What does it mean to walk in the sunlight of the spirit?
Walking in the sunlight of the spirit was not one of the terms I became familiar with early in sobriety. First things first, one day at a time, keep coming back, and the like were the phrases that stuck in my head in those early days. I either heard those messages or saw them neatly framed on the walls of most, if not all, of the meeting rooms I visited when I was green to sobriety. None of it really made sense anyway…except the keep coming back message I heard over and over and over. So I kept coming back and kept listening…not sure why?
Maybe it had something to do with the fact that meeting rooms were the only places I felt comfortable, where I could get away from the chaos of my life, at least for an hour. As I kept coming back I started to hear and understand more about my alcoholism and drug addictions. I also started to hear and understand more about my journey of sobriety, things to embrace like prayer, and things to avoid like my old playgrounds and my old playmates.
In time, along with other concepts in sobriety, I was introduced to the idea of walking in the sunlight of the spirit. For those who shared the message, it sounded like the pinnacle of sobriety, a goal they would soon hoped to reach, a finish line they would soon cross, one that would cure them of their dependence on chemical or liquid solutions. To me these were sober, spiritual gurus who kept showing up in the meeting rooms, sitting calmly sipping their coffee as in and outers scrambled to find a seat and sit patiently, trying not to spill their coffee before the meeting started..
It soon became clear to me that this phrase, the sunlight of the spirit, was only mentioned in the rooms by those who actually understood what it meant, by those who had actually taken action and had their own experience in this spiritual realm. So my image of physically walking in the morning sun wasn’t too far off. I could image a cool morning breeze and the warmth of the sun touching my body. With closed eyes I inhale deeply, taking in the fresh air. Then, overwhelmed with gratitude, my exhale carries my contribution of love into the universe.
For me, this was a crossroads in my quest to live a sober life. I had been blessed with an understanding, an insight as to where I needed to go. With this vision of hope now firmly implanted in my being, I now had very my own personal concept of what the idea of the sunlight of the spirit meant. From within I imagined a feeling of peace and a sense of calm where my mind’s eye focused on the beauty of the world. I could feel the warm touch of the sun as it caressed my face. I was a one with myself and with the world. I was free.
The realization from within that I could have this sense of peace manifest within my life, a life once filled with uncertainty and rocked with chaos, got my attention in a way nothing ever had before. What did I need to do? This might be my only chance to put a life as an active alcoholic and drug addict behind me. Hope and a sense of urgency I had never known seemed to fill my soul. A willingness to find my way was finally present.
I the two 12 step programs I am familiar with, this willingness to seek and the acceptance of what we find pave the path to success. This is a clean path, one free of the resentments and fears we carry with us in active alcoholism and/or drug addiction. This is the path where we walk freely in the sunlight of the spirit. This is the path, where with a clear conscience and a loving heart, we become one with the spirit of the universe, the higher power that each of us understands to be his, or her, own guiding light.
But unlike the mental concept of the newcomer, those who understand what it means to walk in the sunlight of the spirit, know they are not the gurus of sobriety some believe they are. They see themselves as a grateful being, someone who knows that if not for the grace of God, they would still walk in the darkness as so many still do. So in gratitude they become a vessel of this wondrous light, shining as a beacon on the hill to those who still suffer in their very own living hell.
How do you become this beacon of light and find yourself walking one day at a time in the sunlight of the spirit?
In the programs of A.A. and N.A. the steps make this possible. Let me clear this up a bit. In the programs of A.A. and N.A, WORKING the steps make this possible. When we work with 12 steps of either of these programs, with a sincere heart and an open mind, we can clean up our side of the street and find freedom from our alcoholism, our drug addictions and some of those other demons of our past. We find freedom from the shame, guilt and remorse we have carried for so long. And most importantly, when we trust God to make these things possible, we have our spiritual experience and finally have our eyes opened, to finally and forever know what it means to walk in the sunlight of the spirit.
So for newcomers, this vision of walking in the sunlight of the spirit, may seem like a dim light on a far away hill. But single days of sobriety can and do grow into weeks, into months, and then into years. While trudging the road of sobriety a day at a time, we find that we see the light a bit more clearly each day. We start to see it in those around us too and we start to feel the warmth of life upon our face.
For those who understand, our walk in the sunlight of the spirit is nothing less than the grace of God. It humbles and brings hope to those who seek it. It brings the glory of the Father into our hearts and allows it to flow through us in the form of compassion for others. It unites us with our creator. His will be done.