Practical spirituality in addiction recovery, Part 2/2

Applied spiritual principles in addiction recovery: Practical spirituality, Part 2 of 2

In deed: Action-oriented spiritual practices

Another way to look at this pair of articles: They are a list of spiritual practices divided into two categories. Part One lists spiritual principles and practices that take place largely in the heart and mind, whereas Part Two lists spiritual principles and practices that are more in deed and external action.

NOTE: There are some issues with numbering in this article which will be corrected at the first opportunity.

    1. Praying “without ceasing”; maintaining one’s spiritual connection continually and purposefully
    2. Living with integrity; being the same person/behaving consistently, no matter whom you’re with
    3. Refraining from gossip; when speaking of an individual not present, speaking as though (s)he were present

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.

Commonly attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt

    1. Employing perseverance and discipline in the face of obstacles, the biggest of which is ego/self; doing what you know you need to do, when you need to do it, whether you feel like it or not
    2. Following the suggestions of sponsors, spiritual advisors – especially the suggestions we really don’t want to follow, for growth occurs primarily outside the comfort zone
    3. Doing what’s in front of us, what needs to be done, the next right thing – when it needs to be done, whether we want to or not, whether we feel like it or not
    4. Seeking opportunities to improve the world by asking, How may I serve?
  1. Practicing mindfulness meditation on a daily basis
  2. Extending goodwill and practicing right action toward everyone and everything
  3. Practicing love, tolerance, and acceptance; refraining from criticizing, condemning, and complaining (classic Dale Carnegie)
  4. Forgiving others when we are wronged; this is how we forgive ourselves, and this is how we are forgiven
  5. Displaying courage in the face of fear; acting out of love as opposed to fear; habitually walking through one’s fears and getting out of one’s comfort zone on a regular basis
  6. Giving, acting, helping, and serving as anonymously as possible (a great way to practice humility)
  7. Freedom from worry with regard to the opinions and beliefs of others; avoiding habitual conformity
  8. Practicing silence; restraint of tongue, pen, electronic messaging, and so on
  9. Refraining from egotistical descriptions of one’s own spirituality, good deeds, etc.; keeping spiritual practices and beliefs to oneself, choosing instead to demonstrate through action and lead by example; this is a demonstration of humility (that’s not to discourage teaching spirituality or spiritual practices to others, such as when feedback/advice/thoughts are requested by others, when teaching a class, etc.)
  10. Doing one’s best in all situations, with all people, in all places, no matter the task
  11. Doing what you say you’ll do; being impeccable with your word
  12. Practicing what you preach (a component of integrity, honesty, etc.)
  13. Treating others as you’d like to be treated (the Golden Rule [chronology of Golden Rule], or the law of reciprocity); kindness and love of others in thought and in deed
  14. Practicing honesty: Telling the truth and avoiding lies while taking care not to cause harm through brutal frankness (generally requires experienced discretion)
  15. Expressing genuine compassion; wanting as much or more for others as you do for yourself
  16. Expressing gratitude and appreciation at all times; remaining grateful for everything and everyone you have in your life; also, being grateful for what others have in their lives
  17. Service-orientation: Focusing on providing real service to others, in recovery, personal relationships, business, and all other areas of life
  18. Practicing common-sense stewardship of nature/creation in its entirety; acknowledging the critical need to recognize, understand, and address the spiritual dynamics at the root of environmental degradation (aka Spiritual ecology)


[1] Closed-mindedness quote from the Big Book’s Spiritual Appendix

This now-famous, jarring quote is ostensibly from the nearly forgotten Herbert Spencer (an English philosopher, liberal political theorist, and sociological theorist of the Victorian era who developed an all-embracing conception of evolution which was novel at the time), who is most famous for coining the phrase survival of the fittest. It appears Herbert Spencer never wrote or said anything even resembling the quotation in the Big Book. The quotation was actually derived from a Christian apologetic work by the 18th-century British theologian William Paley. The variations of wording that have come down through the past two centuries only bear a skeletal resemblance to Paley’s original meaning and form.

See also  Practical spirituality in addiction recovery, Part 1/2

For more information:
Survival of a Fitting Quotation – Anonymous Press
The Big Book’s Case of Mistaken Identity – The Fix

[2] Discernment

Discernment is the act or process of exhibiting keen insight and good judgment; contemplating, identifying the true nature of reality, spirit, a given doctrine, practice, or group; distinguishing truth from error (as stated in the prayer of Saint Francis).

