Appendix II - Spiritual Experience
Page 569, "Big Book", aka
Alcoholics Anonymous 3rd edition.
Also From Page 567, "Big
Book" aka Alcoholics Anonymous
The terms "spiritual
experience" and "spiritual
awakening" are used many times in
this book which, upon careful reading,
show that the personality change
sufficient to bring about recovery
from alcoholism has manifested itself
among us in many different forms.
Yet it is true that our first
printing gave many readers the
impression that these personality
changes, or religious experiences,
must be in the nature of sudden and
everyone, this conclusion is
In the first few chapters a number
of sudden revolutionary changes are
described. Though it
was not our intention to create such
an impression, many alcoholics have
nevertheless concluded that in order
to recover they must acquire an
immediate and overwhelming
at once by vast change in feeling and
Among our rapidly growing
membership of thousands of alcoholics
such transformations, though frequent,
are by no means the rule.
Most of our
experiences are what the psychologist
William James calls the
because they develop slowly over a
period of time.
Quite often friends
of the newcomer are aware of the
difference long before he is himself.
He finally realizes
that he has undergone a profound
alteration in his reaction to life,
that such a change could hardly have
been brought about by him alone.
What often takes
place in a few months could seldom
have been accomplished by years of
With few exceptions
our members and that they have tapped
an unsuspected inner resource which
they presently identify with their own
conception of a Power greater than
Most of us think this awareness of
a Power greater than ourselves is the
essence of spiritual experience.
Our more religious
members call it
Most emphatically we wish to say
that any alcoholic capable of honestly
facing his problems in the light of
our experience can recover, provided
he does not close his mind to all
He can only be
defeated by an attitude of intolerance
or belligerent denial.
We find that no one need have
difficulty with the spirituality of
and open mindedness are the essentials
of recover. But
these are indispensable.
is a principle which is a bar against
all information, which is proof
against all arguments and which cannot
fail to keep a man in everlasting
ignorance - that principle is contempt
prior to investigation."