Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Four Phases of Spiritual Philosophy

I still recall the day, the brightness of the weather, even the crisp air out on the soapstone steps of Williamson Road Methodist church, the home of my AA home group. The ecstasy of “liberation” that flowed through my excited consciousness, the sense that I was about to walk into an all new chapter in my sobriety, in my life. The unfamiliar yet firm conviction that I was done with AA cultism was thorough and irreversible. It would be, in effect, my second spiritual awakening in four years.

Within the economy of spiritual living one can extrapolate four distinct phases that individuals may be passing through as they progress onward, or not. The remarkable fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous provides the diversity of these phases without interruption or standardization from an ecclesiastical board of creedal dictators. Most of us need a heavy dose of structure upon entering this new way of life, we need the rigid dictates of a tuff sponsor, with specific instructions and the assignment of a simple routine job within the fellowship. But if we are to gain true independence of the spirit we cannot stand still, not if we really want to get well.

The first phase is that of conformity, we surrender to tradition and authority. We had little to no confidence in ourselves so we could readily adapt to direction from anyone. This is a phase in spiritual development where we could be swept up by damn near any movement. Fortunately for us it was God centered AA.
The next phase is where we leave well enough alone; our potential development has become arrested on a level where we do just enough to get by. We stagnate in a cycle of complacency.

Then there’s logical intellectuality, AA becomes legalistic, the Big Book is our scripture and anything beyond that is an annoyance to our comfortable perch of righteous finality. We delude ourselves into avoiding such questions as those of the fourth step inventory in the Twelve and Twelve by claiming that such a book is heretical to the original Law. No longer is God a living presence in our group conscience rather he has been replaced by a sort of spiritual science.

The fourth phase attains freedom from conventional and traditional handicaps; this is where one dares to think, act, live fearlessly, truthfully, honestly and loyally. This place is the second mile of spiritual living, a place of tremendous possibility, mind expanding experience and truly dynamic living. We are still firmly grounded in unity but not bound by theological uniformity. Here we can enjoy the liberty of free thinking without becoming “freethinkers”. We are no longer encumbered by non existent creedal pressures which the “third phase’s” dream up and attempt to impose.

“Yea will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”



  1. Thanks for the post Colter. It's been slow in here and that's ok too. Slow... quiet... it gets that way.

    I'm in like the 5th phase of spirituality I guess. It's outside of the box you could say. I'm still in tune with the rigidity of the 164... but am trying to be open to the idea that there might be some good stuff in Bill's contrived 12x12. I don't find much use in it as it was merely the ramblings of his current state and that of the other guy who helped him get it written.

    I am able to set my ego aside and accept that the 12x12 is best suited for those advanced AAers who can better handle it. I'm more of a pragmatist... a step doer if you will. I'll continue to do steps and see what happens. If anyone wants to come along, great. But they don't and that's fine too.

    I was just about to fire up a new topic but I'll let this one hang for a while. That's only fair. What I have in mind next is something discussing the supposed shutdown of Stinkin' Thinkin' for now... and where they/we go from here. Like them/it or not, anti/XAer and most specifically the crowd at ST deserve our thanks for our very existence.

    Although I don't like what their central message gravitated towards or their frothy appeal to rip the bad guy to the bitter end... the evil AAers... I respect their quest to help free those up from the 3rd phasers as victims in the 1st phase of your themed post. Maybe there is a damage that radical Steppers impose on vulnerable newbies. I was a newbie several different times and to several different degrees and always was able to step away from bullshit that I didn't want to participate in. But... oh the victims of the world. A bad day for a victim is when nobody shits on them. I'll not play that game. That may piss the poor victim off... just like it pisses me off when a supposed recovery expert claims that addiction/alcoholism is a farce and a mere case of bad choices and inferior morality/character.

    We'll go round and round in cyberworld... I'm still waiting for this battle to hit the streets. I have yet to see it face to face and would love to meet a stinkin thinker just to discuss life and culture with over a cup of coffee or a glass of water.

  2. For the radical atheists... let's say you're right and there truly is no God/[g]od. Then what about the possibility of states of consciousness that lay outside of the fiber of our rational biochemical brains? Can there be something to meditation, hypnosis, trance-states, etc... and can the experiences of them be used to the positive?