More more information about discernment as it applies to various disciplines:
Discernment – Christian Apologetics Index
Discernment – Wikipedia
Interfaith dialogue – Wikipedia
Criteria of Discernment in Interreligious Dialogue edited by Catherine Cornille
Discernment – Buddhist Christianity

[3] Dualism, nonduality

<!–In Western philosophy, dualism typically applies to separateness with regard to mind (nonphysical) and brain (physical), which ultimately involves mind interacting with the physical brain. In Christianity, dualism usually refers to the belief that God and creation are distinct, yet interrelated. These are only two of several definitions of the term. These are not the applications of the dualism concept in this article.–>

In the context of spirituality, nonduality refers to the principle of not-two: one. In truth, nonduality is merely another name for what Reality is doing all the time: being a single thing. Of course, it usually doesn’t seem this way to us, and that’s because the notion of nonduality is counterintuitive to thinking based in ego/self – which is precisely the thought mode of most of us, most or all of the time. Nonduality is closely associated with the concept of awakening.

Unity and oneness are inherent in non-dualistic thinking. Non-duality can make sense for the religious and non-religious alike in that virtually any worldview or belief system has everything in existence originating from the One – one place, one point, one being, etc. – whether the One is seen as a traditional God, the universe, Creative Intelligence, a mystery, or anything else.

Division and separation are inherent in dualistic thinking. Moral dualism is belief in the perceived conflict between the benevolent and the malevolent. It simply implies that there are two moral opposites at work, independent of any interpretation of what might be “moral” and independent of how these may be represented. In Western religious thought, the most common example of this might be God/good vs. Satan/evil. Implicit in dualism is a sense of separation at best and an us vs. them mentality at worst.

Dualism – Wikipedia
Dualism – The Problem of Evil, by Norman Fischer – Lion’s Roar
A Non-Dualistic Political Paradigm – Rapid River Magazine
Total Effort, Total Surrender: The Way of Nonduality – Science and Nonduality
Mission – Science and Nonduality
Nonduality – Science and Nonduality
Nonduality – The Awakened Eye

[4] Deflating the ego

Ego deflation could be seen as a central pillar of genuine, thorough spiritual practice; it could also be viewed as one of the most substantial fruits resulting from spiritual practice.

For more information:

The 12 Steps as Ego Deflating Devices – SoberRecovery
Deflating the Ego Through the 12 Step Program – Inner Self
AA History – The 12 Steps as Ego Deflating Devices – Barefoot’s World
A.A. Recovery – The Elimination of the Ego-Self – Barefoot’s World

The spiritual principles behind the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

See also  Spiritual principles behind Step Two: Hope

The principles behind the 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous

I’m not sure if all of these qualify as spiritual principles, per se; but then again, I have not examined the traditions in a very long time.

  • Tradition One: Unity
  • Tradition Two: Trust
  • Tradition Three: Identity
  • Tradition Four: Autonomy
  • Tradition Five: Purpose
  • Tradition Six: Solidarity
  • Tradition Seven: Responsibility
  • Tradition Eight: Fellowship
  • Tradition Nine: Structure
  • Tradition Ten: Neutrality
  • Tradition Eleven: Anonymity
  • Tradition Twelve: Spirituality

Resources: Spiritual principles

The items listed in this section of web resources for spiritual principles are NOT referencing twelve-step programs in particular.

  1. Principles of Spiritual Activism – a list of thirteen (13) spiritual principles – Satyana — These principles emerged from several years’ work with social change leaders in Satyana’s Leading with Spirit program; offered not as definitive truths, but rather as key learnings and guidelines that, taken together, comprise a useful framework for “spiritual activism”…
  2. Ten Spiritual Principles of Discipline: What I Learned from Adi Da Samraj – Frank Marrero
  3. Principles of Spiritual Evolution (Part I) – a list of nine (9) spiritual principles

Resources: Spiritual principles from a 12-step recovery perspective

NOTE: This section of resources for spiritual principles relates to 12-step programs originating with A.A. (Alcoholics Anonymous), and later, N.A. (Narcotics Anonymous), O.A. (Overeaters Anonymous), and hundreds of others. It should be noted that the separation of general spiritual principles (above) from these 12-step-recovery related links is not because the latter are any less valid or helpful. Simply, many people these days are searching for spiritual principles that are stressed in 12-step recovery.

In my experience thus far, it seems the majority of web resources resulting from searches for terms like “spiritual principles” have been written from the perspective 12-step recovery programs.

Other resources for spiritual principles and spiritual practices

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