When I first got into recovery, I was told that if I did not do steps 4 and 5 I would get drunk. In fact, that is a so-called “dark promise” in the text book of AA. The fear of getting drunk far outweighed my fear of that inventory process and I went ahead and did it. And discovered that the fifth step promises came true. Here they are: “Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.”
I had indeed begun to feel the nearness of a God that I did not yet have a complete understanding of, and I could indeed look people in the eye, and I did find being alone much easier. And perhaps most importantly of all, my personality was changing. That spiritual experience that is described in the appendix as a “personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism” was happening to me. I rarely thought about drinking, and yes, I did not feel alone or lonely because I felt that Presence that was always with me, even if I couldn’t define It.
Fast forward to when I began to study New Thought, and started learning about a trained mind, and the power of my thoughts. Ernest Holmes said that a trained mind is far more powerful than an untrained one, and I wanted a trained mind.
I was already well versed in steps 10 and 11, doing inventory and meditation daily. What I realized with New Thought was that these two steps were the same as what were called spiritual practices in Science of Mind. Self inquiry or introspection are the same as an inventory. And while there are many ways to meditate, all work equally well and meditation is one of the top spiritual practices recommended to live a more joyous life.
This is the recipe for joyous living, in my opinion: daily introspection and meditation. The introspection leads to self awareness, which is key to knowing our truth. And it is also key to keeping our thoughts positive, because they do set in motion what becomes manifest in our lives. We are what we think, so it behooves us to think good thoughts, and a trained mind helps us do that.
Doing steps 10 and 11 every day, or, if you prefer, introspection and meditation, trains our mind and ensures as nothing else will that we live happy and productive lives.