    Can a person with a strong sense of will and desire such as myself go through the rigors of such a nasty cult as A.A. and take the good from it and avoid the pitfalls of victimhood? I think so. I don't need A.A. to stay sober. But the A.A. I was shown and still practice is so off the mainstream and so effective that I still enjoy it and find it useful. It's merely an onramp. Now maybe you can celebrate your own onramps to a better life.

    To involve the FBI or the CIA or the KGB in your quest to bring down all the nasty A.A. evil doers... has got to be tiresome. Let it go and let go of the hate. Please. Not for them... but for you. Pull the chunk of coal out of your asses and quit trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents.

    The fight is over. You could have gone after your enemies that you exalted to "Topic of the Week". You could have sued them, talked about them on your radio show, had the validity of Stanton Peele's approval... while handing him your 30 dollar contribution to his wonderful cause...

    And you want the comments to remain.

    ftg aka Ilse and MA aka Mark set up nice topics for you and you beat them all into the ground with acidic hatred and venom. What did that get you? A sense of purpose? What do you do when your enemies don't push back? Do you feel a sense of freedom? Victory? There were so many different directions you could have gone... like maybe spending more time pursuing the ultimate and successful recovery program for the many. Hatred and harbored resentment only leads to sickness and victimhood.

    I'm glad you're free of that now... or at least there's an opportunity for your freedom from it.

    Hope to see some of you living your lives now and to smell the roses and to enjoy the sunsets. I am.

  3. Good stuff Colter,
    I float around somewhere in stages 3,5 and Patrick's stage 5.

    As far as ST's ending, good fucking riddance, complete waste of talent and time.There are some fundamentalists on there that make us look like liberals. AA haters will always exist, so will scumbags in AA. Vote with your feet I say. Glad Mark and Llse followed their hearts and walked.

  4. I now know what an Xaer is, but what is this "ST" that you guys refer to? Is that a recovery forum of some sort?

  5. They are technically the reason for our existence here on this blog... our reason for our banning from Sober Recovery when you get right down to it. I don't blame anybody for that fact... it just is.

    It started off with me having some stuff brought to my attention. We'd post away at sober recovery and some snarky smart-asses were mocking our posts and bashing our dedication to spreading the A.A. message via the program outlined in the A.A. book... and answering questions from a few that dare attempt to follow that simple path.

    I came onto this site called "DonewithAA" at wordpress which became "Stinkin'-Thinkin' dot com and the rest is history. There was MA, aka Mark... an Adolph Hitler mustache superimposed onto our beloved Bill W, ftg aka friendthegirl aka Ilse, and of course Speedy.

    As we responded to the at times welcomed notoriety, it was soon apparent what they were up to; bait us into anger, they'd then sit back and watch us retaliate in anger, then they'd point their bony fingers at us as being unserene crazy mean-spirited assholes. As we whipped their asses at debate at every turn, they tried to "project" their own weak techniques and accusations at us... with words like "gas lighting", "red-herring", bait-and-switch, ad hominems, strawman arguments... etc... just a bunch of stuff they've burped up from Agent Orange via Orange Papers.

    Then... as time went on, they amassed a bunch of anti/XAers ("anti AAers" from the start and "ex-AAers"... experts who been there done that and are now more qualified and more sober than you and I and cannot hear any arguments for or against from you or me because they are just frankly better than us... thus my abbreviation "anti/XAer") who were downright nasty to me, RobB, Jim, TonyJ, Karl aka Cuda aka PinkCuda... and they were somewhat cordial to Joe I think.

    But the bottom line is they have been honking on and on about being anti-censorship, welcoming of debate, and open-minded to looking at both sides. But what we’ve found quickly is that they hate anything pro-A.A., hate actual debate, refuse to accept any evidence against their and Agent Orange half-truths and outright lies, etc. They built a site around it and built a community of folks who frankly get off on trying to put us and bring us down. They search tirelessly for ways of spinning anything recovery or A.A. related to make the A.A. fellowship to look like a bunch of tyrant white male sex abusing raping 13th stepping sick old bastards who want to control and abuse its poor poor victims who get sent to A.A. or come searching A.A. for a gleam of hope.

