Spiritual Kindergarten

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Spiritual Kindergarten

Post by Tim » Sun Apr 12, 2009 2:34 pm

Bill W referred to AA as a spiritual kindergarten. There seems to be an implication in that description that we can and do move beyond kindergarten in our spiritual lives.

In my own experience of recovery from alcoholism, I have found this to be the case. The tools of AA, especially the 12 Steps, have provided a springboard for spiritual growth for me. I have found my own spiritual development and movement toward wholeness made stronger by embracing religious belief.

One of the things that has made me grateful is that I have yet to discover any contradiction between the priniciples of the 12-step program, my spiritual beliefs and religious practice.

Some would say that everything they needed to know, they learned in kindergarten. I respect that, but for me it's also essential to move forward with spiritual education.

Sometimes it is good for me to visit the spiritual kindergarten for a time, to remember what I learned there and to repeat its lessons in the spiritual ABC's:

(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.
(c) That God could and would if He were sought.

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Post by sunlight » Tue Apr 14, 2009 6:26 pm

Bill said, "We are only operating a spiritual kindergarten in which people are enabled to get over drinking and find the grace to go on living to better effect. Each man's theology has to be his own quest, his own affair." (letter 1954)

I don't think I could have swallowed that kindergarten idea if alcohol hadn't beaten me into a state of reasonableness & open-mindedness!

And I knew all about God. In fact, I filled in for Him if he was too busy! :lol:

At one of my first meetings, an old-timer told me, "There is a God, you're not it & after that you're on your own."

This meant, to me, that not only did I need my own conception of God, but I needed to know God, not just about Him. I needed to experience God and develop a relationship with my God. So, I had to trash can all my previous ideas and start over.

I did this, at first, by experiencing God through others. Their words and actions were God communicating to me in a way that I didn't really understand, but was very clear on another level.

The book tells me that the "point" is to be willing to grow along spiritual lines. That says - time to move on from kindergarten. Now, I needed to experience God more personally, in a way that would transform me and have a true effect on all areas of my life.

How to do that? Steps 4 & 5 to the rescue! I had to clear away all that was blocking me from God & tell it to someone, in order to even begin.
If I want to enter into a relationship with you, but I'm lugging around all this baggage & yesterday's garbage, I can't truly experience you because I'm too full of my own junk.
Once that wreckage is removed, I am free to actually participate in a relationship. I can re-direct my focus to you because I'm not stuck on me.

But, like all relationships, I can take it for granted & start twisting it to MY will and so:
Here we go steps 10 & 11!
It's continuous spring cleaning, as well as time spent in humble gratitude with the Power that so lovingly restored me to sanity. (Some would argue that one!)

To me, "willing to grow along spiritual lines" doesn't mean just being better. It means I am striving to grow into the image of my Creator. To be a grace & a blessing to others; offering myself in loving, compassionate service.

Nice thoughts. I can't do them by my own power! So, I voluntarily return to that spiritual kindergarten to relearn honesty, humility, unselfishness & love. To keep bringing to mind that I AM an alcoholic and can't even manage my own life. I need the help of God & others to grow.

My religious practices complement my program beautifully. It's my own quest & it's very fulfilling.

Thanks, Tim. Time for milk and cookies! :D

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Post by Tim » Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:37 pm

Thanks, Sunlight, for your thoughtful comments about this topic. There was much there that struck a chord with me and some things to chew on.

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Post by Jools » Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:06 am

Bill W referred to AA as a spiritual kindergarten. There seems to be an implication in that description that we can and do move beyond kindergarten in our spiritual lives.

From "There is a Solution" in the BB:

We think it no concern of ours what religious bodies our members identify themselves with as individuals. This should be an entirely personal affair which each one decides for himself in the light of past associations, or his present choice. Not all of us join religious bodies, but most of us favor such memberships.

Most of us favor such relationships.

As I've said before, I made the mistake of going to church and stopped going to meetings last time I was sober. Eventually, I stopped going to church and started drinking.

This time I'm being more careful. For now, AA is my church and that's where I went Sunday morning, to a meeting. Eventually I'll go back to church, but it won't be until I've thoroughly worked the steps and developed a strong relationship with God and am living the program.

I'm still in spiritual kindergarten, but I've had quite a few absent days. In fact, lately I've noticed that since I've been feeling better and my life is getting better that I've let up on my morning prayer time and stopped going to as many meetings. I don't know why I do this, the ole self reliance seems to want to rear it's ugly head.

I don't ever feel like God walks away from me, it is I who walk away from Him. I KNOW I need a relationship with Him, but get slack when it comes to spending time with Him. I don't know what's up with that, because my day goes so much better when I do my readings and pray. When I turn my will and life over to God on a daily basis things change, I change.

Thanx for the topic, Tim.


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Post by ROBERT » Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:13 am

Ya know it's the awareness of what you just shared--that you see yourself not doing,that is so,so important and healthy--back when i let up on my use of the program and also went back out--i did NOT see me letting up--today,THAT experience IS A SOURCE OF STRENGHT and something i needed to go thru...so when i see myself letting up,I GET BUSY(also)---thanks Julie,sounds like u r right where u r suppose to be :D

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Post by ccs » Sun Apr 26, 2009 11:19 pm

Dr. Bob, my co-partner, had his own religious views. For whatever they may be worth, I have my own. But both of us have gone heavily on the record to the effect that these personal views and preferences can never under any conditions be injected into the AA program as a working part of it. AA is a sort of spiritual kindergarten, but that is all. Never should it be called a religion. (The 'Blue Book', Vol.12, 1960)

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