The topic was spiritual growth; an AA brother shared, “years ago, I was driving across the prairies to the west coast. The prairies are monotonous; I was not paying attention and wandered off the highway into the ditch. Fortunately, on the prairies, ditches are pretty much level with the road, a couple of hard bumps woke me up, and I got back on the highway. Back to my dull straight drive
He continued, “but driving west from the prairies, I came to the mountains. Wow. The views were spectacular. I can still recall the rush of joy I felt and seeing the sweeping and majestic views.
“But the road was more dangerous. Not paying attention and driving off the highway in this beautiful scenery would be bad. The ditches in the mountains were not like the ditches on the prairies; the consequences would be serious. Prairie ditches are flat and level with the highway; mountain highway ditches are steep and deep.
“Why am I bending your ears with a driving story? Here is the point, my spiritual journey was like driving across the prairies to the Rockies. When I first sobered up, I was on the flats. It was easy to be complacent and going into the ditch only caused a few rough bumps.
“Then I started to grow in spirit. Life became exciting and beautiful. New vistas of experience opened up. I experienced joy and happiness as I had never before. Life became meaningful. I became more aware of a Higher Power and sometimes felt a strong sense of presence. My life was getting better.
“Now I was driving through the spiritual foothills to the majestic mountains. Going off the road would not be a mere bump and getting back on the road. It would be serious.
“As I matured, I had feelings I had never had before, good feelings, like serenity, joy, and freedom. But when I had some bad feelings, I realized that after tasting spiritual life, what used to be a minor twinge of conscience was bitter shame and disappointment. Spiritual growth lowered my tolerance for my own destructive behaviours. For example, temper tantrums would leave me with an emotional hangover.
“As I grew spiritually, my spiritual pride grew as well. I remember waking up mid-sentence, pointing my finger and lecturing a sponsee on how to live his life and realizing that I was off the road, bouncing down the mountain ditch.
“Spiritual growth is great, but I must be more mindful and conscious of my Higher Power than in the early days. The mountains are great, but they are not the prairies.