Ed Dowling, S.J., and Bill Wilson in Letters. Fr. Dowling and Bill W. had a wonderful friendship and the letters in the book give some insight into Bill's thoughts on God and religion. Another thing that I found out by reading this is that Bill suffered from severe depression after he was sober for a few years. That fact makes me marvel at his continued sobriety. All in all, I think that our human nature makes it impossible for us to understand God. I do know that He loves me and I long to know Him better and discern His will. The best way for me to do that is stay sober one day at a time.


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Human Experiences of Spiritual Beings

Postby veganimalien » Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:25 am

The principles and path we trudge along to gather, assess, admit, amend then share our experience, strength and hope with others and be of service is probably as old as human society. The Oxford Groups, the Episcopalians, and the first Christians got that ancient tool from prior teachers. I imagine it's origin being in the development of conscience in the evolution of human consciousness. We aught to mind the differences in behavior of chimpanzees and binobos; free love or rape culture because of scarcity of necessities. Socio-economic factors aren't the whole problem, and we saw in Dr. Bob's case that devotion to the Oxford Group wasn't the whole solution.

I read somewhere that Jimmy B stayed sober to share an atheistic brand of AA everywhere he went. We can credit him with the addition of "as we understood Him" in the steps, although it probably came to him through Bill's story about Ebby's idea in his kitchen. It's just like playing a guitar though; many chords and combinations of cords in different times have been strummed and picked alike. The original players are eternally anonymous.

From Wikipedia; Belladonna Cure

### Wilson, cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), was admitted to Towns Hospital four times between 1933 and 1934. On his fourth and last stay he showed signs of delirium tremens and was treated with the Belladonna Cure. He had his "Hot Flash" spiritual awakening while undergoing this treatment, either on his second or third night, depending on the source. When he was released from Towns Hospital after a seven day stay, he never drank again.

Wilson's description of his experience: "All at once I found myself crying out, "If there is a God, let Him show himself! I am ready to do anything, anything! Suddenly the room lit up with a great white light. I was caught up in an ecstasy which there are no words to describe. It seemed to me in my mind's eye, that I was on a mountain and that a wind not of air but of spirit was blowing. And then it burst upon me that I was a free man. Slowly the ecstasy subsided. I lay there on the bed, but now for a time I was in another world, a new world of consciousness... and I thought to myself, "So this is the God of the preachers!" A great peace stole over me."####

I'm grateful for your article:)

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