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12 Steps and Spiritual Direction

Updated on July 30, 2011

12 Steps and Spiritual Direction

The 12 Step Process is a good guide for spiritual direction because it emphasizes spiritual growth as being open to the grace of God. Love of God and our neighbor is not something that we do on our own. It happens only through the grace of God. We have a choice to ignore this grace or to use it. Most people come to spiritual direction because God has found them. In many cases, the directee is struggling with some life issue or addiction and is turning to God. They are helped by the spiritual director to see that this time can be a channel of grace.

The contemporary cry so often heard today is for a sese of peac and serenty. Much of life seems so unamanageable and out of control. We are living in an "Age of Anxiety and much of what we hear comes out of stance of fear. Change is happening rapidly in many areas of life and with change comes risk-taking. People are being pulled in so many directions and oftentimes, their lives feel divided. There are more appointments/deadlines to keep than our grandparents ever dreamed of. The principles of the 12 Step process can help to maintain serentiy and reliance on God's grace in a world that is in constant flux.

The 12 Step process appears to be rooted in the ideal of helplessness, but in our helplessness we gain strength an ourage to continue onward with our transformation into grace-filled human beings. In a mysterious way our failures are our successes. The process is about relinquishment. It is about unlearning our old ways that are so conditioned and moving in the direction of unconditioned love. Eventually we learn to live with simplicity and less. When we simplify our lives with letting go of worry and fear we will gain the peace we are looking for.

The 12 steps must be taken with intentionality and one step at a time. Occasionally, we will take a step backwards; pointing out that the spiritual journey is more like a spiral than an ascent up a mountain. We weave in and out of the steps and the spiritual mentor or director can be there when we fall off the path. There will be times when we may have to return to the very first step and admit our powerlessness and other times be more conscious of embracing God's Will in step three. The director can provide the encouragement we need to keep on the journey.

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