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Spiritual Emergency/Emergence/Counseling
Record Type: Review   ID: 296

Spiritual Recovery: A Twelve-Step Guide

Schnarr, Grant R.

Schnarr is a Swedenborgian minister and a recovered alcoholic who has applied AA’s 12-step approach to spiritual growth fellowships. I have considered applying the 12-step approach for use in EHE support groups, and as spirituality is often a strong component of EHEs, on the face of it this book seemed relevant. I had not realized that the 12 steps were so tightly embedded in a worldview in which "sin" is basic and all of the steps are concerned with penitence, and forgiveness, and turning the problem completely over to God. I am not finding fault with this approach as such. I am only saying it does not seem applicable to EHEs, which in a sense are not sins but revelations. However, although I did not find, while reading the 12 steps, anything that would work for an EHE support group, I saw how an EHE-based 12 steps might be useful and offer the following as a starter. Anyone else moved to try their own 12-step EHE model is invited to do so. Here it is, with thanks to Schnarr, Bill Wilson, and all those who worked at the 12-step technique.

  1. We admit that we have had an exceptional experience—and that we are baffled by it
  2. We believe there is an answer as to why an exceptional experiences happened to us and that it would help us to become more conscious than we are now of the possible reality they could be indicating
  3. . We will make a decision to hold this experience up to the truth of what made it happen and we will trust that that same truth will reveal its meaning if we honor the experience and stay open to it
  4. Each of us will do our best to consider all possible explanations for our own experiences and those of other group members
  5. We will hold up to our greater more knowledgeable selves the most likely possibilities agreed upon, with the experiencer having the final say, and will again hold up our questions. We will also share our experience to at least one other human being and discuss the possibilities we have arrived at, listening in turn to the other person’s views
  6. We will steadfastly hold to our need for a satisfactory explanation and believe the universe will supply it. We vow to honor it no matter what it is
  7. We ask the universe, God, our greater selves to remove any inhibitions or psychological blind spots that may be preventing us from seeing the answer
  8. We will each make a list of the possible answers we do not want to be true, and will promise that we will nonetheless accept it if one of them should be the answer
  9. We will consider, read up on, and open ourselves to all those possibilities we would like to reject
  10. We will continually be on the lookout for new possibilities—whether they be ways of explaining away the experience or guidance concerning how to respond¾ that seem to come from the experience itself
  11. We will seek through prayer, meditation, or any other means to become more aware of the meaning of the experience, asking only that we see the true nature of the experience and have the power to respond accordingly
  12. . Having either found an alternate explanation for the experience or having been changed by it in that our worldviews and sense of who we are have expanded and become more meaningful and connected, we vow to share with others how what struck as an inexplicable experience confronting us on our paths, we came to see its meaning and how our unique paths, in turn, have become clearer
Publisher Information:West Chester, PA: Chrysalis, 1998. xv + 118p. 21 refs
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