Spiritual Maturity


I completed my annual inventory and conversation with my spiritual coach. The top defect that we identified for the next year was childish grandiosity.

I thought, this will be an interesting year. Removing childish grandiosity seemed vague and complicated, like wrestling with fog. How was this defect to be removed, I wondered.

Little did I know that the removal of this defect would eerily echo the removal of another defect, my drinking.

By this time in my Program life, I was in the habit of taking continuous inventories. In my daily and weekly inventories, I saw the defect more frequently. It seemed I was becoming more childish and grandiose, not less. I was making amends every day. It might have been my heightened awareness of the defect, or I was regressing. Either way, it was more and more irritating. My efforts to manage my childish behaviours were failing.

I was desperate.

One day I recalled how my drinking problem had been removed. Before I came to AA, I knew I had a drinking problem and tried to manage it. But that didn’t work.

Finally, I became desperate enough to ask for help and follow instructions. Let’s be clear; I did not desire to stop drinking; I was desperate. But asking for help and following instructions, I transitioned from desperate to manage drinking to desire to stop drinking.

With increasing manifestations of childish grandiosity, I was frustrated and angry. My attempts to manage the defect were not working, and I became desperate enough to ask for help and follow instructions, echoing the removal of my drinking problem.

I asked my sponsor for help. He suggested I focus on childishness. He pointed out, “mature people exercise restraint — focus on restraint. And let’s keep it simple; practice pausing before reacting to anything.”

The focus on restraint started to work. I occasionally paused before reacting, and these moments were beautiful; I came to want more of them. I often slipped in the beginning, but I started to progress. Soon, I looked forward to difficult situations where I could pause before reacting. I was starting to grow up and away from childish grandiosity.

As it was with drinking, so too for the removal of childish grandiosity; desperation led to asking for help and following instructions. I moved from desperation to desire.

Desperation is a great starting point for any defect; with persistence and continuous self-examination, it will become desire. It worked for drinking, a real and evident problem, and childish grandiosity, a subtle and esoteric problem.

These principles work in all my affairs.



Andy Crooks writing as Andy C

For Andy C, not drinking was the first spiritual awakening. He’s been blessed with subsequent spiritual awakenings as the results of the 12 steps.