Spirituality by Osmosis by Vince Jones

Students who find the path of Living on the Spiritual Basis through the 12- Step process have an advantage, the advantage of clear cut directions. 

The directions found in the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous are straight forward and concise. Even so, I have had students relate all kinds of curious interpretations of the process laid out in the Big Book, based on what they heard someone say in an AA meeting.

So, instead of actually reading and studying the book, they choose to base their recovery on people and meetings rather than on their own work and efforts. I understand, why do hard things; like studying the book and really working the steps, when there are easy things like going to meetings and sober activities, relying on others interpretations as gospel.

Eventually spirituality by osmosis (lots of activity, little real work) wears thin and they find themselves faced with a crises they can no longer evade or postpone, that no amount of “sharing” in meetings will help; they wonder why God has abandoned them. They truly believe they have been “working” the steps, because their perception is based on what other osmosis alky’s share about, not the path laid out in the Big Book.

In truth they have been working some of the steps, but not all. It is akin to making a cake and leaving a few ingredients out, then blaming the recipe because it is inedible. There may and usually are other areas, but the daily visit with God in prayer and meditation is typically their most glaring omission.

Your Daily Visit with God

Four times, pages 83, 87, 134 & 164 we are directed to morning meditation, yet it never ceases to amaze me when this is pointed out how few realize it. On pg 83 we are directed to begin each day by “asking in morning meditation that our Creator show us the way of patience, tolerance, kindliness and love.”

Additionally, we are directed to use the prayer “Thy will be done” when (when, not if) we become angry, frustrated or even excited. This is a wonderful barometer for how we are doing spiritually. If you can’t remember the last time you said this prayer, you may want to take a few minutes in quiet contemplation and study the 10th and 11th steps again.

Nothing is more important than the time we spend in prayer and meditation. Nothing. No excuses. The good news is you can begin now and start reaping the benefits immediately. It is like going on a diet and losing five pounds just by deciding to do the work. Pretty cool, right?

Oh, and you non-alky’s who stuck around, the Steps aren’t about not drinking, they are about Living on the Spiritual Basis, and if you have the willingness, they will solve your life problems too.


Vince Jones is a spiritual adviser who lectures to our clients weekly at our rehab facilities. If you enjoy this message of spirituality then you may be interested in our Christian Program Celebrate Recovery.