    They are endlessly finding ways to reiterate and add to claims from Agent Orange about what a sex-crazed belladonna induced lunatic that Bill W was and they have an equally vicious character assassination for Dr Bob and anything A.A. We all know these guys were never saints. They even said so.

    They go on tirelessly to reiterate Agent Oranges’ claims that A.A. has a success rate of 5% or less and that doing nothing will lead to the same spontaneous remission as the aforementioned program. They spout the good works of many other mostly secular recovery organizations but spend no time actually directing people to how and where these programs are doing better works within the annuls of recovery… because frankly they are too busy bashing A.A. and bullying its inhabitants.

    [end part 1]

  6. Do I sound dramatic? Well… being the site is temporarily gone… I have not much proof. Some of my peeps will shed light on the accuracy of my findings/experiences with these folks.

    I’ve had an on again/off again/on again positive relationship with FTG and MA. I do not claim to be their equal in writing techniques, dedication to their cause, or their ability to grow a huge following. They whipped our asses in that regard. But we hang in here and my/our main purpose for this here blog is to have a place to hang your hat and speak your piece. I don’t claim to keep this place free of censorship. If you come in here and call me names and get nasty with me, I’m gonna censor that. Everyone who knows me knows that I can get nasty, mean, and flat out rude to those who cross me. I’d like to think I’ve been baited and falsely judged from time to time, but whatever. Don’t recall… water under the bridge, right? If you threaten me, I’ll answer the threat back. If you threaten one of my colleagues in recovery… or MA and ftg on here, I’ll send you away as best I can. There’s no room for that shit.

    I feel bad for the crap MA and ftg got into with an irate and perhaps dangerous poster. I don’t know both sides of the story, but this guy seemed to find an actual address for ftg and perhaps threatened her physically. She and those at ST could have probably fought this guy right into incarceration if they/she wanted to. This was not the cause for the site to temporarily/permanently shut down. MA and ftg were looking to take a break and head in other directions for now. It’s just coincidence. But I feel for them and wish them well.

    We actually have a common goal. We want to help see that drunks and addicts and victims of those afflictions get the help they need. We see the path to that end differently. To the other “minions” of the site who not only see our path as wrong but also leave no room for our worthiness, I say, “Good day.” But something strange happened between some of those minions and I… they started to see I wasn’t such a bad guy after all. They just see me as mislead and think I’m too smart to be snowed-over by the A.A. program. To them I say, “Come see the A.A. that I know. As far as MOTR stuff and all the bad A.A. that’s out there… and the knuckleheads that make such a mess out of trying to control people and the poor folks who truly are in need of and want help and willing to do something about it… I understand that most of A.A. is a huge mess. But even still, it works for some and provides something for others that we cannot explain.

    A.A. should be totally voluntary and the courts/judicial system, healthcare industry etc., should let some of us explain what A.A. can do and cannot do and how it is to be 100% voluntary and how it’s not just a place to dump criminals to be punished and a place where children can be babysat and raised. A.A. is for drunks who need and want the help that A.A. has to offer.

    It works pretty good for me and that’s that.


    Goodbye ST. Go well.

    [end part 2]

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  8. Can you be more specific? Don’t hold back or anything.....smile. I get it, I've dealt with those people who returned to the 3rd dimension of resentment and rebellion....or never left it to begin with. My ole sponsor told me something long ago, "never wrestle with a pig, you will both get dirty but the pig will enjoy it". I spent some time talking with "Orange Man" on Rick Ross’s "Cult Awareness Network". Orange is a very sick man, it's casting pearls before swine talking with that fool.

  9. Wow. He and I have only crossed paths once... on Delphi forums. I'm sure I'm way too below his ego to elicit a response and I refuse to battle him on his site... as I don't suffer fools.

    He did create quite a following though and he must have some kind of charisma. I say it's the clever use of outright lies and half-truths that have swayed the interest of many "clones" and minions.

    If you don't mind, I think I'll make a new post out of this subtopic.