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Our Daily Bread

 

Eternity is made up of an endless amount of todays.  There is no yesterday or tomorrow… just today.  The terms “just for today” or “one day at a time” may be clichés in AA, but the importance of today is one that I want to dive into.  The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says “we are not cured of alcoholism.  What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition” (pg. 85). Additionally, a common closing prayer at the end of many meetings states “give us this day our daily bread.”  Looking at what the Big Book says, we come to understand that our daily reprieve (which is defined as a cancellation or postponement of a punishment) is contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.  That’s where the daily bread comes in.

Our bodies, minds and souls may be separate entities but they function similarly.  When in active addiction, I had to drink or use daily because no matter how much I drank or used the previous day, the following day the affects would be worn off and I would be in need of more.  Saturday’s drunkenness was just not enough to last me through Sunday.  The same goes for the obvious need of eating food.  Even if I had a large dinner yesterday, I still need to eat today.  I have to eat every day.  Sure, I may be able to last for a while without food (studies show anywhere for 30-60 days depending on hydration), but the inevitability of death is imminent unless I eat.  That’s why I like the comparison to being spiritually fed each day with “daily bread.”  It’s something we need daily for optimal health.  I can’t binge on prayer or meditation on the weekend and expect it to last me through the week, just like I can’t expect a binge at the buffet to do so.  I have to feed my spirit the same way I feed my body.  Just like the effects of starvation, if I starve myself spiritually, I may not see the effects right away, but the same inevitability of spiritual death is there.  For me, spiritual death means I am bound to drink again.

So what does being fed spiritually look like?  I suppose that has to do with your individual set of beliefs and understanding of a Higher Power.  I can’t expect the types of food that I like to be the sort of meals that work for you.  I love Mexican food, maybe you prefer hamburgers.  I’m glad that within AA we are given the room to find our own spiritual niche.  If the world’s spiritual spread of beliefs doesn’t suit you, you’re invited to find or create one of your own understanding.  What I would say is more important than the beliefs themselves is the action that is incited by such beliefs.  The Big Book reiterates that “faith without works is dead.”  Being spiritually fed is all about action.

It’s also helpful to remember that the best way to feed ourselves, whether physically or spiritually, is in balance.  Perhaps waking up at 4 AM to pray for three hours straight is actually less helpful to me than saying multiple, 5-minute prayers throughout the day…just like many nutritionists recommend eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day versus fewer, larger meals.  Additionally, balancing the different sorts of spiritual practices is imperative.  Just like diversity in nutrition is important, so is diversity in our spiritual practices, such as prayer, meditation, service, and reading spiritual materials, to name a few.  It’s up to you and your sponsor how you ought to build your pyramid.

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Melanie is a 27-year old Southern California native who studied at Pepperdine University. Loving to travel and experience new places and cultures, she spent two years living in the Southern states of Texas and Tennessee before returning to Los Angeles where she began working in the legal industry writing content and managing communication to class members of class action lawsuits. She now is focused on her continued sobriety, and her motto in life is to never take herself too seriously. She is often described by others as an "old soul." She loves music, photography, and makeup artistry and likes to entertain herself with astrology and numerology. She is a Sagittarius and a number 9, and shares her birthday with her beloved late grandmother and her favorite author, C.S. Lewis.

Filed under: Recovery, Spirituality · Tags: AA, big book, spiritual