“No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, p60)
The Four Spiritual Aims of Recovery are;
Over and over we ask ourselves, “Is it true or is it false?” For honesty is the eternal search for truth. This is by far the most difficult for us. The problem drinker develops genuine artistry in deceit. Too many (and we plead guilty) simply turn over a new leaf and relax. The real virtue in honesty lies in the persistent dedicated striving for it. There is no relaxed twilight zone, it’s either full speed ahead constantly or it’s not honesty we seek. And the unrelenting pursuit of truth will set you free, even if you don’t quite catch up to it. We need not choose or pursue falsity. All we need is to relax our pursuit of truth, and falsity will find us.
At first blush, unselfishness would seem to be the simplest of all to understand, define and accomplish. But we have a long road to travel because ours was a real mastery of the exact opposite during our drinking days.
A little careful thought will show that unselfishness in its finest sense, the kind for which we must strive in our way of life, is not easy to reach or describe in detail. In the final analysis, it must gain for us the selflessness which is our spiritual cornerstone, the real significance of our anonymity.
Proceeding with the question method of digesting the absolute, we suggest you ask yourself over and over again in judging what you are about to do, say, think or decide, ” How will this affect the other fellow?”
We often learn more by questions, than by answers. Did you ever hear a question that caused you to think for days or even weeks? The questions which have no easy answer are often the key to the truth. However, in this series on the four Absolutes, we are concerned with the questions we should be asking ourselves over and over again in life. The integrity of our answers to these questions will determine the quality of our life, may even determine the continuance of our sobriety.
A good question to ask ourselves on love might be, “Is it ugly or is it beautiful?” We are experts on ugliness. We have really been there. We are not experts on beauty but we have tasted a little, and we are hungry for more. Love is beauty. Coming from the depths of fear, physical agony, mental torture and spiritual starvation, we feel completely unloved, impregnated with self-pity, poisoned by resentment, and devoured by a prideful ego which with alcohol has brought complete blindness. We receive understanding and love from strangers and we make progress as we in turn give it to new strangers. It’s as simple as that. Fortunately for us love is inspiring from the very beginning, even in kindergarten which is where many of us still are.
Purity is simple to understand. Purity is flawless quality. Purity is a quality of both the mind and the heart, or perhaps we should say the soul of a man. As far as the mind is concerned, it is a simple case of answering the question, “Is right, or is it wrong?” That should be easy for us. There is no twilight zone between right and wrong. Even in our drinking days we knew the difference. With most of us, knowing the difference was the cause or part of the cause of our drinking. We did not want to face the reality of doing wrong. It isn’t in the realm of the mental aspects of purity that our problem lies. We can all answer the question quoted above to the best of our ability and get the correct answer.
Remember the four questions,
- Is it true or false?
- Is it right or wrong?
- How will this affect the other fellow?
- Is it ugly or beautiful?
Answering these queries every day with absolute integrity, and following the dictates of those answers one day at a time, will surely lead us well on our journey toward absorbing and applying the spiritual aims.