If you know anything about the Late Pontiff John Paul II, then you would know that this is the place he spent a great deal of his time – the apostolic Chapel in the pope’s private residence in the papal apartments.
I bring this up because we read from Appendix II in the back of the Big Book, “Spiritual Experience.”
I’ve been in a “right state” these past few days. And my friends have been on top of things making sure I don’t crack up. That’s why I am friends with certain people, because they invest in my life. And there are times, when we talk, that I am sure that God is present amongst us.
As Spiritual Experiences go, I have had a few in my life, and the most important ones came well before I ever hit the room of A.A.
My presentation to God by my Grandmother comes to mind when I was a child.
The two appearances of my friend David after his death when I was in seminary.
Going to Rome, getting to see John Paul II in person twice in a years time.
Visiting the Vatican, touring the catacombs, and climbing the staircase to the top of the cupola of the Vatican looking down over St. Peter’s Square and the Papal Gardens. And attending mass IN the Vatican, how many people can claim a visit like this to the Vatican?
As I drank my way across Europe as a young man, I had this sober experience of God, in one of the most hallowed locations in Christendom.
For the whole of my young life I knew God. And He knew who I was. We were close for a very long time, and I believe now that it was God and faith that contributed to my surviving my life as it was lived.
After my expulsion from Seminary, I turned on God, thinking that He had turned on me. But now I know that the men who spoke for God, were egos and attitudes and men who, later on, fell from grace, in their own time.
God cleared the score, so to speak.
I can’t tell you that I was steeped in the Book the first time I got sober, but I did read at meetings and with my sponsor, but like I have said before, there were other matters on the table that took precedence over life, like survival…
When I came in the second time, the book was presented to us, as were the steps, prior to my coming to Montreal. And at the end of my first year of sobriety I worked my steps in a Step group the First time.
That is when I read “There is a solution” and in that chapter we are introduced to Appendix II and Spiritual Experience.
The book actually refers you to this reading, AS you read the book. It appears in the first few chapters almost inviting you to partake. But how many people, at that point in early sobriety, are ready to take that leap of faith and understand and accept a religious axiom or religious concept.
The out there is Genius. Bill W gives us his explanation.
“GOD as WE understood Him.”
Have I experienced Spiritual Experiences in Sobriety? Yes.
It took some time, going to the same meetings, in the same space, for a period of time that I grew able to recognize them in others, and not necessarily in myself.
My sober theorem states:
In life, where ever we are, we carry, above our heads, a blinking sign. That sign flashes what is going on in our hearts and heads.
We cannot see the sign, but others can.
I have proved this theorem at my home group, the space called St. Leon’s Church.
You come to the doors outside. And you come down 12 steps. How providential.
I grew able to see the signs of all the folks who came to our meeting, and later ALL the meetings that I attend in that room, over the past twelve years. Newly sober people have varied signs. Saying many things.
And as you return, over and over, those signs change. As people get sober and change, so does the sign.
Today, I go to meetings with my friends. I admit that I pick and chose who I choose to spend my time with. Since the Round Up, I have grown picky in my choice of those I share my life with. My friends are intuitive. They are smart, and they invest in our lives of each other. And I appreciate this so much, because I know my friends have my back.
You can’t go to a meeting and not invest. I mean you can, it’s been done. Folks who come to a meeting and warm a chair, but do not engage or invest. And that is a terrible things. But it is to be expected in early sobriety. Newly sober people cannot invest in others, until they stop existing in their heads making everything about themselves. While the ego is in motion, folks are unapproachable.
You can’t get sober and keep your ego…
For me, every meeting has the potential to be a spiritual experience. Because you never know what someone else is going to say on varied topics we speak about at meetings, be it from the book, a topic or an open discussion.
Over the past twelve years, almost, I have seen countless people come to their first spiritual experience. Sitting in a group in St. Leon’s hall, someone realizes something BIG, when the elevator rises to the top of the tower and the light goes on, and the experience takes place.
I can tell you that God favors that hall. Because I have seen Him move amongst the people many times. And to be blessed to be able to see with those eyes, God move in a room, is a blessing. And that doesn’t come over night, it comes over years.
I am eternally grateful for my friends in the rooms tonight. A few in particular who went out of their way to be with me over the past few days. To be in places that I might travel in hopes of speaking to me in private – outside the room.
We hosted a small group, but we went the entire hour.
A good night was had by all.
More to come, stay tuned …