Proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ

The Wet Side of the Ocean


I have a friend, who also just happens to be an Episcopal Priest in Massachusetts, who chuckles whenever he hears someone say they want to talk about the “spiritual side of AA”. To him, that would be akin to talking about the “wet side of the ocean”.

It is nearly impossible to envision AA without its spiritual foundations and language. Even if you are not familiar with the Twelve Steps, who is able to think of AA, without recalling the Serenity Prayer? So inter-connected are spirituality and Alcoholics Anonymous that one might consider spirituality the aorta of AA…….the lifeline connecting those in recovery with the source of their sobriety and serenity, God’s amazing grace!

Early pre AA groups, such as the Oxford Group, YMCA, and Christian Endeavor, understood the need to grow and nurture this aspect of a life in recovery. They intentionally set aside time for reflection and discussion of this topic. “Morning Watch” and “Quiet Time” are but two examples of that effort. These groups and the writings of 1930s and 40s authors, such as Rev. Sam Shoemaker, F.B Meyer, H.J. Rose and others, heavily influenced the spiritual language in the Twelve Steps of AA and, it is believed, led to the inclusion of Step Eleven in the Twelve Steps.

Step Eleven reads: “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry it out”

There has been a return of these “Step Eleven” small groups recently, probably due, at least in part, to the efforts of Dick B and his “Eleventh Step Quiet Time Practices and Guide” (Dick B, copyright, 2009 Anonymous, All Rights Reserved). Deeper understanding of the motivation behind the language of the steps, undoubtedly leads to a more in depth practice of that step.

Should you be interested in forming one of these discussion groups as part of your local recovery ministry program, Nebraska Episcopal Recovery Commission is happy to help you assemble the needed material. Simply contact any member of the Commission listed on our Web Page:

“Living One Day At A Time”,

Nancy Brown
Nebraska Episcopal Recovery Commission

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